Are you, or someone you know, worried about how many “likes” you have on social media? Or constantly comparing who looks better or seems to be having more fun?
While social media is a great way to communicate and stay in touch, it can also be harmful to your mental health.
A recent study has shown teenagers who spend more than 3 hours a day on social media are more likely to develop mental health problems including depression, anxiety, aggression and antisocial behaviour.1
So what can you do to limit the potential harm social media can have on your mental health and wellbeing? Here are our top tips:
Switch your phone off when you go to bed so that your sleep isn’t interrupted, say between 9pm and 7am. Have set times when all devices are put away – during meals and homework time. Set aside set times when you check social media, for example, 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening. For younger children, phones could be put away earlier, such as when they get home from school. Or try having a screen-free day or week!
Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep is key to feeling good and staying healthy. Staying up late on social media means less sleep, which affects your health and wellbeing. Switching phones off before bedtime or putting them in another room ensures a break from the screen and that you’re getting enough ZZZZZZZZZZZs.
Exercising and keeping active is good for your physical and mental health. Make sure you get regular exercise to feel good. The time spent exercising or playing sport also provides a break from social media and allows you to spend time with others face to face.
See your friends in person
Try to spend time with your friends in person. There’s nothing like seeing friends, hugging them, having a laugh and a chat and interacting in real life.
Make some cutbacks
Take some time to review your friends on social media and trim away anybody who you aren’t really friends with or who’s posts upset you. Also, cut back on the people and groups you follow, especially if they aren’t bringing anything positive to the table.
Limit your apps
Do you really need all those apps? Try limiting the number you have and sticking with the ones you really like.
Take up a hobby
If you find yourself glued to social media because you’re bored, try taking up a hobby to keep you occupied. When you catch yourself reaching for your phone make a conscious effort to do something else instead – read a book, do some stretches or plan an adventure.