Social Media and Your Mental and Emotional Health: Finding the Balance
Instagram. Twitter. TikTok. Facebook. Social media has become such an important part of our communication as a society—and it’s nearly impossible to escape. If you weren’t deep in the social rabbit hole before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it’s likely you’ve become a more frequent user in recent months. During lockdown, platforms like Facebook made it easy to stay in touch with distant friends, family, and clients while Instagram helped you keep tabs on cultural movements and current affairs.
In addition to recreational social media use, many of people use it for professional reasons. Whether you’re sprucing up your LinkedIn page to attract potential employees, or building your company’s following on TikTok and Instagram, social media has become a key aspect of many people’s working lives. There’s no better tool for reaching potential new customers or clients and strengthening your connection to current ones.
That said, social media use at work and in your private life can lead to serious burnout if not managed properly.
What is social media burnout?
We’ve all reached our limit on Facebook or Instagram at some point. You get sucked into the endless and lose hours or even days to doom-scrolling. Distressing coronavirus updates, your acquaintances’ hot takes about politics, friends’ humblebrag posts that may make you feel bad about yourself. It all can be a lot at times. It’s fine to check in and see how your network is doing and growing your company’s audience is good for business. At some point, however, you have to set a firm boundary to protect your mental health.
If you’re in charge of your wellness business’s social media presence and trying to grow your customer base, you may feel the pressure to be “on” 24-7. Resist the temptation to make yourself available to your followers with no breaks for yourself. It’s not productive for your bottom line, and more importantly, it’s not good for your mental health. Too much screen time can have an addictive effect and can cause a variety of health issues, like depression, anxiety, and insomnia. When you need to lean into your social media game, learn how to work smarter, not longer.
Here are some tips for making the most of your social media game without compromising your mental and emotional health.
Tips to help you maintain your mental wellness
1. Clean up your feed
Sometimes what you see while scrolling through your feed leaves a bad taste in your mouth—one that may linger all day. If you run across something that makes you feel bad about yourself, unfollow that person or page immediately. Life is too short to let someone’s posts ruin your day. Remember that you don’t owe anyone your social media attention. You can unfollow anyone or anything, at any time.
Additionally, we all have those friends or people that if we unfollow them, it will cause a ruckus. This is what the “Mute” feature on Instagram is for! This way, you can delete this person’s content from your feed without unfollowing them completely. Don’t be afraid to mute if you need to—we all have that one person that could probably use the mute treatment every now and then due to their content.
2. Set limits for yourself
It’s too easy to get sucked into the infinite scroll and waste precious hours on your phone or computer. Draw healthy boundaries by setting time limits for social media use, turning off your notifications, and unplugging entirely in the evening.
Screen time can disrupt your sleep cycle, leading you to chronic exhaustion, brain fog, and decreased productivity. Try putting the phone away before you go to bed, silence your messages, and think about doing a social media detox from time to time. When you’re on vacation, you might consider temporarily deleting all your social media apps for a few days so that you’re less tempted to check-in. When you come back to social media, you’ll be very refreshed and ready to use the platform with good intentions.
3. Remember—social media is a tool
These days, Instagram and other social platforms are integral parts of our communication—we’d be lost without them. You can live a full and happy life and enjoy the company of your friends without being a technology addict. Keep in mind that social media is a tool, and use it as such.
This is true in both your personal and professional lives. If you’ve moved to a new area, use Facebook to get acquainted with your new neighbors and ask about the best places to shop and eat. If you’re using Instagram or TikTok to grow your wellness business or brand, share daily content that will interest your target demographic. Engage your audience, be yourself, and leverage the platform. Don’t let the platforms leverage you.
4. Don’t play the comparison game
There’s nothing worse for your self-esteem (and selfie-esteem) than scrolling through post after post from people who appear to have lives way better than yours. Whether it’s your coworker with the enormous house and luxe pool, the influencer with the “perfect body,” or the celeb with the nonstop social life, the majority of what you see on your feed is not reality. Remember that most of the content that you see is created and curated to make these people’s lives look enviable. You don’t see the pool when it’s full of dead leaves and needs a full vacuuming. You don’t see the rich entrepreneur when their business was failing, and they were experiencing anxiety and depression while trying to scale their business. You only see curated highlights—you don’t see people’s low-lights. This is not real life.
Resist the urge to compare yourself to the highly edited version of people in your social media feed. What you’re seeing isn’t attainable, because the majority of what you see is not real.
5. Share the workload
When it comes to your company’s social media marketing campaigns, you don’t need to handle everything on your own. You can delegate important tasks to valued members of your team like researching and brainstorming new ideas, creating highly shareable content, and engaging with users. If your business is a sole proprietorship and you’d like to offload some of your responsibilities, you might investigate collaborating with an expert social media manager that you can hire off of a cloud working service such as UpWork.
The bottom line—for you and your wellness business
There’s no doubt that social media has changed our entire cultural landscape. It can be a powerful tool for making new connections, reaching new customers, and growing your brand. Just remember that most everything in life is best enjoyed in moderation. Much like chocolate, Netflix marathons, and midnight online shopping sprees, social media is great when you set limits on your consumption. It’s just a matter of finding a balance that works for you.
Remember that when you take good care of your mental and emotional health, you’ll be a more productive business owner, a happier person, a better friend, and more fulfilled. So, go ahead and share that brilliant video you made for your brand, or that funny meme with a friend. Just remember that your life outside of your social media world will always be the one that matters the most.