Mental Health

Is Social Media Damaging Your Mental Health?

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Is Social Media Damaging Your Mental Health?

How much time do you spend on social media?

I’ll be honest. I couldn’t tell you. I’ve never paid much attention to it. The thing about being a blogger is that it’s kind of my job to spend time on social media. Social media is how most of my readers find my blog. It’s probably how you found this post in the first place.

Then, outside of blogging, social media how how I keep up to date with people I’m otherwise not in touch with. Let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? It’s how I get to be nosy and find out what people I hardly know are doing with their lives. And I’m sure if I wasn’t so boring, it would be how other people find out what I’m up to, too!

Social media makes the world go round. It keeps us up to date with current events (like, important ones, not just what Sally three doors down had for dinner). It makes it looks like we’ve all got hundreds of friends… when really, I can count the number of true friends I’ve got on both hands. Probably wouldn’t even need to use my thumbs.

But is that a good thing?

What about the downside to this not-entirely-genuine popularity? Or what if you’re not popular at all – genuine or otherwise? What about the bullies that use social media to make someone’s life hell?

Is Social Media Damaging Your Mental Health?

Is social media damaging your mental health?

I’ve read a lot about people taking a break from social media lately. I’ve taken a mini break (of sorts) myself. I’ve tried to take a bit of a step back from Twitter, especially. But, as I mentioned before, being a blogger makes it a bit tricky to take too big a step.

Have you taken a social media break? Have you felt like you need to? Is social media damaging your mental health? I’m finding myself thinking about this more and more lately.

When I spend less time on social media – intentionally or not – I do feel less stressed out. But is that because social media is damaging my mental health? Or because it’s turned into something like “work” since I started blogging?

How do we know how much is too much?

I think, as with all things, the key is balance. But how do we find that balance? I’ve been making a conscious effort to schedule as much as I can, so that my days aren’t taken over by social media. Luckily, I have the twins to help me with that. I don’t get much of anything done during the day and social media is limited to quick checks between building Toot Toot tracks and reading the same book over and over again.

As much as I’ve tried to take a step back, I know I couldn’t give up social media completely. I hear people talking about deleting the apps from their phone and staying away from social media for a week or a month, and I think “how do they do that?!” because I know I couldn’t manage it. The FOMO is real. I’ll stick to trying to find that balance.

The dark side of social media

I mentioned briefly about the people who seem to enjoy using social media to be nasty. I’m lucky, because I haven’t really experienced that yet. Except for Mr. Grumpy Pants, but he was pretty tame, really.

But that’s not the only downside to social media. Even when people aren’t intentionally being nasty, what we see on social media can make us feel pretty rotten. Whether it’s perfect photos making us feel too fat or too thin, too short or too tall. Or statuses making us feel like we’re not smart enough or or not successful enough, or not cool enough. Any of those things can set off negative thoughts and low mood.

The thing we often forget is that most of those pictures do not represent reality and a lot of those statuses are just someone else trying to make themselves feel better. Not to mention the fact that what other people have or don’t have has no real bearing on our own lives. We never know what’s really going on behind the social media mask.

Is social media damaging their mental health, too? Maybe it’s just one bit nightmare that we’d all be better off away from. I can’t see it going anywhere anytime soon though, and as a blogger, I kind of hope it doesn’t! Even if I do sometimes think it’s toxic.

I guess we all just have to know our limits, recognise that social media is not real life, and find a balance that works for us. Have you found one that works for you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

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