7 Tips To Help Social Media Anxiety
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Whilst social media has some amazing benefits such as allowing us to connect with more people, even learning new things and offering an outlet when we need a pick me up — the downside also needs to be acknowledged.
Recent studies reflect that higher amounts of screen time are associated with increased levels of stress and anxiety. In fact, a great deal of social media users are anxious and turn to social platforms to escape their worries but end up developing another element of anxiety when interacting with digital content.
My relationship with social media has changed significantly since experiencing anxiety and panic attacks and has allowed me to have a healthier approach to the online world.
I want to share 7 honest and effective tips to help social media anxiety.
1. FILTER THE ACCOUNTS YOU FOLLOW
The first step in reducing social media anxiety is to make sure that the accounts and people you follow make you feel good, are educational and even supportive. Take some time to go through your profile and filter out any accounts that are negative and don’t serve a purpose.
Not only will this help to streamline the content you are exposed to (thereby reducing your time spent on social media overall) but it will also ensure that you only view videos and images that you actually like and enjoy.
I have both personal and business accounts for most of the social media platforms I use and honestly, I spend way more time using my business accounts. They only follow informative and light-hearted profiles which I have a better connection to rather than overwhelming myself with a flurry of posts that I actually don’t take anything away from.
2. DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF
This is a big one — especially in light of the pandemic where many people are sharing ways that they are ‘getting the most ‘ out of their time spent in lockdown and being the ‘best version of themselves’.
Even though this can of course provide you with some inspiration and motivate you to try out new things and even invest in your health and wellness, it can make you feel bad if you aren’t taking the same approach as others and can go on to trigger social media anxiety.
Everyone has their own coping mechanisms, their own style and different things work for different people. You know what works best for you more than anyone else, so don’t let what others are doing affect the way you feel about yourself.
3. DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU SEE AND HEAR
Although it’s really great to see that more people are opening up and keeping their content raw and real, there is of course the inevitable pressure to look and act a certain way which can then in turn induce social media anxiety.
You need to remember that a lot of the time, people get ready for their posts and put up a persona when recording and photographing themselves. They could literally be getting ready for hours for a series of photographs or 15-second videos and then they probably get back into their sweats and carry on with their day.
A lot of people don’t live and breathe the ‘image’ they are putting across. They are real people but may not always show their vulnerabilities and realities on social media because they want to be perceived in a different light.
4. DISCONNECT WHEN YOU NEED TO FOCUS
I’m sure you can recall several moments where you really needed to focus on a task but found yourself scrolling through your social media within minutes and then realised half an hour had gone by and you hadn’t done what you needed to.
Whenever I have a piece of work I really need to concentrate on, I tend to either turn my phone over, put it in my bag or even switch it off.
Although it’s normal to check your social media here and there, you need to be aware of when it’s not allowing you to get on with your work and causing you to lose momentum.
5. TAKE A FEW DAYS AWAY FROM SCROLLING
When my anxiety and panic attacks started to get really bad, I instinctively found myself distancing from social media. At one point, 6 months had gone by without me checking any of my accounts and honestly, I didn’t feel like I had missed anything.
Not only did I find that all the negative emotions that social media evoked were dissolving but I was spending my time way more productively and in a way that was authentic and honest for me.
Do try to take a little social media detox here and there and see the difference it can make in reducing your social media anxiety.
6. DON’T KEEP YOUR PHONE ON YOU ALL THE TIME
Having your phone on you all the time can make it harder to stay in the present moment. Whether it’s while you are relaxing with your family, having a meal or even if you are trying to wind down for bed, it can be tempting to check your social media.
A lot of us are naturally spending more time at home at the moment and I believe there isn’t a crucial need to keep our phones with us all the time. Even if it’s just for an hour, lose the mobile and notice how much more connected you feel to your day.
7. CHECK OUT YOUR SCREEN TIME STATS
I think it’s really great that there are apps out there which track your phone usage and can show how much time you spend on social media.
When you are scrolling through your accounts, time can escape really quickly without us realising and we may therefore feel like we aren’t on our phones as much.
However, when you check in with the real-time statistic that may reflect you are spending hours and hours each day on social media, it may help you to become more aware of your phone habits and how you could have used that time for yourself and more productively.
Although social media is a big part of the way we live and learn, it is important to be aware of when it’s taking a toll on your mental health. Remember to filter your accounts, disconnect when you need to relax and focus and most of all, don’t forget that what you see isn’t always the truth.
Don’t forget to check out POP’s mental health printable programme which helps you take back control over your thoughts, emotions and goals. The worksheets are simple to follow and work through and you can take it completely at your own pace.