How Mindful Social Media Use Can Help Your Mental Health.

Posted by on Jun 16, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

How Mindful Social Media Use Can Help Your Mental Health.

Connection and community have been two themes that have come to matter so much whilst we’ve been in relative isolation.

As individuals and as businesses, connection is going to be even more important and powerful than ever as we emerge into a world that looks very different to the one we left in March, writes guest blogger Alice Smith.

No one said it better than writer Damien Barr when he pointed out – on Twitter – “We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm.” We’re all viewing social media from our own perspectives, and right now, a lot of those perspectives feel pretty vulnerable.

Perhaps you are furloughed, sat at home and feeling pretty disconnected, looking on as people around you work on exciting new projects.

Perhaps you are juggling homeschooling and work, have not had a proper break in days and are deeply envious of those colleagues furloughed, posting gin selfies in the garden at 4pm.

Perhaps your business is on hold and you’re watching on as other people around you seemingly flourish.

There is no denying that social media has a huge impact on our mental health. Unchecked, it can be a source of anxiety and endless comparison.

But mindful use of social media to connect and to build community can have a really positive impact on our mental health.

Five tips for using social media mindfully

1. Check your mood. Social media is a mood enhancer. If you’re in a negative frame of mind, you’re more likely to react negatively to what you look at on social media. If you know you’re in a vulnerable sort of mood, go and do something else instead. Read an interesting article, work on something else, go for a walk, or get some exercise in.

Time to get on your bike? (c) Mark Saxby

Time to get on your bike?

2. Remember it’s only EVER edited content. Of course people only put highlights on social media. When we take a photo of our fancy breakfasts for Instagram but carefully crop out the massive pile of washing up, that’s just a metaphor for everyone’s social media habits, everywhere. Of course you want to show off your highlights – the best bits. We’ve all got piles of unwashed dishes, or projects that went awry; we just crop them out.

3. Curate, curate, curate. If your social media feeds are making you sad/angry/disillusioned, then sit down with a cup of tea* and go on an unfollow-marathon. Surrounding yourself with people who inspire you, motivate you or just make you laugh will make you feel so much better. Ask people to recommend accounts they enjoy and find inspiring.

Time to Stop on social media

Time to say stop to bad social media content? (Photo by Clyde Steven from FreeImages)

4. Engage. If you have enjoyed someone’s content, then tell them.
It’s nice to like, but it’s even nicer to comment, even just with a few encouraging words. People will remember that, and return the favour if you’re posting. Ask a question. Share posts you love. Get in touch with the person who posted it and let them know. The more time we take to engage in a meaningful way with people on social media, the more meaningful we make our relationships and networks.

5. Take advantage of what’s on offer. At the moment, there are so many opportunities to join webinars, or listen to podcasts and discussions. Do it. Learn more about how others in your industry are coping and planning for the future.

If we use it well, social media can help us build the kind of relationships and communities we need.

*Not sure on the science of this but a cup of tea definitely makes everything better.

Alice is a freelance brand strategist and copywriter. Get in touch with her via LinkedIn.

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