How to safeguard your mental health on social media

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Health Assured team

22 January 2024

Social media has outwardly taken over our lives and in the digital age we live in it’s not surprising that people feel as though they cannot escape it.

It’s hardly shocking that people spend unnecessary lengths of time on social media as it is designed to capture attention and keep you there.

Forbes Advisor reported that in 2023 an estimated 4.9 billion people used social media across the world, with the average person spending 145 minutes on social media every day.

It’s hard to ignore the risks associated with excessive social media use, often triggering feelings of depression, anxiety, inadequacy, and loneliness with each scroll.

Social media can be used as a positive tool for things such as connecting with long-lost friends, keeping up to date with cross-country family members, and congratulating an old mate you hardly ever see on their new job.

There is a day dedicated to creating positivity and optimism on social media that was introduced in 2018. Reclaim Social Day was founded as a day dedicated to creating positivity and optimism on social media. The movement shared the hashtag #ReclaimSocial to create a wave of positivity throughout the social media space.

Despite Reclaim Social’s efforts to create a more positive space, as individuals, we should be taking active steps to safeguard our mental health whilst on social media.


5 ways to look after your mental health on social media

  1. Take social media breaks

A lot of individuals find detoxing and taking scheduled and regular breaks from social media significantly support their mental health.

It can be hard to quit social media in one fell swoop, so you may want to start by limiting your screen time. Then you could move on to specific apps, like deleting Facebook and deleting another app each day until they are all gone.

Taking a break is overall a good idea for mental health and often offsets negative concerns associated with too much social media usage such as neck pain, ‘FOMO’, and sleep issues.

  1. Consider how many people you follow

Over the years, your friends, and people you follow on social media build-up. You may lose track of who you follow, and who you are friends with. Due to this, you get bombarded by posts and comments that you have no interest in or that risk your mental wellbeing.

Curate your following and cut back on people you follow or who you are friends with on social media. Be as brutal as possible, only leaving space for the necessary people on your social media feeds and people who make you feel loved and fulfilled.

  1. Limit your time on social media

Many people find it beneficial to limit their social media time by restricting the time of day you can access social media or how long you can go on.

You could set certain times you allow yourself to go on social media- make sure this is not straight after you get up or right before you go to bed.

A good way to track the amount of time you spend on social media is to set a timer for however long you have allocated. Put a timer on for half an hour and let yourself scroll as much as you want. Once the timer has gone off, turn away from the screens and do something else that will take your mind off social media.

Many apps like TikTok also have a feature that doesn’t allow you to carry on after a certain amount of time without a password. Ask a trusted friend or family member to create the password and not to share it with you.

  1. Be aware of addictive tendencies

Like anything, social media can be addicting, so it’s important to be aware that spending too much on social media puts you at risk of addiction.

Social media is created to get your attention and keep it, hence why a lot of us find ourselves ‘doom scrolling’ and looking for the next dopamine hit.

Simply, being aware that you can become addicted to social media is a good way to keep your usage in check.

If you feel as though social media is taking over your life or that you do not have a life offline, you may have a social media addiction and it’s probably a good time to speak to a counsellor.

  1. Find alternative hobbies

Some of the best things to do instead of social media are being active and going outside. Finding alternative hobbies can help improve your mind, your wellbeing, your health and more.

You could try reading, yoga, meditating, listening to music, going for a swim, a walk, fishing, camping, training for a sporting event, a bike ride, museums – life is full of engaging opportunities that you’ll miss if you spend too much time of your phone.

When you cut out or lower the amount of time that you spend on social media, you may find time for things in life that you wouldn’t normally have time to do.


Supporting your organisation with physical, emotional, and mental health challenges

With a Health Assured Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), we can offer you practical advice and support when it comes to your physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing.

Our EAP provides guidance and supports your employees with their mental health in the workplace and at home. We can help you create a safe, productive workspace that supports all.

We support your employee's mental wellbeing with any problems they might be facing in their professional or personal lives with our 24-hour counselling helpline.


Find out more about EAPs


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