Signs You Need a Social Media Break and Tips for Healthy Use

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Open Instagram, scroll down, exit, repeat. Open Facebook, scroll down, exit, repeat. Open Twitter, scroll down, exit, repeat. open TIC Toc,

For many of us, using social media has become a reflex – we reach for it when we wake up, before bedtime or whenever we’re bored.

but research shows social media can take a toll on mental healthThis is why experts advocate a balanced relationship with us doomscrolling Device.

“Social media can be great for connecting with friends, family and your community. However, it can also leave users … vulnerable to judgment and negative comments from the public,” Melissa Dowd, Licensed Marriage & Family Says physicians and medical leadership. Plushcare, a virtual health platform.

But how do you know when you need a social media break? Experts say to watch for these signs:

It makes you feel bad: Like face-to-face interactions, social media can affect our emotional health in both positive and negative ways.

“When we are feeling bombarded with posts, comments or conversations that are not in alignment with our morals or values, it can negatively affect our emotional well-being,” says Dowd.

Licensed mental health counselor and owner of Empower Your Mind Therapy, Alyssa Maranz, says, “If you find that going on social media is making you feel better or worse than you normally are, it’s definitely worth it. There’s a signal to brake.”

It becomes a comparison game: “If you notice that you’re comparing yourself to others on social media a lot, that’s another sign to take a break,” says Maranz.

In a world of filters and Photoshop, the pressure to look perfect and fit in a narrow beauty standards “Higher than ever,” says Dowd.

“While it can be fun and motivating to follow others’ journeys, it can also lead to harsh comparisons and feelings of shame or inadequacy,” she says.

It takes all your free time: “If you find that social media is distracting you from spending time with loved ones in real life or how you prioritize your daily plans, it may be time to take a step,” suggests Dowd.

How can you build a healthy relationship with social media?

Limit your scrolling: “It’s important to limit your time reading the news and scrolling through social media. These activities can not only be time consuming, but they can drain your emotional energy,” says Dowd.

She recommends limiting consumption to 30 minutes in the morning and night and prioritizing self-care for the rest of your day.

“Try turning off your notifications on your personal devices,” she suggests. “You can control what information comes to you and when.”

If limiting isn’t enough, try taking a break altogether. A recent study found that just three days off social media led to significant improvements in body image of teenage girls, CBS News Colorado reported,

Choose who you follow wisely: “Don’t be afraid to set virtual boundaries,” says Dowd. “If that person or organization is not someone or something that you would personally choose to spend time with or engage with, then it probably isn’t the healthiest ‘follow’ option.”

Instead, choose to follow accounts that positively add to your life.

“This could mean supporting the account of an organization you’re passionate about or following a profile that gives you healthy new perspectives, uplifting and hopeful messages, a sense of community, or just some much-needed humor throughout the day.” — all of which are super healthy options to go with,” she says.

Remember, not everything is real: In addition to filters and misinformation, social media becomes a “highlight reel,” showing only the positive moments or as Dowd describes it, “the most favorable aspects of their lives.”

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