In my “9-5” I’m a social media manager/marketing consultant. I am on my computer all day – either writing, learning, or posting for clients or myself.
But we all know social media can be toxic. Between the comparison trap, and an inability to separate work from non-work when you’re constantly connected, and always being on our devices and social networks, it can have massive repercussions for our mental health. I started to notice this recently and starting making strides to detox my online presence.
We all know that there are people that just don’t deserve the platforms that have been served up through Facebook or Twitter or Instagram because it gives them a space to troll others, or spew lies and vitriol. Nevermind the fact that we’re living through toxic times where people are deeply passionate about their personal beliefs/politics and there’s disinformation running rampant through our social channels.
If there was ever a time to detox and set boundaries for yourself, now is it.
Personally, I’ve started cleaning up my digital presence and it’s been helping. It’s not always easy but the steps I’ve taken have certainly helped my mental health.
I’ve unfollowed people who spew vitriol and hatred and disinformation. Left or unfollowed Facebook groups that don’t lift my spirits or ones that harbor negativity. I unfollowed pages that weren’t bringing me joy and unfriended people I’ve disconnected with, ones who are toxic and those who just don’t lift me up. Yes, this has also included family members. The people you share your digital space should bring you joy. Ain’t nobody got time for negative Nancy’s.
Next, I’m setting online boundaries.
I’m turning off earlier and trying to not pick up my phone as often. I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately (thanks COVID joblessness and all the stressors!) – reading more at night and turning off my phone certainly helps that and if I wake up in the middle of the night, not scrolling through Facebook or Instagram but instead putting on a meditation through the Peloton or Calm app.
Do yourselves a favor friends, declutter your digital life.
Here are my go-to tips that have helped my mental health over the years when I find social media bringing me down or too much negativity.
- Turn off notifications. Easy peasy. You don’t need a notice when someone retweets you, replies to you, or whenever someone posts in a group you’re in on Facebook. By turning off notifications, you’ll reduce your anxiety, and be less likely to pick up your phone so frequently (leading to less mindless scrolling, etc…). I once had a boss who was notorious for late-night emails, one holiday weekend, my phone blew up with notifications at 7:30 am from that boss and a client that it was NECESSARY to turn off my email notifications. I’ve since expanded that effort to include other apps including Twitter and Facebook.
- Set time limits. Did you know you can do that? iPhones tell you how much time you spend on each app, and you can set time limits on the ones you want to limit the time spent on. I also love the Moment app – it tracks how much you pick up your phone and your total screen time. Set yourself some time limits – either by app or just in general screen time. The moment app will tell you and the iPhone Screentime app will also tell you how much you use your phone on average per day. If you’re using your phone say, 6 hours per day, that’s 42 hours PER WEEK that you’re on a screen. Think of what you could do with that extra time.
- Stop Hatestalking. Do you know that ex-bestie from college that criticized everything you did? Yeah, unfriend her. Your ex-boyfriend? Stop Googling him. Unfollow or unfriend people who have no business being in your life. Your time and mental health are too valuable. Don’t let people who don’t bring you joy to take up space rent-free in your mind. I promise you’ll feel better (even though trust me, I too want to know if my ex-boyfriends’ are living better or worse than me 😉 )
- Unfollow. Unlike pages, leave groups, stop following on Twitter – anything you can do without (i.e. a group that doesn’t lift you up, or a Twitter account that spews disinformation) – leave ’em behind. I unfollowed a few groups, I unfollowed a bunch of accounts on Twitter, and I unliked a series of pages that I just realized I had zero effs about. Old job companies, ex-friends/boyfriends/girlfriends, old bosses – if they don’t lift you up or bring joy to your life, leave ’em behind.
- Have an Unplugged day – I try to limit my time if not fully unplug for at least one day (usually weekends). No mindless games, scrolling. Full family time attention or focus on other projects around the house or adventures with my two favorite people. Having a dedicated day or time of each day (i.e. not checking your phone before 9 am and not after 5 pm) can help put limits on checking #allthethings.