By Ram Kezel
Today is National Stress Awareness Day. There is no better way to celebrate this day than noting your stress triggers and trying to manage them in your life. Social media affects a big part of our life. It has a significant effect on our stress levels as well. Here are 5 tips on how to deal with social media to reduce stress.
#1 Tip: Decide On What You Expect From Social Media
There are no universal rules for social media because different people use it for various purposes. Be honest with yourself and figure out what do you expect out of your accounts. Some use it for work, others use it for friends and family, and some people are online for the cats.
The secret is to adjust your profile for your needs. If you use your social media for work purposes, avoid following entertainment content, it can distract you. If you are up there for your friends and family, unfollow work-related topics. They can remind you of unfinished business while chatting with your mother.
If your social media feed consists of cat videos, that it’s purrfect for the National Stress Awareness Day. Indiana University professor Jessica Gall Myrick states in her research that “findings promote the idea that viewing Internet cats may actually function as a form of digital pet therapy and/or stress relief for Internet users.”
In this case, keep scrolling, it’s cheaper than the therapist.
#2 Tip: Whatever You Do, Don’t Do It All At Once (Avoid Multitasking)
If you are reading this article on your computer, there’s a big chance that you have another 4 or 5 tabs open in your browser. Is one of them your social media account? People are so used to being always online, that they are keeping an eye on their profiles all the time. It became the norm to check the phone in school, work, cinema, or even on a date.
It might seem harmless, but some studies prove otherwise. Dr. Melina Uncapher conducted research, and the results show that those who multitask across different media forms exhibited more weakness in both working memory and long-term memory. People are trying to be more productive and consume more information at once. But the outcome is the opposite, people’s memory is getting worse, and it can be quite stressful.
#3 Tip: Track And Manage Your Time Spent Online
To improve your social media usage habits, you need to know your current situation. To do that, you need to track your time spent on social media. Some phone apps can show your personal numbers in settings (Facebook; Instagram), but they don’t count your desktop time. You must track it yourself.
According to GlobalWebIndex, people are spending an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes per day on social networks and messaging. You can figure out your average time and compare it to others. But as the BBC states, screen time isn’t necessarily an accurate gauge for whether someone is using their favorite platforms problematically.
The key is to have control over your time and not to check your social media out of habit. The best way to be conscious of that is to have designated time for social media. If you enjoy checking the content you like, do it a few times a day, but not constantly. With designated time, you know your plan in advance, and it helps to avoid stressful FOMO (fear of missing out).
#4 Tip: Find Your JOMO Offline
The opposite for FOMO is JOMO, the joy of missing out. Instead of being worried about what is going on on social media, try to find relief in missing out. Decide specific hours or days when you don’t check your social media at all. At first, it might be uncomfortable. But after a few tries, you will see that there is not as much going on as you expected.
The Independent states that millennials are shifting from FOMO to JOMO. The survey of more than 2,200 people across the UK found that three-quarters (78 percent) of millennials consciously engage in JOMO.
#5 Tip: You Can Create Your Own Alternatives
If you want to share your thoughts or pictures online, but hate all the drama on social media, you can create your own online space – a personal website. This way, you can control everything. There is no character limit for your posts. You can decide on the way you present your images. It’s your call if comments are available or not.
Arnas Stuopelis, Chairman of the Board of hosting provider Hostinger, says that personal websites are getting more and more popular. “10 years ago, a personal website was a matter of luxury. It was quite difficult to build, and the price of hosting was another issue. Today you can create your website within an hour. The hosting costs you less than a cup of coffee per month, and you have absolute control of your content. It’s a stress-free way of communication.”
Social media can be overwhelming and stressful. To avoid stress, you must control your social media habits instead of being controlled by them. You can limit, avoid, or replace social media. Don’t put off this problem for later. Take care of your wellbeing on this National Stress Awareness Day.