Social media has given us the opportunity to stay more connected than ever before. This is good for us in many ways, but this constant interconnectedness poses some serious risks to our mental and physical well beings. In excess, social media use can lead to feelings of self doubt, anxiety, low self esteem, and depression. There are also considerable opportunity costs associated with large amounts of social media use. If you spend 4 hours a day browsing social media apps, then you no longer have that time to develop your hobbies, tackle important responsibilities, and spend time with your loved ones.

Now, social media use is fine in moderation. But how do we know if we are spending too much time on social media? You probably need to limit your use of social media if:

Social media has become the thing you use to begin and end your day

If you find that the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night is browse social media, then you more than likely would benefit from a social media break.

You are constantly comparing yourself to others

People use social media to share the best moments of their life. By scrolling through someone’s timeline, you may come away with an unrealistic view of that person’s life. These constant comparisons can lead us to become anxious with our own lives. If you notice that you are comparing yourself to others every time that you browse social media, then it is time to take a break.

Your screen time exceeds 2 hours a day

Most devices and apps track usage data. This gives you the opportunity to sit down and evaluate how much of your life is being spent on social media. When you notice that the total screen time between your non-work-related devices exceeds 2 hours a day, it is likely that you need to limit your time on those devices. Now, total screen time includes the sum of all usage data. To gain a more accurate understanding of the time you spend on social media specifically, go into your device settings and look into the usage data for the social media apps that you have installed.

Here are a few tips to help you limit your social media use: 

Uninstall your social media apps

The most obvious (and effective) way to take a break from social media is to delete the apps from your devices altogether. This allows you to quit cold turkey but gives you the option to come back at any time when you decide that you’re ready.

Turn off your notifications

If you’re not looking to quit social media altogether but you would still like to drastically limit the time you spend browsing, then it is a great idea to turn off notifications for your social media apps. This will help keep you from logging on too often, but you can still access your accounts once or twice a day.

Downsize to one platform

If you are unhappy with how much time you are spending on social media, but you would still like to keep up with friends or family, then you could consider downsizing to just one platform. Choose the platform that you feel is best for you and delete the other platforms from your devices. 

If you are struggling with the effects of overuse of social media and having a hard time finding ways to limit your use, talking to a mental health professional can help. Reach out to Chenal Family Therapy to learn how we can help you regulate your use of social media and regain control of your free time, your life, and your mental wellbeing.

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