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Monday, March 20, 2023

Token, Taken or Toxin: Stop the ride, Taking a Break from Social Media

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Social media is a wonderful place. There are a lot of positives and upsides to it. It is wonderful to be easily and quickly connected, especially with those we love, others who are far off and many others that we don’t see on a regular basis. There is no denying that social media is a huge part of modern-day life and this includes our business and social life. Social media is also associated with cyberbullying, a lot of social comparison, and other phenomena which can be detrimental to our health and well-being. To ensure that social media has a positive impact on our health, it is essential to be conscious of how we are using it. That means knowing when to continue using social media, and when to take a break and hopefully direct our attention and energy to other productive activities, that is, we need to ask how we can stop the ride when it gets too rough and if we’re not having as much fun anymore.

Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter and others are meant to be fun and enjoyable ways to connect with family, relatives, friends, colleagues and the World. If you find that nothing is creating joy and connection or you find yourself feeling depressed in your own life, this is a sign and the time to take a break.

As a start, there are large amounts of information and thus we need to continuously filter most of the captions. Many people continuously check their phones, computers and other digital devices for information, and notifications. This is because social media has revolutionized our World including how people interact with family members, friends and colleagues at work and in business. Social media also enables us to build several networks and connections across the Globe. As a result, we spend a lot of time scrolling through social media. These activities can sometimes be overwhelming leading to increased stress, anxiety and depression even so, often difficult to overcome. Indeed, social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter and others are meant to be fun and enjoyable ways to connect with family, relatives, friends and colleagues. If you find that it is no longer a source of joy and connection or you find yourself feeling depressed in your own life, this is a sign to take a break. This is because taking some time off social media, can provide a refreshing break and benefit your mental health.

Signs that suggest a person needs to take a break from social media

  • Spending an overwhelming significant amount of time on social media, that is, you are almost always scrolling, clicking and texting.
  • Doom scrolling. This occurs when you find yourself aimlessly, mindlessly, and continuously scrolling through social media sites.
  • Social media interferes with other activities such as sleeping, work, eating and relationships.
  • Increased fear, anxiety, frustration or depression symptoms.
  • Losing focus, missing out on tasks and deadlines or neglecting common chores.
  • Feeling harassed or tormented such as when someone is stalking you.
  • Frequently frustrated or irritated by people’s posts, comments, or trending topics on social media.
  • Scared and even sometimes dreading to compare your life, body, career, relationships or well-being with others.
  • Getting into too many arguments, usually controversial and unnecessary on social media.

On a Global scale, social media networks have been useful in gathering information, sharing ideas, and reaching out to many others. social media has the content and context. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Social media has been a highly effective platform to relay information quickly on a nationwide scale and in worldwide crises. Nonetheless, social networking sites lure us and keep us addicted. Therefore, you need to ensure that you are making use of social media appropriately with more intention and purpose. This implies also learning how to take a break from social media.

Doom scrolling occurs when you find yourself aimlessly, mindlessly, and continuously scroll­ing through several social media sites. This happens for various reasons. As a start, you may be bored or you are not sure what exactly you want. Another reason may be that you feel the need to constantly find out or know everything that is happening in the world. This could be enter­tainment, news, sports and all including trending topics. This takes you to several sites and you pass a lot of time doing nothing but probably standing or sitting in the same position with your phone or computer.

Slaying the Dragon: 5 Quick Tips for keeping off social media

The following are recommended tips for keeping off your social media and phone habits:

(1) Put a rubber band on your phone, switch it off or put the phone across the room at night. Putting a rubber band on your phone or switching to flight mode helps you to be more mindful about social media. Putting the phone across the room or slightly further away from the bed for instance, allows you to concentrate on your sleep. This is because you are able to resist the urge to use it or scroll especially when you think over or remember something or imagine you don’t have sleep. These physical activities are important because though we want a break from the phone or computer, we still find it difficult to resist the urge to constantly check social media. Taking a break enables you to think more about your life, phone habits and social media. Now, you can be doing the same every time you want to purposely be away from your phone. The physical barrier or phone inactivity reminds you to be more intentional and organised about your phone use.

(2) Track your usage. You need to be conscious when you are online rather than do it unconsciously. This includes identifying the platforms that you make use of such as texting, emails (official and personal), chatting, videos and updates including reading newspapers, magazines and other relevant texts. This way, you can allocate time, content, context and purposes for your media and the Internet. If you can, you can download an app and alter your settings to alert you of how much time you spend on social media each day or in a week.

(3) Prioritize your health and family and include self-care. It is helpful to prioritize your life, including significant others such as your spouse, family and friends. This is part of self-care and socialization. In that case, you may need to replace your social media use with other mood-boosting activities such as connecting with nature. Take time to adore natural settings such as visiting a game park, watching the sun rise and set, and admiring flowers, trees, the moon and stars.

(4) Schedule specific times and timing for social media and other activities. This follows from (1) and (3) above. You should set aside time each day or week for various activities such as social media and essential activities such as reading the Bible or Qur’an, exercises, leisure and hobbies (including taking a walk, swimming, gardening, looking after a pet, and watching the news). Don’t forget your other activities of the day such as breakfast, lunch and dinner and taking a shower.

(5) Add more activities to your daily schedule so that your life does not necessarily revolve around the phone. Social media and the use of the mobile phone are extremely useful in our present life. However, you need to develop other activities so that your phone does not become your heartbeat. Important events in your life include sleep, eating (good diet and taking a lot of water), prayers, meditation and chatting with family members, relatives, friends and other acquaintances.

There are several important events in your life such as sleeping, eating, praying, meditation and chatting with family members, relatives, friends and other acquaintances.

Your social media activities must include health and wellness. It is true that even on social media, you are talking or chatting with family, friends, relatives and colleagues. Nonetheless, social media limits your capacity for face-to-face interactions. This in turn makes you spend less time out in the real World and more time on your phone or computer. Overall, you need to interact with people and the natural environment to enhance your mood and live an even more fulfilling life.

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