Four social media boundary strategies I follow to preserve my mental health
Let me begin this article with a confession.
When I peruse my friends’ Instagram stories/Facebook feeds, I often wonder how they manage to be so happy? How do they tend to live a dream life that most of us wish to live?
No, I am not jealous. Just curious.
For example, I saw one of my friends careening with her husband all through the world like an explorer. Another friend was attending a mini-reunion. But, in contrast, I was sitting at home, thinking of my bills and struggling to hold my fort daily as a writer.
This is not just me.
Everyone in this world, I believe, is struggling to lead a perfect, flawless life that would instantly vie the attention of everyone they know and like.
Like Katie Brenner wishing for Demeter Farlowe’s life in Sophie Kinsella’s ‘My not so perfect life’, at a certain point, I sincerely wanted to live the lives of my friends who, according to their Instagram feeds, were living their lives merrily. But, later on, meeting them in person, I realized that all that glitters is not gold.
However, I also realized another thing: social media has a more significant impact on my mental health than I think, and I need to curb its vice-like grips from consuming me entirely.
Here are the things I followed to have a social media detox
1. Ask a question
When I decided to have a digital detox, I first asked myself a simple question: How much time am I spending on social media every day?
My answer varied from a few minutes to a few hours.
Social media swallowed my precious time, which I could have used to do other things that sought my attention.
So, I started reducing my time on Instagram and Facebook (those are the ones I use often). It was a small step but a significant one. Cutting down the time by a few minutes each day really helped me in the long run. For instance, if I used Instagram for 30 minutes on day 1, I used it for only 20 minutes on day 2. Slowly, I incorporated social media-free Sunday too, which I follow even now.
2. Don’t take your phone to bed
Yes, I religiously follow this nowadays.
Making your bedroom a blue-wave-free zone, an area where you can have some quality sleep can do wonders for your health. We all know how blue waves can affect our health, increase eye strain, and can reduce our sleep time. So, making your bedroom a strict ‘no mobile zone’ can have a great positive impact on our health and relationships.
If you’re doing this already, then great!! If not, try following this tactic and see the results for yourself.
3. Schedule your networking
I incorporated this strategy a few months back. Understanding the purpose of our social media accounts and drawing its boundaries would help us to redefine our digital relationships. Though I created an Instagram account purely for professional purposes, somewhere down the line, I forgot its purpose. So instead, I indulged in perusing my friends’ and relatives’ accounts. Hence, understanding your interest in having a social media account can help you streamline your networking and get the most out of it.
4. List out the people you follow and do a purge
This is something my friend asked me to do once I told her about my digital detox strategy. I diligently unfollowed accounts that didn’t serve any purpose to me. I also muted some accounts, which made me feel relieved instantly. Social media should be a place to have healthy communal relationships, not a place to make us feel inferior or inadequate physically, financially, or psychologically.
There you have it!!
These are some of the social media boundaries I have set for myself to live a healthy life. If you have any more ideas, please pass them on here so that we can lead the healthy, happy life we deserve to live.