The Social Media Increase! Has Your Phone Been Making the Pandemic Worse?

Five suggestions to break the negative social media cycle, reconnect with yourself and feel less stressed!



Depending on where you are in the world right now and when you’re reading this will strongly affect whether you are in lockdown or free as a bird. We know how quickly things change these days! The one thing we all have in common is that we have experienced some of the strangest years of our lives, and we have all most likely spent a great deal of time scrolling through the news and social media, hungry for content that interests us, informs us and makes us feel more connected.


Social media use has gone up by 61% since the beginning of the pandemic, but is the content we are reading good for us? How can we tell? And how do we ensure our usage stays on the side of informing and not having a negative impact?


With everyone being in different stages of Covid precautions and ‘normality’, a lot of you might be experiencing anxiety, stress and even FOMO when you scroll through your social media. Some of the world is covid free and partying, some is in a weird in-between and the others are facing strict restrictions due to the pandemic. Any of these situations could be anxiety inducing.

Sometimes when the whole world is in the ‘same boat’ it can feel quite comforting, at least we’re all in it together! In contrast, when our normal lives resume it can weirdly start to feel a bit more isolating. Social media has highlighted the differences between us, which in itself can be frustrating. Not to mention the misinformation being spread about the pandemic which in turn can cause a lot more anxiety.


What can we believe to be true and what will make us feel less blue? Although social media also does a lot of good, for example bringing us our daily dose of social connection so we feel less isolated, when we scroll down our feed, rather than focusing on the things we have achieved, social media can encourage us to focus on the things that we lack in our lives. This certainly won’t be helping our pandemic blues!


We know that social media can sometimes be a problem, so we have thought up five ways we can stop it from taking hold of our mental well being!



See if you can arrange to have a chat with someone you care about, whether through FaceTime or in person. Making connections in real life can be very beneficial to your mental well being, because it will help you get the social connection you are craving and make you feel more positive about yourself. If you can’t meet a friend why not join a local social group, whether that is a dog walking group, or online yoga or art class.


People who communicate more tend to report higher levels of life satisfaction, hope and even report lower levels of stress. But, don’t take our word for it, try it yourself! If restrictions don’t permit you to chat face to face, why not log onto TalkLife today and strike up a conversation. There are plenty of people who will be there to support you and talking could make everything seem a little better.



The stress and anxiety of social media can’t catch hold of us with such a firm grip if we switch up our thought process and instead of focusing on the things we are lacking, focus on the things we are grateful for. The grass is not always greener on the other side and listing five things you are grateful for every day can set you on the path to better self esteem, more confidence and a greater sense of happiness. At the same time make sure you validate all the feelings you have. Sit with yourself and look at your thoughts. Acknowledge them and have a conversation with them. It is ok that they are there.



Lockdown can be lonely and so can normality. Learning to love yourself is an ongoing process, but one that could reward you greatly in the long run. If you gradually practice seeking out some more solo activities and spending some more time in your own company a lot of situations may become easier to handle.


Ways to connect with yourself might include: going on restaurant dates with yourself, writing down your dreams, paying attention to your triggers, focusing on your breath, grounding yourself, creating a morning ritual and being more actively aware of your thoughts. These are all things that take time, but creating the habit early on will help you in the long run if restrictions continue.



Don’t fall into the trap of looking for disaster news! Bad things have, are and will continue to happen in the world every single day. If it’s getting you down or if you are feeling frustrated, recognise that and say no. Stop looking at it, stop engaging with it and give yourself a break. Always try to prioritise your own mental wellbeing! Creating boundaries helps with this.


Here are some tips to do that. Firstly, knowing yourself, and where you stand is an important first step. Start your boundaries small and always be consistent. State your feelings and always prioritise yourself. Finally practise and fine tune, you might not get it right straight away, that's ok, just listen to yourself. You’ve got this!



When everything gets too much, take a break. Put your phone down and appreciate what you are doing in the moment rather than focusing on what other people are doing in that moment or what sad news there is. Reducing screen time each day can significantly help reduce fear and anxiety. You will not only see a reduction in those things, but you may also gain an increase in productivity, greater self awareness and a decrease in your day to day stress levels.


TalkLife has a great ‘Take a break’ feature which allows you to take care of yourself and have some time away from the app when you need it. There are also some other great apps that can help reduce your screen time (ironically you can use an app to get off your phone). Both Moment and ZenScreen can help to kick you off your phone by coaching you in mindfulness and showing you how much screen time you are spending on various apps! Perhaps try it everyday for a week and see how it makes you feel.


 

Surviving and coming out of a pandemic is not something anyone thought they would have to do three years ago. Stress and the endless social media cycle can be a hard thing to break out of at the best of times, but during this global epidemic it is doubly difficult. Why not try to implement a couple of these tips per day for one week and see how you feel. If you find it helpful you could expand to a month! Check in with yourself frequently, are you feeling anymore relaxed, less stressed and more groovy? We hope so! And if not, don’t lose hope. These things take time and a bit of practice to see what works best for you. Life is full of ups and downs and some days you will find yourself finding life a little harder. If that’s you today, you’re not alone and we’re here if you need us.