Written by: Midechelle Avril
When was the last you went twenty-four hours without scrolling through Instagram, retweeting a tweet on Twitter, or watching a Tik Tok? When was the last you totally unplugged from all types of social media?
During these unprecedented times of heightened racial and political tension and in the midst of a seemingly never-ending global pandemic, social media can be a great tool for informing yourself and connecting with estranged loved ones. These days, almost everyone is spending more time isolated and plugged into the digital world. However, users are discovering that being constantly on social media can be costly. While it is vital to be aware of what is happening around you, witnessing such tragic events can take a toll on your mental health. Videos of police brutality and reports of daily Covid-19 death rates can increase feelings of anxiety, depression, and grief.
Additionally, the usual negative effects of using social during less tragic and emotionally exhausting times still remain. When you are plugged into other people’s lives constantly, you become a spectator to their graduations, promotions, vacations, and relationships. Then, it is easy to start comparing yourself to them and your accomplishments to theirs. This can increase feelings of inadequacy, sadness, and self-deprecation. Along with this, the pressure to be productive is increased. You might begin to notice you are not accomplishing as many tasks as your peers, or you are not participating in as many activities. This can cause you to feel guilty and ashamed of yourself for not doing as much.
The news cycles portraying the horror and grief of these unprecedented times and the usual negative effects media combine to make social media a source of harm to our mental health.
So what should you do when social media becomes too much for you? Simply, unplug. Log-off from the sites or delete them from your devices. Sometimes it’s necessary to stop consuming information, voices, and the lives of others. It’s necessary to take a break from the digital world and simply focus on your everyday living. In order to cope with today’s world, unplugging from social media can be the biggest act of self-care.