Looking after your mental health online is crucial. Although there are so many positives when it comes to the internet, it can also come with downsides. You don’t have to be a famous influencer for social media to impact your life or mental health in a negative way. So, you might wonder, why is looking after your mental health online so important, and how do you do it?
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Why It Matters?
Research shows that, in some people, excessive use of the internet can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, and dependency or reliance. In the case of social media, you might encounter issues such as comparing yourself to others, whether that means celebrities or friends and family, pressure to share, online conflict, and real-life consequences that exist both on and off screen. Some people find themselves turning to social media for approval from others or struggle with oversharing and regretting it later. It’s also worth noting that using electronics before bed can impact your sleep, and since sleep is vital for both mental and physical well-being, this can be a big deal.
How To Look After Your Mental Health Online
Here are some tips to use to look after your mental health online so that you can receive the advantages of the internet without facing potential adverse impacts to your well-being:
Set boundaries with yourself.
When it comes to internet usage and managing your mental health, setting boundaries with yourself can help. This might mean deciding what you are going to share online and what you won’t, or it might mean setting boundaries about when you use the internet. For example, you may decide to set your phone down three hours before bed and use other activities, like art or meditation, to unwind.
Think before you post.
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Most of us know that standard advice concerning internet usage says not to post anything that could haunt you later when it comes to your career and other serious pursuits. However, it’s easy for that knowledge to get lost in the moment. Sometimes, since it’s so easy to click “send” or make a post, you might also find yourself sharing things that you wouldn’t actually want to reveal to people in your life if you were face-to-face with them. If you find yourself experiencing regret, or if you feel like you’re posting things for the wrong reason, whatever that means to you, it might be helpful to check in with yourself and think about what you want to share from here on out and what you don’t.
Cultivate your “following” list.
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Who are you following, and how do they impact your mental health? If you find yourself comparing yourself to others, or if there is an account that repeatedly hurts your feelings or makes you angry, it might be time to either block or mute them. If it’s a friend or family member, on most platforms, using the mute button will be your best option. They won’t know that you’ve muted their account, and their feelings won’t be hurt, but you won’t have to see what they share anymore when you’re scrolling. This action is not selfish or weak and is instead a strong way to support your mental well-being. Knowing what’s healthy for you is a strength. What you take in throughout the day, online or otherwise, has a cumulative effect when it comes to how you feel, so this is vital.
Whether you’re struggling with concerns related to internet usage, interpersonal relationships, a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety, life stressors, or something else that’s on your mind, a therapist or counselor can help. If you’re looking for a therapist or counselor to see, there are a variety of routes you can take. You can ask your doctor for a referral, contact your insurance provider to see what they cover, utilize an employee assistance program, use on-campus services at your university, search the web, or use a website like Mind Diagnostics to help you find a provider in your area. All that you have to do is type in your zip code, and you’ll see a range of providers in your area with different qualities and specialties. While they aren’t a diagnostic tool and cannot replace a diagnosis from a professional, you can also find a number of free tests on the website: https://www.mind-diagnostics.org/video_game_addiction-test. Regardless of how you find a provider, you deserve to get the help that you need, so don’t hesitate to reach out and get started.