Dear Jane, Dealing with Social Media Anxiety
I endlessly scroll through the feeds of my friends, family, strangers, and celebrities across Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter, in search of an escape from the monotony of my everyday life.
My eyes and thumbs are constantly glued to my phone because I don’t want to miss a post. But I find myself constantly comparing my body, my career, my relationship status, my finances, and my looks to those of others online.
It makes me feel like I’m falling behind and that everyone else is doing better than me. Comparing myself to the Instagram Models, and even people that I went to college and high school with, makes me feel like I should somehow be further along than I am, and that I’m ugly and fat.
Even though I feel anxious and a bit depressed due to my social media obsession, I still can’t seem to pull myself away from my screens. I’ve even started to get tension headaches from stress due to anxiety and staring at my phone and computer all day long.
Jane, how do I deal with my social media addiction and anxiety?
– Anxious and Addicted to Social Media
Social media shouldn’t be used as the barometer from which you measure your self-worth. It’s just an app, pixels on your phone.”
Dear Anxious and Addicted to Social Media,
Step away from your cell phone! I know, I know, it’s much easier said than done, but trust me, the quality of your mental health trumps missing out on any random memes. First, decide to take better care of yourself by starting your day with a Hello Mellow capsule to help soothe your nerves and calm your anxious mind. Then use them as directed and as needed throughout the day so you can get your chill back in-real-life.
I would then make the commitment to do a social media detox. I do this myself every few weeks where I deactivate my accounts and delete the apps from my phone so the temptation to constantly check my feeds isn’t there.
Regarding your tension headaches, massage the Pain, Pain, Go Away Cream into your temples when you start to feel any throbbing pain and set a time limit for yourself for how long you’re going to spend online so you don’t overindulge in swiping. Also, during your social media detox, try out the tips below.
I would start a gratitude journal. Write down all of the things, big and small, that you have to be grateful for in your life. This will help to shift your perspective from lack and anxiety to abundance and fulfillment. Once you realize how much good there already is in your life, it’ll be much easier to stop comparing yourself to others.
Make a Plan
With the help of a therapist, I would also take an honest look at your life and whatever areas that you’re truly not happy with and then make a plan on how you’re going to proactively start to change it. This could mean switching careers or simply asking for a promotion at your current job, eating healthier for a strong and healthy body rather than an unobtainable body created by plastic surgery and photoshop, or by starting to date again or rekindling the romance in your relationship.
Change Your Perspective
Remember, Instagram, Facebook, and social media isn’t real life. The content on these apps should be viewed through the lens of entertainment and as a way to create a community around positive and healthy goals and interests. Social media shouldn’t be used as the barometer from which you measure your self-worth. It’s just an app, pixels on your phone. Start cultivating social connections offline for a healthier outlook on life.
Cultivate a Healthy Feed
Unfollow, delete, and mute accounts that are triggering you. You have the ultimate control of what posts, content, videos, and images that you see on your social media feeds, so start to take back control and create a feed that inspires you rather than makes you feel bad about yourself.
After a few days or weeks and you’re ready to reactivate your social media accounts, don’t forget to turn off the notifications, that way you’re not constantly being alerted when someone posts or interacts with you online. This way you can be more mindful of when you choose to check your profiles.
You got this. Stay #blessed.
Jane is the fictional heroine of the Betoken lifestyle blog, Good For Jane. Think of Jane as your virtual BFF. She lives a healthy lifestyle, but not like, over the top. When it’s not a pandemic, she loves hanging out with her friends, dating, and exercising in public. Throughout the pandemic she has baked her fair share of sourdoughs, gotten more than her fair share of takeout to “support her local restaurants”, ordered wine online and taken plenty of CBD to keep the anxiety at bay.
Jane is also the editor of the Dear Jane column. If you have a question for Jane, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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