This week is Mental Health Awareness Week here in New Zealand. As an agency that has a fair bit to do with social media, we are constantly thinking about the impact that the content we create and deliver will have on those that see it.
As we all know, social media can be an amazing way to connect with others and share bits of our lives – but, if used irresponsibly, it can also be very dangerous (especially in a mental health context).
We’re committed to making a positive impact in a social media context. For that reason, we thought now was a great time to share some tips for developing positive social media habits
1. Use social media mindfully
We all know the phrase ‘mindless eating’… You know, when there’s a packet of biscuits open next to you on the couch and, next minute, you’ve scoffed the lot without even realising what you were doing!
When it comes to social media usage, the same principle can apply. Having all of the apps literally at your fingertips makes it incredibly easy to tap and scroll without really realising what you’re doing.
Ask yourself: Do you know how often you’re actually checking your social media profiles each day?
If you’re concerned that you’re falling into a mindless tap and scroll habit, it may be time to uninstall the social apps on your phone. You’ll still be able to access your social profiles, but you will have to access them via your browser each time – an extra step to discourage you from accessing your socials on autopilot
2. Take a social ‘mini break’ every day
Designate an hour (or, even better, two!) during your day where you commit to staying off social media.
A great way to stick to your resolution is to set an alarm to remind you it’s time to take that break.
We’re also big believers in leaving your phone (and iPad!) out of the bedroom at night. While you might enjoy a final scroll through your socials before your head hits the below, it is widely proven that doing so will prevent you from getting a quality night’s sleep
3. Take every post with a grain of salt!
Don’t believe everything you see on social media!
That friend on Insta with the always glowing skin? Maybe she’s actually just a master at applying a great filter…
Or the mum who is always posting about the amazing craft activities she does with her pre-schoolers? There are probably also days where she cries into her flat white while her little ones binge on Peppa Pig.
Be aware that most of us put a LOT of thought into what we post – and what goes out is almost always an unrealistic representation of reality. Do not set unrealistic expectations for yourself based on what you see on social media!
If you’re looking for some great accounts to follow, which promote a realistic body image and explore the difference between ‘Insta-life’ and real-life, check out @danaemercer and @rianne.meije
4. Be a good example
We all have a part to play when it comes to the impact social media has on people’s lives.
While it goes without saying that your posts should be responsible and respectful, we also think anyone with a social media account has an obligation to help eliminate harmful content.
The best way to do this is by reporting any inappropriate content to the social media site’s moderators – it only takes a minute (or less!) and it may make all the difference to another user’s experience
5. Get rid of ‘notifications’
Find it hard to leave your social media alone? If your phone is constantly pinging with post notifications, that makes it even harder!
Luckily, it’s really easy to remove this temptation – simply got to Settings on your phone, then into ‘Notifications’ and set your socials to ‘off’.