Using social media can feel like a tug-of-war between staying connected and staying emotionally healthy. Negative news and photos of people doing glamorous things might leave you feeling deflated. Not paying attention can be stressful, too. So, you go back to the screen.
Scrolling negative posts is so common that it has a name: “doomscrolling.” Doomscrolling has real effects on your health, triggering intense emotions that make it harder to focus on daily activities and stay positive.
How do you keep doomscrolling in check? Try these tips:
Every day, allot a specific amount of time to spend on social media apps, news outlets, or on your smartphone in general. When your time is up, put the device away. If you are an Apple user, you can track your time and set limits in your settings by turning on the “Screen Time” preferences. Android users can enable the Digital Wellbeing feature, found in the “Settings” menu.
Control your feed
If content on your feed makes you sad or anxious, change it up. Unfollow accounts that bring on negative emotions. Stay away from accounts or websites that give inaccurate or incomplete information. Instead, fill your feed with positivity and trusted sources of information about topics you want to keep up with.
Take a tech time-out during meals and at night
Put your device away during meals. This is important for you and serves as a model for youth. After dinner, shield your eyes from screens before you go to bed. Do not have phones and devices in the bedroom. Use a regular alarm clock instead of your smartphone. This eliminates the temptation to scroll before bed and when you wake up.
Get back to your offline life
At the start of the pandemic, social media was necessary to help stay connected. With many aspects of regular life returning, you can now see friends safely, visit a park, or take a class you enjoy — healthy activities that do not require a screen!
For more tips and to listen to podcasts about digital wellness, visit emersonhospital.org/digitalwellness.