By Francheska Pacheco, Press & Written Media Team
Let’s be honest: Using social media as our main way to socialize can be really stressful. With many of us attending school remotely, we aren’t left with many options for finding friends! Often, we resort to meeting others through Zoom classes (where many are on mute) or peeking at Instagram profiles, trying to make a good impression by presenting a somewhat accurate version of ourselves online. After all, our comments and profiles are usually all that others can see right now, and that pressure can feel overwhelming.
Don’t stress, though. Here are some tips I have personally found useful for dealing with social media anxiety and relieving my mental health!
Stick to 1–2 social media platforms
Whether you’re an avid user of social media or someone feeling less comfortable using these platforms, trying to project who you are on Instagram is time-consuming. As a result, managing your online presence can become more of a chore than a way to meet new, exciting people.
It’s an even greater pressure to manage several social media accounts at once. Instead, try focusing on one or two platforms (Whatsapp and Instagram, for example) and build a presence there so that you have a better handle on your personal accounts. Stick to what you’re comfortable with; it’s less overwhelming and way easier to respond to all of your notifications!
Limit your scrolling time
Yes, you’ve heard it before, but it actually works. By reserving a specific time of the day for an app or limiting your usage throughout the day, you’ll feel less anxiety and pressure when you control your interactions. Rather than spending hours passively scrolling through our feeds and liking posts (where anxiety can unconsciously accumulate), it can be relieving to regulate your usage. Setting an app timer on your phone can assist with this too!
Express yourself and reach out!
While trying to convey who you are in texts and bios may be more frustrating at times, it’s still socializing. So have fun with it! Don’t feel discouraged by the idea of impressions; when you are patient and take time to put yourself out there, more people will learn about (and like) who you are.
Just post what you like and text how you text, and eventually, you’ll be more comfortable in the virtual world.
Take a break
Occasionally when I feel too anxious on WeChat (a social media app in China), I disable my “Moments,” or feed, for a while until I’m ready to interact again. And when I turn it off, the noise following me stops, too.
Taking a break is THE most important tip of all — consider it a golden rule! Sometimes on social media, we spend so much effort engaging with comments, texting in group chats and editing our bios to deliver the perfect message that encapsulates our personality. But eventually, keeping up with all your notifications on all your platforms can be yet another headache after attending Zoom university and staring at the screen all day.
Remember to take the time to recover with stimulative hobbies outside the screen so that you have enough energy to dive back in. It could be biking, painting, cooking and so on — when you have more balanced hobbies, it’s easier to handle your anxieties. While socializing online is important, value your mental health, too.
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