Let’s play quick a game. Raise one hand. (Do it — if you dare.)
Put a finger down if your screen time has gone up in the past month.
Put a finger down if you have posted on social media sometime during the current coronavirus outbreak (could be a static post, Story or even an instant message).
Put a finger down if you have watched a TikTok video (or 100+) in the past month. (Maybe you have watched so many that you actually understand where I got my idea for this intro…)
Put a finger down if you have scrolled on social media in the past four hours.
Put a finger down if you have been wanting to do something specific while at home (i.e. read a book, exercise, watch a new movie or play a game) but have chosen to pick up your phone instead.
Out of fingers yet? Yeah, me too.
In a world that is entirely stuck in social isolation, how are we supposed to obey state stay-at-home orders, stay connected with friends, keep our mental health in check and still limit our social media use all at the same time?
Well, what if I told you that using social media mindfully while social distancing can actually help you accomplish all of these demands? Here’s how to be mindful in your social media use while social distancing.
1. Detox your social following.
(*Cough*) We’ll call it: “social media distancing.”
There are probably a lot of people that you are following on social media that you don’t have to be following, and I promise you, from first-hand experience, that hitting the unfollow button will feel like a burden is being lifted off your shoulders.
They say spring cleaning is a good annual habit anyway, right?
Here are the accounts you NEED to unfollow:
- Toxic ex-friends/partners.
- Anyone who triggers anxiety, depression or harmful memories.
- Anyone who is negative or, for lack of better words, mean to you.
- Anyone you compare yourself to physically, financially, emotionally, intellectually or academically.
Social media is breeding ground for comparison to begin with, and that is the last thing we need when we are forcibly isolated into our own self-deprecating thoughts day in and day out.
Now, here are some other accounts that you could unfollow:
- People you haven’t talked to in three years and will probably never talk to again.
- That random, “cool” kid you friended on Facebook in middle school even though you never actually met them in person. (Don’t be embarrassed… We all did it.)
- Private meme accounts. Get rid of those feed-flooding suckers. Your friends can’t see the (rarely) funny posts you share with them anyway.
Do yourself a favor and unfollow. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
2. Fill your feed with wholesome content.
Out with the old. In with the new.
Now that you’ve rid your social media of negativity, it is time to replace the white spaces with some positivity. While still keeping your following count minimal, follow a few accounts that aim to uplift and inspire their target audience.
I personally love following writers and content creators who are personable, genuine and down-to-earth. Hannah Rheaume from “The Sunny Side of Things” (@hannahrheaume), Sammi Robbins from Alive & Free Consulting (@sammirobbins_) and Dr. Nicole LePera (@the.holistic.psychologist) are a few of my current favorites.
3. Focus on creating social content rather than consuming it.
The news is saturated and scary. Limit how often you check the news, and limit your sources of news updates for the time being. If you are consuming news-related content on social media, always remember to fact check before you panic. Anyone can post anything on social media.
That being said, creating content applies to everyone, not just “content creators.” Instead of mindlessly scrolling through Instagram like you did less than four hours ago, try using your time to draft a post of your own.
- Change your Facebook profile picture and update friends with pleasant description of what you’ve been up to.
- Post a photo with some old friends, encouraging them and thanking them for their lifelong companionship.
- Journal out what life has been teaching you lately in your captions. How are you using social distancing to better yourself? How are you keeping yourself busy — and more importantly, how are you keeping your mind healthy? Is social distancing taking a toll on you? Sharing these details with transparency will seamlessly create a sense of authentic community online.
Isn’t that exactly what we are all craving during this time of social distancing? Authentic community? You see, healthy, real community is right at the edge of our fingertips if we use these fingertips to tap (literally) into mindful social media use.
Remember: you have control over your fingertips! Use them to plant positivity. Use them to cultivate social and virtual healthiness.