7 ways to have a healthier relationship with social media

Bend Health
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What part does social media play in your life? Does it help you to feel connected to an array of people and communities?

Maybe it inspires you, or is it a place where you can creatively express yourself? Or does it serve as a distraction? Or lead you to compare yourself to everyone else’s highlight reel? Or, if you’re like us, it can be a mix of these things.

That’s what can make the relationship with social media so confusing — it can be detrimental and it can also be beneficial; it can make us feel lonely, and it can make us feel less alone. That’s why we are here to offer a judgment-free look at how you can take a step back to better understand and improve the part that social media plays in your day-to-day life.

Social media is addicting by design.

It’s easy to get sucked in by a feed full of #cuteanimalvideos, LOL-inducing memes, and beautifully curated vacation photos. Features like endless scrolling and addicting algorithms are designed to keep us coming back for more. So it’s no wonder that many of us turn to our feed when we’re having a stressful day.

The internet can introduce us to many things that we would have never experienced otherwise, but it can also divide our attention and distract us from enjoying IRL moments and connections.

Teenagers looking at a phone in school

Finding your healthy social media balance.

We’re certainly not here to shame tech usage, but instead, we’re all about finding solutions and realistic boundaries that can help you to have a healthier relationship with your devices and feeds. Here are our top tips:

  1. Mindfully define your relationship with tech. It’s important to first take a step back and ask yourself what role you want social media to play in your life. What does a healthy relationship look like to you? How do you feel after spending time online? What changes would feel good for you? It can help to take some time to journal about your experience to gain clarity and insights into any changes you’re hoping to make.

  2. Spring clean your feed. Just like you’d clean clutter from your physical space, take some time to tidy up your digital space. You can go through your feed and ask yourself what is bringing you joy, inspiring you, or helping you to feel more connected. And what content or accounts are bringing up unhelpful thoughts or feelings? Take some time to prune out what is no longer serving you by unfollowing, muting, or blocking.

  3. Notice and reframe unhelpful thoughts. Begin to notice that voice inside your head as you scroll. Is it saying unhelpful things like, “I’ll never look like that” or “My vacations will never be that cool.” This is a completely natural reaction, especially when we’re flooded with unrealistic standards of beauty, but it doesn’t make these thoughts any less painful. When you spot an unhelpful thought, try to flip it into a more positive one. Instead of thinking, “I could never pull off that outfit,” try something like, “My body is healthy and strong, and I really like my sense of style.” It may feel forced at first, but simply noticing and negating negative self-talk is a powerful way to help you feel your best.

  4. Report and block ALL trolls. Remember to use the reporting and blocking features on all social platforms when needed. By doing so, you not only protect yourself but also help others.

  5. Schedule tech breaks. Is there a dedicated chunk of time each day or week that you can unplug for a few hours? Maybe it’s taking Friday night as a “Tech Shabbat” so that you can hang out with friends, or maybe it’s Sunday morning so you can take a nature walk. Take some time to notice how you all feel afterward and celebrate tapping into a little mindfulness!

  6. Prioritize hobbies or activities. When was the last time that you did something that you really enjoyed? Consider taking a class, getting creative with an art project, or joining a local volunteer group to give back and build connections within your community.

  7. Talk to someone you trust. So many of us have complicated relationships with social media. Chances are if you are struggling with it, there is someone around you who has gone through something similar. Reach out to someone you trust to share your experience or talk to a mental health professional for support.

The next time you feel yourself mindlessly scrolling, take a moment to try one of these tips and see if it helps you to feel more presented and connected to your day. And remember that Bend is always here to help if you want to talk to someone about your relationship to social media and technology.

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