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Digitally Staying in Touch Whilst Reducing Social Media Use During Covid-19

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With the UK in lockdown due to COVID-19, the amount of information we are consuming is increasing. Add some further time onto that with the accessibility of social media and it’s no wonder many of us have been feeling overwhelming.

Although social media is a great asset for staying in touch with those around you, it can turn what was a 5-minute scroll to an hour wasted scrolling through opinions, stories, and images. And more often than not, we come away feeling a lot worse.

I’ve certainly noticed my intake of social media has increased over the last two weeks. But, I’ve also noticed my moods have been lower despite doing everything to keep busy and active.

The correlation could be coincidental but research has previously shown that a high intake of social media can be detrimental to mental health. A study by the Royal Society of Public Health on Social Media #StatusofMind termed social media as being more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol.

But, how do you stay digitally in touch whilst reducing social media intake?

  1. Filter your accounts

If you’re struggling to resist the urge to check social media from the minute you wake up (I am guilty of this), it might be worth filtering your social media or spending time away from accounts where you are most likely to feel overwhelmed. This is often Twitter for me, as a lot of misleading information tends to circle around during times like these.

2. Make it harder to access

Deleting social media apps off of an easy-to-hand device such as your phone or tablet can be beneficial. You can monitor your social media time through only being able to access it through a laptop or computer. Or, if you simply want the apps gone for a while, delete them!

3. Set yourself screen time goals

This may sound a little sad but through limiting the amount of time you can spend on an app you will immediately cut down on social media use. OR, for anybody looking to set themselves a challenge, this could be an aim for you to attain i.e. a limit of one hour per day on social media for a week, or a social media free day once a week.

4. Where possible use messaging apps to contact friends and family

It’s a confusing time to be in and it’s even more confusing to know how to keep ourselves mentally safe. If you find social media can be a trigger of anxiety or it’s simply overwhelming, tackling the matter might be a good place to start.

Where possible, encourage friends and family to contact you through use of messaging apps such as messenger, snapchat, skype, facetime, or a good old-fashioned phone call.

5. Take pen to paper (ditch the iPhone notes…)

I am a huge fan of writing in a notebook, I can’t lie, BUT when I’m out and about I am also a fan of the iPhone notes for documenting or jotting down. I find my preference lies in the pen to paper style over fingers to touch screen style.

When using a notepad to jot thoughts, lists, or journaling, I feel as though my brain is able to process these things. Writing things down has shown to be beneficial in many ways such as clearing your mind, staying motivated, and encouraging daily progress.

I’ll be the first to admit my go-to punchbag in times of frustration, joy, or sadness can often be Twitter. More often than not, I delete the tweet within minutes and come away feeling a lot worse.

6. Consume your news elsewhere

It’s impossible to escape the news and in some respects that’s a good thing. Keeping up to date with the news is somewhat of a necessity for society. However, where you access that news from can make a difference. As a Journalism student my Twitter feed is full of Journalists and various news outlets, as you can imagine this means a SURGE of information during global panics.

Try out a news app where you can select a trusted news source to notify you or simply watch the lunchtime or evening news on the television. Remember that Twitter and Facebook aren’t your only sources for news-related information.

7. Clock out from the madness

If you’re missing the physicality of going into work at a said time and leaving at a said time, why not make your own “social media hours”? Choose certain times of the day where you allow yourself some social media time. Avoid times before bed if possible.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any feedback or queries.

Stay safe and take care. Ciao for now x

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