Are You Harming Your Health With This Daily Activity?
Written by: Kat Gal
How did you find this article?
Chances are, it was posted on Facebook or another place on social media.
Social media can be a great resource to find information and inspiration and is an easy way to connect with friends, family, colleagues and people who you don’t even know.
BUT – social media has become a nationwide habit that has developed into a detrimental, even damaging one.
If the first thing you do in the morning is scroll through your newsfeed and then post pictures of your lunch, workout selfies and even your meditation routine throughout the day on Instagram and think in hashtags, you are not alone.
According to the journal of Preventative Medicine, on average, young adults (19 – 32) spend over an hour a day on social media. They check their accounts at least 30 times a day. This is likely a conservative estimate, but the numbers and time spent on the internet are on the rise.
Even if you are running an online business or social media is somehow a part of your job, it can still be damaging to your health.
Spending an overwhelming amount of time on social media and online in general is linked to a variety of conditions, including some serious consequences to your health.
Your online life and social media habit could be linked to:
- Sleep disturbances
- Increased levels of anxiety
- Obsessive behavior, such as ‘obsessive checking’
- Disconnect from friends, family and offline living
- Low self-esteem
You do not need to completely remove yourself from social media, as it can bring you information, inspiration and even social support, but you should be increasingly aware of your time spent online.
If you feel that you are spending too much time online, becoming (or already are) addicted to social media and have been noticing some of the symptoms above, it is important to start breaking that cycle TODAY.
Here are 4 proven tips to break the cycle of your social media addiction:
1. Remove Yourself From The Source
This is possibly the most obvious way to deal with the issue – separate yourself from the source. Shutdown your computer. Move your phone and your tablet out of reach. This is especially important at bedtime. Shut down all technology at least an hour before going to bed. Charge your phone and tablet outside of your bedroom, as far from it as possible. This way you will not be tempted to check notifications, watch a cute video last minute or open Facebook first thing in the morning.
It is not just the notifications, either – the blue light on your screen can actually interfere with your natural sleep cycle, so it is best to just shut everything off. Use a regular old alarm if you need one.
2. Read Before Bed
The childhood days when your mommy read you bedtime stories are long gone, but bedtime rituals – such as reading – are beneficial for adults too.
Dimming the lights and snuggling up with a good book can help you to fall asleep faster, whereas scrolling through social media will more likely keep you awake. Reading can reduce your stress levels, keep your brain sharp and get your imagination going.
Reading online articles is great, but make sure to pick up a real book or a newspaper regularly too, as this will help lessen your exposure to electronic screens, especially during the late hours.
3. Try Something Creative
Are you using social media to distract yourself? Is it becoming your new hobby? Try something different instead of posting Pinterest pictures or Facebook stalking. Research has shown that 81% of people feel happier after crafty projects, such as knitting.
Arts, crafts and creative activities can help you cope with anxiety, reduce stress, boost your memory, create more joys and may even reduce chronic pain. Try knitting, crocheting, drawing, coloring, or anything else crafty that may capture your interest.
4. Do A Digital Detox
This may be a scary idea when accidently leaving your phone at home can cause you stress, but still, consider a digital detox. You can start out slow by just going a few hours without any electronics a day. Even such a short time can help your sleep, posture and happiness levels.
When you are ready, take an entire day or an entire weekend off and if you are brave enough, go for a whole week or two. You can do a partial detox as well: if you need social media and technology for your job, don’t use it once you get home, or alternatively, pick one or two platforms to stay away from for a while.
If you are doing a longer digital detox – a weekend or week – it is best to combine it with a get-away, a camping trip, nature walks, or a meditation retreat. You will discover joyful things, such as being with friends real-time, exercising, cooking, meditating, journaling, reading and more that you can do instead of hanging out on social media.
How does social media affect your life? Have you ever done a digital detox? If you have any questions, comments, or tips related to social media, please share them in the comments below, we would love to hear from you!
Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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