Is Social Media Affecting Your Mental Health?

 

There is no denying it social media has changed the face of parenting as we know it and can affect your mental health. On one hand, we now have a support network of like-minded parents and a wealth of knowledge an the tips of our fingers.

On the other hand we compare ourselves to others and constantly feel as though we not living up to the Instagram glitterati’s standards.

It can make us feel low and vulnerable we can easily feel as though we are under attack as alongside the rise of social media came the birth of the online troll.

Many of us choose to put ourselves and parenting abilities out there for all to see in the digital age of ‘sharenting’.

But, is social media affecting you?

Are you beginning to withdraw, spend hours scrolling through feeds and feeling overwhelming failure wash over you because you are not at that event or party, you don’t get #gifted and your still at home in your PJ’s counting down the hours to bedtime.

If you took a photo of a family day out where you are all smiling and looking as though you are having a great time you would normally upload this photo onto social media. That photo for all to see shows you on a family day out where you are all happy.

It doesn’t show the stress of getting everyone into the car, the tantrum of not being able to watch the I PAD or the argument you and your partner had over where to go for lunch. It doesn’t show the baby screaming for half an hour before they finally went to sleep, or running around trying to find a toilet because the toddler has had an accident.

It is important to take stock and step back at times to gain some perspective. If social media is beginning to affect your mental health and mood then you need to re-evaluate your time on there.

That photo on your feed making you feel like a bad parent? That’s a snapshot, it’s not the whole picture as it were and sometimes social media lies. The perfect wholesome parent or celebrity body that is being pushed down our throats isn’t healthy and unrealistic but something we see every day.

Social Media can empower you, connect you with others and educate and raise awareness of issues like never before, but it can also be damaging to your mental health as well.

Here are our top tips for keeping the balance of social media

  1. Take a break – we get in a habit of constantly checking Instagram or Facebook as soon as we wake up or before we to bed. We feel as though we are missing something, or perhaps if we are not ‘present’ on there we will be forgotten about. Take a break for a few days or even a week, it will still be there when you go back. If you cannot take a complete break, begin by reducing your time.
  2. If you are constantly comparing yourself to certain accounts and it is making you feel low, then unfollow them. Keep your feed full of positive accounts with those who are likeminded, who you enjoy talking to and who you enjoy seeing.
  3. Do you get annoyed with your partner always on there phone in the evenings? Are your children trying to get your attention but your busy scrolling? Put your phone down and be present. See what difference it is by being fully present watching a film, or playing in the park with the kids rather than only half concentrating and getting annoyed when your trying to do too much at once.
  4. Have a think about how much you truly want to share, what do you want out of it. Is it just a personal account for fun? Then keep that in mind, don’t get hung up on the number of likes. Likes/ comments are not a validation of you as a person or a parent. Just because you might not have 1000 likes per photo doesn’t mean your not as good as those who do. If you have social media for business and feel bogged down perhaps now is the time to outsource.
  5. Remember social media does not define you as a person or as a parent it has the ability to make you feel amazing or like you thought you have hit rock bottom. Make sure you don’t let it affect your mental health by following some of our tips.

When you’re feeling lonely and stuck in the house with a new baby or ill child, social media can be a lifeline it can connect you with others who can support you, provide you with tips or just provide some virtual support. It can be a savior by connecting you with other local parents, from social media they can turn into lifelong friends.

Be cautious and sparing with social media, don’t let it dictate your mood or day instead use it as an extension and remember whether you are an amazing parent with or without your Instagram account.

Vicki Cockerill

Freelance Writer and Social Media Outreach Specialist
More blogs can be read here.