Be Kind To Your Mind | Your Online Activity & Mental Health
To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Month, Vancula Agency decided to focus on online user activity and ways to combat the effects it may have on mental health.
As the pandemic has been unfolding, so has the impact of social distancing on individual’s jobs and livelihoods adversely affected the mental well being of the majority of mankind. The sudden change (or rather halt) in our schedules and daily lives, has surmounted to copious amounts of “free time” which evidently caused an abrupt surge in online activity.
The internet can be an appreciable platform to share news, post pictures, stay in touch with friends and to find excellent cat videos. The Internet, however, may at many a time be an overwhelming and pressurizing place too. It is therefore important to take caution of your mental health when online, and to know what to do if you’re struggling. Here are Vancula’s top tips:
Know your limits: Know what to avoid and be firm with yourself. If you know that certain content is going to trigger difficult emotions, avoid accounts where one might come across such content.
Know your settings: Look at the settings on the social media platforms you’re using and make sure you know how to change your privacy settings, or block and report people if need be.
Don’t compare yourself to others: Social Media posts are selected highlights of someone’s life – they don’t necessarily show the reality of what they might be facing. Think about the friends you follow on social media that you know offline too, chances are you know that the pictures they post are only a glimpse of their lives.
Turn off notifications from time to time: Should you feel overwhelmed and are unable to resist spending a large portion of your time online, turning off your go-to platform’s notifications for a while is a commendable way to combat not only the urge to be online, but the overwhelming feeling that sometimes may result from being online too.
Do an activity – and don’t post about it: We often find that when we do something and post about it on social media, the quality of what we have done is measured by how many likes we have received. The way we remember or enjoy an activity is often determined by what others have said. Sometimes choosing to be present in a moment, rather than seeking validation online, is far more fulfilling. (Plus, this will give you something to tell your friends about that they haven’t already seen on your social profiles!)
Find a positive space: There are in fact some genuinely wholesome activities and content happening on the internet daily. Find accounts that relate to subjects you are most passionate about or that focus on content that your well-being and mental health will thank you for.
Have some screen-free time: Not only will less screen-time award your eyes with well-needed rest, but you will allow your body to release vital endorphins that may adversely be affected by your screen time. By focusing on tangible realities and interpersonal relationships, one is sure to account for more authentic and fulfilling life experiences.
Leave on a good note: Should you observe something on social media that brings about a negative emotion, try to combat this by doing the opposite of the emotion you’re experiencing: look at content that elevates your mood.
Think about what you say: Be mindful of what you do and say online, for you are still accountable for this in the ‘real world’. Should you not be able to address a person face-to-face regarding a matter, refrain from doing so online rather.
Change your online routine from time-to-time: see the list of online interactive games in support of mental health Vancula Agency has found here.
Talk to someone: If find yourself struggling with social media, talk to someone about it. It could be a friend, family member, teacher or helpline – but remember you aren’t alone, a listening ear is often the best manner in which one can elevate a heavy-laden mind. South Africa also provides us with free mental health resources we may get into contact with 24/7.