The end of the year is upon us, and inevitably, most of us will be thinking about things we’d like to change or give up for a better 2020. Things like eating healthier and exercising more will surely make the list for many, but there’s one habit that might be overlooked: how we use social media. It shouldn’t.
For a truly happier, healthier 2020, consider bidding a big farewell to four common social media habits that sabotage our well-being.
Letting Instagram keep you from repeating outfits
If scrolling through social media makes you feel self-conscious about repeating outfits, you’re not alone. After all, it’s not that common to see people with the biggest followings — namely, celebs and influencers — wearing the same thing twice on Instagram. But let’s face it: The pressure to refresh our wardrobes every time we want to post is exhausting, expensive, and just plain unnecessary. And appearing in the same outfit multiple times — online as well as in your office — is not a faux paux. As Thrive founder and CEO Arianna Huffington argues, “Instead of abandoning social media…we can harness its cultural power to reverse these norms. Instead of hiding repeats, let’s normalize them by celebrating them.” Need a little extra inspiration? Kate Middleton, Michelle Obama, and Kiera Knightley (who reportedly wore her wedding dress three times!) should do the trick.
Giving into the social media stress effect
Have you ever felt so sucked into social media that even as you realize it’s stressing you out, you just can’t pull yourself away? That’s common. Researchers from Lancaster University and Friedrich-Alexander University in Germany recently studied 444 Facebook users and discovered that instead of logging off when they felt their stress levels rise, they would just toggle between activities on the same site, including chatting to friends, scanning their news feeds, and posting updates. One way to break this tendency: Set clear intentions before you log into social media. Ask yourself: What is my purpose for logging on right now — is my goal to message a friend, post an update, or scroll through my feed for a distraction from anxiety or boredom? Simply knowing how you intend to use the platform may help you have better boundaries with technology. And if you do catch yourself feeling stressed out by something you see online, make the conscious choice to put your phone down, rather than relying on another feature of platform to take the stress away.
Following accounts that don’t bring you joy
It’s no secret that social media can play a huge role in the way we feel — and some accounts are a recipe for feeling bad about ourselves. The Microstep here is simple: Instead of getting off social media or adhering to the “follow nobody” rule, simply unfollow any accounts that don’t make you feel good. And before you hit the follow button on new accounts, take a pause and ask yourself: Will this enhance my life or delight me in some way? If the answer is no, take a pass on adding them — and choose to follow a cute dog account or an inspirational figure instead.
Checking your phone right before bed
It’s a message you’ve heard repeated countless times in the past decade: The blue light from our devices can disrupt our sleep cycles and have harmful consequences on our overall health and well-being. And even while we know this to be true, many of us (try to) drift into slumber having just responded to an email or checked Instagram. In the name of better sleep and healthier relationships with our devices, it’s about time we take those nightly social media binges out of our bedtime routines. We get more than enough of our daily dose of blue light during our waking hours — studies have shown that the average American spends more than 10 hours staring at a screen each day. Try setting an alarm 30 minutes before bed and use that time to unplug and unwind — device-free. What’s more, strive to kick off the new year with tech-free mornings as well.
If you have social media habits you plan to give up, we’d love to hear them — post your thoughts in the comments!
Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.