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December 10, 2018

Six rules for establishing healthy social media habits

Wellness Mental Health

Content sponsored by IBC - Native (195x33)

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While some social platforms seem to come and go in the blink of an eye, certain ones, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, have proven to possess real staying power. As these social networking tools become more and more ingrained in our culture, it can be difficult to develop clear boundaries when it comes to daily screen time. Although these various accounts help many people stay connected with friends and loved ones around the world, these ubiquitous social networks can become problematic if unhealthy habits are left unchecked.

To keep unhealthy habits from turning into real problems, consider following these six rules when it comes to your own social media use:

1. Set limits

If you find yourself scrolling through your feeds before you go to sleep or first thing when you wake up, you’re not alone — according to a recent study, nearly half of Americans admit to checking their smartphone before getting out of bed in the morning. Whether you prefer to get your daily dose of social media with your morning coffee or as you wait for your train home from work, pick a time of day and stick with it. That may mean turning off notifications that can distract you during the day or moving your phone from the nightstand table to another room at night.

2. Keep things in perspective

With tools like filters, emojis, and animated GIFs, life tends to look a lot rosier through the lens of social media. It can be hard not to feel jealous when perusing photos of your friend’s vacation, but try to remember to keep things in perspective. Most social media users only showcase their proudest moments and leave the mundane ones undocumented, so there’s no need to compare your life to someone else’s highlight reel.

3. Don’t use social media while out with friends

Snapping a group selfie while you’re out on the town is a fun way to document your good times, but it's important to limit your phone use while you're out with friends. But things take a turn when you start abandoning the conversation in favor of checking your social feeds. To avoid this, keep your phone out of sight when enjoying the company of loved ones to ensure they get the attention they deserve.

4. Pause before you post

Given the instantaneous nature of social media, it can be tempting to tweet or share whatever comes to your mind. But before hitting “post,” take a moment — ideally, several — to reflect on what you’re really trying to get across. If your proposed post could be viewed as controversial or offensive, it might be a good idea to rephrase or refrain from sharing altogether.

5. Use good judgement when using social media at work

Many employees use the internet in some capacity to do their jobs. Though it may seem innocent enough to keep a Facebook tab open or to stay logged into Twitter as you tackle your daily duties, using social media during the workday has been shown to negatively impact productivity. When a deadline is looming, resist the urge to check your social feeds and you’ll likely feel more focused and prepared for the task at hand.

6. Keep apps at bay

Eliminate the temptation to download every social app under the sun. Most social platforms are accessible via web browser, so there’s really no need to overload your phone with each and every social account you maintain. This practice will also help you reduce overall screen time, allowing you to make room in your life for more creative pursuits.

Whatever your method for handling the daily deluge of social content is, there are ways to ensure your relationship with social media is a healthy one.

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