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Balancing Act: How to Manage Social Media Without Compromising Your Mental Health

Social media has become an integral part of our lives, shaping the way we connect, share information, and perceive ourselves and others. While social media offers numerous benefits, such as fostering connections and providing a platform for self-expression, it can also have a significant impact on our mental health. Building resilience in the face of these challenges is crucial to maintaining a healthy relationship with social media.

blue toned photo of an Asiam woman with long black hair. She is seen in profile, looking at her phone, and all around her are reflected, diffuse images of social media screens.

Here are some tips you can use to ensure you're taking care of your mental health as it relates to social media use.

1. Recognize the Impact of Social Media on Mental Health: Research has increasingly shown that excessive use of social media can contribute to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. It's essential to acknowledge that the curated nature of social media platforms can create unrealistic standards and foster social comparison, leading to feelings of inadequacy. Understanding these potential pitfalls is the first step toward building resilience.

2. Set Boundaries and Practice Digital Breaks: Establishing healthy boundaries around social media usage is crucial for maintaining mental well-being. Consider implementing the following practices:

  • Limit screen time: Set specific time limits for social media usage and avoid mindlessly scrolling through feeds. Numerous apps and built-in features can help you track and restrict your screen time.

  • Designate tech-free zones: Create tech-free spaces in your home or workspace, such as the bedroom or dining area, to promote healthier offline habits and foster genuine connections with others. Take regular breaks: Plan regular "digital detox" periods where you disconnect from social media altogether. Use this time for activities that promote relaxation, such as reading, engaging in hobbies, or spending time in nature.

3. Curate Your Online Experience: Crafting a positive and supportive online environment can significantly impact your mental health. Consider the following strategies:

  • Selectively follow and engage: Choose to follow accounts that promote positivity, inspiration, and educational content. Unfollow or mute accounts that trigger negative emotions or comparisons.

  • Diversify your feed: Seek out diverse perspectives and interests to broaden your horizons and challenge the echo chamber effect. Following accounts that focus on mental health and well-being can also provide valuable insights and support.

  • Practice mindful scrolling: Be aware of how you feel while consuming social media content. If you notice negative emotions or an increased sense of dissatisfaction, take a step back and reassess your engagement.

4. Cultivate Offline Connections: While social media can enhance our connections, nurturing offline relationships is equally important for our well-being. Allocate time and energy to fostering meaningful connections in the real world:

  • Prioritize face-to-face interactions: Schedule regular meetups with friends, engage in group activities, or join local communities of interest. Building strong offline connections helps counteract the potential isolation and loneliness that excessive social media use may foster.

  • Practice active listening: When engaging with others offline, practice active listening, empathy, and genuine curiosity. This strengthens interpersonal relationships and promotes a sense of belonging and support.

  • Seek professional help if needed: If social media usage or online interactions are significantly impacting your mental health, consider reaching out to a mental health professional for guidance and support.


  • Twenge, J. M., Joiner, T. E., Rogers, M. L., & Martin, G. N. (2018). Increases in depressive symptoms, suicide-related outcomes, and suicide rates among U.S. adolescents after 2010 and links to increased new media screen time. Clinical Psychological Science, 6(1), 3-17.

  • Kross, E., Verduyn, P., Demiralp, E., Park, J., Lee, D. S., Lin, N., ... & Ybarra, O. (2013). Facebook use predicts declines in subjective well-being in young adults. PLoS One, 8(8), e69841.

  • Toma, C. L., & Hancock, J. T. (2013). Self-affirmation underlies Facebook use. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39(3), 321-331.

  • Vorderer, P., Klimmt, C., & Ritterfeld, U. (2004). Enjoyment: At the heart of media entertainment. Communication Theory, 14(4), 388-408.

  • Burke, M., & Kraut, R. E. (2016). The relationship between Facebook use and well-being depends on communication type and tie strength. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 21(4), 265-281.

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