3 Min Read

How To Deal With Social Media Overload

Jaclyn Lopez Witmer, Psy.D.

Most of us turn to social media platforms to decompress, take our minds off the present moment, and focus on something different. Unfortunately, checking notifications, mindlessly scrolling through Reddit, and reading every headline can take a toll on our mental health.

The constant availability of information on social networks might seem like a positive force. However, in recent years, the social media landscape has bombarded us with more information than social media users can handle. Between a never-ending stream of news stories, status updates, and marketing efforts, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed by social media overload.

Whether you’re coping with social media addiction, stuck in a comparison trap, or constantly feeling anxious, here’s how to take control of your feeds and prioritize your mental health.

Social media overload

Take a more intentional approach.

If you have difficulty cutting down on social media use, try creating app limits on your phone or setting a physical timer. For example, setting screen time limits for specific social media platforms and websites can help you spend less time on social media sites.

When you hit your time limit, turn your phone on silent, turn on “do not disturb,” and find new things to do. If you’re constantly feeling tempted to check Snapchat, Whatsapp, or Facebook messenger, try putting your smartphone in a separate room, under your bed, or somewhere out of sight. It might be difficult to stop reading your favorite blogs or real-time news stories for a few days, but you’ll be okay.

Review your boundaries.

If social media leaves you feeling drained and depressed, it’s time to rethink your boundaries. Spend some time reviewing your social media use routine, who you’re following, and what type of content you’re consuming on a regular basis. Figure out what social media accounts, information, and social channels make you anxious. Then, set social media goals to make the use of social media feel less overwhelming.

For example, if Instagram posts, TikTok videos, or social media posts from influencers and models create a vicious cycle of self-comparison, it’s OK to unfollow them. Give yourself permission to not read the news, not engage in political discussions, and take breaks from keeping up your social media presence. You might try using social media solely as a communication tool, or check the front page of the internet once each day to minimize social media overload.

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Try “brain dump” journaling.

Journaling can feel intimidating, especially if you’re just starting. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to write about anything specific. Journaling is just for you—and it can be as simple as dumping everything on your mind out onto the paper. You don’t have to write in the form of structured sentences or censor anything. It’s for your eyes only, so write whatever comes to mind.

When you’re feeling stressed, stream-of-consciousness writing can help you gain insights into your thoughts, ideas, behaviors, and emotions. By swapping social media use with journaling, you’ll find new opportunities to clarify, prioritize, and reset your mind without turning to social networking sites to escape.

Clear your mind with meditation.

When you can’t turn your thoughts “off,” meditation is a great way to quiet your mind and relax. Research has consistently linked meditation to mental health benefits, and many people use mindfulness practices to cope with stress and anxiety. Meditation is a simple way to stay centered and lower your stress levels in your own timeframe.

Instead of scrolling through Pinterest the next time you’re feeling stressed, download a guided meditation app and start a quick five-minute session. Before you begin, start by making sure you’re comfortable by propping your back against some pillows. This way, your mind won’t find an excuse to jump out of practice and check social media.

Don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

Information overload can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to deal with it alone. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by social media or struggling to connect with real people, working with a licensed therapist can help you calm your mind, limit your time scrolling social media, and gain insights into your mental health.

To start feeling better, reach out to a therapist through WithTherapy. We’ll connect you to a supportive, experienced mental health professional based on your unique preferences and requirements. Whether you’re dealing with low self-esteem, anxiety, or high stress levels, one of the therapists on the WithTherapy platform will help you find healthy ways to cope.

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