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Social Un-Distancing

Most of my articles are about diet and exercise, but mental health is important. Mental health affects physiological health, but it is also important for its own purpose (i.e. happiness is good). Social relationships are important for health. Too much screen time is harmful for mental health. Excessive use of social media can lead to depression, social isolation, or social division based on politics or other disagreements. However, when used properly social media can actually benefit our well-being. Here are some strategies to cut screen time and utilize social medial better.

  • Set aside a time of the day for checking social media

  • Turn off notifications for social media on your phone

  • If you see divisive posts on social media from a specific person, consider unfollowing the poster, or simply ignore if they are a friend

  • Look for social groups that have events

  • Use and Facebook groups

  • Avoid looking at your social media when you wake up and before bed

These are just some strategies, and you don't have to do all of them. For example, perhaps you work in a company or own a business that heavily relies on social media. In such a case, it is good to keep up with social media. But for many of us, it interferes with mental health when looking at social media right before going to bed or right after walking up.

Another strategy is to make using less screen time. Believe it or not, there is an app for that. On Android, there is an app called "Digital Wellness" that tells you how much screen time you engaged in, and it breaks it down by individual apps. This app is in the settings. I am an Android user, but I know Apple has similar apps. I have heard of an app called ScreenZen, but I believe Apple should also have something in the settings. Whatever app you use, I recommend putting it on the home screen so that you can reach time app quickly. Now the downside is that this only shows screen time on your phone or tablet and does not include your laptop or desktop computers. However, as much of our screen time involves looking at our phones, at least this can reduce one form of reducing screen time. Staring at phones is something that occurs in social situations like dinner. As looking at our laptops doesn't have nearly as much of an affect on reducing social interaction, just cutting back on phone time itself is very helpful.

A healthy diet and good exercise are also helpful for mental health. It is also good to see a therapist. Don't wait for something bad to happen to go to a therapist. We all have mental health issues that we need work with. It is a good idea to treat going to a therapist as you would getting a physical and regular check-ups with your primary care doctor. And if you don't go to a primary care doctor, I highly recommend as it helps to catch things early.


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