Many of us spend way too much time on social media. We’re on it before we go to bed, check for updates when we wake up, use it to pass time whenever we’re alone or waiting for someone, and even take it to the toilet sometimes.

Staying connected with loved ones—friends, family members, elders—has proven to be one of the biggest positives of social media. You could scroll down to surprisingly find yourself tagged in a school photo, or see Garima didi’s shaadi pictures which you missed, or even send birthday wishes to your Tauji (thanks for the reminder, Facebook).

So, why quit? The use of social media networks has gone up +62.5% from 2012-2019, says a study. Being ‘Online’ has begun to take over some people’s lives and is affecting their mental health. But, the good news is, you don’t need a full-blown digital detox. All you need to do is change how you use social media. And that change should begin with these 8 habits.

Social Media Habits You Need To Quit For Peace Of Mind

1. Obsessing Over Your Social Media Presence

If you’re spending hours editing your selfie, or keep opening your posts to check for the number of likes and views on your stories, you are obsessing. Don’t let it take over your mind and time. Your need to be liked and followed in the digital world to feel good about yourself will hurt your self-esteem. Your self-worth needs to come from your friends, family, and ‘real’ life instead of social media, which often isn’t a kind place.

2. Following Random Accounts, Especially Ones That Make You Anxious

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You don’t have to accept every friend request (especially people you don’t know), and you don’t have to follow everyone who follows you. Just because bua ji ki friend sent you a Facebook request, doesn’t mean you have to add her; especially if you feel she would judge and gossip about the guys in your pictures. 

Also, cleanse your friends’ list every six months, and unfollow accounts that are posting things that make you anxious. For example, the Coronavirus pandemic has been giving lots of people anxiety. For some time, unfollow news accounts to avoid seeing articles on death and disease every day.

3. Ignoring Your Real Life

If you’re on a holiday, enjoy the moment instead of spending all your time taking pictures of it for Insta likes. Stop bringing your Tik Tok videos to the dinner table and talk to your family instead. Also, stop taking your real-life experiences ‘Live’ all the time. Enjoy that concert, that ice cream, that girl’s night out, and just keep your phone away.  

4. Watching Graphic Images & Videos

Trigger Warning: It’s common to come across stories on social media that have images and videos depicting animal abuse, domestic violence, rape, gore, and mob lynching. Resist the urge to view such content. Whether you’re curious or you feel you can consume it without getting affected, such content tends to stay with you at a subconscious level. You may begin to lose positivity, feel anger, depression, hopelessness, and a whole host of negative feelings without even realising why.

5. Fighting With People On Social Media

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YouTube versus Tik Tok; Roast followed by an Unroast; Kusha Kapila versus Elvish Yadav and Lakshay Chaudhary—it’s only June, and we’ve already seen some headline-making social media fights.

And we’ve all done it. Someone says or posts something you disagree with, you start expressing your opinion in comments/stories, and then, before you know it, YOU’RE TYPING LIKE THIS. Don’t let people on social media get to you on an emotional level. With so many different people from different cultures, religions and backgrounds on such platforms, it’s normal to stumble upon opinions you don’t agree with; maybe, even feel strongly against. Just agree to disagree. Don’t get provoked into responding to people who are of no consequence in your real life.

6. Keeping Your Social Media Notifications On

Do you really need an alert every time someone goes ‘Live’? Or to check whether you know a friend of a friend who isn’t on your friends’ list on Facebook yet? Or, even to get a notification from Food Bazaar that bhindi, baingan, phool gobi and all vegetables are 10% off today? (Okay, maybe the last one you do).

The point is, automatic notifications on social media can leave you with FOMO (fear of missing out), distractions, inability to fall asleep, restlessness, and having you reach to check your screen in socially inappropriate situations (like when your screen flashes bright while watching a movie in a theatre). Remember, most alerts are without consequence and can easily be viewed later.

7. Checking Your Ex’s Social Media Profile

No good can come of looking up an old boyfriend that it didn’t work out with. What are you hoping to find? You want to see what he’s doing in his life, who he is with, or compare yourself to his new girlfriend? It’s just going to leave you feeling confused, angry or insecure. The best thing to do is to move on and make a clean break. The past is the past for a reason. Focus on your present for a better future and every time you miss him or have some unresolved feelings, talk to a friend or family member instead.

8. Making Your Posts Public, Unless It’s Business

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A simple way to save yourself from cyberbullying, online trolls, judgmental comments, and misuse of images is to keep your profile and posts private. In fact, you can even limit your more personal posts to a group of friends/family, and turn off comments on pictures you think may be judged. Basically, unless you’re an influencer, content creator, using social media for brand building, or using it to promote your business, there’s really no benefit in exposing your life to the digital world.

And that’s true with all social media platforms. Your mental health is easily affected by the world around you. So, just as you protect yourself in real life and stay away from drama, heartache, and stress, we’re hoping these tips have taught you how to look after yourself on social media too.

Karishma Roye Tyagi
Karishma Roye Tyagi

From a Features Writer to a Managing Editor, Karishma has spent over 10 years deep-diving into the strategy and execution of content and communications. She's driven by the exciting changes in the publishing industry where digital media has solidified its place right alongside the much-revered print medium.

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