Hands up if your screen time has rocketed since lockdown was announced on 23 March 2020?

With many of us temporarily unable to work, we’re finding ourselves with more time on our hands than ever before, and it’s tempting to turn to social media for a quick browse.However, with time to kill, it is easy to end up down a Facebook or Instagram rabbit hole,whiling away the hours until we’re allowed back outside to play again!

All this made me wonder what effect this may be having on our mental health, and I believe that there are two ways of looking at it. On one hand, social media can be a tricky place to navigate. As soon as you log on, you are thrown into a world of opinion, most of which is unsolicited! There are various groups that have been created to help us navigate the Covid-19 outbreak from a business or personal perspective, but while this on the most part is very useful, these can also be very scary, too.

I know many people have taken the decision to avoid the news, instead only accessing the important parts that we need, but pushing the vast amounts of negativity to one side. This is a very healthy way to cope. However, this can be hard to do on social media, lots of people share news stories, opinion pieces, often from sources that you wouldn’t normally access or trust, but if it’s on your feed it’s difficult to ignore.

Then there’s the other side of the coin. Social media also affords us the opportunity to stay in touch with people while we are living in an isolated world, and that’s incredibly important. We can see what our friends and family are doing, we know they are safe, and we can share moments that we are missing in person, such as seeing the grandchildren growing up and celebrating birthdays. This is a vital tool in helping us feel more connected to one another.

When it comes to social media use during the Covid-19 pandemic, I would suggest being a little mindful about the information you allow yourself to see. If there is a group that creates anxiety for you, leave it. If there is a friend who consistently shares news items that you’d rather avoid then mute them from your feed for the time being. Then focus on the positive aspects of social media, the great content that people are putting together to help us avoid boredom. There are live fitness sessions, cook-a-longs, quizzes, etc. Give your social media feeds a bit of a cleanse in order to protect your mental health during this tough time, it matters.

Stay safe x

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