During the pandemic, some people tried to minimize infection risk through online shopping, telemedicine and virtual events. But spending too much time online can compromise your mental well-being.
- Many people use social platforms to reach out to others. However, if you find that time on social media leaves you feeling lonely, isolated, sad or dissatisfied, it might be helpful to decrease or avoid screen time-especially if you experience cyberbullying. If you’re turning to social media to relieve anxiety or depression, try to determine if this outlet is helping you.
- Fear of missing out can lead you to respond compulsively to every alert/notification, which can cause distraction, missed sleep and increased anxiety. Consider checking your alerts only at specific times of the day and turn off your electronic device before bedtime instead of being on call 24/7.
- Many online activities are designed to continuously ensnare your attention, which can lead to addiction. Being consumed with your virtual presence could leave insufficient time for self-care and in-person relationships. Disabling notifications or removing apps can lessen compulsive checking.
- You can reduce excessive internet use by simply being mindful of your motivations and the amount of time you spend online. Are you online as a substitute for real life? If so, consider healthy alternatives, such as exercise, exploring interests or trying something new.
Kelli Louden, LSCW