Setting boundaries while using any online platform, specifically social media, is important for a healthy mindset. But this is easier said than done when the thing you need a break from is permanently attached to your palm.
The thin line between online and offline worlds become blurred, which can leave you feeling disillusioned and disconnected from reality. So, the question arises, how can you navigate online usage in a way that serves your goals? Serves the offline you.
Here are 8 ways of setting boundaries online to protect your mental health and allow social media to have a positive impact on your life.
1. Take ownership of your content
To take control of your feed, you must control what and who you’re following. Your feed is your personal space. When something doesn’t contribute to it in a positive way or make you feel good, exercise your right to mute/unfollow them to preserve your mental peace and happiness. If it isn’t bringing you joy, block it out. Literally. Purge it out of your life. Treat your online space as your home and leave people out if they cross your boundary.
2. Give yourself the permission to unplug
Spending too much time online can be detrimental to your mental health. However, at times it simply isn’t practical to deactivate your social accounts or even take a weeklong hiatus, especially when being online is part of your job. What you can do, is put a limit on your social media usage. Allow yourself the opportunity to log off.
Set a time of day to step away from your phone. Make being present in the moment your only priority before your mind makes you dive straight into your DMs and to-do lists. Decide an appropriate amount of time you want to spend on social media and determine how you’ll stick to it. It could be a screen-free Sunday, a daily social media curfew or a phone-free zone in your house. Decide what works best for you and your lifestyle.
3. Check in with yourself
Be aware of what you’re looking to achieve from your online presence. It’s easy to fall into a trap of mindless scrolling. Whether it’s before bed at night or it’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning, it’s easy to lose a sense of purpose and intention while consuming content.
4. Disable push notifications
Constantly receiving notifications on your home screen even when you don’t have the phone in your hand is distracting and can exacerbate anxiety and stress. Dedicate a time slot, check-in, reply to messages and allow yourself permission to be ‘unavailable’ even if it’s for a couple hours a day. We know it’s hard, but you need to hear it: you don’t need to reply to every single notification immediately.
5. Set app limits and downtime
If you can’t be completely screen free for an entire day, make use of pre-existing settings on your phone to establish some practical boundaries to help stay accountable.
Go to Settings > Screen Time > Down Time and App Limits to limit your screen time and social media consumption. It’s a good way to remind yourself when you’re meant to switch off.
6. Remember that not everything needs to be shared
Maintaining a healthy relationship with social media is about creating boundaries with yourself and with others. Not everything you experience and participate in has to be shared with your followers. Practicing self-care and preservation online is necessary in maintaining your privacy. Let go of the pressure to share every part of you with the internet.
7. Avoid comparisons
If you find yourself getting sucked into the trap of comparisons, remind yourself that social media is basically a highlights reel, pun intended. Most people use it to project an ideal life, not a whole life. A post on your friend’s page is about just one moment, and never the whole story.
8. Connect with others IRL
Nurturing an online presence is great. It can be wholesome and uplifting but socialising virtually can never live up to the real thing. It cannot replace meaningful conversations and friendships. When you’re enjoying some online downtime, go on a walk with a friend, pick up the phone and call them for a catch-up instead of sending a dry text message. It will do wonders for your happy hormones.
While the online world on social media platforms can get downright toxic at times, we at @ThinkRight.me aim to promote mindful, positive, and wholesome content to make sure you Live Right, Think Right and Do Right.