Social media can be a beautiful tool for community building. It can also be a detriment to our mental health. That's the dialectic of it. No matter how you use social media, it's important to set some boundaries.
Follow only accounts that nourish you. It can be easy to follow accounts that don't serve us. Maybe they once did but things have changed and we simply haven't unfollowed and just keep scrolling past content we don't want to see. It can help a lot to actually go through the accounts you follow and unfollow those whom you don't vibe with anymore. That keeps that content out of your view entirely.
Be firm in how you respond (or not) to messages and requests. If you run a popular account that gets messages or many follow requests if private, it's important to have firm boundaries for interactions. Don't feel the need to answer every message. You are not crisis support or google. Be transparent about what questions you will and won't answer. Firm up your "work"-life boundaries too.
Customize your ad topic preferences. On Instagram, there's now a way to choose not to see certain ad topics like weight loss in your feed. We often don't realize how much seeing things that don't serve us actually brings us down. We have control over what we see on social media for the most part.
Limit the time you spend on social media. To avoid doom scrolling, dedicate a certain amount of time to social media browsing. Fix it into your routine or set a timer when you start. This may sound unrealistic but think of how long we can get carried away scrolling until we feel unwell.
Leave, if that's better for you. Sometimes the best move for us is to get off social media entirely. That can trigger some FOMO (fear of missing out) but if you're anything like me, it's worth it. I had to leave social media because it brought me to heightened anxiety every time I scrolled. In a lot of ways, I'm free now. I can choose when to look at the news and how I communicate with friends.
Social media provides valuable community especially for Disabled folks who aren't able to get out due to the pandemic or other reasons. However, for some of us it's too much negativity even if we're part of that community. Get to know your preferences and needs surrounding social media and then set some firm boundaries with yourself and others. Alicia shares some additional tips on our YouTube.