Social media can have its advantages – it allows us to stay in touch with friends and family across the globe, network for business, and find events and groups that interest us – but it can also become addicting and sometimes leave us feeling less than stellar about ourselves.
Over the past year, numerous celebrities have revealed they are taking a temporary step back from social media, including Megan Thee Stallion, Chrissy Teigen, and most recently Bindi Irwin. So could you benefit from a social media hiatus this summer? According to USA Today, there are six signs we need to look for:
You’re Comparing Yourself to Others – According to Dr. Shahla Modir, chief medical officer at All Points North Lodge, an addiction treatment center, comparing ourselves to others can trigger feelings of anxiety.
“FOMO (the fear of missing out) can trigger feelings of anxiety,” Modir told USA Today. “The highlights people present are interpreted as their real life not their ‘reel life.’ If users are spending too much time online on social media sites, it can be difficult to keep perspective on what real life is.”
You Are Constantly Checking Your Phone – Can’t stop checking your phone for notifications and likes even when you’re at work, or with friends and family? That could be a huge indication social media is taking over, Dr. Modir warns.
“Likes’ can be very addictive, causing a dopamine hit to the brain of feel-good chemicals that reinforce like-seeking behavior and compulsive checking,” she told USA Today.
It’s Affecting Your Real-Life Interactions – “Decreased social interaction with friends and family in favor of social media engagement,” is another warning sign that perhaps you need to step away from Instagram or Facebook, Modir told USA Today, especially if those close to you are complaining about your social media usage getting in the way of real-life relationships.
You Wake Up Feeling Off – If you wake up (or go to sleep) feeling off it could be an indication that social media use, or the stuff you’re viewing on social media is disrupting your sleep patterns. In particular, doom scrolling (the increased consumption of negative news) especially before bed can lead to night terrors or an unrestful night’s sleep, USA Today reports.
You Feel Negative About Yourself – Jermaine Graves, a licensed clinical professional counselor based in Washington, D.C., told USA Today it’s time to take a break when social media causes someone to “view themselves in a negative light, causing feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or depression.”
Feeling Anxious, Depressed, or Lonely – Lastly, if social media is leaving you with feelings of depression, anxiety, or just flat-out lonely, it’s time to take a step back.
“Social media can trigger competitive feelings, which cause anxiety in the user, leaving them to feel like they need to keep up to meet the social expectations of the people they follow, which may be unrealistic and based in fantasy,” Modir told USA Today.