Social Media and Depression: Should I Take a Break?
We’ve become expert scrollers. The prize we claim for this effort isn’t so great, though.
We can scroll through social media for hours every day without realizing the cost to our mental health – lost and empty hours that can lead to depression.
Social Media: Linked to Depression
Numerous studies have linked the extensive use of social media to depression.
An article published by the University of Arkansas outlines some of the research and gives us a glimpse into how social media can lead to mental health struggles.
Dr. Brian Primack and his colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh studied more than 1,000 users of social media with a focus on the amount of time that they spent using (popular social media platforms).
The conclusion was that participants that used social media more than 300 minutes per day were found to be 2.8 times as likely to become depressed within six months.
300 minutes per day = 5 hours of each day on social media! Most of us don’t use social media to that extent, but social media always takes up a lot of our valuable time.
It can add to our stress levels, and it can take us away from engaging in mentally soothing self-care.
“One reason for these findings may be that social media takes up a lot of time,” said Dr. Cesar Escobar-Viera, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and co-author of the study.
“Excess time on social media may displace forming more important in-person relationships, achieving personal or professional goals, or even simply having moments of valuable reflection.”
How to Avoid the Detrimental Mental Effects of Social Media
First of all, you might be saying, “Social media isn’t all bad!” We agree!
It can be healthy to use social media to make new friends, stay in touch with family and friends, connect with communities, promote good causes, and more. These are GOOD things in life.
But here are the most important three words regarding social media use: moderation is everything. A positive thing can easily turn negative when not used wisely, social media included.
“A person should avoid extremes, and he will go in the right direction.” – Buddha
Depression is not the direction that you want to go. Lower your risk of heading down that path by:
- Focusing on a balance. How much time do you want to spend on social media vs. self-care, or one-on-one with friends and family? Ensure you honor personal restraint, direction, and balance.
- Turning off notifications. Do not allow social media notifications to ping away (i.e., chip away) at your life. Notifications can be distracting and can crumble peace and calm.
- Scheduling a social media detox. Take a hiatus for a day, a week, or a month.
- Shut off the social media platforms that make you feel depressed. Yes, avoid them entirely!
Remember this, letting go = releasing from your mind.
Check out other ways to reduce stress in our blog, Is Stress Making Me Forgetful, including letting the pressure off and just being you.
You can also get a massage. Massage is a great way to partake in self-care and reduce what can lead to depression in your life.
Your focus on your own body (forget the kids, the job, social media, the typical pressures women often feel), can take you away from what troubles you in the world and put your mind and body in a deserving place of relaxation. (Learn more at our blog, Massage and the Mental Health Connection.)
Our Role in Your Mental and Physical Well-Being
There are many ways to take charge and avoid daily stress that can lead to depression, and now is always the best time to partake in them.
Massage and salt therapy are wonderful starting points in that journey. Each are powerful tools that include touch, connection, energy, love, and healing.
We cannot say this enough:
We want you to feel good!
Do you reside in the Austin, Texas area, or are you planning a visit? We want you to experience the mental health-boosting benefits of massage and salt therapy or any of our other bodyworks!