Happy holidays everyone!
With a break from work and school, our first tendency can be to spend our extra time on social media. It seems as if we open social media after lunch, like a few photos, look up, and it’s dark outside! The day has gone by, and we missed it. For many people, social media is a necessary escape from the less cheerful parts of the holiday season. With financial troubles, traveling during the pandemic, and living with difficult family members, social media seems significantly easier than real life. For many of us, though, the digital world at our fingertips can take up our time simply because of its habit-forming algorithms. We click on the app almost subconsciously, often to the detriment of ourselves and those around us.
While social media is an important part of our social lives which offers fun ways to connect with those outside our immediate social circle, it’s important to be aware of the harmful effects of social media. Most importantly, it takes away time away from relationships with the friends and family who are with us during the holiday season. We often forget the reason we take time off from work is to be close to friends and family we love and continue those relationships which are essential to our emotional health.
Social media has also been associated with body comparison and disordered eating. It can be difficult to navigate all the desserts and comfort food we love during the holidays, and social media only adds to the confusion. Different people have different bodies which need different foods, but it’s our natural tendency to compare our bodies to those on social media to the detriment of our health. So, a break from social media can provide a much-needed opportunity to attune to your internal hunger ques and form healthy eating habits that work for you.
Lastly, we often lose sleep to social media. We mean to check a few things before we sleep and end up tossing our phones to the side from exhaustion minutes to hours later. The exposure to light in a dark room right before we sleep has been shown to worsen the quality of our sleep. Unfortunately, losing even just small amounts of sleep has been associated with elevated anxiety in the following days.
So, it’s important to take a social media holiday, but how? One way to break bad habits is to journal about how you expect to feel before you look at social media and then journal how you actually feel after you’ve finished looking at social media. This helps us become mindful of the connections between what we’re doing and how we feel, so that we don’t keep going on social media even when it makes us feel bad.
May your social media holidays be merry and bright!