Mental health care is an individualized, multi-faceted process that each of us employs (hopefully intentionally). Social media and self-care plan can work together and be apart of your overall plan. Your mental health care plan may include a vast variety of strategies including, but not limited to:
• Regular and positive social interactions
• Actively practice daily affirmations (consciously using positive self-talk)
• Incorporation of meditation, mindfulness or prayer into our life
• Use breathing and movement to align our bodies and minds
• Nourish your whole self through food that is both nutritional and satisfying (carrots & cookies)
• Engagement in psychotherapy or counseling and/or yoga
• Medication that assists in addressing chemical deficits or imbalances that you experience
• Consume books, movies, documentaries or social media as an escape, respite or self-help
In today’s culture, our social media diet plays a significant part in our mental health care strategy. We may get quite stressed out and reactive if most of our Facebook engagement is politically focused. On the flip-side, perhaps you devour memes that are meaningful to your life and represent how you want to live.
Memes are very appealing to many social media consumers. Whether you are on Facebook or Instagram, memes likely make up at least 50% of your newsfeed. Memes are known to be brief, witty, humorous, profound, validating, and igniting of an emotional reaction. They are often quotes or artistic renditions that focus on a particular message.
Based on your search preferences and social media group interests, an algorithm gets to “know” you and you will be fed more and more of the same type of meme and message. In my case, I see many, many memes that surround the topics of self-acceptance, depression and anxiety, and inspirational quotes that ignite an experience of feeling understood.
In fact, eventually, I sort my online, social media friends also based on their meme preferences. I like to “interact” and create a social circle with people who are like-minded when plugging into the social media part of my life. I am not typically looking for debate during this time of my day when I am taking a few moments of respite care.
The way that I use social media as part of my mental health care plan as much as the content of what I consume. I direct, to the best of my ability, what I consume. This is actually quite empowering from a mental health perspective. You have the authority to “unfriend” or “unfollow” people who you experience as toxic (or at least having toxic messages).
Does this help me?
I challenge you to think about how your social media diet helps you to hone in on your values and beliefs. I also challenge you to think about how your social media diet may be sabotaging your mental health care plan and goals. The content of what you are viewing may be fantastic. Seeing positive and inspirational memes may feel quite soothing to you. You may also experience an easier way of connecting with people in an electronic form if you are a bit more of an introvert (it can be a way to stay connected without feeling depleted).
These benefits that come from interacting with social media end up positively reinforcing you to spend more and more time viewing or interacting with social media. This is often when our relationship with social media goes awry. Spending more and more time in this part of your mental health care plan pulls you away from other important parts. A strong and effective mental health care plan works because of balance.
If our social media consumption is too high, it begins to erode other areas of our mental health care plan. For instance, the time you spend investing in face to face relationships may be compromised if you are too engulfed in the social media world. Like with every consumption area of your life, moderation is usually best. Being mindful of how much time and energy you spend on social media is important.
In fact, a good way to gauge your consumption level is to ask the people closest to you. If your spouse or child says that they wish you were on Facebook less, listen to this feedback and make modifications to your consumption.
If you need to add tools to your self-care plan, connect with Perspectives Therapy Services.
Perspectives Therapy Services is a multi-site mental and relationship health practice with clinic locations in Brighton, Lansing, Highland and Fenton, Michigan. Our clinical teams include experienced, compassionate and creative therapists with backgrounds in psychology, marriage and family therapy, professional counseling, and social work. Additionally, we offer psychiatric care in the form of evaluations and medication management. Our practice prides itself on providing extraordinary care. We offer a customized matching process to prospective clients whereby an intake specialist carefully assesses which of our providers would be the very best fit for the incoming client. We treat a wide range of concerns that impact a person's mental health including depression, anxiety, relationship problems, grief, low self-worth, life transitions, and childhood and adolescent difficulties.