Friends, I suggest not only social distancing, but distancing from social media to stay healthy in this pandemic.
Of course, these apps are great for keeping in touch with the people we love, and even more valuable when we can’t be together, but it’s so important to keep your general social media use limited. Research shows that social media—especially scrolling through Facebook—increases anxiety and makes depression worse. This is critical right now as we are all feeling uncertain, scared, helpless, and even angry at circumstances outside our control.
You probably sense this intuitively. You might feel yourself getting upset as you scroll through Facebook. Maybe you find yourself lashing out in your posts and comments. Maybe you feel anxious or hopeless seeing others post information they don’t understand, or worse watching them fight and mock each other over it. It doesn’t take a psychologist to know that constantly exposing yourself to this stuff is bad for your mental wellbeing.
What’s worse, as we spend all this extra time scrolling through social media, we might be missing out on the things that really matter. When did you last have so much time for yourself and your family? Why look at a screen when you could be connecting with your spouse or kids? Making memories together? Enriching your mind with a book you’ve always wanted to read? A course you’ve always wanted to take? A recipe you’ve always wanted to try? A new workout routine? Catching up on a tv series you can discuss with your friends? Learning to practice mindfulness or prayer? Getting your house in order? There are so many ways to use this “me time” (or “we time”) if we seize the opportunity.
It’s true, we don’t know what the immediate future holds, but one thing is certain: sooner or later, this moment will pass. When it’s over and we all emerge from our isolation, how do you want to remember your time at home? What do you want to show for it? If we ask ourselves these questions, and consider them honestly, it’s clear the answers are not found in our Facebook feeds.
I’m sending much love to my family and friends, and wishing good health to all as we begin this second month of “stay at home.”