People are always online now. Instagram, facebook, twitter and google are always bombarding us with information from all over the globe. We hear about bad things as they happen, from every corner of the world and that too with graphic details and accompanying images and videos. Moreover, news that generates strong emotional reactions and resonance transmits very fast through these mediums through shares and retweets. The current political and social situation just makes things worse. People feel overwhelmed as this highly emotionally disturbing content is shared with them. Moreover, we don't hear so much about the good things happening in the world. This can lead to anxiety, depression and vicarious traumatization. Due to this more and more people are now experiencing Social Media Burnout which is also known as Social Media Fatigue.
Social Media Burnout Definition
Social media burnout is a “form of online fatigue that can happen when you spend too much time on social networks.”
Social Media Burnout Symptoms
According to this article (Bo Han, 2016), these are the main social media burnout symptoms:
You feel tired and exhausted both emotionally and physically all the time. You are unable to cope up with life situations in general.
2. Difficulty in connecting with the work-related activities
You increasingly find your job to be stressful and frustrating. You start to alienate yourself from the work and lack the motivation to complete the tasks. You even start to be cynical about your colleagues and the work environment.
3. Reduced Performance
You find it really hard to concentrate and finish the tasks on time leading to reduced performance at work.
So, what can you do to prevent Social Media Burnout or Social Media Fatigue?
1. We need to be very mindful of how much time we spend on social media. There are several apps that will track the time on social media and automatically lock the app when the time is up. We grossly underestimate the time spent on social media due to its highly addictive nature, passive flow of novel and stimulating information and extremely easy to use interface.
2. You need to track the kind of content you consume on social media. A lot of information is sent to you automatically due to the algorithm depending on your previous clicks. Check your previous activity and accordingly provide feedback to the platform whether you wish to see that type of content or not. This will prevent social media fatigue.
3. Take a break and unplug if you are experiencing Social media burnout symptoms. If you aren't putting your mental health as the first priority, it's difficult to do other things in your life.
4. Ask yourself why you are using social media. If it is for entertainment and relaxation are there any alternative methods to do the same. Excessive use makes you vulnerable to social media fatigue instead of relaxing.
5. Ask yourself - Is what you are doing on social media improving the quality of your life or causing social media burnout symptoms? Does it make you an agent of change? Is it a healthy place to vent? Or is it causing you to get into arguments that seem to have no end? If you find that social media is a drain on your energy, it's a good time to step back and evaluate its role in your life, and how you navigate it.
6. Social Media has created a "who has a better life" trap. Be careful of what you see as people post their "highlight reel" on social media, not their "behind the scenes." This illusion of other’s life being better can make you suffer from low self-esteem and cause you to develop social media burnout symptoms.
7. Use just one form of social media: Jumping from one platform to another makes the situation worse as when you get bored of one platform, you switch to the other and this keeps you in the endless cycle of social media addiction and makes you prone to social media burnout.
8. Turn your social media notifications off as they lead to multiple interruptions and though it looks like you spent seconds checking you end up wasting lots of time. Switching from one task to other also utilizes lots of energy, these multiple notification interruptions lead to Social Media Fatigue.
9. Start making connections in the real world - Seek out grassroot groups, and get involved at your local and state level. Have face-to-face contact with like-minded people. When you meet a friend in person, see their joyous expressions and give them a hug, it leads to release of comforting brain chemicals like oxytocin and serotonin which relieves anxiety and depression.
10. Stop using the device at least 2 hours before bedtime. You'll notice that when you don't use your devices right before bed, you will sleep better. This is because backlit devices inhibit the release of melatonin, a hormone that helps get you ready for sleep . Read a relaxing book instead.
11. Turn your phone display to black & white: Go into your phone's display settings and change the screen color to grayscale. Your brain will not be as excited by this lack of color, and you'll find yourself reaching for your phone less.
In case you already are seeing a psychiatrist, at Zivanza, we also provide Second opinion for Psychiatry that help you to learn more about your mental illness, treatment and possible alternative treatments. A second opinion for Psychiatry may provide you with some additional information to support you in treatment decisions.
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