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Self-care strategies for (slightly!) less social media scrolling during covid

nocnica profile image Nočnica Fee ・3 min read

cover by Michal Klajban - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

You can work out more, read more, cook more, and do any other 'self-care' to not be on screens, yet it's still surprisingly hard to not constantly log into social media like checking a baby breathing. At least, this is extremely the case for myself. It's easy for me to notice in others addictive social media posting patterns, but it's much harder to notice my own kinds of madness! But since shaming doesn't particularly work (and honestly, we deserve to be kinder to ourselves about our social media screentime given that we're all surviving an uprecedented pandemic in isolation), what's a better way to positively reframe this as to figure out the root of the problem and then care for our true needs?

Anyone who is 'too online' is really just craving connection to something rewarding. And this isn't at all an unreasonable or bad thing in the first place, particularly in a time where social distancing saves lives! Our whole lives have been upended and we still no longer have access to the offline activities and social life we once had before. Therefore, it's imperative to incorporate small, gentle ways to spend less time staring at screens, and more time doing activities that retain a similar 'validation loop' and social availability that social media offers. Here's a few ways that help mitigate the chronic disconnect that leads to endless scrolling:

  1. Changing your twitter account to private, or having locked/private social media, is especially helpful as to finally retrain your mind to use social media not as a tool for branding or virality but just to keep up with your favorite people who are just sharing parts of their everyday lives. It's a wonderful change to finally get to know people on more intimate and human level instead of just follow and keep up with those who write content for clicks!

  2. Similarly to the first tip, hanging out on instagram live streams or twitch channels is a great way to still be on social media but not have to feel the compulsion to 'perform' yet you get to watch the stream hosts and chat with their community in real time. It's a much different social media energy than twitter or facebook and is much more similar in experience as listening to podcasts, except with the added fun of live interaction and getting to comment on the stream.

  3. Hobbies that require using both hands, especially involving crafts, such as cooking, doing a puzzle, or woodworking, are game-changingly helpful soothers. Drawing especially has been a rewarding hobby for me to personally get back into; the joy of seeing my own artistic improvement on an immediate basis, via practicing in a sketchbook and filling up more and more pages every day, allows for a sense of ensuring a 'validation loop' reward for putting in the work, which has significantly helped me not feel a need to scroll endlessly on social media. As humans, we all love to see something we create or build grow a little bit every day with our own efforts - through daily creative rituals that relax or excite us, that ideally involves both hands to do, we can manage our chronic disconnect in an emotionally soothing and rewarding manner.

Remember, you don't need to do a hardcore 'digital detox' and refrain cold turkey from all social media! It's unrealistic to uninstall all your apps, stop checking your email, and refrain from socializing and keeping up with others entirely. Being online is a much more normal part of daily life now - with a set of planned strategies to make the best use of your energy, you will find yourself able to recuperate during social isolation better and better.

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Gracie Gregory (she/her)

"Hobbies that require both hands" is really good advice