Our social media feeds have shape-shifted into labyrinths of COVID-19 news, updates, trivia, precautions and even rumours.
Despite several claims of adverse effects of increased screen time on our eyes and mind, our internet connections have strikingly become our strongest ties to the outside world in the era of social distancing and shutdowns. With fast-changing news, engaging trends and viral videos, several social media platforms have weaved their way into our lives as a major part of our daily routine now. And while it proved effectively entertaining last year, when we socialised on Zoom calls or whisked Dalgona coffee as an internet community, the narrative has turned completely, this year.
Breakaway from the constructs of social media
With the advent of the second wave of infection in the country, the chatter of hysteria on social media has surged in equivalent measures. Along with it, the news of the pandemic horrors and the widespread outrage over the shortage of medical supplies are accounting for most of our cellphone notifications now. From a means of connecting to the outer world, our social media feeds have shape-shifted into labyrinths of COVID-19 news, updates, trivia, precautions and even rumours, making us feel more lost than ever!
Consequently, the pandemic has instilled fears and worries in the minds of many, which has led to mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and even panic disorder among people.
Here is how you can calm the chatter ringing chaos on social media by following these 5 simple steps:
1. Seek one reliable source
Find an information source that provides you with credible facts and verified news. It is okay if you are following only one page to stay updated on the pandemic situation. You don't necessarily need to know every word on each COVID relief page. Stay away from 'WhatsApp prescriptions' and any other medical claims that you are not able to verify.
2. Cut Ties
If there is a page(s) or person, putting out graphic content or information that is troubling you or causing distress, don't let your FOMO stop you from unfollowing them. Mute conversations and unpin people from your friend lists, if that helps you to create a less chattering echo chamber on your profile. Trust us, this one trick will help you safeguard yourself from whatever is making you angry or upset!
3. Set Boundaries
If you are someone who easily gets trapped in the world of social media by the constant ringing of notifications, keeping your phone on silent will definitely help. Shut off your phone if it's distracting you from work, meals or human interactions and it may even help you to increase your concentration. It is generally a good idea to avoid social media before sleeping - for it not only improves the sleep quality but also prevents unnecessary thoughts from clouding your subconscious.
4. Detox Digitally
Don't slip into a social media coma; limit the time you spend on different social media platforms. This, of course, also includes juggling on different apps when you shut one. Discontinue or log out of your profiles for some time and take a break. Detach yourself from your virtual identity for a week or so. Indulge in organic, human conversations and keep your phone at a distance. It will surely help you to clear your mind.
5. Gain Perspective
If you feel like you are spiralling into the mayhem churned by the social media chaos, try to analyse the different perspectives of a story. Engage in a healthy conversation with your friends and family to understand and decode all that you see on social media. Understand, break the news, and absorbs only what seems important!
Take your time and space and do not feel guilty about it. Your mental well-being should rank as one of your highest priorities, along with your physical health and immunity. The pandemic can be tough and you are allowed to snooze those notifications and take some time out, just for yourself.