Social media anxiety is a very real thing. Have you ever taken a step back from double-tapping your Instagram feed and wondered whether YOUR social media is making you anxious?
Our obsession over our internet presence, having too much screen time and getting FOMO can all be contributing to our feelings of anxiety.
And don’t get me wrong, social media is a wonderful thing. I use it all the time for work and pleasure and it’s great way to keep in touch and share the things in your life.
But let’s face it, the domination of social media in our everyday lives isn’t about to slow down ANY time soon. In fact stats site Statista estimates that they’ll be 36.4million social media users in the UK by 2018.
36.4 MILLION people getting up in our internet grill. 36.4 million people that can potentially struggle with anxiety at the hands of their online profiles.
So it’s important to also be aware of the negative side of social.
And although I was once oblivious to the anxiety-provoking nature of social media, when I began considering anxiety triggers in my life – social media decided to rear its ugly head.
Social media anxiety and addiction
It’s not just cigarettes and caffeine, your Facebook profiles and Insta feeds are just as addictive. How many of you check your Facebook profile more than once a day? How many times have you got yourself refreshing your Twitter and Instagram feeds, aimless scrolling and refreshing.
Yep, me too.
But more important than our addiction to physically looking at social media is our addiction to being rewarded with ‘Likes.’
Hands up who gets a buzz if a gorge selfie of them gets some serious loving on Insta?
Yep, the positive reinforcement social media now serves in our life can definitely contribute to our feelings of anxiety.
REMEMBER, YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN THE DOUBLE TAP OF A PICTURE.
Social media anxiety and FOMO
If you’ve been overcome with feelings of anxiety because you regret turning down that night out that looked bloody epic on your friend’s Snapchat, you’re experiencing. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).
Some people will just say, ‘well, stop missing out then,’ but come on, it’s not that simple.
I went through huge stages of FOMO-induced anxiety at university when I chose not to go out. This period in my life was when I began showing serious signs of anxiety, and experiencing panic attacks, which often resulted in me being too exhausted to go out.
At the time, I never wanted to tell my friends because I’d just get the whole, ‘God you’re being so boring’ rubbish.
Just remember… nothing is EVER as good as it looks on social media. If someone has a 20 video thread on their Snapchat were they really having that good a time?
Also your health is more of a priority than the optimum night-out post. If your body and mind is telling you to slow down and chill… do just that.
Social media anxiety and comparing
This is a big thing for me. I found myself (and still do) comparing myself to those that I follow on social media. On Instagram I follow a lot of lifestyle bloggers and I often get waves of jealousy as I see them jetting off to the Maldives, buying mortgage-free homes and quitting their jobs to blog full-time.
While I’m really pleased to see other women succeed in life and achieve their ambitions, my anxiety often creeps in as I begin to compare my own life with theirs.
By no means do I struggle, and I’m incredibly fortunate to have a stable job that I love, but I often find myself making a mental checklist in my head.
Am I ever going to move out of my parents house and afford my own home?
Do my boyfriend and I have enough money to go on holiday AND save for a house?
Will I ever get that dream job promotion?
It’s easy to fall into that comparing trap, but don’t. Social media shows just a fraction of someone’s life. While their feed may be luxury holidays, new Gucci bags and delicious meals out, it’s unlikely that this is the full picture of their life.
Social media anxiety and lack of sleep
Yes, yes, yes. Put that phone down and catch up on some zzz’s. If you’re a night-time scroller, it’s time to switch off tech and your mind.
There are plenty of studies that show that there is a link between lack of sleep and your vulnerability to stress and anxiety. I used to be a terrible sleeper, and rather than just lie there and relax my mind, I’d scroll through my phone or laptop for hours.
Since giving up caffeine I’ve certainly noticed being able to get to sleep better (which is fab if like me you suffer badly with night-time anxiety).
It’s hard, but try to not use your phone at least an hour before bed. Trust me, it’s so worth it for your own health.
Even if you don’t think you have social media anxiety, but you’re feeling generally anxious, there’s plenty of help out there for you. My first stop would be to the Mind website – where there’s tons of advice and info. And please don’t be afraid to talk to your GP… it’s the first big step to getting the help you might need.