You may be unfamiliar with the term “doomscrolling,” but you’ve likely done it. You scroll through social media, read about all the bad things happening and lose anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours. Now you feel even worse about the state of the world.
Here’s how to protect your mental health and avoid “doomscrolling.”
“Spending hours reading bad news isn’t good for your mental health,” says Fraser Director of Mental Health Aric Jensen. “It can change your outlook on the world, and you’re more likely to experience anxiety, stress and depression.”
Limit your social media scrolling. Change your phone settings to limit screen time. LeechBlock is an app that’s an extension for Firefox and Chrome. It lets you block websites or set a timer for how long you’re on websites.
Find Other Ways to Connect
Spending more time on social media can be a coping mechanism. Instead of chatting with coworkers, you hop on Facebook or Instagram.
“It’s incredibly important to connect with your loved ones, especially right now,” says Jensen. “However, social media can breed a lot of negativity, and it’s not always the healthiest place to seek connection. Instead, reach out to family and friends.”
Set up a video call with friends. Mail postcards to loved ones. Plan a watch party with a friend, and connect via text or video. Plan a socially distanced get-together with friends.
Don’t Start Your Day With Your Phone
Many start the day scrolling through email or social media on their phones. Instead, start with mindfulness exercises. Mindful.org suggests after you wake up, take 3 slow, deep breaths in and out, and create an intention for the day. Set a goal like, ‘I will be easy on myself, and I will be patient with others.’ This puts your focus on positive goals, rather than negativity online.
Engage in Things That Give You Joy
We’re in a pandemic, an election and a fight for racial justice. Staying informed and supporting your community is important, but so is self-care. Do things that give you joy like hiking, having a dance party, or reading a good book. If you’re feeling anxious or sad, do something just for you.