With the entire world facing a pandemic, social media has never seemed more relevant. It has become not only a source, but THE source of informational media for younger generations. As college students, we definitely notice this more in seeing our friends sharing politically and socially charged massages.
Issues such as climate change, COVID-19, and the presidential election, as well as other happenings around the world are all shared in bite sizes of information. When I wake up in the morning, I know not only where Kendall Jenner vacationed for her birthday or what my cousin’s cat dressed up as for Halloween, but also the latest updates on the BLM movement or police brutality. So before I even eat breakfast in the morning, I’m exposed to attractive information that almost demands my attention and response. It goes without saying that sometimes this can be stressful or cause anxiety.
Here are some ways to navigate through social media anxiety:
1. Take A Step Back
This might not sound like much, but it is actually really important to let yourself take a step back. This is nothing to be ashamed of. With all the pressures of being a college student and a young adult, it’s easy to get swept over by a tidal wave of expectations. Maybe decide not to check your phone first thing in the morning or give yourself a break and keep your phone at arm’s length for the day. Try reading a book, going for a walk, or cooking- engage other parts of your mind. Remember, taking a step back doesn’t mean you don’t care. It just means you recognize that to be engaged, you need a break sometimes.
2. Know Yourself
Seeing all of our politically charged peers or our highschool friends meeting up without you or the constant chiming of messages on your group messages can be daunting. It’s possible to feel like you’re not invested enough, but it’s important to trust yourself and your judgment. After all, you know yourself best, so if you don’t feel like it’s a smart idea for 15 of your friends to meet up at the bar, then don’t go. Don’t let social media peer pressure you, directly or vicariously.
3. Change Your Perspective
The evil truth about most of the media we’re exposed to on our Instagram feeds, for example, are all individually catered to us. So the information we see about anything is solely based on what artificial intelligence assumes we like. With this being the case, we’re often stuck in a small bubble of information wherein we see everything only from a certain angle. Over time, the whole affair may even prove overwhelming so be sure to branch out. When you notice that issues are so much bigger than you and what surrounds you, it will put things in perspective.
At the end of the day, social media anxiety claims worried minds almost every day. The important thing is to acknowledge this, realize it’s normal and be ready to hit the reset button!