Slip Away From Social Media this New Year

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Here’s how your favorite social sites are affecting you.

Skip the mindless scrolling in 2019.

We’ve all been sucked into the black hole of social media. You log onto Facebook to check your notifications, and next thing you know, you've been scrolling mindlessly through an endless parade of posts for hours. 

It's the same with Twitter, Instagram or even LinkedIn. These websites are designed to hook you in and keep you engaged for as long as possible. Using these sites in moderation is fine, but it's hard not to get trapped in a sea of cat videos or friends' life updates.

But social media is like any other tool- it can be good or bad, depending on how you use it. What are some of the positive aspects of social media? It's a fantastic way to network with people who share your interests. There are also groups on Facebook and LinkedIn that share career advice and job openings with individuals in their career field, which can be enormously helpful to professional life. Social media also helps you stay connected with distant friends and relatives and makes it easy to find out about events in your community.

But the downsides can be crushing. Studies show that social media can take a toll on your self-esteem, because it's easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to everyone posting the highlights of their lives. For example, let's say you’re struggling to get a job after college, and someone you graduate with posts that they got a fantastic job offer in their dream city. Or maybe you’ve been wanting to start a serious relationship but haven't fallen in love, yet your friends are all posting their engagement videos. This can cause stress and feelings of inadequacy, despite your own achievements. 

Then there's the upsetting dialogue and pictures of cruelty toward people and animals. These seem to be rampant and can ruin your whole day. Think about it. How many times do you go on social media and end up feeling worse than you did before?

The BBC reports that people spend about two hours a day on social media, and that illustrates another problem. When not used for a clear purpose like looking up events, it's an effective time waster for procrastinators. People also use it as a coping mechanism, to distract from unpleasant thoughts or feelings.

This new year, why not take a break from it all? Taking a two-week break can help wane cravings for social media and help you set up healthy limits. Here are some things you could be doing instead of perusing Facebook and Twitter:

●       Reading a great book

●       Discovering new hobbies (baking, knitting, wood carving, something you've always wanted to try)

●       Exercising 

●       Making plans with loved ones

●       Journaling

●       Cleaning and organizing

Minimizing screen time also improves your attention span and sleep! So cut back on social media, and ring in the new year with better habits.