While social media can be a source of support in challenging times, it can also become stressful. Because we can’t control what others post, social media may trigger feelings of anxiety or even depression.
Social Media Can Bolster Community Resilience
Seeking out support networks is an important step toward coping during the aftermath of traumatic events. Especially in cases of mass violence or hate crimes targeting entire communities or religious groups, victims may find healthy support through messages and connections on social media platforms.
Depression and Anxiety Due to Social Media
Unfortunately, the healthy effects of social media can quickly turn dark and unhealthy, if left unmanaged. Negative rants, misinformation, and the sheer volume of content fueling a conversation on social media become an additional source of stress. In addition, it’s not uncommon to slip into habitual “doomscrolling” as a distraction from what is happening.
Moderate Social Media Use When Dealing with Trauma
If you are struggling to navigate using social media after a traumatic event, here are some helpful tips that can help you moderate your social media use and not feel so anxious or stressed when you do use it.
- Set a Daily Time Limit for Social Media Platforms
- Decide how much time you want to spend on social media each day and set a timer or use an app to track your usage.
- Disable Notifications on Social Media Platforms
- Turn off notifications from social media apps to avoid distractions throughout the day.
- Create a Schedule for Accessing Social Media
- Schedule designated times during the day to check your social media accounts. Try deleting social media apps from your mobile phone. If you sense an urge to check social media, designate an alternative activity to start instead, such as going for a walk or practicing a hobby.
Clean Up Your Newsfeed
Did you know you can mute certain words on social media? Filter out posts you don’t want to see, or consider temporarily snoozing posts from some people if it will help ease your anxiety or depression during this time. Check out this guide for how to restrict or mute words and profiles on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Also, unfollow or unfriend accounts that are not beneficial. Eliminate accounts that are not adding value to your social media experience.
Limit Mobile Phone Use
Keep your phone out of reach during important activities. Avoid checking your phone during important activities, such as studying or spending time with friends.
Set Realistic Boundaries for Social Media Use
Decide on specific times or situations when you will not use social media, such as during meals or before bed. There are even apps that will time your usage and restrict access to certain apps when the time allotment is up. You can also choose to use social media for specific purposes, such as professional networking or staying in touch with friends and family.
Take a Social Media Break
If you find that social media is becoming a source of stress or distraction in your life, consider taking a break from it altogether for a while.
Even though social media can often be a helpful tool, it can also become a stressful space during difficult and emotional times. Take care of your mental health by healthily navigating your social media use and being aware of your feelings while you use it.
About JFCS Pittsburgh Counseling Services
Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) Pittsburgh provides a range of counseling services to
encourage and support the emotional well-being of its community through training, crisis support, and counseling. For more information call For more information please call JFCS Counseling Services at 412-521-3800 or visit www.jfcspgh.org/services/counseling-services.