Staying connected on social media during COVID-19

Connecting online is playing a huge role in everyone’s lives during the current pandemic
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Staying connected through social media has had a positive impact on people’s mental health during COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Being told to keep apart and follow social distancing guidelines means we haven’t been able to see people in person, but thanks to social media sites and video calls, we’ve been able to stay in touch with friends and family.

Here are the ways that social media has been positive during this pandemic, and what to do if you feel it’s starting to have a negative impact on your mental health.

Positive effects of social media during COVID-19

Social media is an important tool for keeping us connected with people while social distancing. Here are some ways that social media is having a positive impact:

Staying connected while social distancing

Social media, and video calls in particular, are a really good way to connect with family and friends. It’s important that if we are feeling lonely or isolated due to social distancing that we make an effort to connect and speak with those we love. Connecting with others is a great way to look after your wellbeing during the current situation.

How social media can be good for your mental health

Although it can get a lot of negative attention, social media can have a positive impact on our mental health. It’s good to be aware of how using social media is making us feel at the moment. Connecting with friends may have a positive impact on how we are feeling. However, if scrolling through our newsfeed and comparing ourselves to others at the moment is making us feel down or anxious, it might be a good idea to take a break or change the way we are using our social media.

Knowing when to take a break from social media

Remember that even though social media is likely your main form of communication with others at the moment, it can still be useful to take a break from it and make some time for yourself. If we are on social media a lot we can feel ‘switched on’ all the time and we don’t give ourselves a chance to relax and spend time checking in with ourselves.

Try to make time for activities during the day that don’t include scrolling through news feeds. This could include watching a YouTube tutorial to learn something new, or going offline completely to read a book or bake something.

Following the news

Media coverage on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic is hard to avoid at the moment. Many of us like to keep up to date with what is happening in Ireland and in other countries. Although it can be good to keep ourselves informed, reading huge amounts of information and statistics can sometimes lead to feelings of anxiety about the pandemic. It’s also important to ensure you are reading reliable news sources as we can sometimes be misled and worry about something we read which may not be true.

If you want to keep up with the news, try checking in just once or twice a day rather than looking for updates all the time. If something important happens, you will know about it even if you’re not plugged into the news all the time.

Saying no to video calls

Most of us are scheduling video calls with groups of friends and family as a way of keeping in touch. We may be feeling the pressure to join every call that is happening as we feel we can’t say no or have an excuse when we can’t leave our houses as much at the moment. This is understandable. However, if you are feeling tired, or having a tough day, remember that it is okay to say no. Chances are someone else might be feeling the same way as you but didn’t want to say it. Starting a culture of being able to say no when you need some time to yourself is a good way of practising self-care and prioritising your wellbeing when you need to.

Feeling overwhelmed or anxious around the current pandemic?

This situation is completely new to everyone involved and it is normal to feel worried or anxious about what is going on. Following the Government’s instructions on how to stay safe and help slow the spread of the virus, can help to make you feel more in control of your current situation.

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