Social Media: Dangers During the Holidays
There are many ways that social media can enhance your life. Social media can serve as a way to connect with a long-lost friend or family member, communicate and stay updated with family members and friends, stay abreast with current trends, find great deals for shopping, etc. Needless to say, there are countless blogs and posts that are educational, uplifting, enlightening, and profound.
There is also what I call the dark adverse side to social media.
The slow steady silent depressant to some. This dark adverse side of social media doesn’t jump off your device and scream gloom and doom nor represent the occult. It doesn’t reek of posts with satanic undertones.
The posts encompass photos and videos of current vacation trips, flawless bodies, perfect families, ecstatic couples, high achieving children, earth shattering proposals, spectacular group events, individuals bonding, soul mates who experienced love at first sight and picture-perfect lives.
During the holiday season the dark adverse side seems to escalate. This side is in rare form, many times feeing depression, dejection, and resentment. It seems to surface manifest from friendly to semi-friendly, depending on the viewers discretion and thoughts. Holiday joy to some may trigger others in their issues with feeling alone, abandoned, unworthy, depressed, jealous and anger.
Human beings can’t help but compare themselves to others.
We can’t help seeing the posts of all the picture-perfect fantasy like photos of people, friends, families, and celebrities. The media crams all the joyful functional perfect lifestyles and pure bliss down our throats. Social media can exacerbate the self-comparison especially during the holiday season. The “look how happy and wonderful I am”, “My kid graduating from Harvard after a full ride academic scholarship landing a $1,000,000 job”, and “My perfect flawless body after I lost 100 pounds since last Christmas” posts.
People tend to have more time off from work, holiday parties are in full force, people ask, “what are you doing for the holidays?”, and the list goes on and on…
Social media is a reality and we can’t deny its existence.
Although it enhances many aspects of our lives when utilized in positive ways, we must be cognizant of our thoughts and expectations regarding our own self-worth. Allowing oneself to torment themselves by viewing the countless posts of perfection will only cause self-doubt, self-sabotage, and many times this leads to a situational depression.
Comparing your insides to someone else’s outsides only proves to be a destructive difficult journey.
When social media creates a platform creating self-doubt, worthlessness, anger and resentment, inadequacy or emotional mutilation….it is simple, stop opening the apps that bring you to your too familiar dark place of self-abuse. Utilize social media by discovering and creating a newfound habit of listening to or reading podcast, audiobooks, eBooks, or apps designed to educate, enlighten, soothe, or motivate.
Tips for Curtailing Social Media Snags
- Gain a realistic perspective around social media. No matter how wonderful a person’s life might appear on social media, every single person has issues and all families have a skeleton hidden deep inside their closet somewhere.
- Cultivate mindfulness regarding social media habits. Having a couple glasses of wine before you begin surfing on social media might not be a great idea. When you are feeling “down” regarding the holiday season, creeping on your “perfect” cousin and her fabulous perfect family may feed your sadness or anger. Following your desire to creep on your ex and their new amazing life will only deepen your “I’m a looser” mentality.
- Tune into your emotions. Before going onto social media around the holidays, check in with how you’re feeling. Purposely viewing posts of friends and family having astonishing fun engaging in holiday activities when it makes you angry, envious, sad or anxious does not make sense!
- Consider joining online groups that can provide emotional support. For some, stopping social media or even pulling back from using it as much might be an unrealistic goal. Consider broadening your virtual relationships to include support groups or joining groups and/or professionals pages that offer both advice and support.
- Make an in-person plan to see a trusted friend or family member. Making the effort and cultivating a true relationship is paramount and should be a priority. Feeling sorry for yourself and wallowing in self-destruction only takes away from cultivating strong friendships with others who deserve your time and effort. Whenever it’s possible, up your communications to being in-person. When this is not a possibility, use text or private messaging before resorting to more public and less intimate social media sites. Be conscious of not completely relying upon social media as a means of communicating with and relating to close friends and family.
As with all things in life, nothing is either all good or all bad or completely wrong or absolutely right, so striking a healthy balance between time on social media and time off and between holding on and moving on should be helpful, especially if this holiday season might be particularly challenging.
Awareness is important for good mental health.
During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season it is important to be aware of your moods, feelings, and behaviors.
You may not realize how much social media is having an effect. Know the signs of depression that mental health professionals look for to make a diagnosis. Are you experiencing any of these regularly? Do they seem to be connected to your time on social media? If the answers are yes, you may want to consider seeking professional help or at least beginning to limit your use of social media.
You may receive a diagnosis of major depression if you have at least five of these symptoms that persist for two weeks or longer:
- A depressed mood, with feelings of sadness or hopelessness
- Loss of interest in other activities you used to enjoy
- Changes in your appetite or weight
- Changes in sleep patterns, either insomnia or sleeping more than normal
- Feeling worthless
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
- Agitated or slowed down movements
- Thoughts about death and suicide
Keep in mind that you can still seek help even if you don’t think you meet all the criteria for depression. You may be wrong, but even if you don’t get a diagnosis your symptoms may worsen, and treatment can provide relief.
If you are feeling stuck and need to talk, I would love to meet you! Email or call anytime to schedule a session. (817) 701-5438 | email@example.com
CRT, CCDC, CACC | Counselor & Life Coach
Empowering individuals, families and communities to grow and heal through advanced approaches in Creative Arts Therapy, setting the standard for treatment, practice and training within the field.