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7 tips for healthy use of social media and news

Woman using social media on phone

Social media and news can help you stay connected and informed. However, all that information can also be overwhelming, and it can disrupt your day. It can be easy to develop unintentional habits.


Here are seven tips for using social media and news in a healthy way.


  1. Know your goal. You may want to use social media to stay up to date on events in your community. If so, use it only for that. Log off when you have the info you need. If you’re trying to stay caught up on the day’s events, maybe a check-in once a day is enough.
  2. Notice your emotions. Think about how the news, or scrolling through your feeds, makes you feel. Does seeing what friends are sharing make you happy? Or does it make you feel down? When you’re aware of how news and social media affect you, you can decide if you need to make changes. Remember you can unfollow or hide feeds that cause you stress. You can still be informed without absorbing all the info that comes your way.
  3. Engage rather than compare. It’s easy to compare your everyday life to someone else's online life. But remember that people usually post about the shiny parts of their lives. It’s less common to see people sharing daily struggles or disappointments. So even if what you’re seeing is a true story, remember that it’s never the whole story.
  4. Use tools and settings for more control. Turn off news alerts on your phone so you can get information you want when you’re ready for it. You can also sign up for “news roundup” emails with top headlines or summaries of the day’s events.
  5. Track your time spent using social media or reading news. You can do this with an app or manually. If you don't like how those minutes add up, think about how you’d rather use that time. Sometimes it can help to put it into words. For example, “Spend an hour on Facebook, or spend an hour playing basketball with my daughter?” or “Spend an hour reading the news, or spend an hour learning guitar chords?”
  6. Follow the feel-good stuff. The news can be heavy. Find balance by focusing on things that make you feel happy, such as social media accounts or groups that focus on your interests or things that make you laugh. Subscribe to good news email newsletters that link to news from around the world that might make you smile or boost your mood. Most major news sources offer them or something similar.
  7. Set a time to step away. Reserve time to disconnect. Close your apps and turn off the TV. Read a book, get outside, work on a puzzle, or call a friend. It doesn't matter what you choose to do. Just make sure it's something that feels supportive and worth your time.


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