If it wasn’t already obvious, too much social media is bad for your mental health. For many of us, it’s an unavoidable part of the job. But come the weekend, make sure to go offline, because another study has proven that staying off social media for even just a few hours can do wonders for your well-being.
A recent British study published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking observed the mental health difference of two different groups: one group that stayed off social media for one week and another group that continued using social media as usual. Those who took a week-long break spent an average of only 21 minutes on social media and experienced vast improvements in well-being, depression, and anxiety. Some of the participants who stayed off social media gained approximately nine hours of free time, which was spent doing other activities that improved their well-being.
Meanwhile, the second group stayed on social media for an average of seven hours per week, and experienced worse levels of mental health.
If you’re feeling like too much social media use is making your mental health worse, then the study’s author has a simple recommendation: go offline. The pressures of social media might make you feel obliged to stay online, but author Jeff Lambert, an assistant professor of health psychology at the University of Bath, reminds us that you are allowed to take social media breaks when you need short-term improvements.
There have been plenty of studies on why excessive social media use is bad for mental health—self-esteem issues, mind-numbing effects of doom scrolling, etc. However, the reality is that staying offline permanently isn’t always an option, especially given our overreliance on digital gadgets and social media.
Instead, if we have to stay online, we might as well use these platforms mindfully and schedule downtime without the addicting effects of TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. As they say, everything in moderation.
This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.
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