Creating Online Space That’s Best For Us
Over the last few weeks, we’ve all had to adapt the way we’re living. We’ve found ourselves in a situation that most of us have never been in before, and that can lead to a lot of different feelings. With the help of NCS Grad Jasmine R, we’ve done some research and found ways for us all to make sure that during this time we keep our mental health just as much a priority as our physical health.
Find reputable sources
Keeping up with the latest news on this pandemic is a good thing. But social media and online sources can be a wildfire for misinformation.
So how can you figure out who and what to believe?
Well, first things first, your friend’s sister’s aunty’s postman’s theory and/or conspiracy floating around on Facebook is definitely not the place to start. In fact, social media itself is not the best port of call. Although platforms like Twitter can be a speedy way to receive news, it can also very quickly turn into twisted ‘facts’ and the spreading of anxiety through untrustworthy retweets.
It’s important that when we do look for updates and info, we’re going to the right place. Health and government officials like Gov.uk and the World Health Organisation are the leading sources in all things Coronavirus. And the BBC is a well trusted news outlet, with up to date information.
It’s also important to check your sources. With the wealth of information online and freedom to upload anything, anywhere, some is bound to come from uncredited sites. So, if you see anything that comes from a website you’ve never heard of, never seen before, or just don’t really trust, then simply don’t trust it.
If you still want to check out what they say, have a read and see if they note any sources - usually if there are quotes from Doctors/Health Specialists etc, they’ll have a link to the original speech or article. If there isn’t a clear source, it’s most likely hearsay.
The more information we read that is from official sources, the more our minds can be at peace and not overthink!
Cut down screen time
Continually reading the news and seeing wave after wave (even meme after meme) of coronavirus related content can be quite a lot to handle.
And although it may feel like sometimes there’s nothing else to do during the lockdown but scroll through one social media app after the other, it can heighten anxiety and stress levels. So it’s important to not get stuck down a rabbit hole and become glued to your phone.
When you are using social media, there are things you can do to create a social space that is right for you:
On Twitter, there is a mute function for certain words. By switching this on, it means no words you’ve added to your list will show up on your timeline. This function is also available on Instagram, where you can choose to mute stories or posts from accounts. So be liberal, curate your feeds and feel positive about the social media you’re taking in.
NCS Grad Jasmine R also suggests avoiding Facebook for a while. She says: “Facebook can be great and really informative, however, in light of everything going on right now, I’ve found that people can become very vocally opinionated, which can often lead to comment warfare! Personally, I’ve found this very overwhelming. I decided a few days ago to reduce my time on Facebook and it’s been so refreshing to not be bombarded with opinions and arguments and false information. I’ve felt much less stressed and anxious since!”
Screen Time Activity
Most phones now have the function to monitor your screen time and see how long you’re spending on your phone. It also allows you to set time limits for certain apps and block/restrict certain content. Just go to your settings and take a look at what you can do to make your phone feel a safer and more positive place to be.
Look for the good
Finally, Jasmine suggests reading and sharing positive news. She says: “Right now, the majority of what we see is based on negative events. And it’s easy to become overwhelmed by that. So it’s great to be reminded that there is still amazing stuff happening all over the world”.
“There are loads of Instagram accounts highlighting the positive impact lockdown is having on the environment, like the water in the Italian canals being clear for the first time, and dolphins coming closer to the coast because there are less boats and tourists”.
“Hearing stories like this can be reassuring and refreshing! They’ve helped me be more optimistic in this difficult time and I definitely recommend taking some time to refresh yourself with happier stories.”
Instagram accounts like The Good News Movement, Upworthy and InspireMore are some of the best for inspiration, human positivity and a few lols. And you can always check out the Good News section on our blog!
What are you doing to make sure your mental health stays on track during this time? Do you have any special ways to limit what you’re taking in?