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Stay Social, Get Well: How To Use Social Media To Boost Your Health

Stay Social, Get Well: How To Use Social Media To Boost Your Health

Stay Social, Get Well: How To Use Social Media To Boost Your Health

| By Wellvyl Media Editorial

Whether you’re searching for your next big date or for the best bagel spot in your ‘hood, it’s likely you turn to social media for solutions. Given the increased popularity of social media detoxing and the topical discussion on our dependence on devices, it’s become clear that this social media habit can be detrimental to our wellbeing. Low self-esteem, destructive behaviors, and feelings of isolation in our relationships are just some examples of the harmful effects social media can have on our mental, emotional, and social health. There’s no shortage of articles (shared primarily on Facebook, ironically) detailing the dangers of social media, but most of these pieces fail to answer or even raise the question: So, now what?

Let’s be real here: even knowing the downsides, you’re probably not going to quit social media entirely. For one thing, where would you get your Kermit memes from? For another, on its best days social media can serve as a useful tool to nurture connections and interests and to discover information. By shaking up our approach to Bumble, Snapchat, and the rest we can hit on new ways to utilize social media in order to boost our wellbeing. We promise: the cat videos and aerial shots of ramen will still be there when you get back.

Support Your Healthy Hobbies, Because “Binging Netflix” Doesn’t Sound Great In A Job Interview

While today’s array of wellness-themed IG accounts has its potential pitfalls— looking at these profiles, one could easily forget that wellness comes in plenty of different pretty (or not-so-pretty) packages— these sources are a huge help in fostering healthy interests. From yoga pros demoing asanas and sequences to vegan cooks sharing snaps of cruelty-free creations, social media offers a smorgasbord of inspiration for the health-minded hobbyist. Seeking out accounts that correspond to your passions could further educate you on a favorite subject, expose you to new people and ideas, and even provide the boost of encouragement you need to finally tackle that meditation practice or Soul Cycle class. Thanks to the global popularity of these accounts, you’re also granted insight into the hottest health cafes, fitness spots, and trends from far-flung locales to your own backyard, helping you take your online interest into the “real” world. Rather than merely killing time on the web (we’re looking at you, Netflix reruns) or falling into the dreaded black hole of online-stalking, we can use our go-to platforms to better ourselves and utilize our social media obsession in our journey of self-work. The next time someone asks about your hobbies, you’ll have an answer that’s more interesting but just as honest as “Narcos marathons”.

Put The “Social” Back In Social Media

For years there’s been a debate about just how social social media really is, with everyone from TV psychologists to your old-school grandmother weighing in with an opinion. Here at Wellvyl we champion connection and community, and at the risk of pissing off Grandma, online platforms like Facebook and Bumble can be utilized to accomplish just that. As modern people with eclectic schedules, friends and family scattered across the globe, and hopefully a few healthy hobbies occupying our time (see above), connecting face-to-face isn’t always possible. (Any New Yorker can tell you that dating someone from another borough may as well be considered a long-distance relationship). Without technology it would be easy to lose touch or watch relationships wither due to lack of communication, but social media allows us to keep up connections when interacting IRL isn’t an option. Exchanging messages, swapping photos and personal updates, and sharing content that amuses, angers, or inspires us are all ways of connecting— period. While a Facebook poke is no substitute for sharing a weekend morning run with a friend— or the customary by Chloe buffet which follows— it can help keep relationships alive and well in between meetings.

Social media also offers the opportunity to create new connections. Sleazy mirror pics and come-ons aside, popular dating and friend-finding apps like Bumble are designed to facilitate connections between strangers with a simple right-swipe of the hand. For folks with niche interests, themed Facebook groups focusing on everything from sneaker culture to tarotology provide excellent online environments to connect with likeminded individuals. Through social media, you can even find opportunities to connect in person as well as online; browsing fitness accounts may introduce you to a local running club and researching social movements could inspire your volunteer efforts. Nothing benefits your health more than having a network of people who boost and support your wellbeing, and social media can help nurture and grow that network. Now that’s something worth liking.

The debate about the dangers or perks of social media use is sure to rage on, but in the meantime we can decide to post, share, and tweet to our advantage. You don’t have to be productive 24/7; sometimes zoning out for a Twilight Zone marathon or aimlessly surfing sites can be a restorative experience, an act of self-care. For the rest of the time, consider how you’re using social media: are you connecting to others and to yourself? If not, what are you doing instead? Healthy social media habits go beyond not stalking that ex on Instagram and are determined instead by whether your social media use is supporting or undermining your wellbeing. We spend so much of our time tuned in to these devices and platforms that we can’t afford to ignore their effects on our health. Nurture your connections, make new ones, explore your passions, and you can stay social while becoming well.