Social Media Use Linked With Depression During Pandemic: Here Are 5 Healthier Ways to Spend Your Time

·3-min read

Even though many countries are lifting lockdown, most of us are trying to stay home as much as possible. Though it has become tedious, it is the need of the hour. Staying home for long periods of time has its own challenges though - one of them being that many of us have become addicted to our phones, and especially to social media. In the beginning, social media acted as a source of information, provided emotional support and also keeping you entertained.

However, according to research published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, it was found that prolonged and excessive use of social media can result in depression and mental trauma.

Social media and mental health deterioration

In this study, the scientists from Penn State and Jinan University included 320 participants who were not diagnosed with any depressive or traumatic disorders before the survey. The scientists used an instrument (which was initially created to measure Facebook addiction) to examine the participants' use of WeChat, a Chinese social media app. They further examined the behavioural changes of these participants after using excessive social media.

The results of the study showed that more than half of the participants had some levels of depression with around 20% of participants reporting moderate to severe depression.

Furthermore, it was also found that 80% of these participants reported a low level of trauma, while 13% reported moderate levels around 7% reported high levels of trauma.

Things that can be done other than scrolling through social media

First things first, keep your phone away from your bed. This is a small habit that can make a big difference in your life. Other than this, here are five things that you can do instead of spending time on social media.

1. Clean up your room

Keep your phone aside and start with cleaning up your room. You can organize your clothes, paperwork, drawers and all the other stuff piled up in the corners of your room. Decluttering will help give you a sense of satisfaction and organise your thoughts.

2. Spend some time with nature

If you have a garden in or around your house, step out and spend some time there. If you don’t, you may want to get some houseplants and place them inside your house or in the balcony and get that touch of nature within your home. Studies have shown that exposure to nature helps in reducing stress, improves mood and increases concentration power.

3. Explore new areas of life

If you’ve wanted to learn cooking or painting all your life, this could be the best time for you to explore that. Learning something outside of your comfort zone can give you a sense of confidence. If not cooking, you can also make podcasts on topics that interest you or sign up for a digital course.

4. Exercise

Exercising helps in making you feel active and fresh. You can go for a brisk walk, do jumping jacks or even just stretch. You can also do an intense 10-minute cardio workout by running up and down the stairs of your building.

5. Play games that sharpen your brain

Rather than scrolling mindlessly, you can engage in some brain activity such as playing chess, solving crossword puzzles or sudoku. These games help in improving your problem-solving abilities and enhance thinking power.

For more information, read our article on Depression.

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