Social media often gets a bad rap when it comes to well-being. From setting unrealistic standards and encouraging self-deprecating comparisons to fostering addiction and anxiety, you’re often advised to move away from online platforms to protect yourself.
Yet, if you learn to use the online world in the right way, social media can actually boost your well-being. By applying a bit of mindfulness and discipline to your social media habits, you can turn your online experience into a mood-boosting tool that supports your mental health.
Pinterest: Improve Your Creativity
It’s well-recognized that creative activities can boost your mental health and, according to Medical News Today, particular creative pastimes can help you manage negative emotions, ease anxiety, and help with self-expression.
To find creative activities to boost your mental health, try using Pinterest—a visual online platform and app that is packed with creative content. You can use Pinterest to create personalized digital pinboards of images, videos, and other media. It’s the ideal hub for collecting inspiration and organizing ideas to bolster your creative hobbies and interests.
Pinterest can help boost your well-being not only by engaging in your favorite hobbies or discovering a new pastime, but also by creating motivational boards of photos and videos. The overall vibe of Pinterest is wholesome and the established Pinterest Creator Code ensures you have a positive experience with an emphasis on kindness.
Instagram: Create and Save Your Favorite Memories
Arguably the most popular picture-sharing social media platform, Instagram is often criticized for encouraging egotistical and attention-seeking behaviors. But creating your own highlight reel of photo or video memories doesn’t have to be a toxic pastime—it can actually support your mental well-being.
Looking back through photos of positive memories can invoke feelings of nostalgia and happiness. So why not use Instagram to create your own photo albums of happy memories for free? Curating a highlight reel of your best moments doesn’t need to be about showing off to others, but about creating a positive resource that you can turn to when you need a pick me up.
Start by saving stories into story highlights to create a slideshow of memories. You can also create Reels—an Instagram feature that allows you to combine clips of your media to create videos of your best moments. If you’re new to the social network, check out our top tips for getting started with Instagram and transform your account into your happy place.
YouTube: Learn Something New
While YouTube may be primarily seen as the place to find entertainment, the video-sharing platform is a great place to learn something new. As the NHS explains, learning new skills can boost your mental well-being by raising your self-esteem, helping develop a sense of purpose, and connecting with others.
There are plenty of interesting things you can learn on YouTube, from hobbies and DIY to career-based learning, such as web development or SEO skills. Searching “how to” for almost any topic will provide you with a wealth of results to watch on YouTube.
One of the best things about YouTube is that most of its content is free, meaning that you can upskill or learn something new without having to spend a penny.
TikTok: Indulge in Mindless Entertainment
If YouTube is the leader in long-form videos, TikTok arguably holds the crown when it comes to short-form videos. While it can be a time-sink with its endless scrolling and dopamine hits, there are several reasons why TikTok is actually a good social media platform.
For starters, TikTok is a creative platform. Whether you’re putting together short-form videos yourself, or watching and learning artistic hobbies from others, it’s a good platform to support your creative well-being. It’s also a source of funny memes and content—and what could be better for your mental health than a good laugh?
The key to using TikTok in a healthy way is to monitor your use. While scrolling through lighthearted content can give you a mood boost and take your mind off a stressful day, don’t let your TikTok use become endless. Try setting an app limit or a timer when you open the app so that your daily usage doesn’t start taking over your day.
Reddit: Connect With Like-Minded People
Reddit is a forum-based social media platform that’s all about sharing conversations and ideas and connecting with others over specific topics known as “subreddits.” As the Canadian Mental Health Association highlights, social connection can reduce anxiety and depression and improve our self-esteem, meaning Reddit forums are a winner when it comes to boosting your well-being.
If you’re looking for a place to connect with like-minded people, it’s easy to find subreddits that interest you—whether it’s gaming, media, politics, or wellness. If you’re concerned about your mental well-being while connecting with others on Reddit, don’t fret. There are thousands of moderators on the platform as well as general admins who establish content policies against harassment or problematic content, helping protect you and other users.
Facebook: Stay in Touch With Friends and Family
Although it might seem like an archaic social media platform these days, there are good reasons to still use Facebook. Not only is it straightforward to use, but Facebook does make it easy to keep in touch with friends and family—and staying connected is vital for your mental well-being.
Many people still use Facebook, meaning it’s a good place to find and interact with people wherever you are in the world. Its dedicated messaging app, Messenger, can also help you connect with friends and family via text, phone, and video calls.
The community features of Facebook are also beneficial. Just like Reddit, joining groups of people that share your interests—and even engaging in meet-ups—can support your mental well-being by giving you a sense of purpose and connection.
Despite getting a bad rap, social media can benefit rather than damage your mental well-being. After all, social media is designed to connect and entertain, and you can harness those positive purposes to ensure you’re getting the benefits of your time spent online.
The key is to apply a bit of discipline by using social media mindfully, paying attention to how you feel when you engage online, and knowing when to take a break from your screen.