How to stay calm in this PANDEMIC with Social Media Diet

By: John Victor Bajar, PT,PTRP

Nowadays we get most of our information through the tips of our fingers or just by simply asking Siri/Alexa questions such as "what, where, when and how". Indeed, we're living in a fast paced informative age. A good amount of curated information is just a search away. However, a lot of false information or "fake news" is scattered in the internet. These articles, post, and websites can usually influence our thoughts and thinking because we're so used to getting information in the Internet. During these tough times, stress, panic, anger etc. are some of the negative emotions we get after reading such content, not knowing that what we've read is not truthful or based in actual facts. In an unprecedented times like this, we should avoid such negativities. So here are 3 easy steps to stay calm and collected during the pandemic.

1. The Habit of Fact Checking

"Fake news has been a big problem for some time now, and there are many people out there that will just read a post off Facebook and believe it to be truth, without finding out an original or secondary source" - Laura Varley, Brand journalist at Veritcal leap.

Here are some steps on how to spot fake news.

1. Consider the Source

2. Read beyond the headline

3. Check the Author

4. What's the support?

5. Check the date.

6. Determine if it's a joke

7. Check your biases

8. Consult the experts

2. Lessen your Screen Time

According to Nicole Fisher, Founder of Health and Human rights strategy, “In 2019, Americans consumed 5x more information as they did 50 years ago. In fact, an average American spends 12 hours a day as screen-time, and this can affect both physical and mental health.” Sadly, effects like higher depression and loneliness rates in teenagers was observed the more time they spent on their phones. As we know, mental health issues will soon correlate with physical health issues, if not addressed properly.

In order to prevent such issues, here are some easy steps to manage your social media diet.

1. Give your phone a rest and put it away.

2. Put your phone away from the dinner table or while eating.

3. Schedule a 30-60 minute workout, without your phone.

4. Avoid posting in real time.

5. Unfollow accounts or websites that aren't truly inspiring.

6. Filter what you read, follow, and post.

7. Read a book.

8. Learn a hobby or sport.

9. Play board games with your family and friends.

3. Productive and Proactive Internet usage.

The internet is truly amazing! If we use it wisely, it can help us to grow and learn more. It can also be a platform to inspire and help our friends, family, and community. Free education is all over the internet, and you’ll be surprised to find out that even the Ivy League colleges offer free courses that are open for everyone. Learning business and economy, how to cook a certain dish, or keeping up to date with research and journals about health and medicine, are also accessible to everyone whether you’re a beginner or a professional. Websites and platforms such as Youtube, Spotify, Apple Podcast, and NCBI are some of our favorite platforms to learn. If you want to share your art or inspire other artists, whether if it’s through music, pictures, paintings, or writing, there are also websites or platforms which can cater your needs.

Keep in mind that we have control of technology, and it does not control us. Although it may be a wonderful tool to gain information, sometimes it’s hard to pull away from the screen to do something productive. Make sure to use your resources wisely and fact check your information. In this social media diet, the goal is to do activities that follow these guidelines just like carefully picking your food in a real diet.