How To Deal With Emotional Overwhelm And Cope With Social Media Anxiety

How To Deal With Emotional Overwhelm And Cope With Social Media Anxiety

Have you ever felt just plain exhaustion after scrolling through all the news on your feed?

It's completely normal. We are inundated with news from virtually any screen or device we look at in today's world. And 'not checking' your Instagram isn't really an option. Social media has become such an integral part of our lives that it's virtually impossible to detach from for long periods.

Every time we tap open our social media feeds, the intense emotions can feel like being hit by digital bullets.

What is emotional overwhelm?

It's a mental state of feeling an intense internal reaction caused by stress, traumatic events, negative experiences or situations outside of your control.


Even though we acknowledge our privilege to have much more than our basic living needs met, it's hard not to empathize with others who don't. It's human!

Being surrounded by negative news and people suffering can bring up feelings of stress, anxiety and overwhelm. Marie Claire resident psychiatrist Samantha Boardman explains that our feelings are 100 percent valid and encourages us to label them to better understand and identify the emotions. 

Suppose you realize that your emotional overwhelm is coming from your social feed. In that case, it's time to understand the connection between the phone and the brain.


Signs that social media is making you feel emotionally overwhelmed

There's no one key indicator. But here are a few common ways to recognize if your socials could be blamed for feeling overwhelmed by negative emotions.


  • You're (low-key) addicted to your phone. Are you constantly checking or refreshing the news? If you're struggling to achieve some independence from your phone, that's a massive 'media anxiety' red flag.

  • Scrolling first thing in the morning. Do you reach for your device before even opening your eyes? Feeling the urge to 'check' what happened overnight is another sign you're experiencing emotional overwhelm from the media.

  • You're always talking about the news. If you find it hard to find other topics to discuss apart from the tragic events you see on your feed, you may have fallen prey to digital burnout.

  • Experiencing insomnia or struggling to fall asleep because your brain can't switch off from all the news you've consumed before bed is another telltale sign of media anxiety. 


Have you felt any of these? These are all signs you might be experiencing media anxiety. The brain is so focused on what you see in the digital world and on events outside of your control that you're constantly diverting your attention to the words on the screen instead of focusing on yourself and what you can control - the present moment.

How to deal with feeling overwhelmed


Sadly there's no magic formula that will automatically unsubscribe you from feeling the mental overwhelm. And throwing your phone out the window, ala Devil Wears Prada style, is not a practical solution. But there are steps you can take to reduce the media's impact on your mental health.


Temporarily detach from your phone

Check your screen time - that might give you a bit of a wake-up call to ditch the phone and substitute it for a good book, a leisurely stroll around the garden or a mindfulness app like Calm


When doing so, it's easy to have our phones next to us but try leaving it in another room, so you're not tempted to check your social feed. Having a temporary detox (even for 1 or 2 hours) can help reduce negative feelings by decreasing the number of times you refresh the news feed.


Set a timer limiting your screen time

Did you know you can limit your screen time by setting up an automatic app limit timer that cuts off your ability to access social media (or any other app of your choice)? Say you allow yourself 40-minutes on Instagram per day. 


The auto setting will warn you when there are 5-minutes left and subsequently exit the app after hitting that 40-minute mark. It also pauses your notifications so you can't be tempted to click back into the app. Search it up in your phone settings! Giving yourself a self-imposed limit can help reduce media anxiety by simply limiting the time you spend on your phone.


Schedule time for self-care 

Taking time to focus on 'you' can help you relax and be a powerful reminder to prioritize yourself. If you don't take care of your mental and physical health, you can't be the best version of yourself and emotionally detach from negativity around you - on the screen (or off).


Have a morning and bedtime routine

Studies show that having a morning and evening routine can help you unwind before bed and be ultra-focused during the day. You should not check your phone before completing your morning ritual. 


It doesn't need to be anything extravagant. It could simply be doing a 5-minute deep breathing exercise and drinking a glass of water with lemon as soon as you wake up to get you energized and positive.


Talk to a friend

Being addicted to news can distract you from the meaningful human connections you already have in your life. Try calling up a friend instead of scrolling through Instagram after dinner tonight. Or organize to go for a coffee on Saturday morning. 


We guarantee that you'll walk away from your catch up feeling positive and uplifted. It'll force you to get out of bed instead of working out your thumb with the scroll function all morning.


With a gazillion stressful situations going on in the world today, feeling overwhelming emotions is completely normal. Try putting some distance between you and your screen to reduce this emotional overload. Remember that you are your first priority.


Have you felt emotionally overwhelmed by social media before? Let us know in the comments below!


As always, love Easy Clothes xx

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