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Your Healthy Family: When to take a break from social media

Posted at 11:24 AM, Aug 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-23 11:24:51-04

The actor who plays Spider-Man and has millions of followers on Instagram is taking a break from social media to protect his mental health. Psychologists say there are a lot of benefits to stepping back from social media.

"I have taken a break from social media for my mental health," Tom Holland said in an Instagram video. "I find Instagram and Twitter to be overstimulating, to be overwhelming. I get caught up and I spiral when I read things about me online."

Holland has more than 67 million followers on Instagram.

"Human beings are social creatures by nature, but just like all things there is too much of a good thing," Arianna Galligher, the Associate Director, of Ohio State's STAR Trauma Recovery Center, said.

She said spending too much time on social media can take away from your ability to live life. Instead, she said you're just getting a running commentary on it online.

"Just being able to say, 'I'm struggling' and being able to find out you're not alone in that is very powerful" Galligher said.

She said for some people, being on social media isn't a good idea in general; it doesn't bring them the connection or joy they're looking for. For others, stepping back and re-engaging in an intentional way may work better.

How do you know if it's time to take a break? If you're constantly checking your newsfeed, or getting upset, jealous or angry while on social media, it's time to step back.

Jane Pernotto- Ehrman, a Behavioral Health Specialist with Cleveland Clinic said research shows if you limit your time on social media to no more than 30 minutes a day, your mood can actually improve.

“I think when we say, okay, I am going to check social media at this time of the day and keep it to that, and not check it first thing in the morning, and not check it every time they have a break, so that they have some regulation to their day and their time, I think that’s helpful," she said.

Galligher said she hopes other people will follow Holland's lead.

Mental health experts also say to remove social media apps from your phone completely when taking a break to stay on track. Once you're ready to go back online, make sure to unfollow any accounts that make you question your self-worth or give you negative feelings.