While social media can help you feel connected and share special moments—it can also take a toll on your mental health.

Social media has been linked to an increase in mental health disorders, lower self-esteem, depression, and a serious fear of missing out. When we see others’ curated lives, we tend to focus on all the things in our lives we want to change.

It’s human nature to compare what you have with what it seems others have. And if scrolling through social feeds is starting to bum you out, it might be time to take a break. Disconnecting for even just a little bit can give your brain some space and help your wellbeing. Unlike using marijuana—which can worsen mental health problems like anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and sleep disorders—managing time spent online can improve mental health, mood, and even sleep cycles.

Full disclosure: The ways we often use social media have been shown to mirror other addictive behaviors, so quitting can be tough. But there are ways you can mindfully manage the time you spend scrolling.

  • Set time limits. If you have an iPhone or Android, you can set up screen time limits to help you track the time you spend on certain apps. Instagram has also added a tool to help you set time limits on daily use. When viewing your profile page in Instagram, click the right-corner menu, select “Your Activity,” and set your limits.
  • Skip late night scrolling. Not an easy ask, we know. But pre-bed screen time, blue light exposure, and doom scrolling can seriously mess with your sleep schedule and overall health—negatively impacting your mood and mental health.
  • Spring clean your news feed. If someone’s social feed makes you feel bad, you don’t have to follow them. If you don’t want to click that unfollow button just yet, mute or hide their channel and free up your feed for those who make you feel positive and powerful.

So, you’ve tidied up your social media habits and have a bunch of free time on your hands, now what? We’ve got some ideas.

  1. Get outside and exploreBeing in nature = improved mood—just check the science.
  2. JournalThere’s no wrong way to journal. You can draw, doodle, make lists, or write down all those thoughts that may be cluttering your headspace.
  3. Listen to your favorite album, start to finish.And resist shuffling!
  4. Treat yourself to a face mask or a spa night with friends. And yes, you can enjoy a moisturizing sheet mask no matter your gender identification!
  5. Meditate.Deep breathing can help you manage stress and refocus.
  6. Craft or cook with friends. Create something! Anything!
  7. Exercise. Moving your body can help release endorphins. Endorphins means a happier you.
  8. Talk it out. Whether with a friend, a family member, a trusted adult, or a therapist, talking through the things that weigh on you—no matter how big or small—is an important part of self-care. Need someone to talk to? Teen Link provides free, confidential help to teens. Find out more at https://www.teenlink.org/