Dealing With Online Stress

In recognition of April being the official stress awareness month, we should all look for ways to better empathise with the online pressures of our peers, co-workers, and other occupants of the so-called digital space. The sheer size of said space means that a regular person gets constantly pelted with societal expectation and general unpleasantness across any platform that they choose to use. Choose is the key word here as the use of online platforms is very much a choice, and before saying anything else, I would highly recommend taking a break from any online spaces if you find that they regularly boost your stress levels. There is no shame in simply taking a break from, or limiting your access to, the online world as it can sometimes feel like a multi-pronged attack on your mental wellbeing, trust me, many of us have been there. There are, however, several ways in which you can limit your own exposure to the nasties of the internet, we’ve picked out some of our favourites to talk about below.

Understanding What Stresses You Out

By coming to understand what directly causes you stress within a digital space will better enable you to combat it. The chief offender in most cases will be a form of social media through which you might encounter trolling or negativity as well as posts pertaining to the ideal self rather than reality. As mentioned in our link between social media and mental health blog, this can cause long-lasting damage to self-esteem as well as additional stress. While avoiding altered and staged social posts is very difficult to do, especially on picture heavy platforms such as Instagram, filtering the accounts that you do follow can help to mitigate the number of stressful posts you encounter.

Limiting Your Active Time

The internet is huge, like absolutely ludicrous amounts of huge, like so huge that you’re likely to feel light headed just trying to imagine the 1.17 billion websites that currently exist (so try not to). The point I’m trying to make is that you can spend a lifetime browsing websites and social profiles without seeing all that is there to see. In almost Lovecraftian style, the more you focus on collecting knowledge and trying to see everything, the more your mental health will suffer. Spending all your time online will only serve to distance you from others, basic human necessities such as eating, sleeping, and sometimes briefly seeing the sun are all pretty important in the grand scheme of things – certainly more so than what an influencer on the other side of the world thinks about the latest designer clothing launch.

There are numerous applications on the app store that allow you to create self-imposed limits that look to lower time spent online but even something as simple as a timer can help you to cut down if necessary.

Talking to Someone

While it may not always be a perfect solution, there is a reason why so many people encourage each other to speak about their issues or anxieties. While the exact mathematics of a problem shared is a problem halved are yet to be proven, discussion with a trusted individual can help to alleviate feelings of hopelessness as well as offer you some insight into addressing the matter at hand. Yet again, it is important to emphasize that not everyone is a mental health professional, and their advice should not always be taken at face value. However, if you do wish to speak to a professional, there is plenty of information as well as contact number available on the National Stress Awareness Month website.