Spending time on social media can be a great way to meet new people online, learn information, and even find inspiration in your life. But spending too much time deep in the trenches of digital debate or endless scrolling can possibly take a toll on your mental health. Personally I have found that if I spend too much on apps like Instagram or Twitter that I begin comparing myself or I start to lose interest in more productive activities. But being on social media is part of my job as an advocate, so I find it’s best to provide boundaries or guidelines to my time online. Below are some tips I follow that can help you set a better relationship with social media, especially when you have OCD. 

  1. Unfollow harmful accounts. This is a fairly straightforward tip but it deserves it’s own reminder. You don’t owe anyone a follow online. And if their content is triggering or harmful, it’s best to stop following or prevent engagement with those types of accounts. 
  2. Follow educational accounts. I have found so many amazing accounts of social media sharing informative and HELPFUL information around mental health, OCD, and other important topics. If you start by finding one or two really helpful accounts, you will see that these content creators, therapists, and advocates also have other resources they can point you to. 
  3. Set time boundaries around how much time you spend on social media. There are a lot of different opinions on how much screen time we should be having, but at the end of the day only you can determine the best relationship with social media.  I personally find that I have the best relationship with social media if I put my phone away before bed and wait at least an hour in the morning before picking it. That way I start and end my day clear headed. 
  4. Remember that not everyone online views the world the same as you. Sometimes when spending time online you can feel personally triggered or upset because someone posts a different view than you. Maybe it’s a political or social opinion. Or maybe it’s a harmful stereotype about OCD.  Just remember this content is separate from you and your views of the world. But being online is also an opportunity to widen your perspective and learn about others. 

And remember, you are always welcome to discuss your experiences with social media in an OCDPeers group. It is actually a very common topic for folks with OCD to discuss, since being online is so entwined in our daily lives. 

Do you have any other tips or tricks to help set better boundaries with social media?