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People 'quarantine bragging' on social media could be hurting your mental health. Here are 3 ways to limit its impact.

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  • As people are social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many are turning to social media as a way to stay connected.
  • Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and mental strength coach, explains that while interaction on social media might be beneficial, passively scrolling and consuming other people's media can have the opposite effect.
  • "You may find that those enviable Instagram images of people either cooking up a storm or building abs of steel are causing you to feel even more negatively," says Morin.
  • If seeing "quarantine accomplishments" and bragging makes you feel worse, Morin recommends that you limit social media consumption, stop comparing yourself with an unrealistic image of someone else, and practice self-compassion. 
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If you've opened Instagram these days only to discover that your friends have been spending quarantine cleaning out their closets, sculpting their beach bodies, or discovering the secrets to inner peace, you're not alone. Many people have turned to social media to share how they're benefiting from quarantine.
Of course, you might be on the other end of this spectrum. You may find this whole shelter-in-place thing is causing you to suffer socially, financially, spiritually, or emotionally. And rather than turning to social media to announce that "slowing down" has been "speeding up" your productivity, you might be more in need of gaining moral support for your suffering.
If this is the case, you may find that those enviable Instagram images of people either cooking up a storm or building abs of steel are causing you to feel even more negatively. It may only take a few minutes of scrolling to go from feeling bad to worse. And it's because other people's quarantine bragging can take a serious toll on your mental health if you're not careful.
READ MORE: 5 uplifting activities to help improve your mental health while you're social distancing, according to a psychotherapist
SEE ALSO: 7 steps you can take to stay mentally strong during the coronavirus pandemic

Quarantine bragging and mental health



Social media has the possibility to be good for your mental health when you're social distancing. After all, sharing, commenting, and interacting with others on the various platforms are a great way to stay connected when you're physically apart.
But of course, most people don't use social media just to socialize. Much of the time is spent passively scrolling and consuming media.
You likely don't need a study to explain how staring at pictures on social media can impact your brain. When you're feeling lonely, isolated, or stressed out, and you scroll through Instagram to discover that everyone around you looks happier, healthier, and wealthier, you're likely to compare your quarantine experience to theirs.
And as you may have guessed, you will probably feel bad about it. The research is clear — envying people on social media is directly linked to depression.
The more depressed you feel, the more likely you are to sit around and passively scroll through social media. It can create a vicious, negative cycle that's tough to break.
And this is true even during the best of times. Imagine how these issues could be compounded while you're struggling to deal with quarantine bragging?



How to deal with quarantine bragging



You can't make people stop bragging about how productive they are or how much peace they feel when they're staying home. But you can take steps to limit the impact it has on you.
Here are some ways to stay mentally strong when you're subjected to quarantine braggarts:
  • Limit your social media consumption. Spending less time on social media might be the most obvious answer. And it also might be the most effective. You can also unfollow people, mute them to stop seeing their posts, or hide their content (depending on which platform you're using). You'll feel better when you stop looking at posts that don't inspire, educate, or entertain you.
  • Stop the unfair comparisons. Don't waste energy comparing how you feel about your life with what someone wants you to think about their life. Keep in mind that much of what you see on social media isn't an accurate portrayal of other people's lives anyway. And even if it's true that someone is enjoying more productivity or inner peace, it doesn't mean you're somehow falling short in life. Keep your eyes on your own path to success.
  • Practice self-compassion. When you find yourself thinking you don't measure up or that you should be better, replace your self-criticism with self-compassion. Speak to yourself like a trusted friend. Remind yourself that there's no reason you have to be passionately motivated or wildly happy every moment of the day. Be kind to yourself when you're going through hard times.






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