If you were on Facebook during and after the 2016 election process, you probably came away angry or annoyed by many of the comments. Social media is good at stoking your emotions. Whether you’re looking at pictures of your cousin’s newborn baby or a viral video of some sports figure getting caught by a security camera beating his tiny fiancé, what you see there has the power to brighten your day or offend your sensibilities.
When you’re on the road for several days, social media can also contribute to depression. Being away from home and family is a downer by itself. Add in some time on social media that makes you feel like you’re always missing something, and you can end up depressed.
Here’s how it can happen, along with a few suggestions to help you fight the social media blues:
You have a fear of missing out (FOMO)
You’re at a truck stop motel or relaxing in your sleeper cab when you take out your phone and see photos on Facebook of your loved ones or friends having fun at parties and sporting events without you. With lots of time on your hands and nothing to do, you spend the time thinking about how much fun everyone else is having, and soon your feelings begin to snowball out of control, and you’re on the verge of full-blown depression.
Instead of focusing on what you’re missing, start planning some fun things to do when you get home. Schedule a date night or a trip to an amusement park with your family. If you have something to look forward to, you’re likely to feel more positive.
You’ve allowed social media to replace human interaction on the road
It can be a lonely life on the road, but staring at your smart phone’s screen is not the complete answer. A real smile from a stranger or a short conversation with a waitress will lift your mood better than an emoji with heart-shaped eyes from Facebook. Whenever the opportunity arises, engage in small talk or do a kindness for someone. You’ll stave off depression and make their day brighter.
Social media is interfering with your sleep
If you’re not getting enough sleep because you’re scrolling through Twitter and Facebook well past your bedtime, you could be setting yourself up for health problems. Sleep deprivation is known to be a contributor to depression. The light from your phone, which could be disrupting your sleep cycle, might also be making it difficult for you to fall asleep. Instead, try reading before you turn in for the night.
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