Clark Health Communications | Challenge Two: No Social Sundays

Challenge Two: No Social Sundays

Did you know that in the UK, the average amount of time each person spends on social media every day is 108 minutes? That’s over 50 hours a month! Whilst the benefits of an ever-increasingly online world are undeniable, the negative impact this can have on our mental and physical health is also well-documented; many studies link social media with depression, anxiety disorders, disrupted sleep and more. This isn’t new information, and we are all guilty of mindlessness scrolling through TikTok, Facebook, Instagram [insert social media channel of your choosing…or all three] for hours. We will put our hands up and admit we’re no better than everyone else.

As the health of our team drives the health of our business, we tried ‘No Social Sundays’ for our second challenge in our 10 challenges for 10 years of CHC series. Did we succeed in avoiding social media every Sunday for the whole of October? Well, not exactly. But here's why we’re not ashamed to admit this.

The team had very different approaches to this challenge. Jess – the only one to succeed – set a Sunday morning reminder on her phone each week. As for the rest of us… well, we struggled. Scrolling through social media has become so ingrained in our daily lives that we often found ourselves mid-scroll without even realising it. And, as Candice honestly admitted, some of us didn’t even try to avoid indulging in this pleasurable pastime.

At the end of the challenge, we asked our team to reflect on whether social media has a positive or negative impact on their mental health. Here’s what some of the team had to say:

Instagram can be great; it enables me to keep up to date with my favourite music artists, clothing companies and my close friends and family. However, Instagram naturally promotes comparison, a hallmark evil of social media. In a podcast I listened to recently, they suggested pausing every time you reach for your phone and go to open Instagram. Pause and take note of how you feel…it is very rarely when you feel good. You will often do it when you feel stressed, anxious or stuck at home with no plans and a bit of FOMO (fear of missing out). I find this is the cause and catalyst of feeling bad about myself, so I have dramatically reduced my use of Instagram.”

“I think both [positive and negative]. I use it to communicate with my friends, watch cute animal videos and keep up to date with pop culture, the news, and even politics sometimes (I’m ashamed). But there is definitely a toxic side to it, such as beauty standards, the ‘addictive’ nature of it, and of course the studies showing how it has impacted attention spans.”Georgie

“It depends on who you follow! I remember I used to be absolutely enraged by this influencer I followed on social media – there was nothing “wrong” with what she said or did, and I obviously never commented on her posts, but for some reason, they really got to me. I would sometimes spend 30 minutes of my lunch ranting to my husband about her life. I then realised I had the choice to simply unfollow her. And presto, she was gone.”

Realistically, social media isn’t going away any time soon - it’s part of our society and the work we do, but this challenge gave us the opportunity to pause and reflect on how it’s impacting our lives. Overall, self-awareness was the most useful outcome of the challenge. By becoming more aware of how we use social media, we can reap more of the benefits and fewer of the risks. We can choose to let social media empower us, by reminding ourselves that we have control over what information we consume.

So, whether that’s avoiding social media for a set number of hours or days per week, unfollowing things that impact us negatively or using it purely to connect with people, our team is taking steps to change the way we use social media.

Perhaps failing this challenge and becoming more aware of what does and does not make us happy wasn’t so bad after all?