Tom Holland is taking a social media break – here’s how to do it
The Spider-Man star speaks up about mental health and the ‘overwhelming’ experience of social media
image Instagram via @tomholland2013
words Eve Walker
Social media can be toxic enough as it is, but when you’re Spiderman and dating a fellow celeb? Problems. It’s commonplace to suffer from crippling hangxiety after posting messy Instagram stories of your drunken night out to 500 people, or feeling insecure from the avalanche of influencers on their holidays… but imagine having 67 million followers. That’s the pressure Tom Holland is facing, so it’s no surprise that he’s decided to take a step back from his online life.
In a video he posted on Instagram after a brief return to the platform, Holland explained that social media has been taking a serious toll on his mental health.
“I get caught up and I spiral when I read things about me online and ultimately it's very detrimental to my mental state.
"So I decided to take a step back and delete the app”.
Pop star Justin Bieber, who has been open in the past about his own battle with mental health issues, replied with: "Love you man."
The video has amassed over 20 million views. His openness has undoubtedly reached people struggling with their own mental health, helping them to feel less alone and connecting them with resources that can help. Holland took the opportunity to promote a teenage mental health charity called stem4 in his insta post that his family trust, The Brother's Trust, help to fund.
The charity responded in support of Holland’s post, writing on their Instagram page, “As Tom Holland (aka Spider-Man!) has shown, it’s a superpower to ask for support to improve your mental health.”
Now that he’s spending less time on the grid, hopefully he’ll have freed up space to develop his impressive lip-synching skills after his performance on Lip Sync Battle that had us all screaming.
It's estimated that 3.96 billion people use social media, with an approximate time of 144 minutes spent on it every day, on average. Studies have found that prolonged time on the apps can trigger feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress. Though you may be in conversations with friends, it's vital to remember that it's a sedentary behaviour. That means you're limiting the amount of time you spend in the outside world, in face-to-face-interactions, or away from a screen.
You should think about taking a social media break for several reasons. Maybe you find yourself comparing yourself to others a lot – their appearance, success, the life you see online – and it makes you feel bad. Maybe it inspires other negative emotions – rather than feeling fun and connective, it's draining and depressing or anger-inducing. If it feels like a non-negotiable facet of your day, rather than a nice little add-on, or you're doomscrolling yourself into misery or panic for hours on end, it's also time to consider your relationship to social media. There's a physical aspect to think about too – if it's the last thing you see before you go to bed, you could be disrupting your sleep. Your phone's blue light affects melatonin, which is your body's hormone that ultimately controls sleep. That blue phone light, to your body, is a sign that it's still daylight, rather than time to rest.
So how to you stay off the social media stimulant and break the habit? Start small. Have a go at scheduling the time you spend on social media to softly dip your toe in. Put your phone on the other side of the room to charge when you go to bed to limit the temptation of playing on it before you sleep. There are several social media-limiting apps you can also use to help. You could also turn off all your social media network and app notifications – experts describe that little ruse you get from a like or comment notification as a positive social stimulus and dopamine influx, which can make you feeling addicted. More analog tips include prioritising other mood-boosting activities sans phone. Try cooking, getting outside for a walk or exercise, hanging out with friends or family IRL, journaling or reading.