Riverdale star Lili Reinhart recently announced she would be taking time away from Twitter and now she's explaining more about why.
In a series of Instagram Stories, per Cosmopolitan, Reinhart described how the constant onslaught of strangers' opinions was taking a toll on her mental health.
"Re: the Twitter situation," Reinhart wrote yesterday. "Unless you're personally experiencing it, you could never understand how it feels to have thousands of people spewing hate at you constantly."
She continued, "I am not taking a break from Twitter because one person's opinion. As a whole that site is not good for my mental health, and it isn't benefitting me anymore. THAT is why I'm taking a break. And before you think about saying something ignorant like 'she can't handle criticism,' just try to imagine thousands of people sending you hateful critical messages all day long, as if their opinion on your life matters. Then ask yourself if you think being on twitter would be a 'healthy' choice at that point."
"I feel stupid for even having to explain myself but there's too much ignorance and negativity out there to not say something," she said. "That's just who I am."
In a follow-up post today, she said "Have been feeling so much anxiety lately. Can't wait to take a breather and focus on my mental health for a few weeks."
Even if you're not a celebrity, social media can easily become something that affects your mental health.
Maybe you're not a celebrity who comes under fire from teenaged fans every time you tweet, but that doesn't mean you don't deserve a Twitter break once in a while, too.
For example, some people find that being bombarded by headlines about sexual assault triggers their post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), that getting fired up on social media without a clear outlet for that anger just makes them feel frustrated, or that it perpetuates your tendency to ruminate on past mistakes in a way that isn't necessarily helpful. Those are all perfectly valid reasons for wanting to limit your time on social media sites and apps.
And that's why it's so important to be able to recognize when something isn't healthy for you, as Reinhart did, and take the steps you need to in order to care for yourself. As SELF wrote previously, that includes drawing on the support system and coping mechanisms you may already have, such as grounding techniques.
If you find that social media is regularly affecting your mental health in a negative way, that's a sign that you might want to find some other long-term ways to address the issue, such as going to (or getting back into) regular therapy. Your therapist can also help you identify other coping mechanisms that you can use in the moment if needed.
But, sometimes, avoiding social media—at least temporarily—is necessary to move forward and feel OK, and that's totally fine. Although that could include deleting apps or taking time away from them entirely, it doesn't necessarily need to be so drastic. And, because they can also be a way to keep in touch with people who are a positive presence in your life and provide ways to disconnect from other stressors in your life, it could still be beneficial to keep them around in some way.
If that's the case for you, it might be helpful to create time limits on your social media activity or to limit it to a specific time of day—just for the 30 minutes you're on your morning commute, for instance. That can help mitigate the negative effects of these apps without having to entirely delete them.
Above all, it's important to be aware of where your mental health is and, when you need to, draw on the tools you have to keep yourself afloat.