Top 10 tips for mums to get the most from Facebook
There's no need to shun social networking sites such as Facebook. After all, there aren't many places you'll find people to chat with at 3am when you're feeding. But here's how you can get the best – and avoid the worst – from the social media site.
1. Remember the positive skew
Forty per cent of people say they never put anything negative on Facebook. Also, when comparing people's real lives with the life their Facebook friends thought they had, researchers found they were actually a third less likely to be having fun and 53 per cent more likely to be lonely.
2. Compare apples with apples
If your friend's baby is three months older than yours, of course things are going to be moving on faster with them. And yes, friends without kids will be going to pubs every weekend when you're not. 'Right now it might seem that you're never going to do things like that again, but you will, if you want to,' says Jo Hemmings.
3. Know if you have an envy-prone personality
Professor Freeman says those with a tendency to worry will over-analyse things they see on social media, building them up into something they're not. However, new research has revealed a simple trick to stop it. Write what you're worrying about on a piece of paper, screw it up and throw it in the bin. According to the researchers at America's Ohio State University, treating your thoughts as rubbish helps your brain see them as such.
Researchers in Germany found that passive Facebook users will feel the worst after using it. So interact – even if it's to express your bewilderment that a friend's toddler can look so perfect in white. You never know – she may reply, 'You should have seen her later after she'd been eating chocolate.'
5. Use a happiness exercise
'Stop focusing on what you think's going wrong and instead name at least three things you've done right in the past 24 hours,' says Dr Von Lob from London's City Psychology Group. These don't have to be huge steps – even the smallest positive thing can help bolster your self-esteem.
6. Select the 'hide' option
If someone is pushing your buttons, hide their updates. They won't even know. Go into your news feed and click on their name to go to their profile page. Hit 'Friends' and you'll see 'Show in newsfeed' then click to remove the tick. Like that!
7. See people face to face
Studies by Gallup found we're happiest if less than 75 per cent of our daily social interactions are on social media or the phone. Get out with your baby or invite friends and family over. Also, says Hemmings, 'You get a more rounded picture of how well others are doing.'
8. Turn to forums
If you're finding things tough, avoid friend-based social media and try forums (such as Gurgle's forum) instead – anonymity often means people are more honest.
9. Start writing a blog
Studies from Brigham Young University in America found that mums who blogged about their experiences felt less stressed and more supported than other mums – including those spending time on other social media.
10. Remind yourself that there's probably someone out there who's envying you
German studies showed that 30 per cent of Facebook users envy the happy family lives of their friends.