Got the Christmas blues? Best steer clear of social media

Millennials are twice as likely to be alone over festive period as over-65s...

Got the Christmas blues? Best steer clear of social media

Picture by Yui Mok PA Wire/PA Images

Facebook is not the best place to look if you're searching for some festive cheer, according to new research.

University of Copenhagen researchers found that excessive use of the social network, and the act of looking at other people's posts, can stir up feelings of envy and depression. 

The study of 1,300 people, with the majority being women, found that "regular use of social networking such as Facebook can negatively affect your emotional well-being and satisfaction with life".

Particularly damaging is "lurking" without actually connecting with people yourself. Engaging in conversation is much more preferable. 

The paper, published in the Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking, goes as far as to recommend abandoning social media entirely for a week to improve your mental health. 

Meanwhile, British mental health organisation Mind has released new figures which that younger people are twice as likely to be lonely at Christmas as those over the age of 65.

In a poll of 2,037 people, Mind found that one in ten millennials – those aged between 25 and 34 – say they have no one to spend Christmas with, compared to one in 20 older people. compounding mental health problems, half of younger people were worried about their finances over the festive period and a third said they tend to dwell on things they failed to do over the course of the year.

Mind's Stephen Buckley said of the perils of lurking online:

"People are jetting off to the other side of the world and they're editing their life and showing the very best of what they have to offer. We know that that's not Christmas for the vast majority of people but I think it does give people a false expectation."