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There are a few markers that tell me when I’m spending too much time on social media.

One is coveting products hitherto unfamiliar to me (like the towel scrunchies I saw in an Instagram ad last week and immediately, if irrationally, wanted); another is expending undue emotional energy on the lives or opinions of people I haven’t spoken to in months (or ever); another is wishing that my home or body or life looked more like someone else’s. But above all, I know I need a break when the noise online seems to cloud my very thoughts, values, and preferences.

This week at Verily, we’re reflecting on individuality and the influence of the digital world, for better and for worse. In a fashion piece, Caroline Mays recommends vintage boutiques that you can shop online. In another article, Alexandra Davis reflects on how stepping back from Instagram helped her reclaim her personal style. In this week’s longform piece, Lindsey Weishar examines how social media, among other factors, has made ours a culture of “see you later,” rather than “goodbye.”

And keep an eye out for a beautiful reflection in our Making of a Mom column, quirky ways to get yourself out the door for your next run, and an exploration of a lesser-known Jane Austen heroine.

Aside from connecting with friends, what parts of social media do you find helpful or life-giving? What parts drain you? We’d love to hear from you