I have a true love-hate relationship with social media. I’m only 25, so I know that it plays a huge part in everyday life (mine included), but being 25 means that I also grew up in the 90s, when the only screen I had to play with was a etch-a-sketch, and when I went home from school I didn’t speak to my friends until the next day. And, I’m not ashamed to admit that a little part of me misses this simpler time, and is so very very glad that I experienced my childhood before the rise of social media. Particularly instagram.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love an insta-scroll as much as the next person. And I was as guilty as everyone else for spending my lunch-breaks with my nose to my phone, hopping from one social media platform to the other (FacebookInstagramTwitter, repeat) drooling more over the ‘dream holidays’ of my friends, than my own lunch. And I’m not hating on social media completely. It 100% has it’s place, and has the potential to be a really powerful tool…when used correctly.
Here’s the bottom line that I wanted to share. My social media started to make me sad. And not because the content was sad. The content was overwhelmingly positive – for the person posting it. And that’s the key, isn’t it. Each post would make me more and more unhappy about my own life, my own choices, my own body and my own social media, because none of it was as seemingly glamorous, exciting, perfect, or colourful. And that when I realised I needed to make a change. And here’s how:
Tip #1: UNFOLLOW THE ‘UNHAPPY-MAKERS’
You wouldn’t keep people in your real life that make you unhappy, would you? So why should the social media sphere be any different? Have a social-media spring-clean! Keep your social media space as sacred as your real-life personal space. Stop following people who are #goals because they’ve got the great bum/cute dog/dream job/perfect skin. Comparison is the thief of joy. If you find you are thinking badly of yourself because “that girl on instagram has it and you don’t”, U.N.F.O.L.L.O.W. immediately.
These people are making you forget that you are your own brilliant self, right now as you are.
Tip #2: DIGITAL DETOX
Stop the ‘insta-faffing’ and just take time away from social media. You don’t often notice quite how frequently you pick up your phone and have a scroll, even when there’s nothing new to see. It’s just habit.
If you walk or get public transport to work, try having a phone-free commute. If you go to the gym, stop scrolling in between sets. Implement a ‘no phones whilst eating’ rule. Social media-free Sunday. Even choosing just one of these to start with could make a huge difference.
Tip #3: KNOW YOUR ‘WHY’
The ‘biggie’. Why are you on social media? Once you know your ‘why’, you can use it as a tool to figure out how to make social media work for you in a sustainable and positive way, long-term. Alternatively, you might realise that you’re using it for reasons that are pretty detrimental to your own sense of joy and happiness, and remove yourself completely. That’s fine – having a presence online isn’t compulsory and I think we forget that sometimes. Everyone’s ‘why’ will be different. But I think the most dangerous ‘why’ sees you posting for the praise, judgement or affirmation of other people, not for yourself.
If outside validation is your only source of nourishment, you will hunger for the rest of your life.Unknown
In a world now seemingly dictated by ‘likes‘, followers, #hashtags and complicated algorithms, it’s easy to get bogged down in the negativity of it all. Social media is a minefield at times but has the potential to be a space for learning, growth, community and positivity, if you want it to be. For the most part, you are in control of what you see online – make it work for you. Less scrolling, more living.
Until next time,