Let’s get real, social media is an amaaaaaaaaazing tool, I mean it’s possibly how you stumbled upon this very article. It can help us to raise awareness, to raise money and raise our own valuable voices. I’m a big fan!
But everything good can also be used for bad – comparison, envy, low self-esteem – these are all issues that we’re facing way more than the generations before us who didn’t grow up in this online world.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to use social media religiously, checking my feed first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I scroll until my thumbs ache, comparing myself to every person that pops up on my screen. And then suddenly I realise that what I was once using for enjoyment and inspiration has become something that hurts me, so I boycott it for a while, I delete my apps and have a well needed break.
But surely there’s a healthier way of balancing my social media life, right? A way of using it that doesn’t have to lead to such a dramatic insta-exodus.
So, how do we use social media without being hurt by it?
How do we enjoy the lovely bits without opening ourselves up to the not-so-lovely bits?
Here are four little tips that have helped me to enjoy the beauty of social media in a healthy and self-protecting way…
Be picky about who/what you follow!
This is a biggy. You have full permission to be careful about who you want to be seeing on your feed day-in and day-out, and it’s a pretty important thing to keep in mind. The voices that we allow to influence us, the opinions that we allow to impact our own, the view-points that we allow to shape the way we see the world – these should all inspire us, not deflate us.
Un-follow any accounts that make you feel anything less than totally worthy, unbelievably valuable, and completely loved! Because that’s exactly what you are.
Limit your scroll time!
This one is really simple. As soon as it stops being fun and inspiring: Stop.
As soon as you start scrolling purely out of habit: Stop.
As soon as you realise you haven’t been listening to any of the conversations happening around you: Stop.
As soon as you start to feel a little empty and deflated: Stop.
Whether you give yourself a certain amount of scroll time a day, make a rule of stopping when ‘you’re all caught up’, or just make a point of being aware of when it stops being fun. Whatever way works for you, just limit yourself! It’s super hard, but you’ll thank yourself, I promise.
Post for yourself, not for others!
Quick question, feel free to be totally honest… When you put a post up, are you doing it for yourself or for the attention of other people? Oooooooh!
If you’ve had a great day, if you’re having a particularly proud moment, if you find the most flattering lighting ever, go ahead and share it with the world. That’s what we’re here for, to celebrate with you, to love what you love, and cheer you on! But do it for you, and nobody else. Likes and comments don’t define the value of a moment captured. Value comes from the real-life memories, not online appreciation.
Two words: STOP COMPARING
We’ve been told this a million times, but it doesn’t stop us doing it, does it? So, let me be the 1,000,0001st person to tell you this…
When you compare yourself to someone online, you’re comparing your real life to someone else’s filtered version. And that will never work out well! Social media is where we present our best-of-the-best moments, we need to always remember that when we’re in our pyjamas after the longest day ever, scrolling through pictures of people who seem to be having a more exciting time than us, they’re probably doing the exact same thing!
Be kind to yourself, guard your heart, and only allow your time and energy to be taken up by the sweet parts of social media.