USING SOCIAL MEDIA WITHOUT LETTING IT TAKE OVER YOUR LIFE
Social media can be both a blessing and a curse. Although it has its positive attributes, if used without caution, it can do a lot more harm than good. With a glimpse into everyone’s life at your fingertips, it’s normal to feel the pressure to tweak and show only the best parts of your life. If this is something you're struggling with, you’re not alone.
I’ve experienced this firsthand and it’s definitely something I struggle with at times. Sometimes I find myself scrolling through Instagram or TikTok, looking at all of the beautiful people I follow that are living their best lives, and I can’t help but compare my pictures and life to theirs. What they don't tell you is that people are only posting their best moments. No one wants to post “newly single and depressed” even though that could be exactly what they're going through. Everyone has become so good at pretending their life is perfect that they forget how normal it is for life to be messy. Once I stopped caring about what everyone else is up to, the pressure to always have a 'perfect' life on social media started to subside.
Another flaw of social media is the body image issues it creates. I would consider myself a fairly confident person and am generally happy with the way I am, but no one is immune to the curse of comparison, and it's a game you can never win. We need more real images (without extreme Photoshop edits and filters upon filters) instead of the constant bombardment of unrealistic and unhealthy standards of beauty.
With all that being said, I know for most of us, it’s a close to impossible task to stop using social media completely, and it's not all bad either. It's a great platform to stay in touch with family and friends and reconnect with those of you've lost touch with. You can use it to make friends and join online communities of like-minded individuals.
So how do we find this balance? I know the tips below aren't exactly rocket science, but I hope that some of the info below will help you (and let's be honest, it will help me too!) use social media more mindfully and turn it into a channel of love and encouragement instead of insecurity and self-doubt.
UNFOLLOW ACCOUNTS THAT DON'T IMPROVE YOUR LIFE
This suggestion is the first thing I need to try! As I scroll through social media, I’m realizing how many posts contain things or people that I don't even care to follow. Why waste your time looking at displeasing things? Go ahead and go through your the list of accounts that you follow that don’t impact you life in a good way.
MUTE ACCOUNTS THAT AREN'T THAT EASY TO UNFOLLOW
It can be a little dicey to unfollow family members or friends without offending them. Fortunately you can still block out anything you don't want to see from them by muting their posts and/or stories. That way, their posts or stories wont show up on your feed but it won’t start any beef or family drama either.
FOLLOW ACCOUNTS THAT BRING YOU PURPOSE AND JOY
Once you've removed all of the negativity from your feed, you should start filling it with posts that inspire you. Find and follow accounts that have uplifting quotes or motivation reminders so that each time you scroll through your feed, you get little doses of optimism.
START AND END THE DAY WITHOUT SOCIAL MEDIA
Although it’s extremely tempting to pick up your phone in the morning or right before bed and start scrolling aimlessly, try to resist the urge! Bombarding your mind with an overdrive of images, videos, and posts is the last thing you need for a fresh start in the morning or a good night's sleep. Instead, try taking a few moments in the morning to reflect and figure out how to make this day a great one. In the evenings before bed, instead of allowing social media to have the lasting impression of your day, try reading, writing in a journal, meditating, praying, or something else that helps calm your mind and relax your body.
MOVE APPS TO THE LAST PAGE ON YOUR PHONE
Take away the temptation of checking social media by moving the apps to the last page of your home screen. If you want to take it one step further, there are even ways to delete the apps from your home page altogether without deleting any data. Then the only way to access the apps would be through your app library, making it more of a hassle and hopefully easier for you to forget about them.
SET A TIMER FOR SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE
This is a trick that my sister actually showed me. She started to feel like she was spending too much time on social media, so she set timers on her phone to limit the amount of time she's allowed to spend on certain apps. By doing this, she explained how much time she has for other things in her life. It’s hard to comprehend how much time we waste staring at screens when we’re not being timed. It can’t hurt to have a helpful reminder to stop scrolling, right? :)
AVOID PHONE USE IN THE PRESENCE OF COMPANY
Social media is super addictive, and I’ve definitely been guilty of checking one (or several) of apps on my phone when I'm around others. Recently I’ve started scheduling a set time for me to use social media so that I avoid using it when I’m out and about. When I’m spending time with the people I love, I want to be fully present and enjoying every moment.
SKIP THE FILTERS
It can be especially hard to post raw, unedited photos or videos of yourself on a platform that’s filled with edited ones, but someone has to start, right? Don’t contribute to the unrealistic standards of beauty that have been set for all future generations. Instead, try to break the pattern and let people know the real you. By doing so, you'll also inspire others to do the same!
TURN OFF THE 'LIKES' FEATURE
Another way to reduce the pressure of being on social media is to turn off the 'Like' button on social media (for ex: Instagram). You should share content that brings you and those you love joy, and I don’t think how many likes a post gets should determine its value.