I think we can all admit that social media *can* impact our mental health. There are many studies on it, and just as many opinions. I’ll be the first one to say that I love social media. It’s an awesome way to connect with people. However, it can be harmful to my brain. I wanted to share my experience with social media and how it affects me and my mental health.
Here’s what I struggle with on social media:
Being present. Scrolling for hours while lying in bed or while at lunch, instead of reading a book or talking with the person that is IRL right next to me.
Comparison spiral. People’s houses, style, body, etc. And just like that, I’m feeling less than & not enough.
Imposter Syndrome. "They have their shit together, what if they find out that I don’t?”
Here are a few practical steps I put in place for myself to make sure that social media is helpful to me and not harmful. Because WHEW it was getting tough there for a minute.
Learn From Others
I found this podcast super interesting. Jen Gotch, an entrepreneur and mental health advocate, shares about social media addiction in this episode (episode 19) on her podcast, “Jen Gotch is Ok…Sometimes”. She brings up a few really great ideas, some that I took and applied to my interaction with social media. It found it super helpful, especially for those of you that are like myself and social media is a part of your job / career.
The screen time feature on the iPhone is newly enlightening to me. Seeing how much time you *actually* spend on social media daily/weekly is pretty eye-opening. At first, I felt so guilty and honestly just really bad about myself. Of course, those feelings didn’t help at all. I started using the “Downtime” feature to create boundaries to help me to stay off social media during certain times throughout my day. I try to stay off social media after 10 pm. This way I can be in bed reading, or watching a movie with my husband…and not feeling FOMO or feeling like I need to endlessly scroll. I also use the “App Limits” feature to set time limits for my social media usage. If you have an iPhone just go settings > screen time and check it out from there.
Unfollow Accounts That Make You Feel Shitty
I unfollow any accounts that cause me to feel bad about myself. Whether it’s feeling negative about my body, making me feel jealous or discontent with my life….etc. It’s just not worth it to me. So, I unfollow.
Engage In Positivity
Sometimes you don’t need to unfollow accounts…maybe that’s not the issue. Maybe you just need to cheer that person on, instead of feeling jealous of them or comparing yourself to them. Whenever I see someone doing something awesome and that inner dialogue of self deprecation and negativity begins…(i.e “I wish I would have thought of that”, “Wow they did that so much better than me”…etc.) I comment and say something positive. It’s amazing how the negativity, discontentment, and jealously can dissipate when you’re cheering people on. Bring. On. The. Positive.
Follow Accounts that Encourage You
I make sure to follow Instagram accounts that encourage me & support my mental health - wether that means accounts that make me laugh, educate me, or just people who share stories and experiences that I feel I can relate to. I also make sure to follow accounts with a variety of diversity to encourage the fact that we are all different, we all have our talents, gifts, and imperfections.
A few accounts that help support my mental health: