I don’t know anyone who doesn’t struggle with this. Realistically in these modern times, it’s hard to exist without social media. I really admire those who do, but for most of us it’s incredibly useful as well as at times quite bad for our mental health.
My main problems with social media are:
- It’s a time suck. Yes, it’s a valuable tool – for inspiration, connection with my community, to market myself, get advice – all sorts. But 80% of the time I spend on there is mindlessly scrolling. And quite honestly, life is short and I’d prefer to be making real life connections, doing real life things and being outside in nature – yet I can’t seem to help myself.
- Comparison – it’s way too easy to get sucked into thinking that everyone’s got a better/happier life/business than me based on the beautiful photos they post. This is so unhelpful – we’re constantly bombarded with people’s best selves – not their reality – but even though I know this, it can still really trigger me.
- Staring at screens for 16 hours a day (computer/tv/phones) cannot be good for our brains/mental health. If I’m not careful I can spend too much of my day doing this. It does not contribute to my sense of wellbeing or to healthy sleep patterns.
You probably know all of this. And may be chuckling to yourself that if I think social media is so bad, why the hell did I choose a career as an Instagram trainer. Well, I still think social media can be brilliant – my world has expanded and developed in ways I wouldn’t have dreamed of because of the connections I’ve made on there. So I suppose the challenge is, how do we enjoy the benefits of being on social whilst keeping our relationship with it healthy?
Here are some ideas for keeping your social media relationship in check:
- Have a cut off point in the evening when you stop looking at your phone (I usually stop at 8pm) – it’s so important for allowing your brain to wind down before sleep.
- Observe your own behaviour when you’re on social. Is what you are doing on there of positive value or have you fallen into a mindless scroll hole? Noticing and questioning your own behaviour is the first step towards managing it.
- Take the social apps off your phone. I did this for a while in December. It meant that every time I wanted to go on Instagram I had to add the app again and login. It was a little extreme but it got me into better more mindful habits.
- Unfollow or mute people who are triggering you. This isn’t mean, this is just a sane thing to do. As soon as I got rid of all the people who were upsetting me (not necessarily their fault – they were just touching my buttons) I felt a millions times better. And if you don’t want them to know then the mute button works brilliantly.
- Focus on following and connecting with people who are authentic, honest and caring. I find that I’m drawn to kind, thoughtful, creative people on my socials now – that means that my feed is just more pleasant, healthy and inspiring than it used to be.
- Get out in nature as often as possible. Spending just 15 minutes in a park or a green space can have positive benefits on your mood and wellbeing. Regular walks in nature will help you to reset your mood and to keep perspective in a digitally obsessed world.
I hope these help. If you any thoughts and tips, do get in touch.
If you enjoyed reading this, you might like to try My Most Embarrassing Instagram Mistakes.
Photo credit to Jill Jennings