Social media. It has become a ritual in our everyday lives and for many people, an extension of them. It sometimes alters the way we live our lives and is a lens through which many people perceive themselves. As a PR/ social account exec at an ad agency, I see first-hand how social media and brands utilize the platforms to alter the way you think. Not only are brands sending targeted messages to you at your favorite social media hangout spots, but the ever-growing popularity of influencer marketing has provided another vehicle (bloggers/influencers) for potential comparison triggering messages to meet you at your fingertips. I don’t believe all of these messages are negative, but I do believe that the addicting nature of social media combined with the augmented reality it creates can often be unhealthy.
As a clear active user and advocate of social media, I want to share tips for helping you create a healthy relationship with the technology.
How to feel better about yourself on Social Media
1. Build a better feed
I’m a firm believer that the content we consume alters the way we think, sometimes even subconsciously. If we have social media feeds filled with images of people’s’ perfectly decorated smoothie bowls daily, then we’re more likely to think that this is how most people eat and be inclined to do the same. Additionally, if we’re constantly scrolling through images of other people’s gym workouts, run times and fitness progress we’re likely going to be more inclined to think we need to change our exercise routines to look like or be like them. “I am not enough as is,” you may think. If you have any obsessive thoughts about what you should or shouldn’t be doing in your life and how your habits compare to others, I encourage you to build a better feed. Unfollow all accounts that make you feel not good enough or trigger you to fall into a spiral of comparison. You don’t need social media to gauge your self-worth.
2. Be aware of how much time you spend on social media
Are you checking your Instagram feed every 15 minutes when you need a break, have anxiety or are trying to procrastinate? Or, can you spend a few minutes on Facebook in the morning, and then freely enjoy your time spent interacting with other people while being focused and productive in your work? Start to bring more awareness to the amount of time you are spending on the platforms, how many times you are logging in and the way it makes you feel. I don’t feel that it’s good to be addicted to any form of technology as it often leads to many physical and mental health issues. So if you find addictive patterns in your social media usage, build up the courage to take care of yourself outside of the social media world.
3. Remember that every person has a story
As I mentioned before, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparison when browsing through your social media feeds. Does my body look like hers? Do I travel as much as them? Am I as successful as them? While social media is a great place to document some of your biggest milestones in life, you have to remember that every person has a story. Other people’s social media feeds are a curation of their life, mostly highlighting the good. Every person has a story of how they got where they are today, which includes highs and lows, challenges and successes. Just as you have health issues, stresses and changes in relationships, they do too. It just might not be reflected on their social media pages. Remember, every person has a story.
4. Know that some people’s social media profiles are a part of their business
It’s easy to ooh and ahh over influencer’s perfect Instagram feeds, with coordinating colors, beautiful blooms and perfectly styled outfits. How do they look that good all of the time? You may wonder. The truth is that their social media feeds are used to drive their business. Every social media post is carefully thought out as part of a plan to drive traffic to their website or make sales on specific products they are featuring in their photos. So the next time you wonder how someone has perfectly curled hair on a Saturday morning, remember that while you’re grinding in the office with your 9-5, influencers are busy creating content that catches your eye on a Saturday morning amongst the sea of other images you see in your feeds. Their lives aren’t any easier or more beautiful than yours. They are just using social media as a tool to build a brand and business. You can choose to be inspired by their work or remove them from your regularly consumed content to avoid falling into the comparison trap.
5. Follow people that make you a better version of yourself
Aside from the social profiles that trigger you to have an unhealthy relationship with the platform, there are also tons of social media influencers that are truly empowering and can change your life for the better. I can honestly say that without social media, I wouldn’t have come as far as I have in recovering from disordered eating and healing my body from health issues. It is through people like Maddy Moon and The Healthy Maven (Davida) that I have come to develop a much better relationship with my body and develop self-love, which is essential to being healthy. This is why I started the Wellness Warriors series on my blog so that you can find more uplifting people through technology that heal, restore and uplift you! Seek out people spreading messages that you connect with and have a similar story to you – maybe they share the same taste in music, are struggling with the same autoimmune disease or are just simply creating stuff you think is cool.
6. Take a break
If you want to know how social media affects your life, try removing it for an extended period of time, even a few days will be eye-opening. See how it makes you feel and focus on enjoying every aspect of your day without capturing it with a lens for someone else to see.
“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life!”
Your relationships shape who you are, and that includes your online relationships as well. Take the initiative to clean up your social media feeds and your relationship with them. It doesn’t look like the platforms are going anywhere anytime soon, so you might as well learn how to use them in a way that pushes you towards the best version of yourself.
PS – I love sharing daily content in hopes to inspire you on Instagram. Follow here for some empowerment. 🙂
What helps you have a better relationship with social media?
Xo – Morgan, Mint+Mo
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