Truth: Getting on social media used to leave me feeling depressed. I found myself scrolling through Instagram, comparing my life to everyone else’s highlight reel of beauty, weddings, and dreamy vacations. And before I knew it, I was spinning into a place of comparison. Over the years, I started to notice that I was signing off from Facebook in a worse mental state than before signing on. My mind was filled with everyone’s gorgeous pictures, and gratitude for my own life seemed to somehow drift into the background. This year, I decided enough was enough. I deleted my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I kept my Instagram account, and set boundaries around my use. I began curating my feed. I unfollowed accounts that didn’t make me feel good, and instead filled my feed with body positivity folks, rad writers, and mental health activists. Here are some tips and tricks for social media use that support YOU.
- Unfollow people that don’t make you feel good. Yes, all of them. I know, I know. This seems like the most straight forward, basic piece of advice. And yet, how often do we continue to follow people that don’t make us feel good? Or accounts that leave us feeling like we need to “improve” ourselves somehow? Unfollow these folks asap. You are enough, exactly as you are. Your unfollow list might include: ex-boyfriends, toxic friendships, weight loss peeps, or fitness fanatics. Unfollow, unfollow, unfollow. If seeing their pictures doesn’t make you feel good or leaves you feeling less-than, unfollow. End of story.
- Curate your feed. Your social media feed should make you feel good. It can be filled with people that are real and inspiring! Follow accounts that support body positivity, make you smile, and remind you to to embrace all of who you are! Some of my favorites: Laura Mckowen, Virgie Tovar, Jamie Mendell, Ashley Graham, Nayyirah Waheed, Mari Andrew, and Ruthie Lindsey. You can search hashtags such as #bodypositivity and #healthateverysize to discover accounts that make YOU feel good.
- Set boundaries around your use. What social media sites do you enjoy? Which do you rarely use or are just complete time sucks? Maybe you want to keep Instagram and SnapChat, but Facebook can go. It’s also possible that you really love all of your accounts. That’s cool too. You can still set boundaries around how often you scroll through each site. This time boundary is one that I still sometimes struggle with. However, I find that when I set guidleines around my use (Instagram for 10 minutes every other day), I enjoy my time spent scrolling so much more.
- Gratitude, baby, gratitude. Remember, social media tends to be most people’s highlight reels. And guess what? YOU have highlights too! There is beauty in your life too. So often we forget this. I have started using this app as a way to practice gratitude and list a few ways I can show up for myself each day.
- Sharing honestly helps us feel less alone. The accounts I love most are real and vulnerable (see #2). Choosing joy doesn’t mean pretending that everything is perfect all the time. Because….well, blah. It means that things can feel yucky, and there is still beauty out there. Being real on social media means celebrating it all.