Detoxing Your Social Media
How do you feel when you are scrolling through your instagram feed? Grateful or jealous? Inspired or insecure? Tranquil or triggered? Do you feel like you are learning valuable information or wasting precious time?
If you answered any with the latter, it is time for a detox.
A very prominent topic in discussion today questions whether or not social media is bad for our mental health. The answer? It can be, but it doesn't have to be.
Social media isn't this evil living thing that wants to destroy everyone's self-esteem and force us to be in competition with each other - we do that. Instagram is inanimate, so is facebook and twitter and youtube.
The biggest thing to remember is that we have the control over our social media feeds, it isn't the other way around. We choose who we follow, subscribe to, friend request etc. We are choosing what content we are going to be exposed to every time we scroll - we need to actually think before we follow. We need to follow purposefully and mindfully!
SO - LET'S DETOX YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA IN TWO EASY STEPS!
Note: You can do Step 2 first, Step 1 will take time and you will probably find yourself doing it consistently over a long period of time.
STEP 1. DETOX MY SOCIALS
This is simple but can be a little time-consuming.
Unfollow. Every. Account. That. Makes. You. Feel. BAD. Emotions.
- Insecurity (The accounts that make you wish you were someone else - particularly if they don't offer any valuable fitness/lifestyle education)
- Jealousy (The accounts that constantly boast about all the materialistic items they own - particularly if they don't offer any valuable advice/education around finance)
- Anger (The accounts that post videos of violence/fights, news accounts that post negative stories all. day. long etc)
- Sadness (The accounts that post depressing quotes - I have found a few mental health accounts are actually quite detrimental to mental health)
- Anxious (The accounts that make you anxious about your life, about the world, about relationships etc)
Put your mental health first.
" I stopped watching the news because every time I watched it, I was left feeling drained, I felt that nothing I did mattered because the world was still a mess and I would feel despair and that I had lost my faith in humanity. Sometimes when I tell people, I am met with "that is ignorant. Just because you don't hear about it, doesn't mean it is not happening".
It is not ignorant to put your mental health first. I can do more to help the world when I am not feeling drained, when I am not filled with "nothing I do even matters". If you literally cannot bear to hear news stories about things you can't do anything about, don't listen.
BUT, make sure you are giving back to help the issues that particularly effect you. For example, child trafficking and abuse is something that would render me to tears every time I heard a news story about it. Same with animal abuse. I have adjusted my lifestyle and diet to reduce animal cruelty, and I give to charities that aid with child abuse and rescuing children from horrible situations."
You are not being ignorant, you are protecting your mental integrity and focusing your energy to where it can actually make a difference. If you are feeling helpless - DO SOMETHING to help (donate/volunteer etc).
The more cut-throat you can be with this the better. However, I understand that there are limitations.
I do still follow models/influencers etc, and of course I see pictures pop up and catch myself in a "wow I wish I had her body" moment. You can appreciate someone else's beauty without diminishing your own! A few years ago, I wouldn't have been able to do that.
Some people do set their instagram up as a mood-board - following the accounts that they see as "goals". My advice would be, follow people who inspire you to create the best version of yourself. Follow the ones who gives valuable fitness, diet, finance, lifestyle, fashion advice and education. Follow people who show a genuine side to their lives.
You don't have to unfollow everyone just because they are good-looking.
If you have friends whose posts upset or offend you, but you don't want to unfollow, simply hide their posts. Your mental health comes first!
HOW TO: You can either go to your profile and click on your "following" number, and easily unfollow from there (if you will recognise the offending profiles form just their name) or scroll your feed and unfollow accounts as they pop up. Evaluate whether the pros outweigh the cons for that account and just unfollow.
It does take time, and you don't have to completely clear out your instagram in one hit, but it is an important step.
STEP 2. REFILL MY SOCIALS
This is the fun part.
Follow accounts that fill you with all the happy emotions!
This is something I did about a year ago and now when I scroll my instagram feed, I am left feeling inspired, educated, happy, hopeful, and all the good things! I will give you recommendations of some of my favourite accounts to add to your feed.
- Happy (This is my favourite one! Following happy news accounts has been one of the best things I have done to refill my instagram account with positivity! These accounts post all of the good news from around the world, there are so many amazing, brilliant people in the world doing good things everyday - we just never hear about them on mainstream news sites)
- Inspired (The accounts that remind you that the life you would like exists, and gives you advice on how they got there. This also includes the accounts that post art, music, videos of things being created, fashion/outfit ideas, home styling, travel, whatever your interests are etc)
- Educated (These are the accounts that post valuable information for their followers. Follow accounts that align with your interests/your career. Eg I follow fitness accounts that post useful information about performing exercises correctly, marketing/graphic design accounts, nutrition/gut health, entrepreneurs etc)
- Hopeful (This also applies to the accounts that makes you happy, but following accounts that are actively help to tackle world issues can be positive. Eg. As I mentioned above, I donate to the Destiny Rescue charity that helps remove children from sex-slavery. The instagram account regularly posts updates about the number of children saved during raids and the progress of the children in the post-care programs. Follow charities that post the good, along with the bad.
- Aww (There is no other way to put it. Follow the instagram accounts of dogs and animals - I'm being serious. Nothing will cheer up your day more than seeing happy puppers on your feed haha).
- Connected (These are the accounts that show a genuine/human side to them. The accounts that post relatable mental health quotes and stories that help you to feel as though you are not alone).
- Obviously meme accounts for a laugh, just don't waste time reading the comments - that is a guaranteed way to get yourself triggered. Arguing with idiots on the internet is a monumental waste of time and energy.
Follow these hashtags:
travel - @mariefeandjakesnow
travel - @earth
travel - @earthpix
self-work - @jayshetty instagram.com/jayshetty
motivation - @prince_ea
life - @russelbrand
fitness - @mickyyparker
fitness - @laurensimpson
fitness - @bretcontreras1
marketing/social media - @sunnylenarduzzi
trauma - @mastinkip
I hope following these steps will give you a little extra positivity and light into your days. It is really hard to break the habit of compulsive scrolling - make it a time where you learn and feel inspired! Social media can be really powerful, use it for good instead <3
Love & strength,