Achieving a healthy and balanced lifestyle isn’t done just through diet and exercise. In fact, there are plenty of factors that can really negatively affect you no matter how well you eat, and how often you go to the gym.
It’s no secret that as a society, social media plays a huge part in how we spend our day. And like anything else, if we’re not careful and spend an excess amount of time focused on negative images, messages, and feelings—then we’re going to feel, well, negatively.
So how do we avoid falling victim to the endless trove of photoshopped images and exaggerated videos that hold the potential to plague our mental health over time?
We start paying attention.
CLEANSE YOUR FEED
One of the most important steps to take when it comes to approaching your social media and taking the necessary steps to create a more positive space for yourself online, is by paying attention to what is being fed to you on your home page. As you mindlessly scroll, are you looking at pictures of “perfect” bodies, lavish vacations and people you barely know living an “ideal” life? And if you are…do you feel uplifted afterward, or down on yourself? If the answer is the latter, maybe take time to go through your list of accounts you’re following and become friends with the “unfollow” and “restrict” buttons. Then, after this step is done, start looking for accounts that bring you a sense of peace, intrigue, and joy to your life. Fill your social media space with positivity and every-time you visit it, you’ll reap the benefits.
SET A TIMER
It’s so easy to get caught up in your online life and forget about your living, breathing, everyday routine. You can spend hours looking at your phone and all you’ll have accomplished are strained eyes and possible feelings of inadequacy, which trickle down to other aspects of your life. Even after cleansing your social media feeds, it’s always a good idea to set a goal for a maximum amount of time you look at your accounts. Begin setting boundaries and purposefully plan ahead for time that you will sit down and scroll. If this doesn’t seem like something you could do, maybe just become more aware of how much time you’re spending on your phone, or take a social media “break” altogether. In my experience, taking a full-on break for many months is one of the best things I’ve personally ever done.
One of the best ways to combat the stressors that come with an online presence, is filling your schedule with productive and enjoyable things that will keep you off of your phone to begin with. Grabbing lunch with your friends, running through the park with your dog, spending the weekend with your family—these are all activities that are guaranteed to fuel your mind and make you feel whole. Other activities as well such as reading a book, journaling, and learning a new skill, are all things that you can do to enjoyably pass time. This way, instead of looking to see what other people are doing with their lives, you’ll feel more fulfilled by living your own.
All-in-all, social media is not a bad thing. However, too much of even the best thing in the world can become a bad thing—especially when it’s not being regulated. Your mental well-being is just as important as your physical well-being, and making sure you’re conscious of what you watch online can be just as important as watching how much sugar you intake in a day. Different forms of consumption—but you’re being fed nonetheless.