Practicing Self Care On Social Media
This blog is part of the Self Care Sunday Series in collaboration with Courtney Jones – Check out Courtney’s post on self care at university here!
Social Media is the hot-topic right now, with many people owning personal accounts and many also seeing the advantages of using it for business. However, there are many pitfalls to social media that you don’t necessarily see. There are arguments about the negative side effects of social media and the deteriorating effect it can have on people, so I’m here today to chat about how to look after your mental health and how to practice self care whilst on social media.
Let me first disclose – I am not an expert on any of these matters, not a doctor or social media whizz. I’m just telling you what works for me, with the hope that you can find some clarity with it too.
Peoples opinions on social media vary. I don’t necessarily believe that social media is a bad thing. If you ignore the slightly precarious beginnings of Facebook (the launch of FaceMash, a kind of ‘hot’ or ‘not’ site that allowed Zuckerberg’s Harvard classmates to compare girls within their school) I think social media was created with a positive intention. Even FaceMash morphed into a universal site designed to connect people around the university, re-launching as ‘TheFacebook’ in 2004. These sites are designed to bring people together. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, they encourage you to connect and interact with people. Furthermore, they can also be extremely positive creative platforms, such as Instagram or Pinterest. I believe that the bad publicity around social media doesn’t come from the platforms themselves, but from people who choose to abuse them. The people who take advantage of the fact that they can be anonymous or that they can pass judgement on people they don’t know, or that they can even lie about themselves because people will only see what they share. It is these people that create the negative shade on social media and it’s because of this that we need to practice self care when using it.
Let’s use Instagram as our example, as it’s the one I find most commonly used and it’s the one I use the most. I was scrolling through Instagram this morning (and heaven knows I do that way too much) and I came across a really insightful caption. It was written by @nikeivang about some advice she’d gained from @officiallyquigley. I follow both these ladies so I stopped for a read. It stated the following:
The statement goes on to give details about that tricky Instagram algorithm, which we all just love to loathe, but Nikei and Quigley outline a really simple truth:
When it comes to practicing self care on social media, I would say that that is the first thing to remember – it’s about what you do that no one else can do, that you can share with the world. Hailey Bieber spoke to Teen Vogue about self care on social media and she said the following:
This is one of the biggest things I think we have to watch out for on social media. In order to practice your self care and too look out for your mind, then you have to STOP COMPARING yourself to other accounts out there. You are uniquely you and you have something really special to bring to the table.
As we now all use social media in the age of the Influencers, another big catalyst of low self care is following. Everyone wants to have thousands and thousands of followers, and it’s fine if you do, but you shouldn’t create content with that intent. Like Nikei said “it’s not about what you can gain, but about what you can give.” In order to practice self care on social media, you need to believe in what you’re posting. You need to love and be proud of your feed – if people don’t want to follow you because of what you choose to post, then they aren’t the followers for you.
Those people are out there though, the ones who misuse these positive platforms. I touched on this at the beginning, people who use the shield of a computer screen to build an alternate persona where they can bully people and make themselves feel better and judge people they don’t even know. This can make you second guess so many things if you really feed into it. It does something to your soul, if you allow yourself to pay close enough attention, and can really have some damaging effects.
If social media does start to become too much, then just disconnect. As we are a generation that loves to be informed and connected, this idea can be difficult, but sometimes the best thing for you is to take a break. I recently went from daily posting, to posting when I actually had content I wanted to share and my mental clarity is much better! And whilst you may have some FOMO if you can’t instantly check what’s trending or who’s posting what, you’re not actually missing anything, because one way or another, you’ll find things out in the world.
Finally, the last tip I would give to curate a feed of self care, is to unfollow accounts that don’t bring you joy. Whether it’s a brand, or a colleague or even a friend, it’s ok to unfollow accounts that cause you anxiety or worry.
So there we have it, my tips for practicing self care on social media! As a little round-up, I’ll list them out for you:
1. Recognise that it’s NOT about what you gain, but about what you give – you are completely unique so nobody can give what you can give.
2. Stop comparing yourself to other accounts. You will only see a tiny sliver of that persons life, so you can’t compare with what you don’t know.
3. Believe in what you are posting/sharing – only curate content that you love and are proud of.
4. Disconnect sometimes. Take a hiatus. Turn your phone off for the day – nothing drastic will happen
5. Unfollow accounts that don’t bring you joy. The best thing to make you feel good? View content that makes you feel good!
These 5 simple practices can massively help you care for your mind and soul when you’re using social media. We all love to use social media, love to see what everyone is up to and love to stay connected - we just have to look after ourselves as we do so. As I said right at the start, I don’t think social media is a bad thing and, when it’s used correctly, I think it can be an incredible creative outlet.
Let me know your opinions of social media!
Stay Perfect, Messy People