2 months ago
Social Media Strategies to Improve Your Mental Health
Chances are that you follow a lot of people on social media. Some bring joy to your life. Maybe they inspire you, their stories resonate with you, or they’re friends you enjoy following. But – and this has happened to all of us – what happens when that’s no longer the case? This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about. As human beings, we want to connect, but instagram isn’t connection, and it often does more harm than good. No one can keep up with thousands of people, and we certainly don’t need to see what every person or brand we’ve ever come across is up to. And more important, what is that scrolling keeping us from doing in our own lives?
Let’s look at someone you don’t know but for some reason, follow anyway. They don’t inspire you or bring joy to your life, and they wouldn’t notice if you unfollowed them. Ask yourself why you continue to follow?
Sometimes, it’s a bit more complicated. What if this person is an acquaintance or a friend? What if the hurt you and you no longer want to see what they’re up to? You want to unfollow but you shouldn’t. Or should you? I think it’s important consider the why. Attention (the hope they’ll notice) is not the right reason. But if it’s truly for your own mental health, that is always ok. When you follow someone, you choose to let that person into your life. Often daily.
If you really can’t bring yourself to unfollow or want to avoid a potentially uncomfortable situation, you can always hide all of their content. But sometimes, unfollowing is the healthiest thing you can do. I’ve had to do this with a few people this year, and hiding their content is also a way to take care of yourself.
Then there are the people who “hate follow” and even go so far as to be unkind to those they follow. I don’t really have much to say other than how sad that is. So if that’s you (and I truly hope not) do better. Be better. That’s no way to spend your time, and while following someone you don’t like is not the same as being unkind, it’s all pretty pointless.
Over the last year, I’ve noticed a (positive) shift on social media. There are still too many ads but there are fewer staged photos and more real moments. Less perfection. More imperfection. More honesty. I was guilty of using filters when I didn’t feel like I looked my best, but I hope they go away entirely. Let’s just be who we really are, as we are, because that’s the best thing we can do for each other and for ourselves, too. It is important that we remember instagram is just a glimpse into people’s lives, and when someone only shares the good, which is entirely their choice, it can be harmful for us, as viewers. Stay grounded and remember that what you see is what they choose to show you.
When you find yourself reaching for your phone, ask yourself why. It is not easy, and it’s especially difficult when it’s part of your job, but I am working hard to scroll less and live more. I can’t walk away from instagram entirely, but I can take breaks. I can choose what I want to see, stay away from people that might not feel good (by unfollowing or hiding their content), and I can live more. Spend time with the people you love. Do things you enjoy. less mindless scrolling. More living.
Many of us found ourselves donating or selling the “things” that no longer sparked joy over the last few years. We talk about saying no, protecting ourselves, being less busy, and focusing on what matters. Earlier this year, I unfollowed over 1,000 people on instagram. It was the ultimate purge and just as rewarding as organizing a closet. In the end, it was so good for me. It may not feel like it, but we’re inviting the people and brands we follow into our homes and lives.
The next time you find yourself scrolling, ask yourself why. And the next time you find yourself looking at the content that’s being presented to you, consider whether or not you want to let this person in. Let the people into your lives that make you smile. Unfollow the ones that don’t.