Human beings are social creatures. We need contact and connection. That’s why we made social media in the first place – to connect with each other even when we aren’t face-to-face. And this can be a great way to share support and affection no matter where we are in the world. But we all know things can get a bit toxic, too. Whether the supposedly ‘perfect’ lives of others send us into anxiety spirals, or the negativity of internet strangers drag us down or we’ve even started sacrificing our close, meaningful relationships with friends and family for quick and shallow interactions. The problem is that so much of life happens online now – we can’t just cut ourselves off from everyone.
That’s why I’m ready with your ‘social media detox’ to help you cleanse your online experience – without ditching it altogether. Let’s make social media work for YOU.
1. Remember the ‘highlight reel’
The ‘highlight reel’ is when people on social media only post the good things: the good angles, the yummy meal they ate for lunch – while leaving out the baked beans they had for dinner – and the happy times in their life. Our social media is flooded with constant highs, but the lows – or even the ‘normal’ – are neglected. It’s easy to look at that and feel overwhelmed, jealous, sad, insecure or self-conscious. Just remind yourself that these are the highlights people select to represent themselves. Things like this can be an inspiration to get you motivated, but remember to stay grounded behind all of those pictures is a real person just like you!
2. Look inside, not out
If you find social media is getting you down, then maybe it's time you turned the focus inward to find out where these negative feelings are coming from. Why is something on social media making you react in a negative way? You may just find an area in your life that needs some attention, and you probably can’t fix that with ‘likes’ and comments. Feeling good has to come from stepping back and looking inside YOU. If you need some help, try these quick positivity ‘reminders’!
3. Clean house and find your focus!
Are the accounts you follow making your day better, or worse? Do they fill you with positivity, inspire you to do better and make you smile? Or do they make you anxious and unhappy or even damage your personal motivation? You don’t need negativity holding you back! What you need is social media that keeps your drive and mood up and supports you to reach your goals– that’s why we try to post positive messages. Make a point of doing regular ‘cleanups’ where you unfollow accounts that are dragging you down or filling your feeds with negativity, so your online world becomes a positive place.
4. Meaning, not mindlessness
We all need to switch off sometimes. If you find yourself endlessly scrolling your feed, losing hours in a big black hole of distraction, then it’s time to put the phone down because you’re not getting anything out of it anymore. Take a break. Go for a walk. Bring yourself back to enjoying the present. Meet up with a friend for one-to-one quality time or take the dog to the park for some fresh air and fun. Trust me, Instagram isn’t going anywhere, and it’ll do you good to have some meaningful, mindful time in the real world.