May 15, 2019
Be Kinder to Yourself: Social Media by Chloe Fry
Be Kinder to Yourself: Social MediaSource: Be Kinder to Yourself: Social Media | Chloe Fry
Obviously we all know how massive social media has become over the last 10 years.
Global number of social media users from 2010 projected to 2021 (in billions)Source: Number of social media users worldwide from 2010 to 2021 (in billions) | Statista
What once began as a form of entertainment has evolved not only into an unrecognisable beast, but a way of life.
During this evolution, social media has gained a bad reputation as a trouble maker and is known for being a bit of a bitch. That being said, it is important to remember that it does have a huge number of positives (I mean, just think of all the puppy accounts you can follow on Instagram!).
Despite the many positives, the beastly side of social media can have a detrimental effect on our happiness. That’s why we’re taking a look at a few ways we can be kinder to ourselves when it comes to our online presence -and don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you to just delete all of your accounts.
The Beastly Side of Social Media
The profile of a Lion at the Philadelphia ZooSource: Lion | Penelope Peru Photography P³
Social Media ≠ Real Life
I think the most important thing to remember when it comes to social media is that it isn’t an accurate representation of life. It’s a snapshot of some of our best and most exciting moments, and that’s goes for nearly every account you visit.
I don’t mean to sound as though I’m teaching you to suck eggs as let’s be honest, we all already know this!
We know this, and yet we’re all guilty of getting jealous. We constantly spend our free time (and our time at work, if we’re crafty enough) scrolling through various social platforms and gazing longingly at a friend from school’s engagement photos, or an old colleague’s holiday snaps.
The Tone of Social Media
You can very rarely gage the intended tone of a message through a screen.
Over the years, I’ve seen so many arguments erupt due to messages or statuses and the recipients getting the wrong end of the stick.
The invention of Emojis were honestly a Godsend as we can now add a cheeky wink or a smiley face to prove we come in peace when trying to have a little bit of banter.
Taming the Social Media Beast
It’s Okay to Hit Unfollow
If you ever find that the online cons are getting too much, it’s time to take a step back and question what social media is actually bringing to your life. If it isn’t informing or bringing you any joy, why are you following it?
… And it’s Okay to Hit Mute, Too
One small change could be promising yourself to make use of the mute feature.
We all have that one friend who we wish would just “SHHH” away from social media, even if they may be the loveliest of people, and so unfriending or unfollowing may feel a little harsh.
If that’s the case, don’t forget that many social platforms allow you to mute a user and their activity. You’ll stay “friends,” but you’ll no longer be burdened with photos of their manky tea.
What’s more, they’ll never even know. It’s a win-win situation, right?
You Deserve a Break
That being said, sometimes the small changes aren’t quite enough.
Occasionally, we need to make a big change to find the happiness we deserve. You may find that change comes in the shape of a social media blackout.
Making the initial break is hard, but the best tip I can offer would be to find a reason to take the break. Of course, to help your mental health is a brilliant reason, but I find it just doesn’t seem to encourage people enough.
Instead, combine the break with something you’re excited for.
Times Square, New York City, N.Y.Source: Times Square Feat. MomoKumo & XtaSeay | Penelope Peru Photography P³
For example, my first break from social media was during my trip to New York. Seeing as this was my dream holiday, I had decided to actually live in the moment and not through my screen.
When we first arrived in our hotel, I sent a post across my various platforms advising I’d landed safely and I’d be away from social media for the duration of the trip.
After pressing send, I spent the next 30 or so minutes having hot sweats whilst wondering whether I had any likes or comments.
Once I had began to focus on my adventure, I very quickly forgot all about the online world and said status.
Since that holiday, I’ve deleted the Facebook app and now only go on the website to clear notifications once a fortnight.
I may not be quite ready to completely delete my account, but I’ve found that I’m so much happier without it. Sometimes we just need a small break to realise how much of a negative effect certain things were have on us.
Since that trip, I try and put myself on a social media blackout whenever I go on holiday. I’ve paid to visit these places, it’ll be nice to actually give them my full attention.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of social media and it’s easy to forget to look after ourselves. If you feel as though social media is having a negative impact on your life, it really is time to reevaluate.
As I said earlier, I’m not going to tell you to go cold turkey and delete your accounts. At the end of the day, social media really does have its positives.
Instead, try to begin limiting or reducing the time you spend on each app per day. If you reduce your “allowance” by say 15 minutes per week, you’ll find the urge to scroll will shrink over time.
Only you know what needs to change in your life.
Head on over to Chloe Fry’s blog for more of her excellent work!
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