In my 2nd year at University I started realising just how detrimental social media had become to my mental health, including things like how I felt about my life and my body – I needed to so something about it. A couple of things I did and would recommend you do too if you’re feeling like social media is having a negative impact on your mental health.
- Hide the Instagram app on your phone. My thumb literally opens Instagram out of muscle memory, so I tried to move the app to somewhere less convenient so I would open it less and therefore scroll less! At some stages I even deleted the app and would use Instagram on Google Chrome – which has way worse user experience so I didn’t want to use it as much.
- This could seem like a bit of a rogue one, but in the evenings I try not to watch Netflix/YouTube. Instead I read a book, write a blog post, do a workout etc. If I’m watching Netflix or something on TV my attention is so divided and I’m half watching the film/series and half on my phone, so unintentionally consuming way more content than I need to. If I am reading, writing or working out I’m fully focused on that.
Improve what you consume:
- Unfollow anyone you find yourself negatively comparing yourself to – I unfollowed loooads of influencers in Instagram. Their constant posts about their perfect lives, with their beautiful clothes and their enviable bodies made me feel so shit. So I unfollowed them all. I actually found this really hard, some of them I had followed for years so it felt like unfollowing a friend! But honestly, now I realise just HOW irrelevant their lives are to mine and how much I didn’t need to know what’s going on in their lives. They never cross my mind.
- Follow people that inspire you – I completely changed up my feed on Instagram in terms of who I was following and the messages that they share. A couple of my favourites:
- Oenone – I started listening to her podcast (Adulting) before I followed her on Instagram. She made me realise how much I have to learn about society, my privilege, feminism, sustainability etc, the list goes on! Her podcast is a great starting point for all these topics of conversation, I particularly liked her one on Fast Fasion with Venetia Falconer. Oenone also always posts good book reccos on her Instagram (She’s one of the reasons I started reading).
- Zanna Van Djik – she posts so much outdoorsy content and it definitely encouraged me to get outside more! After following her my mum and I started going on long walks every weekend to discover more of what was on our door-step. She aslo inspired me to go on a hiking holiday with my friends!
- Emily Clarkson – her Instagram is a body positive bible, she’s all for getting your body moving and preaches that no one is bad at sport/exercise. She’s recently made a new Instagram account called TheHaveAGo’s, which is there to inspire you to have a go at exercise, whether that be trying Yoga for the first time or running a 5km or an ultra marathon. Just HAVE A GO.
- Chloe Helen Miles – super into sustainability, constantly showing her oootd’s (old outfits of the day). Makes me realise that I don’t need to buy thousands of of new clothes all the time and instead to wear what I already have in my wardrobe! Chloe also lives in a dreamy flat in Brighton with the most gorgeous pink interiors.
- Sasha Pallari – posts REAL CONTENT of REAL SKIN, nothing is edited. She has started a movement called #filterdrop to encourage people to stop using filters and normalising the ridiculous changes they make to your face when you are beaut JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.
- Ali Abdaal – the productivity genius. He always shares tips on how to be more productive, work smarter and faster. He’s great.
- If you can’t unfollow people because they’re your friends, mute them.
I think there are two types of influencers on instagram, ones that are their to flaunt their lives, and the ones that are there to teach and help you. I’ve changed my feed to focus on the latter. Nowadays when I go on social media I leave feeling inspired rather than drained and down about the things that I’m not. All the people I follow encourage me to better myself, keep learning and to look after my body and mind. Also, I’m very aware I need some more diversity in the people that I follow, so please please share any suggestions.
Chances are you spend multiple hours scrolling social media everyday, therefore you need to change your social media accordingly to suit how you want to feel when you finish using it. You wouldn’t spend 3 hours reading only bad news that reinforces negative thoughts, you’d put it down and away, so make sure you treat social media the same.
Do you have any other tips for helping reduce your amount of time on social media and improving your relationship with it? I also tried setting timers/limits on certain apps but didn’t find that very helpful but I know works for other people!
Thanks for reading, Chloe x