We are six months into 2021 and I have made some lifestyle changes when it comes to social media. Experts say that it takes 21 days to commit to a habit and 90 days to make that habit into a lifestyle change. I’m well on my way to make 2021 a better year than the last and to create a better version of myself this year and beyond. By tweaking a few things here and there to reduce stress, promote a healthier lifestyle, hit my financial and personal goals, and put myself in a better spiritual and mental space. Some of the things I have done may seem small in comparison but these have helped me a lot in the last six months. No matter how big, no matter how small, your health and wellness is valuable and always needs to be protected. Social media shouldn’t be an exception. Here are five ways to protect your mental health on social media.
Know Your Purpose
A lot of people are on social media for various reasons. It could be for fun, selling products and/or services for a business, sharing their lifestyles whether they are a blogger, influencer, content creator, some come to learn new skills, new information or connect with friends and family that are not in close proximity to them. Others use it to interact with a larger community with similar interests around the world, or to find inspiration, encouragement, help etc. There is no one way to use social media but knowing the reasons why you use it and how it is serving you can help with protecting your mental health. Your purpose of using the different platforms can change over the years and that’s normal because we evolve as human beings. Once I figured out my purpose on social media, I made sure that I was integrating my values aligned to my purpose with the content that I was creating. Social media has made the world a lot more smaller and more connected. As a content creator on two public platforms, it has opened me up to a world filled with people’s opinions, critiques, unsolicited advice and expectations of sharing more of my life. Something that I have had to learn as my audience has grown is that I can’t control other people’s opinions except for my own. I try to not take anything personally on social media unless it threatens my safety and my family. The only opinion that matters is my own and I think that has helped me stay true to myself, my purpose being on these platforms and protecting my mental health.
Cultivate Your Feed
Intentional following. You are in charge of what you see on your feed. You choose who to follow and who not to follow. Ask yourself if the people who you follow on social media bring you joy. Do they make you feel good about yourself? Do they inspire and/or encourage you? Do they make you laugh? Do they trigger you? Do they push unhealthy habits? If there are some people that you follow that trigger negativity (and it could be no fault of theirs), unfollow them. Your Instagram feed, your Twitter Timeline, your TikTok, your YouTube subscriptions, blog subscriptions etc. should be filled with things that you like, bring inspiration, make your laugh and more. Social media can be enriching to life but it shouldn’t be detrimental to your mental health and it shouldn’t be inducing negativity. My Instagram feed used to be filled with only fitness influencers and content creators. I went through a complete feed makeover. I unfollowed people that where no longer aligned with my values of today, I unfollowed people that push negativity, bullying through their comments, I unfollowed a specific type of fitness influencers, people that never posted and anything that wasn’t relatable to me. What has made my feed more relatable and fulfilling to me was by following other creators in different niches and industries that brought a newness of inspiration, encouraged me to try new things with a spin of fitness. I like travelling, fashion, faith, good vibes, critical thought etc. and filled my feed with things that stimulate my mind and my creative side. I follow people that motivate me to level up and be the best version of myself, people who are thriving because it’s an affirmation that I can win too! I highly recommend you doing a complete makeover with your social media platforms as it makes a difference to your mental health.
Pour In Positivity
Spread positivity. Everyone on social media is human just like you. I’m sure you have heard the saying what you put in is what you give out. I believe the same thing applies to social media. Spread positivity. Most people come on social media to feel good about themselves and express that to the creators and people that they interact with on these platforms. For me, social media has been more of a positive space than a negative space and I believe it is because I keep my page and my interactions in that way. Don’t bring people down on social media as they are human just like you and are going through the struggles of life like any other person is. At times, you may encounter someone who is brazen enough to leave a rude comment, block them. The block button is there for a reason. I cannot tell you how many people I have blocked from my platforms. My spaces on these platforms cultivate health, peace, and confidence, I don’t like it when people disrupt that and I don’t tolerate it in the comments. The best analogy that I have heard recently is that your social media platforms is like your house. You wouldn’t expect someone to come in, disrespect you and your guests without consequence, and you wouldn’t do the same if you were a guest at someone else’s house. The same thing applies to social media, block the negative energy, keep it a space filled with positivity that makes people feel good.
Take Time Off
Take a social media break every now and then. For someone who shares fitness tips, powerlifting, mindset and lifestyle content, I felt like I had to be on social media all the time. I felt like I needed to engage with my audience, the comments, those in my niche and then the actual people that I follow – it became a full time job that I wasn’t enjoying anymore. Eventually in 2020, I burnt out and was no longer inspired or cared to share anything anymore. I spend a limited amount of time on social media and more time finding inspiration outside of it to create more things and have fun with it. I’m trying to step away from being on my Instagram stories everyday and being present on it maybe 3-4 times a week alongside posting on my feed. I think it’s so important to pull ourselves away from the multiple screens that command our attention by bombarding us with images, words, videos that probably don’t contribute to our growth and our learning. We consume so much from social media that it can bring a sense of FOMO. I for one, actually feel a better sense of peace when I take regular breaks. There is this culture of announcing that you are taking a break from social media and apologising that you took a few days off, I don’t think it is necessary to do so. Your health, your peace and your sanity should always be your number 1 priority. If social media is making you feel bad or causing too much distress, log off! Come back when you’re ready.
Social media is supposed to be enjoyed. Lastly but not least, enjoy your time on social media. Connecting and interacting with people around the world at this magnitude is something that could not have been imagined 10 to 15 years ago. People all over the world are connecting with others, learning from others and sharing jokes with others from multiple places around the world. Social media has made our world much smaller and has enriched our lives in more ways than one. I find social media a funny place at times, people crave authenticity but at the same time can demand perfection. There is no such thing as perfection and you should remain true to yourself at all times on any platform. Enjoy the content that you are consuming as much as you are enjoying the content that you are creating.
By setting clear boundaries about what I share and do not share on social media platforms has helped me protect my mental health and those around me. I agree that social media can be overwhelming but I hope these five tips help you to put your mental health when navigating these spaces. Don’t be afraid to be yourself on social media and not give into this realm of perfection. Take what you see with a grain salt especially where the highlights of life are shown and not the lows and the in-between.
Share in the comments below any other tips you have to protect your mental health on social media.
Until next time,