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5 Ways to Prevent Social Media Sucking the Life out of You

We’ve all see various articles and videos stating how much Social Media sucks the life out of us but have you really considered the affects of your daily use?

I have to use social media for work purposes and I like it. I also like to share updates of my life on my personal channels for those that I’m not in touch with as much as I’d like but when I do step away, even just for a day, I feel like there is more time in my day, more want to meet with people and generally, I feel pretty good about myself. The unseen psychological affects of regular social media exposure is not good for our mental health at all. All those filtered/touched-up images, everyone wanting to be the next inspirational speaker or influencer, the pressures to live more interesting lives — they all add up — and if you’re feeling a little down about yourself or life, social media just exacerbates the problems.

  1. Self-Care: The Selfies Game

I like a good selfie, like the rest of us, I enjoy playing with filters, I enjoy it when my ego gets boosted but I feel confident sharing my selfies when I’m feeling great about myself. I don’t post selfies when I’m in need of attention. This can be very dangerous for your self-esteem. When you’re scrolling through your feed or in search on Instagram and you see beautiful selfies, just remember that they are a version of someone. They do not tell the whole truth. If someone purely posts selfies (and they’re not a Kardashian) they are seeking approval, ego boosting and are probably highly insecure. Why do I say this? If you’re feeling a bit fragile about yourself, copious amounts of gorgeous highly re-touched selfies are going to play havoc with your confidence and self- esteem, so you need to view them with some perspective. For some, it is part of their jobs and this mainly relates to celebrities whose every inch of their person is owned or branded but for the rest of us, it is a window into insecurity. Even through social media and the selfie generation is accepting of these images, if you’re struggling with your self-esteem, they will not be helpful to you in the long-term. Instead, look for places you can visit/travel to — they’re much more realistic and will be a welcome distraction on your feed.

2. Travel: Be Inspired

I suggest this to ALL my clients when looking at a social media cull. Follow more travel content. Be inspired by bloggers who travel for a living, be inspired by the beautiful photography from National Geographic and follow destinations you would love to visit. Not only do these images inspire calmness and creativity, they are welcome distractions from all the ego-centric images you will see from others you follow. You can get lost in beautiful imagery and regular viewing will help to shift patterns of mindset for the better. You’ll soon start to feel more at peace with yourself and appreciate your role in the grand scheme of the entire world.

3. Time: Create a Routine

Absolutely create a routine for social media viewing. DON’T do it first thing in the morning and DON’T do it last thing at night. Whatever you show your brain, you will instil into it for that day or evening. Those will be the thoughts you start your day with and those will be the thoughts you end your day with. For example, say you’re suffering from a ‘fat day,’ you wake up and check social media and you see stunning images of fit bodies, your brain decided to agree with you that you are fat and then the day pans out that way. In the evening you do the same when scrolling, you decide that you’ll never be stunning and you sleep. Now, whilst you’re asleep, those thoughts you had all day and just before bed become fact in your brain. You then perpetuate those thoughts and your self-esteem gets harder and harder to rise. Be mindful of when you use social media, images are translated in our minds much easier than words. And really be in the moment when you’re doing things. It doesn’t matter to ANYONE where you are and what you’re doing at any given second of the day — yep, no one cares! So enjoy the time DOING and post about it later. Your companions will also appreciate the attention and this is the best kind of attention and interaction you can and should be having on a regular basis. Regardless of the great things technology bring, we are still human beings and our DNA and needs have not changed.

4. Notifications: Be brave and switch them off!

This is empowering. Just go to your settings and switch them off! If you create a routine to check into your channels, you’re not really going miss anything. No one is going to scold you for replying to a post after a few hours! They may even see you as having a life — and this is the end goal! Have a life! Share on social media by all means but don’t forget to live a life that you are able to share!

5. Over-Sharing: You don’t have to do it!

This one really gets my goat. Why are you sharing so much? Apart from safety issues, ask yourself, what are you trying to achieve by sharing so much of your life/your inner thoughts/your insecurities/ your needs? What this does is attract often the wrong types of people — whether a troll or a person who will amp up your issues and disguise it as support. You don’t need this! Why would you choose to have someone agree that you’re ugly/fat/unattractive/unfit? Those are not real friends, those are not real support. Real friends will give you a physical hug, real friends will LISTEN to your challenges and offer support, real friends will not try to solve your problems with a gif — unless it’s to make you laugh. Just be aware of the content you post and the reasons you’re doing it. Likes mean nothing. Those likes will not save you if you are drowning — a real person will. Those likes will not comfort you after a break up — a real person will. Those likes will not soothe you after an operation — a real person will etc etc etc.

Be more mindful about your social media usage and its affects. I consider it a core factor in the devastating game of self-belief and image and the number 1 contributor to self-esteem issues in young people. It’s not worth it. You have so much more to experience and enjoy in life that those channels will not provide. Just be more careful, please.

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