This year I invite you all to join me on a detox journey.
Now don’t panic. I’m not suggesting a diet consisting of only tea or juice or any other liquid because that sh* is whack. I’m instead asking you to shed some time, energy and negative feelings by spring cleaning your social media habits.
It’s no secret that social media has found its way to influence and accompany almost every aspect of our lives. It’s how we talk to people, find out where we should eat, get inspiration, promote our businesses etc etc. None of that is going to change anytime soon and it’s hard to deny how easy some tasks have become thanks to sites like Facebook and instagram.
I’m not even going to attempt to tell you to boycott these sites. But what I do want you to get clear on is exactly how and why you use social media.
More and more studies are being conducted into how social media usage correlates with mental health. It’s no surprise to me that findings point to a negative relationship between the two. If you are spending all of your spare time scrolling different feeds just imagine how many subliminal messages you are taking in. Not just from well-placed advertisements but also from looking at what is undoubtedly someone else’s highlight reel.
Everything we see online has been constructed in some way by the author. In extreme cases images are doctored and staged to represent whatever it is that person wants to. Most of the time it’s about projecting some kind of image and persona. And even more than that it’s about those all important likes. It’s natural that people compare themselves, forgetting that they’re trying to see how they stack up with something that doesn’t even exist in reality.
My first experience with social media was on the site called Bebo. They had this function where you could order your top friends so that everyone could see and you could “give love” to people but only up to three per day. Those “loves” would then show on your homepage so everyone else could see how loved/popular you were. As if being a thirteen year old girl isn’t brutal enough, competition for that top friend spot or “loves” was fierce.
Nobody should ever feel like their value could literally be counted by logging into their profile and reading a number on a screen.
Using Facebook to connect with friends you otherwise wouldn’t get to talk to, or sharing travel photos with your extended family is a great way to use social media. And it’s been suggested that experiencing those feelings of connections can protect you from being affected by feelings of envy or inadequacy. There’s also support groups and other positive movements that use social media to reach people that may otherwise be left out.
That’s why I invite you to really think about how social media adds value to your life. Then think about all of the different pages you’ve probably subscribed to over the years or friends you follow just so you can keep tabs on them, not because you’re ever going to (shock horror) speak to them directly.
Unfollow, unfriend, unsubscribe or do whatever you need to do so that you are not just unwittingly taking in a bunch of information that isn’t having any kind of positive impact on your life. I will put my hand up and say that I just did a mass unfriend of people on Facebook. Not because I have anything against those people but because I have had a big shift in my life and it was making me feel horrendous seeing groups pictures of outings and holidays that I may or may not have been invited on had I still been there. I know that I need to focus on my life, here, not be wistfully thinking about what I would be doing if I’d never left.
Learning to accept that relationships are fluid and change all the time without having to involve any negativity I think is something so valuable to finding peace within ourselves. So if you need to unfollow or unfriend me because I am in some way not making you feel great about yourself then by all means, do what you gotta do. (But hopefully not coz that would be sad).
The point is it’s easy to endlessly scroll and scroll and forget that you have a say in what you see. I challenge you to look at your Facebook friends list. I see some of my friends who have lists of over 1000 people. Nobody can keep up with that many people! Unless your Facebook is integral to your business then what’s the point?
At the very least, trimming down your social media will also shorten the length of time it takes to do a full newsfeed scroll and then who knows what you could accomplish with all that extra time!
Be proactive, not a victim of your 15-year-old self who liked all of those Facebook groups just for the funny names.
Peace and love badasses