Finding a happy medium with social media is something I’m thinking about a lot. Back in 2007 when I set up a Bebo account (at the ripe old age of 12) it never crossed my mind that it could become as big of a problem as it has in society. For the majority of my teenage years and early twenties the potential impacts never occurred to me, but now I do reflect on how much time I’ve actually dedicated to it, how I’ve used social media and how much joy it’s bought me.
I’m going to get right to it, at times it’s bought the opposite of joy. I’ve spent a lot of time scrolling without really engaging, and using Instagram especially as a way to distract myself from thoughts. There’s a wonderful side to social media which I’ll get on to later, but when you fall into bad habits it’s a slippery slope. Social media for me was an escape from reality. A way to numb any negative thoughts, or any thoughts at all actually, peace and quiet. At the time I didn’t address it, I was living alone and used it as a mental block. When you’re in something it’s so hard to see an outside perspective, and even though I knew using social media like this didn’t make me feel good, I carried on.
How I found a happy place with social media.
It wasn’t breaking habits, setting up timers or turning my phone to flight mode that really helped. I needed to get to the root of the problem. I’ve spoken about my mental health before, and I’m sharing this because it’s life, and it happens to SO many of us! Addressing the negative thoughts and the need to have a distraction is what helped me find a happy place with social media. To break the habits the other things helped, but you’ve got to think, if you’re spending a solid hour at a time on social and not actively sharing or posting – why are you there?
Consuming the right kind of content…
I don’t want to leave social media all together, I enjoy using it and I almost feel like I’ve built a little community of people and I don’t want to lose that. Naturally I do spend quite a bit of time on there and I think everyones limits will be different depending on their jobs and lifestyles. With this in mind I’ve completely changed who I follow and the content I consume. I follow so many more honest, inspirational accounts that benefit my mindset and keep me in check. It wasn’t serving me to follow endless accounts sharing the latest fashion trends, I wanted to feel inspired by true stories and positivity. Having a clear out of who I follow and changing it up has made the biggest difference to how I feel.
Self-awareness has been another big thing for me which has come through being more mindful. I’ll still have times when I’ll be on social media for longer than I want to be, but realising that and putting my phone down is just something I didn’t do before. The app headspace is what I use for mindful meditation and it’s really changed my relationship with my thoughts and feelings, I notice them so much more. I’ve also found journalling and reflecting on the day useful to set myself goals to spend less time on social media, making it something I actively think about.