Hi, loves! Do you ever feel at a loss with social media? I think sometimes it seems as though people live two lives; one that’s their everyday, boring, real stuff, and one that’s perfectly curated to show their best bits on social media. I know this can actually the case; people sometimes literally fake their real life #forthegram, but that’s not how everyone acts. Curating certain aspects of it is one thing, but it really isn’t good for our mental health when we compare ourselves with unrealistic ‘expectations’. I often find myself feeling a bit rubbish after scrolling through Instagram and end up in a funk over nothing. I really try to keep myself in check by discussing this with Matt regularly, and he does everything he can to make me feel good. I really do wonder though, how can we feel so disconnected after scrolling through apps that are made to keep us connected?
Despite sometimes feeling bogged down with it all, I generally love social media, and Instagram is my favourite app to spend time scrolling through. I love seeing other people’s lives, and I also love sharing photographs of my life; it’s like an online scrapbook I can look back whenever I fancy. I appreciate the beautiful photography, gain outfit inspiration and I’ve met some incredible people through it. Instagram stories are my personal favourite aspect of the app, I feel like I can really get to know people by what they post, and I love seeing the behind-the-scenes of people’s lives. It’s almost like a diary, and I like to save my snaps to my feed in highlight reels for each month. I share lots of Matt and I’s life on Instagram, but I think that’s what makes it special; there’s so many real people, sharing real things. I think photos people post on their Instagram grid can sometimes be a different story, and that’s where there’s a weird crossover. People take photos in perfect lighting, shot from the best angles and this is when the comparison game ramps up for me. Social media is meant to be fun; it’s literally meant to be a place to share your thoughts, feelings and experiences, and I wish it was a more positive place.
This post is relevant to most social media outlets, although I definitely reference Instagram a lot as it’s my main social media app of choice. I’m trying to post more grid photos, but not too much as I still want every post to feel genuine and real. However, if you’re an Instagram Stories fanatic like me, and you want to see lots of boomerangs of flickering candles, ideas of what Matt and I are cooking up that night, and at least one Lush bath per week, what are you waiting for? Follow me here.
Be precious with the time you spend scrolling
Matt and I decided a while ago that we’d try not to use our phones much whilst we were lying in bed, in the mornings or at night. We wanted to be more present with each other, as we’d often find ourselves ‘having a quick look at Instagram’, then twenty minutes had passed where we hadn’t spoke, and had spent all of that time mindlessly scrolling through various social apps. I think it’s had a positive effect on my mental health by limiting mindless scrolling in bed, as first thing in the morning and last thing at night, my thoughts aren’t at all related to what’s going on in the world of Instagram, or who’s tweeted something controversial.
During the day I also make a conscious effort to not spend too much time scrolling; when I’m at work I barely use my phone anyway, and then during the evenings/weekends browsing social media comes second to spending time with Matt, working on my blog or doing yoga, seeing our friends/family and running errands. I think being conscious about what you want to get from social media is the main thing, and being able to switch off (literally, if that’s what you need) is so important. If you’ve already watched every story, seen every tweet or photo, then you’re scrolling through just because and that’s not going to bring you any joy. However, if you’ve not looked for hours there is new content to take in and enjoy, and maybe be inspired from.
Do not compare yourself to others
Ah, the age old social media problem. Comparison is the thief of joy, and it will literally ruin your day if you continually compare yourself to the people you follow on your chosen platforms. I wrote a post asking if any of us really had our sh*t together (spoiler: we don’t), and in that I spoke a lot about how social media can have a negative impact on me when I’m already feeling a bit crap. Whether I’m having a hard time with my anxiety or I’ve just had a bad day, I find that Instagram specifically can really put me into a spin where things seem much worse than they are. It’s so important to not compare our lives to those we follow on social media; be inspired and motivated by others, but do not feel like you have to change who you are. People often try to fit a mould of someone else and it’s an endless spiral of trying to be something that’s unattainable. You’re already great as you are, and no amount of self-deprecation is going to help, it’s only going to make you feel rubbish about yourself. Appreciate other’s content, enjoy their stories and be generous with your likes/comments, but never let yourself feel inferior compared to someone on social media. I’m working SO dang hard on this right now.
Make use of the unfollow and mute options
If you really can’t help but compare yourself in a negative way or feel down because of someone on social media, it’s time to use that unfollow button. You choose who you follow, and there’s no rules as to who that has to be. The people you follow should create a safe haven, a sense of joy and fun, and excitement to read their captions, view their stories or read their tweets. Sometimes, when those people who make you feel down are ones you know (and maybe even love) in real life, it’s probably easier to use the mute button. You can mute people’s posts without them knowing on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and I’m sure there’s similar options on any social media platform. Put yourself first, and be a little bit selfish: you should only see what you want to see on your feed.
Change up your following list
Whenever I feel a little uninspired or bored of Instagram, it’s probably because I’ve not followed anyone new in a while and I’m seeing lots of the same thing over and over. As I mentioned, I really enjoy seeing people’s real lives and the boring stuff, so lifestyle bloggers are my favourite niche and that’s who I’m always looking to find on the Explore page. I follow tons of accounts I really love, and here’s just a few I’d recommend if you’d like to spruce up your Instagram content:
@rosemarinoramsey for all of the giggles
@niomismart for incredible food and travel inspo
@jadebillington for a TON of good vibes
@venetiafalconer for activism
@savannah_edmondson for the cutest photos
@mrshinchhome for cleaning and organising motivation
@rosetintedpics for beautiful blogging photos
@quotesbychristie for uplifting messages
@rebeccaellenlamb for body (and life) positivity
@thehappynewspaper for all the news stories that you don’t see in the mainstream media
Be generous with your likes and comments
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate getting likes and comments on posts, and it makes it more likely that I’ll want to upload more photos. Engagement via social media is a little weird, and it’s something that kind of irks me when I think about it. Promoted posts from brands and big bloggers often show on my feed, and my Explore page is usually filled with large Instagram accounts who have already grown so much. I want to see small bloggers, like-minded people and also just regular real life people, showing their love for a new pair of Topshop jeans or a beautiful sunny day at the beach. As I mentioned above, I seriously love Instagram stories, and I’m forever replaying my favourites from that day to Matt – I’m pretty sure he doesn’t care haha! I always like photos from my favourite accounts, and I’m guilty of liking lots of random photos via the Following and Explore pages too. I’m actively trying to comment more often, and I think it’s a small thing we can all do to show a little love. Let’s be social on social media, eh?
Follow hashtags of thing that bring you joy*
*Instagram specific. Using hashtags in our captions (or comments) is the best way to get extra likes, and potentially gain new followers, and you can now also follow specific hashtags you’re interested in. If you’re needing a little #OOTD inspiration, or you’re just wanting to see what #pinchofnom recipes people have made recently, there’s a hashtag for everyone’s peak interests. I love to follow hashtags as it breaks up my feed, and I find new accounts to follow this way pretty often. Some of my other favourite hashtags I follow are #seekthesimplicity, #discoverunder1k and #lifestyleblogger as there’s tons of lovely photos here by lovely people, and that’s the kind of content I want to see on a daily basis!
Thank you so much for reading! I hope this post helped if you also sometimes feel a little overwhelmed with social media, it happens to all of us right? What are your best tips to encourage healthy social media habits? I’m always looking for new people to follow on social media, which are your favourite Instagram accounts?