I have a complicated relationship with social media. You too?
While it’s an amazing tool to share my mission and reach women all over the world in a matter of SECONDS (technology, man!), it’s also proven to be a strange space to me. What I mean is: I’m sure we’ve all experienced at some point that social media also has its downsides. It can be a swamp of diet culture messages, body comparison, unrealistic beauty standards, and so much more.
Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer face-to-face interactions any day over technology. However it’s come to a point where social media has become infused into so many areas of our culture that it’s pretty challenging to stay completely away from it.
Over the past few years, I’ve tried my very best to figure out how to have a healthy relationship with technology and - more specifically - social media. It’s taken a lot of experimenting, but I’m here to tell you it IS possible to make the social experience a positive one, if you even want to engage with it in the first place.
So I’ve compiled a few tips and tricks that have been proven among myself and my peers to be helpful in creating a positive social media experience. Before we jump in, I want to point out that relating to social media in a healthy way can be fluid and ever-evolving. What worked for me this time last year doesn’t work for me now, so it’s helpful to keep checking in with how social media is affecting you, and adjust accordingly!
1 // CLEAN YOUR FEEDS
Unfollowing, deleting, blocking and unfriending can be pretty powerful stuff. Remember: we all have a choice when it comes to who we follow and what type of content we see.
Doing a mass clean-out of your social feeds can be incredibly freeing and helpful in curating content that feels good to you. Here’s how you can start:
Set aside a specific amount of time (I start with 20 minutes), and choose a platform you’re going to clean up. Scroll through your feed or your current friend/follower list, and hit unfollow on any accounts that bring up any negative feelings like jealousy, comparison or annoyance. Go with your gut.
This isn’t to say we should delete these feelings from our lives, but social media tends to be a breeding ground for these types of negative experiences, so when it’s possible to lighten your load, do it (hit unfollow).
Keep taking short chunks of time to clean up different platforms. It’ll probably take some time to totally curate your feeds to your liking, and that’s OK. I’ve found this to be the less overwhelming route to take.
2 // BE PICKY
Just like you have the choice to unfollow anyone who doesn’t enhance your life, you have the choice to follow those that do. Be really picky about who you let on to your feed, because when you’re scrolling, that’s who you’re going to see and what your brain will process. This is another opportunity to go with your gut. If an account feels like it enhances your social media experience, great! If not, move on.
3 // SET TIME BOUNDARIES
How many times a day can you check social media and not take away from your day-to-day life?
How long can you stay on there without getting totally sucked in?
Remember: this is YOUR experience, so you can design it any way that works for you. Experiment!
For example: maybe you experiment with checking social media for 10 mins at a time, 3x/day. Set a timer and stick to it. Play around to see what works for your particular experience.
4 // CHOOSE A BREAK DAY
Social media has become so integrated with our lives that it can be easy to miss out on what’s going on around us: real, real life.
Try choosing a day of the week to sign out of all social platforms and take a breather. This can help you focus on what’s happening in your life and check in with how you’re feeling -- not people filling your feeds. It can also be a great way to cultivate human-to-human relationships, because it forces us to look up from our phones or computers (Seriously - this is really lacking in such a techy world!).
I’ve found I feel way calmer, more grounded and even happier on these break days. Interesting, right? See how taking a break makes you feel!
5 // JOIN POSITIVE FACEBOOK GROUPS (if you're into that sorta thing)
I started getting into Facebook groups just this past year. It’s a great way to learn, connect with other high-vibers and feel supported in the weird, crazy social media world.
I started Body Love Club so that people could have a bright corner of the internet to learn, support and ask questions about loving our bodies and feeling at ease around food.
Bright spots on Facebook DO exist, and here are a few groups I’m currently loving:
Therapeutic Online Community from Wright Wellness Center
Fearless Femmpire Book Club & Online Community
Take Care of YOU
6 // POSTS ≠ REALITY
In my experience, most people like to post the highlights of their lives, making it appear that they have their lives together and everything figured out, but it’s just not the case. Everyone has something they’re dealing with - big or small - and it can be easy to forget this in a sea of engagement photos, job promotions, party pics and more.
I find it so refreshing when people can be honest about their victories and their struggles, though again, this doesn’t happen much on social media. And that’s OK! That’s where real, real life relationships are beneficial. :)
The point here is to remember what a lot of social media is: a highlight reel. It’s not necessarily truth or the whole picture of someone’s life, and reminding yourself of that often can help put things into perspective.
Curating a feed that’s body-positive and promotes a healthy relationship with food can create a more positive, uplifting and supportive social media experience.
As always, play around and experiment to see which of these suggestions work for you!
Have your own tips around creating a positive social media experience? Share share share! Comment below or email me: email@example.com.