August 16, 2021
In case you didn’t know, you have all the power in the world to make your social media experience whatever you want, and you should. Social media is a fantastic tool to keep up with friends and family and share all of your big news. It’s also a great way to stay informed with news and current events. However, social media can quickly become toxic if we’re not paying close attention to what we’re allowing on our feeds.
I find myself mindlessly scrolling through social media more often than I’d care to admit. While yes, it is mindlessly scrolling, our brain is still taking in every bit of information that we scroll past. This includes thousands of ads, opinions, photos, news, events, and so much more than we actually realize. It’s no wonder we eventually end up needing a break from social media so we can process everything we’ve taken in. Social media can be seen as a very toxic place, but it doesn’t need to be. It can absolutely be enjoyable. You just have to put some work in.
So here’s what I’ve done to clean up my feed and cater it more to my liking –
- Unfollow/unfriend anyone that makes you feel any sort of negative way.
This one is hard, I know. You’re worried what they might think or what they might say. And omg what if they call you out on it? Chances are, they won’t even notice. And if they do, they won’t say anything. And if they do say something, you can simply ignore it or tell them the truth. You didn’t care to see what they were sharing 🤷🏻♀️ no hard feelings.
I cut my friends list and followers down by hundreds. No hard feelings to those that didn’t make the cut, I simply just want to see the kinds of things that inspire me, motivate me, excite me, and make me happy. This isn’t a them issue, it’s a me issue.
Ps, unfollowing/unfriending also goes towards those people you feel obligated to follow. The ones you’re kind of friends with but not really. You’ve had conversations here and there but maybe your views and values don’t align. Or maybe they just bring you more negative feelings than positive. That’s okay. You can still have conversations with them, you just won’t have to see their shit in the meantime.
- Follow accounts that inspire you and make you feel good about yourself
I used to follow a t o n of fitness accounts. While they did inspire me and motivate me to work out – at what cost? The cost of hating my body because it didn’t look the same as theirs. Fitness accounts are great if that’s your thing, but you have to be so careful because it could lead you to hating your body.
Instead, I began following more body positive and body neutral accounts. I found people with bodies that look like mine absolutely killing it and I began to realize that I could absolutely kill it too. The more we see these kinds of accounts and people of all body types rocking it, the more it becomes normalized to have a normal body. Corporations that thrive on us hating ourselves are going to have a fit when they begin to realize that their marketing stunts can’t hold us back any longer. So if not to help your social media experience and mental health, do it so you can stick it to the man 👏🏻
I also followed uplifting and empowering accounts – accounts that made me feel good about myself. Accounts that had a super positive outlook and shared tons of powerful imagery and stories. It truly changed the way I view myself and the world.
- Turn off your activity status.
This goes two ways – you’re not checking when other people were last active, and other people won’t be able to check when you were last active. This point may not apply to everyone, but as a full time business owner, it’s helped me tons.
I’ve always been someone who responds right away. I’m always accessible at any time of day or night. It’s gotten to the point that I’m stressed out if I don’t respond to a message right away even if I’m in the middle of doing something important. So during this task I have it in my mind that I need to respond ASAP – especially if I’m doing something on social media and they can see that I’m active. Turning my active status off has allowed me to take a deep breath before I respond. It’s allowed me to have boundaries. It’s allowed me to think out a response before I commit. It’s allowed me to focus on the task at hand rather than what I’m going to say as a response.
On the other end, I hate being ignored or the feeling of being ignored. So when I see that someone is active on social media but not responding to my messages, I get upset. It’s ridiculous I know. And I’m well aware that people have boundaries and lives and that my message probably isn’t a priority – but for whatever reason it still bothers me. Turning off my active status turned off everyone else’s so I no longer have the thought that so and so is active so they must be ignoring me. People are not required to respond in a certain time frame. In fact, they’re not required to respond at all. Turning this function off has allowed me to take a step back and give them time to respond rather than expecting a message back immediately.
- Turn off like counts
Likes don’t matter, but yet we still find ourselves comparing like counts with the competition or even within our own realm. Why is this post not doing as well as the last? Is it because this post sucks? Did I do something wrong? And then it spirals from there.
I love having no like counts on posts. Because I no longer care how well a post of mind is doing or how it compares to someone else’s. I’m doing my best and I really like what I posted so who cares if no one else does?
- Come to the realization that social media is all fake.
We had a photographer come to our home to take family photos. Before she got there I apologized that our home isn’t exactly put together and there’s holes in our couch from our asshole dog and we just simply haven’t made it feel 100% like a home yet (hello we’re living in a pandemic and we’re all broke. Furniture is expensive). I apologized to her because based on her social media her home seemed well put together and decorated beautifully. She shortly sent me a photo of a messy home and it made me realize that 1. None of us are put together 100% of the time and 2. People only share the good parts.
Social media is fake. Social media is literally catered to make us feel like shit if we’re not the most beautiful, stylish, rich, put together humans ever. But newsflash, we’re all basically living the same life of doing our best and oftentimes that looks like toys scattered about your house, holes in your couch, pjs, messy bun and a cold coffee, and just trying to get through the day without murdering anyone.
Yes, we see the lavish vacations, but we don’t see the 80 hours a week at work to get there. We see the beautifully clean, put together homes, but we don’t see the exhausted parent picking up the 800th lego piece of the day with a cranky babe on their hip. We see happy smiling faces but we don’t see the mental illness or disabilities that constantly surrounds them. We see the college acceptance letters and new jobs and successful businesses and new homes and new cars, but we don’t see how much fucking hard work it took to get there.
Be kind to yourself. You’re doing your best and that’s all that matters. Good things are coming your way.
Social media is what you make it. So make it a good experience. Quit allowing others to control what you see on your feeds. Do you boo, and be unapologetic about it.