In this post, I wanted to talk about something I’ve been really focusing on recently: a healthier relationship with social media. Inspired by both feedback from various people's Instagram hiatuses and by seeing that it’s Instagram that uses 63% of my iPhone battery on a daily basis, I've been making a few conscious changes which I wanted to share, in order to maintain the healthiest relationship with social media possible....
There's no doubt social media is both amazing and anxiety-inducing at once. Something that has the power to make you feel great and then shitty in an instant. Something that can also be more of a habit than a hobby. I’m really not one for complaining about ‘the algorithm’ or getting caught up in engagement stats but that’s not to say I don’t sometimes fall down the rabbit hole and spend 20 minutes wistfully lusting after some stranger’s life. And whilst it’s so great for inspiration, motivation and informing you, it’s also bad for causing FOMO, addiction, and serving up unrealistic goals. Here's how you're going to feel better...
spend less time on it
First up. Are you spending too much time on it? Does your thumb automatically hover over Instagram when you go on your phone to send a text? Recently, I’ve been consciously spending trying to spend more time away from my phone in general, and feeling really good for it. That means leaving it in the bedroom for the evening, turning it on airplane mode when I’m in bed, and going out for dinner or walks without it. Spending less time on my phone full stop is something I’m really focusing on, and with that comes less time on social media.
limit the scrolling
Sometimes you fall down a rabbit hole on Instagram. You spend 20 minutes ogling someone’s Bali pictures, and then you go through all of their best friend’s pics, and then you get onto their YouTube channel, and then you’ve just lost 45 minutes. It happens. Other times, you find yourself just scrolling and scrolling, and scrolling. But how great would you feel if you spent that 45 minutes in the gym? Or in the bath. Or calling your mum. Less scrolling is a healthier habit, be aware of it and aim to limit yourself to just one scroll in the morning, lunch and night. I’m still trying, don’t worry, but in theory, that’s my goal.
We all love a flat-lay but I’m kind of done with 'Instagram bait’ shots, the kind of ludicrous set ups that literally would never exist in the real world and are purely there for Instagram. Be real and be you.
unfollow unrealistic strangers
Those crazy Photoshopped travel shots? The ridonkulous booties? The 17 year-olds with more designer handbags than years on Planet Earth? Not inspiring, time to unfollow.
do it for you, not the likes
Focus on making your feed a reflection of you, instead of a vanity project, or something that’s there to please others and rack in the likes. It should be something you’re proud of, and should make you feel happy and nostalgic to scroll back through the memories.
in fact, really try not to give a shit about the likes
Try your hardest not to care about the likes. It’s so easy to get caught up in the highs of social media — recent reports have come out to prove that yes, it does have the power, if not intention, to meddle with your mental health — but it’s important to not let likes be your validation of success, passion or worth. Be you, own it, and let that be your USP. Be sure to care more about real life love than digital ‘love’.
engage in your community
This is my final point, and something I really believe is the best and most powerful way to see the true brilliance of social media. Engaging in your community — so, commenting, responding, asking and answering questions and sharing feedback, is something that will help make the world of social media feel a lot more intimate, supportive and interesting. It’s all well and good throwing someone a quick like but there’s something a lot more real in building relationships with people, gaining their respect, through sharing your story and learnings on social media.
Look for some people to follow who are totally real, don’t do it for the likes, and are never going to leave you deflated?
I don't follow many 'bowl food' kinda people on Instagram but I'm kind of obsessed with Lee and her open and honest Instagram Stories. We both went on the adidas trip to San Fran back in Jan' 2017 and I've been an avid follower ever since. She's super real, very openly talks about body and her hormones, and makes the most amazing looking food, I'm constantly drooling.
Carly is one of my favourite people to follow for both positivity and reality. Yes, she’s super successful, has a tonne of followers and the body of a beautiful warrior, but she works for it, she doesn’t hold back from telling her story, including the good days and the bad days.
I met Chinae in San Francisco with adidas and she’s has the best personality and driest sense of humour. She’s one of my favourite people to follow on Instagram — her Stories are pure truth (and hilarious) and she’ll always call out the bull shit.
Because no-one looks perfectly made up and blemish free 100% of the time, Maya brings that truth home with her bad angle selfies and just-woke-up Stories. It’s so refreshing to see someone owning their own bare face (as well as their gorge made up look) and we should all be taking tips and not be scared of putting the real us on the ‘gram in a bid to show the bigger picture.