Our #1 Tool For Having A Healthy Relationship With Social Media
Social media has come a long way in a short time. Think about it… Facebook was created in 2004 + now it reaches over 2.7 billion people. When it first came onto the scene, many thought it was a fad + might just *blow over* like a lot of trends. But now, social media is changing the way people communicate, socialize, and even — the way we think.
- Community — We as a CHAARG community have *so* many important ties in social media + it has brought us closer than ever in the past year! It helps people all over the world become connected + find support.
- Entertainment — This might go without saying, but social media is also just funny! There are so many amusing + comical posts online [I love cat videos personally : )]. Especially when we’re bored at home — social media can be a great source for a good laugh!
- Perspective — Social media is an important platform for creating social awareness + empathy in our country, especially over the last year. People were able to share their stories + come together to fight important issues.
- Education — So many resources can be shared on social media, like recipes, travel tips, makeup tutorials, general chemistry lectures — literally everything you want to learn is on YouTube!
- Comparison — So many of us spend time comparing ourselves to others on social media, as our feeds are usually filled with thin, fit, + *idealized* body types. We also compare our lives to what we see on the screen — feeling sad that we aren’t out doing exciting things like the people in our feed. We scroll mindlessly + compare what we see online to our own bodies + lives.
- Diet Culture — Social media can become a platform for diet culture, where unrealistic expectations of what we “should + shouldn’t do” + how we “should +shouldn’t look” are shared every day. Individuals with no qualifications can share their latest *diet tips* + *advice* to help us lose weight + feel better, right? But too often, these recommendations can replace our ability to make our own decisions about our bodies [+ the food we eat + the movement we choose]
Understanding both the positive + negative sides of social media can help us find a balance + healthy relationship with it. Social media needs to be something that we consciously choose to have in our life because we decide that it makes our lives better — so we should feel better when we use it! But, in order to get to this place, we need to spend time truly reflecting on how social media influences our wellbeing.
This activity has been our recent favorite tool for having a healthy relationship with social media. This is not an activity that is *one + done* — this is activity to come back to time + time again, whenever you think your social media relationship may need a reset. Let’s dive in…
For this activity, you will scroll through the first 20 posts you see on instagram [if Facebook or TikTok is your preferred social media… feel free to do this activity on that platform!] + describe them. You’re going to determine if each post falls in the *pro* or *con* side of social media.
When you are scrolling, ask yourself:
- Is this one the pros of social media? Is this helping me find connection? Do I feel good after viewing this? Is this content entertaining or funny? Did I learn something or laugh?
- Is this one the cons of social media? Do I feel worse after viewing this content? Am I comparing myself [or my behaviors/decisions] to someone in this post?
- If it is a con, what’s stopping you from unfollowing this account? How would you feel if you didn’t see this content again?
If you think about it, social media isn’t supposed to make you feel bad! You shouldn’t feel negative about yourself when you are scrolling through your feed. You are choosing to have social media in your life, so be sure that it is something that is bringing you joy!
After you are finished reflecting on the first 20 accounts, we recommend that you revamp who you follow! Remember: you are in control of your feed + what you see, so why not make it a happy one? How would your life change if you every time you opened your social media app you were only filled with joy + inspiration?
If you want to go further with this work, here are some additional tips + reflections:
- Have you ever had a successful social media detox? How did it feel?
- Schedule time to use social media + times to step away!
- Think before posting — “Why am I posting this?” Similar to checking in with your emotions when we are scrolling, check in with yourself before posting. What am I feeling before posting this? Will posting this make me feel better/worse?
As always, whenever you feel that social media is impacting your mood more than it should, take a break! Social media should bring you joy + if it’s not, maybe we should put the phone down.