June 11, 2021
By: Jhanae Winter
Social media can be a great place but with everything in life there are many disadvantages to being online.
We love Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Snapchat, Whatsapp and the list goes on. With each of these apps having over hundreds of millions of downloads there is no surprise that they are used on a daily basis for many people.
We know, for some social media is a part of their jobs and even their whole career. Those in marketing, public relations and digital media have to use social media. Then you have new forms of career choices like influencers, who have to post everyday because that is how they make their money.
However, even they will tell you to manage your use of social media.
Millions of images, videos and other content are consumed and if they aren't lifting you up, they sure are bringing you down.
The constant checking to see what others are doing, seeing people your age seemingly doing better than you, or fantasizing over someone with a better body are all negatively affecting your mental health.
The thing about this is YOU know this, you know what triggers you and what doesn't. Yet there you are sitting, scrolling and digesting all the junk thrown your way.
I am guilty of this too so don't feel too bad. But there are two main ways you can work on this.
Chances are you won't stop using social media, cold turkey. It has become the way we live nowadays and communicate with others. But what you can do is limit the amount of time you spend on it. The thing is, social media takes up so much of your time. While we are building up someone else's career by watching their video or liking their post all the time we can be doing the same thing with our lives. The time you would sit and just aimlessly scroll, use that same time to write a plan for your day or that week. What are your goals, visions, targets, do you know? Well use that time to figure it out.
Instead of opening an app when you first wake up, open a book, journal or go outside and soak in the sun for a few minutes. You will feel much more accomplished with your day when you do things that are more productive and help grow you mentally. But if those things are not something you like to do, then go for a walk, run or exercise. Plan your next meal prep. Or even mediatie, spend that time with God and as the elders would say “give Him your first fruits”. Your spiritual health is of great importance and when that is in order every other aspect of your being comes into place as well. Regardless of how you plan to use that time, the point is do something of substance that profits you.
Follow the right people
Many people don’t realize how invested they are in the lives of others. Whether it's a stranger or someone they went to school with. Either way, this can be crucial to your mental health and self worth. Tyler the Creator tweeted something so funny years ago, in a nutshell he said, how can you get cyberbullied, just log off. It sounds so matter of fact and crazy and although there is more to cyberbullying than that, he makes a point. If the people that you're following and consuming on a daily basis don't bring value to your life then simply, you guessed it, unfollow them.
It's one thing to follow someone as a form of inspiration and aspiration because they currently have something you are trying to obtain. Whether it be about health, career, lifestyle or more. But there is a fine line between being inspired by people and comparing your life to people and many fall down this hole quickly. The mean difference is the outcome of your feelings. If you are inspired by an account or social media page, it gives you a burst of energy to achieve the things you need. It also can work as encouragement, perhaps seeing someone your age achieve such success regardless of their age and circumstances encourages you to keep pursuing your goals. THOSE feelings are fine.
But when you find yourself feeling inadequate, worthless, or like you are not doing enough, then it becomes a problem. When you compare, someone always ends up in the least position and in this case it might be you. Looking at everyone with their perfect bodies, designer clothes and shoes, spending money like running water, being able to go out and party while you work a 9-5 can all wear down your self confidence and promote low self-esteem. If you are comparing yourself to those on social media rather than being inspired then your social media needs a detox.
The benefits of social media are abundant and if we take the time to assess our relationships with these apps and improve our interactions with them our lives will improve for the better.
Many people always speak how positively their lives change when they come off of social media. But sometimes cutting things out of our lives completely isn't always the way to go, it's the easier route (in my opinion of course). It takes more self control and discipline to limit yourself to social media and fight against the urge to spend so much time on it. Likewise to follow and support people you have for years and suddenly not see them on your feed anymore.
But first times are always the hardest, once you do it it becomes so much easier, speaking from experience.