I first wanted to say that it's raining outside and the birds are singing and my cat is purring and I am in a state of bliss. I hope your Monday is going just as wonderfully!
For two and a half days or about 32 hours, I stayed off of Instagram and all other social media. I wrote about my experience on Instagram here.
The idea to do so came about when my Instagram friend made a story about how she felt overwhelmed by social media and decided she'd take a day off this past week to detach from it. When she asked if anyone else would like to join I replied instantly. Later that day, strangely enough, I came across a blog post from The Blissful Mind about weekly digital detoxing. As of now, I have decided that once a week, I will take a break from Instagram, and other social media, and spend the day reading, exercising, meeting with friends, and doing the things I enjoy! At least, I received so many signs to do so.
Since spending time away from Instagram, I've also decided that I'd like to create a healthy relationship with social media. While I do spend most of my time using Instagram for good reasons, I spend a large chunk of time comparing, obsessing over my feed, and judging others. I also find myself using Instagram to avoid productive tasks and will find myself scrolling and clicking through stories for hours on end.
Instagram is my most-used form of social media because it has many benefits and is the main reason as to why I have a somewhat-established author platform. It is a great platform for growing a business, a blog or letting your voice shine through. However, like all things, Instagram is only really good in moderation, and regardless of the countless benefits, it's important to maintain a positive and healthy relationship with the app, as well as all other forms of social media.
Here are 7 ways to create a healthier relationship with social media.
1) Stay in your own lane
This is something my mom taught me a few weeks ago--credit to her! When we're faced with social media comparison, it's important to remember that each account is separate from the other. Everyone has been online for different amounts of time, and everyone produces slightly different content because everyone is their own unique person.
Rather than fixating on the numbers and the quality of someone else's photos, come back to your own bubble and set goals for yourself. Maybe try to land over 100 likes on a photo, or gain 20 new followers, or receive 5 comments on your next post. Whatever the goals, have some for yourself so that you can stop focusing on other's growth, and start working toward your own.
Check out: 6 ways to stop comparing yourself to others
2) Actually feel happy for the people you're following
Not to throw anyone under the bus... but I'm certain that at some point or another, we have judged someone online. Regardless of what that person did, or what they were wearing, we shook our head at their photo, thought, or said something about them, then scrolled to judge the next photo.
Of course, we don't judge all the time! Most of the time, we are kind to each other and comment and DM supportive messages, especially right now.
But what if, for an entire day, we felt happy for everyone? What if we thought to ourselves, "She looks so pretty in this photo!" or "Wow, I bet his vacation was wonderful, and I'm so happy for him and his family!" or, for the bookstagramers, "This is a lovely book photo, and I'm going to comment about how beautiful it is."
Erase all judgments for just a day, and notice how much better you feel when you log off. Support others, and they'll support you.
3) Manage your time online with the time limit function
Which not much else to do, it's easy to spend most of our days consuming other people's lives. But, to limit the amount of time we're online, possibly judging, set a time limit for social media, or simply monitor your usage.
XOSarah, a blogger I like, said that she spends 30 minutes on social media in the morning, and 30 minutes at night. I like this method because, rather than popping on at various times throughout the day, you get on once in the morning, and once at night, and you're done!
Or, give yourself one to two hours of social media time, and when the time limit pops up, listen to it, and log off for the day. This is what I try to do.
4) Before opening social media, ask yourself, "What else?"
There are so many other things we could be doing rather than scrolling through social media. When you find yourself hovering over the app, ask yourself, "What else?" and decide whether or not you'd rather scroll online, or maybe pick up a book, play a video game, get up and workout, or something else you enjoy.
Of course, if you need to go on social media for something, go right ahead! But, it's so easy for social media to become a time-waster for hours on end. Before falling into that spiral of clicking and liking, figure out if there's any other way to spend your next hour.
5) Unfollow people who make you feel bad or clutter your feed
This sounds bad, I know, but social media is a place where we consume other's lives and connect with people online. And we shouldn't feel obligated to consume everyone's lives or talk with everyone.
If someone is sharing negative content that makes you feel bad, you can first ask yourself why it's bothering you, of course, but don't hesitate to simply unfollow them. If someone is posting random photos of a blank wall, you can unfollow them, too. Even if they're your friend, this is the feed that you're consuming every day, once, twice, sometimes more, so at least make it visually appealing. They're still your friend, whether you're following them or not. And don't follow people who make you angry, either.
It's okay to unfollow sometimes! This way, you're only following people that make you feel good or inspired, and social media has suddenly become a comforting place, rather than a place of judgment.
6) Use social media for inspirational purposes
If you are going to scroll through social media frequently, try to use it for inspirational purposes. Look at other's vacations as inspiration to go out and explore the world yourself. Look at people's cute outfits as inspiration for your own style. Look at themes and filters as ideas for your feed.
I use Pinterest solely for inspiration. I have boards for my dream kitchen, dream library, and storyboards. I often wonder how different Instagram or Facebook would be if I used them for inspiration in my life!
7) Have fun with your photos and your captions
In the end, whether you're growing a business online, or just being you, it's important to just have fun. Post pretty photos of books, but also don't be afraid to switch up your content, add some introspective captions, and sneak in some photos of you being goofy. It's your account after all, and even if you're trying to make an aesthetic appearance, you shouldn't feel the need to post perfect photos and captions all the time.
My feed isn't perfect, and nor are my captions, but they're a good representation of me. Slowly, I'm learning how to have more fun with social media, and remind myself that it's just an app where I share my life and consume other's online presence.
That's all it is.
Get creative. Make five accounts, or one. Share your life, change up your filters, add in effects, and don't get too focused on the numbers because social media growth is all about the connections, anyway.
The biggest thing I learned from being away from social media for 32 hours is the fact that social media is smaller than we think it is, and people are still going to like you, regardless of whether your photo's hue is too green or if the caption is a little clunky.
Have fun! :)
I hope these tips help you develop a healthier relationship with social media! And maybe, just maybe, you'll join me in a weekly digital detox! Let me know if you do!
Thanks for reading, and I'll see you on Wednesday!