How to love yourself more (and social media less)
The longest and most intense relationship you’ll ever have is with yourself. So, before you worry about friendships, potential dates or significant others, you need to make sure you’re in love with yourself. And if your relationship with social media is stopping you, we’re here to help you out.
We all know that social media doesn’t represent the reality of life (just search the hashtag ‘Instagram vs Reality’ for a dose of truth) but it’s still hard to resist a peek into that tantalisingly ‘perfect’ world. Seeing so many people seemingly living their #bestlives encourages us to reflect on our own lives and draw comparisons, and this can have a really negative impact on our mental health.
Social media companies have even begun to acknowledge this too. Earlier this year, Instagram announced that they will be hiding the number of likes and video views in an attempt to combat concerns that using the app can trigger low self-worth, particularly amongst younger people.
It’s important to remind yourself that what you’re actually seeing online is more like a ‘best bits’ compilation, and it needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Watch this video and see how our celebrities, who often rely on social media for their careers, avoid falling down that bleak social media rabbit hole.
How to make social media work for you
If you’re finding that the ‘compare and despair’ effect is getting the better of you, take control. Here’s a recap of some top tips from our social media-savvy celebs:
Take a digital detox or try limiting when you use social media. Like Lots Holloway says, “If you’re on social media a lot in the day, try not to be in the evening.”
Get some perspective. As Jada Sezer explains, “Everyone only posts the best things – no one’s really posting about the bad days. Don’t forget that people have those bad days and people do feel lonely and get sad – and that’s absolutely normal.”
In the words of Grace Victory: “Create your own social media happy bubble.” Start using social media to find your tribe rather than trigger your negativity. Follow people who uplift you, who make you feel happy, or who inspire you and expand your horizons. Use it to experience “the spectrum of amazing people that are in the world.”
If someone you follow mostly leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth, just un-follow or, as Jada suggests, “mute them”. Remember you’re in control of what you see.
Most phones and tablets also have usage insight tools which tell you how long you’re spending on each app. You can use this to monitor how long you’re spending on social media. If you notice that one app in particular is causing you to feel down or anxious, limit the time you spend on it or cut it out completely.
It's not all bad
Remember, there are some positives to social media. It makes keeping up with friends and family so much easier, and posting about your achievements, sharing things you find interesting or simply sharing memes with your friends can boost your self-esteem and help fight feelings of loneliness.
As Grace advises, “Social media is a powerful tool and can be used in really positive ways,” so you don’t have to cut it out entirely. But, by making an effort to use it more mindfully, you can reframe your relationship: stop using it in destructive ways and start using it to love yourself a bit more.
Because you’re fab. Fact.