Social media to me as an influencer has broken me and built me in equal measure. In a world that is now totally consumed by Instagram and the likes of the Kardashians, it’s way too easy to be sucked in by the ever deepening culture and ‘new normal’ of creating an oh so perfect digital universe with the end goal of likes and positive comments.
The debate as to whether social media is a positive or negative tool is a hot topic of discussion all across the world. For me personally, I’ve been both made and broken by social media since I began using it at around 14 years old (ah, MySpace how I miss you!). On one side, I’m utterly and unhealthily addicted to Instagram in every way; I can’t bear to leave my phone for longer than 10 minutes, most things I do is constructed around whether it will make a good picture and several relationships of mine are suffering because of it. On the flipside, it’s built me up as a person and given me confidence in myself that I never thought I’d have.
All of this being said, one thing’s for sure; for a healthy mind and happy life, Social Media needs to be treated with care, consideration and balance.
I’ve worked in social media as a job (both with my blog and freelance business) for almost 7 years and have battled with every emotion this industry can conjure. I therefore wanted to share with you my best methods for being mindful with social media use and the ways I keep my life balanced and my mind happy and healthy.
1. Set a time limit
Even Instagram itself is recognising that us consumers need to know when enough is enough, as they’ve introduced an ‘your activity’ tab. This section of the app tells you the time you spend on it (which absolutely shocked me into submission!) as well as lets you set a reminder when you hit a specific time limit you set for time spent on it. I find this feature really useful, as well as the one built into iPhones themselves that lets you basically block selected apps from working at certain times of the day. I turn this on between 7-10pm every evening as it’s when my boyfriend’s home from work.. he is not a fan of my endless and idle scrolling so it keeps him happy as well as stops any ringtone temptations from stealing my attention away from quality time with him. Recognise the difference between actually working and useless zombie scrolling and switch off as soon as it becomes the latter.
2. Put in what you want to take out
Instagram is inundated with fakes… fake likes, fake followers, fake lives, fake waistlines. It’s one of my absolute biggest woes of this platform as it is so undeniably damaging to others by way of creating goals and expectations which simply don’t exist and are impossible to achieve. Every day I need to remind myself of this fact to avoid the (often inevitable) doubt and comparison of popularity, looks and lifestyle, as well as remember what I want to put out into the digital world which is positivity. Be honest and open about what you post online and feel proud of the real amazing life you have created for yourself and you’ll feel much more fulfilled than you would if you posted a shot of a coffee you took a year ago or editing your legs to an ungodly length.
3. Leave your phone behind
I know, sounds crazy doesn’t it! Leaving my phone at home when going out has played such a big part in finding a balance in my online and offline life. I used to feel guilty about leaving my phone behind as it’s technically my job to keep people updated with what I’m doing, eating, drinking, thinking, but I’ve taught myself that not every single second needs to be documented in an Instagram story or post… people won’t unfollow me and brands won’t stop working with me just because I went for a pizza with my boyfriend and didn’t tell the world about it. Leave your phone tucked up safely at home now and again and you’ll be able to engage in real conversation without the fleeting thoughts about taking a photo or checking the likes on your last post. It’ll also make you feel more refreshed and work enthused when you come back to it.
Those are the three biggest pieces of advice I can give you and the ones that for me have made all the difference in creating a happier and healthier life both online and not. Just always remind yourself to be kind to yourself as well as your community and remember that there is life outside of Instagram… don’t be afraid to go and live it sometimes!