Social media is both a blessing and a curse, all rolled into one super powerful, itsy-bitsy, hand-held rectangle. Since social media’s uprising has become such an influential part of our current day, it can be hard to find a good balance between how it can enrich our lives, and how it can deplete them.
Social media is like jam. A sweet, fruity, strawberry jam. A little dollop on your toast is great for breakfast, but if you stick your whole hand in the jar, you will just be left with a handful of jam and unable to do anything else, well, because, your hand is covered in jam. Think Winnie the Pooh and his honey pot. Actually, that’s a much better analogy. Whether social media is your jam or your honey, it’s best to find out how it best works for you, without creating a mess.
Day 4 – Clean up your social media feeds.
To be honest, social media can be like kryptonite for my anxiety; fueling a rush of unbearable flames. Seeing how seeming “perfect” everybody’s lives look is an easy way to ruin a day. Comparison is the thief of joy after all. Although logically I know that Instagram, and other social medias of the likes are usually highlight reels, it can be hard to accept this as fact. When you feel your deepest lows, and encounter mundane everyday problems, being surrounded with apparently flawless and magnificent lives, can be overwhelming and harmful to self-esteem.
Something I am very guilty of, and am trying very hard to change, is the amount of time I spend mindlessly scrolling on social media. Notice the word mindless; if it were mindful instead I would be a very happy chicken! However, I waste so much precious time doing nothing on social media – it filling in the gaps in my day. I am working on replacing this time with reading, practicing mindfulness, playing the ukulele, talking to my favourite humans and of course, writing too. It is a much lighter feeling, to not be constantly bearing the weight of comparison, and reflecting my lows with other’s highs.
The mental health communities on social media can be quite a mixed bag. If you dip your hand it, it can be quite a surprise as to whether it’s a community that seeks to support, or one that seeks to hinder. A friendly nuzzle from a rabbit, or a harsh bite from a crocodile. A pretzel or some goopy mayo. You get the picture. As somebody who spent many teenage years lost in an eating disorder, browsing Pro-Ana websites, it’s actually really scary to think back about the harmful content that is out there. In some communities, it’s almost a competition to see who is “sickest”. In others, it’s a wonderful group of people who share openly and honestly, yet also support each other in the process. It is important to remember that ultimately you are in control of what forms of social media you follow and engage with. It isn’t rude, horrible or dismissive to not interact with something that doesn’t serve you. They can do what works (or quite possibly doesn’t) for them, and you can do what works for you. There is a hugely diverse spectrum of mental health communities on social media. You just have to dig through a bit sometimes to find the ones that bring you up, rather than the ones that leave you feeling torn down. Here on WordPress is a fabulous place to start.
However, in saying all of this, social media is not all one burnt cookie. It can also be a perfectly crisp, chewy, chocolate chip cookie too! The information that can be accessed, the ideas that can be shared, and the connections that can be made are all invaluable components of social media. The community here at WordPress is just one example of how social media can enrich and enlighten us; it was such a joyful surprise to find! Social media can also be a space for creativity, and the sharing of it, whether this be through art, writing or photography just to name a few.
My aim for the way I use and engage with social media is to use it with clear intentions, and in a way to build myself and others up. I am aiming to spend less time mindlessly on social media, and more time with purpose, and with purpose comes passion. Lately I have been making sure I unfollow any accounts that do not help my recovery, which I’m trying not to feel bad about, as well as engaging with people who I look up to, and who I admire. Balance really is everything.