We all know that social media is a huge part of society these days. We probably also know that it can have a pretty negative impact on our mental health. One of the areas that this negativity can hit us the hardest is body image and self esteem. There are a thousand-and-one articles about how harmful the ‘Insta-perfect’ life can be, but it is always worth reminding ourselves that these picture perfect lives are unrealistic and probably aren’t even representative of actual lives of the people posting them. With this in mind, chances are social media is still going to remain a part of our daily lives, and I’m not here to say that we should give it up altogether. Instead I think it’s worth reevaluating the way we curate our social media experience.
An important thing to remember is that we are the ones who have most of the control over who we follow on social media. Sure, there are going to be a few ads that we can’t change, but for the most part we do get to pick what comes up on our Facebook and Instagram feeds. If you start to find yourself feeling dissatisfied and unhappy whenever you jump online, it might be time to switch up who it is you’re following.
By now, we all know about the dangers of getting sucked into the idea of an ‘Insta-perfect’ life, and while it can be easy to pick out accounts that are trying to sell things by capitalising on our insecurities, other more personal accounts can be harder to pick out. These accounts can still make us feel like our lives, homes, wardrobes and bodies aren’t good enough. Is there someone you’re friends with on Facebook who is constantly banging on about how great thier life is since they cut sugar out of their diet and started spending two hours a day at the gym? It might be worth unfollowing them. Someone who you mostly love, but their constant bikini photos are starting to make you look at your on thighs and belly with disdain? Probably time to take a break from seeing it everyday.
The great thing about social media is nothing that you do is ever permanent. Sometimes I am totally fine seeing supermodels all over my Instagram feed, so long as I am feeling happy and secure enough in the dialogue I am having with myself about my body and my life. But there are weeks and months when I have a really hard time, constantly finding that I’m putting myself down, comparing myself to others in a negative way, and I realise that perhaps it is time for me to take a break from seeing some of these accounts (because heaven knows that unfortunately I don’t have the will power to keep off social media all together).
I don’t think it’s worth vilifying people for what they post on social media. If I know anything it’s that pretty much all of us are dealing with our own negative body image and mental health in some way. But I do believe it is worth putting our own mental health first, and so if you aren’t handling seeing someone’s picture perfect life everyday, just take a break! You can still pop onto their page and have a peak if you get curious, or follow them again later when you start to feel less stressed about what they post. For all that people talk about the evils of social media, it’s important that we remember that we’re the ones who have control!