When you’re scrolling through your social media do you feel uplifted, confident, inspired? Or do you feel depressed and unmotivated, comparing your life/body/career to others? If you don’t have a positive relationship with your social media and it’s affecting your wellbeing, it may be time for a digital detox. A digital detox can help you improve your confidence, reduce stress and help you to connect with who you really are and what you value in life.
Modern social media and our self-esteem
What we view on social media can affect our confidence, body image and judgement of ourselves and others. The 2020 Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma explores the damaging effects of social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The documentary highlights the massive increase of self-harm, suicide and depression in young people, particularly since these sites became available on our mobile phones around 10 years ago.
Social media can be highly addictive and users can become fixated on likes, followers and what other people are doing/buying/eating/posting. It can impact our confidence and makes us less likely to find our true voice and identity because we are focused on other people’s lives. The unrealistic images of bodies, homes, cars and happy lives are often heavily edited and fake, yet we are still tricked into thinking it's all real. This sets an impossible standard to compare ourselves to.
How can I tell if my social media is good for me?
Step 1: Log onto your favourite social media platform
Scroll through your feed and as you view posts, images and videos ask yourself the following;
- Does this make me feel good about myself and who I am? Or do I feel negative and judgemental about my body, clothes, job, family, finances?
- Does this make me feel light, uplifted and inspired? Or, do I feel sad, lonely and self-critical?
These questions will help guide you to what is working and what is not.
Step 2: Unfollow
Take the leap and unfollow or unlike any of the accounts that do the following;
- They trigger you to feel bad about yourself (your body, clothes, car, job, finances, family)
- They don’t bring you closer to loving and accepting yourself for who you are now
- They are not in alignment with the kind of person you are or healthy balanced lifestyle you want to create
Congratulations! You are now clear of some triggers and obstacles that may be affecting your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
Step 3: Remove judgment
So how can you avoid falling back into following accounts and consuming content that is not good for you? How can we stop judging our friends/family or worrying what they will think?
Removing judgement is one way we can do this. Next time you feel jealous or judgemental do this instead;
- Mentally wish the person well and be happy for their success and achievements
- Tell yourself that you too can be the best version of yourself
- Move on without any feelings of jealousy, resentment or judgement
How else can we remove judgement of ourselves and others? Compliment yourself, compliment others, accept compliments. Don’t criticise or judge others, whether it’s how they look, parent, work, spend etc. When we stop the judgement and shaming it frees us up to improve our own wellbeing and connect more deeply with our own path and purpose.
Step 4: Follow
When you are deciding who to follow and what you want to come up in the feed, ask yourself the following;
- Who has the energy, confidence, message and values that you align yourself with, or want to be more like?
Some suggestions are listed below.
Natural beauty and artistic expression
Social media can be a great place to explore and express your own beauty, self-expression, creativity and connection to a community. There is a lot of amazing content and accounts that can help feel great about ourselves and enhance our own identity and values, rather than diminish them.
Positive accounts to follow
Choose accounts that resonate with you and make you feel good. Focus on what you want in life and your core values (adventure, health, creativity, family, learning, spirituality, security), not what you don’t have.
Here are some suggestions, you don’t have to like all of them or think it's the right way. That is the value of social media, there is something for everyone. Use this as a guide to start thinking and cultivating your own virtual support network and community.
Psychology, motivation and self-help
- The holistic psychologist
- Mind Body Green
- Tony Robbins
Exercise and sport
- Bethany Hamilton
- The Healthy Chef - Teresa Cutter
- Minimalist Baker
Music and real bodies
- Alicia Keys
Body image and eating disorder support
- The Butterfly Foundation
Self love activities
Need some more help connecting to your body, mind and soul? Try some of the following self-love activities:
- Set time to unplug from social media and digital devices
- Dance to your favourite music or something totally new for you (salsa, classical, African, techno)
- Have a spa day at home (face mask, nails etc)
- Give yourself a foot massage
- Make up your own yoga or stretch routine
- Go out with no makeup on in your favourite outfit
- Pat and hug yourself, giving a little love and nurturing is very powerful
- Compliment yourself in the mirror
- Keep a gratitude journal
Where to go for help:
If you or anyone you know is suffering from social media addiction, depression or suicide please contact Lifeline Australia.
Phone: 13 11 14