Curate Your Social Media
Ever since quarantine has started, my social media screen time has skyrocketed. I'll find myself aimlessly scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or TikTok to pass the time. I can't tell you how many times I've exited an app just to find myself mindlessly wander back five minutes later looking at the same exact thing I just saw. This type of thing drives me crazy! I hate when I catch myself doing it because I feel like I've wasted so much time. I'm aimlessly consuming content because there's "nothing else to do".
I love social media, I truly do. There are so many benefits to the various platforms. We're able to stay connected with friends and family that we don't get to see often, we can reach out to industry leaders, our favorite celebrities make our day when they respond to our comments, you can create a brand for yourself that could help land you a job, etc.
At the same time, social media can be every bit as dangerous as it is beneficial. If you are not in control of your newsfeed, you are not protecting your mental health. This is especially true for women. We follow bloggers, fitness accounts, celebrities, influencers, meme creators, quote accounts, high school friends, college friends, post-grad friends, family, etc. There is this pressure on women that we have to be able to do it all, no matter what our passions are. We have to be fit, we have to be domestic, we have to be happy at all times, we have to fit the mold set by society. Ladies, in case you haven't realized this, we are not a one-size fits all mold. In our body types, in our passions, in anything. We are certainly leaps and bounds ahead of where we used to be, but we still feel the pressures to fit a certain mold in 2020.
We can't control how other people think. That's something we need to remind ourselves of over and over again. But we can control how we view ourselves and we can protect our mental health if we are intentional about curating our social community. It is 150,000% normal to cope with what is happening in the world right now by increasing your screen time. Are there healthier ways? Yes. But it is normal to fall into this habit and lean on your screen. For moments when you're aimlessly consuming or when you're logging in for your morning report, make sure you're curating a feed that protects your mind.
Accounts to Say Goodbye To
1. The people who immediately cause you to eye roll when you see their posts.
You know the one. It does not matter if you like this person or you think they'll be mad at you if you unfollow them. If you are rolling your eyes every single time you see them post something, just unfollow them. It does not benefit your mental health to follow an account that does not bring you joy. 9 times out of 10 they are not going to notice that the girl they had a class with sophomore year of high school unfollowed them because they wouldn't stop posting about how much they want a boob job.
2. The accounts that make you feel inadequate.
As soon as an account becomes a highlight reel of everything you're not in your mind, kick it to the curb. Social media is a highlight reel. That blogger, celebrity, influencer, or whatever, is showing you their highlight. If you notice yourself getting down on yourself because your daily life doesn't seem as good as so-and-so's highlight reel, you need to take a break from consuming their content. Whether that break is permanent or temporary is up to you. Quarantine is tough. Don't make it harder by comparing yourself to that girl who makes three times your salary and is quarantined by her infinity pool made of diamonds or the girl who has three kids but finds a way to cook a gourmet meal when you're lucky if you find your bra that day. Whatever makes you feel bad, make the choice to not consume it. Your mind will thank you.
3. Your ex (friend or significant other).
I do not care how long it has been. If your ex-BFF or ex-whatever falls into the description associated with #1, you need to mute or unfollow them right now. I'm not saying that you can't re-follow or unmute them again eventually if you choose. You can certainly do so. But if you start cussing them out in your head every time you see something they post, do your mental state a favor and hide that stuff away. It no longer serves you.
Accounts to Follow
1. Accounts that inspire you.
Find the people and the accounts that speak to your soul. You're a single mom trying to make it in x industry? Follow the single moms that share experiences you can relate to. Follow industry leaders that share helpful tips. Follow the accounts you can soak up knowledge from. After you follow these accounts, interact with them. Build that community around yourself to help lift your confidence. If for any reason these accounts don't help you grow, remember that you can unfollow them at any time.
2. Accounts that bring you peace.
Whether you love a good motivational quote, the outdoors, or organizational tips and tricks, there are accounts out there that are designed to promote that very thing on social media. Find them and follow them. Personally, I love a good quote. I follow several quote accounts, including an account curated by a therapist. I've found that her account is a little more applicable to events happening in the world. Her posts are extremely beneficial to me during this time of quarantine. Her Instagram is @lisaoliveratherapy.
3. Accounts that help you learn.
What you learn is up to you. My recent follow spree has been centered around those promoting positivity, those that encourage women, and athletes/coaches I look up to most. Right now is a tough time for everyone and the biggest thing for me is wanting to stay positive, continue to push myself to grow as a person, and to be someone my athletes can lean on during this tough time. That mid-day quote about women shattering glass ceilings? I love it. It fires me up. The basketball coach posting about athlete accountability? I live for that. I'll share it over and over again in hopes that my kids see it and it helps inspire them to focus on what they can control during this time of uncertainty versus what they can't. These accounts help me learn ways to become the version of myself I ultimately want to be. The ones for you are out there too.
1. Follow Meaningful Hashtags
Instagram is the easiest platform to connect with new people through hashtags. For instance, right now I'm participating in the #Next90Challenge organized by Rachel and Dave Hollis. I started following this hashtag on Instagram to connect with others participating in the challenge. By doing this, I'm getting connected with other users who are fighting for positivity in their lives and I'm finding them right in my news feed. You can check out hashtags on other sites to find similar content as well. Find the community that fuels you with good and fill your feed with their content.
2. Block Trigger Words
This one is amazing, especially in the politically charged world we live in guys. We all know people who are "off the deep end" politically and spew all kinds of stuff on to the internet for sport. If you find yourself questioning everything you knew about someone based on their political beliefs alone, maybe it's time to unfollow their account or identify the specific content that's triggering you. Get irritated every time someone mentions pumpkin spice lattes? Block pumpkin spice lattes.
Please note that I'm not saying block your life from opposing views entirely.
I'm saying that curating your feed for your mental health is more important than knowing where your friend from college stands on Roe v. Wade if it's going to upset you to the point you want to burst into flames. Understanding where people are coming from is what keeps us grounded and is so important but it needs to be constructive. Someone's rant at 3am is most likely not going to be the most constructive conversation starter. It's okay to remove that. It doesn't make you ignorant. Now if you go online and block every person that is in a particular political party, that might make you ignorant. I don't recommend doing that. I do recommend making your feed a place where you can browse happily.
3. Use your Explore Page!
Explore pages are going to bring you content based on the accounts and hashtags you follow, as well as your geographic location. Use this to help you stumble on new accounts and ideas. Twitter's Explore page is really well done. They direct you to content for you based on your interactions, have Trending topics, News, Sports, and Entertainment. It's essentially a modern day millennial newspaper. Use your Explore page to help build your feeds towards the goals you have for it.
My hope is that these tips help some of you like they have helped me. Curate a feed that reflects who you are and who you want to be and inspires you to succeed. Interact with those users and build YOUR community, whatever that looks like. You have to protect your mental health, especially right now. So take control of your social media feed. Take a look at what you're consuming and decide if it's helping you get through this or if it's hurting you. Unfollow and follow accordingly.
Til next time,