Even though social media intends to connect people from all over the world, it can often make us feel more isolated when consumed in an unhealthy way. It’s so easy to compare yourself to someone else’s highlight reel on Instagram or feel left out when you see photos from a get-together you didn’t invited to. For some people, time spent on social media leaves them feeling drained and alone, but social media has the potential to do the opposite if it was used in the right way.
My first piece of advice is to unfollow any social media creator that makes you feel worse after viewing their content. This doesn’t have to be about not liking their posts or their personality, but if you can’t view their content without criticizing yourself and comparing yourself to them, it’s probably best that you unfollow them. Instead, follow creators who promote a healthy body image and present themselves as real human beings on social media. One of my favorite social media creators is Victoria Garrick. She openly shares her journey of self-love and recovery after an eating disorder. She is known for her “#RealPost”s, where she posts unfiltered, unedited pictures that normalize things like stomach rolls, stretch marks, and breakouts. Social media creators like Garrick make me feel validated and normal. They encourage me to join the movement and post real photos of myself rather than the most polished and edited versions of those photos.
I also recommend limitinghow much time you spend on social media every day. I know it’s an easy way to pass the time, but even when consuming social media in the healthiest way possible, one can feel drained after spending hours watching videos on TikTok or scrolling through their Twitter feed. One way to accomplish this is by putting time limits on these apps, so you won’t be able to access them after spending a certain amount of time on them.
On the flip side, if you’ve ever posted pictures on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or any other social media platform, you yourself are a social media creator! That means that if you’ve ever spent hours editing your photos by shrinking your stomach and putting on a fake makeup filter, you’re contributing to the problem. One of the biggest issues of social media is that many people don’t post real pictures of themselves. As a result, people viewing their content compare themselves to a person that doesn’t even exist! I totally get cropping a photo, upping the brightness, and adding a little saturation, but when it gets to a point where you hardly recognize the person in the photo, something needs to change.
Next time you open TikTok or draft an Instagram post, keep these things in mind. Most people on social media only share the best parts of their lives, so comparing yourself to their highlight reel is unfair. The first step towards learning to consume and create social media in a healthy way is to be mindful of these things and try our best to stay real online.
Featured Image By Allison Geddie