what effect does social media have on my day?

This is a question I frequently ask myself as I scroll through my social media accounts.

About 5 years ago, I decided to delete my Facebook account. I had just come out of a very toxic relationship and noticed that I’d spend hours upon hours scrolling through other people’s accounts, looking at what they were doing, questioning why I wasn’t as ‘good’ or as ‘successful’ as how I perceived them to be and would get so caught up listening to my inner mean girl that I would be paralysed for the rest of the day. When I started dating Ben, I realised not only how toxic my previous relationship had been, but also how toxic my relationship with social media was. We both had a long conversation about it and decided it was time to close our accounts. Although I do have a Facebook account now, I’m so aware of how it affected me that I purely use it to communicate with some of my lovely ladies on the Her Unique Glow page!

Social Media Awareness

5 years later, I find myself scrolling through Instagram and every now and again, I’ll catch myself with those same feelings. I compare myself to others that are working in the same space as me and think that I must be lacking something. I look at my friends living in warmer climates and feel a twang of envy. I look at the beautiful women I follow and question if I look beautiful too. But most of the time, when I’m in a constant scroll, my inner mean girl takes over and before I know it, I’m throwing myself the biggest pity party of the century – think Bridget Jones wannabe, tub of ice-cream in hand, listening to Celine Dion while crying under a giant duvet tent!

This doesn’t happen all the time, but I’m certainly no stranger to comparisonitis. It’s one big stinky pain in my backside, that to be totally honest, I could do without. However, just because I try to live my more happy and healthy life, doesn’t mean that I’m immune to those feelings. I love Instagram – more so than I ever loved Facebook. I’m such a visual person and it really motivates me, inspires me and I feel more connected to people. In a way, it’s my space to create a community of like-minded people to guide me and push me forward in the right direction. But it also comes with it’s negatives – and lately I’ve been thinking:

What effect does it have on my day?

I used to check my Instagram first thing in the morning before I even got out of bed – eeek, I know how bad that sounds, even writing it now! But it’s the honest truth. I’d spend maybe 10 or 15 minutes looking at all the updates that I’d not seen over the last 8 hours and I’d even scroll in the evening just before bed. What I noticed was that I felt less motivated, a whole heap of pressure and quite honestly a little bit anxious before I’d even started my day. I took a digital detox back in November and since then have strayed away from my morning scrolls. It’s done wonders for my mood and productivity that it got me thinking even more about how that constant scrolling can really start to affect our moods.

Do you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media throughout the day?

I know I do, and it’s something I’m still working on at the moment. Social media is a huge part of our lives and I don’t really know anyone that doesn’t use some form of social media (maybe one or two people!). It’s an even bigger part of our lives if we run online businesses (or any business for that matter), so of course, the majority of us spend hours mindlessly scrolling to see what we may have missed, what the latest trend is or even to just pass the time while we’re waiting for the kettle to boil.

If you do find yourself scrolling continuously throughout the day, then it’s important to think about who you’re following and more importantly why. Just like the people you choose to spend your physical time with, it’s essential that we make sure we are choosing who we follow on social media for the right reasons. They should bring something positive to our lives and to your day. Looking at their latest post should fill you with love and positivity, not fear or feeling like you lack something.

  • Do they motivate you? Teach you? Encourage you?
  • Are they like-minded people? On a similar journey to you?
  • Do they empower you to be the best version of yourself?
  • Do they give you new ideas to try? New exercises? Recipes? Inspiration?
  • Do you follow them because what they say resonates with you? Because they’re authentic? Because you feel a genuine connection?

If so, then great! That’s exactly why social media is amazingly wonderful! Because it allows us to connect with like-minded people that help us on our journey through life. The visuals give us inspiration, motivation and the words encourage us to be the best version of ourselves possible.

OR

  • Do you follow people because they’re part of the ‘it’ crowd? Because they have the lifestyle, money, clothes, handbags, accessories or house that you want?
  • Are you following them just to have an excuse to put yourself down?
  • Are they on your feed because your inner mean girl feeds off them?
  • Do you follow them because you think they’re ‘perfect’? The perfect wife, mum, friend? Because they have the perfect body, life, hair, makeup?

If you’re following people and constantly comparing yourself, thinking that you’re somehow lacking a certain quality or many qualities, then maybe it’s time to reconsider. There’s no such thing as perfection and unfortunately, social media can also be a platform of everyone’s exceptional highlights and authenticity can quite often get lost.

What sort of content do you want to be consuming?

How do you choose to spend your time?

What content are you choosing to let your inner mean girl feed off?

When I went on my digital detox back in November, I noticed that I had started to follow so many ‘it’ girls, ‘fitspo’ accounts and other influencers just because they were popular accounts, full of bikini body inspo, seemingly perfect bodies, beautiful humans living the perfect lifestyle in the perfect house with the perfect family, eating the perfect diet and everything just looked so easy for them! It looked like they had everything going for them and that life was a breeze. Well, we all know that isn’t the case. Life is most certainly NOT a breeze and we all have our own struggles and battles that we go through and thinking that way is most certainly unhealthy and not beneficial for our mental health in any way at all. In fact, I noticed that following those accounts were only bringing me down, making me feel like I was failing in some way, that I was worthless in some areas of my life and they left me feeling defeated, drained and quite honestly, incredibly anxious.

This seemingly ‘perfect’ and ‘easy’ life that I constantly saw on multiple accounts, led me striving to achieve something that is pretty much impossible – perfection. Sure, maybe I could have one week where I was constantly switched on, where my diet was 100% clean, where I exercised every day, when my house was constantly clean, dogs happy and walked and my work was done. But I would be left depleted of all energy by the end of the week and it was definitely not sustainable. One phrase I always say is:

strive for progress, not perfection

Well, when I realised who I was following and realised that my ‘why’ was just because it gave my inner mean girl an excuse to show me where I felt like I was lacking, I decided it was time to delete all the accounts that were no longer serving me.

As with everything in life, it’s so important to understand the ‘why’ and the meaning behind what we do. It’s also important to make sure that what we allow into our lives and into our days is serving us in the best way possible. That includes the content we choose to consume as well.

Now, I only follow accounts that motivate me, inspire me and empower me to be the best version of myself possible. Occasionally I’ll realise that someone I used to love no longer is serving me and every now and again I’ll unfollow if things don’t turn around because I now realise the impact and effect those people can have on my day. I choose to follow like-minded people that encourage me to grow and girls that are authentic and talk about the real topics that I’m interested in. I don’t’ want to see sugar-coated lives and ‘perfect’ lives, I want to see the real, honest and raw. That’s what keeps me grounded and what makes me feel connected to the women I follow and inspires me to do the same.

If you want your mind-set to change, then it’s time to take action and make a change. Ask yourself:

  • What effect does social media have on my day?
  • How do I feel when I find myself scrolling through social media?
  • Why am I following the people I choose to?
  • What value do they add to my life?

Just like the physical relationships we have in our lives, social media relationships also play a big role in how we feel about ourselves and how our energy is spread and shared throughout the day. The messages you are constantly feeding your mind, what you believe and what your inner mean girl feeds off have the power to change your day and take it from epic to anxiety ridden. Make sure that the messages you tell yourself are ones of love and acceptance and choose to spend your time looking at content that makes you feel uplifted and loved!


To listen to the full podcast episode, click on the links below:

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