Social Media Should Lift Us Up Not Bring Us Down
It’s hard to imagine life without social media. No Facebook? How would we ever remember anyone’s birthday?? How would people know about all the adorable puppies and babies out there? Looking for an event, group or deal in your area? Social media has you covered. There’s no denying the benefits and good that have come from all our sharing. We’re able to keep in touch like never before, no matter the distance, and that’s a beautiful thing.
But I think most people know that social media also has a dark side. Isn’t it crazy that we can go onto social media and then look up, realize a whole hour has gone by and we’re somehow looking at a friend of a friend’s brother-in-law’s cousin’s wedding pictures? How do we even get there? It’s scary. Not only do we lose hours upon hours endlessly scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, we can fall into a horrible comparison trap.
Seeing the expertly crafted snapshots of vacations, "meals" of kale and broccoli and "fitness bodies", we can begin to feel like we’re not doing enough, don’t have enough, and aren’t healthy enough. What social media doesn’t show us are the arguments that happen minutes after that beautiful family picture, the 57 shots they took to get the perfect angle of that workout picture in the .02 seconds of perfect lighting. It’s so easy to see the end product and begin to believe that you’re missing something that all these people seem to have. It’s hard to keep reminding yourself that you’re not seeing the full picture. I’m definitely not immune, and if we’re honest I don’t think any of us are.
So what do we do? Never go on social media again? No. I think we can tackle this without totally quitting social media altogether. We can start by changing what we see. We can “clean up” our platforms and unfriend or unfollow some people that bring us down. Ask yourself honestly what value seeing these pictures and words adds to your day, your life? Does this person inspire and uplift? Or are they simply trying to sell you something 10x/day and make you feel bad about yourself? Is someone constantly posting negative articles and opinions? Let them go. You don’t have to cut them out of your “real life” if you’re close, but you don’t need to see it all on social media day after day.
Something that really helped me was to limit my time on social media in general; making a conscious effort to not go on to anything unless I had a reason. It’s way too easy to open your phone and go straight to Facebook without even thinking about it. Set a specific time limit and time of day for you to check in or share something of your own. If we set up barriers, it can help us avoid falling into the rabbit hole for hours. Not feeling attached to your phone or computer is freeing and allows us to be more present and focus on what’s right in front of our faces.
Then, find people to follow who are authentic and promote positivity. In the food and nutrition world there are some awesome people doing great things! A few of my favorites are thereallife_rd, rebeccascritchfield, immaeatthat, chr1styharrison, laurenmcaulay_ and leslieschilling.
I promise that shifting the focus to the present and being more aware of our surroundings and what we DO have is so good for our outlook, mindset and health overall. You won’t feel like you’re missing out by being on social media less. Let’s all make an effort to share to uplift and encourage, we’ll all be better off in the long run!