- My constant use of social media was having a negative impact on my mental health and body image.
- Instead of completely deleting my accounts, I reinvented my social media feeds by filling them with positive content.
- Tweaking my social media feeds has shown me it’s possible to find happiness and peace of mind on social media.
The time we spend scrolling and consuming content online can often eclipse the time we spend with people in real life.
Between Instagram,Twitter,Facebook and even LinkedIn, I found myself surrounded by not only loud opinions, but carefully crafted caricatures of perfect careers, social lives, and lifestyles. Whether it was an #aesthetic flat-lay of someone’s smoothie bowl or an “effortless” post-workout mirror picture, there appeared to be no room for error or divergence in the surging stream of content flowing down my various feeds.
But instead of relating to the content in my feeds, I found myself repeatedly drawn back to it to verify and fuel my self-doubts. While I could have simply deleted my accounts, that felt like avoiding my problem instead of facing it.
Instead, I decided to become an active curator of my own feeds and create a social media space where I felt represented, inspired, and happy.
I found a way to make my social feeds social again
In my experience, many social media platforms we use today aren’t social at all – they’re built around the presentation of achievements rather than a meaningful discussion of them.
As a new journalist, I found little encouragement following the achievements of my career idols through only their Twitter or Facebook posts. Instead, I found a Facebook group dedicated to connecting seasoned writers and novices and sharing not just exciting career milestones, but their failures, too.
Having a space online for mentorship, uncertainty, and encouragement was a steep departure from the glossy appearance of so much of my social media.
Instead of dropping Instagram altogether, I found the right accounts to follow
While Twitter and Facebook may have felt isolating, it’s Instagram that had truly become my drug of choice.
Whether in my own feed or through seeking it out on Discover, I would scroll through page after page of identically flawless Instagram models and use it as a fuel to nitpick parts of my body I was already unhappy with. From their hair, to their make-up, to their perfectly shaped and posed bodies, the women I saw had little resemblance to me or anyone else I knew in real life.
It’s not a new phenomenon for women to be presented a single body type to aspire to – print media have done it for decades – but the self-made and instant nature of Instagram made the sensation I’d already grown up with in the 2000s all that more addicting.
After many attempts to drop Instagram cold turkey, I decided it would be better for my self-image and overall happiness to seek out creators and models across a wide range of sizes who supported the idea that a person’s appearance had zero connection to their worth.
By filling my feed with body positive content from creators like Megan Crabbe and following hashtags like #averagegirlsize, I’ve found a new, and much needed, appreciation of what makes a person beautiful.
While my social media feeds are far from being ultra-positive, curated masterpieces, they are making me much happier than they did before.
And they’re teaching me that aiming for happiness and peace of mind on social media is not the paradox I once believed it to be.
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