Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, Snapchat … sigh … social media has become part of our lives. And do not get me wrong, I love social media and especially the opportunities they offer for small businesses. Let’s be realistic here: without social media, I could not connect with you, I would not have been able to reach out and build this amazing community of inspiring women. However, there are certain risks that social media can affect us in a negative way too.
It is very easy to get caught up on social media watching other people’s lives – or at least, what seems to be their lives. You see them on holidays all the time, they look gorgeous and just see to have the perfect live. You start asking yourself: Why is my life not as perfect as hers? Why am I not as pretty? Why is she so successful and I am only average? Very soon, these toxic thoughts can affect you and make you feel bad about yourself. It is very important to manage how you use and react to social media.
1. Know that only part of it is real
While some posts on social media are genuine and real, you have to be aware that we all only tend to post about positive things – when we are on holidays, when we achieved something we are proud of, when we are out with friends. People who use social media to promote themselves as influencers or their business plan their posts very well in advance – it might seem that they are on the road, on holidays and at super fun parties all the time, but please bear in mind that these posts are curated. What I mean with that is that this person is probably not travelling every single day (even though most of them still travel a lot) but their posting schedule makes them appear to be on the road all the time. If you think about it – if you collected pictures of the great things happening to you every day and of your travels and then published them within a short period of time, you would probably appear to have a similarly exciting life.
2. Unfollow “toxic” accounts
The easiest way to get rid of negative feelings is to stop following accounts that make you feel bad about your own life. If you are not reminded of what they are doing, you will not think about it. Instead, follow accounts that you really enjoy following and that put a smile on your face.
3. Limit the time you spend on social media
It is easier said than done, I know. We are so connected and it is very tempting to use down times on the bus or in the queue to go through social media. Be very conscious about how and when you use social media. A good approach could be that you give yourself a certain amount of time each day you want to dedicate to social media.
4. Do not let it dictate your day
The worst thing you can do is wake up in the morning and immediately check your phone. You need time in the morning to get started and prepare your day with positive thoughts. I only start going online after breakfast. When you are on holiday, actually enjoy the time and stop obsessing which pictures you should post online. I was shocked once when a friend of mine came back from a trip to Italy and told me she was really upset that all her pictures got less than 50 likes. While she was supposed to enjoy her trip, she was obsessed tracing down the people who have like or not liked her pictures. I found this really sad that such an enjoyable thing can be destroyed by an obsession about being “liked” on a virtual basis.
4. ENJOY YOUR LIFE AND LOVE YOURSELF!
Last but not least and probably most important: you are amazing and you do not need those likes and comments to feel good about yourself. Everybody of us is different and so are our lives. There is absolutely no need to compare yourself – online or offline – with your friends or strangers. If you love yourself, everything else will fall into its place as well.