I’m sat in my bed after a day off work sick. I’ve spent the last hour or so with a horrible coughing fit and quite frankly…it’s made me feel like shit, both mentally and physically.
I’ve spent the day in bed (usually my favourite thing) scrolling and scrolling through social media, while reaching for a tissue/cup of tea every 5 minutes. I’ve been feeling rather lethargic, housebound and bored. So what do I turn to? My laptop and my phone. With each swipe of my screen, I’m thinking to myself…there’s only so many times you can view selfies, ads, people’s holiday photos and your pal’s most recent coffee-shop trip before feeling utterly frustrated out of your mind. Your croissant looks great, but I’m not eating it, so that kind of sucks.
If you’re anything like me, and love a good scroll, you may find that social media really impacts your mood without you even knowing it.
Now, let’s brush all conspiracy theories that ‘Facebook is listening to you’ and all that jazz, if you spend a good amount of time on sites such as Facebook, you’ll notice the ads throughout the site are tailored to your browsing history – now while this isn’t breaking news, or news by any sort, let’s take a moment to think about these ads.
Using myself as a case study, I spend a lot of my internet time browsing for beauty products and clothes. I also love myself a bit of Ebay and Amazon. The accounts I follow across different social media platforms range from interior design pages, to make-up artists. There is an overall theme of design/beauty/aesthetics. Now, while I’m looking predominantly at areas which interest me, I’m trapping myself in a bubble. A bubble where I am only seeing this contoured and highlighted version of the world. As much as I love beauty and all things ‘basic’, if you will, I can’t afford to keep up with everything I like the look of, and it’s just a constant reminder that I won’t be ‘good enough’ as I can’t get my hands on the latest palette or shoes.
I’m also constantly flooded with emails from so-called marketing agencies telling me that I should pay them a ridiculous amount of money to improve my following. No! Go away! It’s yet another reminder that what I’m doing isn’t good enough.
I also follow a lot of fitness pages and models. Using the Kardashians as an example, their Instagram posts makes me want to eat nothing but lettuce for a year, but as a girl who loves pasta, that’s just not going to happen.
In reality, if you were reading a book and you were bored of it, or it was making you feel a bit down, you’d stop reading it. I need to bring this into my social media life. Why am I friends on Facebook with people I don’t actually talk to? Why do I use my time to view the Snapchat Stories of people who have been awful to me in the past? Why do I follow Instagram accounts which publish heavily photoshopped body images which are un-attainable due to the editing? It’s time to start putting ourselves ahead of our social media. Before you follow an account, just think, why are you following this account. If it’s to compare yourself, don’t do it. If its for positive reasons, such as inspiration, then by all means, go ahead and enrich your mind.
Social Media sites can be such a blessing and a curse. They’re fantastic for connecting yourself with people and content all around the world, however it can also be a dangerous trap and damaging for our mental health. Let me know what you think. Does anyone limit themselves to how much internet time they have? Let me know!