By Mia Sherin, March 14, 2021
Social media is a complicated space that has the power to be both a positive and negative force in your life. It can inspire you but also bring you down. It can spark dialogue or only show one side of the story. It can facilitate connections or make you feel alone. But the power is all in your hands. With the right habits, you can work towards making social media a space that feels empowering and positive. It’s not a straight path or a simple step by step solution, but I have found that these changes are a good place to start.
- Unfollow any accounts that don’t don’t make you feel good
And don’t feel bad or guilty doing it! There is absolutely nothing wrong with unfollowing people whose posts make you feel less than or any less than inspired. It’s not mean or petty to unfollow a person or creator—you are simply preserving your well being and happiness.
- On the opposite side...follow people who DO make you feel good!
Sometimes, it can seem cringey or uncool to follow creators who preach positivity. I used to think it was silly or weird, and that I didn’t need people preaching how to be happy. But I soon found that following creators who made it their goal to improve my day made a huge difference. As someone who struggles with body image, I also made the point to start following creators who looked like me and had bodies that I would want to see on my feed. Whatever needs you may have, actively search out content that caters to you.
- Check your sources
Social media is a great way to get information and stay updated on current events. While other generations may roll their eyes, Instagram stories and TikTok for you pages are completely valid spaces to get news and converse with other young people about it. But make sure to check your sources, visit trusted sites, and double check before accepting what is posted on social media as the truth. You would be doing yourself a disservice not to.
- Post what makes you happy
#MakeInstagramCasualAgain. There is nothing more demoralizing than spending hours on VSCO and the notes app, curing the perfect post and caption to go along with it. No shame, we’ve all been there, but it is time that could be better spent living in the present. Rather than posting what you think follows social norms, post whatever the heck you want! Post the cool art you made, your random gas station haul, just a photo where you feel hot, or ten pictures of your dog in a row, because who cares! Life is too short to take social media too seriously.
- Take a break if you need to
If none of these changes seem to be working for you, maybe it’s time to take a social media detox. Log out of your accounts, or at least the platforms that are causing you to spiral, and take some time to refresh. Maybe you’ll decide to get back on in the future, or maybe you will think your life is better without social media. Either way is fine, as long as you are prioritizing your own well-being. We only have so much good energy to go around, so don’t let the Internet take any away.