Tips for Self-Care in a Virtual World
Within the digital space that is social media, a plethora of content and stories coming from millions of people worldwide can be intimidating and detrimental to our mental health. Smiles flood our timelines, wealth is flaunted for all to see, and there is a global desire to be as appealing as possible. When this is all we see every time we log in to our social media accounts, the harmful effects become apparent, and the need to regain control and practice self-care is crucial. I believe I have mastered the art of curating my online feeds according to what will make me happiest and healthiest. Listed below are my tips to help you achieve the same!
Change your psychological perspective. I tend to see the people I follow as actual human beings: they have unique lives, careers, networks, geographical locations, etc. They most definitely have tough situations, but we will never see that because no one ever posts in those moments. They are curating their stories like you do, and their reality is guaranteed to be much different than what you see. If you start to humanize the faces you see, you learn to understand that everyone is fighting their own battles, and there is nothing to be envious of.
Do not follow people you genuinely do not care for. I do not follow any of the Kardashian/Jenner clan, or any other social media star simply because if I cannot relate to them or the content they post, I don’t want it on my feed. If their reality or values do not align in any way with mine, I leave them be, regardless of their millions of followers. I want to see people who influence me to be a better version of myself, not people who constantly flaunt their social capital while preaching to “love life”. As an added tip, follow and watch videos of people who inspire you to grow and become healthier mentally and physically. For me, this includes watching some speeches whenever I feel down. My personal favorites include Oprah and Sheryl Sandberg. Seek inspiration, not validation.
Do not feed into negativity. Regardless of any activity you participate in, you will never be able to please everyone. The sooner you understand that, the easier it will be to see that you should not be pleasing anyone but yourself. In this sense, do not participate in online conflicts or harassment unless you are attempting to end it. Cyberbullying is just as (if not more) harmful than “real-life” harassment, and your activity should align with your core values. Practicing to act in accordance with that will immediately help boost your mental health, and the overall online atmosphere.
Take breaks from social media. I made a plan this semester to take a break from social media for approximately two hours a day. Obviously, days have passed when this became difficult, but the change in my life has been drastic. Taking these breaks boosted my mental health and increased my productivity. Instead of spending hours on Instagram, find other ways to engage with your friends and family. Take a walk, finish schoolwork, go to the movies, find a new café/restaurant, read that book you’ve always wanted to… See? There are endless possibilities to create and enjoy a happy life, but taking care of yourself is the first step to achieving that.