We all have an account on some social media platform whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. You probably found my blog through social media. As a blogger, I see the direct impact of social media—the good and the bad. I utilize these platforms to connect with my readers to update them on a new post or my latest loves, other bloggers to share words of encouragement and with my friends and family on how I am doing. These are all the good parts of social media and there are definitely more. But on the other hand, social media has the indirect effect of tearing people down and having a direct impact on our mental wellness.
Before I even started writing this post, I had to ask a lot of people if they thought I was qualified to share my opinions on this topic. I post on Instagram at least 4 times a week. I wake up and go to bed with Instagram and check on my blog daily to see where I am with readers. And I know throwing around the words “mental wellness” has some repercussions as I know some people are really sensitive to it. But I wanted to clarify that I personally believe mental wellness pertains to everyone – we are all dealing with something and even if we are at our utmost perfect health, we still need to take precaution steps to maintain our mental health. I don’t mean to offend anyone with this post…rather I just want to share a piece of my mind on this topic.
Anyways, going back to the main point of this post: social media. The influencer/blogging community is definitely at an all time high right now. Tens of thousands of people are taking to social media to gain a following and to potentially have an influence on the market. Brands are switching from traditional forms of advertising and have also entered the influencer market to promote their brand or product. And there are good reasons why brands are utilizing these outlets. Worldwide, there are 4.021 billion internet users, with 3.196 billion having some form of social media account, which is a 13% increase from 2017. It’s so easy to log on and want to buy something that someone you see online is wearing or using. Companies recognize that and have since set aside large amounts of their budget to capitalize on this market. In essence, this market is not leaving any time soon.
Whether you are a follower/reader of bloggers or a blogger yourself, no matter which social media platform you get on, you can feel the influence other people on social media have on not only the spending habits of their followers but also decisions and image perceptions, either directly or indirectly. What I mean by this is, some people are influenced to actually buy the same goods as the person in the photo or even, they can be indirectly influenced by just admiring the photo. I personally see so many blogger photos every day and I am definitely influenced by them. I see shots of bloggers and I mentally make notes of how I want to pose next time, the type of clothes I want to lean towards buying next and making mental notes of locations to shoot. And while these are not necessarily bad influences, it can take me away from me. The path of comparison can be one that’s tricky to maneuver. How do I balance the influence while still staying true to my own brand?
This goes back to the topic of mental wellness. I spend so much time on social media platforms that I am sometimes unable to shut off thinking about it. The likes and comments, how I am doing compared to other bloggers, the content I need to continue creating and more. There is really no break from it all. And it does impact me mentally. I am always anxious on focusing on numbers, writing and creating content I think people will like instead of what I really want to create and being on the nonstop comparison train. I used to ask questions of “why am I not growing as fast as other bloggers”, “why are my engagement rates dropping”, “are people actually reading my posts”. Amidst it all, I was lost and confused. I felt like I was going around in circles from a period of creating stuff I really loved to creating things I think other would love. It’s an act of balance that never really stabilized, I mean how do you win against yourself right?
Well, ultimately I think it’s an act of stepping back and away from it all. Thus the title of this post. I think being able to disconnect once in a while is good for all of our mental states. Being constantly bombarded with perfect photos, picturesque locations and outfits, really can set your mind on a whirlwind of comparisons. Social media has evolved into being so much more than sharing our random photos and thoughts, it is now people’s source of news, an information hub and inspiration center. So social media is not the problem at hand, but rather people’s addictive tendencies to it. Alex has always told me that I should use these platforms as tools, which they are meant to be associated as. This way, I can focus on utilizing it to my needs. Taking time away from social media is so crucial to making sure we are using it for the right reasons and to break any harmful impacts it can have on our personal lives.
I have taken steps to practice this to ensure my mental wellness is in its greatest shape. Social media for me was at the point of giving me anxiety daily on not being up to par and other related issues. I didn’t realize it was a problem until people started commenting how “obsessed” I was. I mentally told myself that I needed time away from it all. What I realized is that breaks from social media don’t even have to be long and you can go about it in little steps. For instance, Alex and I have pledged to read a physical book before going to bed instead of scrolling through our phones. It has enabled us to fall asleep better and to be able to get started on our days more awake. We use to have trouble falling asleep at 2am and struggle getting out of bed before 10am. Now, we can fall asleep at a consistent time and get our days started at a normal time. Little changes can lead to drastic positive results. Habits on average take about 66 days to form so these transitions won’t be easy. I can be the first to admit that I had set goals for myself to not look at my accounts during certain times and have definitely broken those goals. But as time went on, it was easier. I still get to enjoy the benefits that social media provided: the relationships, inspirations and such, but I was able to close out the negativity.
If you are a follower of mine on any social media platform, you might not have noticed my disappearance, since most were short. I made minor adjustments to make sure that social media wasn’t bringing me down. By stepping away and coming back, I was able to celebrate other’s success on social media without questioning how I compared to them and I was able to have real conversations with my readers. Some other steps I took was: not going on social media when I am with people to be in the moment, taking time off on the weekends to really unwind and relax, stop checking in on a photo I posted after 10-15 minutes so I don’t obsess over my engagement, stop paying attention to my follower count because quality over quantity and to only create content that I love and to post only the ones I love. Different is okay and you will attract the people who truly loves you for what you stand for. One of my favorite quotes I’ve read recently is: “your vibe attracts your tribe” which is so true on social media, too! Being able to create relationships with like-minded people have allowed me to create more freely without wondering about competition and comparison, resulting in much more genuine work. I find myself to be happier when I am on social media and I definitely think that is a great impact on my mental health.
So, I challenge you to take a step in helping your mental wellness by taking time away from your social media accounts, whether it be a whole day or an hour. Challenge yourself and tell yourself that you can do it. Realize that social media is not about comparisons or numbers, but rather about connecting with people who share your “vibe”. It’s a place to meet new people and to embrace being different/unique. The idea behind this post was rambling through my head for so long and it feels so good to let go of my fears and to finally share my thoughts with you. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
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A million and one thanks for reading — until my next lil’ thought then!