By Danielle King, QMHP, The Mental Wellness Center
The practice of cultivating self-care in the digital age can be challenging at best, and can often be soul crushing. It’s easy to fall into a social media world full of content that can hinder your ability to care for yourself. It’s not a coincidence that social media has “feeds” that we scroll through. We consume these feeds for hours on end, which profoundly affects our health and well-being. I know I have been guilty of wasting a day away on TikTok, or letting myself get upset because someone else’s life on Instagram looks perfect. It’s important to remember that people only post what they want you to see, and if what you see on your feed is not benefiting your mental health, following is some guidance on how to boost your self-love as you scroll:
1. Detox Your Social Media
Unfollow and delete accounts that don’t lift you up, inspire, or add value to your life. Remember, like we feed ourselves with food, we also consume media and content. This goes for music, movies, TV, books, news, websites, and of course, the accounts we follow. By unfollowing or unfriending people that don’t add positive value for you, you’re releasing these toxic and “junk” accounts from your media diet. Personally, I’ve made it a point to unfollow anyone on my Instagram that doesn’t immediately put a smile on my face or isn’t an account dedicated to a dog or other cute animal. I also will purposely look up cute and happy videos on TikTok to make sure my “For You” page is full of positive vibes.
2. Create Space for a Hgher Quality Feed
Once you’ve unfollowed accounts and people you don’t truly feel aligned with, you now have space to follow accounts that offer value, inspiration, and substance. Choose accounts that align with your goals and values in life, or that are just funny or cute. The higher quality accounts will motivate you to be your best self and ultimately, to love yourself. Let these people and ideas be your fuel for loving your best self.
3. “Comparison Is the Thief of Joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Remember that people’s social media accounts are highlight reels of their lives. When you start to compare your everyday, “normal” life to other’s spectacular, curated “lives,” it can be very difficult to love yourself. When was the last time you posted something that didn’t make you look or feel amazing? Remember that when you see other posts of people who seem “perfect.” Nobody is better than anybody else. Find your true value and express that through social media, and know that everyone is different and unique.
4. Limit Your Social Media Time
If you’re going to use it, set a timer or a time limit allowed per day. You can also delete the news feed section from Facebook. Better yet, delete the app entirely from your smartphone. This will save you hours of wasted time! I have the notifications turned off to all my social media apps so I don’t get that itch to look every time the little bubble pops up. I also have my “like” count hidden so it doesn’t seem like a contest to get more likes than my last post or even other people. Think of all the time that you could save from scrolling on social media by actually getting out into the world and experiencing life. The more you experience life, the more opportunities you have to love yourself and find something that brings you joy.
5. Focus on What Feels Good
Find what brings real joy into your life. It’s easy to get temporary happiness from the number of likes and follows we get on social media, but this is fleeting joy. It’s like eating junk food. It feels good while we’re eating it, but afterward, we don’t feel good about ourselves and crave more! Instead of relying on how much interaction you’re getting on Instagram or TikTok, start to value your time by doing things that bring you authentic happiness. Getting out in nature, connecting with friends and family, going on an adventure, or diving into a hobby that makes you lose track of time are great places to start.
When you cultivate a life that feels genuinely good to you, you are setting the foundation of true confidence, self-love, and respect for yourself which releases insecurity and the desire to seek approval from others.
For help with any mental health issue, contact The Mental Wellness Center, Inc. at 309-807-5077 or info@TheMentalWellnessCenter.com. Their offices are located at 205 N. Williamsburg Drive, Suite A in Bloomington and 405 N. Kays Drive, Suite A in Normal. They are invested in helping you return to or achieve—possibly for the first time ever—a state of complete mental wellness.