I love social media so so so much. It's something that's been a part of my life for at least 10 years. Not only do I love taking part in social media activities, it also fascinates me endlessly. The way that society has been changed by something so much in such a short space of time completely baffles me. If you find me reading a blog post about the effects of social media on society on a weekend, don't be alarmed - I'm just a massive geek.
That being said, there are parts of social media that I really dislike. One of the biggest problems I have with it (and this affects me personally) is how horrible it can be for your self esteem. Over the years, I've battled with body image issues, self love problems, and the feeling of "not being enough." Just today, I've been completely overcome with the idea that I'm getting older, and I'm "running out of time to be successful." Mental, I know, because I'm only 24, but when you discover that someone who is only 19 has almost 700,000 Instagram followers and takes images so beautiful that you dream of travelling the world just looking at one of them, trust me, you start to feel old.
This brings me onto the topic of todays post: the power of unfollowing people on social media.
I began to notice a couple of years ago that my obsession with fitness and healthy living Instagram profiles had become a bit scary. I followed hundreds and hundreds of accounts run by girls who lived a perfect life, never ate a piece of chocolate, and worked out 7 days a week. At first, I thought that these people were inspiring, and motivational. However, as time went by, I began to feel more and more depressed every time I went onto the platform. The evil voice of doubt in my head became louder and louder, and I was falling into bad habits of being really disappointed in myself. It took me a long time to realise why I was feeling that way, but eventually I decided to unfollow the vast majority of these accounts. Whilst doing it, I was really scared: "What if by unfollowing I'm sabotaging myself? What if I lose all of their great advice?" Within a few days though, I noticed I felt a lot better. Scrolling through Instagram no longer left me feeling self conscious about myself. I felt inspired, empowered, and enjoyed being on the platform again.
Not only that, but I also stopped comparing myself to these people as much. Not completely, because self comparison is something I find extremely hard not to do, and I work on it all the time. But did it reduce massively? Yes. My feed was also decluttered, meaning that I was able to enjoy more posts from people I ACTUALLY cared about seeing.
Now, every couple of months, I'll take some time to unfollow people on all my social media accounts. It's so easy to discover a new profile, click follow, and then have them pop up on your feed forever, when in actual fact you really couldn't care less. I also do this with my personal Facebook profile annually. Facebook is far more personal to me, and I'll be completely honest: I don't particularly want to have to read the news of random people I barely know every day. So every new year, I'll go through my Facebook friends and delete the people I no longer need there. It might seem harsh, but I guarantee you that they won't notice, and you'll feel better for it.
So if social media is leaving you feeling down about yourself, overwhelmed or just plain depressed: declutter it.Take charge of what you consume. Don't let something which is so amazing, so empowering, and so inspiring do the opposite for your mental health.