A couple years ago, I started a little books/fashion/everything blog, and prior to beginning this hobby, I was pretty mute on social media. Apart from the occasional Oasis lyrics I posted on Facebook in my teenager years, I didn’t share much online and didn’t care to. But blogging comes with its own unique challenges, and all of them have to do with self-promotion and sharing details of your personal life, two things I wasn’t always comfortable with.
Nowadays, it seems like everyone is oversharing on social media, and if you’re anything like me, the constant sharing can start to mess with your brain. Living life online can be exhausting and psychologically draining. So here are some tips to make the most of social media while also retaining your real-life sanity.
Remember that you don’t have to share everything
Whether you’re a blogger, just trying to be Insta-famous, or a regular ol’ Instagrammer, the tendency is to try to document every bit of your life and share it immediately, but that makes your life much less enjoyable. The cliche example is of a bunch of friends out to eat, each Instagramming their food instead of eating it, and thinking about captions instead of having conversations with each other.
Instead of doing that, be mindful. You don’t have to stop Instagramming your food, or posting selfies, but even if you do snap a photo in company, don’t Instagram it in company. Don’t take yourself out of the moment to crop, adjust lighting, apply filters, and agonize over that perfect caption. Take the photo of your salad and leave it until later. That’s why the hashtag “#latergram” was invented, after all. My general rule is that I try not to take out my phone if there’s someone in the room with me, unless I’m showing them something on it.
The same goes for vacation photos. When I’m traveling, I take photos during the day and then save them for later to Instagram, when I’m back at the hotel and reminiscing. After all, what’s the use of sightseeing if you’re looking at your phone instead of seeing the sights?
Say no to Perfect 365, Facetune, and Photoshop—at least most of the time
We all want to look perfect, but these programs just make it that much easier to hate how you look in real life. It shouldn’t be that easy to modify the pictures we take of ourselves, but unfortunately, we live in a visual, image-obsessed world with crazy-narrow beauty standards. It’s far too easy to turn ourselves into blemish-free, skinnier, “perfect” beings on social media, and then get to thinking that’s how we should look. It’s much better for our brains, sanity, and self-esteem to get comfortable with all our flaws, in person and on social media. Your face doesn’t need any tuning.
Have social media blackout days
Like, FULL days?! Well, maybe you can start small. Take a few hours a day where you leave your phone in your purse, in a different room, or on airplane mode. If you’re on a computer, use Self Control or another app to restrict your use of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Let yourself take a break from the weird languages of these platforms, and your brain will thank you.
If your withdrawal isn’t too bad, you can stretch it into a whole day!
When famous fashion/beauty blogger Essena O’Neill suspended her Instagram practices at the end of 2015, erased the majority of her thousands of pictures, and edited the rest of her captions to reflect the dark underside of each photo, she was responding to the pressure of social media to look and act perfect all the time. That pressure to measure up to an ideal is something most girls and women experience on the daily, but when you’re willingly sharing your life online, that pressure increases tenfold. Learning how to be honest—and emphatically not perfect—is how you retain your sanity.
Post a makeup-free, filter-free selfie with your hair up and learn to document your real, messy life in other small ways that other people will definitely appreciate. Learning how to be honest on social media is not only refreshing to see, but it’s refreshing to practice.
Have set times for networking
If you’re trying to build a following, networking can easily take over your life and seep into its best moments. Treat it like any other job you have to do, and spend set times doing it, instead of all throughout your day. This will allow you to ignore it when you’re not actively using it.
Turn off your push notifications!
The best thing I ever did was turn off my push notes for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. As exciting as it is to check your likes and see those notifications streaming in, having your phone flash constantly doesn’t really let you ignore it too well. Plus, it seriously drains your battery.
Turn off push, and you’ll find so much more peace. Try it. I dare ya.
If you’re not having fun with it, don’t do it
At the end of the day, my Instagram is like a scrapbook, and I like posting and connecting with people. But like all good things, too much of it can turn something you like into something you hate. There’s no shame in disconnecting from social media temporarily, or even for good. If you’re stressed, suffering from low self-esteem, or too bogged down by the superficiality of it all, then say sayonara. Otherwise, what’s the point?
(Image via Fox)