Written by Bianca R., Program Coordinator, #NotOkay
Every day we’re bombarded with idealized images of people and their lives but do we know how these images are affecting our mental health? When we’re using social media, we put the very best version of ourselves out there and we sometimes forget that everyone else is doing the same. We don’t often see the sides of people when they’re having a bad day, when they’re feeling self-conscious and the struggles they go through every day. That’s just the nature of social media, you will never see the full picture of someone’s life.
We see their perfect bodies, their perfect faces, their perfect career, their perfect relationship and their perfect and luxurious life. When we are constantly consuming these idealized images, it’s easy to fall into habit of comparing ourselves and thinking they are so much better than us. This can lead to lowered self-esteem, self-image and self-worth which can trigger or enhance depression over time.
#NotOkay wanted to focus on this aspect of social media so that people, especially teens and young adults understand that the type of content they’re consuming can impact their mental health negatively. Depression can affect anyone and we wanted to make the conversation about depression and the stigmas affecting those with it much louder so those who need to hear it, will hear it.
Click here to read people’s experiences with social media and depression.
If you feel like social media is taking a toll on your mental health, here are some tips sent to us by our supporters:
When you’re not feeling your best it’s easy to want to scroll through social media. However, this is when you’re even more susceptible to comparison and your inner critic.
- Try to identify the voice of your inner critic and avoid social media when you hear him or her start to throw harsh judgment your way
- Be aware of your comparative mind on social media. It’s easy when suffering from anxiety and depression to elevate everyone else’s life and see yours as inadequate and worthless.
- Set a timer for social media so that it doesn’t consume your day.
- Try to follow positive accounts that give you ideas on forms of self-care and self-love. When you see one of their posts you may feel more inspired to log out and go and engage in one of those more helpful activities
- Use social media with its benefits in mind. Connect with friends, leave compliments or uplifting comments on people’s posts.
– Simone Da Costa, Mind-Body Psychotherapist In-Training, @mindbody_psychotherapy
- The biggest tip I have is to unfollow people who make you feel negative or bad about yourself, or at least mute them.
– Ashley, Holistic Life Coach, @_ashleycaron
- We all need a break sometimes so allocate certain days where you don’t use any social media.
- Follow accounts that inspire you and make you feel more creative and passionate about your interests.
– Bianca R., #NotOkay Program Coordinator