How to Stay Sane on Social Media
Where would we be without social media today? I wouldn’t be able to keep up with old friends with all the effort of a thumb scroll, nor make new ones with a simple touch; I wouldn’t know about this amazing looking Japanese cheesecake recipe; or this phenomenal woman who does yoga with a child on her back. I love what social media gives me? Or I do on a good day.
On a bad day, a tough day with the kids or a rubbish day at work, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – my social media of choice – leave me feeling deflated, unworthy, jealous and frankly lonely. Everyone is better dressed than me, has better skin, is having more fun on holiday, has a better life. EVERYONE. This is despite having a great husband and two lovely kids. Pathetic I know. Does this sound familiar at all, just a little bit maybe?
I have a food blog that I’m also trying to grow and social media has to be a part of that growth. My blog’s growth is inhibited by my love hate relationship with social. If I manage a week of posting regularly, I’m doing well. After a recent patch of bad days, where I just couldn’t bring myself to be on any of the platforms at all, I decided this was ridiculous. I needed to take control and figure out how I could successfully engage with social media so I got what I needed from it I and didn’t have to deal with feeling rubbish as part of that.
Here are the 5 steps I took to keep me sane on social
- First I figured out why I spent time on social media
For me it’s a combination of catching up with friends, promoting my blog and keeping abreast of the recent trends on social media in the food blogging world and just chilling out. Ashley and Gabe of the blog Not Without Salt argue if you are a ‘creative’ “You are what you eat”. They mean that to produce top quality work you need to consume the best work in your field. As a food blogger social media is perfect for that. I knew if I was clear on why I spent time on social media it would help me maintain a healthy relationship with it.
- Positive inspiration
The problem with consuming the best work from the best food bloggers is that I can be left feeling like I might as well curl up under a rock and forget about blogging completely. Never in a million years am I going to be 1% as good as these stunning blogs. Then I read that according to psychologists this comparison with others is super normal, in fact, as humans we are designed to do it all the time. “We do it to learn who we are.” Social media just makes it really easy. Of course I only ever compare myself with people who are far more successful than myself. Three solutions to this one:
- See these amazing bloggers as inspirational and not a threat. So, ‘wow, that photo looks amazing … what do I like about it … can it help me move on with my next shoot?’
- When I was feeling my bravest I contacted some of these bloggers and asked if I could feature one of their photos in a roundup post on my site. The best of these guys responded saying they would be ‘flattered’ (that word made my DAY) and they now look at my work on social media and interact with me, which makes my WEEK time and time again.
- Lastly I’ve unfollowed some people. To begin with this felt like a massive deal. But it’s about saying I have to be careful with myself on social media and your posts continually leave me feeling rubbish. Which is nothing to do with them and everything to do with me. But my way of staying sane is to unfollow when I continually get a bad feeling from an account. Perhaps in six months when I’m in a different place I will start following them again.
- Self esteem
When I share something on social media and I get lots of likes and comments, I experience a heady ego boost. Don’t we all? That’s part of what we like about social media, isn’t it?!! That’s great, no problem with that. But when my whole mood for the day is affected by not getting those likes or comments – that was when I realised I had to sort this. For the most part I am happy with myself and my life. If I post something and it doesn’t get the response I want, it doesn’t mean a thing about me. It might be that I can learn something about Facebook’s algorithms and posting times and my audience. But it doesn’t mean I’m less of a person, or less of a blogger because no one liked it.
- Schedule, turn off notifications, and log out
The average person spends between 90 minutes and 2 hours on social media a day. That’s potentially 14 hours a week, equivalent to almost two working days. I never feel like I have enough time in my day and an extra 14 hours a week would be amazing. I’m now experimenting with different schedule platforms so that I can try and blitz a load of stuff and then log out from the platform. I have turned my social media notifications off on my phone. I try now to open up each platform twice a day to respond to anything there. Yes Facebook would like me to respond immediately to each message, but Facebook doesn’t own me! I log out of social media on my computer, so I have to login, which hopefully gives me enough time to say “No I don’t need to do this, I will respond when I next check for notifications on my phone.”
- Feeling good
Lastly, because I do use social media to relax, I’ve started following people who leave me feeling good. Mumdinger, The Bodykind Festival and Deliciously Stella are just a few. There is nothing like a good chuckle to turn out the light to.
Here’s to enjoying social media with every interaction, and knowing how unimportant it sometimes is.
Thank you to the amazing Holly Davies for sharing her top tips that we will definitely be putting to good use!
You can find Holly’s blog at www.hollycooks.co.uk
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