Hello beautiful people! So it’s officially September which means it’s pretty much the second season of beginnings, our favourite TV shows are returning, we’re starting new journeys at school or university everything is starting such as No Scroll September.
As more and more people create accounts on social media quite a few people are coming off it. Not because they’re bored of it but because they’re exhausted mentally and physically and for good reasons. Recently Instagram has been ranked the worst for teen mental heath (article) “rates of anxiety and depression in young people have increased by 70% over the last 25 years.”
I was born into the generation that didn’t have the level of social media and technology we do today. I’d spend a lot of my childhood playing outside with friends, reading and watching cartoons. Yet, as I grew older, in secondary school I felt the pressure to have a phone, a Blackberry at first and then an Android (don’t @ me lol).
Soon enough my phone wasn’t just to play games and talk a bit on BBM but to keep up with trends on social media. Before I knew it I had a Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google account and I wasn’t alone in this. It became the norm.
You realised you had to look a certain way and was ridiculed for your differences, most of which you couldn’t control. I suddenly became insecure about being dark skinned, you had to be interested in make-up and the intense microscope focus on being perfect.
I was just trying to get through my adolescence and figure out other things, yet I never thought it was the little plastic block in my back pocket causing a majority of these issues. I don’t want it to seem like social media is all bad, I’ve had a lot of positive memories on there and still do, yet I’m having better times more frequently with it because of moderation. Moderation on social media actually helped past insecurities such as the Dark skin women instagram pages, you notice shared experiences.
If I feel like I’m falling down the technological rabbit hole I’ll take some time away, crack open a book, take out pages from magazines and scrap book for inspo or even do a little knitting (oh my gawd I can’t knit but I’m trying something new).
You can’t really go on social media these days without seeing unrealistic expectations whether that’s to do with your body, your mind, your wealth, how much media engagement you have etc. It opens a door to the infamous toxic comparison. Social media is like fast food, nice when you have it but not good for you in the long run.
You’ll see people only posting the good things that happen in their lives and while it might not seem that serious, only seeing a life you wish you were be living can be draining. Never seeing the negatives that occurs in everyone’s life can make you think they must be living the dream life.
Seeing the negatives isn’t to see someone’s downfall but to embrace that we’re all human.
It’s understandable why we don’t show that side of ourselves on certain platforms such as Instagram tends to be described as a “highlight reel” whereas on Twitter we’re all quite honest, nonetheless the image we’re creating can only last so long. It’s time social media became a platform for us to show the good and the bad, to show the real us.
“Amanda just got that new job, double tap, oh she just got promoted too? Double tap. And a private jet?!….double tap…my picture only got 12 likes…that’s sad. Let me delete and repost it.”
I might be exaggerating a little there but you get the point. Social media has become a massive extension of our lives that we begin to assess our lives base on how much engagement and followers we have instead of genuine life qualities. It’s important to remind yourself nobody has the perfect life we can all have perfect moments and some may have that more frequently than others for numerous reasons but that doesn’t mean they don’t have bad days. Nobody shows that because we escape to social media for the good stuff, the smiles, laughs, memes and GIFs. If anything, people still frown upon showing the real you, you must have seen someone comment
“That’s NOT what I subscribed for! Get over it.
“Everyone has bad days, it’s all in your head.”
“Making excuses to get out of work?”
Not only are these toxic comments but they diminish the importance of that person coming forward to talk about their mental health. Social media can be a dark place, with some people literally feeding off your downfall. This can increase the chances of you not wanting to talk about your bad days.
People that are real and show the good and the bad, that will make your feed more realistic and humanising.
Not having that kind of good and bad balance can make you stop seeing the good happening in your own life, we become obsessed with wanting new things and not the important things happening in your life.
Especially with certain influencers promoting unrealistic lifestyles. This is why taking time away to focus on your own life is so so so important. There’s nothing wrong with admiring other peoples lives as long as you don’t allow it to become the epitome of all things great, therefore lessening the blessings and good in your own life.
Over the past year I’ve been sure to unfollow toxic people, people who create negative and unrealistic lifestyles. I know the kind of life I want to live is one where I can grow within positivity but also learn to create an authentic platform. People I recommend you follow is
Chidera Eggerue AKA The Slumflower, Stephanie Yeboah AKA Nerd About Town, Nicole Crentsil, Imrie from WannaBePodcast, Kelechi Okafor, Munroe Bergdorf, Oloni, Tanya Compas, Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene (both wrote Slay In Your Lane), Taz AKA ClickForTaz, Courtney Daniella, Christina Marie, Serena Williams, Lena Waithe, Heleena AKA HeleenaTattoos, Lady Phyll and so many more but these are the people I could think about from the top of my head.
So the big question is….
Can you go one day a week without social media?
I know the whole point of No Scroll September is to stay absolutely away from social media for a month which if you can do I’ll give you a massive internet hug. I really recommend you guys do it, I’m certain spending a month getting back into things you used to love to do, learning something new, going to new places and getting to know yourself without social media can only have benefits! I unfortunately can’t take part as I’m starting university this month and will need it but the one day a week challenge will be helpful if you’re in this situation too, have a job that uses a lot of social media or trying to wean yourself off social media.
- TURN OFF ALL SOCIAL MEDIA NOTIFICATIONS If it pops up on your screen you’ll be tempted to click it and after that you’ll still be on the same app hours later. Everyone is still going to be there, trends last longer than 24 hours and so will all those posts. On days where I know I’ll really depend on my phone e.g. going somewhere new, I’ve got a photography job etc for my safety and also yours it’s perfectly fine to skip turning off your notifications as you may need to respond fast. On non-working days I’ve also learnt to just keep all of my notifications off, I’ll check my social media when I want to but I no longer feel overwhelmed by mass messages and emails, if anything I feel more in control of it.
- CREATIVES! YOU TOO! This is good for creatives. As a creative myself checking my emails and social media is important, however so is my mental health. Which is why 24 hours away might not seem possible you no doubt get a lot of emails, messages and overall have to keep on top of things. If 24 hours is too much try two to four hours away, it won’t do any harm, you’ll still get the benefit of time away and still being able to work. Personally, on my own creative journey, I’ve found that favouring a balance of rest and work over just prioritising work has improved the quality of what I create, I burn out less and I feel more guided towards my purpose within media. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still making mistakes but I’m “failing upwards” and there’s plenty of room for you to learn and grow.
- DEFINE YOUR OWN HAPPINESS A bit ago I was having a conversation with my friends about what happiness is and why so many people are geared towards having the same type of happiness e.g. fancy car, travelling all the time, a boujiee wardrobe and how it’s all quite materialistic. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have nice things, what’s wrong with it is if you only want nice things. You turn yourself away from creating life long valuable moments and memories, in the long run items won’t make you happy. Being able to find yourself doesn’t happen overnight, that’s what your life is for to make mistakes and succeed in certain areas. Eventually you’ll find what makes your heart beat a little faster and you can focus more on that.
- IMMEDIATE VS DEFERRED GRATIFICATION Oprah recently did a video about what she wished more women knew about and that’s that all good things take time. We live in a fast world where we can get food delivered to us in minutes, we can talk to people in seconds and watch loads of TV at the click of a button. We see people going viral after a few thousand retweets literally in a matter of moments. Yesterday, that was just any ordinary Joe, today they’re touring the world yodelling. We want that quick life, but this isn’t a Big Mac Meal, that you can slap together and throw your life onto a tray. You need to give your life quality. Beyoncé for example wasn’t always famous, she has been working her ass off her whole life and now she’s an global superstar. She’s put nothing but time and effort into her brand and yes it took years but it was obviously all worth it. Beyoncé is quality steak. All because she embraced her journey and the people with it. Be quality steak.
- THINGS YOU CAN DO IN 24 HOURS You can read a book, write in a journal, paint something, go outside and do some photography, stay inside and do some photography, learn something new such as a language, meditate, do some yoga, clean your room (trust me on this, there’s no better feeling than a clean room), paint by numbers (idk I did it once and it was actually fun), bake something without instructions, bake something with instructions, find a podcast (I was a bit sceptical about adding this one since I use Spotify to listen to my favourite podcasts which means I might need to use internet. To avoid turning on your WiFi, still turn off your notifications and download some podcasts before the 24 hour break. I really like WannaBe Podcast) or literally anything else you used to like to do, this will give you the opportunity to get back into something you used to love or try something new.
- WANT A BIGGER CHALLENGE? NO SCROLL SEPTEMBER The fabulous Kanndiss Riley (Insta @Kanndissriley) is partnering up with The Royal Public Health Society and will be giving up all social media FOR THE WHOLE OF SEPTEMBER! During #NoScrollSeptember she will be doing three things trying something new, doing something she hates and getting back into something she used to do. If you think you can do it or want to know more about contact her to get more fab info about it!
- EASIER SAID THAN DONE Lastly, all of what I’ve said (or in this case written lol)is definitely more easier said than done. I first tried 2-4 hours without social media and sometimes just have a complete 24 hour break, this is a process so you might turn on the WiFi again, but the second attempt you might not. It’s all a process. Yet, now I can easily go four hours without it sometimes more. I’ll plan blog posts or learn more about photography. Time flies and before you know it my timer goes off. As I keep saying it’s a journey it might come easy to you, it might not but one day it’ll just be second nature to put your phone off for a while. Trust me, we’ll all be better for it.
So to end this long blog post, I leave you with this, what is your ideal self? What are the things you need to do to get to your ideal self in a realistic and safe way?
Let me know in the comments what you do while you’re away from social media!
If the overuse of social media is holding you back start there. Don’t get me wrong, social media can be a beautiful place, it gives you the opportunity to find friends like you, watch funny videos, like pictures of doggos and buy clothes! Yet it’s all about moderation, too much of anything is bad. It’s all about baby steps but you’ll soon start running. Have a fab day!
– Love JOD