I've been watching a lot of '90s and early 2ooos movies recently and while 2018 is great I've been reminded of how cool that period of time was, even though we didn't release it. They were much simpler times.
WHY PRE-SOCIAL MEDIA '90s EARLY 2000s RULED
- We didn't have smart phones (or when we did) phones that were capable of doing much and we weren't expected to be contactable on so many platforms 24/7
- We didn't document our days and didn't watch everyone else's days. We talked about it (probably left out the boring stuff)
- We didn't have to worry about having new outfits for every occasion because we didn't 'gram our outfits so it didn't matter if we wore the same tank top, pair of flared jeans, choker or mood ring
- We didn't get that yucky feeling when someone unfollows or blocks you
- We didn't have to 'gram our food or go to the best restaurants all the time, we were pretty basic and just ate it
- When it was Mothers or Fathers Day we'd make a hand-made card and a crappy breakfast in bed for our parents instead of posting photos on social media which they may not actually see
- We didn't have to think of creative ways to announce our pregnancies and engagements on social media
- Our parents didn't post us 'happy birthday' photo collages with a lengthy caption (which unless little Timmy is a baby genius I'm pretty sure most 1-year-olds can't read). Instead we celebrated our birthday with our families and friends and a home made banana cake or if you were really lucky Mum would whip something up out of the 'Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake Book' and we were pumped. Fancy Instagramable kids parties didn't exist
- Instagram boyfriends and girlfriends didn't exist
- We went on holiday with a disposable from the chemist and put our photos in an actual album
- Our holidays were road trips to places like Taupo or Hawkes Bay playing eye-spy and fighting with our siblings in the car, or if your family was rich The Gold Coast or Fiji and kids would come back with beaded braids and brag about it during news
- Filters didn't exist and we didn't obsess over our angles or getting the 'gram
- We weren't constantly trying to make our lives look so amazing ALL THE TIME
- We used products we liked and we weren't being 'influenced' and being exposed to 157 products every fucking day
- We didn't have to watch punishing unboxing videos
- We had home phones and talked to our friends each night even though we'd hung out all day at school
- We'd listen to the Top 20 countdown in our bedrooms at night on our cassette and CD radio and call up the radio station to vote for our favourite song and do shout outs to our friends
- We only had MSN on dial up computers and had to get off when Mum needed to use the landline. Brb gtg
- We didn't need to get upset or worry if I boy we liked read our message and didn't reply
SOCIAL MEDIA CAN MAKE YOU SICK
I went to a Dr Libby seminar a few years ago and she explained how our biochemistry hasn't changed but we put so much pressure on our bodies and minds, more than they were designed to cope with.
We're constantly switched on, wired all day, overload ourselves and stress ourselves out by being so busy all of the time and over-stimulating our minds.
Studies have found social media can have an negative impact on our mental health. A study by the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK ranked Instagram as the worst social media platform.
The comprehensive study #statusofmind found:
- Social media is more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol
- Rates of anxiety and depression in young people have risen 70% in the past 25 years
- Social media use is linked with increased rates of anxiety, depression and poor sleep
- People who spend more than two hours a day on social media are classed as high users and are more likely to experience mental health and self-esteem issues
Why is the gram considered the worst for mental health?
- Seeing friends constantly on holiday or enjoying their 'perfect' lives can make people feel like they're missing out and that they're lives aren't good enough
- These feelings create a 'compare and despair' pattern
- People compare themselves to heavily edited, staged and photo-shopped posts
- Unrealistic expectations keeping up an aesthetically pleasing gram can leave people with low self-esteem and the pursuit of perfectionism, which can manifest anxiety disorders
- People value their worth on how many likes their posts get, which leads to feelings of unworthiness when their post doesn't reach a certain number of likes
WHAT'S YOUR FEED FEEDING YOU?
What's your feed feeding you? Does it inspire you? Does it make you feel good about yourself? Does it make you feel happy about your life? If you answered no to any of these questions it's time for a social media cleanse.
Social media is a place where people share all the exciting things they're doing to make they're lives seem interesting. It's very much a highlights reel, people don't share the mundane boring parts of their life and I think people forget that.
People need to be more real on the 'gram. People with large followings should think about the messages and content they are sharing.
I know when I first started using Instagram back in 2012 (OG user what up!) I followed heaps of fitness accounts. I cleaned out who I was following and now I only follow accounts that empower me in a positive way.
A lot of the time (young females especially) follow fitness models who post a different photo of their bodies every day, and good on them for what they've achieved, but I don't think it has a positive impact on a lot of people.
Girls, we're not paid to be fitness models. Some of these people are paid to work out all day and post photos in the latest active-wear. We have jobs and classes to attend and all of the life admin. For most of us we're lucky if we can fit in an hour of exercise a day a few times a week.
It's good to keep things in perspective so you don't look at these accounts and compare your beautiful body or compare other peoples lives with yours. That's the social media trap.
SOCIAL MEDIA DETOXES
These are great in the short-term. If you're feeling a little over stimulated and you want a break here's my tips of how to have a social media detox:
- Deactivate your Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat accounts if you want or you can just delete the apps off your phone
- My favourite way to 'social media detox' (lol) is to turn my phone on aeroplane mode for a day or weekend
- Have a social media free day each week or however often you feel you need it
I'm a big fan of doing these often. I'm actually in the middle of one today and it's been so great. I feel a sense of relief as soon as I switch flight mode on. It chills me out and I've gotten so much done, without getting distracted and scrolling through Instagram and then getting mad at myself.
Social media detoxes are great in the short term but then what? Unless we commit to living off the grid in the forest (sounds ideal to me, if I had my way I'd be a fairy in the bush) you can't really avoid it, especially if you use it for your job like I do. If you keep finding yourself winding up in the same place you need to create healthy social media habits. Here are my tips to managing your social media usage so you can keep balance and don't feel like a POS (piece of shit)
MY SOCIAL MEDIA RE-SET TIPS
- Turn off your notifications. I did this in March and I will never turn them back on. You receive txts and calls but only get Facebook messages, Instagram and Snapchat notifications when you go to check them. 10/10 would recommend
- Unfollow any people or accounts that don't make you feel good about yourself
- Be mindful of what you're looking at and watching. Your time each day is precious. Do you really need to watch someone punish you with their 25 plus Instagram stories a day? Talking about their latest problem or how they've got the shits, a pimple or moaning about how they're so tired? What are you gaining from this? Is it a good use of your energy? I'm all for being real but some social media users are addicted to oversharing and it's unhealthy. Quality over quantity hon plus we're pretty lucky so quit ya moaning sunshine
- A new feature on Instagram allows you to mute peoples posts and stories. If you don't want to unfollow someone because well we know how brutal that can be, mute their stories
- Find it too much using too many social media apps? Delete any you don't really love or use. I deleted the Facebook app earlier this year. I don't even check notifications when I go on it on my laptop for work. Soz Facey you're a bit sucky and spammy now
- Set boundaries with your social media usage. Do you find you check it first thing in the morning then scroll for 15 minutes before you get up? Have times where you check your phone. You'll get so much more done without it constantly distracting you
- Take photos and save your Instagram stories and post them later so you can enjoy living in the moment, 2018 style
- Set up a night time routine where you basically get off your phone. We're so wired and stimulated all day then we lie down in bed straight after another scroll session and expect to just fall asleep. Reality check, for a lot of us it doesn't work like that. So many of us have sleeping problems and it's linked to our phone usage and screen time. We need time to wind down. Have a cup of chamomile tea, read a book or do a guided meditation
- Set your phone to 'do not disturb' mode between certain hours. Mine switches over at 8.3opm until 7am and the light on my phone is set to dim on 'night shift' as well so it's not as bright before I go to bed
- Spend time with people and do things that make you get off your phone. Read, watch movies and documentaries, write, get creative, listen to podcasts (ok they're on your phone but you can listen to them and NOT be on social media). Use your time that you're not wasting mindlessly scrolling on social media to work on projects, side hustles.
Focus that energy on yourself and chill out. It's a lot more peaceful I promise and remember you are WAY more than your feed
As I have talked about mental health in this post, if you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.