How To Curate Your Social Feeds
From making us question our appearance to leaving us feeling left out, social media can sometimes do more harm than good. It can be difficult to cut ties with something that connects us to the rest of the world, and cold turkey isn't always the answer, but learning how to curate your feed into something that makes you feel good is vital if a lifelong relationship with technology paves the future.
"[Social media] pulls us in so many different directions and it bombards us with so much information that we're just really overwhelmed... People now are just generally more stressed or more anxious or just not coping with whatever life is throwing at them."
- Rachelle Strauss, co-founder of Health and Wellness Grid
Notice How You Feel
A tell-tale sign of whether or not socials are impacting your mental health is to pay more attention to emotional cues. After half an hour of scrolling, do you feel stressed, sad, or lacking confidence, or do you go about your day unbothered? Does something you see on your feed stay on your mind when you're supposed to be doing something else, or affect your reactions to otherwise positive or joyful situations? Alterations in our brain chemistry can be small, but in psychological studies social media has consistently shown to, at best, have no impact on mood and self-esteem, and at worst, create a huge decline. With a world of perfection, filters, and easily edited content out there, it can be hard not to compare your own life to the shiny filtered feeds everyone else puts out there.
Understand What Matters To You
When most of us first got socials we followed everyone and their mum. Start a new series? Follow the entire cast. Start a new job? Follow every colleague. Bored and reminiscing? Follow your childhood friends. Mindless following invites a whole lot of mindless content into your feed that can leave you feeling inadequate when comparing your life to a person who you haven't even met. Understanding what matters to you - more importantly - what brings you joy, can be a pivotal moment in the relationship we have with our social feed. Some examples of things that might matter to you include:
Hobbies, such a as cooking (or eating), painting, building, or travel
Pets, wild animals, and wildlife
Science, history, or nature
Close friends and family
Steering clear of divisive content, whether that's a political Twitter feed, a heavily edited Instagram profile, or falsely curated Pinterest account can make a massive difference.
Make Room For Positivity
Once you understand what makes you happy, actively follow accounts that continue to trigger positive emotional responses. Unfollow accounts that make you question yourself, your appearance, or your lifestyle, and follow accounts that inspire you to be better, or love yourself for where and who you are right now.
Set A Timer
Even with the most positive feed in the world, we need a break from social media. Making sure that you only spend a certain number of minutes per day looking at each of your feeds gives your brain time to rest from an information overload, as well as giving you a chance to interact with the real world - which means more time to spend enjoying the little moments right in front of you.
Exclude Media From Routines
Try to avoid scrolling through your socials the moment you wake up, and definitely don't do this as you're getting ready for bed. Leaving 30-50 minutes before sleep and after you wake up to stay away from your devices puts your mind in a healthy position to focus on what you need, not what you think you need from the information you consume online.
Ensuring your relationship with the media you interact with has boundaries is key to good wellbeing. Whether that means imposing time limits, or curating the accounts and content you interact with regularly, prioritising healthy tech habits is vital to day-to-day wellness.