Last week, we discussed the upsides and downsides of social media when it comes to mental health. The conclusion? There is no conclusion; social media is a phenomenon that we’re all still learning how to integrate into our lives - and our guess is, it always will be. The features that benefit some people can be incredibly detrimental to others.
We finished the blog by promising to share some anecdotes, tips and tricks from Team Truffle concerning social media and mental health. We’re women of our word, so without further ado, here are some stories of how social media has had an impact on us, mentally.
“A few months ago, my personal Instagram account was hacked and temporarily vanished from the face of the internet. While I’ve recently set up a temporary account to use until it’s recovered (Instagram, I’m looking at you👀), there was a significant stretch of time in which I was Instagram-less, which – dare I say it – forced me to live in the “real” world a bit more.
It was a curse and a blessing wrapped up into one.
On one hand, the prospect of losing all the photos and memories stored on the app, plus the risk of missing important updates from friends, family and the industry was undoubtedly a HUGE cause of stress. On the other hand, my screen time was way down, and I suddenly realised just how much of my typical day I spend exposed to other women who seem to be crushing it in all aspects of their lives, and the impact that has inevitably had on my self-esteem. There’s a fine line between inspiration and unhealthy comparison, and we’d all be a little bit happier if we figured out where that line is.”
“Finding the distinction between my personal social media presence and consumption and my work on social media has been huge for me. In the past, it’s been very easy for those lines to become blurred to the point where I’m not as present in my real-life experiences as I would ideally like to be.
For me, the solution to this issue was getting a work phone and logging out of all client accounts and chats on my personal phone. Now, I typically spend much less time overall on social media, as it’s not quite as easy to get sidetracked by personal notifications when I’m working.”
“I’m incredibly fortunate to have a lot of close friends in the LGBTQ+ community, meaning my feed often features educational resources, political stances but also heartbreaking stories of the homophobia and hate they face on a daily basis. Inevitably, some of these posts can be incredibly distressing to read (as they should be, of course – in no world should these instances become so normalised that they are no longer shocking), particularly if you’re being exposed to them frequently.
The difficulty comes in finding the balance between burying your head in the sand and letting the instances have a negative impact on your own mental health. I want to be able to educate myself, recognise my privilege and use my own platform to amplify marginalised voices and spread awareness without letting it destroy my own mood and sense of optimism in the process. It’s a fine line to walk. Social media is both an incredible tool and a dangerous environment in this sense.”
"My relationship with social media has changed massively over the past couple of years, both regarding work and personal use. Instagram implementing the option to hide likes has been a game changer for me, as I no longer fixate on that external measure of “success” when putting out content. Instagram and TikTok have become more of a hub of inspiration for my work, and I take great pride in putting out content that I would want to see on my feed while empowering other creators in the space. My mindset shift around social media has been a crucial step towards establishing a healthy work-life balance.”
“As a somewhat chaotic person, I tend to go through a lot of phases as to what I’m currently “in to”. My social media feeds tend to reflect whatever my current “obsession” is, as I end up following a lot of bloggers in that specific niche, whether that’s fitness, travel, books or a particular music artist. Of course, when my interest in that particular topic starts to die down and I move onto something else, my feed becomes more and more overwhelmed with content pertaining to a bunch of different topics, a lot of which I’m not particularly interested in anymore.
In an effort to prevent myself from being too overloaded with content, I’ve made it a priority to do an occasional cull of my following list, unfollowing anyone who I’m not actively interested in and curating my feed into something more personalised towards me in that current moment. I guess this is a nice metaphor for moving on with life, letting go of that which no longer serves me.”
“A few years back, I was having some really bad issues with my sleep, struggling to drop off despite going to bed relatively early every night. It took me some time to realise my screen time was having a big impact on my ability to fall asleep, which was ultimately making my mood and energy levels much lower the following day. I came up with the solution to set a timer each night an hour before I go to bed, telling me to turn off my phone. It’s helped massively.”
“Working in social media comes with a certain responsibility to balance work with your personal social media presence and consumption, which can be difficult. During my workday, I’m exposed to a lot of content across social media platforms. A few years ago, I was following a lot of creators on my personal account that were making me feel like my own life was lacking in a lot of ways. It took a while for me to realise that I was only seeing the parts of their lives they had chosen for me to see. I now make it a habit to remind myself of that, while also following more accounts that are more open in their depiction of the highs AND lows of their everydays.”
“Deleting the Twitter app off my phone was one of the best decisions I could have made for myself. Where it was once a place I went to unwind, laugh and scroll through funny memes, it quickly became a toxic environment that made me feel stressed, unproductive and overwhelmed. Not all social platforms are going to be for you. It’s important to be selective and find apps that bring you pockets of happiness.”
“Self care to me means taking time for myself to read my motivational books, thereby improving myself, expanding my mind and giving my brain a rest from the chaos of the day. A while back, I set myself a strict resolution to turn my phone onto Do Not Disturb mode at 9pm every night so I can focus on reading and relaxing. This has had a huge impact on my sleep quality and overall stress levels.”
“‘Announcement culture’ is definitely something I struggle to not get wrapped up in from time to time. Grace Beverley coined the phrase, defining it as “our ever-growing need to announce everything we’re doing, therefore perpetuating our anxiety of having ‘things’ to announce in the first place.” Social media is a seemingly endless echo chamber for people seeking validation. I’ve found that what helps is shifting my focus to real-life relationships, and keeping my online presence at least somewhat private.”
Got thoughts? What measures do you put in place to protect your mental health when using social media? Is proactively safeguarding your mental wellbeing a priority for 2023? Tag us on socials at @trufflesocial or drop a comment below to start a conversation.