Social media has meant that we are now more connected than ever before. Within a matter of seconds, we can interact with people on the other side of the world. It can connect us with like-minded people anywhere in the world; feeling part of a community. However, social media platforms like Instagram can make us feel more disconnected than ever. Low self esteem and social pressure is causing more of us to struggle with our mental health. So, it’s important to know how to look after your mental health when online. Here are our top tips:

1. Unfollow accounts that don’t make you feel good

It can be easy for many of us to scroll mindlessly through our feed and not know how the content we are seeing is impacting us. When you are next reading through someone’s post, ask yourself the following questions. How does this make me feel? Do I feel empowered? Do I feel bad about how I look? Do this person’s values align with my own? If the account leaves you feeling worse after, it’s a good sign to unfollow. If you feel you can’t unfollow someone because of work or a friendship, you can use the mute button on Instagram to hide them from your feed. Being self-aware and setting boundaries is so important for our mental wellbeing.

2. Go outside- and don’t post about it. Live in the moment

When we are doing something exciting, one of our initial reactions is to post about it! It’s like we need approval from others by seeing how many likes and comments we get. Next time you go out to do an activity, live in the moment and put your phone away. It’ll give you time away to reflect and truly enjoy it without the pressure to capture every moment for others to see.

3. Don’t compare yourself to others

When someone posts on social media, we only see a snapshot of their day. More importantly, they are showing us what they want us to see, the good! It’s very unlikely we see the bad parts of their day or how that person really is behind the screen. Instagram can warp our reality and can make us feel that we are not good enough. It can make us have feelings of loneliness, resentment and envy. Take Instagram with a pinch of salt.

4. Follow accounts that are inspiring, happy and honest

Now we have unfollowed the accounts that don’t make us feel good, it’s time to follow some that make you feel good too. You could follow some funny meme accounts or those that post cute pictures of puppies. Whatever makes you smile, go find that! It doesn’t have to be butterflies and rainbows all the time, sometimes following people who talk openly about their mental health can make us feel less lonely too.

5. Have a digital detox

We live in such a fast-paced world, where social media can feel so overwhelming. Sometimes it’s necessary to take some time away from Instagram all together. Luckily, social media is certainly not going anywhere! Remember a world exists outside of Instagram, so go out and do more things that you love.

Written by Hannah (Student Advocate)