Loving yourself can be tough at times, but then you add in the social media factor and it becomes even more of a challenge. Not only does social media come with “like” buttons and a comments section, it also comes complete with comparison, depression, and FOMO; you pick your poison. (Truth: Mine is comparison). I ask myself, then, can you still love yourself in the age of social media when “doing it for the gram” is an all too common occurrence?
I believe the answer is yes, but to be honest, I am still on my own journey to self-love, and it is a journey I walk every day. Let’s be real, some days are easier than others, but I have found these six tips to be helpful when it comes to loving yourself in the age of social media.
#1 Stay Off Social Media All Together
My number one piece of advice is to stay off of social media altogether. I know this is easier said than done, but I notice when I step away from social media, and my digital devices all together, I am happier with myself, my body and my life in general. Remember, comparison is my weapon of choice, so by eliminating social media, I am essentially eliminating my Achilles heel. If you can’t stay off of social media all together then start off small.
- Stay off of social media on special occasions (i.e. holiday, birthday, wedding, long weekend away, week-long vacation).
- Don’t check social media every day.
- Avoid starting and ending your day with social media. Instead, start your morning with a mindful meditation and end your night with a good book.
- Disconnect from social media for one full day every week (My day is Sunday).
- Set aside a specific time for social media instead of getting caught up in mindlessly scrolling throughout the day.
- Unfollow accounts that make you feel less than. No one needs those negative vibes in their life anyways!
- Follow accounts that only bring you joy, inspiration and motivation.
#2 Remember the Reel
Everyone has a story they choose to share or not share on social media, but more often times than not, most people portray a picture perfect life like they have it all together. We more commonly refer to this as the highlight reel. Let’s be honest though, does anyone ever really have it all together? If you do, please reach out and let me know your secrets.
When those thoughts of comparison creep in either unfollow that specific account, or simply get centered on your own feelings and think of the things you are grateful for in that moment. Maybe you are grateful that you can unfollow said account or maybe you are grateful to be sitting in a warm and cozy apartment on a cold winter’s night.
#3 Change Your Thoughts
When scrolling through social media, if a negative or self-defeating thought comes to mind, take a beat and pause. Notice it, acknowledge it and then replace it with a more positive, healthful thought. This may be a challenge at first and could last for some time; that’s normal as you are adopting a new behavior, but it’s important to remember we can rewire our brains. It just takes some time. You will never fully rid your brain of negative thoughts (wouldn’t that be nice), but you can change your perspective on those thoughts.
#4 Stay in the Present Moment
It’s easy to scroll through Instagram and get caught up in other people’s weddings, vacations, insert major life milestone here, which can then lead your own mind to wonder when you will have x, y and z. Before you start planning your wedding (I need a boyfriend first), honor yourself and your life by accepting exactly where you are today, right now, in this very moment. Acceptance can eventually foster contentment, peace, self-compassion and hopefully self-love.
#5 Make a Mantra
If you find yourself slipping out of acceptance, adopt a phrase or mantra you repeat to yourself. For instance, my word is a “Santosha,” which is often used in yoga. It’s a Sanskrit word that can be divided into two parts, “Sam,” which means completely or entirely and “Tosha,” which means acceptance, contentment or satisfaction. I love this word so much I even had it made into a bracelet. It serves as a daily (sometimes hourly) reminder to me that no matter where I find myself in life (or don’t find myself), I can always have complete contentment and acceptance of myself, my body, my career, my relationships and my life.
#6 Seek Support
I have had multiple conversations with my girlfriends about social media and the struggle of practicing self-love in the age of social media. It’s not very fun to verbally admit out loud to others that I have experienced feelings of anger, jealousy, and resentment, but you know what, others have too! If I never would have shared my true and authentic feelings about social media with family and friends, I wouldn’t know that they sometimes experience the same feelings as well. Sometimes simply knowing others have felt the feelings and experienced the emotions you are experiencing is a comfort all on its own!
Loving yourself in the age of social media isn’t impossible, it just takes time and adopting new behaviors. Show us how you love yourself in the age of social media by tagging us @asweatlife (Yes, we see the irony in all of this).