If you are like me, despite all its faults (yes I’ve seen The Social Dilemma on Netflix), you still want to be connected to the world through social media. I love the benefits of keeping me in community, learning about local events, and keeping in touch with friends and family we’ve never before had such opportunities to do so. But it also negatively impacts my sleep and prevents me from taking time for self-reflection, among other things. So I’ve really worked to make some positive changes in my social media consumption and hope to pass on a few to you!
Does looking at people’s “picture perfect” lives on Facebook and Instagram leave you feeling depressed, bad about yourself, or even lonelier? Do cousin Jimmy’s political posts leaving you angry? Does your grade school BFF constantly post frustrating conspiracy theories without fact checking?
You may already be having a bad day, anxiety about whats going on in the world, or feeling like you’ve got too much on your plate. No need to feed that negative energy with more negative feelings: jealousy, sadness, loneliness, and the dreaded FOMO (fear of missing out). It’s time to clean up your feeds and replace the negative with some positive, encouraging vibes!
While social media can support healthy relationships and our connectivity to our communities, let’s put it on a diet and make what we’re consuming helpful for building us up instead of tearing us down.
Favor just one.
First, cut down the number of social platforms you use. Pick the one or two that you enjoy the most. If you love real-time updates, Tweet and Snapchat. If you love beautiful imagery, Instagram is your happy place. If you like both news and personal updates, Facebook is a good spot. You can also remove the apps from your phone so you can only check your social media sites on a tablet or computer.
Turn off alerts.
Turning off notifications can help you regain control of your time and focus. Pick select times during the day to check in and get updates and then turn it off again. There are apps that can automatically limit when you’re able to access your phone.
Clean up the negative.
Focus on quality, not quantity. While it may seem great to stay in touch with all your grade school classmates, high school teammates, and college exes, if you are likely only to see these people at your 25 year reunions, there is no need to see the details of their lives day in and day out…
- Unfollow personal or group accounts that you don’t need to see on a regular basis. You can still check in on the personal accounts when needed and the group pages will still show on your group tabs.
- Prioritize the accounts you don’t want to miss. Whether it’s a best friend, cousin, or a crush, or a favorite inspirational account, you might just want to put them to the top of your News Feed. You can do this by going into your News Feed Preferences, tapping Prioritize Who To See First, and then tapping accounts you want to add to this setting.
- Hide ads, individual posts or all posts from someone (that maybe you aren’t friends with but commonly shows up in your feed based on your friend’s interactions with).
- My favorite feature is Snooze…You can choose to hide someone’s posts for 30 days at at time. Need a break during political season or while you are dealing with grief? Give yourself a temporary pause from a specific account.
- Don’t forget your stories! To mute a story, just tap a story from the person, page or group you’d like to mute, tap more in the top right of their story, and tap Mute [Username], then tap Mute to confirm.
Rest assured, Facebook users don’t get notified that they’ve been muted, unfollowed or snoozed and you can always “reconnect” if needed. If you aren’t familiar how to execute these functions, here is a great tutorial.
Instagram also has some great built-in tools to help put your feed and stories on a diet too!
- A built in timer and reminder. Check out Your Activity page in the menu of your Profile. You’ll se the average time you’ve spent on Instagram over the past week. You can also set a daily reminder function to cut back on your usage.
- Unfollow accounts you don’t interact with. Tap the Profile icon in the bottom-right then, tap Following to see a list of everyone you follow. You’ll see Least Interacted With and Most Shown in Feed. Take action!
- Mute stories OR posts! To mute content from an account, visit their profile. Tap the Following box and select Mute from the list that comes up. Use the sliders to mute Posts and/or Stories.
Here is a practical guide with tips on how to clean up your IG account.
Act on the positive.
After a good tidying, start to comment, interact with, and like those you want to see more of in your feed. Like, comment and share stories you like. It seems obvious, but most people don’t take action on content they do want to see more of. But that’s exactly how social sites know what to serve you more of.
Instead, there are plenty of encouraging, uplifting and funny accounts to follow including people you actually want to get updates on. Have you ever heard the quote: you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time around so choose wisely? Same applies here.
What are the people you “surround” yourself with on social media doing, how are they behaving, how do they treat and talk about others, what are their goals and ambitions? When we’re done with today’s tidying, make sure those you see and interact with regularly on your feed are: inspired, motivating, grateful, passionate, and open minded.
- Find people who share your interests. For example, if you like reading, you could join a book club. If you’re a runner, find yourself a running club. If your child has a certain allergy or learning challenge, find others in the same situation. Because you’ll already have something in common, it will be easier to form an initial connection.
- Join or promote worthwhile causes; raise awareness on important issues.
- Discover (with care) sources of valuable information and learning.
Here are some of my favorite accounts on Facebook and Instagram that encourage my physical, mental, and social wellness. Feel free to leave some of your favs in the comments below!
Fitness & Body Image
1. Advice on Fitness
Bio: Health & Wellness Website
🏋️♀️ Daily Health and Fitness Advice
🔥 Helping you to achieve your goals
Instagram Handle: @adviceonfitness
Instagram Followers: 100k
2. Body Image Therapist
Bio: Ashlee Bennett, AThR she/her
Art therapist & counsellor
Author of The Art of Body Acceptance
Weight inclusive workshops & online group programs
Art therapy acc: @makeartaboutit
Instagram Handle: bodyimage_therapist
Instagram Followers: 128k
3. Get Mom Strong
Bio: Ashley|Postpartum Core Trainer
Helping moms regain strength & confidence!
𝗦𝘁𝗿𝗼𝗻𝗴 𝗟𝗶𝗸𝗲 𝗮 𝗠𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 (𝗦𝗟𝗔𝗠)™️
✨Kick-butt fitness program
✨Pre & Postpartum, Diastasis Recti, Prolapse
Instagram Handle: @getmomstrong
Instagram Followers: 221k
4. Revelation Wellness
Mental Health & Motivation
1. Mel Robbins
2. Holistically Grace
3. Wisdom of Anxiety
Bio: Sheryl Paul Counselor
Anxiety is a messenger / MA in Jungian Counseling / She/Her / Oprah guest / Raising two sensitive sons with my devoted husband ❤️ Books and Courses👇🏼linktr.ee/sherylpaul_wisdomofanxiety
Instagram Handle: @wisdomofanxiety
Instagram Followers: 88.7k
1. Big Life Journal
Bio: Shopping & Retail👍Recommended by psychologists & therapists
🧠 Mindset is everything. Teach it early.
👇 Get our FREE Friday printables for ages 4+
Instagram Handle: @biglifejournal
Instagram Followers: 491k
2. The Mom Psychologist
Bio: Dr. Jazmine | Parenting
Psychologist🤎Real + practical parenting info + inspo
👧🏽👧🏽 Mom of 2
👇🏽QUIZ: WHAT’S YOUR PARENTING STYLE?👇🏽www.themompsychologist.com/instagram
Instagram Handle: @themompsychologist
Instagram Followers: 282k
3. Seed and Sew
🧠How to build emotional intelligence from infancy
🤝The Village Membership: shame-free parenting community
Instagram Handle: @seed.and.sew
Instagram Followers: 140k
Relationships & Sex
1. Dr. Tracy D
Bio: Dr. Tracy Dalgleish she/her
EducationRelationship Expert | Author | Speaker
Podcaster | Mom of 2
Contributor to @ctvottawamorninglive
Instagram Handle: @dr.tracyd
Instagram Followers: 75.2k
2. My Love Thinks
3. The Secure Relationship
Bio: Psychotherapist Julie Menanno MA
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
Relationship healing, practical skills, scripts linktr.ee/thesecurerelationship
Instagram Handle: @thesecurerelationship
Instagram Followers: 471k
4. The Gottman Institute
Bio: A research-based approach to relationships.
We do not offer individual advice via social media. Find a therapist on the Gottman Referral Network.
Instagram Handle: @gottmaninstitute
Instagram Followers: 630k
General Inspiration & Laughter:
1. Humans of New York
2. The Holderness Family
Bio: 👨👩👧👦 We make goofy videos and lose phone chargers
🎙 Check out our podcast: Holderness Family Podcast
📖 Order our book: Everybody Fights
Instagram Handle: @theholdernessfamily
Instagram Followers: 643k
3. Stories of a Mediocre Mom
Face-to-Face can’t be replaced
And last but not least, put down the device. Social wellness depends on healthy, interpersonal relationships. We all need the face-to-face interaction to improve our social health. At its best, social media is a great tool for facilitating real-life connections. Reach out to an online friend or club and arrange a meet up for coffee, exercise, or a hobby. Lots of other people feel just as uncomfortable about making new friends as you do—so be the one to break the ice. Set aside time each week to interact offline with friends and family. Try to make it a regular get-together where you always keep your phones off! Anyone free Thursday?! 🙂