You can’t deny it’s been a pretty tough time for a lot of people recently. Lockdown 2.0, businesses closed once again and the absolute cloud of uncertainty around everything can be pretty overwhelming. I recently wrote a blog about helping small businesses, but today my blog is around something that’s also really important. Helping yourself.
Personally, I work from home now and live alone, so lockdown can be quite painful, especially when I really am a people person. With that being said, I’ve compiled a list of ways that you can use social media to help your mental health. Now, I’m no psychologist or therapist, but these are just things that I’ve found really helpful. Social media isn’t all bad, remember?
Reach Out & Stay Connected
The first one on here is really important. Social media at its core is an absolutely unbelievable tool for being social, it was originally created so you could connect with your friends. When you’re down about lockdown or haven’t been able to see your friends/family/colleagues/anyone for a while, social media can help. Use social media as a tool to chat with your friends, stay in the loop with their lives through social media, where you might otherwise have felt completely distanced. Social media, when used correctly, can be invaluable in helping you stay connected and feel close with your loved ones.
I’ve found this really useful, as I’m a pretty bad texter. I am so bad at replying to messages and sometimes I’ll reply, sometimes I won’t. Mainly because I’m so busy, but partly because I’m so lazy. But it doesn’t mean I don’t care! I really appreciate the friends that will even just reply to my story or comment on my posts. It sounds utterly ridiculous and so millennial, but I know you’re there, even if we haven’t spoken in a while.
Follow People That Make You Happy
I’m a big believer that your social media feed is what you make it. I recently wrote a blog on body positivity that outlined the undeniable issues that arise around social media and self-confidence, but a very significant point was that your feed is curated for you. You see the content of who you follow on Instagram and then you see additional content from people similar to those that you follow.
If you follow Kim Kardashian, it’s likely that you’ll also see content from Khloe or Kourtney, and you’ll probably follow them too. But if this content doesn’t make you happy and makes you feel inferior or knocks your confidence, unfollow them! This way, you will slowly begin to see less and less of this content. This doesn’t just go for celebrities too, your peers can be just as harmful to your mental health sometimes. If you’re still following your ex and the pics of him and his new girlfriend upset you every time you see them, unfollow him! Don’t do it to yourself, it really isn’t worth it.
Make your social media feeds a place for positivity, self-love and uplifting messages, and you will see a huge impact on your mental health. We spend a lot of time on social media on our phones, try and make it as positive as possible. You need to put yourself first sometimes, and if that means going through and unfollowing loads of people, that’s fine.
Take The Time To Laugh
I think we all get so caught up in everything that’s going on at the moment that sometimes we just forget to have fun and take the time to just laugh. TikTok has reintroduced me to this. It seems so stupid, but some of the things that I find myself absolute crying-laughing at on TikTok are just absolutely hilarious and ridiculous. Yes, social media can be a great source of news, information, and a lot of ads, but it can also be a place for fun. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the day to day life and forget about the importance of actually laughing.
I watch a lot of true crime/detective/murder/thriller shows, so sometimes I spend my day working, then I switch off my laptop and watch 4 hours of a doc about unsolved crimes. That’s fine! But also, that’s a pretty heavy day. Take 10 mins to watch something that makes you laugh. Whether that is the basic stupidity of TikTok or a show that you love on YouTube. But you really will see the impact this will have on your day.
Find A New Routine
I’ve discussed it before, but I absolutely LOVE Zumba. I know it’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely for me. Pre-lockdown I’ve always done Zumba, but it was always at 7:30 pm on a Tuesday evening and a lot of times I’d finish work and not really be in the mood, even though I know I love every second of it when I’m there. Lockdown and working from home has allowed me to actually find a routine and stick to it.
When lockdown hit, my Zumba instructor started a Facebook group with all of the regulars in and she also started posting on her own Instagram really motivational, uplifting posts. Without this motivation, I would never be able to do the three classes a week that I now religiously do. I am now part of a group of people that inspire me every week to push further, to work hard in the classes, just to even attend all the classes. Without this routine, I would have been completely lost throughout lockdown.
I’m not saying Zumba is for everyone, but there are so many fitness classes, instructors and groups on social media that if you want to find that thing that keeps you motivated throughout the week, you have that option there.
On The Other Hand …
On the flip side of everything, I have just said, if the way for you to help your mental health is to turn your phone off and curl up on the sofa with a blanket and a takeaway pizza and binge watch Netflix, do it. I know I have days where that is all I want to do. The key is to see whether that actually makes you happier. If the answer is yes, go for it! If it actually makes you feel like a slob and you hate yourself for days after, maybe it’s not the best way to go. Either way, find what works best for you.