Does scrolling through social media give you the blues? You’re not alone. Here’s why it can leave you feeling down – and what you can do to prevent social media from sabotaging your self esteem…
What we see in our feeds often impacts how we feel about ourselves – our body, our home, our babies and children, our friends, what we do or don’t do, what we eat, what we drive, how we relax or how we spend our time… it’s all too easy to compare every part of your life to those little squares on a grid.
Yet, these comparisons can make you feel sad that your life doesn’t quite shape up. You suddenly feel too ‘this’ or too ‘that’. Or worse, not enough.
The truth is, much of what we see on social media is far removed from reality and doesn’t represent real life in all its richness and complexities. Which makes comparisons totally pointless! So why do we do it?
We’re hardwired to compare ourselves to others
It’s perfectly normal to compare yourself to others. In fact, we’re hardwired to do it – it’s part of human cognition and learning and helps us to see where we can improve or what we’re doing well.
Of course, social media has both exploded and magnified the opportunities to compare ourselves to hundreds, thousands, heck – millions of others!
But again, these images or videos are just a fragment of someone else’s life. And only the best bits – often the most curated parts people want you to see.
And even though you know this, seeing these images does nothing for your self-esteem or your mental health. It’s not called doom-scrolling for nothing!
Fill your feed – and your heart – with joy
So how can you fill your feed with stories and posts that make you feel great? That lift you up and leave you inspired, calm, relaxed and feeling oh-so-good about your life?
We have a few ideas to get you started, along with a handful of accounts you may love as much as we do.
Read reassuring affirmations
While we’re wary of positivity to the detriment of real happiness, there are plenty of thoughtful, intelligent and mindful quotes out there that will help raise a smile, offer a little lightness, or simply reassure you that what you’re feeling is normal (in other words, perfectly human!).
Have a giggle
Whether you’re a fan of TikTok or Insta Reels, you have a wealth of choice for funny, relatable comedy videos.
Lean into the overwhelm
Being a mama is hard work and things may often feel overwhelming. And when they do, there are some excellent wellbeing, anxiety and nervous system coaches and practitioners on social media that publish great content – all designed to help you regulate your emotions and manage those ‘fight or flight’ moments.
Take care of your mental health
Sometimes, the comparisons we make reveal a deeper side of ourselves – perhaps the parts we’ve struggled (and have yet) to resolve.
Now that mental health is front and centre of many people’s minds (no pun intended), you can find a wealth of content that will offer practical insights, tips and insights into how to look after and nurture your own wellbeing.
Follow what you love
Choose to follow accounts that champion the activities you love to do – or would like to give a try. That could be anything you can think of, from boxing to baking, cross stitch to carpentry, dancing to deep sea diving.
Switch off if it gets too much
Finally, whatever the latest trends, you are under no obligation to follow accounts that leave you feeling less – in any way! So if you feel that your self-esteem is taking a bash, hit that snooze or unfollow button.
Or, switch off from social media completely if you’re finding it all too much.
You are not missing out. Your life will not be any less as a result. In fact, people who have a social media purge for a day, week, month (or even longer) often say it gave them the most peace they’ve felt in an age.
And yes, while it may be part of human nature to compare ourselves to others, we have to remind you of one thing … In Dr Seuss’ words, there is no-one alive who is youer than you.
And you, mama, are perfectly you.