My morning mirrored every other day of the week – woke up at 6.30am, had a shower and a cup of tea before making my way to the train station. I sit down and go to click my most-used app, Instagram. This morning was different. As I clicked on the little photo icon, I asked myself “why?” Why, every day I am a slave to the routine of scrolling through the same, generic, churned out Facetuned photos, endless avocados on toast and photos of champagne bottles from weekend. We’re not just lying to the world, but to ourselves.
This piece isn’t intended to dig anyone out nor throw out unneeded negative energy – it’s purely an observation. An observation that’s been playing on my mind for a while now. I’m not saying that I wasn’t (emphasis on past tense) a part of this Instagram cult of façade, nor am I saying I don’t like Instagram – I love it, but I am well-aware it’s not the be all/end all.
It’s crazy to think people are living in a time where they believe their value equates to how many likes they receive. It perpetuates unrealistic expectations of not only ourselves, but for others, and our relationships. Our standards are becoming so unbelievably high that again, it’s not attainable. Of course, it’s great to keep your standards high but c’mon, all guys aren’t going to have a physique like Anthony Joshua’s, in the same way, all women aren’t going to be built like Kim K.
It’s important to be understand that perfection doesn’t exist. There’s 24 hours in a day, and Instagram captures one millisecond of that day (out of 72 shots and sometimes edited.) Obviously, it’s going to look as though everyone’s living the dream because Instagram is a rat race towards the concept of perfection.
Understand it’s not real life
First and foremost, understand that Instagram isn’t real – I don’t mean this in a strange “Black Mirror” way. Just consider that there are endless editing apps, the impact of lighting, and well, the context. If you’ve just woke up, you’re not going to look or feel like the most recent upload of someone celebrating their 21st birthday in full glam.
Never compare yourself
What it says on the tin. As philosophical as it may sound, we’re all on our own individual journeys with our own beauty and uniqueness.
Limit your daily time
The saturation of social media sites is insane with 90% of 14-25-year-olds using at least one of the channels. If you feel that you are starting to feel you are becoming a self-confessed social media addict, give yourself a time limit to have your Instagram fix. If it’s starting to feel overbearing, delete the app for a few weeks (or however long you feel.) I did this with Snapchat and it was the best thing I ever did.
Live in the moment
Call me old-fashioned, but if you’ve made plans, resist your phone for a few hours. There’s nothing worse than meeting up for a catch up and they’re glued to their phone. It’s rude.
Communicate the old-fashioned way
Reach out and actually talk. Ask your friends and family what they’ve been up to at the weekend, rather than relying on an upload or a “check in” on Facebook.
I read a recent article on social media’s impact on mental health. It’s not surprising there’s been a dramatic generational increase with mental health issues. I’m not saying this is entirely down to social media, but research has shown these channels impact personal wellbeing by encouraging: anxiety, depression and body dysmorphia.
Get a hobby
This sounds as though I’m being sarcastic, but I’m really not. Find what you enjoy and well… enjoy it. It allows your mind to feel occupied while developing on your wellbeing.
Please do share anymore tips you may have below…