Social Media and Your Mental Health

Mental Health
09/16/20 - Vanessa Flowers

There’s a lot going on right now! Due to the pandemic and being stuck indoors, we are on social media more than ever! This means that we can easily become overwhelmed with the news we’re consuming and the amount of content being thrown at us constantly. It can be hard to navigate, so I’ve come up with 4 tips to help manage your social media and your mental health!

Evaluate Yourself

First, check in and see how you’re feeling as you go through your social media feed. Are you following the right people? Is the content stimulating, and does it make you happy? Or is it triggering? Is your social media usage best serving your mental health?

Oftentimes, we come across certain social media accounts that are very popular. The people are sharing things you wish you were experiencing, but following these accounts can be triggering. With time, you can develop a sense of jealousy, resentment, or FOMO. To avoid this, follow accounts that inspire and uplift your spirits. Interested in pottery? Follow a local pottery shop posting cool stuff. Think ballet is super cool? Follow ballerinas for major inspiration. Find accounts that interest you and will make you better!

These accounts give me major inspiration on a daily basis:

What’s Your Purpose?

Next, go back to the drawing board and remind yourself of your purpose for being on social media. For me, it’s my job. I use social media strategically by following people who inspire my content creation. I also make sure that the accounts I follow make me feel good about the content I’m consuming. I’ve always believed that the power of social media is its ability to build and harness community while making us feel connected to something bigger.

What is it for you? Is it to establish a brand? Share your life? Build a community? Stay connected? Determine what your purpose is for being on social media to set your own expectations and protect your mental health.

Create Your Community

Remember that social media can be awesome – it allows us to do things we’ve never done before, like creating a community! This means there are opportunities to connect with interesting people who do amazing things. When you’re focused on building community, you’re invested in highlighting others who are doing awesome things. You’re seeking to find what’s needed to make your community better. You’re drawn to sharing things you know your community would appreciate. 

This is why I started my community group, Flower Girls Meet. To connect professional women in Chicago who are focused on improving their mental health and wellness. I highlight a woman in my community every week and choose event themes based on the needs of the community.

When I show up on social media, I’m always thinking about the women I’m serving and how they’d react to the content I’m sharing. When you’re community-oriented, you’re more focused on giving rather than receiving, which leads to a healthier online experience. Are you creating your community?

Know Your Boundaries

If you become overwhelmed, set boundaries! This could look like taking social media breaks during the weekends. I’ve been doing this for the past couple of months and I feel so much better about my social media use. With any relationship, boundaries are key! This applies to your social media activity as well.

With content contantly being thrown at us, it’s easy to be overwhelmed! Determining when you want to be online and when you need a break is key! Here’s a great list of boundaries you can use for social media and your mental health (via Sara Kuburic, @millennial.therapist).

I hope these tips are useful to you as you utilize your social media channels and that you join my Social Media event next week! Remember, you control what you consume and how you think about things, so make a few changes and you’ll be much happier! 

your flower girl V

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Vanessa Flowers

I’m Vanessa Flowers, a Social Media Strategist and Community Organizer. In my 20s, I felt so alone at work. There were no guides on navigating the workplace or my mental health, so I founded Flower Girls Meet. The purpose was to bring professional Chicago women together to have authentic conversations about the workplace, our mental health and what it means to be a woman today.

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