There hasn't been a better time to talk about mental health than right now. With depression and suicide rates growing, we all need to make sure we take better care of ourselves. GLAMOUR recently spoke with South African Depression and Anxiety Group youth ambassador Cassie Snelgar, Indian popstar and mental health campaigner Ananya Birla, and UK influencer and emotional health advisor Roxie Nafousi, on how they take care of their own mental health in the mad world of social media world of social media
It’s ok to indulge in a social media binge every now and then but make sure you don’t let screen time get in the way of your sleep! Set time limits to your social media use (15 minutes in the morning and 30 in the evening, for example) and try to stick to them.
Take a Break
It is natural to have moments of self-doubt or low self-esteem, but if social media is consistently having a negative impact on your mood it might be time to take a social media vacay. Even celebs like Kendall Jenner, Justin Bieber, Meghan Markle, and Selena Gomez do asocial media detox from time to time. If you are worried about falling off the social media radar, remember sometimes it’s cooler not to be available 24/7. There’s nothing more enticing than a bit of mystery.
Pursue Meaningful Inspiration
Follow people who post content which focuses on the amazing things they are building or the art they are creating rather than only those who showcase their latest weight loss journey or how #bikiniready they are. I love to follow people who make me laugh and keep it real, like @i_weigh @barrysbanterbus and @manrepeller
Don’t compare and despair
Expecting yourself to live up to other people’s lives on social media is unrealistic because people are most likely to share the most flattering news and interesting experiences (not reality). Comparing yourself to their seemingly perfect highlight-reel is a fast-track to feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. Save your self-esteem and remind yourself that what people post is not the whole picture.
Don’t feel pressure to post all the time
Whether it’s a gorgeous sunset, a delicious meal or a good hair day, our first instinct can be to whip out our phone and take a picture to prove it happened! But you don’t ‘owe’ your online followers access to your entire life. Try savouring a moment quietly and cherish it just for yourself, rather than giving it straight to your followers. Likewise, don’t feel pressured to share everything if you’re a private and reserved person; you don’t need to over-expose yourself just because it feels like everyone else is.
Don’t prioritise online interactions over real-life meaningful connections.
It may seem easier to use social media than ‘put yourself out there’ and try to build face-to-face friendships, but we need people to talk to offline otherwise we start to feel lonely and isolated. Screen-time should be used to supplement real life relationships, not replace them altogether. Take time to bond and be present with family and friends, you’ll want to celebrate with them when life is good and- trust me- you'll rely on those connections when things aren’t going so well.
Choose when you use it
I think one of the key things with social media is using it at the right time for you. If you are feeling especially low or a having a day where you aren't feeling that secure, social media can make us feel even more overwhelmed and negative. I also avoid using it first thing in the morning and last thing at night because that is when our subconscious is most susceptible to messaging so we aren't as able to consciously react to what we are seeing.
Follow people that make you feel good
We have the choice of who we follow, so choose people that inspire you, make you feel good or that teach you something. Unfollow anyone who makes you feel inadequate or doesn't do any of those things!
Watch mindless scrolling
You can end up having wasted hours just scrolling Instagram or Twitter mindlessly, with no to show for it expect this flat. You are literally just bombarding your brain with hundreds of images of other peoples’ seemingly perfect lives, or their angry status updates - it’s not surprising that it can bring down your mood! I find it's much better to go on social media with a sense of purpose - know what you are looking for and what you want to search for. It will automatically cut down the amount of aimless time you spend on it and make space for a more positive relationship with it.
Ananya Birla is a platinum-selling singer from India. Also a mental health campaigner, Ananya uses music to bring people from all backgrounds together, from performing at a Global Citizen Concert, to organizing music festivals in Mumbai to benefit the mental health organisation she founded, Mpower
Roxie Nafousi, model, influencer and emotional health adviser, writer and ambassador for the Mental Health Foundation, a British charitable organisation.
Cassie Snelgar is a designer, founder of ethical fashion brand CASLAZUR, editor of THE X CARTEL, and ambassador for the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG).