A New Instagram Attitude.
My Bank Holiday Monday involved spending most of my afternoon at home taking care of a whole lot of life admin. Invoices, blog posts (or lack off) captions, editing – the social media BTS that a lot of people forget about.
About an hour and a half in, I realised I hadn’t really spent that much time alone with my thoughts and something started to sink in that I need to act on. When something happens gradually overtime it’s easy to not even notice it.
I was looking back through photos, organising them into albums and I started thinking about how much my life has changed in 2 years. Before being so active online, I’d do things purely because I enjoyed them, there was no ulterior motive. I’d make plans to go for coffee or brunch with friends because that’s what we fancied doing. That time was valued for exactly what it was – making memories, catching up and gossiping. Nothing else.
Times like this now I’ve realised, are quite rare. At the back of my mind I’m weighing up whether I should ‘dress up’ to get a photo, debating whether to pick a different location for more Instagrammable stories. Do I look forward to getting the photos more than actually having fun?
When I sat and pondered that I realised how sad that is – in every possible sense.
Instagram has and can totally consumed my life – sometimes I notice that it is at the back of my mind every single day.
As an ‘influencer’ (I still HATE that term) social media has broken and built me in equal measure. It has opened the door to some amazing opportunities, built me up as a person in ways I couldn’t have ever imagined and given me a platform that I can use to hopefully, help others.
There’s never been a stronger love hate relationship.
But, it is SO easy to be sucked in by the ever depending culture and ‘new normal’ of creating the perfect digital universe with the end goal of thousands of likes, comments and new followers.
I’ve worked in social media on a professional level – Marketing in London, and a personal level now with my Blog and let me tell you, it’s hard to find a healthy balance in both.
Professionally, I wanted to do the best by my clients and line manager, so was always trying to find and go that extra mile for them. Personally then, I want to do the same and then some. Because it’s for me as well as for others, I want to ensure I’m making progress, connecting with others, putting out and creating high quality content.
I don’t see ‘The Bath Blogger’ as a separate entity to my life or just as a job; I want to share every day with you l and I try and make it as real and honest as I can. But this then makes it so hard to find a balance and build a life outside of social media.
I want to be able to spend time with friends and family without having one eye glancing at ‘how well a post is doing’. I also want to give them a day off from being my insta slaves (sorry Mum).
The point of writing this post is partly for the therapy of putting my thoughts into writing and partly because as much as I appreciate social media for its positives (and there are many), I also believe it’s important to wind back the attitude we all have with social media – it being a 24/7 obsession.
Living life just to create a ‘better’ and more ‘impressive’ one for others to envy is not a way to live. It’s also not real. My sister keeps reminding me to ‘be there’ – sometimes I know my family only get 60% of me.
I will always be ‘The Bath Blogger’ because I want to continue to share my life in all its raw, rambley and sometimes random glory but I’m going to try and teach myself how to do it in a healthier way – something I think we all need to master to some extent.
Not taking my phone into the living room if we’re having a family night for example. Making a more conscious effort to charge it away from my bed.
I’m going start being conscious about how I use social media and how I am with it around other people. I’m also going to do things because I want too not because the location might make for a great shot. I implore you to do the same!
All of this being said, one thing’s for sure; for a healthy mind and happy life, social media needs to be treated with care, consideration and balance. And with that in mind, I wanted to share a couple tips and tricks that I’ll also be employing to be sure that I approach it with a more mindful approach.
Hopefully you’ll be able to take some ideas with you.
1. Time limits.
It would appear that even Instagram has recognised its users need to know when enough is enough – hello ‘Activity Tab’! It basically tells you how much time you’ve been spending on the app which absolutely shook me. It also allows you to set reminders when you hit a specific time spent on it.
I think this is something I’m going to try – switching this on between 8pm and 10pm in the evenings so I can be present with my parents. They’re not fans of my sometimes idle scrolling!! I desperately need to get better at recognising the difference between working and aimless scrolls. Hopefully switching off earlier will prevent it becoming the latter.
2. Put in what you’d like to get back from it.
Instagram is inundated with fake likes, fake followers, fake lives, fake waistlines. It’s one of my biggest pet hates about the platform. Promoting and pushing this perfect life can make others feel that they are inadequate and this should never be the case.
Everyday I try to remind myself that it is more often than not, a highlight reel of the best bits. By really trying avoid the (often inevitable) doubt and comparison of popularity, looks and lifestyle, I’m hopefully able to be honest and open about my real life. Which actually, is pretty damn good right now.
When you start being truly honest and authentic, you’ll feel SO much more fulfilled than you would if you posted a photo you took a year ago with edited legs up to your armpits.
3. Leave your phone behind.
I know, sounds ridiculous right? Especially when being on our phones may have crafted the life we’re now able to life, but finding balance online and offline is really important. Knowing when it’s okay to leave it in your draw is a skill.
I’ll admit I’ve haven’t done this yet because I know I’ll feel guilty about doing so, but I know that not every single aspect of my life needs to be documented on an Instagram story. I (hopefully) won’t loose followers and brands (hopefully!!) won’t stop wanting to work with me because I didn’t tell the world I went out for pizza.
Much like a rest day, I know it’ll probably make me feel more refreshed and work enthused when I come back to it.
Those are probably 3 of the biggest pieces of advice I can offer when it comes to creating a happier and healthier life on and offline.
Oh, and always remind yourself to be kind to your mind as well as your community.