Updated: Nov 25, 2019
Ok, ready for an unpopular opinion? Social media helped me heal from my eating disorder. I know there are tons of articles and literature outlining how social media is creating a vortex of disconnection and comparison culture, I’ve read them and trust me, I get that. What I want to share with you is that when I was struggling and too deep in shame to seek out professional help or tell any of my loved ones, I found community and information on Instagram. I finally realized others were experiencing something I was too afraid to name and that solidarity brought me some serious peace.
So, I created a formula for safe social media because I believe it can be a valuable tool. Think about it, social media is a tremendous platform where brilliant minds gather and share knowledge FOR FREE. The secret is carving out a little corner that is only your own and protecting and coveting that thing like your life depends on it, because research tells us it actually does.
Before we dive in I also want highlight if you don’t connect with social media and you want to spend less time on your phone, bravo my friend. Get off of it. Throw your phone in a bush, move to Sedona, disappear into the woods.
Can I come?
I fully believe in less screen time (I ditched FB for 6 years and it was the best) AND I also believe in learning how to support yourself in every single thing you do. So, if every time you open your phone you feel like your life is a disaster and nothing about you is enough then it’s time to change something. Creating safe social doesn’t mean you have to spend more time on it, it just means when you do, you’re ok. Cool?
My system for curating a safe social media platform
1) Take a minute to think about your why. Why do you want social media in the first place? What does is ADD to your life? Could you let it go completely? If you answered positive things, like education or curiosity or entertainment, sweeeeet. I love where your head is at. If it’s anything less than that maybe consider going on social media detox. Delete the apps from your phone and get curious about what comes up for you in the space that was previously filled with scrolling.
2) Unfollow EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE who doesn’t bring you joy. Marie Kondo the shit out of your friends list, love. I mean toss the IG models, fashion bloggers and influencer icons, get rid of the “friends” or family who post triggering content, make you doubt yourself or give you FOMO. Let go of anyone who doesn’t light up your feed. Let’s be clear, I don’t mean get rid of the people who make you think (this is critical, hang tight) I mean, if there is any part of you that feels a ping of jealously, discomfort, comparison, unworthiness, poor body image, or shifts your energy negatively in anyway, UNFOLLOW, UNFRIEND, SEE YA. This is a permission slip to be ruthless, it’s ok, this is your life.
3) Take inventory of your own online presence. Check out your FB, IG, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Twitter. How are you showing up to the world? What are you putting out there about yourself? What feels true, what doesn’t feel true? Think about this the next time you post or share, is it coming from a place that is authentically you?
What’s the point of this one? Well for starters, it’s my favorite. Two, because what you put out you receive. Three, I believe the whole point of social media is connection. We are so driven by connection that we literally do anything to get that dopamine hit. The negative part here is that we are putting up a false front because it’s what we think other people want to see. Let me hit ya with something: people don’t actually care what you post.Because, they’re too busy worrying about what they should posting about themselves…Isn’t that ironic.
I recently listened to a podcast with Gary Vaynerchuck and he said,
The issue isn’t social media it’s the people who use it.
I think about this alllllll the time. What if we used it to cultivate community and connection? What if everything we shared was vulnerable, ugly, and true to us? What if we celebrated our wins from a heart centered place? And when we shared our lives it was because we wanted to give others the gift of getting to know the shadow parts of us and the pieces that are messy, human and imperfect? What if what we shared was about adding real valueto the space and not just about getting likes?
So, what are you hoping to receive from social media? And how can you offer that first? You’ll be amazed to see how the platform changes as you create shift in yourself.
4) Fill your feed with brilliant people. There is SO MUCH good information on social. I really mean that, I have learned so much about myself and about the human condition from following accounts that challenge me, ask more of me and how I see the world, and allow me to THINK critically. Sure, keep your meme accounts. There’s nothing I love more than a well-placed bomb from @thefatjewish. My request to you is to seek out accounts that ask the big questions, that confront your own biases and man, even make you a little uncomfortable. I’ll list some of my favorites categorically at the bottom of the blog.
This is especially important if you are healing from a disordered relationship with food and body - find the accounts that are dismantling diet-culture and creating visibility for all bodies. Follow accounts that are normalizing all body shapes/sizes, follow fat positive accounts, follow accounts that highlight bodies that look like your own. The more we surround ourselves with body diversity the more normalized all bodies become, that is science, love.
I want to be clear, this is your space. Create boundaries around who you view and who views you. Sensor the information you consume and damnit, be mindful of what you take in. There are theories that suggest we take on the traits of the 5 people we spend the most time with; think about that when curating your feed.
5) Lastly, keep a tab on your body while you’re using any social media platform. If any emotion starts to rise bring awareness to the trigger. Take a couple deep breaths and remind yourself that you are safe, worthy and loved and don’t be afraid to close whatever app you’re elbows deep in. Our bodies always know what is right for us, it’s just about learning to listen. Whatever information you’re taking in never matters as much as your wellbeing. I’m proud of you for thinking about this because you don’t have to remove yourself completely from social, it’s really about making the platform work for you and your journey.
Now get out there, unfollow some people. You got this.
Eating Disorder Recovery
Anti-racism and Allyship