Ijeoma Kola smiling as she pour tea into tea cup at a café

4 Ways to Refresh Your Relationship with Social Media in 2021

Chances are, you’ve probably been on your phone more in the past year than before. With the pandemic shuttering many people indoors, cutting off our social lives, and changing the way we work, people globally have been spending more time on their phones. While social media is a great escape from the anxiety and now boredom of our everyday lives, it can be physically, mentally, and financially draining. Plus there are new social media platforms popping up every other day, so there are even more ways to find yourself scrolling and tapping into oblivion. If you don’t like how your current social media usage makes you feel, here are a few tips on how to keep your social media and mental health in check.

Have Scheduled Social Media Time

Have you ever found yourself scrolling through Instagram at 2am for no reason? No, just me? Whether you’re doomscrolling, mindlessly tapping through stories, or mentally making notes of a dance move to recreate in the morning, there’s no need to have social media impact your sleep or work time. Instead, schedule specific times during the day when you will check your social media, and put a limit on how long. This has been crucial for me since social media engagement is a critical part of my job, so I treat it as such during the week by having scheduled times to post, reply to comments and dms, and consume content.

Block, Mute, Remove Followers

You’re probably already familiar with the concept of blocking and muting accounts you want to see less of, or not at all. I will admit that I don’t block people that frequently — I actually really love the remove follower feature on Instagram and regularly use that to remove people who come at me sideways, or people who I know will gain nothing from my page (like bots, suspicious accounts, or Nigerian men 😂). And I won’t lie — finding out that someone has blocked you is a kick in the gut (especially if you have absolutely no idea why). But I’ve gotten to a place where I’m able to accept that people should remove any account from their feed that doesn’t stir feelings of joy and happiness in their spirit, even if it’s mine!

Present Yourself Authentically

Over the years, I’ve been progressively filtering and editing my photos less and less. I find it much easier to be happy with what I look like in real life when that same person is staring at me on my social media platforms. When IG story filters and effects were released, I had tons of fun playing around with them. Now I usually just add the Paris filter, which admittedly does smooth and brighten skin, but I’m trying to wean myself off of it. One of my favorite things to hear is when I meet people in person and they say that I look exactly the same as online. It’s music to my ears!

Re-evaluate Who (and What) You Follow

Back to this concept of only following accounts that bring you joy — do that! Maybe you were in a fit fam season last year and followed a bunch of workout pages for inspiration, but now their maskless gym sessions give you anxiety. Unfollow! Or maybe there’s a #couplesgoals account you used to like but it now makes you remember your trifling ex — unfollow! If there’s an account that constantly has you spending money you don’t have, girl, hit that unfollow button. There is absolutely no rule that says you need to follow anyone, so make sure that you curate your explore page and who you follow to reflect the kind of content you want to see. Social media and mental health go hand-in-hand, so make sure that you’re consuming content that inspires, entertains, and educates you!

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by what and how much you consume online? Do you feel that social media and mental health go hand-in-hand? What would you like to change about how you engage with social media?

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  1. I definitely think social media and mental health can be interrelated. So sometimes it’s okay to take a step back. No matter what though, the idea of scheduling time for social media is really great. That’s what I do now so I’m not endlessly scrolling or wasting precious time on there.

  2. Was just thinking about how I’d like to curate my social media feed a bit more and alter consumption this year. Thanks for the helpful suggestions!