Welcome to Mental Health Corner! I'm not 100% what exactly this is going to be, but it's essentially going to be blog series based around mental health in some capacity. I might do it weekly, I might never write about this again. Who knows. But today I want to talk a little bit about this "Digital Detox Day", and perhaps social media in regards to mental health in general.
Mental Health Corner #1 - Digital Detox Day
Before I start with all of this, I will just say that a lot of what this "Mental Health Corner" is going to be, is going to be shot from the hip and largely unfiltered. Truth be told, I probably don't have a lot of spare time to dedicate to this, so I'll probably just spew a load of random thoughts at you and hope for the best. Let's go!
Let's Talk about this Digital Detox Day
Something that caught my attention recently was the "Digital Detox Day" that I saw Zoe Sugg and others talk about via Instagram. The whole idea of it is that on Saturday the 4th of September people will take the day off from social media as a form of detox. The campaign talks about the obsession we have with our devices and that it leads to anxiety, depression, loneliness, sleeplessness and low self-esteem. Now here's my big issue with this. I have absolutely no idea what difference taking one day off from social media is really going to make? There's a MUCH bigger issue at play when it comes to our relationship with social media that a simple "Detox Day" just isn't going to fix.
I actually see this stuff quite regularly. People talking about needing a break from social media - let's be honest, it's usually just Instagram - talking about the amount of time they spend on the app and really needing some time to step back. They then come back and seemingly fall into the same trap of being glued to it and obsessed once again. It's not the detox that's needed, it's our mindset around social media.
We make Instagram what it is, not the other way around
At the end of the day, Instagram is nothing but a portal. Every single thing we see on our Instagram account - with the exception of ads - is something we CHOSE to follow and therefore see. if there's something you don't like about Instagram, then ask yourself why you're even seeing it? If you feel inadequate in comparison to the likes of Kylie Jenner because they heavily filter their photos, then ask yourself why you're even following them?
I can't sit here and criticise Instagram. Teddy Eva Scents just wouldn't have happened if it hadn't have been for Instagram, and I know we're not the only business that can say that. I'm incredibly thankful for Instagram for providing us with a platform to run our business, and for also giving me a place to get things off my chest, express ideas I have and talk to all the wicked people that send us messages.
Honestly, I really do love Instagram. But it's because I've developed a good relationship with it through trial and error. I cut out the bullshit and things that made me worse, stopped worrying about how well things did and just used it to enjoy myself and try and give people some sort of entertainment. I have no idea if I ever provide any sort of entertainment, but I try to enjoy myself.
My advice for anyone who's worried about Instagram
Look, if you're someone who does get worried when it comes to Instagram and its effect on you, then I do have some advice.
Number one: Stop giving a fuck about your numbers.
Stop joining in with follow loops for numbers sake, doing follow-for-follows, engaging with people purely to get engagement back, stop worrying about your likes on your posts - honestly, no one cares about it - and stop comparing yourself with everyone else's feed and numbers.
Number two: Stop complaining and worrying about the algorithms.
This one REALLY annoys me if I'm honest, and I see it all the time. People doing "10 likes for 10 likes" to help give each other a boost in the algorithm. People slagging off Instagram as their posts aren't doing as well anymore. But no one likes to take a little bit of responsibility for the fact that not every post is going to be a home run. Some will do well, some won't.
If you just do what you enjoy, then everything will take care of itself. Which brings me to the last point.
Number Three: Just do what you enjoy doing
It's as simple as that. As soon as you start doing things for the engagement you'll lose all sense of enjoyment and constantly wonder what the point is. Will you feel happy when a post does well? Sure. You'll get a little dopamine hit when you get all those likes, but in the long run, you'll feel unfulfilled and all you'll do is chase it again. It's not going to end well.
If you use Instagram to do the things you'll enjoy, then you'll do it purely for the enjoyment. And if that's the case then you won't even worry about any of the other things.
If you use Instagram to try and fit in with high school-esque cliques and to try and get affirmations from others, then there's a chance you'll feel anxious and depressed in the long run. But you know, I'm not what you'd call a "doctor".
Digital Detox Day is a good place to start a discussion, but in no way is it an answer
All in all, I think the discussion that can be had as a result of a "Digital Detox Day" is a good one. But the actual day itself is missing the real issue. Stepping away from social media for one whole day won't solve anything. The vast majority of people will come right back to it and fall into the same habits as soon as the day is done. It's like telling a smoker to give up for a day. Well done, they quit for a day. The next day they'll light up and get right back to it.
I think this is something that could be explored in so many different avenues. From screen time in general, insecurities around social media and ourselves, how comparisons completely rob us. But I don't want this to turn into a longer essay than it already is. So for now, I'll leave it at this.
I am curious to hear what you think of all of this though. Does a detox day solve anything? Are you concerned about the growing rate that we're connected to our phones? Or is it just a modern part of life that we need to learn how to handle? Let me know your thoughts. Either here or on Instagram... Unless you're on a detox day, obviously.