We hear a lot about the negative effects of social media but my experience is a bit different.
Social media is used by a lot of people of all ages, all for different reasons. Over many years, its popularity has grown beyond belief and is now used for many jobs/social interactions. This form of media has been viewed and spoken about in a negative way consistently in recent years due to the harm it can cause. It has been misused by many people since its creation which has only helped fuel negative views about it. But what if social media can actually be helpful and good?
In this post, I want to speak to you about the positive effects social media has had on me. If you are new here to my blog I want to let you know what previous readers may know, which is that I have anxiety and depression. From many articles out there which talk about how social media can promote these mental health conditions, you may be sitting there wondering, well why has it had the opposite effect on you? I’m here to tell you it’s all about how you use it, what you use it for and how you manage it.
When lockdown started I found that I never left my flat, even for those daily walks we were allowed to do. I had no motivation to look after myself, get dressed, do my hair/make-up, in all honesty, I was a complete mess. I’m not even ashamed to admit it. I struggled so much in the beginning. The changes, which I’m not great with and the combination of being restricted sent me spiralling.
I had just lost my purpose. I had lost my sense of self.
I didn’t know what to do with myself. There was only so much university work I could fill my day with and it just wasn’t enough to fulfil me. I decided that I would rebrand my blog, get my own domain and get started with my Instagram again for which I had a massive 10-month break from!
My boyfriend joined in with this new hobby of mine and helped me pick my blog theme, sort my site out, organise blog posts, and all importantly helped me shoot my pictures for my blog/Instagram. It was something fun to do each day and became something wonderful to share within our relationship.
I then decided that I would get dressed each and every day in my favourite clothes and make-up, then me and my boyfriend would get creative taking some Instagram/blog pictures in our flat.
I suddenly realised just what good it was doing for me. I had something to do each day which I loved. It got me thinking creatively again. Feeling inspired by the clothing I already had in my wardrobe. Experimenting with items I hadn’t worn in years or even owned for years and never worn! It was helping me stay away from fast fashion as I was just shopping from my own wardrobe. Plus, it was great as I had already paid for it!!
For me starting my blog and Instagram again filled me with happiness and passion. The best part being is how I’ve been able to make new friends on the internet who are so supportive and friendly to me. I’ve gotten to share my fashion loves and been inspired by so many people. Being able to speak to people interested in the same things as me has curbed the isolated feeling I had at the start of lockdown.
Plus, it’s a great way of showing my journey through life, any progress/setbacks I’ve had and it has had a positive effect on my anxiety/depression and I’m not the only one to think this.
Answering the ‘hows’ and ‘whats’ of social media:
HOW – I use social media. It is a way of expressing what I love and sharing it with people around the world.
WHAT – I use it for. It’s a way of being creative. Connecting with new people who have similar interests to you. Getting me out of my bed and just doing something!
HOW – I manage it. Through blocking anyone who is spam, a pyramid seller (I get these all the time) or who are inappropriate/mean in any way. What you have got to remember with social media is that you create your own little space out there. If anyone disrespects that then you have the right to remove them from being in your space. No one should have the just ‘deal with’ anything which makes you feel uncomfortable.
Remember this, using social media does have its negatives but it is how you approach it. When used right it can be a wonderful source of happiness. Social media isn’t about numbers either, I do what I love on my blog/Instagram and produce content which inspires me and my boyfriend. It is not to be used as a way of getting validation from strangers. I know how validation may seem important as I used to do the same but seeking approval from people you don’t know is a sure-fire way of feeling inadequate and unhappy. There will always be someone with more likes/followers than you, equating Instagram numbers/readership on your blog with your self worth is a very good way towards feeling worthless. It doesn’t matter how high the number is, you will always wish it was higher, no matter how much you pretend it doesn’t bother you.
You need to believe that you are wonderful no matter what type of engagement you get on social media. For me, my blog/Instagram isn’t a numbers game, it’s a creative outlet full of joy and inspiration.
Love, Shannon Leigh xx
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