How to stay sane on social media

Author Holly Bourne shares her top tips for staying sane on social media, so the internet doesn't take over your life...

The internet is both a marvellous and a terrible thing. At its best, it connects you with friends and a wealth of information, helping you feel less alone. And at its worst, it’s an addictive time-sponge that sucks out all your self-esteem and makes you feel lonelier than ever. So how do you stay sane? Here are my top tips:

Remember it’s all utter bullshit

Do not ever believe social media is real. It isn’t. It’s people plucking out the very best parts of their complicated lives, polishing the turd up til it gleams, and posting it with facetuning and a filter. We all do it. You included. We all know it’s fake, and yet, a scroll or three later and we’ll feeling utterly shite about ourselves, thinking everyone else has a better life than us. Here are some ways I cope with it:

  • I occasionally scroll through my own profile, and wonder how I come across. As suspected, my life looks a lot better there than in reality. I remind myself everyone else is likely to be the same.
  • Unfollow people who make me feel bad about myself and my life. It’s really that easy.
  • If I ever feel insecure, I picture people who have posted something checking their phone numerous times, counting their likes, refreshing it to see if any more have come in again and again. Again, because we all do it. Sometimes the image of just how weird and pathetic it is, to chase validation that way, helps me get my envy into perspective.

DM’s are where the sanity lies

My favourite part of social networks is the private messaging areas. They’re like the antidote to all the fake bravado of our public lives. I’ve had some of the most reassuring and life-affirming conversations on my Twitter and Insta DM’s. It’s like the flip reverse of the websites themselves. Get a few good group chats going, with a trusted collection of people you can vent and who totally have your back. This is the internet at it’s very best.

Have an internet bedtime

Science has proven exposure to the blue light from your phone interrupts with our sleep patterns. It’s also not very sleepy-making having your phone vibrate with notifications when you’re getting ready for bed. I have a strict do-not-disturb setting on my phone. After 10pm, literally only my family and loved ones can get through to me. Just in case there’s a car crash or something. But everyone else can wait for tomorrow. It really helps my sleep, and I give myself at least an hour without my phone before bed each night.

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Updated on 14-Aug-2018