#UNFOLLOW Social Media, Mental Health & Body Image & Motivation
It’s undeniable that we exist in a digital age. Smart phones, laptops, ipads, tablets, alexa, smart watches; we all own a gadget designed to keep us entertained, occupied, connected, informed.
When i was a teenager, we didn’t have mobile phones until we were 16/17.
Hell, when internet came about i din’t bloody know what was the world wide web.
We talked to each other at school, we phoned each other after lunch or dinner, we used to meet up and write each other letters, which we had to wait what seemed like an eternity to receive.
I took to technology pretty fast. A world of opportunity. Escapism. At my fingertips.
It is a sign of the times and technological ‘evolution’ if you like, in fact, i don’t truly recall what it feels like not to be connected with the world 24/7. Scary.
To use technology is a to make a choice, and soon it became a habit too. Same with socials.
With the advent of smart phones and their apps subsequently, we created an infinite access to information, connection to millions of people around the world, you never even met and you may never meet.
I find it fascinating that, we have literally the world at our fingertips, one DM, PM, email away.
Whilst access to all of these networks of possibility and opportunity are an exciting prospect, we are now at a stage where technology and social media is evolving right before our eyes.
It’s here to stay. And we can deny it has had and will have an effect on our daily lives, human interactions, psychology and even physiology.
I love a good app. I was an early Facebook adopter, i learnt with curiosity about snapchat, its disappearing pictures and funny filters and man-oh-man i love instagram.
Until last year, when i opened Thekikicproject page, i had a private instagram account. Friends, Fam, Squad and that.
I also managed the blog & business page on Facebook, but whilst my personal facebook page has always been and will remain a private affair for friends and family, i opened up my instagram for the project and regularly use it for personal, fitness, entertainment, business purposes.
What started as a fitness/business page is now also a sharing platform for my story, journey, that of my clients, personal moments, food!
I use instagram above any other platform, and much like facebook a few years back, before we could apply content filters and see what we want (kinda) on our newsfeed, instagram has become a source of inspiration, content overload, procrastination tool, motivation, demotivation, fomo (fear of missing out), rejection & sometimes downright depressing, lonely place to be. For some of us.
Constant exposure to the picture-perfect-filtered-slice-of-life insight into some stranger’s life has become a stressor (again for some).
I have battled with myself wether keeping Thekikicproject page up was of any use to me or others. I am becoming ever so conscious of just how much time i spend on it and its effect on my mood & productivity. Sometimes, it has been my comfort and sometime my slayer. [the new ability to limit this is a godsend].
At this point, i’d like to point out that i really do love iNSTAGRAM.
Its immediate nature, the possibility it gives to share a snap in time and leave a powerful message, the ability to be creative, the funny memes, people’s stories (guess what we have all become voyeurs, to an extent), my friends and families adventures, you name it. I consume it.
But at some point or another, I started feeling this pressure to be active on the platform constantly (algorithm for business is a bitch btw…that is how can you see what i do as a PT if i can’t reach you in order to grow a following, in order to help more people).
When i first started gramming, I was very naive to its second nature. That is, if you wanna be seen by as many people as possible, you gotta play the algorithm game at its best (right hashtag, entertaining content, on point imagery, consistency of posting, times, and bloody engagement- F U C K M Y L I F E- Talking about mind fuck!).
My purpose for starting the page was to share my story without hiding in a private account and finally ‘speak', write, capture in an image who i am what i am about.
It wasn’t to win a popularity contest of how many likes i could score to get on top of the fucking algorithm.
It also has caused me to internalise some personal insecurities and do exactly what i didn’t wanna do sometimes, ‘project an image’ of how my life is.
I’d compare myself to other fitness professionals, to business peers, i’d let slide some damn derogatory content aimed at the defenceless, i have allowed some of the images to make me feel insecure about who I am.
- Am i actually getting my message across?
- is this post actually useful?
- I am not thin/muscular enough to be a personal trainer (freaking body image)
- I am not knowledgable as [insert name]
- Look at my friends out having fun while i can’t
- I should be training harder
- I should be more successful
- I am not doing enough
- Why are they not replying to my message but are online
-Everyone out living their best life [insert location/jet/yatch/event] while i am sat here watching my life go by
What the actual fuck? NOT. OK.
Sounds familiar? At some point, some of these thoughts have entered my mind. And some.
What i think i noticed most, was that the more people i followed at random, the less i enjoyed most the content, the more it made me devolve into my thoughts of insecurity, the more i compared myself & questioned who i am, the lonelier i felt.
NOT HAVING THAT. And Not alone in feeling this, even as an older adult.
The phenomenon is wide spread and it is being widely researched.
A study by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and the Young Health Movement #StateOfMind found that "Instagram is rated as the worst social media platform when it comes to its impact on young people's mental health, a UK survey suggests," BBC News reports.
This is a summary from Nhs.co.uk
The survey asked 1,479 young people aged 14-24 to score popular social media apps on issues such as anxiety, depression, loneliness, bullying, body image and "fear of missing out" – where your social media peers seem to be enjoying a better quality of life. (resource Nhs.co.uk).
What evidence did they look at?
Evidence was pulled from several sources, including the Office for National Statistics, looking at the effect social media has on different things like sleep, body image, self-expression (their feelings, thoughts or ideas), and self-identity (their qualities as an individual).
As part of their research, the RSPH surveyed 1,479 young people in the UK aged 14-24 to find out more about their use of five of the most popular social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and YouTube.
The survey aimed to better understand how social media affects the health and wellbeing of young people, making comparisons between the different platforms.
Young people were asked about:
their awareness and understanding of other people's health experiences
access to trustworthy expert health information
"fear of missing out" (FOMO)