This week I set myself a challenge, one which proved surprisingly difficult but also extremely beneficial to my general sanity and emotional well being.
I decided to stop scrolling.
We all do it, whether it’s working down our Facebook News feed, going past picture upon picture of Instagram or getting down to the metaphorical bottom of your twitter feed.
Because that’s the thing, when you are theoretically connected to billions of people via the internet, there is no bottom. Social media is rainbow-esque with no perceptible end, even if you constantly chase after it by scrolling down page upon page of content.
For the past few months I have increasingly found myself unhappy with my life, from my material situation, my professional progress and the way I look.
I can only describe it as a general feeling of not being good enough, in every conceivable way.
Alongside this general feeling of unhappiness, I was increasingly finding that I didn’t have time for all of the important and recreational things that I enjoy doing, such as reading a book, or listening to music.
It hit me one evening when Des pointed out that I had just spent an hour, a whole god damn hour, simply looking at Instagram. Not only was this an hour productively ill spent, it was also a whole hour of looking at perfect images of (mostly) thin (mostly) white (mostly) women and their seemingly perfect, high resolution and brightly enhanced lives.
When you’re faced with image upon image of highly curated content it’s a no brainer that you’re going to break free of the screen and be slightly disheartened by the mundane and normal reality of your life, especially if you're wearing granny pants and the biggest, most amorphous, dressing gown known to man.
The weird thing is though that the highly idealised version of life that we see strewn across social media is seen as attainable, people actively aspire towards it. However the heavily edited and carefully chosen images you are seeing are not really whole lives, merely extremely well chosen moments.
These images are also very addictive, the more you scroll through, the more you get sucked into seemingly perfect worlds. These artificially created worlds which are pretty much modern day fairy tales (i.e. not real, or not real most of the time anyway.)
So when I thought I was just scrolling through Facebook to see how my friends were doing, or going though Instagram, I was looking at perfect highlights from everyone else’s life and comparing these snapshots to my uncut raw footage. No wonder I felt like shit.
(FYI – If your friends are doing something worth knowing about, they will call you/text you/tell you in person)
So I stopped and I tell you what, I feel a damn sight better.
Obviously I still have to consume some social media content for my businesses, or to stay up to date with the digital world. However I no longer consume content just for the sake of it and I no longer compare my life to it.
I also would like to note here that I'm still producing content; i'm still writing blog posts, posting pictures and tweeting. I'm not too sure if this is hypocritical or not, however I'm trying not to present an overly idealized version of my life (oh man, I wish).
They say everything is good for you in moderation and I really do think this extends to our relationship with social media. Especially as scrolling is a dangerous mixture of addictive and destructive to ones well being (unless you do actually live a perfect life, but then why are you reading this?)
Right, I’m off to read a book! However, if you are like me and also feel a bit fed up of being a constant social media consumer, I would love to hear from you, so do comment and let me know your experience with it all!