This week I had been feeling in a particularly low mood- low motivation, low desire for the things I typically enjoy, low interest in planning and purely just a low state of mind. Being that I have dealt with anxiety my entire life and depression in the more recent, early adult, years – I am well accustomed to these changes in moods. But still, this low state came to be a surprise when it outlasted its typical length of time, longer than I had experienced since first managing my PMDD (pre- menstrual dysphoric disorder). While I could go into more detail, this post isn’t about the specifics of the past week and a half, but rather it’s a post to share one of the particular patterns of behavior that I began to recognize as contributing to this prolonged low mood- my tendency to use social media to compare and despair. This common phenomenon really couldn’t be a worst form of self -sabotage to be partaking in during these low moods as they led me to compare my worst moments to the highlights of others! Of course, that would lead to more symptoms- as my therapist sister had reminded me- it’s called compare and despair for a reason- it will only make you feel worse. So, after allowing this unhealthy pattern of behavior happen for far too long – I began to come up with some guidelines to help set up boundaries with social media and ways to practice self-care on those particularly low days!
Self- Care Ideas:
- If it is a particularly low day I just need to log off– I have to give myself a set time away from any social media and my phone if it isn’t necessary for other uses. Recognizing when I am in a vulnerable state of mind that social media makes me that much more susceptible to using it in the ways that no one would advocate for and in particular to compare my low moments to others highlights.
- Reminding myself that no one will have the same timeline– because we are all individual humans with different strengths and different life paths! This may be hard to remember when we want something that someone had recently accomplished or had happened recently that we still have yet to experience but reminding yourself of the times where your path/ timeline, has differed from friends, peers, family etc. and reminding yourself that it still turned out okay because here you are today! Be excited that you have a different path and timeline- it means you have no idea what’s to come and what exciting experiences you have yet to have!
- Reminding yourself that social media should be taken with a grain of salt– while we love it for what it can do and its benefits, we also must realize that everyone is able to filter what they are choosing to post- which means that it is likely that you are seeing a filtered, happier moment of that individual’s life and you have no idea outside of that one post what is going on in their life.
- Setting a limit– this is one that Sara shared with me recently. I have heard it countless of times but have been more intentional about sticking the limit when the reminder pops up on my phone and get off social media or wrap it up! If you haven’t started doing this – head to your setting and set what you think is a reasonable limit for daily social media time and when that reminder comes up think about cutting back or logging off for the day.
If you enjoyed this post, check out the rest of our self-care posts here! 🙂