I’m sure you can imagine the eyebrows that were raised when the idea of a social media makeover came up at our team editorial meeting a few months ago. “Isn’t that a little… hypocritical?” was the main concern (coming from a team that makes its living on digital and social content.)

I think it’s safe to say that those who see influencers speaking out about the dangers or negative side of social media assume the same thing some of us did that morning. And it’s these assumptions that laid the groundwork for our 21-day social media challenge. With this campaign, we want to change our relationships with social media and how we use it as a daily tool to ignite conversation and interact with others, and most importantly, with ourselves. Influencers aside, we all have a right to be fed up with social media—with the judgements, the anxieties, the pressures, the bad raps, the world of cyberbullying and online trolls. It’s all so real. Why? Because we’re all real people—real people with loving families, children, friends, humor, compassion, goals, fears, anxieties, and self-doubt.

So, with the #CSSocialMediaMakeover challenge, it’s our goal for anyone who feels social media taking a negative toll on their life to know they’re not alone, and that we all have the power take control of our own happiness. And, what better way to empower us all to stop the mindless scroll than by seeking out personal advice from some of our favorite influencers who have had to reign it in themselves? Read on for their tips on how to develop healthy relationships with social media, reign in the FOMO, and stop the comparison game.

BROOKLYN DECKER | @brooklyndecker

How have you tried to create a more positive relationship with social media?

The beautiful thing about social media is you can choose who you allow in your life on a daily, even hourly, basis. Choose wisely. Follow the accounts that fill your cup, fill you with a good feeling of community, of sisterhood, of positivity. If it doesn’t fuel you, click unfollow.  

What tips can you offer users who may be experiencing FOMO or major anxiety from their social feeds?

I find that I most often post on social media when I am bored– think about that next time you get FOMO. Yes, something someone else is doing may look awesome, but chances are they are having a bored moment just like you- reminiscing about the good times. FOMO is totally normal and okay, as long as you aren’t doubting your own happiness.

Finally, my MO:

I highly advise showing the not-so-filtered side of yourself on social media. It’s incredibly liberating, you’ll find a huge sense of community from people who are in the same boat. You won’t be setting an unrealistic expectation for yourself;  you, unfiltered, are more than enough.

TIEGHAN GERARD | @halfbakedharvest

What tips can you offer users who may be experiencing FOMO or major anxiety from their social feeds? 

I think if you’re finding yourself feeling anxious after scrolling through your social feed it’s probably a sign that it’s time to take a step away from the phone and do something completely offline. If you have time to scroll through your IG feed then you most likely have time to go out for a hike, meet a friend for coffee, light a candle, read a few pages of a book, or cook up something delicious in the kitchen. This may seem extreme, but I find the best way to relieve social media anxiety is to just to remove it. I’ll actually delete the app. It only takes 30 seconds to re-download it, and sometimes completely removing it is exactly what I need.

How have you tried to create a more positive relationship with social media? 

Anytime I see content that I LOVE and find inspiring, I like it and leave a comment. I’ve found interacting with others who really do inspire me to be so uplifting. It feels good to say something nice and let other people know how great their content is. The more I’m able to support others, the better I feel.

Two, if there’s an account that’s causing me major anxiety, I’ll simply unfollow it. I look at my IG feed as a source of positivity and inspiration, so any account that’s causing me to feel anxious, or that I begin to compare myself to, I just unfollow. It might not even be that I dislike the account, but if the content is causing me to question myself, that’s when I know I need to hit the unfollow button. I may not need to unfollow forever, but I’ll at least take a break from consuming that specific content.

And finally, if I’m feeling addicted to my phone, I’ll actually let it die, and then not pick it up for an hour or more. If it’s the weekend, I’ll try to focus on spending time with family and friends, or working on a project that distracts my mind so much that I don’t even think about the fact that my phone is not by my side. It’s all about knowing when to take breaks from social, and engaging in things that are inspiring and fun that allow us to be present in our own lives.

GABY DALKIN | @whatsgabycookin

What tips can you offer users who may be experiencing FOMO or major anxiety from their social feeds? 

I’d say you need to step away for a bit. If there’s someone you follow that makes your rage-y, unfollow them. Clean house. It’s okay to do this and simplify your life if it’s going to make you happier!! I keep things really tight over on my Instagram because following thousands of people could get super overwhelming!

How have you tried to create a more positive relationship with social media?

Full transparency – I totally have a slight addiction to my social media and I need to work on that. But I also think I don’t have an unhealthy relationship with it. I do check it frequently, but it’s part of my job and I love being able to interact with my readers. No one I follow makes me feel anxious or jealous or anything like that, so I walk away from using it in a happy / inspired place. I try to do that with everything in my life – if it’s making me happy, fantastic. If it’s something or someone that is draining my energy and time, I cut it or them out because that’s not a fun way to live.

JESSI AFSHIN | @jessi_afshin

How have you tried to create a more positive relationship with social media? 

As a fashion blogger, I became deeply concerned with the issues I was hearing from my followers about how social media was making them feel. It was brewing anxiety and creating false realities in their heads.

After years of hearing the social media cries, I stepped out in faith and created a new Instagram account to spin off my fashion blog, called @my_darling_diary, that is dedicated solely to encouraging women, providing hope, and squashing the lies of social media. I like to think of it like flashcards–a creative picture with an encouraging message to jumpstart a weekday morning. My hope is to cross out deception with truth and add a little bit more vulnerability and love to a toxic space overflowing with comparison.

MCKELL HILL  | @nutritionstripped  

What tips can you offer users who may be experiencing FOMO or major anxiety from their social feeds? 

Gently remind yourself that social media is truly a highlight reel — there’s a very small percentage of accounts out there showing you just as many of their challenges as their successes. Another thing to remember, is social media is a tool to be used, don’t let it use you or have power over your mental and emotional well-being — make sure you’re spending far more time in the real world building life-giving relationships versus spending time idolizing people you don’t even truly know at their core.

If I ever do start to feel FOMO, I immediately ground myself and realize that feelings on me to check. It might also help you to know that I’ve been at so many “cool” events where influencers and people post things that make it seem so much better (again, the highlight reel and power of marketing), but IRL they’re just on their phones the whole time!

What’s your biggest tip for those who are feeling addicted or not in control of their social media use?

Ask yourself what is it that you’re truly looking for here? Are you looking for acceptance, recognition, validation, connection, support, inspiration? Once you get to the bottom of why you truly use and have the urge to use social media, you can really work with yourself to find a healthier path to meet your needs and/or set clearer boundaries with social media.

Look, we’re all within 1-click away from taking a peek into someone else’s lives (again, highlight reel), but don’t let that lead you on a path of taking things personally, making assumptions, or being hard on yourself. It’s so important we’re able to be self-aware of our emotional and mental well-being and if social media ever starts to chip away at that for you, take care of yourself and step away from it, sit with a friend, and talk it out!

RUTHIE LINDSEY | @ruthielindsey

Are there any specific boundaries you set for yourself when it comes to your social media use?

I delete it off my phone all the time and I give myself breaks usually about once every other month for about a week. I have also recently given myself a rule of no screen time in bed, that one is hard for me but I can get lost scrolling at night before bed and even when I wake up in the morning. I know I need to do it bc I automatically go for it right when I wake up. I try to be also be very intentional to not be on my phone when I am hanging out with my friends, ill put my phone on silent and put it away in my purse, using a wrist watch is also very helpful bc I dont have to get sucked into my phone when I look at the time.

JENNI KAYNE | @jennikayne

What tips can you offer users who may be experiencing FOMO or major anxiety from their social feeds? Have you had to combat this?

To me, being in the moment is so much more important than being distracted on your phone.  I try to be present and off my phone and computer certain times of the day, especially when I’m with my kids, because I want to connect with them and also because I want to model that behavior for them.  It’s so easy to stay connected and busy, but so refreshing to slow down and be present.  Pick a few times during your day that you are off your devices and commit to doing that.  For me, it’s always during meal time and a few other times a day when I’m with my kids and when I am doing any kind of self-care. I also try to turn my phone upside down during meetings. While it might seem like it’s more efficient to multitask, you actually end up losing focus and being distracted.

Are there any specific boundaries you set for yourself when it comes to your social media use?

I use social media to stay in touch with friends near and far and to be visually inspired. I try not to follow people who don’t make me feel good about myself and in doing so, I actually don’t follow very many people.  Too many people get anxiety from looking on Instagram because it makes them overwhelmed, or they feel left out, or less than from looking at unrealistic pictures that people paint of their lives. I also keep my phone on silent and don’t get any social media alerts so it’s up to me when I want to be connected.

How have you tried to create a more positive relationship with social media? What’s your biggest tip for those who are feeling addicted or not in control of their social media use?

My kids recently went to a restaurant and there was a birthday party with a large table of 20 kids all looking down on their phone. It was so sad to see that they weren’t connecting or interacting with each other.  It was a great opportunity to talk to them about how important it is to live in the moment and be present  It’s really scary how addicting all of our devices are and I already see it with the little screen time we allow in our house with my kids.  I think it’s important to remember that it’s not reality, and that connecting with friends and loved ones in real life is so much more meaningful.

BRITTANY JEPSEN | @houselarsbuilt

What tips can you offer users who may be experiencing FOMO or major anxiety from their social feeds? 

We need to have confidence in our own choices in life–where we are physically, emotionally, spiritually, whatever and know that we are owning our life right here, and right now. FOMO enters in when we aren’t necessarily confident where we are. That said, it’s always hurtful when we see events or get togethers with friends that we weren’t invited to. I try to give the benefit of the doubt. And if people were deliberately hurting you, then they aren’t good people to be around!

How have you tried to create a more positive relationship with social media? 

I’ve found that when I need to go onto Instagram or Facebook for work for whatever reason, my mind immediately forgets why I go on and it goes into a rabbit hole of “inspiration sources” or whatever it is I’m looking at. I think going on for a specific purpose is fine if you stick with that purpose and then get off.

I think that creating a more positive relationship with social media starts with us first and what we are doing in our lives and how we view ourselves. People always have the potential to make us feel bad–on and off social media–but if we are confident in ourselves and own our choices then we should be able to withstand the mode of self-pity.

JEN PINKSTON | @jenpinkston

What tips can you offer users who may be experiencing FOMO or major anxiety from their social feeds? 

Be really honest with yourself about why you’re on social media.  For me, that answer has three parts. 1. It works as a photo diary, documenting our life in pictures.  2. It helps me to reach more people with the content we create and connect with our blog audience in a quicker, more impromptu way. 3. It’s a way for me to stay connected with friends… especially ones that I don’t see as often as I would like.  When social media starts to get down, you can always hit unfollow on accounts that don’t serve the reasons why you’re on social media in the first place.

What’s your biggest tip for those who are feeling addicted or not in control of their social media use?

Reset! It’s been awhile since I have done this, but when Ever was first born, I would delete Instagram from my phone on the weekends. I was noticing the mindless scrolling was getting out of hand and it was a good way to reset.  It’s pretty crazy when you do it, you notice how often you just pick up your phone to go there to pass the time. When Ever was born, I never brought my phone into the room when I was nursing or rocking her to sleep. I noticed how much I loved that time to just sit and get lost in my own thoughts or ideation. I hope to never forget that and go out of my way now to make space for that kind of head space.

CAROLINE HARPER KNAPP | @houseofharper

Are there any specific boundaries you set for yourself when it comes to your social media use?  

I find I have to be the most strict at my bedtime to prevent the endless hours of scrolling that can keep you up way past your bedtime.  I use the iphone bedtime reminder so I don’t lose track of time and I also always charge my phone out of reach to prevent any temptations.

LAUREN MCGOODWIN | @careercontessa

What tips can you offer users who may be experiencing FOMO or major anxiety from their social feeds? 

I’ve definitely felt anxious after looking at Instagram feeds before and my best advice is to unfollow any account that creates this feeling. I also try to put my phone in another room while I’m eating dinner, watching a movie, etc. so I’m not distracted and just refresh Instagram all night.

What’s your biggest tip for those who are feeling addicted or not in control of their social media use?

My best advice is to take a 30-day break if you’re feeling really attached to social media. Remove the apps from your phone and find a friend to keep you accountable. Replace the habit with something else like reading or listening to a book, a podcast, or a great NPR show. It will be hard and uncomfortable at first but there’s a reason why addiction is hard to break. You can also start small with social media-free weekends and work up to a longer period.

ALICIA LUND | @cheetahisthenewblack

What’s your biggest tip for those who are feeling addicted or not in control of their social media use?

Whenever I’m in a social media funk I take breaks, and if I find that I’m still having negative thoughts, FOMO etc… I will unfollow.  Social media should be inspiring and fun–so I try to only follow the brands and people that bring positive energy into my feed!! If you’re feeling addicted to social media definitely give yourself mini breaks… it does wonders!  I actually started bringing my real camera around with me a lot more and then I can be more thoughtful about sharing those images at a later time. It’s helped me so much this year and has made me love photography that much more!

JULEY THUY LE | @tres_americain

How have you tried to create a more positive relationship with social media?

It wasn’t until I abandoned social media for months that I was able to pinpoint the positive mental benefits and purpose. I missed sharing genuine content and connecting with people from all walks of life. I could easily blame social media and technology for times that I felt low on life but I’ve realized it’s more about my general disposition. When I feel negativity creep in, I try to look at other parts of myself that are imbalanced. More often than not, it’s my mental or physical health that are off kilter. Then, I use social media as a tool to source positive affirmations or new workouts!

What’s your biggest tip for those who are feeling addicted or not in control of their social media use?

Develop a filter, not an aesthetic one but a mental filter for consuming all media including social media, the news, and difficult personalities.  A way to do this is by determining the value add or purpose for using it: Do I need a good laugh? Do I need a new workout? Do I need career advice or a new recipe? Do I need to know what’s going on in the news? Once you’ve identified the need, you can proactively use social media as a tool to satisfy it. Also, it is helpful to minimize the number of platforms as this effectively reduces noise.

DEANA SAUKAM | @faimfatale

What tips can you offer users who may be experiencing FOMO or major anxiety from their social feeds? 

I always like to remember to never compare myself to others. We all march to the beats of our own drums, and we’re exactly where we need to be. Find inspiration from social media, instead of FOMO or major anxiety – don’t worry!

How have you tried to create a more positive relationship with social media? 

In order to maintain a positive relationship with social media, I never take myself or my feed too seriously. Biggest tip: ALWAYS HAVE FUN! No matter what you’re doing. If you’re feeling addicted or not in control of social media use, set a rule to put the phone away and on “do not disturb” when in a social setting and after let’s say, 10 pm when you’re at home. Focus on other hobbies or distractions, like the new season of Ozark or making pasta or ???

JANE KO | @atasteofkoko

What tips can you offer users who may be experiencing FOMO or major anxiety from their social feeds? 

This might seem obvious, but don’t be lazy, and do something. I keep my week filled with meetings with friends or other creatives, trying new restaurants, exploring a new spot in Austin, and more importantly, me time. I’m constantly thinking about the next thing to do and with a busy schedule, I don’t experience FOMO when I look at the social feed. I engage with people when they post a new update and congratulate them when something exciting happens.

How have you tried to create a more positive relationship with social media? What’s your biggest tip for those who are feeling addicted or not in control of their social media use?

I share with my followers when I’m having an off day or if something goes wrong to remind people that my life is not perfect and that my Instagram feed features highlights of my life. When I do see pretty, perfect photos posted by other bloggers or influencers, I appreciate the art and effort that they put into creating that image versus comparing my life to theirs. For those who are feeling addicted, put the phone away and close that laptop. Go out and explore your city – step into that local shop or say hello to a stranger at the coffee shop.

2 comments
  1. 1
    Madeline | September 20, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    “Rein in” the FOMO. A queen reigns, and a horse is reined in.

    Reply
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *