Self care is a thing these days. In some ways, it’s been capitalised and made brands richer than they already were. But in others, it’s popularity has allowed it to be recognised as a socially acceptable notion where we can slow things down and put ourselves first in a world of craziness. There are a tonne of self care articles out there, and for the most part, we’ve got the whole thing down… Kinda. But just like everything else, we live in a digital age now, one which can bring as much stress and anxiety as our real lives do. So whether it’s bubble baths, meditation, even cleaning your kitchen (because self care doesn’t have to cost a thing), that work for you and bring you back to centre, it’s important to remember that self care doesn’t necessarily just have to exist offline. We’ve got a handful of tips that might come in handy for you if you’re feeling frazzled by your online life.
Curate your social media feed.
You’ve probably heard this a lot, but one more time won’t hurt you. Are you scrolling through your social media feed and feeling like shit because the actress/Victoria’s Secret model/Kardashian (delete as appropriate) just posted themselves reclined on a sun lounger with washboard abs and glowing skin, no ‘flaws’ present? If the answer is yes, then what the hell are you doing? Punishing yourself for not matching up to them is no form of self care. Take some time to protect your mental wellbeing and unfollow absolutely anyone who gives you even the tiniest niggling of doubt or self-hate. Along those lines, look at the people who you’re friends with or connect with across platforms such as Facebook. Do you actually like them, or have a legitimate connection with those people, or even a particular person? Do you feel like you have to perform, or put on an act in order to engage with these people? If you’re nodding your head right now, removing them from your friends list might do you some good. Go across all of your platforms, work out who (and what content) brings you genuine joy, and leave you feeling good, and detox your way through them. You might even decide that an entire social media platform isn’t ‘you’ anymore. Don’t be afraid to deactivate your account. You owe nobody an explanation. Be ruthless and put your needs and interests first, you’ll be grateful you did.
Consider the kind of content that you’re engaging with off of social media.
Online life isn’t just restricted to the four walls of [insert social media platform here]. We use the internet to read the news, whether it be current affairs or the latest gossip columns. Think about the kind of publications you’re reading from day in, day out. Think about what kind of articles they put out into the world. Is it positive or negative? Is it relevant or unnecessary? Is it safe or triggering? Using applications like Apple’s News, you can change preferences, subjects, titles, and more, so that only the bulletins that the app thinks you might be interested based on your settings are all that you have to see. As a generation, we’re also pretty obsessed with visuals - vlogs, tutorials, live feeds. Look at the kinds of things that you find yourself spending time consuming, and evaluate which content truly belongs in your life.
Equally, when it comes to you putting out content, remember that you are not required to share anything more than you actually want to. Enjoy moments in your life without feeling the need to report in and broadcast them to your friends and followers.
Clean up your inbox.
I don’t know about you, but there are few things worse than seeing a notification with a three (or four!) digit number next to my Mail app, shaming you for your amount of unread emails. And there’s something to be said for the feeling you get when you’ve got that number down to zero. So if the number of unread emails in your inbox is looking a bit daunting, taking some time out to get everything in order is a great form of self care. A cleared inbox is a cleared head. Well, not quite, but you get my point. If you need a more advanced task related to your inbox, take a look at the email marketing that you’ve opted into over the years. Are there emails that you receive from certain brands that you don’t even bother opening, or take a quick peek, but don’t really bother engaging with them? Look for your latest email from them (if you’ve got an empty inbox, you might need to wait until they reach out again), but scroll down and find their unsubscribe button. You’re not permanently chained to their mailing list, so if it no longer serves you, say goodbye.
Pay attention to how much screen time you’re giving yourself.
We’re all victims of getting so carried away on our phones that ten minutes becomes half an hour, and half an hour becomes three hours. It’s happened to many of us, so don’t feel bad. What would be helpful, though, is to become more mindful of how much time you’re dedicating to your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Apple has been trending this week for their new Screen Time feature on the iOS 12 update, which actually allows you to set your own parameters with regards to how much you use your device for social media, gaming, productivity, and so on. Even putting your phone down for an hour before bed can be a small but powerful form of self care. Switching off is okay.
Despite how basic it all seems, it really is the small things that can serve as the greatest acts of self care, especially in a world obsessed with social media and selfies. If you can give yourself the care that you deserve online, regardless of how simple it seems, you’ll find that the types of self care that you participate in offline become easier, more effective, and with more prolonged results. Remember that the world still turns outside of the social media web, and make sure that you are your number one priority.