During this global pandemic, many of us have turned to social media to connect with our family, friends, and strangers around the world. It has brought us humor, entertainment, and different perspectives. While social media can bring us together, there are many accounts entrenched in toxicity, negativity, and comparison. That TikTok-er that embarrasses others? That celebrity who touts their weight loss and their “perfect” body? That personality that speaks negatively about groups of people based on their weight, race, culture, or gender? These are the accounts we should dig deeper into and do some social media spring cleaning.
How do I identify these social media accounts?
First, this might be a bit difficult to do at first, but you will get the hang of it!
Questions to ask about each account:
- Does this account promote weight loss, restrictive diets (keto, weight watchers, Noom, etc), excessive exercise, or calorie/macro counting?
- Does this account promote the embarrassment of others without their consent?
- Does this account produce content that degrades others based on their weight, race, gender, or culture?
- Does this account make you feel sad, compare yourself to others, or cause anxiety?
- Does this account promote violence, self-harm, or alcohol or drug use?
If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, consider unfollowing the account.
Why should I clean up my social media?
Repeated exposure to this type of content can bring up feelings of unworthiness and shame. Research shows that people who experience shame and low self-esteem have higher levels of mental health disorders including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and addiction. When we shift the content in our social media, we can reduce anxiety. In addition, research shows that diets of any kind directly cause weight gain! Yes, you have read that correctly: diets lead to binge eating and overeating, which over 2 years’ time, lead to people gaining all the weight they have lost, PLUS an additional 5-10 lbs for each diet.
I’ve unfollowed these accounts- now what?
First, celebrate the work you’ve put in! You’ve done the hard work, and now you get to reap the rewards. Now that you’ve unfollowed these accounts, check in with yourself and notice how you feel. Has the dread of social media reduced? Are you learning new things? What else are you noticing?
You also get to find new creators to follow. Consider following mental health therapists, intuitive eating and/or health-at-every-size dietitians, and content creators of all weights, genders, and cultural backgrounds. Here are some of my favorites:
- Meg Squats
- raise goodkids
Couples/Marriage Work (Instagram)
Perspectives Therapy Services is a multi-site mental and relationship health practice with clinic locations in Brighton, Lansing, Highland, Fenton and New Hudson, Michigan. Our clinical teams include experienced, compassionate and creative therapists with backgrounds in psychology, marriage and family therapy, professional counseling, and social work. Additionally, we offer psychiatric care in the form of evaluations and medication management. Our practice prides itself on providing extraordinary care. We offer a customized matching process to prospective clients whereby an intake specialist carefully assesses which of our providers would be the very best fit for the incoming client. We treat a wide range of concerns that impact a person's mental health including depression, anxiety, relationship problems, grief, low self-worth, life transitions, and childhood and adolescent difficulties.