Raise your hand if this is a familiar story. Summer season has begun now (Korea is now in hot summer season) , the gym routine is in full swing, lunch is prepped and packed for the week…You’re feeling good. Then after 15 minutes of scrolling through your social media feed, that feeling sinks in. The feeling that no matter how many hours of spinning, no matter how many times you stick to chicken and veggies during lunch, there’s a standard that feels impossible to reach.
You’re not alone. According to a study by the Royal Society for Public Health, social media can be detrimental for young people’s mental health, especially regarding body image and self-esteem – but it doesn’t have to be that way. A happy, healthier lifestyle, both physically and mentally, should be encouraged and celebrated. And social media should be a source of empowerment and motivation, not sadness and intimidation.
Here’s how you can navigate the impossible body standards of the Internet while continuing to improve your own physical well-being.
Social Media’s Rose-Colored Lens
Models and social media influencers are masters at making life look effortless, but most of them will admit that each post is picked from dozens of pictures and heavily curated before it goes out to the masses.
The next time you see a picture online and think “Why can’t I look like that?” Remember that the person in the picture probably doesn’t necessarily look like that either. Lighting, camera angles, and post-production apps are often used to touch up imperfections, even if the result looks completely candid.
Managing Your Social Media Use
How much is too much social media? The answer depends on who you ask. The easiest way to prevent social media-induced anxiety is to simply limit your use. Of course, this is easier said than done, as most people will open social media sites like it’s a reflex, but there are a few methods to help you step away.
- Make a list of what you’re missing by spending too much time on social media.
- Purge unnecessary accounts and groups that don’t add value to your life.
- Don’t use time before bed to mindlessly scroll through your feeds.
- Delete your apps and only use a home computer to occasionally browse.
Only Compare You to You
The biggest problem with comparing yourself to others on social media is that you’re comparing yourself against inaccurate information. According to a study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, people are likely to feel alone in their emotional difficulties since most people don’t share negative emotions or experiences online. When all you see on social media is the manicured happiness and success of others, it’s easy to feel isolated in your own challenges.
Instead of comparing yourself to others, find the only accurate information available to gauge progress – yourself. Celebrate wins against your previous self, and embrace the challenges along the way, knowing everyone else is experiencing their own hardships.
Follow the Right People, Find the Right Support
Instead of quitting completely, consider following people who are real and body positive and who also strive for a happy healthier lifestyle.
And of course, don’t forget to surround yourself with real people who will support you and hold you accountable to your goals.