I Stopped Chasing the Algorithm For My Mental Health
Is social media really depressing you?
For the almost 4-years I have posted on Empowering Women Now on a daily basis – sometimes up to 10 times a day on Facebook. I tried everything in my power to gain the everchanging algorithms favor. For my posts to hit the top of the feed – to get featured in the explorer search – to get all the “likes”. It wasn’t until a couple of months ago that I realized the algorithm is that guy who makes you feel like you’re not good enough. That jerk who makes you question if you’re worth it. That toxic person who takes everything you have and wants more. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating but the algorithm is crazy and bipolar. Can we all agree on that?
I decided I was no longer going to play those games and stopped posting. I began to seriously question why I’m posting all this stuff, who it’s for, and whether I’m posting things because they are worth documenting and sharing, or out of a sense of obligation.
I have wondered lately how many of the people I watch post every day have made social media a seven-day-a-week job for themselves. To whom they feel they owe all these social media posts? I wonder how much of it is a desperation for connection. Is contributing regularly, no matter how little you have to say, the price of being part of a community that might forget you’re there if you stop making noise?
I don’t regard everything on social media with such suspicion or darkness. The people I follow online genuinely make me laugh, keep me informed and up to speed on news and viewpoints I might otherwise miss, and give me lots to feel and think about.
However, I stopped living for the “algorithm” to favor me and I started living to find a peace that within myself. I focused on my mental health and I’ve experienced the most empowering moments. I’ve never felt more like myself. I am now only posting when I feel like it and not when I feel I “need to” because it’s the best time to post.
If you’re struggling to feel creative, energized, or like yourself. It’s time to focus on your mental health.
Here is how I took care of my mental health:
- Find a therapist – There are so many stigmas about going to a therapist. The number one thing I hear is that “depressed people go to a therapy”. Although I highly encourage those who feel depressed to seek help, I myself was not depressed. I wanted to be the best version of myself. I understand that achieving your full potential requires a heck of a lot of self-knowledge, self-control, and—let’s be honest—hard work, it’s best done when you have help. That is why I went in search of a therapist.
- Spend time with the people you love – As cliché as it sounds, spending quality time with the people you love is the best thing in life. There are so many people who care about you and think you are absolutely incredible we often don’t make time for them.
- Find a hobby -We’re so focused on productivity and moving up in our careers that hobbies take a backseat. Hobbies affect more than your blood pressure and waist circumference. They can lead to an “upward spiral of increased well-being.” A study from the University of Otago in New Zealand found that people who participated in a creative task felt a greater sense of positive personal growth and excitement—basically, they’d do something creative one day and feel more content and enthusiastic the next. Creativity had a significant emotional impact and always a positive one. I personally started watercolor painting and journaling. (PS. watercolor painting is super easy, who would have guessed.)
- Cut off time on social media – Start timing yourself when you go to social media for an entire week. Once that week is over you’ll have a good understanding of how much time you’re actually on there. I timed myself and found out that each day I was spending 6 hours to 7 hours on social media. Before you judge me understand that I’m the owner of a digital marketing business called Kinder Media Co. Many of my clients require social media management. I realized I was using work as an excuse to mindlessly scroll on Instagram and decided I need to find a solution. I decided to start using buffer.com to start scheduling posts. Now my time is cut in half and I can honestly say I’ve been feeling a lot better.
I hope my tips help and encourage you to focus on your mental health. What other detox tips do you have? Share your insights in the comments section below.
*Please note; I am not a therapist and highly encourage you to find one that you feel comfortable with. I am so picky about my therapist and I am still in search of one. Don’t feel like you have to settle for someone that you are uncomfortable with. Keep trying and you’ll find someone. I know that one day I will.