When you open up Facebook or Twitter, what do you see? Posts that make you feel connected and happy, loved and supported? Or is it a stream of negativity, with endless memes about how it’s ‘always wine o’clock somewhere’?
Most of us check our social media news feeds several times a day and they can have more impact than we realise. It’s so easy to accidentally surround yourself with messages that can skew your perception and make you feel left out. When I first stopped drinking, social media seemed to increase my sense of isolation. It felt as if everyone else was drinking and having fun.
Despite that experience, I don’t have a downer on social media. In fact nowadays, I kind of love it. I realised that technology is not inherently good or evil; it’s the application that produces positive or negative results.
When used correctly, social media can support you to do big and amazing things like stop drinking. It can lift you up and help you become a better version of yourself. It can connect you with other people in the same situation and give you a place to talk. It can be very liberating to be able to express yourself properly and find your voice.
So if you’re struggling to stay motivated at the moment, make sure you take a closer look at your social media use. Here are 5 strategies for using social media in a way that will support your sobriety:
Unfollow people who are getting you down
In real life, friendships come and go and we make peace with that. It doesn’t have to be any different on social media. If you don’t want to defriend someone, just unfollow them. Your news feed is a bubble that you have complete control over. It should leave you feeling good about the world.
Start adding people who inspire you
It doesn’t just have to be sobriety related stuff. You might feel motivated by food bloggers, fitness writers, health magazines… follow people and organisations that will help you stay on track. If you’re on Instagram, this article has some good tips on sober related hashtags. And The Sober School facebook page is right here.
Consider setting up an alternative profile
There’s nothing to stop you setting up a second account on Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest and it can be very freeing to just post whatever you like. Facebook does not let you have two accounts, so if you’re worried about other people seeing the pages and groups you’ve liked, just change your privacy settings.
Every now and then, ask yourself how using social media makes you feel. Sometimes we’re so busy chasing likes, comments, replies and retweets, that we forget the reason we’re using social media in the first place. If something isn’t making you feel good, then consider taking a break or removing the app from your phone. You can always put it back if you change your mind!
When it comes to social media, there are loads of advantages to being sober. You’re much less likely to stalk your ex, post embarrassing status updates or get tagged in photos that you can’t even remember being taken. And long term, you’re more likely to remember that social media is just a glimpse into other people’s lives. It’s a highlight reel, that’s all. By letting go of a habit that’s holding you back, you are well on your way to building a life that looks good on the inside as well as the outside.
Now I’d love to hear from you.
What are your tips for getting the most of out of social media? What’s really worked for you and what might you do differently in future? Let me know in the comments!