Social media has always been a hub for many conversation topics, trends and hashtags over the years. But the last few months have seen a dramatic increase in political and ethical activities, in many cases, this was needed and overdue. Although overwhelming at times. Everyone has been sharing important and pivotal moments, such as the murder of George Floyd. For many including myself, these images and videos were so shocking that they will stick with us for the rest of our lives. The outrage for George Floyd brought us together to march in the name of justice. Police brutality was not unheard of but this was the first time it had been recorded and widely shared. All because of social media and the easy accessibility to it. For many other reasons, post lockdown has been a turning point for change and has impacted on our mental health heavily.
One of the more joyful phenomena of the past year has been seeing how, in the face of what can seem like ever-escalating injustice, activism has re-emerged from the margins and taken hold of the mainstream. There has been widespread support from many within the community for Black Lives Matter, NHS workers, Key Works, LGBTQA+ and Pride.
Although, I find myself looking around, questioning whether I am doing enough? Life is not the same and like many, I am looking to improve my outlook on life. And what is expected of me on my online profiles? We all want to show we care and are helping. But as we all know people’s online presence on social media can be misleading and unrealistic, you can know someone’s entirety of behaviour by what they have externalised or made visible online. There is the problem of contributing to the discourse, only to show you are doing so. Martin Luther King famously said ‘silence becomes betrayal’ which is true in the sense of not muting the conversation. Although I think our actions on social media could be more considered and show true solidarity that can help in the longterm rather than the short term. Below is a list of charities to donate to right now:
Mental health problems affect around one in four people in any given year. In some unfortunate cases, it can lead to death. Recently we heard the sad news that Love Island star, Dr Alex George’s brother committed suicide. The family are from Carmarthen, hitting home for all of us in Wales. Dr Alex George first shared the tragic news on his Instagram account on Friday, July 24. In a heartfelt tribute to his younger brother, Llŷr, who he revealed was due to start medical school this month. After receiving many heartfelt condolences for the family and friends of Llŷr.
Dr Alex George has now announced that he is taking a break from social media and says, “with everything that’s happened it’s important for my mental health that I take some time offline. I am focusing on my family and friends as well as looking after myself.”
It is so incredibly important to know what works for you and that could be giving yourself a ‘break’ from social media. We respect and appreciate Dr Alex George openness to completely detach himself from social media and spend time in the ‘real’ world.
Every once in a while it is good to go through your social media accounts to weed out the people who are not bringing anything productive into your life. From filtering out unrealistic body images and unhelpful messages to replacing them with helpful approaches to activism and self-help. Having negative content can be extremely detrimental to your outlook on life. It can mean toxic behaviours such as bigotry and misogyny, rather than ambition and confidence. Causing us to feel like we are not accepted if our body shape, skin type or hair texture as is not the same as everyone else’s. It can stop us from looking after our mental health, being comfortable in our individuality and question the world we live in.
Social media should be used as a platform for daily inspiration and positivity. For me, I achieve this by solely basing my feed on accounts with ‘me’ in mind. These people are game-changers from food and body images to innovation and self-help. They are experts in their fields and have a lot of insightful, informational, and inspirational content to share. As well as being a platform for communities to come together and share their passions for important subjects. Below is my list of 10 positive Instagram accounts to follow right now:
1. Impact – a community for open-minded people who want to make an impact
2. Feminist – empowering women and equality
3. So, you want to talk – Dissecting progressive politics and social issues
4. Activism and stuff – for practising presence
5. CHNGE – for advice and thought promoting quotes
6. Sonny Turner – plus-size model and activist
7. Hantisedeloubli aka Stacey – body positive and inspirational messages
8. Recipes for self-love – for loving yourself more
9. The delicious – healthy eating and living
10. Happsters – for a daily dose of happy
Sometimes breaking the mould and making a change seems impossible. But being bold and doing the unexpected can help people to rise up and feel empowered! Ultimately creating a more positive and unique space which welcomes individuality. When I became more mindful of who I was allowing into my online space, I discovered that the community you create for yourself online can be full of love, hope, and support.