Why It's So Important To Protect Your Mental Health Online
When I began my blogging journey 8 years ago I never imagined that it would have a negative effect on my mental health. It was such a positive and joyous place to share my thoughts on whatever I was loving at the time and it’s not until recent years have I realised how important it is to protect your mental health online whether you’re a content creator or someone who consumes online content. You can’t move for posts and articles all about how the online world is so damaging for our self-esteem but what those posts always forget to mention is how much good the internet can do for people. I know there are certainly things that I struggle with but there are plenty more that I have to be grateful for and this is how I protect my mental health online.
WHY I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE INTERNET
I still remember the day that we installed the internet, it was NTL and it was painfully slow but that didn’t stop me from wanting to log on and chat away on MSN to my school friends. Of course, like any child from the early 2000’s I spent my weekends playing on Neopets and creating web pages with a myriad of those colourful weird doll emoticons. The MySpace years shortly followed which is where I really fell in love with the online world, I would spend hours and hours tinkering with the HTML of my profile and trying to find the perfect song. I created this very blog that you’re reading now in 2009 where it was just a place to share my photographs from my degree. It was at then that I discovered Tumblr and this when I became immersed in the world of blogging. Like many bloggers, I was a blog reader way before I took the plunge to revamp my neglected photography blog.
The excitement of getting a comment on a blog post that I published is still something I remember now, the fact that someone had taken the time to leave their thoughts about something I created felt incredible (and still does). The world of beauty blogging was still in its infancy and it was way before it was even viable for people to be making a living from it. Not only did I love the blogging world because it gave me so many awesome recommendations when it came to beauty products but when people were brave enough to share open and honest posts about their life it helped me so much.
When I was younger there really wasn’t much of a conversation about mental health and if it wasn’t for other people being so honest I wouldn’t understand my brain anywhere near as much as I do now. I’d still be going through life thinking it’s completely normal to worry yourself sick constantly or to think it’s really weird how much I enjoy being by myself when it isn’t. And whilst I know the online world has its issues and there are some really vile things around if you look for them, I think it’s all too easy to forget that you’re the one in control of what you see and if something doesn’t feel good then you absolutely don’t have to have anything to do with it. For a while I felt a lot of pressure to be on every single social media platform out there and constantly be updating everything but spreading yourself so thin and constantly sharing your life isn’t something that is for me and that’s ok.
HOW TO MAKE THE ONLINE WORLD FEEL LIKE A SAFE PLACE for yourself and your mental health
Be super careful with what details you share, online security is no joke. And if you ever happen across someone’s personal details report where they’re being shared.
Spend as a little or as long as you want online, personally I like to stay off my phone until I can use social media in a productive way rather than just aimlessly scrolling as that’s when I find that I end up going down comparison road and that is not a path I like to walk down.
Keep on top of who you follow and don’t feel bad for unfollowing or even muting anyone that doesn’t bring joy to your lives.
Put out what you would like to see more of online.
Don’t seek out things that you know will make you feel crappy.
Report anything that is harmful to yourself or others, Instagram is launching a really brilliant new feature to help with online bullying.
Consume a variation of content.
Unsubscribe to any emails that are spam or you have no interest in.
Don’t feel bad for keeping your follow lists small, feeling a connection to the people that you follow is really awesome.
As tempting as it can be making shady sly comments online doesn’t lead to anything positive.
The follow and unfollow game is not one to get into, those awful apps that tell you whose unfollowed you will never lead to a feel good online experience.
Don’t get suckered into clickbait content about someone has made £43534 in one month.
Cancel culture is not something to give your precious life minutes, it’s so cruel.