Please note that this is an Archived article and may contain content that is out of date. The use of she/her/hers pronouns in some articles is not intended to be exclusionary. Eating disorders can affect people of all genders, ages, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes, and weights.

By Center for Change

Social Media is a lifeline for many people especially right now when so many are isolated.  In the age of social distancing, it’s good to feel connected, and social media can facilitate that connection. Friendships can be maintained, family can be close even if they are far away, and we have all heard many stories of relationships being formed and even flourishing due to social media. I even have a friend who recently got a new job via Facebook Live. It feels good to be productive and connected and technology, often through social media, can be the vehicle for that.

Social Media is also a huge source of anxiety for many right now in this time of isolation. Especially if you are following people who are showing you seemingly fabulous pictures of meals they are cooking, scenery they are spending time contemplating, workouts they are completing, new hobbies they are perfecting, and basically just all-around nonstop productivity with a filter of perfection. It can be very discouraging when you are just trying to get through the day. It is easy to feel like you aren’t measuring up and coping in the positive way that other people are coping.

“Don’t Compare Your Insides to Another Person’s Outsides”

I first came across this quote in a writing prompt for a play I was teaching to 10th graders. I always explained it as, “Don’t compare how you feel on the inside to how someone else appears to feel on the outside.”  I think this is a good rule of thumb to apply to social media. You are seeing a small snapshot of a moment that has been heavily curated (most of the time) through editing and filters into what someone wants you to see. Don’t assume that what you see is actually the reality of someone’s life.

Social Media can be entertaining and entertainment is necessary right now. Distraction can be good.  But try to keep social media as something neutral and utilize what works best for you.  If you need connection right now or if you truly want to know how a friend is doing….don’t rely on their social media. Pick up the phone, text them, email them, video chat. And remember that you don’t have to participate in online content.  If you don’t feel like posting pictures of the puzzle you have been working on or the bread you have baked…..then don’t. If you don’t feel like commenting on someone’s rant about “Stay at Home Orders” then don’t.  We have been tricked into thinking we have to have a “take” on everything. But we don’t. Or at least, if we do, we don’t always have to share it. And if social media makes you more anxious right now….then take a break from it. It will be there when you get back.