9 ways to stop social media from affecting your self esteem
Do you feel social media puts unrealistic pressure on your body image?
Written by spunout
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself. If you have low self-esteem it means that you think less of yourself than of other people. This could be in how you think about your appearance, looks, or abilities. When you are disconnected from your social media sites do you have the fear of missing out? You might feel that everyone else is out living their lives without you, but this is not the case. While social media is not the sole cause of low self-esteem, it can contribute to it.
9 ways to stop social media from your affecting your self esteem
Check out the tips below to learn how to protect your self-esteem while using social media.
1. The battle for likes
Social media can be great for keeping in touch with friends and family but when it turns into a competition for racking up likes or RTs, it can be extremely disappointing if you don’t get them. But try not to base how you feel on the number of likes you have got on a post. This is easier said than done. Stop and think about the impact the amount of time you spend online is having on you. Are you spending more time online looking at other people living their lives than living your own? If so, it might be time to take a breather from social media and spend more time doing what you love.
2. Challenge your unhelpful thoughts
If you spend your time on social media comparing yourself to others and telling yourself how great everyone else is and how awful you are, then you need to challenge those thoughts. Practicing mindfulness may be able to help with this.
3. Comparing yourself to others
It’s hard not to compare yourself to all the other people posting on social media. But remember that these posts are only that person’s best version of themselves. It’s easy for your friend to appear that they are having a great time, when in fact they’re sitting at home feeling just as lonely as you are.
4. False images
Images aren’t always as they seem either. No-one is going to put up a picture of them just having rolled out of bed. Instead they put up the picture of themselves with a full face of make-up, hair carefully fixed and with a filter. So, try to remember this if you find you are comparing yourself to them.
5. You’re more than how you look
You might not believe this, but you are more than your social media profile. Instead of solely relying on social media interaction, pick up your phone to text or call your friends. It can be good to talk for a change.
“Remember body image is only one part of who you are. The media makes it seem like body image is the most important thing but if you think of real life and the people you love spending time and why you like spending time with them, I bet how they look doesn’t even come into it. We enjoy being around people for who they are – and that’s what they like about us too.” Rowan – age 17
6. Switch off for a while
You don’t have to delete your social media profiles completely. But it can help to take a break or reduce the time you spend on them for a while. There are loads of apps that will help you block social media from your phone or laptop.
7. Take some control of your newsfeed
Fill your newsfeed with people and pages who make you feel good and hide, unlike or defriend those that bring your mood down.
It’s not ok for other people to leave mean or hurtful comments on your social media account. For more on this see our page on cyberbullying.
9. Connect with people more offline
Instead of envying your friend’s life from afar and feeling lonely as you sit at home alone. How about meeting up with them and having a chat with them in real-life? Do something you both enjoy like grabbing a coffee, or going to the cinema.