The internet is a really wonderful thing. We are the ‘I’ll Google it‘ generation, any film you could possibly want awaits at the touch of the button, some find love or make life long friends. You can order a new coat at 3am from the comfort of your own bed and if you’re bored at work, well there’s an entire abyss of funny cat videos basically crying out your name. For me, and for many others I’m fortunate enough to know or to admire from a distance, the internet is a source of income and of creativity.
But let’s face it, the internet is also a bit of a wanker.
Whether it’s moany, attention-grabby statuses, the fact that every other person on your Instagram feed seems to have a Gucci Marmont and you don’t or because today all you managed to do was get out of bed and boil the kettle but your mate Susan totally #smashedit.
Some times the internet is really overwhelming and the obvious solution – and a practice that I try and adopt every few months regardless for the sake of my sanity/eyes/that book I’ve been meaning to read – is to log off. That’s right, you heard me! Log the fuck out. So many people have told me that they’re worried that all their followers will jump ship if they’re not engaging constantly but I am living proof that actually, that doesn’t happen at all. Whether you’re taking a break because your mental health demands it, because you want to spend a weekend with your family without refreshing every twenty minutes or because you’ve just had enough of other peoples bullshit, do you know what will happen when you log back in again? Nah-dah. Absolutely sweet FA because chances are that 90% didn’t care or didn’t notice that you had a nice time without them and the worst you’ve missed out on is another jumped up Youtuber sharing inappropriate content in the name of views.
Obviously logging off isn’t a long-term solution to ward off internet negativity, but these 5 tips below will certainly help to make the space you occupy online a much happier and healthier one:
I know I’m constantly harping on about this, but if what someone is sharing is not gelling with you then just unfollow them. You have absolutely no obligation to anyone (except your mum) to consume their content and whether it simply isn’t floating your boat or worse still, it’s bringing actual negativity into your life, then just hit that button. Maybe you’ll offend them, but chances are they won’t even notice (if you’re the kind of person who does keep track of when someone unfollows you then advance to step 3, do not pass go, do not collect £200) and if they do, well…so what?
It doesn’t have to be a personal or vindictive move whatsoever, it’s just simply you taking control of the content and the people that you’re exposed to on a daily basis.
2. DON’T KEEP YOUR PHONE BY YOUR BED
Now this one kind of merges into the category of general life advice/essential for a better night’s sleep but I honestly think having your phone by your bed is one of the most unhealthy things you can do for both your body and your mind.
The temptation to start and finish the day with a quick scroll is hard to resist. Many a time I’ve woken up and no sooner than I’ve opened my eyes and gasped the word ‘tea‘, I’ve also been confronted by 28 emails demanding my attention, a screen full of notifications and some depressing news article. Give yourself the chance to wake up properly before diving in!
The same goes for bed time, not only do I find myself staying awake longer than I intended because I’ve somehow stumbled deep into someone’s album entitled ‘Dubai 2008’, thus disturbing my sleep, but I often see or read things that keep my brain wired just at the point when I’m supposed to be switching off. Whether it’s something really fab that makes me want to jump out of bed instantly and start brainstorming, or something a bit shit that leaves me tossing and turning with anxiety all night, it’s just not a good move.
3. DELETE THE ‘WHO UNFOLLOWED ME’ APPS
Right now. I’m serious. Absolutely nothing, I repeat nothing good can possibly come of them. If you’re a blogger or an Instagrammer or you care a little too much about what other people think of you then chances are you’ve downloaded one at some point and how did it make you feel? Shit. Absolutely wank.
I’d love to just tell you to not care but I know that for some people that’s too much of a mountain to climb right now. It’s fine if you do care, but do not subject yourself to the self-harm that is reading something that you know will bother you.
And hey, that person who unfollowed you? Well they had every right to. It doesn’t mean that they hate you or that you did something wrong, just that perhaps they don’t share your style anymore or that perhaps even unwittingly you’re having the kind of negative effect on them that I mentioned in step 1. There are millions more people out there who DO share your style, who DO enjoy your content and who DO want to follow you, so focus on those.
4. ACTIVELY PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY MORE
We have a tendency to have our phones glued to our palms pretty much 24/7, but when you’re out for dinner to catch up with a friend or having what was supposed to be a relaxing bath and you’re still scrolling away then you need to take a step back into reality. Call it mindfulness or living in the moment or whatever the hell you want, sometimes it is just not appropriate to have your phone out, and other times it’s actually just really fucking rude.
I’ve had to ask someone to put his phone away in the theatre before and do you know what he did? He got up and left! He walked away from a £100 Les Mis ticket because I had the balls to tell him it wasn’t okay to text during the show and it definitely wasn’t okay to try and film it either, however spine-tingly One Day More may be. I wish this was an isolated incident, but the girl I sat next to during The Lion King thought it acceptable to pepper Hakuna Matata with Andy Murray at Wimbledon on iPlayer. No kidding.
Logging off may be an extreme way to banish the internet blues, but on a daily basis you can actively choose when you do and don’t pick your phone up. I certainly know I’m guilty of it and so now I try really hard to leave it in the other room when I’m eating supper and it is officially banned from intruding on my bath time (after I’ve taken a quick snap of my Lush bathbomb for Insta, naturally).
5. IF YOU HAVEN’T GOT ANYTHING NICE TO SAY, DON’T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL
That goes for Instagram, Youtube and the like or to that Trump supporter on Twitter. I am all for freedom of speech and for healthy debate but if you are leaving a comment that you know full well is going to hurt someones feelings then you are an arsehole.