Is Your Dog’s Instagram Worth Your Mental Health?
When I found out we were getting Brodie, I ‘jokingly’ set up an instagram account for our new puppy. My thoughts were that I didn’t want to bombard my family and friends with constant pictures and videos of said new puppy.
I’ve always been a creative person from drawing to baking and I had a previously gone on a short photography course. So Brodie’s Instagram naturally became a creative outlet for me. I was obsessed with my new puppy and I was taking photographs and videos at every opportunity, he quickly stole a piece of my heart and I just wanted to share him with everyone.
Managing My Dog’s Social Media
For me, managing his social media is nothing but a positive experience; we have connected with so many people who we may never have done. We are part of a community of people who 99% of the time lift each other up. We have become Dog Furiendly Explorers, a member of Scottish Instagram Dogs and a brand rep for Seth’s Bows and Top pooch. All because of social media.
However, I am now more aware than ever of the impact social media can have on someone’s mental health and never did I think that I would have had this realisation through my dog’s social media.
I have been and I am still in what would be considered an engagement group(s). Whenever you post you comment in the group, everyone within the group can comment/like your post and you can do the same in return. This sounds in essense like harmless fun, and a great way to connect with other accounts, right?
But then come the comparsions…
- You have how many followers?
- You have how many likes on your last post?
- How did you get shared on this big account?
As a society we have began to measure our success on how many likes and followers we have. And yes that is having an impact on your mental health. We put too much pressure on ourselves to be ‘instagrammable’ and in return begin to question our worth based on factors outwith our control.
Too many times I have seen or heard people delete cute pictures of their dogs because it doesn’t have ‘enough’ likes. Too many times I have been asked how do I get more followers. Too many times I have heard i’m losing followers, or I’m not gaining enough. And really at the end of the day, who cares!? No-one but you.
So consider this, is your dog’s popularity on instagram worth your mental health?
They way I see it is, I post content I love, pictures I love and videos I love.
- Does how much I love them depend on how many likes it recieves? NO.
- Does the love for my dog vary depending on how many followers he has? NO.
- Does this bring me joy? YES.
- And does it bring me joy regardless of what people think? YES
Which brings me to my last question?
- Would you continue to persue a hobby/interest if it was having a negative impact on your mental health? NO.
Social media is no different. Here are some tips to help you put your mental health before social media.
4 Tips To Tackle Social media & Mental health
1. Make use of ‘Unfollow’ and ‘Mute’
The best part about social media is that it can be whatever you want it to be. Follow those you’re closest to, keep the accounts that inspire you and don’t be afraid to unfollow or mute those who just add noise to your feed. What your brain consumes digitally has more of an impact on your wellbeing than you may think.
2. Limit Screen Time
Hold yourself accountable for the amount of time you spend on your phone. Most new phones come with ‘screen time’ recorders which can even notify you once you’ve reached a certain amount. Try to cut back gradually until you’re down to an amount you’re happy with!
3. Don’t Get Caught Up On Content
Try not to get caught up in the content, and remember it’s a place to highlight your best bits, your memories. It’s not a representation of you or your dog’s life. Even the best doggy Instagram feeds are probably struggling with a lot of the same worries, fears and thoughts as you are. Remember this while comparing content from other accounts and be kind to others!
4. Likes And Follows Don’t Define You
Don’t obsess over a photo that had zero, or very few, likes. It’s not a reflection of you, your dog or your photo. Overthinking it isn’t healthy – in fact, it’s pretty damn toxic.
Remember you and your dog’s worth is not (and will never be) measured by the number of likes you get or followers you have. Think about it, the photo with your dog at the beach doesn’t change the fun and happiness you had together. You’re dog doesn’t care about the likes and neither should you.
Oh and when you’re 90 years old with another gorgeous pooch by your side you won’t be looking back at the lack of Instagram likes. But you will be looking back at the memories spent with your old dog, and real-life moments in general.
Take a break or give it up completely. Your mental health is more important than any amount of likes or followers you or your dog has. And remember that it is ok not to be ok, but please reach out to someone if you ever need support.