Five ways to stop social media ruining your summer

Getting Facebook FOMO and Instagram envy? Don’t let other people's curated lives make yours feel unworthy, says Jo Steer

Jo Steer

teacher school holiday

Summer is finally here.

For some, it’s a time of blissful moments with the family, enjoying delicious meals out, movie nights and care-free days of sunshine and laughter at a range of local attractions.

For others, it’s a time to break free from the shackles of responsibility, to drink, be merry and hit the clubs in #Beefa (remembering, always, that what happens in Ibiza, stays in Ibiza).

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For others, it’s about exploring far-flung climes and pushing themselves to reach mountain tops or deep-sea depths.

Excitement, adventure and endless possibility – that’s what summer is about. At least, it is according to my Instagram feed.

But whether that’s actually the case for most teachers is a completely different matter.

We talk a lot about the damaging effects of social media on children, but there a similar risks for our mental health, too. Here’s how to handle summer social media right:

If you don’t like what you see, don’t look

A little social media is all well and good, but if seeing pictures of other people’s apparently perfect families on their wonderfully exotic holidays leaves you feeling envious, then just stop looking.

The grass may seem greener on the other side, but it really isn’t. It’s greener where you water it. Focus on what’s real and what you’re grateful to have in your life, rather than what you don’t.

teacher school holiday

Don’t be part of the problem

Consider why you’re publishing that post and picture. Is it because your relatives will love to see them? Or because you’re trying to fake the perfect life – the life you’d like strangers to think you lead – no matter how far from the truth this might be? Beware. This behaviour is damaging, to your followers and you.

Take mental pictures

Why are you filming this? Are you actually going to watch it back later and reminisce? Or are you taking yourself out of the moment to make a video you’ll never look at again?

Try taking fewer pictures with your phone this summer, and more with your heart and mind. We wait all year for these moments, what a shame to miss them when they finally arrive.

Make the ordinary extraordinary

If you base your expectations on what you see online, anything other than trekking across Cambodia with a stray kitten in your backpack might feel distinctly mediocre. But your time off doesn’t have to be extraordinary to be enjoyable.

Focus on doing things that make you feel good. Things that you’d enjoy doing without discussing on Facebook. A walk around your local park, when experienced mindfully – noticing the sights, sounds and smells as if for the first time – can provide a moment and memories that are anything but ordinary.

Wellbeing: practise self-care

If you’re buckling under the strain of housework, child-care and everything else you’ve been telling yourself you’d cram into this short six weeks, summer might feel like anything but a break.

Remember to look after yourself, to ask for help where you need it and to take time, just for you, just because.

Jo Steer is a teacher and experienced leader of SEND interventions

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