Scrolling through Instagram recently, I came upon a few posts from a personal trainer I know. I started looking through his pictures and after a few shots of 8-packs and bulging biceps, I quickly started to feel anxious and bad about myself.

Why You Should Do a Social Media Cleanse

A survey published last year found that users of Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter all reported increased depression and anxiety. Instagram ranked the worst, which isn’t too surprising given how image-centric the app is. The survey also linked Instagram use to body image concerns, especially in young women and girls.

Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook present highly curated versions of people’s lives and it’s easy to get caught up in feeds that look pretty but can make us feel bad about ourselves. Posts and images often set unrealistic expectations and can cause feelings of sadness, anxiety, or inadequacy. In the health and wellness world, many accounts feature idealized nutrition or fitness goals, unrealistic (and highly photoshopped) bodies, and negative or extreme diet messages. Photo sharing apps make it simple to add a filter or edit photos in order to make them look “perfect”.

But the good news is, you can do something about this. By taking control of who you decide to follow, you can cultivate a social media feed that allows you to mentally feel your best. It’s time for a social media clean-out.

To start, unfollow any account that:

  • Makes you feel bad about yourself or your body
  • Propels the dieting myth
  • Features extreme exercise or dieting behaviors
  • Cuts out certain foods or food groups
  • Talks about “clean eating” or “good” foods and “bad” foods
  • Gives unsolicited diet advice
  • Shares before and after photos

Once you’ve cleared out the negative from your feed, follow these body-positive, anti-diet accounts instead:

Have you tried a social media cleanse? Feel free to share your best tips and tricks in the comments section below.