#MHAW Lucy Sheridan, on creating your own social media rules
This year, Mental Health Awareness Week is focussing on the theme of body image. So, we caught up with the world’s first and only comparison coach, Lucy Sheridan to see what advice she could offer when it comes to creating your own rules on social media for a healthier Instagram feed.
HOW CAN WE CURATE OUR SOCIAL FEEDS TO AID US IN REDUCING OUR COMPARISON WITH OTHERS?
I always invite clients to operate the ‘house party’ rule. That is if you wouldn’t invite those people, brands and things to your house party then hide or unfollow for a while. You can go back to them when you are feeling a bit stronger. The second part of this is to flood your feeds with what does inspire you, entertains you and challenges you in all the right ways.
HOW CAN WE CURATE OUR FEEDS TO NOT ONLY REDUCE NEGATIVE BODY IMAGE BUT ALSO INFLUENCE POSITIVE BODY IMAGE?
There’s a wealth of nourishing, thought-provoking and inspiring content and messages that we can find through searching and following hashtags like #lovingmyself and #bodyposi – select a few favourite accounts and check in on them regularly and participate in conversations in the comments. It can act as a daily pep talk.
HOW CAN WE MAKE OUR OWN RULES WHEN IT COMES TO BODY IMAGE BOTH OFF AND ONLINE?
A big part of this is deciding how you want to feel about your body and then rejecting and avoiding anything that doesn’t support that.
For example, if you want to just feel neutral about your body then hanging out with those friends at that obsessively pick and dissect their appearance is not going to be helpful.
Find movement practices and take part just for that reason – to move. Not to change or shrink yourself.
Take a pause on fitness goals and instead take part fully with the reward being that you are showing up for yourself.
Mute some of the accounts that you’ve been hero worshipping or seeing as superior to you and instead spend time on reconnecting with yourself.
WHAT RULES DO YOU PERSONALLY FOLLOW WHEN IT COMES TO SOCIAL MEDIA AND BODY IMAGE?
I follow all sorts of people so I’m not shown only a white, able-bodied view of physical images and rather it’s a broad and varied view which represents reality. I am also learning about diet culture and how I can actively reject it.
ARE THERE ANY WARNING SIGNS THAT ONE SHOULD LOOK OUT FOR THAT INDICATE THAT YOUR BODY IMAGE IS WORSENING?
If you’ve started to wish you were in the body of someone else, if you regularly judge your body against others even though you are entirely unique and if you zoom in on images to get a closer look at someone’s body in order to negatively compare your own.