I’ve recently begun to reflect on how much influence I allow social media to have in my life, and the toll it takes on my mental health and well-being.

I downloaded an app that kept track of how much time I spent on my phone a day, including all the time I check it for notifications or to see the time. There wasn’t a day less than four hours.

I’ve never considered myself obsessed with my phone, but four hours? That’s one trip to the mountains from Raleigh.

The sad truth is that the average college student is much more than that. Female college students spend an average of 10 hours a day on their phones, and men spend nearly eight.

And I know we aren’t the only age group spending more hours on our phones per day than hours of sleep we get at night.

And I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet most of that time is allotted to social media. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, they’re taking over our lives.

Now I’m not suggesting that we get rid of it altogether because I do see the benefits of social media, and I’m not gonna lie, I enjoy putting together my own “perfect life” for everyone to see.

But maybe we should stop defining our worth by our follower count or the number of likes we get per picture.

I’ve recently discovered an amazing new tool to help keep my mental health in check when scrolling through my feeds.

The unfollow button.

I know, I know. Not new. But we seem to believe that unfollowing people is some huge deal because we value that number so much.

But the truth is not every account is going to make you feel good about yourself. And it’s our responsibility to look out for ourselves.

I think we all have an account in mind. One that makes you jealous, and feel sorry for yourself, your body or your life. Those that make you wish you could be just like them, own all the things they do, look like they do or eat just like them.

But we can’t.

A whole new world is exposed to us when we use the internet and social media. One that shows us what we can’t have and reveals to us the imperfections in our own lives.

We all know our triggers. For me, it’s food accounts. Those that make me think I need to live off of only fruits and vegetables to be considered healthy and to look “perfect.”

Unfollowing those accounts freed me from those bad thoughts in a way I’ve never experienced before.

So if my posts have ever made you feel bad about yourself, or more self-aware than you’d like to be then I beg you, please unfollow me.

We use social media to share with the world the highlights of our lives. My life is not perfect by any means, but I can use my posts to create a perfect version of it, just like everyone else.

But I think it’s time that we put our mental health first, and stop torturing ourselves trying to put on a show for others.