A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon an app that allows me to discover what my friends are doing at random times of the day. This app is called BeReal. For those unfamiliar, BeReal is an app where you post whatever you’re doing at different times each day. When you post, the app uses both your front and rear-facing camera, which gives your friends a single image of a random moment in your day.  It catches candid and unfiltered times where you can only see what your friends are doing after you post your image. I love how real it is. Ha. 

People are sick and tired of seeing photoshopped, overly posed images of people on their feed. These things are not attainable or in any realistic measure, making going on social media draining. Seeing and comparing yourself to people you’ve never met or hardly know can be draining. For me, I never feel like I’m doing enough because I’m constantly looking for more.

I used to ask constantly ask myself: 

“Why can’t I do that?” 

“I wish I was doing that…” 

“Why am I not happy doing the things everyone else loves to do?” 

I’d ask myself these things while scrolling my social media and realizing that so much of what we see is staged and the whole goal is to look appealing, even if it isn’t. I started catching myself doing this, noticing how much of an impact it has on my mental health. I’ve slowly backed away and I’ve started to Be Real on social media. 

Nobody cares as much as you care.
I’ve stopped caring if I post too much, not enough, or the wrong things.  Unfollowing someone is as simple as following them. Although this is much easier said than done, taking the risk to post that picture even though it doesn’t entirely, “match your theme” or “look perfect” will make you happier and in some cases, it can help others. 

I’ve started being exactly who I am and not being afraid to share my struggles/ experiences with others. I post as freely as much/ little as I have the desire to and that is what makes me happiest. 

Take Risks
In middle school, I developed an eating disorder that carried me through some of high school. I created a blog my senior year where I shared my experiences with others to let them know they weren’t alone. Before publishing, I was terrified of fear of rejection from my peers. However, I knew that if it was able to reach just one person, then it was well worth it. If I know I am not alone in a situation, it is comforting and motivating to push past something. This ended up being published at the news station in my town and it ended up being much more successful than initially intended. A lot of people reached out inquiring about the blog and how just reading my experiences helped them by being able to relate. I rested assured that putting my story out there was worth it, even if it was terrifying. Sharing those moments of imperfection or struggles creates a relationship with your audience for them to connect with

You attract your audience based on what you can contribute. Staying authentic to who you are and not being afraid to put yourself out there opens a road of opportunities that can benefit others without intention. I am Real on social media. I’ve stopped caring what others think and started contributing to making social media a safe space. I encourage anyone to Be Real on social media — for the sake of your mental health and pleasure. 

It’s okay not to be okay
If you or a loved one are struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out. We all feel overwhelmed from time to time some with reason, some without. Some days are better than others and these feelings are completely normal. While being a student at Grand Valley, you are able to work with trained mental health professionals who offer a plethora of counseling resources for students. GVSU also offers free nutrition services from the Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist on campus. This service provides information from basic education to fueling for performance. Utilize your resources because you are worth your time.
See more about the mental health services here.

Olivia is a sophomore studying Advertising and Public Relations with minors in Economics and Marketing. Olivia is currently the Podcast Director of PR Hangover and the Visual Media Coordinator for Grand PR. This summer, she is currently working as an Editorial Assistant at Macmillan Learning, while also practicing portrait photography. When she isn’t in the office, she participates in various hybrid athletics (predominantly running and CrossFit)  and she loves to rock climb and travel. Futuristically, Olivia hopes to continue working remotely with the aspiration of entering the world of investor/financial writing or an outdoor sports company.