Nicola Alpe: How hitting the ‘unfollow’ button can make you happier

There is nothing like the feeling of lightness, of a load lifted when some particularly arduous task is completed that in turn makes your life easier.

Maybe it’s just me, but I know for sure there are many who feel the same way when surveying a decluttered wardrobe, an organised wedding album, or the divine goodness of opening the pantry to actual organisation.

It’s worth a little bit of effort for the result, and who doesn’t want to have more bandwidth for the fun things in life, instead of the things that are subconsciously dragging you down?

Slash and burn

Recently I deleted 16,000 emails and I felt incredible afterwards. The account had been used for personal and business for nearly a decade, and I was so sick of opening my email and seeing that monstrous figure sitting there in brackets, silently mocking me.

I knew there were some great missives in there, and I found a few but otherwise, I was slaying emails in all directions. When I finally finished, because it wasn’t a one-click exercise, I felt an amazing lightness. Only twice have I regretted it when I’ve gone to find something, but I’m not dwelling on it. Don’t forget to tackle your sent items too.

Ditch toxic relationships

Have you noticed how emotionally draining interactions with some people are? One of the beautiful things as adults is that we have a reasonable degree of control over who we invite into our lives, so if you can, get rid of anyone who saps your energy, leaves you feeling anything less than fabulous or one-sided relationships. My friend uses an excellent phrase, detach with love.

There are exceptions. Your co-worker may be truly hideous, but you don’t want to leave your job, so in these cases engage professionally and politely and leave it at that. Detach. Not every interaction with someone will leave you feeling energetic and buzzing and at times you will be a right energy sap too, but when the flat is more often than the fizzy it’s time to think about detaching with, or without love.

Cut back on the follows

I’m not going to suggest the horror of spending less time on your devices as that’s never going to happen, but if you have scores of accounts that you are following that you don’t interact with, then have a good unfollow session and enjoy quietening the noise. Instagram makes this easy, by going into your ‘following’ tab and clicking on ‘least interacted with’.

If it’s an account you’ve followed because maybe you’d like to stay in a particular Hawaiian holiday home or you’d like to visit a certain restaurant in the future, write the names down in a diary or in your notes app and free up your feed. Unfollow the pages you’ve liked on Facebook, most likely businesses or brands you’ve worked for or tried to win a competition with, and start seeing more of your friends and accounts you value.

Economise on maintenance

Still shaving your legs? Switch to a monthly wax or a few sessions of laser and give away worrying about hair removal so often. Or let it go altogether, you know I’m an advocate for bringing back the bush for reasons other than time saving but yes, it does remove one more appointment.

Consider microblading eyebrows, highlights that grow out more naturally or give the nail polish a break over winter. Anything to decrease the never-ending list of maintenance that is marketed as self-care.

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