Social media. Love it or hate it there is virtually no avoiding it and once you’ve started it’s too addictive to stop. I was late to join Facebook, determined it wasn’t for me and I wasn’t missing out on anything. I was only encouraged to join as it can be great for promoting small businesses and my baby gift business Arty apple was just getting off the ground at the time. Do I regret joining? Yes, sometimes. I’ve seen videos of things I never wanted to see, seen a side to people I was naive enough to think didn’t exist and wasted many a pointless half hour on there. The good side is the Mum friendships that have developed since my kids started nursery and school where initial contact has been made with a quick Facebook stalk or join of a Facebook group. It’s easier to make the first move for play dates via messenger! In the main though, I’m not a Facebook fan.
I’ve been on Twitter for a few years, the beauty of which is you get to follow funny celebs and see what people are chatting about when popular programmes are on the telly. My slightly weird (she’d agree) sister is also on there so I get to see what she’s been up to if I haven’t seen her for a few days. She can be pretty amusing too so if you want a giggle you should follow @magicalmissj. We laugh at the fact that I catch up on her life through social media. If you try not to get involved in Twitter rants and arguments, then watching them unfold can be quite entertaining. The main upside to Twitter is you are restricted to 140 characters. Brilliant. Unlike Facebook people can’t go long winded when trying to sum up their thoughts or current mood, which of course we’re all waiting to hear….
Last but not least is Instagram. This has always been my favourite source of social media. No long descriptions needed next to photographs and it is a photograph only site. No checking in places, generally no long winded rants and you choose who to follow based on what you want to see pictures of rather than who were your friends at school. Lately it’s changed though and rather than filling my eyes with delight as I look at photos of great landmarks or delicious recipes it seems to be full of boast posts. Check out my abs, loads of selfies and aren’t you jealous of what I’m doing right now photos. I spent more time rolling my eyes than I did hitting the ‘like’ button. Until I read an article about how if we fill our timelines with supposedly perfect bodies, i.e. zero fat and muscle toned, how do we stay in touch with reality? The article went on to say that if we only ever look at women of a certain figure, style or general look then we are pre conditioning ourselves to think that this is ‘normal’ and let’s face it, for many of us, pretty damn hard to achieve. It really rang true for me as I realised I’d started to follow lots of fitness DVD type accounts so my timeline was full of fake tanned, super slim bikini wearing women. Jesus, who was I? A teenage boy? I’d mindlessly filled my timeline with women who all looked the same and let’s not beat around the bush, their bodies looked nothing like mine so depending on my mood it either motivated me to stick to my food plan and go for that dog jog or it made me feel sad that I was literally never going to look like that. It’s great if the posts motivate you but you can’t guarantee you’re in the right mood for it.
So what have I done to make my timeline healthier?
I’ve unfollowed a few accounts particularly where it was too repetitive and felt like I was having a six pack and zero sugar diet rammed down my throat and I’ve followed some new accounts. They’re not hard to find, just click on some random hashtags and find some new inspiration. I now follow tattooed women, weight-lifting women, people on weight loss journeys, plus size models (try looking for @theashleygraham) and some fitness gurus who will openly show you the before and after selfie shots and explain that you shouldn’t always believe what you see (try @emilyskyefit). My timeline is now so varied that I’m slowly reconditioning my mind to set realistic body goals and not label certain features and physiques as flawed.
A healthy mind is as important as a healthy body.