Recently in the news room I was allocated a story based on research into the correlation between social media use and self-esteem issues.
The research, by the University of South Australia, discovered a link between increased use of social networking and the internalisation of the thin ideal.
According to the research, this can lead to poor body image and low self-esteem.
I’m not about to dispute this research, I’m not a scientist or a psychologist, and self-esteem issues are very real.
However, I do think there is a certain element of social media that holds us more accountable for our health. This can only be a good thing, right?
Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way and let me say once and for all that I am addicted to Instagram.
It was about three months ago during a particularly good scroll of the thumb that I stumbled upon a certain Instagrammer and her subsequent Youtube channel, all focusing on health via good nutrition, movement and mindfulness.
I was already a pretty keen weight lifter, but since discovering this account I’ve found myself caring about my health in a more holistic way.
I’m more conscious of the food I consume, I make sure I keep active and I’m meditating.
I now follow a whole barrage of young women who approach their health in a similar way.
Their posts are motivational and keep me and my goals in check.
While I don’t necessarily want to be a body builder of any kind, I do want to have a strong and healthy body that will carry me for a long life.
These same women also share recipes and tips for preparing meals for those who are short of time (who isn’t these days?).
I now meal prep every Sunday for the following week and I find myself gravitating towards whole foods.
I’m not saying I’m some kind of vegan, paleo health nut. In fact I had a parma at the pub for dinner last night.
But by making more health-conscious choices I don’t get that pang of guilt for indulging every now and then that I know so many girls my age experience.
Forgive me for what I’m about to say, but it’s all about balance.
By watching these women achieve their goals online, and even sharing my own, I find myself more accountable and less likely to let my goals go by the wayside.
It’s an entire community and it’s very supportive.
The research I mentioned has alerted me to the fact that there is a very fine line where accountability might spill over into obsession, but I believe that onus is on the individual user.
We live in an age where we have the entire world at our fingertips.
Magically, our fingertips can actually put our phones down and spare our thumbs hours of endless scrolling.
I enjoy social media as much as the next person but at the end of the day it is quite nice to put my phone on do not disturb and disconnect.
In saying this, you can pry my Instagram account from my cold dead hands.
Taylah Burrows is a News journalist.