After reading an article about Essena O’Neill, the famous teenage Instagrammer (are we really making that a word now?) who quit Instagram, I got to thinking about the effects of social media. There are mixed reviews when it comes to the impacts of social media, but I think we can all agree that it isn’t inherently good or evil — it’s what you make of it.
Unfortunately, it’s becoming increasingly harder to avoid the dark side of comparison that social media offers. Who has more likes? Why can she post pictures of In-N-Out and stay a size 2? Should I start training for a half marathon?
Most often, Instagram is the #1 culprit being called out for enhancing unrealistic expectations, especially for young girls, but I’d like to take a second and address another form of social media that is just as guilty.
I’ll admit it: I’m not so great at Pinterest. I usually use it to pin recipes I’ll never get a chance to cook and DIY apartment tutorials that no one actually has the supplies for.
I found myself stumbling through the world of pins the other day after my mom had sent a few recipes she found that she was really excited about. You see, she’s getting back on the healthy-eating bandwagon and Pinterest is no doubt a great source for inspiration, but I couldn’t help but be a little taken aback as I was scrolling through the board deemed “Health.”
There were pages and pages of articles with titles like “How to Lose 20 Pounds in 2 Weeks Safely” (spoiler alert: you can’t) and “Wake Up Prettier.” I can’t help but wonder — when did this become our definition of health? Why do we equate losing the cellulite on our thighs and the fat off our stomachs with health, but we don’t take the time to make sure we’re getting enough sleep or spending enough time with our loved ones? Is that not a part of health, too?
I’m sure we all have our different definitions of health, but let me explain what it means to me. Health to me means both body AND mind, something that I think a lot of us have to learn the hard way, and one can’t come without the other. We want to treat our bodies well and it’s easy to forget that for all-encompassing health we have to treat our minds with care as well.
So while I’m not promoting that we all quit Pinterest and starting finding out recipes through cookbooks like some sort of neanderthal, I’d like to make a point that it’s important to take the information you find about health on the Internet with a grain of salt.
Despite that girl saying that her “detox tea” really did help her lose the freshman 15, or the pressure you feel when you find an article discussing how long you’ll have to run to burn off that cupcake you ate a lunch—these are not the measures we should be using to deem whether or not we are “healthy.”
So here’s a friendly reminder that your health is not determined by the number of calories you consume or how many times you workout a week, but by how you treat your body—not just physically, but mentally as well.