By lauren Henshaw – Keep It Cleaner

There has been a lot of negative speculation about social media recently and so I wanted to share with you how I use it as a positive influence and prevent it from harming my self-esteem and confidence.

One of the ways I love to use social media in a positive way is to motivate myself, however it is essential that you don’t let this motivation turn into you setting ridiculous expectations for yourself. If you follow ‘fitspo’ and healthy living accounts and it means that on the days you may not be motivated to exercise, scrolling through and finding a motivational quote or a workout idea gets you off the couch and to the gym then social media is a great tool for you.

Healthy inspirational accounts can be great if they mean by following them you are motivated to exercise more or eat healthier. Where it gets dangerous is when you start working out to solely look like an ‘Instagram’ fitspo photo instead of exercising for your health. Setting goals to look like photos of girls that have most likely been photo-shopped and also have different genetics to you can be really dangerous for your self-confidence. It is impossible to achieve a photo-shopped body. Work out to be the best version of YOU.

Let social media motivate you to get to the gym but once you are there focus on yourself and only yourself and being the best version of you.

Another great thing I love about social media is all of the beautiful images of travel and food which I sometimes draw on for inspiration for my own work. While I do get inspiration from social media imagery I do not set ‘life goals’ based on what I see. This is an important one.

People only share the best parts of their lives on social media and trust me for most accounts this only makes up a mere 5% of their actual life.

This is why it is impossible to create ‘life goals’ for 100% of your life around someone’s 5%. So while following an account for fashion/health inspiration or styling ideas can be useful don’t let it make you feel down about why your life isn’t solely full of beautiful hotel rooms, designer clothing and expensive restaurants because their lives aren’t either.

Lastly, social media can be great for healthy recipe ideas however never let it make you feel like you have to deprive yourself. If your whole Instagram feed is full of calorie counting recipe accounts then it may be a good idea to unfollow a few of them. Try to get your inspiration from accounts that promote eating healthy, nourishing foods and focus on balance instead of those that promote deprivation and dieting.

Tips for getting the best out of social media

1. Follow inspiring, healthy accounts that promote a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

2. Unfollow any accounts that make you feel insecure about yourself. There are enough social pressures on young women today, the less of this you have the better it is for your mental health.

3. Don’t follow too many ‘fitspo’ accounts that make you obsess over calorie intake or dieting. Having an entire feed full of ‘fitspo’ can be really negative on your self-esteem and make you obsessed with weight loss and calorie counting.

4. Remember that there is a real world out there! Don’t let social media become your life. Learn to step away from it and don’t be on it 24/7. Enjoy your family and friends company and try to have a social media free hour a day or day a week.