I am an Instagram addict. The app has its flaws (ahem, the algorithm) but I love photography and seeing other people’s stories told through their snaps. The main downside to Instagram is how unrealistic and idyllic it can be, and my silly brain starts making comparisons to my own life.
When your body confidence is prone to getting low or if you’re having a bit of a down day, or if you aren’t where you wanted to be in life; Instagram can make it worse. It can show you exactly what you’re not and things that you can’t have. If you’re not in the right head-space, Instagram can give your brain the weapons it needs to hurt you.
Life isn’t always Instagram perfect. Shit happens and not all of us have the money or time to go to perfect beaches with cocktails in hand; own a zillion different outfits and go to cool events. Does anyone else think that too many Instagram accounts feel hollow and void of reality?
There are also accounts which purposefully encourage harmful ideas of ourselves – pushing miracle weight loss programmes and attacking fat people (“thinspo”) or romantisizing mental health issues.
I decided recently to revamp my list of accounts that I follow – to ones more positive and realistic. For me, that meant getting rid of people who weren’t body positive, who spent a lot of money on physical possessions and whose photos/captions weren’t making me smiley or nod my head in agreement. Now my Instagram feed is full of friends and happy people. I also started following more arty Instas and people who live in van conversions but are real about the experience.
There are a heck of a lot of #vanlife accounts, but many don’t tell you about the bad days. The days when you both wake up grumpy and snap at each other all day; the nights cramped into your bed; the loneliness of the road; the bad weather days; the times when plans go wrong or when roads/places are shut; or when you get a bit stuck on a muddy narrow track; when you both shit yourselves going through a low tunnel or bridge; or when you can’t find somewhere flat to park for the night and end up sleeping tilted at ridiculous angles! Before I left, I didn’t follow people on Instagram who told it how it was, but now I know first hand you gotta take the good with the bad and it helps to have a sense of humour about it. So I want to see *real* accounts of this lifestyle. If a van-life account tells you that living in a van is perfect, then they are lying to you. It’s a great way to travel, but it’s just like living anywhere – it has its tough moments. I’ll soon be writing a post on my favourite van conversion Instagram accounts so keep an eye out if you’re interested in that sort of thing!
It’s also nice to follow accounts that help you to love yourself that little bit more. I personally love the body positivity guru Megan Crabbe/@bodyposipanda and the illustrator Katie Abey (@katieabey), who are both hugely popular (and for good reason)! Bloggers like Lauren Rosenbaum/@loulabxlle, Helen Anderson/@helenanderz and the lovely Becky/@crueltyfreebecky of crueltyfreebecky.com also stand out to me as lovely people spreading good vibes on social media. Do you have any favourite positive Instagram accounts to recommend to me (maybe even your own)?