Although I thought I was the only one experiencing anxiety and pressure coming from my own expectations, in the last months I started noticing how people around me, i.e. colleagues, friends and family members are actually feeling in the same way. Not being an expert, I am not 100% sure what’s the cause of this, but the majority of people I spoke to are blaming social medias and the stress that their jobs cause. The amount of people posting pictures in fantastic locations, conventions or job sites is endless and although I do understand that working on social medias is a job and that many people are trying to tell a story or show the best of them and of their job, I wonder if that is maybe causing damage in people’s self image and awareness. If we stop for a second and think about it, we are constantly bombarded by perfect images that create expectations that affect not only how we think we should look like, but also what we should be doing, the job we should aim for and so on.
In this context, I believe it’s important to take everything we see as a pinch of salt: if we see that someone has a super dynamic corporate job and they show in every post that they are very happy that may not be exactly the truth. I am not saying that I don’t spend time scrolling through Instagram feeds watching other people’s stories, but I can confidently say that I have taken a step back because the same people that seem all smiley and happy may have their issues too, it’s just that we don’t get to see them. So, instead of comparing yourself to all these ‘perfect’ people online, or even friends that seem perfect on the surface, be inspired by them to improve yourself; don’t copy them or try to be them, but take their positive sides to improve yourself and focus on you!
With this sermon I simply wanted to say that I have been through it myself and that after some trial and error, I have found some techniques that help me with my mental and physical health, so here we go!
I am the definition of a couch potato. When I was younger I used to be very active, but then I injured my ankles and stopped practicing sport altogether, needless to say that it was an awful decision. Turned out that practising sport is essentially like a medicine that helps you avoid falling into anxiety and depression’s vicious cycles. So just give it a chance and try to find what you like: it can be zumba, swimming, running, gym classes of any sorts. Nowadays, there are plenty of options for every pocket, so you can’t escape. In my case, I tried to go to the gym, running and so on, but what I found really works for me is swimming. When I am in the swimming pool I focus only on that, I think about the movements that I am doing and best of all, I don’t feel all sweaty and hot because I am immersed in the water! On top of that, I have found that yoga really helps to soothe my nerves. Getting into it is not as fast as one would think: we all have different levels of flexibility and not everyone can find their focus straight away. The good thing about this discipline is that you mix meditation practice and sequences of poses that can be challenging but also relaxing, depending on the type of practice you choose. To give it a go, you don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds on super tech accessories and yoga classes, but you can just start familiarise with it following online videos. The one I feel works best for me it’s Yoga with Adriene: she doesn’t take it too seriously but at the same time makes everything easier and her voice is really pleasant.
I am aware that this may sounds cliché or boring, but it is true. Finding some time during your day, it can be 1 to 10 minutes, can truly improve your lifestyle. Stopping and thinking about your breath really makes the difference; there are plenty of apps, like Headspace, and videos online, but if you are already feeling overwhelmed, simply try the square breathing technique. Obviously, you won’t get the benefits of it straight away, but giving it a go doesn’t cost anything and in the long run you’ll find yourself feeling calmer and more positive.
This is what works for me and I thought that sharing it may help some other people that are feeling buried by expectations coming from the outside world, but mostly from themselves. Please, feel free to share your experience and suggestions!