Death by Comparison and Why Social Media Is Ruining Your Life 

I still have Twitter. I still use Twitter. I can’t stop using Twitter. It’s one of the cruelest places you can exist on the internet. It’s a place where everyone is trying to be funny and no one is above punching up down or sideways. If you have an opinion there is some there to tell you it is wrong.

I am luckily not funny enough to have a large following and not controversial enough to be trolled daily (have been trolled before, feels bad) 

The trouble I run into on Twitter are the innocuous ‘I have some news’ tweets. The ones where people humblebrag about their good news. Although intentions aren’t nefarious and these people should be sharing their amazing news, one can’t help but feel alienated by a stranger’s success. I read a tweet the other day that said ‘Baby’s first magazine cover!’ and thought to myself ‘Damn, I haven’t reached that milestone yet.” Like what? As if that is a totally normal milestone most people achieve?

I quit Instagram for many reasons- it made me shop, it made me stare at photoshopped images of perfect women, it made me feel like my life just wasn’t worthy enough. This is a trend. 

‘Empirical evidence has been found regarding the positive relationship between social media use and social comparison. For instance, de Vries and Kühne (2015) conducted a survey study among young adults in the Netherlands, and demonstrated that higher intensity of Facebook use was associated with more social comparison. A similar relationship was also found in a study of Instagram, demonstrating that social media can predict individual differences in social comparison orientation and behavior (Stapleton et al., 2017). A systematic review of social media use in health care showed that patients use social media to compare themselves with other patients to find out how “bad” their health conditions are and how well the treatments work (Smailhodzic et al., 2016).’ – The Effects of Instagram Use, Social Comparison, and Self-Esteem on Social Anxiety: A Survey Study in Singapore

“If Facebook demonstrates that everyone is boring and Twitter proves that everyone is awful, Instagram makes you worry that everyone is perfect — except you.” – Alex Hern, The Guardian 

Self comparison is bad for a lot of reasons- it doesn’t actually help you achieve more, it ruins your sense of self and you’re usually using inaccurate information (edited selfies, celebratory tweets that don’t mention the 10 years of failure prior)

It’s hard to feel motivated in a Pandemic and it’s even harder to feel satisfied. Other people’s lives seem so together. Other people seem to be handling things properly.

I have found that self comparison stops tenfold when I’m away from social media. When I spend time with people I am not on my phone. I stay away from Twitter and the time away is a welcome reprieve. The smartest people I know do not use that site. When you aren’t inundated with what everyone else is doing, it’s incredible how fast your own self esteem starts to heal. When you look at your life it doesn’t seem quite so inadequate. 

Is it weak to admit that you’re vulnerable to these little deaths by comparison? Maybe yes. But maybe there is some strength in knowing what you need to fix and setting to work to fix it. Social media isn’t going anywhere. People have whole careers on these platforms. You can either take part and feel bad or disassociate and step back. I am always for healthy social media breaks and for testing my own mettle to see what I am capable of. What little challenges I can overcome and I often surprise myself. 

I’ve never read an article or watched a video where a person takes a social media break and doesn’t feel better at the end of it. Have you? 

We aren’t supposed to be privy to this many people’s thoughts and opinions. We aren’t supposed to be this influenced by this many strangers. 

So I invite you to take a break. I am going to be. I use Twitter every single day and it’s the first thing I do when I wake up. This cannot be healthy. I am going to take a break from Twitter and from being influenced by other people.

Shifting the focus back to you and your life. 

Here are the things I’ll be doing instead. 

Working out

When I’m sad I workout about it. It takes time and energy and you only leave it feeling good. 

Reading News Not on The App

I caved and got a subscription to the New York Times. I read once that the NYT has a higher reading level than most other print journalism so maybe this will make me smarter too? 

Hikes in The Woods

In Toronto the weather is getting warmer and a podcast on my hike in the woods is one of the best feelings. Have you listened to Con Queen? It’s on spotify. Absolutely fascinating stuff. 

Getting a Job

LOL the time has come to get some little email job to occupy my brain and hands with so I don’t just think and consume social media all day. 

Movie Watching 

I just watched Jackie Brown for the first time the other day and wow. It feels shameful to have lived 33 years without seeing it. 

Stretching

If I spent as much time stretching as I do reading tweets about Donald Trump I would be a bendy beautiful goddess. Stretching feels good. 

Learning about Money 

I am a GIRLBOSS who is in Ketosis and DEBT. Time to get my act together. Time to understand what in god’s name a mutual fund is.

Seeing Friends 

This is the number one best way to feel good about life. To get off that damn phone and remember why you’re alive. Hangout with the friends who see you for you and love you for it. Listen to their jokes and their accomplishments and feel yourself feel happy for them. It helps.

Practicing Gratitude

Are you warm right now? Have you had any coffee? Try to remember how insanely lucky you are for the life you do have even if you don’t have a massive Kim Kardashian dump truck ass.

Life is hard enough, let us take a break from the things that make it even worse.

What are some of your tips for dealing with social comparison? Let me know below.

Lockdown Blues, 5 Little Things I Do To Cope

So here in Ontario we’re smack back into another lockdown, or stay at home order, or whatever. We’ve been in this for the better part of like 7 months. Haircuts, patios and gyms have all been out of the question for a while, however the bumbling sentient Tim Horton’s honey cruller that governs our province gave us a dollop of fresh hope two weeks ago, leading many of us to believe that the end was in fact in sight. ALAS, today there are 4k cases, overrun ICUs and we are back at square one. No patios, no haircuts, no vaccines for front line workers, no structured vaccine rollout plan, just pure unadulterated clownery. 

So it begs the question, how do we stay positive when it feels like the levy is about break. Every person managing throughout this pandemic is living their own unique dour existence be it couples quarantining in eachother’s assholes or parents having to work a full time job as well as ensure their kid is learning via online instruction. 

I haven’t worked since December 13th when I finished a 3 month long background job on Good Witch Season 7 (best job ever by the way and I miss Middleton with my whole entire heart everyday) and being out of work is its own fresh hell. 

We all have our unique challenges with this pandemic but we have one thing in common, we are all just trying to cope. The horizon looks grey and bleak, and the uncertainty weighs heavy on our minds and shoulders. 

So I’ve made a little list of things that might be helpful when it comes to keeping our spirits high and the noose from our necks. 

Sleeping

Just do it. Do it as much as you want. Spend money to make it comfortable and cozy and really indulge in it. Our waking hours are so full of stress that we need z’s to repair and restore our minds and bodies, readying us for another day in the plague. 

Exercising 

I know. It’s shitty to say exercise when most of us barely have the mental energy to make coffee but every article, website, tweet, youtube vid, book and conversation with my roommate recommends it. I get it, it’s hard and uncomfortable and vulnerable but once you get over the hump of the first day it’s easier. The benefits are almost instantaneous and something nice to look forward to is looking hot in public if we are ever allowed to be there again.

Treating Yourself without Spending Money

Watch a garbage show (I recommend Blown Away, there is a bad boy of glass blowing and things *heat up*) listen to music you used to enjoy when you were younger or more emotional (The Used) put on a hot outfit and dance in the mirror pretending you’re at studio 54 (personal fav) mix all of the remnants of remaining alcohol in your house into one fun disgusting cocktail, nap in the daytime, pet a dog, take a long hot shower, whatever your little treat to yourself is, do it. Just do it. Who cares anymore. 

Looking At A Map?

Okay this one sounds insane but you are a broken person if you do not find maps interesting. I can look at a map for hours. I can look at a map and then see a little place, google that little place and learn about it. I can do this for a considerable amount of time. Traveling is off limits right now, but once we kick this thing it will open again and a lot of places will be horny as hell for tourism. So start peeking and planning. 

Watching A Movie Where People Are Way Worse Off than You 

May I suggest Melancholia? Or perhaps Titanic? The world is not ending it just feels like it is right now but it’s not. Take heart, things may feel bad but you aren’t plunging to your death from the decks of the Titanic and that is something to be grateful for 🙂

Buying A Little Thing

Buy yourself some dumb little thing that you want. I currently have ROLLERBLADES in my cart on amazon. Forget about being good and make yourself feel nice. If we’re stuck in the house for four more weeks why not try to make them fun.

Time is moving faster and stranger than ever and even if things feel terrible in our day to day, its still important to hug our lives and be grateful. It looks bleak and ugly but things can’t be bad all of the time. There is always balance.

If you’re struggling I’m right there with you, but hopefully this helps 🙂