5 Tips For Staying On Track When You Feel Low

We are living through a truly challenging time and getting out of bed most days is a real feat. If you’re unemployed during this mess you know how long and hopeless the days can feel. 

Here are my tips for staying tough and motivated and not giving into the ever present desire to eat sunchips in bed with a blanket over the curtains because it isn’t dark enough.

Shower 

Showering in the morning is a reset and when you feel like shit and as though nothing matters anyway, it’s easy to let this fall to the wayside. This is the simplest most important part of my routine because it makes me feel clean and ready even if all I am doing is wallowing in my own depression.

Hydrate

Drink water. Drink tea. Drink drink drink. Feeling like shit is almost always exacerbated by dehydration. Headaches, digestive issues and brain function are often side effects of dehydration.  If you can’t find the energy to eat, forcing down water will help. 

Be Gentle With Yourself 

It’s hard. Allow yourself to feel and be whichever way you want to without judging yourself for it. 

Exercise 

I’m going to say it in every post forever. Exercising is the number one way to feel better about yourself and your life. Anything counts. Just move. I try to hike every day and though it’s hard to do, I always feel better after.

Keep Consistency

Yes you’re out of a job but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a routine. Make a routine for the day and keep consistency with it. There are going to be days when you do not want to do it, but do it anyway at 20% instead of 100%. You don’t have to love what you’re doing, you just have to do it. 

These are the main tips that have helped me. Of course they may or may not work for you. There are times when I find it difficult to take my own advice, but I try and it helps. 

What are some of your tips for keeping your head above water when the blues get you? 

Comment below.

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.

Quitting Instagram To Be Happier

Instagram would love this fake smile

Social media has long been accused of destroying our mental health and quitting it used to be much easier. Now that we are in a global pandemic a lot of us are out of work, bored and lonely sitting around the house all day watching our youth melt before our eyes like a pool toy on a sunny day. Picking up our phones and scrolling through other people’s lives helps to take our minds off of our own. The effects of social media are far reaching and damaging.

In my experience, I’ve always had a tricky relationship with Instagram. I love photography so it’s a great place to showcase my work but on the flip side, it’s also a great place to feel bad about my work. I hate the feeling of putting something out and checking for likes and validation. The feeling of checking my story to see if particular people have watched is so wholeheartedly cringeworthy, and when they haven’t looked? Pain.

This isn’t a new concept, it’s natural to want to express yourself, to want to be perceived and appreciated. In a pandemic, it’s way harder to find this type of validation. Ordinarily we would be getting it from friends and loved ones who we no longer see. 

Research has shown that Instagram is the worst social media platform for mental health and wellbeing. Other sites like YouTube and Twitter encourage users to learn and grow, these platforms aren’t entirely predicated on selfies and shopping. 

So why are we still using it? We know it’s bad for us yet it seems impossible to escape it’s glossy familiar clutches.  We use it because we’re lonely, bored and encouraged to use it. We’re in a pandemic and honestly there’s really not much else to do. Posting is great for self expression but terrible for self comparison. So here is a list of things I am doing to keep me from picking up my phone and logging in to that demonic shopping app.

Reading Books That I Actually Like

These books are not at all embarrassing but I have read Twilight and I am not ashamed to admit that

Hear me out. Often we’ll pick up a book and start it because someone we love or respect enjoyed it and they’ve recommended it or simply because we want to be the kind of person that would read a certain kind of book. This has happened to me and when it does it’s actually fucking torture to get through it. I am not excited to read it and becomes more of a chore than a simple pleasure.My advice? Read books that you actually like and don’t give a shit what people think. You’re a 50 year old woman who likes YA? Who cares! You love trashy thrillers or formulaic Harlequins? Good! Even if you’re reading actual garbage, you’re still reading, you’re still putting your brain first and you’re still not picking up that god forsaken phone.

Cooking

I realize this is a salad but I did bake the tofu so it still counts.

I know what you’re thinking because I think they very same thing. Cooking is challenging and it takes too long and it’s barely worth it. I never cooked until the pandemic hit and now I’ve forced myself into domesticity, cooking and almost enjoying the fruits of my labor. Cooking takes up a ton of time, is healthier than eating out and is often cheaper.

Walking

Four times a week I walk to the beach near my house and stare existentially at rocks.

Yes. Boring but effective. If you’re addicted to your phone, stuffing it deep down in your bag away from your jonesing little hands for 40 minutes while you walk around listening to a podcast is a great thing. Not only are you interacting with the world at large, you’re moving, getting fresh air and actually living your life instead of watching someone else’s on Instagram.

VSCO

This is where I love to post my little abstract images free from the shackles of likes and strangers asking why they aren’t selfies.

I use this app for photos and follow no one. No one follows me either. I still take tons of photos and edit them and post them but not for likes. Every time I post I expect that no one will like or share it and I’m happy with that.

Call Someone

Not them though.

I know this is terrifying but I have found that it works 300 percent better for curing loneliness than Instagram. Call a friend, it might be weird at first but chances are they are just as lonely and happy to know that someone cares about their existence too.

Anything is Better Than Nothing

I have been off of Instagram since January 1st. It has been tough at times because my city is in lockdown so most days are just staring out the window, but not facing the pressure to live some glorious life every day has lessened my anxiety beyond measure. I no longer feel the need to shop (why the fuck was I doing this, I literally sit in the house all day) my relationship with my person is better and not seeing my life as content when I’m barely able to move from bed some days. 

There’s so much self help out there but almost none of pertains to pandemic living. Everything is hard. We all don’t know what we are doing. We’re all just coping. If Instagram isn’t a problem for you, you’re lucky and special but if it is, try for a little bit to stop using it. Go slow, do like a day or two at a time. See how you feel. It won’t make your life instantly better but at the very least you will save money.