I find that the phrase ‘self-care’ is thrown around like it means nothing and the sad thing is we do not give this phrase a chance. We destroy its power at the beginning, self-care is worthless without an action being applied to it, great things can happen if you follow through and simply give it a chance…
There is nothing worse than feeling like you do not have you life together but yet see that the world is still spinning and your peers are moving at a different pace than the one that you are. When you find yourself reaching a similar low point, what advice do you get given the most???
You need to think about you.
Take time – take a second, an hour, a day, a week and take care of yourself…
Again that umbrella phrase ‘Self -Care’ of looking after yourself is fed to you and I believe that a lot of the time this falls on deaf ears. While its echo of that tiny bit of power that this phrase has left slowly fades away into the background and the hope it had of you igniting it disappears. But in between all the hustle and bustle who actually has the time for self care?
I know I don’t.
I struggle everyday with making sure that there is balance in my life. Everyday something has to give or take, a compromise is always made because while all of my time and energy goes into something another part of my life is being left neglected.
Cavemen taught us that in the end survival of the fittest is what won. The strongest won and those deemed weaker got left behind because the world carried on spinning and no matter what is happening in your life the world will never wait for you.
Fast-forward thousands of years and that same concept still exists. Except that race today is for the following…
Whose life on social media is the best?
Who has the most likes? The most followers?
Who is portraying the best win at self-care by posting how happy they are?
Which one do you find yourself currently racing in? Which title are you competing for?
Self-care is not succumbing to the peer pressure that everything has to be posted onto social media. Self-care is having the courage to stay away from a toxic environment and not be intimidated by the highlights that an online user has carefully chosen to share to make you feel like you are falling behind. The myth that self-care means you have to isolate yourself and only focus on yourself has to come to an end. Self-care doesn’t mean shutting yourself away from the world it means improve yourself, put some time into you. Improve your friendships, the things around you but do it in real-life not online…
A lot of the time people will temporarily disappear from their social media to try and fix whatever heartache they are dealing with and when the heartache is dealt with, they claim to be returning stronger than ever. As soon as that announcement is made, that person has failed because their time is being put back into their online world, their focus is back on their phone and that self-care they managed to create and up-keep slowly starts to disappear again.
That announcement to justify yourself to the world for why there was an absence in your timeline is not self-care. That upload is to excuse the fact that you had to take a breather out of a race you are trying to win.
But this is what we forget, just because there is a void in our online life, it doesn’t mean that we haven’t been doing things or enjoying ourselves. We do not need to upload and document every single thing we do. Just because you haven’t posted in a while it doesn’t mean you are ‘boring’ or that you don’t have a life that has something to offer. Think back to before Facebook our daily adventures (uploads) would have been turned into an afternoon of arts and crafts and creating a scrapbook for us to one day look back on.
Social media instead takes us away from experiences because we photograph everything to be able to add to our scrapbook story – our profile. I know I’m not the only one with thousands of images in my camera roll because I think it is important to record every second of every day. Rather than living in the moment I found myself being a regular in the following scenarios…
‘Hold that thought, let me photograph this for my social media…’
‘Uhh, hang on let me take another just in case…’
‘Ok last one let me take it from this angle…’
How many of us look back and notice, ‘Oh wait I was being a bit anti-social that day’… because there is a picture of you sat in the background on your phone? Or someone wants to take a selfie but you were in the middle of a text and so the image was taken of the following… yourself, your friend + of course your phone being in your hand. How much of an adventure, of the day did you actually absorb?
Sound familiar? We spend so much time trying to portray the best version of ourselves online instead of making sure that the real you is the best version; that a lot of us end up hiding behind our online profile and we end up feeling lonely because all we do is look at other people’s highlights, instead of getting out there and working on yourself. I have always struggled with anxiety and so I’ve always hid behind the online version I portray of myself because she is much happier and confident than the real me. But that isn’t real I’m not always at my happiest even though my online life says otherwise.
Nowadays the modern phone even has an app to show you the amount of hours and I say hours because there is no way people use their phones for a few minutes a day. This app tells you how many hours a day you are staring at your screen. Imagine if you weren’t? How much ‘extra’ time would you have? It makes you think doesn’t it? Maybe there are enough hours in the day, what other things could we be doing instead?
I decided I wanted to try something, I put my phone on silent and put it at the bottom of my bag for a day. I decided I wasn’t going to spend the day worrying about Facebook messages and notifications. Instead I worried about putting my time and energy into nurturing my mental health instead of making sure that my social media platform kept growing. I decided to call this day my self-care day.
I began to walk again and when my steps started to increase, running followed. I haven’t ran in such a long time that it saddens me that I forgot how great it felt, I put this little gem of self-care on the back burner. How dare I? All because somewhere along the lines being glued to my phone & checking out what was happening on social media became my number one priority.
I completely forgot who I could be. I forgot that the anxiety and sadness I felt inside could be turned into excitement and happiness. I forgot that by resurfacing those feelings I could have the courage to do anything I needed to.
When those 24 hours came to an end, I finally checked my phone…
In the back of my mind I thought there would have been several missed calls for me to respond too. This wasn’t the case, the realisation was no one cared that my status was inactive and I came to the realisation that everyone is too busy trying to win their own race to check in on how I was doing.
Being addicted to my phone and social media only revealed that all I’ve done lately is wasted my own time because I thought showing my audience that I’ve been living my best life online was self-care but it wasn’t. All it showed was that I was online, all the time…
A lot of people now form relationships online via ‘places’ like tinder. I don’t agree with the concept of online dating because what is does is enforce us to be on our phones all the time communicating via text, while the world is still spinning around us… But what if you’re not one of those people that is not always on their phone? Or you’ve had a really busy day? Then apparently we are going to be single for the rest of our lives because we’ll never meet someone unless it is online… Personally I would rather wait for that scene out of the movie where I’m not looking where I’m going, bump into a guy get talking to him and I’ll know he’s the one.
All this has made me realise I became a prisoner to my own phone because I was obsessed on showing that I was ‘online’. No longer was I going to be dependent of waiting for notifications to arrive. I didn’t want to be my own prisioner anymore of not doing anything with my evenings and just waiting for them to appear. When all along I should have dumped my phone at the bottom of my bag, self-care get out there and live my life.
I cannot believe I neglected my own person and I only have myself to blame.
As hard as it is to maintain a healthy balance in your life, here is a piece of advice that I feel I am able to share with you…
Do not pour your soul into ‘creating’ an image for who you are online because all of that wasted time and energy into keeping that up means you start to lose your sense of purpose and identity of who you are. While you’re busy posting online the food you’ve just ate or checking into a location for that like. You’re losing out on physically living in that moment, see the thing is others have figured out that this online lifestyle is exhausting and all that energy can be put into living in the real world instead. Let’s join that force…
Let’s keep our mental health happy by creating the best version of ourselves around our favourite circles of friends and family. Don’t neglect your circle for a message you have in your DM’s it isn’t worth it. Those you have a physical and real emotional connection with are the ones that are worth nurturing! I promise you’ll find they are the ones who are worth your time and energy and before you know it a notification will mean nothing but your self-care into living your life will mean everything.
Keep it ignited.