We regularly use social media to compare ourselves to others. This is inherent to the concept and inevitable. We let everybody know what we did this week and share pictures of our achievements, and in doing so, we ask others to “like” or “comment” on said “status”. This is not necessarily a bad thing, in of itself, but it does not happen in isolation. What actually occurs is a skewed version of reality: we come to view our posts as an honest depiction of life and apply this thinking to the posts we see from others. The comparisons with our social media “friends” begin on these grounds. There are many things wrong here. First, we should never compare ourselves to anyone. There are always greater and lesser people depending on the aspect of oneself and life that we are scrutinizing. Second, we must understand that what we are producing on a social media platform is an advanced avatar of ourselves. On social media, we try to portray ourselves in the best light possible. Think about your profile pictures. I know I regularly adjust, edit and retake a picture to look my absolute best. That is not reality. The third thing is we forget that everyone on social media is also projecting an avatar of themselves, putting out the best version of who they perceive themselves to be. The impact to mental health begins when we forget these simple facts. We assume that what the world projects on social media is real. We forget that we all have hard days and tough days and sad days. We forget that truth about the “friend” who posts constantly about her holidays or the “friend” who is always out having loads of fun. We forget that this is not their reality – it’s just the version they want the world to see. The last element goes back again to comparison. When we are constantly comparing ourselves to unreal versions of others, it can only lead to pain or hurt. It is critical to remember that, for all its benefits, social media is not reality. It’s exactly why real person-to-person interaction is so important, especially now with all that is going on. Pick up the phone, speak to a neighbor safely or go for a walk with someone in your bubble. Do not depend on social media for your connection to reality. And as I prepare to click “Create Post,” the irony is not lost on me. ** If something in this clicks with you or you want to chat further about it, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Goals – When we begin to make a plan or look down the road to what may lie ahead, it is often said that without direction, we may never get to where we want to be. To me, this is a very vague term. What is meant by “direction”? Well, in my experience, what is often lacking in the direction analogy is the foundation blocks for progressing towards the desired destination. One very achievable change to make in our everyday lives to help this is goal setting. When I say goal setting, I mean active goal setting, as in writing down what it is, we would like to change or achieve over a certain period of time. For some, they may carry that list with them, for others, it may be in a visible place at the home or office but active goal setting is huge. What we tend to do at large is what I would refer to as passive goal setting. Saying to ourselves or others that “I would live to …. “ and then never really getting round to it. When we are more active in our goas, we are more inclined to hold ourselves accountable to them. Putting a time line in is a good step too. Not to put you under pressure to achieve a goal by a certain time but more to allow you to reflect on what has or has not happened in the pursuit of a goal. Some goals are permanent and should be always in our minds like being a good person, friend or partner. Setting a goal to tell your loved ones that you love them is a great one too. Then other goals are short and long term. I want to lose 5lbs by Christmas would be a short-term goal and I want to get a master degree in computer science by 2028 is a long-term goal. None of these are out of the question and when you actively write them down, you begin to form the plan to reach them. The other part of this is when you really don’t feel like working towards a life goal on a given day, pull out your list of goals, read them and that fire deep inside you will start burning again. Understanding that nothing happens by itself and we must start the ball rolling ourselves, goal setting is a great way to do it. If the date or timeline you have set isn’t reached, that is not a failure, that is understanding that life happens and we must prioritize. When that does happen, reevaluate that goal and write it down again with a new timeline. The future is ours to create and what happens today is not permanent. KT
During 2020, a lot has happened and challenged us in ways that we might never have thought about. Stress, loneliness, isolation, fear or even depression can become a very real thing in these times. Thinking about that, we have thought about covering a mental health topic in our news letters. This week we are going to talk about "Our Identity" Why is my identity important? Well, it is not really our identity that is the issue but it is what our identity is tied to. Often times it is tied to our profession or job, our outlets or what we enjoy. An example being, how many times have you either introduced yourself or been introduced to someone and one of the first things that is spoken about is what you do? It happens all the time. Beyond this, we often tie it into ourselves. I am a plumber. I am a doctor. This becomes difficult when that part of our identity is taken away. Where the balance comes in is when we realize that I am not a plumber, plumbing is something that I do. I am not a doctor, being a doctor is something that I do. What has been thrown off in this pandemic is the balance within our identity. For a lot, our jobs are gone or greatly reduced, for others it is our outlets or passions like going out to watch the game or play with the local team. In all of these areas, our purpose and identity is made and when we have lost purpose and struggle to regain it, this is where we find our balance all out of whack. Here is where we can being to regain some balance. By giving ourselves a purpose. When we had a pre-covid routine, our purpose was often tied to this. Now we have got to try harder to provide ourselves with a purpose. Look at it like this, if every morning we wake up and give that day a purpose, we will begin to ease the difficulty that is there. It can be small like cutting the grass or tidying the front room and it can be a bigger purpose like learning a language or a new skill. It might seem like a small thing but if we do this on a daily basis, the pain and suffering will begin to subside. If something in this clicks with you or you want to chat further about it, please reach out.