We can be really hard on ourselves. I’m a woman, I get it. I work with many many women who struggle with self-acceptance and who, quite frankly, care way too much about trivial matters. In an age of booming social media and within an industry where image means everything, it’s so easy to get bogged down with…well, life. We can see what everyone else in the world is doing at the click of a button. We can compare our lives to those of people we have never, and will never, meet. We can peak through the Instagram window whenever we want and wonder if we will ever get to have the same experiences as our colleagues, idols and friends. Don’t get me wrong, social media has its advantages – it’s an amazing way of bringing us all closer together and enabling quick communication, but this same platform can also spark and intensify feelings of inadequacy and discontentment. Now, more than ever, we feel the need to compare ourselves to others– to make sure our lives are as good as theirs and to make sure we look as good as them. It’s become totally normal to use the lifestyle of somebody we’ve never met as a measure of our own life accomplishments. Feelings of worry, under-achieving or not living life in ‘the best way’ has become the norm. And who even knows if what we see on Insta is even true? Baffling. And worrying.
Do you ever wonder what it feels like to say ‘I don’t care’ and really mean it? Have you ever wondered how it feels to put on an outfit and think ‘I feel good’? Do you ever wonder how your life would be if you stopped obsessing over the negatives and started appreciating the positives? If the answer to these questions is yes, you must read on.
Forget everything you’ve seen on Instagram, here’s your hard and fast guide to truly living your best life.
- Stop focusing on body image.
Your body is not your whole being. Keep fit, stay healthy, be active, do what you love, but don’t let the way you look rule your life. I fully understand that you should feel comfortable and happy in your own skin but let’s not focus only on the physical here, but also the kind of person we are and the actions we take to be good people. I can guarantee that you won’t go down in history for having an amazing body but you will be remembered for your kindness, your strength and your passions.
- Stop dieting.
If you’re the type of person who’s constantly on a diet then it’s time to find a new way to live. Eat the foods you love, the foods that make you feel good and include variety. Do the research, hire a nutritionist if you need, but aim to educate yourself about food so you can implement the best eating habits for you. The moment your life is no longer governed by a restrictive diet is the moment you can start living life to its fullest.
- Choose activity that you enjoy (not simply what everyone else is doing).
A good, healthy life should include activity of some sort. This doesn’t have to be in the confines of a gym if that doesn’t suit you. It doesn’t have to be a set, structured routine if you are more the spontaneous type. For all-round good health, it should involve movement and challenging physical exertion but this could take a variety of different forms. Team sports, fight clubs, adventurous walks, sea swimming and yoga are all good examples of exercise that doesn’t take place in the gym but still has all the benefits.
- Be less materialistic.
Ok, so we all love a pic for ‘the gram’ and enjoy sharing our experiences, but we have to take most of these with a pinch of salt and not get sucked into the whole comparing our lives thing. Don’t judge a person on the material items they have (or don’t have). Having ‘things’, assets, expensive goods doesn’t necessarily make you a better, nicer or happier person. People are different and some people like buying expensive things and that’s absolutely fine but it’s not an indicator of who is the most successful or who has the best life. We don’t see these peoples’ lives in full, only glimpses of it. Aim to be happy with what you have and who you are and most importantly, stop feeling inadequate because your life doesn’t appear to be the same as somebody else’s.
- Sleep more.
The happiest people always make time for sleep. Ok, so I made that up but I’m sure there’s a correlation between good sleep and the elevation of mood. Sleeping well does not make you a lazy person, nor does it make you a bore. So long as you are fit and healthy, you should make plenty of time for rest and relaxation in general. Getting yourself to bed early can not only improve your productivity but also enhances mood and boosts self-esteem by reducing stress, depression and anxiety.
- Have regular medical check ups.
Keeping on top of your medical health is so important to living a full, happy life so ladies, don’t miss out on regular check ups. Not only will this ensure your health status is tip top and reduce the risk of future illness but it’ll also negate any worries that might be linked. Regular smear tests and breast screening should never be missed. We shouldn’t take our health for granted, rather, we should be prioritising health screening and making sure we are booked in for all necessary checks.
One of the main messages I want to get across is that life shouldn’t be a popularity contest, nor should it be a competition. My advice for living your best life…stop caring so much! And I mean caring about the things that don’t matter. The fact that your make up isn’t always perfectly applied, you don’t have the perfect body, you can’t afford to keep up with the latest fitness trend. So what?! Just be you. And stop sweating the stuff that really, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t matter one bit. The falsity of the fitness industry intensified by social media is something I wouldn’t be sad to see the back of. There are a million and one ways to live a happy life but it all starts with an ability to appreciate our own.