Scrolling through my Instagram feed, my eyes couldn’t get passed the same picture-perfect girls. Their immaculately shining hair and hollywood-white smiles topped with a strict fitness routine and green smoothies with the cliché hashtag #Blessed.
We get it, we know you’re blessed to have an Instagram filter and a size 00 waist.
As I was approaching the new year, those same girls kept coming up on all my social media accounts. Pages plastered with unsolicited advice on how to get that perfect butt or flat abs, I realized I couldn’t sit and watch it anymore.
They can continue to live on their carrot sticks and kale smoothies. They can continue posting their yoga selfies highlighting how perfect they think they are. They are not me, and I not them.
So why do I keep comparing myself?
I’ve read countless of articles and speeches, and heard dozens of lectures describing how focusing on yourself is the ultimate path to happiness. But, just as with anxiety or depression, I know that our mentality can’t be altered within a day, week, or even a year.
Our generation tends to focus so much on our physical appearance that we completely neglect our mental health along the way. We might be a generation that has actually developed a love for taking care of our body through trends such as kickboxing, yoga and palate for kale, but we’re also the generation suffering the most from relentless depression, obsessive eating disorders and anxiety.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States, or 18% of the population. Even more shockingly, 350,000,000 number of people are globally affected by some form of depression, states The Huffington Post.
We’re the most medicated generation yet. We’re terrified of confronting our demons for fear of judgement. We’re terrified of confronting our issues because it will prove we’re not like the picture-perfect celebrities that we worship on Instagram.
We jump at the first chance we get to alter our appearance, we obsess at the reflection in mirrors – yet we’re afraid of facing our own internal emotions.
In order to embrace the new beginning of the new year, me and you both have to start looking at the root of our problems. Let’s face it, we can’t cure an infection if we don’t know what caused it. We have to start addressing the issues we have long kept hidden.
We need to stop fighting the highly dysfunctional relationships that we have with our bodies and start treating ourselves as we would treat our very best friends.
So I’ve come up with a list of real, wholly and unapologetic personal resolutions to make me, as well as you, stronger in 2016. Let’s make 2016 the year we don’t only address our problems, but actually deal with them:
1. Medication isn’t the solution
Let’s be honest, how many times have you reached for that xanax to cope with stress? Or taken comfort knowing it’s safely tucked in our purse? Coming from someone who more than readily suffered from migraines, I’m guilty of taking more than comfort knowing I had package of Advil tucked neatly in my bag.
But really, is medicating ourselves the best remedy? Or can that pretty blue pill not easily be replaced with a matcha latte or ginger smoothie to give us the energy we need…naturally?
So this year, let’s rise up our badass selves and acknowledge the fact that we don’t NEED anything to make us feel good.
2. Leave the past in the past
As a natural overthinker, I’ve suffered from my fair share of insomnia. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of the past dictating my future.I’m sick of remembering the monster in the mirror I once saw, and fearing it’s return.
While I will never, ever forget the hard things that have happened to me in 2015, I refuse to let them dictate my new year. Leave your past where it belongs – in your past. If you don’t allow it to affect your future, it doesn’t have the power to.
Every day is a new beginning, so why waste it looking back? You’re not going that way anyways.
3. Be the person you once needed
Think of the person you needed so desperately growing up. Now, do yourself and everyone around you a favor, and become that person. Why do we crave a knight in shining armor when we can just become it ourselves, or be one for someone else?
Become the rock you can count on. Spread kindness, and speak up – even if your voice is shaking.
For anyone suffering from anxiety, anyone suffering from depression or panic attacks – know that you are not alone. As Jodi Picoult so rightfully said, “Anxiety’s like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you very far.”