Social Media and Comparison-itis

Mindfulness & Mental Health

Last week I saw a post in one of the Facebook groups I belong to. One of my fellow members has a son who has decided to look into to how much screen-time adults have, on the belief that adults are on their phones more than children are.

Well. I do believe he was right. For pretty much as far back as I can remember, I’ve been dealing with anxiety, partly about perfectionism, and partly social comparison. Over the past year or so I have noticed that the social comparison part of this has gotten worse. I am finding it harder to see other people’s success or talent and be excited about it, like I used to. Now, it feels like competition. And I’m usually the loser.

I really, really don’t like this feeling. It was wonderful to see someone do something awesome and feel inspired, or just respond to their work as a reader/viewer. This space of judgement sucks.

Last time I was in this place, I worked on my self-acceptance, and this feeling went away. While I am trying the same approach this time, I’ve discovered that I need to work harder to get the same results.

So back to the experiment. We were asked to download a tracker app onto our phones (I’m on Android so got QualityTime) which shows our usage. The first day I had SIX HOURS of screen time. Imagine what I could have got done in the time that I was checking in on my phone? My average for the week so far (Sat – Thurs, so 6 days) is 4h 15m, with social media taking up about 2h of that time.

Now, there is definitely value in social media. I have made some beautiful connections and very real friendships. It helps build my presence as an author / artist, and also helps sell my books. I can help other creatives out by sharing their work, too.

But do I really need to be on there for two hours a day? I don’t think so. Do I need to be researching, or checking emails, or getting advice from <insert expert here>, or whatever it is I’m doing for another two hours? Definitely not.

I feel that this has something to do with the feelings of comparison-itis. If I am scrolling through other people’s highlights for so much time in a day, and reading or listening to other people’s advice (people who I deem are higher up the food chain), then maybe it’s only natural that this feeds into my social comparison.

Phase one of the experiment ends today, when we will send our stats in and get back suggestions to reduce our usage. I look forward to sharing my reduced usage time with you, and letting you know how I am feeling next week!

Two weeks in – Auckland (half) Marathon Training

Depression & Anxiety, Mindfulness & Mental Health, Running

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve signed up to the Auckland Marathon as a ‘Charity Hero’, to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation of NZ. It’s now been two weeks since I started training for the 21km run in October. What have I learnt?

For training, I’m alternating walking and running, with a day or two off. I’ve been keeping it pretty casual, and this worked well for a while. I went from only being able to run 2km (and finding it difficult) to running 4km without trouble.

My best run yet – the views helped! @ Kiwi Esplanade, Auckland.

However, I only got a couple more small runs in after that because I was too sore. I managed to push myself too much, in too short a time period, and my body was not going to let me get away with it! To counter this, I’ve spent some days ‘off’ only walking, and finding yoga routines to help stretch my muscles (see my playlist here). I might also use it as an excuse for a hot bath. To be fair, I did expect this to happen, I just thought it would happen further down the line.

What came as a surprise was how much I enjoy the act of running. I had thought that, like going to the gym, I would appreciate how I feel after a workout. Well, I do, but while I was running along the coast I was elated; lit up. People around me have noticed a change as well, in my general happiness and energy levels as well as my appearance.

So where to next? I’m going to stick to a six days on, one day off schedule, but listen to my body more. I’ll be incorporating more yoga, and doing more squats/stairs to build my quads which can’t handle the jandal right now. My goal is still to get under 30mins by the end of May (see progress here).

I’ve been fortunate to find two running-friendly tracks on the way to my two dayjobs (Kiwi Esplanade and Pakuranga Rotary Walkway). I know I can run anywhere, but it’s the views that keep me going so I’m really grateful for living in a place where views aren’t hard to find πŸ™‚

Shameless self-promotion time: