We all experience feelings of depression and anxiety at one time or another. Even way back in Ancient Greece, philosophers such as Hippocrates commented on anxiety disorders in their writing. Yet, due to our hectic ‘modern-day’ lifestyles, more people are struggling to cope, experiencing frequent and intense negative emotions and reporting a sense of feeling completely ‘overwhelmed’. The modern-day lifestyle is often designed to make our lives easier – we have information available at our fingertips due to smartphones, we are connected to people worldwide thanks to social media, we can travel more frequently both for pleasure and work etc. Yet, whilst these lifestyles promote flexibility – both in terms of life choices and relationships, unfortunately they often harm our mental wellbeing. Here we assess 4 lifestyle factors that may be affecting your mental health more than you realize…
Factor 1: Social Media
Starting with the most well-known and documented mental health stressor: social media. Whilst it is great at connecting us to the world, keeping in touch and as a source of information, it can also hurt our mental health, especially where anxiety is concerned. Social media feeds often portray an unrealistic lifestyle or appearance that can make us feel inferior and anxious about our inability to meet society’s enormous expectations. In reality, photos are often filtered, staged, and edited to present a person or place at their best. Even when we are aware of this, it can still take a toll on our health- to be bombarded with the ‘perfect’ lifestyle is draining! If you feel like this, take a step back- it is refreshing to gain a new perspective on what is actually ‘real-life’.
Factor 2: Office environment
Whilst offices are recognizing the need to introduce ‘flexibility’ to the work-place through initiatives such as remote working, bringing children to work and mental health supported schemes; the modern-day work environment remains stressful. More work is expected of us than ever before and pressures including an unrealistic workload, long hours and competition mean a high proportion of people are getting signed off for anxiety, depression and burnout. In this situation you need to set your own realistic expectations regardless of what other people are doing: you are entitled to a lunch break, to leave the office at a normal hour and ask for mental health support if you need to. Even just stepping outside the office for 20 minutes is proven to be beneficial when you are stuck at the same desk starring at a computer screen all day every day.
Factor 3: Society’s unrealistic expectations
This can be related to so much including social media and the working environment (as touched upon earlier.) Although the problem goes deeper as we are often guilty of taking too much on. Modern-day life makes you believe you can have it all: of course you can be a brilliant parent, career-driven, friend, partner, family member AND find time to go to the gym, eat well, socialize and be there to offer advice! This pressure to be ‘on’ ‘focused’ and ‘available’ at all times means we often feel like failures when we are unable to juggle it all. The truth is it is unrealistic to be able to handle so much. Of-ten, the ones that seem to have it ‘together’ are the ones secretly falling apart- experiencing severe anxiety and depression. If this is you, learn to let go and accept that you aren’t superhuman! If you are struggling our Choices Retreats Program can help. We work with many people experiencing the symptoms of depression, anxiety and burnout, helping them achieve self-acceptance. By creating a personalized programme including proven coping strategies, we can help you deal with difficult, draining emotions more effectively.
Factor 4: Comparison
Lastly, we all struggle with comparing ourselves to others- if our friends can cope, why can’t we? What are we doing wrong? In reality, they are probably struggling more than you think. And even when they aren’t, everybody is unique and has their own personal level of what they can and can’t handle. As difficult as it is, try not to compare yourself to others and focus on yourself. The less we compare and the more we focus on the things we love: our friends, our family, our environment and most importantly ourselves- the happier we feel. If you struggle with this, let Choices Personalized retreats help. Our Integrative Cognitive behavioural therapy-based approach teach-es you to think, behave and feel differently towards anxiety-provoking situations, and develop the skills needed for self-acceptance in the process.
If you would like to find out more on how Choices Personalized Retreats can specifically help with your feelings of anxiety and depression, visit our dedicated webpage here: https://choicesretreats.com/what-we-treat/