How blogging has affected my mental health
Before I start, I just want to say... I really love this job and I am so thankful for all of your support and love. I'm not well enough to do a typical job with set hours, so being able to work from home the majority of the time is so lovely and something I am truly appreciative of! But, as my social media has grown, I've definitely noticed the side effects on my mental health and I think this is something that needs to be acknowledged and discussed within the industry.
shop the look
do I "look" the part?
I don't know whether I've just been out of the loop, but I feel like makeup and cosmetic surgery wasn't really a big thing when I was at University. Suddenly, I've been thrown into a world where many of my colleagues (and now, friends) are very concerned about their appearance... From microbladed eyebrows, to fake lashes and acrylics, to lip fillers - I feel there's very much a "look" for many influencers nowadays. Truth be told, I've always been a little tomboyish - I've only really started wearing makeup over the past two or three years, and it wasn't till I started blogging that I decided to get acrylics.
I actually started my blogging journey with more of a focus on fitness and health, and felt confident and strong - quickly snapping and uploading mirror pictures without worrying about my makeup, the lighting, or whether I was repeating an outfit. My pictures and style have obviously progressed, and matured, to give a more professional vibe but do you know what? It takes me SO much longer to take a picture and I feel so much more pressure to look "perfect".
Recently, I've been trying to focus on some positive affirmations and to be kinder to myself - it doesn't work for me to spend my life putting on fake lashes, I don't want to spend money on surgery, and I don't want my Instagram to be a super curated feed that's planned weeks in advance... So I'm trying to get back to my natural and confident self, and spending more time focusing on 'in the moment' captures. Of course - if you want to do those things then you go girl!! - I just don't think like you should feel like you HAVE to look a certain way to succeed.
the pressure to be "skinny"
Similarly to the point above, I feel there's a big pressure to be slim in this industry. I'm going to come out and say it - most of the girls who get reposted are very slim, with thigh gaps and ridiculously toned stomachs. And yeah, sometimes I might look like I have a thigh gap, but it's very dependent on how I'm standing. When shooting this outfit, I felt so sassy and happy - spinning around to show off the pretty sleeves... and then I came home and had to look through HUNDREDS of pictures where my thighs are rubbing together.
Now, I know, you're probably thinking I'm absolutely pathetic - and you're right, I am!! I'm a size 6/8 and a pretty healthy weight and size for my height.. I have strong, muscular legs that I should be proud of because they allow me to do tons of stuff. WHY DO I FEEL UPSET BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE A THIGH GAP? Because the majority of pictures that I see, show people that have would be (for me) an unrealistic and unhealthy body type. This is definitely something that's affected my mental health, so I'm combating this by following more accounts that show varied body types or have a focus on body positivity!
are my friends my competition?
I have made some amazing friends through blogging, and of course there's plenty of room in this every growing industry for everyone to succeed, but there can still be a lot of competitive energy within the industry. Everyone is prone to comparing themselves to others, but when you're in this industry, you actually SEE all of the events you weren't invited to, all of the campaigns you didn't get, and all of the followers that you don't have. It's like having your work report published online for all to see - anyone can look at your following or your engagement and compare it with theirs.
I have thousands of followers but I feel so alone
Because of my chronic illness, I've always spent a lot of time at home. I used to use my phone to connect with my friends but now my phone feels a bit overwhelming as it has all of my notifications, messages and work emails on it. The more amazing people I connect with on social media, the easier it is to stay at home and feel like I've still spoken to people - and I can quite often find myself going days without any 'real' social interaction with people other than my mum and my boyfriend! It's important to remember that sometimes we need to put down our phones and have a good chat over a cocktail.
Does social media or blogging affect your mental health negatively? What can we do to fix this? Let me know in the comments!