Happy New Year!!
This is where I spend at least a month being absolutely astonished that it is 2015 already. It happens to me every year, you’d think I’d get used to it by now.
I have a love/hate relationship with New Year. I love the fresh feeling of a new year, all the potential laid out in front of me, even though it’s arbitrary. I love having Christmas (which is a difficult time for me) behind me.
But for the love of all things sacred, I fucking hate all the resolutions, New Year/New Body/New Me, let’s get fit/get healthy/off the couch, the public announcements of how “good I’m going to be this year” bullshit. It’s like a fucking tsunami of thinly veiled moralism coated in self aggrandisement. It’s the once-a-year parade of “Look what a good cookie I am!”
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for self improvement. I’m all for setting useful goals and working towards them. That is, improvement and goals that are about being your best you and living your life to the best of your ability, not changing your appearance to meet some societal standard. I simply believe that these things should a) be all the time, not just on an arbitrary date change and b) NOT be announced publicly to draw attention to what a good little person you are.
A lot of people don’t even realise they’re doing it. They’re not aware of the air of self congratulation, of moral superiority they’re emitting. Hell, I used to even do it myself, before I realised what a vacuous societal performance it all is.
But most of all, I hate how unaware people are of just how harmful all that bullshit can be for the people they subject it to. I don’t know about you, but my social media feeds are all a massive minefield of moralising, diet talk, “fitspo”, food policing, and New Year bandwagon jumping. It has absolutely fucked with my head over the past week or so and I find myself spiraling into some really dangerous territory. Every day I have to dodge trigger after trigger from people I do love and care about. I’ve struggled with all of those old dark thoughts about food and eating and dieting to the point where I had to really sit down and work hard to pull my thinking back into a sensible place. Thankfully, I’ve reached a point in my life where I can recognise it creeping up on me, not everyone has got there yet and the spiral can head downward faster than they can keep up with. It sends them into a horrible place that takes forever to claw back from. But that said, even though I can recognise it, I still have to work REALLY hard to undo the damage.
What it all boils down to is needing to engage in real self care. Which I know is really difficult to do, particularly when your brain is being dragged down a dark path by constant triggers from those around you. So what I thought I’d do is share with you the things I do that help, and if they are of use to even one of you, it’s worth it.
- Use the block, unfriend, hide, mute, list, or whatever functions on social media you can. Have a purge. Get rid of the people who deflate you. For the rest, that you do care about but are hurting you with their New Year crap, hide/mute them or create a list on the site that is ONLY the people who make you feel strong and positive, and focus on that list. Each site has a bunch of different functionalities, but most of them have options that will at least reduce the harmful crap. Don’t feel ashamed or harsh for doing this. You have to take care of you first.
- Fill your social media platforms with fabulous people who make you feel strong and positive. Start a Tumblr following a whole bunch of fat positive accounts. Follow a bunch of intelligent, witty people on Twitter who bring good things to the table. Seek out blogs that talk about food in a way that helps you balance your thoughts. Jump on Facebook and find pages that are by people who share empowering content. Follow lots of fab feminist accounts of people of marginalised identities on Instagram so you can see representation of lots of awesome diverse people. Make yourself a playlist on YouTube that fills you with joy. Whatever social media of your choice, build it in to something that empowers you.
- Hang out with someone you know makes you feel good about yourself. If you have a buddy who suffers from the triggery shit as much as you do, get together and have a good vent about it, and then move on to something positive and fun.
- Relax. Whatever your method of relaxing is, do it. Take a bath. Read a book. Have an orgasm (alone or with someone, doesn’t matter how). Go for a walk somewhere nice. Watch a movie that makes you laugh. Listen to good music. Have a cup of tea and a biscuit. Build Lego. Whatever that thing is that makes you sort of forget time, and just relax… do that.
- Make sure you feed yourself. God this is a tough one. The downward spiral is ever present for me on this one. Have breakfast. Eat lunch. Get a decent dinner. It’s easy to skip meals or live off simple things (ramen anyone?) when your brain is being bombarded with triggery stuff. But if you focus on feeding yourself properly, you will feel better in the long run.
- Take your medications. Yep, that’s one that I find VERY difficult when triggered by New Year shit. Set an alarm on your phone and take them when it goes off. Portion them off in a pill box if you need to. Just get in a routine and take them. Not taking them makes the downward spiral faster.
- Get some sleep. Even if you have to leave other things undone, get some sleep.
- Get some fresh air. Go outside and fill your lungs. Just breathe for a while. We all spend too much time in air-con/heating without getting a little fresh air once and a while.
- Treat yo self. A bunch of flowers. A really, really good cup of coffee. A new dress. Some nice hand cream. Whatever is a nice little moment of pleasure.
- Remember this: You are awesome. No, you’re not perfect, but you’re awesome. The only person you need to impress with self improvement is YOU.