I've just been to Morrisons to get my weekly shopping. Honestly, it's become the highlight of my week - somewhere to go, with an actual purpose and where there'll be real-life human beings.
And maybe I'm showing my age here, but the soundtrack in-store is brilliant. So hop, skipping and jumping down the aisles to Motown while in search of the ever-elusive vegan cheese is something that I now look forward to with glee.
I wanted to buy a magazine.
Something I could gradually digest over a few days while pottering, but there was nothing of any interest.
Sure there were the likes of Elle and similar which I used to buy religiously in my 20's and even early 30's. I had towers of Vogue and Elle magazines as makeshift side tables in my apartment. I thought them somewhat of a design feature.
For a split second, I did consider buying Elle.
I'm frantically trying to find things to do that don't involve binge-watching in the vortex of nothing-to-do land that my weekends have become.
I picked it up but quickly put it back down. I knew after reading it I'd immediately feel old, fat, unfashionable, insecure, unworthy. I'd need to buy a load of stuff to make me feel better.
Anti-ageing creams, new clothes, and perhaps some new items for my home as that wouldn't be cool enough either?
Magazines are excellent at doing their job - getting you to feel insecure, so you buy shit you don't need - I should know, I was a journalist.
I don't feel old or fat or any of the other insecurities that these magazines encourage us to feel. I accept myself right here and right now. Still, I distinctly remember the POWER of these insidious messages deep within the pages.
I've always loved this parody cover of Women's Health Magazine, which highlights the issues brilliantly.
Why aren't there any women's magazines that inspire and make us feel good? I'd buy it. Would you?
I often hear women talking about reading magazines such as Closer and Chat and describe it as a 'guilty pleasure'.
I've never understood this. What pleasure can possibly be gained from feeling like we're not enough?
For decades I was caught in this perpetual cycle without even realising it - I used to PAY for these magazines and this torture!
Exposure (media) > Feeling (terrible) > Reaction (buy shit)
So now I'm hyper-aware of the messages all around me/us.
Not many people buy magazines anymore, nowadays social media is the biggest enemy.
There are some outstanding social media accounts as I've written about before. Specifically, those that focus on showing real women's bodies so we now all know the big secret: that cellulite, scars, flab, stretch marks etc. are all normal.
But there are some awful accounts too, dressed up to be about women's wellness, feminist fashion or health.
Pay attention to your feed.
Do you regularly feel anxious or insecure after scrolling?
Do you ever feel:
- Not smart enough?
- Not busy enough?
- Not rich enough?
- Not creative enough?
- Not thin enough?
- Not pretty enough?
- Not cool enough?
Go through your feed more slowly, listen to your mind and your body. How do these people/accounts make you feel?
If there's even a shadow of a doubt - DELETE. UNFOLLOW. UNFRIEND.
I promise you'll feel better for it.
You can't feel good all of the time (sadly), but you can at least give yourself a fighting chance. You don't want to live a reactionary life. You want to create your experience, not react to external stimuli.
An example I like to offer is if you check your phone first thing in the morning.
If you do you're starting your day by responding to things that other people want from you, rather than taking a few quiet moments and asking yourself: 'What do I want from today, what will I do today?'
It's the same with social media. Media, when it's okay, is excellent. It's inspiring, motivating and thought-provoking. But when it's not, it's damaging.
Go through some of the accounts you follow and ask yourself: What do I get from this account? How does it make me feel?
Get mindful and get deleting these toxic influences!
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Hannah Anstee is a former British Wellness Journalist turned Women’s Midlife & Wellbeing Coach.
You may know her from her work as Beauty Editor at YOGA Magazine or her contributions to The Independent or Psychologies Magazine.
Hannah uses a kind and candid approach to help women rewrite their stories.