Three ways to unplug from the grind this September
It has been said from time to time that September is always seen as a clean slate or a fresh start. It’s positive connotations instilled in us from school days that mean September just brings with it this breath of fresh air. Which, to be honest, we’re usually all in need of after 8 months of hard work.
“Go to the 6am boxer-size class,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said.
The New Year’s resolutions we set in January have usually been cast to the wayside by the beginning of February, leaving us with this bitter taste in our mouths that we’re good for nothing. “For goodness sake, if I can’t stick to a New Years resolution, what am I good for?” No, just me? Okaaay, let’s move swiftly onwards…
September can be seen as an opportunity to shed your old skin, and move forward as a brand new you, blaze through to the end of the year like a phoenix rising from its ashes. But how are you meant to do this when you’re stuck in your old habits, with limited energy or time to break them?
“Go to the 6am boxer-size class,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said. Sometimes, myths that come from mindfulness gurus or Instagram starlets just aren’t for you. You shouldn’t feel pressured by someone you’ve never even met to meditate daily or only drink green tea. The whole affair often leaves me feeling like I want to give the V’s to the world and just work all the much harder than I did before I started hunting for my escapism. Funny, huh?
Well, here are my 3 very basic, but very real, tips on how to survive and switch off this September.
It is estimated that 1 in 6 people in the past week experienced a common mental health problem. Mental health is something that affects everyone, and the scariest thing is you wouldn’t even know. Take a moment, wherever you’re reading this, and look up. Perhaps you’re on the tube, or the train, or even amongst friends. Someone you’re looking at right now could be affected by mental illness, and you wouldn’t even know.
It has been said that working for yourself, as most photographers do, comes with lots of plus points. However, due to the anxiety of fluctuating opportunities or the stress of high or low annual seasons, in the game of self-employment, mental illness can be prevalent.
Scheduling time to get outdoors has been vital to my positivity and mental healthcare. Schedule time within your diary, if not everyday perhaps two or three times a week, to go for a run, a cycle or even a walk whilst listening to a podcast. Get outside and breathe in that clean air, and take a breather, just perhaps remember to take a brolly with you, the further we get into Autumn!
“As jovial as it sounds, FOMO can be detrimental to your state of mind…”
Get off Instagram
FOMO – a term for Instagramoholics alike. If you don’t know what this abbreviation stands for, yes, you are indeed a dinosaur, but I will also fill you in: it means ‘fear of missing out’. As jovial as it sounds, FOMO can be detrimental to your state of mind. The pressure of having to be the best, be busy, look cool and be prominent in your local scene or feed can be relentless.
I’m sure, by now, that you’ve heard the phrase “you’re not seeing the movie, only the trailer”. When you see the rose-tinted view to an Instagrammer’s life, you’re only seeing the highlights reel. You’re not seeing those moments of turmoil when they perhaps haven’t been paid for an invoice, or don’t have enough money together to scrape through the month. Instead, you see the glamorous events, freebies and selfies.
“Don’t overlook the current moment to be present online…”
But this doesn’t stop at influencers; I’ve started to see it happening in our photographic world. The number of views or likes your work gets does not denote whether you’re a good photographer. Trust me, I have been on the receiving end and it only makes you less productive and creative.
My advice to you — get off Instagram. Don’t go full throttle, no need to delete your account. After all, Instagram is the newest way to spread your work and take bookings from new clients. But don’t let it control your life. Put your phone down, and engage with positivity around you. Look to your clients for feedback instead of some stranger you’ve never met. Or look to different apps for inspiration: Pinterest is a much more positive and less competitive platform to browse the inter-webs.
“Your phone does not own you, you own the phone…”
Leave your phone at home
Okay, so following on from my last point, if you’re getting off Instagram, why don’t you just leave your phone at home all together? No one is ever going to remember (or to be honest, care) about that smashed avo on toast you had at brunch.
Engage with the people around you. The shame of it is, whilst you’re on your phone posting or uploading, there’s most probably a person sat right in front of you dying to hear all your news or gossip about their date last Thursday.
Don’t overlook the current moment to be present online. Everyone prefers you IRL rather than getting it for the ‘gram. The best kind of engagement happens when you create memories with real people around you. That’s what you’ll remember when you’re old and look back over your life, not how many likes you got for that flatlay.
Too scared to leave your phone at home? Worried you might miss that call, confirming that big-time shoot? Just slip your phone into aeroplane mode, and only check it whilst you’re on the loo or step outside for a moment. But always remember that your phone does not own you, you own the phone — just look back at that astronomical handset bill to prove it.
I never want to sit, hear and preach to you, I’m still learning myself. Your mental health is directly linked to your success, you hold that power. All I know is the rat race stops for no one, but you can chose to step out or unplug, even if only for 5 minutes.
Written by Georgie Glass.