Over a quarter of Australians will experience anxiety attacks in their lifetime, according to a study. As we get older, our plate just gets bigger and bigger with more responsibilities and decisions – professional goals, financial manoeuvring, child support, fitness…No wonder the population affected by stress has increased by 32% in the past decade, with lack of sleep, work, overwhelming responsibilities, and social media as top leading causes.
We are also living in the era of information bombardment where we can see what everyone else in the world is up to, making us feel as though we are somehow falling behind in life.
While it’s great that the importance of mental well-being is being more widely discussed across the globe, many of us still struggle in implementation. What are the changes, realistic and executable, we can make to feel like we are not constantly chasing after life like a headless chicken?
Here are some concrete tips for how to take control of your own life in the 5 main aspects of your life.
#1. Personal and Professional Development
Nowadays, even undergraduate or graduate degree is not enough. You need to show that you are constantly taking on new challenges, obtaining new skills, and strengthening your knowledge not only for better career opportunities but also for social recognition.
But many of us simply do not have the time or energy to actually implement ‘continuous learning’ that everyone talks about. So how do you find the right development path and fit it in your busy schedule?
- Listen to podcasts that cover a variety of topics that you can listen to on your commute.
- Find one topic or area to pursue among existing employee engagement groups at work that you can sign up for and dedicate yourself for 6 month to 1 year time period.
- Take free online courses to get a taste of different courses to help you find your personal development goal for the year.
- Start a book club with your friends or colleagues.
#2. Financial Security
Australians are now spending more than they are earning, making financial security a big concern. Facing dauntingly high housing prices, young people have now given up on ever owning homes/properties.
Yes, there are things that are outside your control but you can take small steps to take better control of your finances.
- Start small. Use microsaving apps to help you start building your wealth.
- You need multiple sources of income. Find easy ways to invest in ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds) or, if you are feeling up to it, get into stock / FX trading to increase your wealth.
#3. Fitness and Healthy Eating
Now ⅔ of the adults in the country are overweight. We spend over $8 billion every year on gyms and $13.6 billion on healthy eating. The pressure of social media, the influencers, or the ‘insta models’ is creating high level of pressure on all of us to look good. The weight loss industry is expected to reach over $300 billion as many try to battle obesity, one of the leading causes of premature death and health issues.
If you are stressing about your weight and going through a vicious cycle of trying crash diet and then binge eating only to be left feeling discouraged or if you recently gave birth and struggling to get rid of mummy tummy, here’s my advice. Consider liposuction or other body sculpting procedures to jump start your diet. It is not a permanent solution or magic – there’s no way around regular exercise and eating healthier. However, it’ll get you to where you want to be to feel confident again, making it easier to implement eating better and exercising more to maintain the new body.
#4. Social Media Distraction
Despite the digital revolution enabling instant connection to a much wider community, 80% of Australians believe that we are lonelier than ever. Many of our human connections are replaced by digital/remote interactions and we are glued to our phones due to our FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). We feel the need to consume and contribute content through social media way too many times throughout the day.
Studies indicate that more time on social media is correlated with lower life satisfaction not only due to the increased exposure to the blue light but also, more importantly, due to the shift in the quality and accessibility of your emotional support system.
Here’s what you can do.
- Use apps to limit your daily social media intake and activities so you are more focused on the real world.
- Curate a healthier social media environment for yourself. Use the ones that make you tap into network for deeper emotional support and facilitate real-life interactions such as Meetup.
#5. Social Life and Friends
Many of us often live a routine life and do something drastic when we feel the itch for something more exciting or just a change. Maybe your friends are moving away or settling down and you feel like your social circles are changing. Maybe you are having a hard time finding people that share the same interests to motivate you to expand your horizons.
Regardless of what your itch may be, you should take actions to improve your content level with your social life. It is essential to your mental health. So try making new friends as if you had just moved here.
- Find like-minded people by joining Facebook or Meetup groups.
- Online dating for friends! Try apps such as Bumble BFF.
- Try doing something different once a week. It could be drawing or going to the park/beach during lunch. Mix things up!
She Society is a site for the women of Australia to share our stories, our experiences, shared learnings and opportunities to connect.