Tag Archives: Musings

Social Media and the Painful Fixation on our Looks

Chasing Beauty

I recently listened to a podcast episode called “Chasing Beauty”, by the show, Help Me Be Me. The episode talked about the constant pursuit of beauty in an image-focused environment. Listening to this episode, I was inspired to write about the main take-aways and my experience in ‘chasing beauty’.


Growing up in the digital age of social media has its benefits and drawbacks, but I’d suggest that the most significant downside is the comparison that social media perpetuates. I am a victim of comparison on social media, specifically comparing my looks. I, like probably millions of others, often fall into the mindset of “That person is better looking than me. Why can’t I look like them.” Social media fosters the practiced routine of seeking external perfection, and this mindset deteriorates my self-esteem. In the podcast they made an interesting point, if you’re constantly striving to be perfect, you’re constantly searching for what makes you not perfect. In other words, if you are pervasively fixated on your appearance, you cannot see yourself for what you truly look like because you are blinded by the “imperfections”. The harder you scrutinize, the more distorted something becomes. An example they used in the podcast was when you look at an old photo of yourself and think, “Wow, I was really hot back then!”, but in the moment of taking that photo, you saw yourself as “ugly”. I have done this too many times to recall. It makes me sad that I spent those times hating the way I looked when in hindsight, I looked beautiful. This proves that when you are so fixated on the external, you are incapable of seeing yourself for what you really look like. 


When scrolling through social media, I easily get stuck in loops of negative self-talk, yet it’s hard for me to discipline myself and put the phone down. You’d think if it’s not conducive to my mental health, I would want to stop doing it, right? But social media and comparison are addicting like a drug. It makes me feel empowered— like “if I hate myself enough I can correct and control my beauty.” But this philosophy hasn’t worked out for me. The podcast episode suggests that just like an addiction, stopping thoughts of comparison is a choice. We must choose to let go of the fixation. Easier said than done of course, but catching your brain in the act and telling it not to react is the first step. 


I sympathize with anyone reading this who has ever felt, “not good enough.” I’m working on stepping away from social media when I find myself getting caught up in comparison, and I encourage you to do the same. Be gentle with yourself and your mind.

The post Social Media and the Painful Fixation on our Looks appeared first on Sincerely, Gracie.

The Online Creators I Follow

As of lately, it seems like every day I check my phone, the world is inundated with bad news. Between Covid-19, the war in Ukraine, and the effects of climate change (just to name a few), the world feels ‘heavy’. Scrolling on social media was leaving me feeling sad and fearful about the state of the world, and this was certainly not conducive to my mental health. 

Deciding I needed negativity and more positivity in my life, I curated my social media feeds. Now, I deliberately choose the content I want to consume, and I’m more conscious of how the media is making me feel. This strategy has been beneficial to my overall well-being.

Below are some of my favourite online creators. They offer an escape from reality, and I find their content to be uplifting and compelling. Check them out!

Lexi Hidalgo

Lexi is a social media influencer who gained popularity on Tik Tok for her lifestyle videos. She currently lives in Hawaii and her posts are always full of adventure and fun!

Annie MacIntosh

Annie is a photographer and social media influencer from Vancouver, BC. She posts about her travel adventures and takes great photographs along the way!

Esther Cannon

Esther is a photogrpaher based out of Oahu, Hawaii. She’s a master at ‘visual storytelling’, and I love her style of photography.

Wholesome Han

Hannah is a social media influencer who posts about health and wellness. She has a wonderful free spirit energy, and her content promotes a positive outlook on life.

Bree Lenehan

Bree Lenehan is a social media influencer whose content is surrounded around self-love and body positivity. She shows her audience that the way people portray themselves on social media isn’t always real.

Nats Neat Eats

Natalia is a lifestyle influencer who promotes balance and wellness in everyday living. She has a contagious energy, and I can’t help but feel motivated and uplifted when I consume her content.

The post The Online Creators I Follow appeared first on Sincerely, Gracie.

Mental Health: Breaking Down The Stigma

It's okay to not be okay.

As I’m writing this, the day is January 26th, Bell Let’s Talk day— a campaign created to combat the stigma that surrounds mental illness. The day invites conversation around the topic of mental health and raises money for mental health projects in Canada. Bell donates five cents for every social media interaction that includes the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, five cents for every view of the “Bell Let’s Talk” video, and if you are a Bell wireless customer, 5 cents for every text message sent. This campaign and its goal to end mental health stigma are so important because stigma often prevents those with mental illness from getting the help they need. 


Bell’s dedication to initiating a conversation around mental health has inspired me to share parts of my mental health journey. As much as I’d like to say that I feel completely comfortable sharing every aspect of my mental health journey with anyone and everyone, I’m simply not there yet. But I’m willing to take a step toward this goal and share parts of my story. I hope that talking about it sends the message that there should be no shame in struggling. In fact, the vulnerability and bravery of people who share their struggles are to be admired.


Recognizing The Signs

This blog is intended to be the sincerest reflection of myself, and there is simply no way to achieve this without discussing the subject of mental health. I can recall feeling intensely anxious as young as age 5. I didn’t recognize it as “mental illness” back then, but in hindsight, that’s how I would label my struggles. My mom knew I was an anxious kid, but she sensed that it was more than just that. She took me to see a psychologist in hopes of understanding why I was feeling this way. It was then that I was told I had anxiety and OCD tendencies. I was only 7 and could not grasp these concepts. All I knew, was it was exhausting to live with my mind. I would be worried about things that most 7-year-olds wouldn’t even register, and I was highly particular about how certain tasks must be completed. Throughout my elementary school years, the anxiety and OCD were ever-present but manageable. 




When I entered high school, I can recall a shift in me. The move from elementary to high school was a big change that only intensified my anxiety. I was only 12 years old, trying to navigate my way through a new school with none of my friends from elementary. For the first time in my life, I felt the feeling of lingering sadness. I was so unhappy and overwhelmed, that my mom and I decided it would be best for me to go to middle school for a year. But even then, I was still not happy, and the sadness and anxiety was seeming to escalate my OCD symptoms. Fast forward to high school, grades 9-12, I was a part of a swim academy, Simon Fraser Aquatics. I trained in the mornings and attended school for 2 hours a day in the afternoons. This meant I missed out on all the social aspects of school— no electives, assemblies, lunch breaks— so I didn’t make many connections with people at school because I was hardly there. These years were very difficult for me. I put so much pressure on myself to be the best that I could be in school, in sports, and in leadership initiatives and this mindset took the fun out of everything I did. 


Breaking Point


In the middle of my grade 12 year, I hit a breaking point. I was incredibly stressed, overwhelmed, and sad. I had been seeing a counsellor, and he suggested that I quit swimming. This was the hardest decision ever had to make. I had dedicated 10 years to competitive swimming, and it felt like my mental health was “forcing” me to give it up. But ultimately, I took a step back from swimming in hopes that it would relieve at least some of the stress and expectations I was putting on myself. While quitting swimming did give me more time to myself, it wasn’t the “solution” to my problems. I had lost my “identity” as an athlete, and I was floundering, searching for something else that I felt made me important. 


OCD and Medication


Realizing it was going to take more than just quitting swimming for me to feel less anxious and depressed, I started seeing a psychiatrist in January 2020. She wasn’t the first psychiatrist I had seen, but she was the first person to explain that OCD is the main culprit of my problems. She said that if I could get a handle on my OCD and the intrusive thoughts that accompany it, my depression and anxiety would start to subside. I had tried medication in the past, but never found one that worked for me. My psychiatrist and I went through several different kinds of medications until we found one that worked for me. And only did I truly start to see its effects when we significantly increased the dose in the last few months, but that doesn’t mean “I’m struggle-free”. I still fight a mental battle every day. My OCD manifests itself in unusual fixations and obsessions. For example, the everyday task of doing laundry takes me significantly longer because I make sure that before my clothes go in the wash, I have removed every single piece of fluff, lint, or hair that clings to the clothes. I know how trivial “laundry” may sound to people, but it is a big deal for me. My OCD also prevails in the form of intrusive thoughts. I have an extensive night-time routine that I am strict about following because if I don’t, my intrusive thoughts hound me until I do. One of the biggest things I’m working on with my OCD is learning live in the uncomfortable feeling of “imperfection”. 


Where am I now?


Right now, I’d say I am the happiest I’ve felt in a long time. I have found purpose in sport again through rowing with the SFU team, and I have made great friendships and connections with new people during my first year of university. Since upping my medication dose, I am more calm and confident in who I am as a person, and that is a great feeling. I will say, the biggest hurdle I’m trying to get over right now is how OCD impacts my time management. My need for everything to be “perfect”, often leads me to push off tasks such as school assignments because I know that even my best efforts, will never be “good enough” for me. I’d rather delay the assignment than have to linger in the uncomfortable feeling of the assignment not meeting my perfect standards. However, I am much more aware of this problem and awareness is the first step to change. I am still a work in progress. 


If sharing a bit of my mental health journey has left one person feeling less alone in their struggles, that’s all I could want. 

If you or someone you know requires immediate help and someone to talk to, please call 833-456-4566.

© 2021 All Rights Reserved.

The post Mental Health: Breaking Down The Stigma appeared first on Sincerely, Gracie.