Written by Amber Schormans
Our contemporary world seems to move so fast doesn’t it? Everything is broadcasted across the internet constantly. The snippet of people’s lives and successes that often make yours feel inadequate. The constant highlight reels of travelling, careers and pregnancies or engagements. We often forget what we don’t see. Not many people share the struggles along those journeys. The hardships or the shitty days. The arguments or the tears. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be successful and happy. Is it because we see everybody else ‘doing’ this every day on social media? Is this contributing to the mental health epidemic? Especially in young people?
I personally think we do put too much on our shoulders. Often unconsciously, and through no fault of our own. We live in a culture where you’re supposed to have your entire life planned out at 18. Where 1 in 4 of us struggle with mental health. Where 41% of women feel self-conscious without makeup. The lives and struggles on millennials are vastly different from even 10 years ago. The internet blew up so fast and young people are almost the testers in the experiment, with an unsure outcome and no placebo. By no means is my point that social media and the internet are totally negative. They have opened our reach massively to so many different things. But there is no rule book. There are no guide lines on how to use social media and how to not let it affect your self-esteem and confidence.
Apple have recently released the screen time app. Which to many of us from what I’ve gathered, is a little scary to actually know how much time we spend on our devices everyday (myself included). I’m not writing this to try and dictate how you use social media and your phone. It is completely up to you. But I think it is important to be aware of the pressures it can put on us. And that if nobody has told you, it’s totally healthy to take a break. And to acknowledge that we all have our own highlight reels, whether they’re on social media or not. We all have our struggles, and we all have our triumphs. So please, try not to compare yourself or your life to others while doing your daily scrolls. Don’t forget, you don’t have to follow people who make you hate yourself, or be on in all the time. You don’t have to always keep up with that blogger or that celeb. We can spend so much time on our screens with so much pressure that we can forget to simply look up.
I was waiting for the train the other day after work, and the most beautiful sunset with such a spectrum of pinks and purples appeared seemingly out of nowhere. I had forgotten how much I love sunsets and beautiful natural light. I had also forgotten that I seek it out as a photographer, but don’t just look for myself. Everything was about work work work. And in that moment, I felt relaxed and peaceful. I realised just how easy it is to take simple and natural things for granted. I have started to make a conscious effort where I can, to spend less time on my phone and social media, but more time looking up.
I posted some sunset pictures to share my adoration for them, and asked you to share yours with me. And guess what, you delivered! And I’m not the only one who wants to share their beauty. Wellbeing and mindfulness isn’t just about ‘deep breathing’ and long walks. To me, it is letting your mind drift and clear while you look at something beautiful. Sometimes we forget that the release is right in front of us, and that our minds need a break.
Wells Gray, Canada
"Nature has such a special beauty. Sunsets always remind me how healing nature can be!"
Grand Island NY, the Niagara River, US
Arundel, West Sussex, UK
“It is funny how, every day I seem to find irritation and noise. Yet, every time I see a sunset, all I can think about is how lucky I am to be in this position right now. To stumble upon this silent, tranquil image. I am looking up at a sky bursting in loud colour, a seemingly endless expanse of cloud. Infinity dropping just below the final point of visible horizon. Chaos is so normalised, moments of peace are fragile. But when you stand and breathe in the colours before you, you just know. The sun is not saying goodbye, it is simply saying hello to a whole world of friends just below the horizon.”
Newquay, Cornwall, UK