Boastful and smug, the #4amclub advocate their productivity and success to early morning starts.
Meanwhile, #cleaneating enthusiasts are making us feel guilty, not just for taking our coffee with sugar and milk, but for daring to touch the poisonous stuff in the first place.
And if that wasn’t enough to make you feel completely rubbish, enter the #fitfam. Two workouts a day despite holding down a full-time job and three kids. All while managing to post pictures of their enviable abs to Instagram.
Depriving us of sleep, rest, coffee, delicious food, social lives (I mean, where does that fit in?) and all of the things that make life worth living, the sacrifices of a clean and pure lifestyle have created a generation of anxious, miserable and tired millennials.
It's also entirely unrelatable. Where's the fun in constantly striving for perfection when perfection doesn't exist? This article interestingly notes that women have a greater susceptibility to perfectionism than men and that as a result, we're all just internally beating ourselves up.
A couple of weeks ago I tried to give up a coffee. I lasted two days. And I can tell you they were probably the most unproductive and miserable two days of my year. No seriously. I had to postpone any important tasks until my ‘withdrawal headache’ had worn off, and if you had the misfortune of meeting with me before 12, well, god help you. I was grumpy, tired, unable to concentrate and distracted (probably dreaming of a frothy, steaming, hot cup of coffee).
It wasn’t until day 3 that I thought, 'why am I even putting myself through this?' Whatever it was, it certainly wasn't worth driving away all of my colleagues. Okay, so I shouldn't depend on coffee to function, I know that. But what I'm trying to illustrate here is that one's mind can become so preoccupied with this idea of 'perfect health' that we forgo other important areas of our lives that are crucial to our wellbeing. Like work and socialising, for example.
We beat ourselves up if we eat an apple that’s not organic, we lose sleep because our almond milk wasn’t homemade from scratch, and we stress about whether we can justify missing a yoga class to go for dinner with friends.
It’s utter madness.
I am a firm believer that health is the prerequisite to a happy life. But under the umbrella of health, you'll find more than kale smoothies and 5am runs.
Life is too short to cut out the things you enjoy and that make you feel sane. Having a glass of wine with your friends on a Friday night is far better for the mind, soul and body than fretting because you didn't have time to meditate this morning.
I’m not saying this is an excuse to quit the gym entirely and gorge on McDonald’s from here on, I’m saying that we need to learn the art of balance and managing our stress. If something is stressing you out, no matter how healthy a reputation it has, it’s probably no good for you.
How many coffees have you had today? I’m on my second sugary double espresso and it’s not even 11am. I’ve had to cancel my lunchtime yoga class and I slept in, so there goes my requisite 10 minutes Headspacing. I’m a wellbeing failure, but sod it – life’s too damn short to obsess over kale and an engaged core.