As we say goodbye to winter and welcome the warmer weather with open arms, we also welcome an influx of new trends. Health is this season’s go-to, not just for athletes, but for every cool girl and up-to-date guy. It is everywhere we look and we cannot seem to escape it – magazines, social media, television – you name it, and the concept of a healthy lifestyle will be there.
Wellness is now the most sought after luxury, but at what stage does the obsession become unhealthy? And who do we have to thank for this?! Well, the answer is ourselves. Yep, you heard it. Millennials? Starting a new trend? Shocking, I know. But as a group, it has been found that 72% of us HATE spending our hard earned money on materialistic things, and prefer using it to plan holidays and create memories through experiences. If you don’t believe me, check out this statistic from The Global Wellness Institute, confirming that the health market grew a whopping 10.6% from 2013-2015 alone!
This trend was predominantly spread through our favourite social media app, Instagram. As we are now spending more than half an hour every day scrolling through countless perfect pics, it is not hard to understand how we are so easily influenced. Instagram is seen by many as a bragging platform, which further influences users to hop on the health bandwagon to post the perfect picture with their healthy food, yoga poses and expensive activewear. Trying to keep up with this social standard can be extremely bad for both self esteem and mental health. Constantly comparing yourself, your lifestyle, and your pictures to the people you follow can seriously put a damper on your mood, as well as the way you see yourself. As Doctor Tim Bono explained, “When we derive a sense of worth based on how we are doing relative to others, we place our happiness in a variable that is completely beyond our control”. Our own individual happiness should not be dependant on the way others see us on social media. Mental health can also be seriously affected by this trend, as lack of happiness often goes hand-in-hand with anxiety and depression. Constant posts boasting unrealistic portrayals of life is a leading cause of mental illness within millennials, whether that be on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. 41% of said millennials agreed that social media was the root of their sadness, anxiety, or depression, further supporting the argument that the health bandwagon may not be as healthy as it seems from the outset.
As the trend revolves around a healthy lifestyle, physical activity obviously plays a massive role in it. Now, when I talk about the habit becoming unhealthy, I’m not talking about going for a run (although it feels like I’m having a heart attack on the odd occasion I do), going to gym, or making healthy food decisions. I’m talking about when these practices start becoming an obsession. Over-exercising and undereating in order to immerse yourself in the latest trend can lead to serious health problems including eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia; body fatigue, heart and kidney problems, and disrupted sleep. If you ask me, none of these health conditions are worth a few extra likes and followers on Instagram!
Trends are constantly evolving, so investing your health and wellbeing into the trending health and wellbeing is just not worth it. Make like the majority of your fellow millennials and aim for experiences, instead of material items. Seek happiness outside of social media and reap the rewards, not just virtually, but physically!