For a lot of people, the start of a new year brings a lot of mental stress and anxiety. Multiple factors can influence your mental health during this period, from sadness over the conclusion of the holiday season to financial stressors (such as those December credit card bills).
However, there is something else that can take a toll on your mental health at the start of the year. In November and December, you’re bombarded with advertisements about food and drink – specifically, how to enjoy all of the special delicacies and cuisine the holiday season brings. This type of advertising gets you into the mindset of treating yourself over the course of this festive period. While this seems harmless at first, a problem occurs when you look at January’s style of advertising…
Look at what you’ve done to yourself…
This seems to be the underlying theme of all forms of advertising in January. As soon as the New Year is in, your social media feeds and TV screens are full of advertisements telling you to get in shape. You see gym membership ads all the time, advertisements for healthy eating, weight loss schemes, and so on. As a result, you’re almost forced to look at yourself and think that you need to make some lifestyle changes. These messages get you into the frame of mind where you start disliking what you see in the mirror and want to change things.
A lack of confidence and body positivity
Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with someone wanting to get in better shape come January. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a lifestyle change – whether this means joining a gym and exercising more often or even getting cosmetic surgeries like breast augmentation. Making a change is fine, as long as it’s on your terms.
Ultimately, here lies the problem with advertising in December and January. You’re told that it’s okay to have a treat in December and enjoy yourself, then you’re told that treats are off-limits in January and you desperately need to get fit and eat healthily. It causes a lack of confidence and a lack of body positivity that’s forced upon you by advertisers, both through social media campaigns and TV ads. If you are constantly shown the same message and told that you need to start doing certain things, it will inevitably have an impact on your way of thinking. You may look at yourself in the mirror and berate yourself for over-indulging over Christmas, when in reality, the holiday weight gain hysteria is overblown and exaggerated.
So, that’s where the advertising really does the damage. People who look perfectly fine and are healthy are made to feel otherwise. Remember that it’s okay to not like the way you look and to take steps to improve your mental health and confidence. Just make sure you’re doing it for yourself, rather than because an advertisement told you to.