Mindfulness and a Mind ‘Full’?

There’s a rise in people using, or at least being aware of ‘mindfulness’ to try shift the stress away from every day life. I love the fact folk are bringing meditation into their routine; but we first have to answer this important question; Why does it feel like we are leading even busier lives than what we were before?

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CREDIT TO @IIVVORRYY Alex Ivory 2017

We’re buying more than we ever did, with access to the Internet being at the height of all heights. We’re living in an infinite world, where we want everything now. Oliver Burkeman wrote an article for the BBC describing why we feel busy all the time and stated:

If there’s a solution to the busyness epidemic, other than the universal enforcement of a 21-hour workweek – it may lie in clearly perceiving just how irrational our attitudes have become. Historically, the ultimate symbol of wealth, achievement and social superiority was the freedom not to work: the true badge of honour, as the 19th Century economist Thorstein Veblen put it, was leisure.’ Now, it’s busyness that has become the indicator of high status.

So is this ‘busyness’ all in our heads? Are putting pressure on ourselves? For me personally, I think it’s to do with the fact we’re finding it harder and harder to switch off. As humans we crave the connections of others- Facebook and Twitter being a world of just that. Now that we can message and call anywhere in the world. So why would we want to switch off from that feeling of connectivity? We love sharing our world with others too, and seek that gratifications through the press of a ‘like’ button to feel appreciated. 

Using mindfulness and meditation is a wonderful wonnnderffullll thing (see my video post here about it); but take a step back and see how busy you are. For me, I feel like I am busy, sure- but the feeling of not being able to switch off lingers in the back of my head. That doesn’t help how busy I feel.

Step back, let go.

 

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Noticing When You’re Struggling

Sometimes, when we’re battling through and going about our every day activities, our struggles can slip under and go undetected. So how do we know when we are struggling?
If you are struggling, please do reach out. Take a peep at the care lines available here.

We all manage stress and situational factors differently, this is just part of our human make up. Some folk can breeze through stressful parts of their life; others may be unable to cope so well. However we all battle stress, so be gentle and keep an eye on how you’re feeling.

For me personally, I can plod along just fine; even feeling a sense of calm. But there is a point where my sense of level headedness will shift and I ask myself when I’ll feel that break in my brain. I’ve noticed more so than ever before, that I can bottle up my stress and have 2 or 3 days where I feel completely overwhelmed. I cry, I cannot control or manage my thoughts and have to let myself feel everything all at once. Other days it can be waking up with a mind cloaked in sadness. But I know it’s ok, and you have to sit with sadness and let it go on it’s way.

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So how do you notice?

  • Feeling more tired than usual. Be aware during the winter months you will feel more lethargic than usual. I know I feel that at the moment with the days becoming shorter with longer nights. But if it’s been happening for more than a couple of weeks- take note. Be kind to yourself, get your 8 hours in and reach out.
  • Finding it hard to cope with everyday things. I being someone who has felt like that/ does feel like this time to time. Some days are so much harder than others. But if it’s affecting your work, tasks that are usually part of your routine that you don’t feel you can do (for example, taking a shower, making food for yourself)- this is when you need to gently step back on how you are doing.
  • Not wanting to do things you would normally enjoy. Are you taking time out to enjoy what you normally put your spare hours into? That could be just seeing your parents, going out to see friends or reading a book, playing music etc. It could be anything that you would normally never second guess as something you enjoy. However, if you’re finding that you are not enjoying what you used to- can be a sign that you are struggling.
  • Feeling like you don’t want to talk to anyone. I have had days like this, when on an average day I’ll be extremely outgoing and talking to people – then others where I don’t even want to talk to a loved one, or come into contact with any one at all. There are even days where I can’t even articulate how I feel. There are just no words, no language that can explain what’s going on in my head. This is when you need to see your behaviours as a sign that you’re having a bad day and not coping. Of course there are days you don’t have to talk to anyone, but if it’s persistent- this can be a sign you are struggling.

Please know you are not alone. Reaching out to people you feel safe to discuss how you feel is something so important. Loved ones want to help you, no matter the situation ❤

How do you notice you are struggling? Are there any tips you have to know?

Thanks for reading xxx

 

Mental Health for Young People in 2017: What Can We Do?

2017 is a year of… well, discourse. I feel it rolling down the hills into our cities and towns, it’s hard to watch our society crumble. From studying Counselling, to being active within the realms of mental health ever since- I felt a need to reflect on mental health from my years of school, up to where we are today. I’m sharing my thoughts, because I feel the need for it to be shared. (Please see my disclaimer in my about section too lovely folk!).4e39e58e38bdf17dbffc00a175afaa34

After reading the Action Plan on Mental Health by the World Health Organisation (which was published in 2013 as a plan up until 2020, they stated “Health systems have not yet adequately responded to the burden of mental disorders; as a consequence, the gap between the need for treatment and its provision is large all over the world.”

 

I feel this statement is still ever-present in our society for 2017. The repeated articles from every aspect of the UK revolving around, for example, social media and the links to mental illnesses; is a vast part of our community in westernised countries. With mental health being an integral part of our health and wellbeing, why do we face statistics such as this? Can we move forward from these horrifying numbers, one example- that the biggest killer in young people is suicide in the UK?  In regards to other countries, that between 76% and 85% of people with severe mental disorders receive no treatment for their disorder in low-income and middle-income countries; with high-income parts of the world being between 35% and 50%? 4 hours ago today, The Guardian posted a headline ‘NHS mental health services turn away 150 vulnerable children a day’. We find ourselves asking… Is this truly happening?

In our westernised world, we are surrounded and subconsciously engulfed with advertisements and media. I remember at school when I was 15, not having a Facebook (just think of it!). I had a Bebo and MSN messenger to talk to my friends when I wasn’t at school. I used to spend hours chatting to my friends with so many emoticons (which we now refer to as emojis) and wondering why suchandsuch didn’t give me one of their 3 ‘loves’ on bebo that day. What millennial doesn’t have multiple social platforms now? Can we as a society, take a step back?

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I re-read a book called DO/PURPOSE Why brands with a purpose do better and matter more by David Hieatt for a lot of inspiration regarding my small business. It has a great quote which says,

“Treat distractions as the enemy…The internet is brilliant but it is one very efficient way of using your time. It’s a super addictive distraction device that will stop us from getting stuff done if we allow it to. Just click the off button.”

Why do I get the feeling that, although this quote is so accurate and representative of how we feel, that it is so hard to actively do?

We are living and breathing a crisis that we all relate to in some form; whether that’s a family member suffering with a mental health issue, a young sibling showing signs of social anxiety, or a loved one being triggered by online content.

So what can we do? Is there a beacon of hope in the midst of it all?

Here are some gentle tips to support yourself, and to anyone you feel will benefit.

    • The word ‘mental’ is surrounded with stigma, which is often seen as something almost medieval and clinical. Try to using different words such as ‘wellbeing’ with young people. If you feel it’s hard to talk to someone about yourself- language and how we use it is super influential! Gently let it become part of the conversation, do not be afraid to let it out.
    • If you are struggling yourself, please do talk to someone. You may not like asking for help, and not wanting to feel like a burden on others- but people who care about you want to help you. I feel if I’m needing help (sometimes, I really don’t want to admit it) I say things like “I’m having a bit of a hard time, would it be ok if I talk to you?” or “I feel I’m struggling right now. Can we chat later?” Pick a time or place you’re comfortable with. I remember having a really bad day and ringing my mum just to tell her I was struggling. Just telling her was a relief. It doesn’t have to be a full conversation if you don’t feel up to it. Reaching out is hard, but undeniably worth every second.
  • Recognise little signs. We all have different triggers, or varying parts of our wellbeing that you can notice when something isn’t right. If it’s for yourself, keep a little note of when you’re feeling low or if your behaviour around certain times in the day/week/hour etc changes. Seeing your thoughts written down or keeping track of what has happened can make you realise what’s going on. When I’m stressed and feeling low, I tend to speak my thoughts out loud to just let them go. If it’s swirling around in my head, it feels a bit messy. Find something that works for you that is safe. If it’s someone you are concerned about- gentle ask them if writing down would help them feel more at ease.
  • Most of the time when we are in a crisis, or if you’re concerned about someone who you feel is having a hard time- helplines are always there. But this isn’t necessarily the help we feel we can reach during a time of need. I for one, when I suffered
    with anxiety- would not call a helpline at all. I felt the anxiety bubbling away under my skin in the heat of ringing a number. Allow yourself to have a hard time, and know that it will pass. It will pass. We forget sadness is one of our basic emotions, that we are so complex in our humanness that we completely disregard this. Don’t you know how strong you are? That you are breathing. Know you are loved, and you will carry on. Keep on going. If it’s a loved one having a hard time and are not wanting to reach out- just let them know you are there. When I can’t shake my sadness, just knowing I have support there is a cushion for the blows. Life is a complex thing, and y’know what- some days are just too much. Again, let them have a hard time, let them know you are there if they need you. No conversation starters like ‘you’ll snap out of it’, ‘you’ll get over it’ or ‘stop crying’ – because that isn’t supportive. Let them feel, let yourself feel. It’s ok.screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-17-56-43

 

Looking into 2018, we’ve seen the rise and fall of certain aspects of our world. I hope we can continue to seek love, truth and fairness. As corny as it gets, we are the makers of our Universe. What we think, or what we act on- is eventually what will become. Think of what you love, who you love- and what a wonderful gift we are breathing and living on the same planet at the same time.  It’s pure flippin’ magic.

 

Thank you lovely souls for supporting this post, as it has been 8 months since I wrote something. I just haven’t had the confidence. All my love y’all.

xxxxx

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Begin with A Story…

Amazing post, especially for World Mental Health Day. More folk who share their stories gives opportunity for hope to spread and reduce the stigma. Keep going gal!!

The Wellness Student

Hi Guys – Welcome to my blog!

I’ve always wanted to blog about my life but have always made excuses, such as it would take too much time, not wanting people I know to find out about it as it can get really personal (srsly lol) and that I kinda thought it was a bit embarrassing. Over the past 8 years, I have been really struggling with certain things and honestly, got really sick of them. Over the past couple of months, I have been doing everything in my power to help myself and thought, hey why not blog my journey for personal gain and also maybe help someone who may be in the same shoes who might need help understanding it better? I can only hope I would help someone that was experiencing something similar as me and to know that it’s okay to not be okay. I would like to…

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Body Image, Teens and the Internet #wellnesswednesday

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 18.44.01I took the Trusted Clothes quiz on body image concerning young girls and I couldn’t believe how much I didn’t know. Girls are more concerned about being called ‘fat’ than losing their parents, nuclear war or failing at school. How!? What??! There is also an increasing rate of boys with self esteem issues with the rise of social media. Every time I clicked on an answer, I couldn’t stop shaking my head. I can’t believe this is the world we live in. Then it got me thinking…and researching.

I wrote a very similar post before about Body Image. How the internet is a pivotal connection for those who are in need of guidance, but can be a place detrimental to a young person’s health. We as adults use the internet a little more wisely (or can be argued not as much!), however- for young people this isn’t necessarily a tool of communication. It’s comparison at the touch of a button or scroll.

Only 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by Americans in the media.

In researching, I started off by simply googling the term ‘body image’. There are plenty of useful websites out there, first with Planned Parenthood. The only downfall of these vital searches, the layout and content of these sites are, in all honesty, not user friendly. It’s extremely clinical, and not active for young people. The content is so sooooo useful, but the website’s appearance lets it down. We need to see an improvement of web content for young people in order for them to feel like they have access to the information they need.

According to do something.org, 95% of people with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25. Then why, as social media usage has risen, are we not creating supportive and informative content that is marketed towards that age group? Pew Research Centre said a staggering 71% of teens use more than one social network site, with teenage girls using social media sites — particularly visually-oriented ones — for sharing more than their male counterparts do. Why are we not looking at the research and creating accessible and visually appealing content for young people regarding mental health issues and body image? The top websites in the search bar I have been on in relation to body image and self esteem feels clinical, awkward to use and without a connection to the audience.

The research is super mind blowing regarding adults too, the British Social Attitudes conducted a survey in 2014, three-quarters (77%) of adults think that society puts too much pressure on females to have a sexualised appearance, half of all adults (47%) think that ‘how you look affects what you can achieve in life’, and one-third (32%) agree with the statement ‘your value as a person depends on how you look’.

But things are looking up. 
There are such INCREDIBLE organisations out there doing amazing things for young people. We need to address these existing issues, and with wonderful non-profit organisations (some I’ve had the super sweet pleasure of working with) like Heads Together, Welsh based Heads Above The Waves, The Golddigger Trust from Sheffield and the almighty Young Minds rallying for change- we can see these figures drop significantly. Support the non-profits that are in your local area. Mental health awareness is on the rise, and we need to stand together. Let’s make social media an accessible place for young people to help them grow positively.

The best way out is always through – Robert Frost

Ethos Mag: A Review

Hey sweet souls! How are you all doing?

Recently I received the super wonderful first edition of Ethos, an independent publication about ‘Good Stories, Good People, Good Business.’ (Get the first issue here!) Now we all know (or should know. If you don’t- yo gal Kimmy is quite the eco warrior/girl boss/wellbeing woman) that ethical business has its foundations of wellbeing. Some folk don’t really understand what ‘ethical business’ is- and its sure as heck a strange one for young people to think about, weaving that into the way of how they shop and feel. So let’s start with what ‘ethical’ is before we review…Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 14.46.19

Being ethical is a lovely foundation of values that something is based upon. They affect how people make decisions and lead their lives. For example, if our personal thoughts and morals are ‘I believe in being kind to other people’- then that reflects the rest of your behaviour. This includes business, your relationships, everything. Believe in something good? Let it shine throughout whatever you set your mind to. That’s ethics- and to sum it all up, that’s Ethos Magazine.

The Review

From promoting good people and good businesses, the highest impact comes from the chosen front cover from Parley for the Oceans; an overwhelming message of how plastic is ruling our seas. The hard-hitting article on page 18, Plastic Fantastic tells us ‘We are currently living through a profoundly unstable geographical era, which will be characterised by fossils of plastic…we’re toxicating our planet right now and this is what we have to end immediately.’ It also tells the story of the organisation collaborating with Adidas on transforming plastic waste into footwear. A vital message with bold statements for social entrepreneurs and good people alike. Big corporations can make the transition into up-cycling and being more conscious in how they manufacture products. This article is an eye opener in the realm for environmental change.

Flickiimg_20170310_114134618.jpgng through the first parts of Ethos is beautifully constructed. The texture and layout is a dreeeaaam. An insight to the non-profit Crack + Cider, who’s mission is to change perceptions and force people to think about homelessness is a moving piece. Founded by two head strong ladies in London, Crack and Cider is a store where folk can purchase useful items for the homeless. Bringing an innovative movement of charity to the 21st Century. You can donate through their site that is linked previously.

It’s a vivid and strong willed publication. Packed full of inspirational individuals, businesses and infographic content about the world. It’s a refreshing testament to the world we live in, providing a collective of stories that can change how we see ourselves and the impact we have on everything around us.

A key article inside explores the rise of Etsy, the online marketplace for crafters/makers and small businesses. During the economic crash, Etsy thrived. Ethos discusses how a community of makers and creatives prospered by selling their products through the downfall of the stock market. Who knew how innovative and forward thinking Etsy was? I sure didn’t. The article goes beautifully into the ethics of the business and circulates back to the people ‘harnessing the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.’ With every page turn, I’m hooked.

img_20170310_114147907.jpgFrom my perspective as an Entrepreneur, I can’t wait to see what Ethos has in store for the next issues. It’s informative, yet cooly linked to the upcoming businesses and people with a conscious state of mind. From promotional content about people passionate in going green, upcoming events and conferences available around the world, to articles of what is happening right now; its a masterpiece that is up to date on the world of good. It’s not a publication to make us feel bad about the way the world exists- but aims to promote the good and see that change is happening.  Ethos, you’ve outdone yourselves. One loyal subscriber right here.

You can follow them here in their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Oh Hey, It’s Been A While!

Wow. It’s been a while folks.

Seeing as it’s been 5ever (yeah…longer than 4eva ya get me) since my last post, I think I’ll utilise the time spent away from written posts, to do a little bit of a reflection.

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There’s nothing better than a bit of a self development, reflection and an abundance of love, right?

So, what’s been going down?

  • My business/brand Keep Real has since been registered as a UK Trademark. Heck yeah!!! So flippin chuffed, and to have come that far since I first had the idea- is a wonderful testament to some hard work, tears and maybe a lil’ bit of sweat and blood thrown in there for good measure.
  • I’ve been working full time in Leeds, and loving all my gals who work with me. There’s some major love right there. Honestly, it’s so empowering and sweet to work with the women I do! ❤ (shoutout to Briggate wassupp!)
  • Keep Real saw it’s first photoshoot completed at the end of January this year with my
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    Sneaky peek!!

    talented close friend Alex Ivory in Leeds City Centre. We had some wonderful passionate people join the team- I think there was around 12 of us! To have so many people working with you, and seeing your idea materialise, there really isn’t any other feeling like it. Humbled, loved, a smushball of kind hearts all in that studio. To everyone who worked with me, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, truly a huge thank you.

  • YouTube was a thing, and still is a thing for me. I always try and find some time to do visual content regarding mental health; however my days are fairly long! I wish I could find the time to do them more- as there was a lot of positive feedback. Maybe 2017 will see me do some more, who knows!

“To have so many people working with you, and seeing your idea materialise, there really isn’t any other feeling like it.”

Ultimate reflection: This year has been wonderful so far, and I think to reflect- I need to take a step back sometimes and not be so hard on myself. Every time I have a bad day, I tend to beat myself up about it. It’s something I’m constantly learning from, but I’m so thankful to notice my weaknesses. That can only be a strength, right?

So what have you guys been up to? Hope you are all well!

Kimberley xxxx