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

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My Top 5: Ways of Coping with the Bad Days

Now, a lot of people have a wonderful variety of coping strategies with the days that are just that little bit harder to get through. When I did some research for my degree- there’s a lot of different healthy ways we find that suits us due to our personality traits and personal preferences. For example, folk who are naturally creative love to use art in different mediums to feel better and in others they use music, physical exercise or experiencing the outdoors. Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 14.31.50

As long as your coping strategy is not harmful to you or others, and you can feel better by exploring your coping strategies in a safe and healthy way- then there is no wrong way of doing it. You’re doing what is best for you my lovely!  Mind have a wonderful section on their site about self-care which I extremely recommend on checking out.

Here are my personal Top 5 that I feel help me the most, and perhaps they can help you too! Be gentle with yourself ❤

  1. Ecotherapy – otherwise known as the great green outdoors. Spending time away from distractions, the city life or just by getting out of the house into a natural environment can be so helpful. It is quite a mindful experience, and for me it clears my head. I’m very thankful to live in Yorkshire, and living right next to the woods. Find your place and go there as often as you can. Be one with nature and enjoy it.
  2. Reading – now this doesn’t have to be books on self-help or mindfulness, but a genre or type of book you really enjoy. Love a bit of adventure? Get your Tolkien game on! Like a bit of a classic? Flick through a good Jane Austen! Whatever floats your boat, give it a read. But I will say, be gentle with yourself. You’re doing this for you, remember! Some books with graphic content may be triggering to your wellbeing. My favourite book for the past year has been ‘Just Kids’ by Patti Smith. As a naturally creative person, and I feel I’m having a block/ bad day- I read her book and her prose.
  3. Playing an instrument – I know some folk don’t have musical instruments, but this is one of my personal favourites. I was fortunate enough to be given a classical guitar by my Mum’s friends years and yeaaarrss ago that I still have. You somehow get lost in it, and its just the combination of making sound and feeling the movements. If you don’t have access to anything like that, my next coping strategy is…
  4. Listening to music – Boy can music change your soul. Whatever clicks with you and makes you feel good give it a listen. Pop your headphones on, lay back and shut off the world. You can listen to your favourites/most played or go for super funny songs like ‘I’ve Got A Pocket Full of Sunshine’ by Natasha Bedingfield or the Flashdance Soundtrack (soooooo groovy)
  5. Art- This encompasses everything to scribbles, writing, doodles and full blown commissions for me. It gets me in a nice groove that I can focus on. Controlling the way the pencil moves, or shading in something can be a very mindful experience. Allowing yourself to get lost in it, and only think of what you are creating really helps me get in a good headspace. Also, I write a hell of a lot  when I feel down. I’ve kept a diary for years that I always tend to look back on. Sometimes I don’t know how I feel, so I write whatever is going on in my lil brain down. It’s very cathartic, even if its just in bullet points of things that are bothering me. It also allows me to check in with myself and see what’s affecting me, or what I could highlight as something that needs to change.

 

I hope my Top 5 may help, or perhaps gently give you the smallest ideas of ways to cope. From knitting to running or reading and playing monopoly, there’s so many healthy ways of coping with the bad days.

You are not alone. You are here, and you are enough.

My Lil’ Surgery- What Went Down!

Hey y’all. It’s been a while since I’ve written anything concerning wellbeing- although I have been guest blogging for the non-profit Trusted Clothes about my passion for sustainability and my business yet to launch. I guess I’m gonna write a little differently for a bit concerning wellbeing with what’s been going down lately. (Apologies if this is too much info surgery wise, but letting you know it’s a lil grim.)

I had surgery which I’ve been recovering from. I’ve had an injury for agggessss that needed an operation, and it was about time I went ahead and bit the bullet. When I was training at my Gymnastics Squad in Sheffield, I had torn the muscle wall in my abdomen (gross right?) from doing a routine exercise. I didn’t see it coming, I was training twice a week and when it happened it was the worst pain I’ve ever felt.  It lead to having a ‘ventral hernia’. It stopped me from doing my best and being a Senior at my Squad. It sucked, and I eventually packed it in.  As I’ve grown up and my stomach muscles being as they are from training, it hasn’t been a problem…until now. I’ve grown up since, and the muscle wall tear has grown slightly. When I eat, drink, exercise or even laugh a lot- it has been very painful. And I do a lot of all of those things!

So, I now have a nice neat scar above my belly button, they’ve stitched me up and repaired it with a mesh. So I guess you could say I’m now more solid than I’ve ever been, haha!Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 16.24.05

The reason why it is taking me a while to recover (which is super frustrating) is that it actually takes 6 -8 weeks to make a complete recovery. I thought I’d be in and out, swaggering around Yorkshire like my usual self! But sadly, no. Internal stitches and placing a mesh inside to repair the damaged wall takes a while to get good. I just have to take it easy if I’m going places.
It didn’t help that during surgery, they gave me 100ml of Tremadol, and then after surgery gave me 50ml more; which it turns out I’m allergic to. I came round from surgery covered in a rash all over my body, making me feel nauseous and completely not with it. I had to stay overnight, as they had to keep an eye on me from the reaction to the medication. I also had trouble going to the toilet because my stomach hurt so bad- so they were slightly concerned about that too.

As I was in a private room, I had a buzzer if I needed help. As my problems were mostly going-to-the-loo-related, they told me to buzz if I needed help with it. After I’d tried by myself, I tried to sit down in a chair but then starting feeling awful. I’d slumped down in this chair, cold sweats, probably looked deathly and ended up passing out. All the while I tried buzzing for help, but they presumed I just need the loo. So they didn’t come. I heard a nurses voice on the intercom asking if I needed help- but to reply I needed to be on the other side of the room. Eventually after many buzzes I must have made a nurse came in, and found me collapsed in the chair. Oxygen mask on and everything!

So my experience of hospital was great and crappy at the same time. My dad had major surgery in a different hospital the same day as mine- so with all of what was going on with me, I was concerned about my Dad too. I was talking about him to all the nurses and Doctors, and to be honest I just wanted to get better so I could see him.

I’m feeling much better lately, although still finding it different to concentrate because it makes me feel sick and I have to nap it off. Other than that, it’s looking good but I just have to take it easy. My Dad is doing alright too, and his surgery went as well as they hoped.

Road to recovery now! ❤ ❤ ❤

Mental Health Is A Part Of Us All- Yes, Us All!

We have physical health, and we have mental health. It should be quite simple, right? Well, it feels like common sense- that our health is us as a whole, that we need to take care of our bodies and minds as one. Then how come mental health isn’t spoken about as much? Sometimes our mental health even comes with physical symptoms. Chest pains, loss of appetite, migraines, fatigue etc. It’s all linked, and our mind controls everything too! Ever get a tummy pain or a headache, and the more you think about how much it hurts- the more you feel it hurting somehow? When we focus on our pains or aches with our thoughts, the more our pains and aches control our thinking, our ability to concentrate and even our mobility as a person. Well, it all loops back to our thoughts and our mental state. This is our mental health. Whether you know it or not, you have mental health. Just like we all breathe in oxygen, have bones, skin, as well as blood flowing through our veins. It’s a part of us, and we have to take care of it.

Having a healthy mind is just as important as a health body

The next time you see someone in the street, or on their way to work, even in your workplace- just remember they have mental health. We aaallll have mental health! You are not alone, we all go through something- and you deserve to be ok. Every single person on this big huge rock we call our home has a mental state, even if we don’t talk about it. Our health is part of us all, whether we can see it or not.

Take care of yourself you, and keep real!

A list of helplines are on my blog, and if you feel you’d like to read more on mental health, type ‘mental health’ into the search bar ❤

Winter Blues – How To Beat It!

Hey folks! I hope this post finds you well! It’s been a week or so since my last post- but I have much planned to fill this blog up with some lil’ tips and posts full of mental wellness and motivation!

It’s mid November already! Can you believe it?! Most folk struggle more with their mental health (as well as physical too!) in the winter months. However, despite this ongoing problem that quite a lot of us experience, with a mild form of ‘winter blues’, some of us also experience SAD this time of year. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, or otherwise known as summertime sadness or seasonal depression) is a form of depression that here in the UK, is said to affect about 1 in 15 people. There are many forms of depression, which can find here on Rethink. Symptoms for SAD generally appear between September and November, and continue until March or April, when there may be a sudden burst of energy and activity wpid-img_20151022_220531.jpgaccompanying the longer, brighter spring and summer days. Symptoms can include lethargy, loss of concentration, sleep problems, anxiety and social problems (please find more information over at the Mental Health Foundation)

We all feel down now and then, but winter for some can be quite a difficult time, with or without a diagnosed mental health problem. We all have to take care of ourselves the best we can ❤ Here are 3 key tips to keep you going, and to cope with the longer days and colder nights
. Be safe folks, and stay well.

  1. Try get outside in the daylight if you can. Even if its that small lunch break at work, soak up as much natural daylight as possible. If not outside, sit near the windows if possible and chose colours in your room that are pale to reflect light from outside. ❤
  2. Keep warm. Wrap yourself up with all your jumpers, scarves and hats- like the warmest little burrito possible! Hot drinks and food will also fill that wonderful tummy up of yours. Whether that be hot chocolate, green tea, broths, soups- you name it! Eat up and stay snug.
  3. Stay active. I know it’s cold and very chilly on the bones- but you gotta move about! Whether that be running up and down the stairs a few times, doing yoga, going for a walk round your house, or doing some stretches. One hour’s walk in the middle of the day can be just as helpful as light treatment or therapy.

kimmykeepfit!

Gooood wpid-img_20150625_131011.jpgMorrnnning you beautiful souls, I hope you’re enjoying your day so far! As for me today, I am moving out of my house in Huddersfield and returning home with my parents for a while. I’m actually quite sad to be leaving the University life and losing some of my independence. But alas! The time has come to move forward and start some exciting adventures with my brand Keep Real and promoting better mental health and well-being along the way.

So with the wonderful catchy title ‘kimmykeepfit’ (thanks to my housemate/not housemates anymore Danny- you the man!) I will begin some training for some upcoming fundraising projects! I am raising money for Rethink Mental Illness and Mind here in the UK.

 

Mental Health charities are to date the least given to organisations in the UK. To say that about a quarter of the entire UK population will experience a mental health problem in the course of a year- the results are poor.

First, I will be running a half marathon later in the year and have set myself the wpid-img_20150624_141234.jpgalmighty task of doing the incredible Three Peaks Challenge here in Yorkshire, Flippin’ crrraaazzzyyyy challenges to set myself, but I am more than prepared to raise money for some wonderful charities and increase awareness for mental health.

The training begins NOW (or when I’ve got rid of this dreadful cold!) and I will be posting ‘kimmykeepfit’ updates on how well it’s going and when I’ll be setting up a JustGiving page etc.

Let’s do this!!!

Don’t ever let your sky turn into a ceiling ❤