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.
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
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!
Sometimes life is a big jumble of, well…not what we expect. I implore you to take a deep breath while you read this, and breathe out. You’re here.
Life is the weirdest thing man, and we all look to others who somehow have it together. But as a matter of fact, they’re all looking at everyone else thinking that they have it together. It’s a big mush of ‘having it togetherness’- when as a matter of fact, none of us do. So why are we caught up in something we can’t achieve?
I sure as heck don’t have it together, but I’m just trying to get by with things that make me happy- all the while trying to accept that wherever life takes me, I’ll never really get to the having it together part of my life.
But we can have it together. Here’s how.
It’s about the journey, and I know how up and down it may be. We all struggle, but the only way we can feel like everything falls into place- is when we accept and focus on the present.
Wherever you are right now is wherever you are meant to be.
You’re sitting/standing, whatever it is right here, is what is important. If you’re having a bad day, be gentle with yourself. If your day isn’t going to plan, breathe and again be gentle with yourself.
Having it together isn’t fancy cars, stable jobs, perfect home and happy relationships. It’s about being wherever you are right now and believing that it’s where you’re meant to be.
We’re living in a fast paced, technologically advanced, weirdly driven world that has pretty much pushed us so much; that in all honesty, has failed to be good to our very souls. It’s advancing more than we can deal with, our human minds being pushed to limits we’re not so sure we can handle. I haven’t messaged them back, I’m such a terrible friend. What will they think of me? I need to post an update! Do I need this app to improve my life? Will this game bring me joy, or will it distract me? I need to check my profiles. How many followers do I have? What are my friends up to?
Does this sound familiar maybe? It’s probably crossed your mind.
We sometimes feel glued to our screens, unable to respond quickly enough to the present- while we’re all worrying about our online worlds. What we appear to be, seems very much a focus, not what we truly are. It’s tough to see kids not playing in the streets as much, and the heavy burdens they bare to online bullying, how many likes they’ve received and how hard it is to fit in. It was hard before, and it’s even harder now.
I know I’ve felt the pang of guilt for not replying, or responding as quickly as I’d like. I work hard and the pressures of ‘keeping up appearances’ doesn’t get me down that much. We don’t always have to respond quickly or post things all the time. Of course I’d like to be doing exciting things every day, going exploring and taking time off- but it isn’t necessarily online.
Remember: You are enjoying things for you, not for your following or the folk you talk to online. Hold your friendships dear, but enjoy the present while you’re in it. Slow down, let go.
Sometimes we overlook the small things that can make a difference to our wellbeing. We try radical ways to see if something big can change the course of our thoughts and feelings. However, sometimes all we need to do is try take a step back, and see what tiny things we can do to feel a little better. Here’s my Top 3 things to consider and perhaps note down. As always, be gentle with yourself!
You can also check out my previous post on 5 Ways of Coping with the bad days too.
So.. here’s my 3 Simples Steps!
Write it down– I chose this as the top simple step. I know folk love their phones and reminders on their laptops, but we forget that writing is very cathartic. Pickthebrain.com stated that ‘When you can place your emotional difficulties into a piece of writing, there is a great sense of “letting go” that can help you “right” yourself in your world again’. You don’t have to write a massive paragraph and it doesn’t even have to make sense, even if its just a few words that sum up your day. Remember, it’s your notebook/diary/journal. You can write whatever you wish in it. For me personally, it really helps me break down how I feel and keep a track of
what’s been going on.
Drink Water – Silly right? But yes, this is the simplest step. Our bodies are made up of up to 60% water. It’s a vital nutrient for our wellbeing and we tend to not drink that much H20. It regulates our body temperature, helps to keep skin healthy and does all sorts of cool things for us. We can get a certain amount of water from what we eat, but keeping hydrated is key to wellbeing. Try not to
consume too much caffeinated drinks, as these can increase heart rate and can make you feel restless/jittery. And we don’t want that do we! Try green tea with lemon, or just soft drinks without all that sugary/sweetener in. Put some fresh fruit in your water for flavour, like lemon, strawberries, blueberries…anything! Mix it up! Here is Shapes’ tips for making water taste less boring. ❤
Breathe – We all find it hard to just take a step back from our day. We’ve got deadlines, we’ve got work, we just haven’t got time to sit and be one with ourselves. But trust me, you do have time. You should always have time for you- even if you only allow yourself 5-10 minutes. Here’s my favourite Mindful techniques to Reduce Stress. Just noticing what you are doing, even when you’re eating or having a break. Enjoy it! Breaaatthhheee. The 3 steps to mindful breathing are > Choose a “down” time: on the train in the shower, making breakfast. Shift your focus to your breathing and pick a single aspect to focus on: the rising and falling of your chest or the sensation in your nose. Spend at least five minutes in this state of awareness; when your mind wanders, gently direct it back to your breath.
We forget to breathe, drink and do a bit of writing to process our thoughts. These little things can make us feel just that little bit better in ourselves. ❤ take care of yourself, and if you have any questions please feel free to email me email@example.com
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.
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 ❤
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.
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.
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…
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)
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.
Hi there folks. Hope you are all doing well! Here in the UK, it’s mental health awareness week. Already on the news bright and early this morning there were speakers and wonderful content on mental health- and a highlight of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge starting the ‘Heads Together‘ campaign aiming to end the stigma surrounding mental health.
It’s just as important as physical health, and it affects each and every one of us. In my opinion, I feel we’re making progress. Maybe that’s because I’m actively doing things surrounding wellbeing and mental health, but a lot of organisations, non profits, charities, as well as some amazing individuals are starting to speak up and fight for better MH education in schools, as well as fund their mission to break the stigma and provide support. It’s truly amazing to see, and that means we are reaching more people of all ages about taking care of ourselves and each other.
Know that you are not alone, my sweet. We as people are always going to have good and bad days. We’re not happy all of the time and for some of us, that can be a challenging thought. We always think people have it better off, but in fact its just not the case. We’ve all got something that gets us down, and sometimes we don’t know why we feel so upset.
Check out the helplines on my site and take a peep at what they’re up to this week for Mental Health Awareness. I’ll be doing more posts for MHA week about what I find good for ways of coping with the bad days, plus more about how our wellbeing affects us in such diverse ways.
Be gentle with yourself, and as always – keep real! ❤ ❤
p.s if you’d like to have a chat in a confidential manner, do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sometimes life can throw some mega curve balls our way, sometimes it can sail along fine and dandy, and other times it can really suck. But days do get better. They truly do. The first step, is to say that you truly can. When we start believing that things will be good, or will be better- they will be. You have no idea how much power you hold in the present moment, and ultimately in your future. Yeah, that may be a little daunting, but it’s surprising what our minds can do.
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”- Mahatma Gandhi
Sadness as one of our six basic emotions (happiness, anger, fear, disgust and surprise as the other five) and is just part of who we are. There’s no escaping it, and it’s a very natural response to things that make us feel things from hopeless, despair and disappointment to loss and grief. It’s an emotion we all want to shake. No one likes to feel it! We all say hell nawww to all of that, but that’s where we go wrong. It feels all uncomfortable because we can’t control it like we can control happiness. We want all the happiness all of the time! But we have to understand that sadness is a natural response which will pass. Have patience and be gentle with yourself.
Sometimes, we don’t even know why we’re upset- and that’s ok. You’re not weird, or silly and don’t ever apologise for how you feel. Remind yourself that it’s all ok. It’s important to allow yourself to feel whatever you feel.
I will leave with you my favourite quote by a brilliant man named Osho. Take care you ❤
“Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height. Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches. Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously. The bigger the tree, the bigger will be its roots. In fact, it is always in proportion. That’s its balance.”