SOC-ENT Part 3: Mental Health Workshops begin!

What’s going on Kim, I hear you say? A lot…as always!

So a lot of you folk know about Keep Real, I’m so humbled to announce the beginning of mental health workshops for the social enterprise!! The first workshop will be in Sheffield as part of the CIC Golddigger Trust for ‘Girls Day’ (you can grab tickets over on their website).

I ran a workshop the previous year, however I’ll be officially running Keep Real’s first workshop for mental health. It will see the yet-to-be-launched colouring books (…have I said too much?) in full swing. I can’t wait to see what the girls think of them! Then they’ll be launching with the new merch in the next couple of months.

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A year on from launching the business officially online, this year is for growth and learning. I think the hardest part is to know what direction to go in. My advisor asked me an extremely inspiring question the other day, “Do you want your business to be big…or do you want it to be deep?”. In simpler terms, do I want to create social change in the community and directly be part of every workshop, making sure that Keep Real is providing qualitative feedback on mental health…or do I want it to be something incredibly huge and part of the wider UK, but without the personal touch?

As much as I’d love Keep Real to support the wider community, being a ‘deep’ social enterprise aligns with what I want currently. I want it to make a difference to young mental health in the community- and at the moment exploring those options on how to do that. Such as the mental health workshop with secondary school girls in Sheffield, and the live event in July.

Next week will begin the process of looking at various directions of growth for the business, and ways in which it can reach a wider audience. I can’t wait to see where it goes!

What do you want to see of from Keep Real?

 

 

Experiences of a Social Entrepreneur: Part Two

If you haven’t seen Part One of this three part blog post- please see it here! I first discussed knowing your market, dealing with difficult situations and a small summary of starting out. This part is asking questions like, ‘What is a social enterprise?’ and ‘Tips from Important Mistakes’.

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So What Is A ‘Social Enterprise’?

A lot of folk will not know what a social enterprise is, so here it is simply; a business with a social purpose. Keep Real is a social enterprise as it uses the profits from the goods sold to fund mental health workshops in Yorkshire. Profit isn’t simply for profit, it is aiming to have a purpose within the community. Really cool, huh?

Business doesn’t have to be a ‘social enterprise’ to have an impact, it can be full blown CIC (Community Interest Company), registered charity, a Limited Company, a Corporation…the list goes on. The WHY of your business should be part of that evaluation. I first wanted Keep Real to be a CIC, but the brand is still figuring out it’s territory for now- after all, Keep Real hasn’t even been a year into launch! I have to think about the long term future for me as a person- and more than anything would I love to do my business full time and make a living. If I can support the community and also pay my bills- that ticks ‘the dream’ off my bucket list.

Tips From My (Important) Mistakes

If you’re not making mistakes along the way, it’s either a miracle or you’re bad at being an entrepreneur. Without mistakes…how will you learn? How will you grow?

  • Don’t Run Before You Can Walk – When I first started out, I was looking for that ‘quick fix’ of business that I’m sure when you’re an eager beaver like I was (and still am) about your idea- then you’ll jump a lot of checkpoints to get to the final product. I’ve learned that patience and taking risks go hand in hand. Even if that’s as simple as choosing to paying extra for a small part of your packaging because it’s sustainably sourced although longer for delivery, compared a company that will do it cheaper and faster for you. Quicker never means better. Make sure you cover all options before making your move. A mistake I made when being a naive start up- was selecting a supplier who would do the job quicker and because my budget was low, it was all I could afford. I’m glad I made the t-shirt I did, as it’s a foundation for growth. I now know what suppliers I choose, and how good the quality it is. Read How To Start A Creative Business for a jargon free insight.
  • Your Hobby is a BUSINESS…Don’t Forget About You!! – I’ve read a lot of books regarding creative entrepreneurs, and I can say for myself that I still struggle with this one. Hey, I know. I know. When you’ve got a wonderful idea, it’s a hobby. You love doing it, you love doing it so much you don’t care about the money. My business advisor even told me once…‘Kim… have you thought about the money side of things?’ which is just something as a social entrepreneur I didn’t think about at all. I cared about the change it would made, not necessarily the profit margins. Don’t forget where you fit into the business. 20180319164711_IMG_0951-02
  • Don’t Underestimate Yourself – Confidence is something that comes with time. Did I think I’d be public speaking, having meetings and going to conferences 3 or 4 years ago? Did I hell! As some of you know my story, I suffered with anxiety during my college and some of my university years. Underestimating yourself, means you’re underestimating your business. It’s a lot on your shoulders, but the business depends on you. Because the business is youI didn’t take a lot of opportunities because I didn’t believe in myself. There’s that conflict of wanting to make your business work- but there’s only so much talking you can do. You need to DO something. That requires a leap of faith, which you need to be willing to take. Don’t underestimate your abilities.
  • Learn To Say ‘No’ – Oh man, this oneeeee! Ok, so I’ve said yes to a lot of things because I was afraid of saying no- and definitely payed for it in the end…literally. I gave a lot of products away for free and not really seeing the downside to it…until I realised I was minus money and no way of funding the next idea. It’s ok to say no to opportunities that don’t sit well with you, or compromise yourself as a person. I nearly took a commission from a record store in the UK that wanted bright colour cartoon drawings because it paid well. But I said no because it just wasn’t right for me. You’ll soon realise what you hold dear and what your values are once you have a sweet biz-baby to take care of. Learn to take a step back and realise who you are and what you value the most.

Have you made any important mistakes if you are freelance, starting a business or setting up a creative side hustle?

 

 

Experiences of a Social Entrepreneur: Part One

It’s difficult to sum up all the wonderful tribulations of starting a business. The very first statement I will say, is that the hardest part is starting at all. So here’s 3 inside notes on my experiences so far for Part One!


Personal Challenges:

When I first had the idea of ‘Keep Real‘ – it was around 4 to 5 years ago. A lot has changed in those years, and a lot is changing now. Not knowing what the right step is, will never evolve into an actual step in any direction. You just have to dive right in. Whether that’s saving up to make your first prints, going to local art exhibitions/shows to get a feel for the market, or knowing how to split up your time. I look back at what I first made and holy moly it’s embarrassing! But at the time, I loved the fact I made my very first t-shirt design- I spent hours on Paint (yes….PAINT) to edit out the pencil marks and errors. I asked my friend Darren to walk down to town with our housemates so I could take some pictures on my digital camera.

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Much has changed since then (definitely in technology too…) and reflecting on those parts of business makes you realise how far you’ve come. If you’re truly determined to make your idea work, you will. Don’t be afraid of unsuccessful stalls, sales or ideas (I know… I’ve had plenty!) At the end of the day, you are learning and no one ever gets it right the first time. It’s your idea…and your idea evolves!

 

Not knowing what the right step is, will never evolve into an actual step in any direction.

Know Your Market, Know Your Business!

At first, I toyed around with the idea that Keep Real would give certain amounts of profit to already existing mental health organisations. However, with my degree I wanted to be part of the change and see where the profits go- as well as funding my own life alongside it. A business at the end of the day, is a business. It needs to fund itself…and fund you too!

Knowing WHO your business is aimed at and the big WHY of what your business is, is VITAL. Where does your business slot into the current market? What change are you trying to create? What makes your business different to the others? Read DO/PURPOSE, or any part of the Do Book Co series for tips! Remember that your idea of what your business is, may be different in someone else’s view. Focus groups are a great way to know your market, and can completely change the game! Feedback is e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

With Keep Real, I knew I wanted to support better mental health in young people. I didn’t know when I first started making those paint-edited-tshirts that I’d be funding workshops, working with various inspirational creatives and designing supportive tools for wellbeing. Your idea develops over time, do not be afraid of change in direction. For example, I never knew public speaking would be part of Keep Real, but it is!

Overcoming Difficult Situations

The first part of the business that was important for me to lay out, was the process of making a solid foundation. This for me, was registering as self-employed (you can do this also if you are employed…be prepared to start tax returns though!) and the most important for me was trademarking the name ‘Keep Real’ in the UK under certain classifications. Get all the legal stuff out of the way first. Intellectual Property is a HUGE part of your business (especially if you are a creative one) and it needs to be protected. Trademarking in the UK lasts 10 years if approved. So once its yours, its yours for a long time- even if the business changes!

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One situation I had to overcome- was a trademark battle. An existing company in the UK already had a similar name under the very same classifications I was applying for. This felt all too serious, and something that I was unable to handle myself. I was ready to launch the website…then bam!! I had to file a report stating that my ‘mark’ would not disrupt the preexisting business, how my name was different etc, I was given advice from lawyers and freaked out at the prospect of losing the name. It was absolutely terrifying. What if they opposed my application? What if I had to change the name completely? What else would I call the business, when it means so much?!

With a delay that couldn’t be avoided and with much anticipation, the trademark was finally approved, with the other party deciding not to proceed with the next stage of opposing. Thank goodness! So here we are today, with the 10 year stamp (®) that means that my business name cannot be used by anyone under my categories. Phew!

Taking risks or having someone throw an absolute curveball into the mix- is part of the business game. No matter how much research you do, there will be something that completely blows your mind. Taking a step back and reevaluating is part of the job.

Kimmy’s Top Tips:

  • Describe your business in 3 words. Ask others to do the same. Is it the same? This is a great way to evaluate your idea compared to potential customers!
  • Do not be afraid of change! We all started with an idea- it evolves all the time!
  • Curveballs come with business. How you deal with that determines whether or not you’re passionate about your idea.
  • Feedback and research is VITAL. Knowledge is power…

 

Part Two to come!

 

What is ‘Having it Together?’

Hey you.

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.

You’re here.

Life is the weirdest thing, 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.

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3 Lil’ Tips for Staying Well

Staying well this March, here’s 3 lil’ tips to keep you going. You got this! You can do it!

Connect with other folk. Whether this be online or having a conversation. I know myself how hard it can be to tell your friends or family about how you feel. But let’s be honest here, doesn’t it feel good to tell people what’s on your mind now and then? Have a cup of coffee (wpid-img_20151022_220531.jpgor a virtual mug of tumblr tea), sit yourself down and ask those around you how they feel. Sharing things that are troubling you- is solving the problem little by little. Sometimes we over share, but do what feels comfortable. Sharing is caring, as they say!

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” – Carl Jung

Read a kick ass quote. We aaalllll love a good quote. They’re a catch, reminding us of all the good stuff we sometimes forget to think about. It also allows us to see things differently, or with a completely new perspective that may, fingers crossed, give us hope or provide a sense of relief. But the wonderful thing is, these quotes are the fundamental tools to staying well. We lose ourselves in the daily grind, in the busy lives we lead and in the tasks at hand. Who has time to read a quote? Well, you know what, you do.

Challenge your sweet self! Now this one isn’t as tough as it sounds. You gotta be kind to yourself, and real gentle. But howwpid-img_20150923_165211.jpg about picking up a book that is completely out of your normal reading habits and
see how it goes? I was given a book recommendation by a dear friend which I am now reading called ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance‘. It’s not any of those things by the way, but it’s a motivational book. Never would have picked it up in a million years by my own choice! I’m persevering, and reaping the benefits. Or perhaps you could listen to music you’ve never really thought about giving a go. You may just enjoy it, and surprise yourself! I suggest Spotify. Type in a genre or an artist you already like, and it will recommend artists or bands that or perhaps something you’d wanna check out. Go give it a go! Challenge your interests!

Stay well folks, and keep real xx

Our Wellbeing & Our Product Choices

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Being mindful of our choices as people can truly help us feel that little bit better in ourselves. I hear the term ‘conscious living’ being brought up- and it’s a wonderful thing to see. Hearing of living a slower, more conscious way of life is something I have definitely focused on this last year, more so than ever. So  how does it all tie in?

So for starters…

Wellbeing is, as a definition:

The state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.

There’s a lot that wellbeing is influenced by. From our mental health, what we eat, who we surround ourselves with, to what we purchase throughout our lives. Wellbeing is something we try to cultivate and maintain.

We all know that our clothes and things we buy reflect our personalities, and the essence of who we are as people. Why are we drawn to certain things? Some would say that we are attracted to specific clothes, products and objects based on our needs. Christian Jarrett from The Psychologist stated that ‘How much we see our things as an extension of ourselves, may depend in part in how confident we feel about who we are.’

So, what we’re truly saying is that it all comes from within, right? To truly see our clothes, objects, products as an extension of our inner souls, all depends on how we feel about our complete selves in the first place. We need to take a step back and reflect on our values too. Are you drawn to certain brands that reflect your personality? Or is it because it’s quick and easy to buy?

For me, I like to use products that reflect my passion for sustainability, and giving back to the Earth. Personally, I’m extremely passionate about wellbeing and taking care of our bodies. This goes from my brand choice for skincare (The Bodyshop, 70% Vegan, 100% Vegetarian, All natural ingredients, Cruelty Free, commitment of ‘Enrich Not Exploit’), to cruelty free make-up (Barry M Cosmetics and Sleek here in the UK) and my clothing choices too (going more second hand, vintage or apps like Shpock, DePop and Ebay). I believe that when I purchase something, it makes me more confident in myself by making mindful choices. My clothes are lasting longer, the personal care products I use make me feel amazing knowing they’re giving back, and I know my clothes are made from people with fairer wages, who aren’t exploited in the hard work they do.

When buying products, clothes or anything just be that little bit more mindful. If brands are doing wonderful things for others and the planet- then contributing to that can make us feel super lovely. Just by doing this, you’re making a difference- to other people, the planet and most importantly…yourself.

Isn’t that a wonderful thought?

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10 Ways Back To The Light

Hey folks, I wanted to share with you an article I found on Psychologies by Jamie Rhodes author of ‘Instrumental: A Memoir of Madness, Medication and Music’ (purchase here)4e39e58e38bdf17dbffc00a175afaa34, and Matt Haig, author of ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ (purchase here) about the top ten strategies that helped them through the more difficult times. These are wonderful, and I hope they help you too! (read it down below, or in the original article here) ❤

10 Ways Back To The Light

James Rhodes says:

Breathe – 10 minutes of meditation a day works wonderrs.

Make a cuppa “I’d somehow got enough clarity and self-awareness to know that I was able now to do all I could to get well… It was terrifying and exciting all at once. Time maybe to have a cup of tea and listen to Chopin’s greatest nocturne – the one in C minor Op. 48/1.

Talk to anyone friendly. “I like talking to strangers. I read a book about depression once where the protagonist was so lonely she used to join queues simply for the human interaction. And while things weren’t quite that bad yet, I did at times strike up conversations with people.

Do something creative (piano/writing for me, but there is an almost infinite choice for everyone) “Forgiveness and meditation, reading and writing, talking and sharing all help, creativity is, for me, one of the most profound ways through trauma.”

Find some perspective. Remember you’re a microscopic dot hurtling around the universe on a tiny planet in the middle of an unfathomable amount of space.

Matt Haig says:

Slow down. “Anxiety runs your mind at fastforward rather than normal ‘play’ speed, so addressing that issue of mental ‘pace’ might not be easy. But it works.”

Go for a run and then do yoga (the golden bullet for my anxiety) “I was a yogaphobe, but am now a convert. It’s great, because unlike other therapies, it treats the mind and the body as part of the same whole.”

Get off the internet. “I might – if I am going through a neurotic patch – do a quick ego search, or check out any new Goodreads or Amazon reviews of my books or go on Google and type in a list of real or imaginary ailments to see which terminal disease I am currently suffering from.

Talk to people you love. “Words. Comfort. Support. It took me more than a decade to be able to talk openly, properly, to everyone, about my experience. I soon discovered the act of talking is in itself a therapy. Where talk exists, so does hope.

Stare at the sky. “Look at the sky. Remind yourself of the cosmos. Seek vastness at every opportunity, in order to see the smallness of yourself.”

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?

 

3 Simple Steps to Improved Mental Health

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 c27b72ab524503258c478790d691b27bfeelings. 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!

  1. 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 of99e5363a41321d08650266084d34aa65what’s been going on.
  2. 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. ❤
  3. 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 kimmykeepreal@gmail.com

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

 

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