Anxiety and University

Afternoon folks, hope you are all enjoying your week so far! If you’ve been following my blog a while, or have read my personal post over on Rethink and/or heard my broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s All in the Mind concerning teenage mental health- you will know that during my first year at University, I struggled with anxiety. After seeking help through the University’s well-being services, I sought Counselling which turned out to be mindfulness based. I still practice mindfulness every day! I wouldn’t say anxiety is a part of my life as much as it had been, but sometimes it plays a role. It’s a natural part to life, like wanting to be on time for work or passing an exam. It’s just the balance of managing and being aware of your responses to it.

I found an article that was published in the Guardian quite recently discussing anxiety and University that I thought would be a great read. It also has 10 Tips for Anxious Students at the bottom of the page. Click here for the article.

Happy reading folks! Much love, and as always – keep real! ❤ x

What is Mindfulness? Rad, I’m Telling Ya.

wpid-img_20150816_082646.jpgGood morning you. What a week, huh?! It’s been a very humbling and gratifying kinda August for me I have to say. I’ve been writing more than ever, my article about going through anxiety has been published for Rethink Mental Illness, and Keep Real is becoming a very large garments & goods project with so many rewards. It’s nice to be working hard for things I believe in.

A huge thank you for all who’ve messaged me about my article too, it’s quite a vulnerable and open hearted topic to talk about- especially when it is published so widely (you can find it here). But I wanted folk to know that it’s ok to struggle and that it is possible to come out of it the other side. The post I wrote for Rethink touched on the therapy I had, which was mindfulness and person centred. So I thought to elaborate on how mindfulness helped me through my anxiety and how I practice it still today.

There are so many forms of therapy and different ways of managing your mental health, and I found that mindfulness was the most helpful for me personally. If you’d like to know more about what mindfulness is, check out the Mental Health Foundation and Frantic World. There is also a wonderful website called Free Mindfulness, with plenty of resources and free downloads of mindfulness exercises. Mindfulness is actually a very ancient practice which in the modern day, is a real rad way of getting on down with the here and now. It’s a mind-body based approach to relaxation which focuses on the present, your thoughts/feelings/sensations happening in the now and being non-judgemental about it. Chest pains? Headache? Can’t switch off? It’s ok. You don’t have to be brill at it, it’s all about being that little bit kinder to yourself and noticing how you are feeling.

tumblr_n29b65dBhH1r1d9pio1_500Mindfulness helped me focus on what is going on in the present, my anxiety was all about worrying about the future. It’s such a wonderful practice! For example, here you are reading my blog (how lovely!), your eyes are gliding across the screen and your body is relaxed. Notice it. How does your body feel? Notice your surroundings too. What noises do you hear?

Connect with the now. It gives you a real focus on the present and linking it in with your body. The more time you take out to be mindful, the more relaxed you feel. I practice it without really thinking too much about it now. I’ll get up earlier than usual and do an exercise, if I’m feeling a bit anxious I’ll do it wherever I am, or even when I’m commuting to work. I’ll just be that little bit more mindful when I go about my day.

If there is anything else you would like to know more of/ask me- please feel free to drop a comment! I’ll be doing more posts on Mindfulness later on with some of my favourite basic exercises ❤

All the ❤

My Graduation & My Next Journey

Good morning/afternoon/evening all you wonderful people! I have some fantastic news to share… I graduated from University yesterday!! I now have a Bachelor of Science Degree with Honours in Counselling. It was such a beautiful day with family and friends. I am so proud of myself, my friwpid-img_20150722_110543.jpgends and family. To know I have such wonderful people in my life that encouraged me to go for whatever I wanted to achieve, truly makes me feel incredibly blessed. When I sat down in St. Paul’s Hall with all the other graduates in our caps and gowns it was just so amazing! I gotta say I teared up a lil’ bit. I turned round and saw my mum and dad in the audience behind- knowing how proud they are makes me feel all fuzzy and thankful! An amazing and overwhelming day.

So I guess the question is…what happens now? Well, Keep Real will still be in full swing as well as the goals of fundraising for Rethink Mental Illness, but to achieve that higher goal- I want to work in Mental Health. Making a positive impact anywhere is the next journey ❤ Wherever that is, I am looking forward to it.

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University Photographers caught my family using a selfie stick!! haha!!

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Thought for the Day

We can’t escape pain; we can’t escape the essential nature of our lives. But we do have a choice. We can give in and relent, or we can fight, persevere and create a life worth living – Jacob Held

We all have a choice on how to react and perceive situations. You have the power to create such a beautiful life ❤

Mental Health Talk With Mind!

On Tuesday, I attended a Mental Health Talk co-hosted by Mind held in Leeds Town Hall, to help shape mental health concerning the NHS for the next five years.The Mental Health Taskforce will develop a five-year national strategy for mental health, covering all ages, to be published in the autumn.at7jeXYT_400x400

What an amazing day! So humbled to have been given the opportunity to have a say in what needs to be changed in order to provide better mental health services for everyone- and what can be put in place to improve Britain’s mental health altogether. With my business Keep Real, it is so important to me to focus my clothing/illustration work and my actual business promise on promoting better mental health to all.

Here are some of the points that I put forward!

  • Better links between GP’s and different therapies available
  • More knowledge available on therapies for patients and general public.
  • More training in GP practices on mental health and providing the right care
  • Mental Health talks and classes in schools
  • More mental health care in schools, instead of just one counsellor per school.

It was such a wonderful event, to attend different workshops covering varied topics of mental health and to discover that most of the people who were there, agreed with what I was putting forward. Also, some ideas of change that I never thought about too! Before the workshops and discussions, I was able to talk to several people who were in attendance about their backgrounds and their views of mental health. Wow, these were some amazing people! Defeating all the odds, despite their mental health problems and what they have overcome.

It feels like a step forward, although there is a long way to go!! It cannot be done with a click of a finger, it takes funding as well as politics coming into it! However, I had such an inspiring day- knowing my voice was heard and I helped to shape better mental health for everyone by contributing my points. I hope I can continue to promote better mental health with Keep Real- this talk is where it begins!