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.

Body Image: Why You Should Love Yourself

“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.”
― Amy Bloom

Why do we struggle accepting ourselves for who we are? Our bodies are our own beautiful temples, moving and breathing without conscious thought, allowing us to explore this world and well, live. We are literally made of stars, yet we somehow have such negative thoughts when it comes to our bodies. Too fat, too thin, bumpy bits, not enough of this, too much of that. Anything we can think of, we use to shame our bodies.

Why?

We compare, and the image of our bodies has been in a sense, warped by external influences. Yes, loving your body comes from within; but when society is pushing a certain size, shape or type into your everyday life-how do we feel good about ourselves?Ameema Blog Picture

We have to start using social media positively, and using it to our advantages. This links in with Shaun’s guest post on here about Social Media and Mental Health, that we can actively make what surrounds us a healthier impact on our wellbeing. There’s loads of mental health apps, (See my list of favourite free apps here ), wonderful people like the folks over at The Crybaby Club with a support network for ladies, also non-profits and organisations championing self-love and being comfortable in your own skin. We are not what we see on the screens. You, your friends, your family and loved ones are not all the same body shape or size- so why are we trying to obtain this unachievable ‘perfect’ body? Hell, it breaks my heart when someone tells me they dislike parts of themselves. Most of the time they’re comparing it to other people they know or see online.

“Even the models we see in magazines wish they could look like their own images.”
― Cheri K. Erdman

The people you are comparing your bodies too, are also comparing their bodies to other people. It is a vicious cycle of some strange secret competition we have in our heads. Even Beyonce hides her ears because she thinks they’re too big. You’d tell her to take a walk! But you shouldn’t diminish someones insecurities because you see them as beautiful or ‘perfect’ in the first place. We all have something, and because it isn’t your insecurity doesn’t mean it isn’t valid.

“Healthy emotions come in all sizes. Healthy minds come in all sizes. And healthy bodies come in all sizes.” ― Cheri K. Erdman

You kick ass and deserve to feel comfortable in your skin. Love transcends our bodies, and goes deeper than the skin that covers our bodies. We gotta love it.tumblr_nqbkpunYAi1u7jt09o1_r1_1280

A Reflection on Being Butt-hurt.

Hey folks! I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend so far!

As a lil’ lady who is continuously learning about herself, it’s extremely hard to discuss topics that I’m still, well, learning about! It’s soul- baring, and I feel all vulnerable discussing it. I’d like to think I’m self aware, or at least know my own strengths and weaknesses in every day terms, but in a perspective concerning relationships- it’s still something that is developing all the time.

I pride myself on my independence, and being comfortable in my own skin. Which is very true indeed! As some of you know, I was a bundle of nerves and my anxiety was at it’s highest in college years. In other articles/posts, I have stated that it affected my Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 14.56.11relationships, which it definitely did. I look back at that time now, and think how much of a different person I am now. I’m unashamed of my easy going attitude towards everything, I’m confident and chilled out in a mushy-cool combination (or at least I’d like to think so!), I go with the flow- if a guy comes along that I really like, sweet! If not, that’s cool too- because what will happen, will happen ❤ However it has been a slight downfall in relationships where my kindness/ easy going attitude has been taken for granted, or really taken advantage of. And that’s my reflection. It aint cool. It’s not 100% ‘rejection’, its someone manipulating the good within you for selfish reasons. I was butt hurt, and it succkkkkeedd. It hurt my lil’ soul.

Everyone has a fear of rejection/ feelings not returned, but it’s how you deal with it that determines the overall outcome. Learn from it, grow- but also let yourself feel! This has been on my mind from the experience. When someone betrays your trust, or plays on your personality, it flippin sucks. It sucks big time, no matter the circumstance. It’s alright to rationalise an experience by saying ‘some people are not meant to be in your life’ and ‘hurt people, hurt people’ (which are all very true sayings), you have to let yourself feel hurt. This, in my very personal experience, is something I’ve been working on. It feels uncomfortable and has a weird feeling in your stomach, but it’s so important to experience it (Psychologies has a great article about coming back from rejection here). It’s left me a little guarded as a person lately, but I’m taking it within my stride. We’re not all perfect people, it’s taken me a while to admit this butt-hurt. I’m still rolling with the punches and slaying my way through each week the best I can!

Remember, you’re growing as a human being every day. Every day. Sometimes, things don’t go the way you planned, and you have to be very mindful of your actions and reactions. Be gentle, be kind, be yourself. As much as being butt-hurt sucks, don’t react with anger or hate. Take a step back and remember your self worth, and treat the situation with as much goodness as you can. But also stand up for yourself too! ❤ You will come out of a bad experience with more perspective, ready to go with the flow of the world that awaits!

Anyway sweetpeas, I will leave it there ❤ sending all my love to you all!

 

 

 

 

 

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 ❤

Free Apps For Controlling Your Social Media Use

I love my phone and the possession of information at my finger tips. Don’t we allllll! I hear you say. Well, I think it’s about time I started truly seeing what I was using my phone for, and if I really am using it in a healthy way. I did a little experiment this week, and came across some of the best free apps in controlling your social media usage. I think you’ll be surprised at how much you’re on your phone after these! I feel so much better using these apps for my advantage. Check these two out to give a go. Be kind to yourselves folks ❤img_20160207_120520.jpg

Quality Time – This app helps you discover your habits on your phone, how long you spend screen time per day, as well as how many times you unlock your phone too. I gotta say this is incredibly useful. One day, I had over 153 screen unlocks. That’s a scary amount! Throughout the day, I thought I’d done pretty well, considering I was busy all day. However, I noticed that because my phone is on silent, I tend to check my phone a fair bit. See for yourself folks, realising how much time you spend checking- is taking away time for more cool stuff!!

Forest (Free here on Android) – This is actual so soooo cool. Forest is an app for staying focused and present. The more time you spend off your phone, the more your virtual forest grows! Whenever you want to concentrate, you can plant a seed in Forest. In the next 30 minutes, this small seed will gradually grow into a big tree. However, if you cannot resist the temptation and leave this app to check Facebook or play a game, your little cute tree will wither away. And nobody wants a dying forest! I love it. Give it a go, and test your smartphone resistance!

Social Media – The Rise of Mental Health Problems?

After reading an article in Elle’s March issue (I’m a sucker for my annual fashion subscription), it seems to me that even the fashion magazines are picking up on the connections between the digital age, and our own mental health. To quote Elle directly about some of the questions we are facing are ‘Will our jobs be replaced by apps? Are we saving enough money? Working smartly enough? Should we be building a personal brand? Investing in likes? Or rebelling against it all?’.

I gotta say, this article (even though aimed at young women, and asking whether anxiety and depression is becoming the norm for us in that category) is hitting a nerve for me. Even the swamp of rhetorical questions the article fires off, is giving me some form of worry.

From a personal view, it’s quite a struggle in a way. Should I be rebelling against it all? There’s parts of me that love the idea of social media being great for my business, being great for connecting with other like minded folk. But then again, I’ve just spent 7 hours solid on my laptop and not reeeaaallllyyy communicating in the real world. Is it the balance? Or are we onto something here?

I know that social media can be a wonderful tool in helping yourself, helping others and being a great virtual planet of good things. But how do we know that the digital age we are in, is compatible with us as people? It can play on our self esteem, it can be used to find out personal information, and are we really wanting all that information…all of the time?

What do you guys think?

 

Sending all my love to you, and as always keep real! ❤

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What’s Happening? (Sorry it’s been a while!)

Hey you wonderful people! I hope you’ve had a brilliant January so far, and that you’re being kind to yourselves.

I’ve been away for a while, figuring things out, working on some projects, and getting my head together after quite a trying time over Christmas. It’s been a time of reflection, humble beginnings and organising wonderful things for 2016. There are things in the works, and so soon too!

I’m giving a presentation to the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust (which was rescheduled from December) in the next couple of weeks. Last year I met some amazing people when I went down to the BBC to discuss mental health on Radio 4, and one of those inspiring folk was Dr Shirley Reynolds. She is a brilliant woman, and asked if I’d be interested in working with the trust, as they are hoping to expand here in the North of the UK. Of course I said yes!

Also, my business Keep Real is working on a collaboration with a non-profit called Heads Above The Waves (you can check out the interview I did with Si the Managing Director here), which I’m extremely excited about! I’ll be mentioning them in my presentation, as they are doing some amazing work raising awareness for mental health, and providing information and hope to those who seek it ❤

Thank you for staying with me while I’ve been away, I’ve been seeing that folk are still checking out my blog- and it truly means a lot.

Sending all my love, and as always- keep real! x

I’m on BBC Radio 4 Tonight for Mental Health!

Hi folks! Here’s a quick reminder that I’ll be on the radio this evening at 9pm (GMT)! It’s for a new series of ‘All in the Mind’ for BBC Radio 4 with Claudia Hammond, which will be discussing teenage mental health here in the UK. There is increased awareness of mental health, as we have programmes talking about it a little bit more, however- there is a rise in teen mental health problems. Here’s the infographic for the programme this evening! cover170x170

As evidence accumulates that mental health problems are on the rise amongst adolescents, are services keeping up? Claudia Hammond is joined by a panel of experts to discuss teenage mental health.

Professor Shirley Reynolds, Dr Dickon Bevington, Kimberley Robinson and Sarah Hulyer discuss the pressures teenagers face and how the mental health of our adolescents is changing. They also offer thoughts on how services could be reshaped to cope with this changing demand and what parents can do to help their teenagers.

I talk about my experiences of mental health problems concerning anxiety and thoughts on what can be changed. I don’t want to give too much away! I’m so humbled to be part of the discussion, and on the flippin’ BBC!! It is so so important.

Here’s the link to the programme: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06kch0z

If you do miss it, you can download it as a podcast at 10pm or any time/day/week after. It will be available after the first broadcast, so please give it a listen! The repeat broadcast will be Wednesday at 3.30pm (GMT)

Sending all my good lil vibes to you, and as always – keep real! Let me know if you catch the programme and tell me what you think! ❤ x

#GirlsAttitudes – Mental Health in Young People

So the survey is out from Girl Guiding here in the UK, and the results are absolutely astonishing. They have found that almost half of girls here in the UK have suffered with a mental health problem (you can read the published survey here).PercentageGraphics_2015_82 I can’t put into words how I feel about the results (bad and good!), as mental health is a topic that really needs to be heard. It effects each and every one of us, and young people are at the forefront of it. As stated in the survey, well-being worries start as young as the age of seven years old. Self-harm, according to the survey, is the top concern of girls ages between 11 to 21. However, there are young people who are making a positive difference in their communities, and speaking out about issues.

Within our digital age, where comparing ourselves to lives online is extremely easy to do, and hard to get away from- young people are at their most impressionable and most vulnerable. Growing up and being a teenager comes with it’s trials and tribulations- but when social media is at our fingertips, how do we stay mentally well?

This survey has raised awareness about mental health in young people, we need to better equip young girls as well as guys to understand their own mental health and those around them. Growing up is tough, and our mental health is just as fragile too.

I have a profound respect for all the Girl Guiding groups, as I used to volunteer at my local group for a year during college- the passion and love that these people have is above and beyond. We need to talk more about mental health, for ourselves and future generations. Let’s change #GirlAttitudes.