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?

 

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

Creativity and Mental Health

We all have something that is our outlet, catharsis or release for how we feel or how we deal with things in our lives. It could be anything from going for a walk, reading a book, to playing an instrument, or being creative in any way.7571c2f1e886ca3cce636870f987e9f9

A lot of folk think they have to be naturally creative or have some kind of hobby to use art to help them, but this is not the case at all sweetpeas! For example, the rise in folk doing adult colouring books is at an all time high (Who can blame us, huh? They rule). It’s a way for people to wind down, focus on the activity, with the world’s worries melting away for a little while.

I actually did my dissertation on creativity and mental illness, which is a huuuggeee topic so complex to write about (It took a good 40 pages to try and come up with an answer) and I found that a lot of people throughout the ages have used creativity in many forms, and use it as expression which can contribute positively to someone’s mental health (amongst other technical terms/findings I’ll not go into, I may blog about it some time.)

For me, I’ve always loved art. It has been my saviour through bad days- but it also allows me to get into some kinda ‘arty zen’ where I’m so in my flow that I don’t focus on anything but the pen and paper in front of me. Dot work as my style of illustration is the most intricate yet rewarding form of art I do- which has challenged me to practice patience too.

Creativity Works is a wonderful organisation who provide support groups for people who are in the process recovering from mental health problems, as well as helping build confidence and build relationships. Please do check out their work and mission to help others ❤

Any form of creativity or getting into a flow of activity can be so wonderful for us. Sometimes we are so busy thinking, working and being in a mad rush; we tend to overlook how some of our hobbies or down time can be fantastic ways of reducing stress, winding down and helping us through the day.

I’ll perhaps do a tutorial on how to draw mandalas, as that’s my ultimate zen-zone!

Remember you, be gentle with yourself ❤

 

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. – Pablo Picasso

Interview with the Award-Winning Golddigger Trust

Ok folks, I am loving the fact I’ve been receiving messages and some of y’all got on my twitter poll to do more mental health tips. It’s all in the pipeline, so keep your sweet eyes peeled! But first…big news.

Today, my business Keep Real headed to Sheffield to film an interview with a wonderful award-winning organisation called The Golddigger Trust who are just…I have no words. Just incredible! I’ve admired this bunch of lovely folk for a while, and to be asked to collab with them via my brand was just great…and to interview them was just, well, greater. A big whole experience of inspiration. They do AMAZING work for young people (their tagline Unearthing Value, Transforming Lives is just so flippin wonderful) doing courses, projects, mentoring with girls and guys concerning self esteem. Golddigger Kimberley snap

We headed over to their offices and asked them a load of questions about the work they do, what inspires them and what’s coming up for them this year. It turns out they’ve got some incredible things that they’re working on (which you can find out for yourselves in the video we’ll be putting up soon!)

What I can tell you, is that th
ey’re aiming to raise funds for their Golddigger Trust Centre For Young People. They have said that ‘As the Trust has grown, we have long held a vision for creating our own ‘centre for young people’, somewhere that they can feel at home, and from where our award winning work can expand across the city and the UK.’

How amazing!? They need as much help as they can get, and would love for so many folk to get involved with what they’re trying to do.Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 20.24.55

These people are so inspiring, and continue to inspire so many young people every single day. Please check out their campaign here and fundraise or donate to their cause here. These guys deserve so much recognition and I am humbled to have interviewed them. Having had a really sweet talk about my business, what they’re getting up to and what we could potentially do together is just beautiful. I cannot wait to share with you what we’ve done and tell you more about the trust!

Sending all my love ❤

 

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.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week!

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. mhaw-tile-relationships

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 kimmykeepreal@gmail.com