What Is “Self Care?”: A Guide For Trying To Keep It Real

So many of you lovely lot know I run Keep Real®  and with that comes a fair few things. Such as responsibility, creativity, management and hmmm I’m gonna say…self care. Yes! I said self care!! Whoa…Did I really just say that?


I did. A lot of folk won’t state that or *gasp* even mention it as something that comes with their life, business or whatever else. For example, entrepreneurs- our little metaphorical ent-baby needs to grow and flourish, but it will get sick or needs to learn how to walk, we don’t actually put ourselves in the equation. We love it, so self-care is just…non existent. It’s non existent for many! We just wanna keep the ball rolling. As long as it’s moving, its…doing something.

So what is this “self care” thing anyway? Let me break some things down for you…

  • SELF CARE IS NOT SELF INDULGENCE – Let’s get that little myth solved, mkay? It isn’t ‘retail therapy’ and sure as heck isn’t finishing off a full bottle of wine. These are temporary fixes. In a world that wants you to consume more…you gotta stick it to the man and just do yo’ thang.
  • SELF CARE IS A GENTLE BUT TOUGH MISTRESS – It ain’t always plain sailing. Self care can actually be real hard to do. When we’re so fast paced and overwhelmed- we feel that we actually can’t slow down. Self care comes in many forms. It may be going to bed an hour or two earlier, or going for a long walk. Not a walk to work, not rushing to be somewhere. Just a w a l k . Nothing more. It can be hard to do things for ourselves, but we need to learn to slow down a lil’.
  • SELF CARE DOES NOT COME FROM OTHERS – Sorry sweetpea, but self care doesn’t come from any other human being, doggo or your favourite cuddly toy. Self care has to come from you and you alone. Sure, other folk will support you- but there’s a reason why it’s called ‘self’ care and not ‘other people care’. Try not to focus on relying on other people for that comfort. Self means self, so soothe that soul. Pick up a musical instrument or pen (even if you’re terrible at music or art), create something, make a pinterest board or ‘life board’ of your goals and things you have achieved, take a bath and moisturise! Anything for you, that you can do by yourself is self care. The most important relationship you have, is with yourself.

So, treat yourself how you would treat someone you hold dear. You deserve to take a break. I still need to remind myself that too (Oh hi blog, you naughty reminder you) – because we can’t burn out and expect a quick restart. Slow and steady wins the race. Don’t work harder, just work smarter. And that starts with self care.
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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

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

It’s Allll Ok: Sadness & Why We Need It!

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,Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 20.55.31 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.”

 

The Crybaby Club

Hello wonderful folk! I had the amazing opportunity to work with the beautiful souls over at the Crybaby Club over in the US, and contribute handwritten love letters to their Crybaby Care Packages. They also interviewed me as one of their Artist Collaborators (check it out here), in which I discuss wellness, and my business Keep Real.

“It is our hope to inspire and unite girls/women all over the world in friendship, all while supporting and empowering one another, and learning to love each other and ourselves for exactly who we are.”

The Crybaby Club is an all inclusive girl gang, celebrating the power of sensitivity through support, art and girl love. Such a beautiful thing to be a part of, and I am so happy that I had the opportunity to contribute to their wonderful network of amazing gals.

If you haven’t checked them out, please do so! Such a supportive gang to be part of, and everyone needs something like this in their lives ❤

 

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Dear, You.

You have such a beautiful story ahead of you. There is so much more to experience and love. Treat yourself kindly, and the world will bring love to you in abundance. I want it to shower over you like all the stars around our planet swirls throughout your body and into your very soul- because feeling good and beautiful within is something you truly deserve. Whether it be you, me, the people you love, the people you dislike, the folk you see in the street or on the tv, we all live most of our lives inside our own heads. We can become our own foes, and struggle with our thoughts in such despair, that we can see nothing but the world shrinking away.

Let’s make sure that our minds are nice places to be.

We weren’t born with a purpose of causing trouble, disliking ourselves and limiting our own potential. We are wondrous beings made of millions of stars, particles, of blood and bone. We all have dark and light within us, it is how we deal with our experiences that define us and how we see the world around us. We gotta allow ourselves to feel everything we feel; whether it be sadness, happiness, love, guilt, fear or anger. Harness your power within to manipulate how you experience it. You have the power within you to create such a beautiful life. A beautiful story. What we think, how we react- is what we ultimately become. Your discontent and frustrations are entirely your own creations. We all harness our thoughts in such ways, that they can either become exceedingly good, or downright bad. What a power you hold!! That if you can believe, and be kind to yourself- that your world will evolve into such a wonderful thing. That is the true beauty within us.

You have the power inside yourself, despite your experiences or background, to make your world a joyful and irrevocably happy one. That despite your tribulations, you are the ruler of your own kingdom. Cherish that. Feel that. Make the world inside you bursting with love and joy, that the world around you reflects that.

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After The Rush

Hey folks, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!! I’ve personally been laying low on the blogging front, as I’ve been working like mad before the rush of festivities and due to personal reasons, have taken a gap out to spend more time with the family. My heart has been elsewhere, but I’m sure you’ve been busy soaking up all the food, drinks, love and presents!

So after the rush of Christmas, what now?

Perhaps you’re already thinking of 2016, what it will bring, what you want to happen. Or maybe you’re thinking of nursing that food baby, and regretting your decision to eat the whole trifle with the last of that chocolate log your Grandma made you.

Whatever you’re thinking of, I hope you feel all that festive fuzz and enjoy each and every moment. The important thing is, is to focus on the present. Enjoy what’s happening now. Take some deep breaths, and go with the flow.

After the Christmas period, and after the New Year too- we also put pressure on ourselves to make resolutions, and perhaps regret some decisions made the year gone by. We regret we spent too much in the sales, ate too much, drank too much, did that thing in summer you wish you hadn’t or maybe regretted something you wish happened. There’s so much we wish happened differently, and it sucks that by the end of the year, our thoughts are sometimes consumed with the negativity of the year instead of the good.

2015, the 365 days you had, has made you who you are; right here, right now. Do not regret, or feel that you wish things were different. Celebrate what you have done, or haven’t, and grow from your experiences. There is so much more to come, and what possibilities to look forward to! Who knows what 2016 brings. How exciting is that?! That you are awaiting experiences you’ve never had, opportunities that are yet to come, and dreams waiting to be made a reality.

❤ you can do this, reflect on 2015 with a smile and be thankful of your year to come.

Sending all my ❤ to you and your families. Thank you for reading and as always – keep real! xxxx