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

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.”

 

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

Women in Power / Why Keep Real is for Everyone

71Fr2S+6pAL._SL1131_If there’s a documentary I couldn’t recommend enough, it would be ‘Miss Representation‘ on Netflix. Exposing how mainstream media and culture contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America.

Although I’m in the UK, sexism and under-representation of females in positions of influence or power exists. It has always existed, and continues to in every country in various degrees.

In the UK, women account for under a third of those in self-employment, and if women set up businesses at the same rate as men, there would be an extra 150,000 start-ups in the UK each year. Plus, for ever £1 a man earns, a woman earns 81p.

Nothing has really stopped me from starting up my own business, but I do wish there was a higher representation of successful women in the media. I’d like to think that we are becoming more aware of how the media influences us- and that what we see on our screens, isn’t necessarily something we have to take as the right way to see the world, or the right way to portray women.

However, those of a younger age, I believe do not have this awareness. When young girls are at school, they are constantly evolving, changing and growing as an individual. Girls are still trying to find themselves, and with the media being so accessible- is this making it harder for girls to find their identities?

 

This is why I’m starting my business. Keep Real stands for something good, not just in sustainability, it reflects equality as well as diversity as a brand. I’ve chosen the bands, artists or creatives to be involved with Keep Real; because they reflect a true representation of people. We’re not all size 8 for one. We don’t all have the same goals and aspirations, but that’s what makes us who we are. The media portray women (as well as men) as something that isn’t actually accurate at all. We are all on different paths, and it’s time to start portraying that more. Because people need something real. I know its corny, but Keep Real is something I truly believe in as a brand for everyone. It will continuously grow to reflect real people, and support folk’s wellbeing too.

The media portray women (as well as men) as something that isn’t actually accurate at all. We are all on different paths, and it’s time to start portraying that more.

There’s an extremely good article on how social media is harming the mental health of teenagers here, which I found so insightful. We’re changing the way we socialise and it’s putting so much pressure on teens, as well as everyone else.

It’s time we started making a difference to how the media affects us, and creating something for the people- not against.

 

Interview with Team Not Ashamed

Hi there lovelies. I had the pleasure of interviewing the wonderful Team Not Ashamed, who are a movement in diminishing the stigma surrounding mental illness, and are a great support network for those struggling with their health. Fantastic work by some wonderful ladies!! You can follow them here on Twitter, and their website. Here’s a little bit more about them, and what to look out for!Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 14.54.47

What inspired Team Not Ashamed? When did you start?
Team Not Ashamed was started by Rachel Griffin, this is what she has to say. “I wrote an article for the Huffington Post “5 Reasons Why I’m Not Ashamed of My Mental Health Condition” and started the hashtag soon after that. I knew how detrimental shame had been in my own life and how liberating it was to let it go. I wanted to invite others to do the same and stand proud in who they are regardless of a mental health condition. 5 amazing ladies joined and took it to the next level and we made the movement more organized.”

You have six lovely ladies who are leading this lovely movement, can you tell me a little bit about each of you?
Here are all of our names, twitter account and blogs
Justine- @JMcNeil_ http://www.justinemcneil.com and http://www.jsdaze.wordpress.com
Rachel- @rachelgriffin22 http://www.wehaveapples.com
Carly- @karbarr2
Nicole- @soupernic http://www.soupermental.wordpress.com
Mar- @mar_andras
Megan- @mentalmetanoia http://www.mentalmetanoia.wordpress.com

What are your main aims with your movement?
To spread the message that mental heath conditions are nothing to be ashamed of! They are not a choice, character flaw, or a weakness. We are helping end the harmful stigma associated with mental heath conditions and advocating for better and more accessible healthcare.

What helps you manage your mental health? i.e any books, therapy you can suggest, or tips on staying well.
Things that help us manage our mental health:
A good support group (like Team Not Ashamed!)
Exercise
Self-care…knowing when you need to spend more time taking care of yourself (this could mean staying away from social media for a few days, taking a day to yourself etc)
PETS!

It’s wonderful that you’re spreading the message that mental health conditions are nothing to be ashamed of! What advice do you have for those struggling with mental health problems?
Know that if you are struggling with your mental health and/or have mental health conditions that it is not character flaw, it does not mean that you are weak and that it is not your fault. There is a large mental health community that is here to support you, know that you are not alone.
Any favourite quotes that get you through the day?
Not necessarily to get us through the day, but one that aligns very well with the campaign is ‘Don’t be ashamed of your story, it will inspire others’

Do you have anything upcoming for Team Not Ashamed? If so, what can we look out for?
We will be making #imnotashamed bracelets and other fun goodies that will be available on our website. We hope to start a blog on the website as well. We have “trending days” once a month on twitter where we try to raise awareness about mental health by trending #imnotashamed

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Self Awareness & Development

Hey y’all. Hope you’re enjoying your weekend so far! I wanted to share with you my thoughts on self awareness, as I think it’s very important to everyones wellbeing. We studied ‘the self’ quite extensively in my Counselling degree; and self development is atumblr_n52j4gnAML1r5gmiko1_500 major learning journey. Not just for those wishing to become helpers, counsellors or therapists- but for any beautiful being in this world. You wanna know more about yourself? Well here’s a little how-to and a bit of know-how, from my tiny point of view. (If this triggers anything for you, or you find this a little daunting at all, please go to my page of helplines who are there to talk whenever you wish) ❤

“Self-awareness is a continuing process of improvement, not arriving at a given state of awareness.”

This quote is sooooo important. Many folk who are trying to learn about themselves more, or reach this ‘enlightenment’ will find that they will never obtain this state of being. It is a continuous and ever evolving process. How cool is that though!? That we are continuously evolving as human beings, growing and developing! However, when people think of ‘self awareness’ this misconception is where folk go wrong. Because it’s not about achieving, it’s all about the process. It shouldn’t be rushed or forced, but a cool part of being you. Enjoy what’s going on! Learn and growwww. It may feel weird, but it’s rad to know more about who you are. From the weird and quirky, to the assertive and sweet. There is no wrong answer, because we are who we are. Rock it!

Although we feel most at risk when we contemplate baring our soul to others, it is, paradoxically, from the genuine responses of others that we stand to learn something about ourselves.

We have to feel safe when we expose ourselves for all we are. Fears, dreams, values, attitudes, even our sexuality. Have you ever had it where someone has pointed out a mannerism, flaw or a positive thing about you- that you didn’t really notice about yourself? I remember something as small as someone pointing out I use my hands a lot when I talk to or when I’m in conversation. This is a form of self-awareness, and people around you can help you there. I must reiterate, that we need to feel safe and trust those around us, feel mega comfortable. We don’t have to do self-exploration with others, in small groups or in a pair- we can do this by ourselves too. Write some things down. We have to be honest with ourselves. Be kind to yourself first my dear!! ❤262005_947454b3639547eda1d2775e6a535fdb

Ask yourself some questions first. It can be a little scary or even daunting to ask yourself some questions, but do not rush. A greater understanding of yourself is a wonderful thing ❤  for examplleeee

  • Are you satisfied with being who you are?
  • Are you comfortable with the age you are now?
  • What are your fundamental beliefs? How did you acquire them?
  • What life experiences are significant for you and why?

Be gentle with yourself, and take care ❤

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 ❤

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 21.27.46.png