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

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 Mental Health Apps

I previously posted a review on my Best Mental Wellness Apps, but I’ve been researching and collecting all sorts of information for my important presentation on Monday. Sooooo, I found two more wonderful bits of technology that can really help some folk out. I thought I’d quickly share them with you. And free too! Even better!wpid-img_20151004_105008.jpg

Not many people realise, that there are apps for mental wellness. Let’s use technology that we have to really help our wellbeing ❤ Apps aren’t just for games and social networking, but for us to use to our advantage.

Stay Alive App – If you’re needing immediate support concerning thoughts about harming yourself or suicide; this is an excellent app for just that. It includes tools and advice on a safety plan, reasons for living and gives some wonderful tips to calm you down. You can download from either Google Play or the App Store.

Healthy Habits – Ok, this is really cool- it aids your habits while you are
online. Healthy Habits prompts you throughout your day using your phone, or computer to take breaks in between your uses. I think it’s a wonderful idea for this app to notify you when you need a break! It’s a little idea that can really help you take time to be kind to yourself ❤

 

Winter Blues – How To Beat It!

Hey folks! I hope this post finds you well! It’s been a week or so since my last post- but I have much planned to fill this blog up with some lil’ tips and posts full of mental wellness and motivation!

It’s mid November already! Can you believe it?! Most folk struggle more with their mental health (as well as physical too!) in the winter months. However, despite this ongoing problem that quite a lot of us experience, with a mild form of ‘winter blues’, some of us also experience SAD this time of year. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, or otherwise known as summertime sadness or seasonal depression) is a form of depression that here in the UK, is said to affect about 1 in 15 people. There are many forms of depression, which can find here on Rethink. Symptoms for SAD generally appear between September and November, and continue until March or April, when there may be a sudden burst of energy and activity wpid-img_20151022_220531.jpgaccompanying the longer, brighter spring and summer days. Symptoms can include lethargy, loss of concentration, sleep problems, anxiety and social problems (please find more information over at the Mental Health Foundation)

We all feel down now and then, but winter for some can be quite a difficult time, with or without a diagnosed mental health problem. We all have to take care of ourselves the best we can ❤ Here are 3 key tips to keep you going, and to cope with the longer days and colder nights
. Be safe folks, and stay well.

  1. Try get outside in the daylight if you can. Even if its that small lunch break at work, soak up as much natural daylight as possible. If not outside, sit near the windows if possible and chose colours in your room that are pale to reflect light from outside. ❤
  2. Keep warm. Wrap yourself up with all your jumpers, scarves and hats- like the warmest little burrito possible! Hot drinks and food will also fill that wonderful tummy up of yours. Whether that be hot chocolate, green tea, broths, soups- you name it! Eat up and stay snug.
  3. Stay active. I know it’s cold and very chilly on the bones- but you gotta move about! Whether that be running up and down the stairs a few times, doing yoga, going for a walk round your house, or doing some stretches. One hour’s walk in the middle of the day can be just as helpful as light treatment or therapy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All the ❤

Mental Health Talk With Mind!

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

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

Here are some of the points that I put forward!

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

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

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