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

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

My Lil’ Surgery- What Went Down!

Hey y’all. It’s been a while since I’ve written anything concerning wellbeing- although I have been guest blogging for the non-profit Trusted Clothes about my passion for sustainability and my business yet to launch. I guess I’m gonna write a little differently for a bit concerning wellbeing with what’s been going down lately. (Apologies if this is too much info surgery wise, but letting you know it’s a lil grim.)

I had surgery which I’ve been recovering from. I’ve had an injury for agggessss that needed an operation, and it was about time I went ahead and bit the bullet. When I was training at my Gymnastics Squad in Sheffield, I had torn the muscle wall in my abdomen (gross right?) from doing a routine exercise. I didn’t see it coming, I was training twice a week and when it happened it was the worst pain I’ve ever felt.  It lead to having a ‘ventral hernia’. It stopped me from doing my best and being a Senior at my Squad. It sucked, and I eventually packed it in.  As I’ve grown up and my stomach muscles being as they are from training, it hasn’t been a problem…until now. I’ve grown up since, and the muscle wall tear has grown slightly. When I eat, drink, exercise or even laugh a lot- it has been very painful. And I do a lot of all of those things!

So, I now have a nice neat scar above my belly button, they’ve stitched me up and repaired it with a mesh. So I guess you could say I’m now more solid than I’ve ever been, haha!Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 16.24.05

The reason why it is taking me a while to recover (which is super frustrating) is that it actually takes 6 -8 weeks to make a complete recovery. I thought I’d be in and out, swaggering around Yorkshire like my usual self! But sadly, no. Internal stitches and placing a mesh inside to repair the damaged wall takes a while to get good. I just have to take it easy if I’m going places.
It didn’t help that during surgery, they gave me 100ml of Tremadol, and then after surgery gave me 50ml more; which it turns out I’m allergic to. I came round from surgery covered in a rash all over my body, making me feel nauseous and completely not with it. I had to stay overnight, as they had to keep an eye on me from the reaction to the medication. I also had trouble going to the toilet because my stomach hurt so bad- so they were slightly concerned about that too.

As I was in a private room, I had a buzzer if I needed help. As my problems were mostly going-to-the-loo-related, they told me to buzz if I needed help with it. After I’d tried by myself, I tried to sit down in a chair but then starting feeling awful. I’d slumped down in this chair, cold sweats, probably looked deathly and ended up passing out. All the while I tried buzzing for help, but they presumed I just need the loo. So they didn’t come. I heard a nurses voice on the intercom asking if I needed help- but to reply I needed to be on the other side of the room. Eventually after many buzzes I must have made a nurse came in, and found me collapsed in the chair. Oxygen mask on and everything!

So my experience of hospital was great and crappy at the same time. My dad had major surgery in a different hospital the same day as mine- so with all of what was going on with me, I was concerned about my Dad too. I was talking about him to all the nurses and Doctors, and to be honest I just wanted to get better so I could see him.

I’m feeling much better lately, although still finding it different to concentrate because it makes me feel sick and I have to nap it off. Other than that, it’s looking good but I just have to take it easy. My Dad is doing alright too, and his surgery went as well as they hoped.

Road to recovery now! ❤ ❤ ❤

Trusted Clothes and Keep Real!

The wonderful Canadian non-profit Trusted Clothes are documenting my brand Keep Real’s journey of sustainability and inspiring wellness. So sweet! Please go ahead and check it out.Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 16.06.15

It’s no good promoting mental well-being as a business, if the business doesn’t have the foundations of trying to be the best version of itself either. So we expanded the definition of wellness to include our sustainable souring policy within our supply chain.

Here’s the first blog post I did as the founder. Excitingggg!!! ❤

Challenges of Starting a Sustainable Fashion Brand

Keep Real: behind the scenes

Well, a lot has been going down lately with Keep Real. It’s so so SOOOO exciting, yet I just never blog about it. A lot has happened and is happening, so it’s a real big mush ball of designing, networking, creating and thinking. Definitely a lot of thinking!!

I held the first focus group for Keep Real last week at Huddersfield University (sorry, I didn’t get any photos…boo!) with more turning up than I thought- so that was awesome!! It was a little bit nerve racking, but I asked a lot of questions, discussed all that I wanted to discuss and presented my ideas for the brand. The more I present, the more I’ll feel comfortable doing it. It was great to have a lot of feedback, so that’s what I’ve been working on!Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 16.06.15

The fit of the garments is so crucial, and that’s what I’ve been struggling with. I know what I definitely want to create for the brand- but it’s about adhering to people’s needs. Unisex just doesn’t cut it, and I want to create the right fit for everyone. However, with the first launch of the new collection- it’s going to be super limited. This launch is about finding out what’s right, what needs changing and adapting.

I’ve been networking with all sorts of wonderful folk; photographers, musicians, bloggers, videographers etc. And continue to do so with a few meet ups next week! So it’s about getting the right people behind Keep Real, who are just as passionate about the brand’s ethos and aims! Also with the hopeful launch of the end of July, I’ve been looking at office spaces too. All in the good time though!

Anyway, back to my drawing boards and all of that jazz. Hope you’re all having an amazing day!

You can follow Keep Real on all social media platforms with @keeprealuk ❤

 

Why I Started Shopping Ethical/Sustainable

Hi folks! I am feeling much better lately, thank you so much for the messages of love and goodness ❤ I wanted to share with you my views of shopping in a conscious way. Being mindful mentally goes right into how I shop and why I shop for clothing and goods. It’s also why my business Keep Real is aiming to be as sustainable as possible.

Most of us think we should care about where our clothes come from. But a lot of the time, we don’t. This is the common ground we all share, and the feedback I got from my Keep Real focus group yesterday (which I will review in another post I think!). We want to care, but because of our shopping environments that have been forced upon us- we also feel we don’t have a choice.

Looking for the latest trend, and having the habit of eyeing up the inner labels of the garments- can actually be quite off putting as a conscious shopper. I personally love shopping, trying pieces on and feeling real good about my choices. But are my choices making me truly feel good? I check the labels in the fast fashion chains like Primark or Topshop for example and knowing that they are not sustainable is so disheartening. If only all our clothes we select when shopping were ethically/socially conscious, so we didn’t have to second guess the majority of the time.

Most of us think we should care about where our clothes come from, but because our shopping environments don’t really give us that option- we feel we don’t have a choice.

It surprises me that everywhere I go, apart from H&M having an extremely small ‘Conscious’ collection, that brands continue to produce collections that aren’t ethically sourced. The big chains have a lot of money to make conscious decisions. However, they exploit their workers in other countries, contribute to being the second largest polluter in the world as an industry, and use materials that aren’t fantastic for the environment. Why are we actively buying into this? It’s because we can’t actively see it. We see the clothes on the rails, and the prices on the tags.Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 19.31.57

It makes me upset, to be a small business start-up trying to do the best in making the better decisions- when such large companies could make the changes with every season to develop and improve the ways they produce their clothes.
I find it easier to shop ethically for skin care/beauty products- for example, Lush Cosmetics, The Bodyshop and the cruelty-free brand Barry M Cosmetics here in the UK.
Fashion as one of the largest industries in the world, it can be tough to change the ways which have been working ‘effectively’ for many years. But being responsible should have been common sense from the start. This is why it is so important for businesses right now to make the changes from the very beginning. It makes me so proud to see people making more conscious decisions, I know it can be hard to gradually create a sustainable wardrobe but you’re making the right step by just thinking about it!

This is why I shop sustainable/eco fashion/ethical/socially conscious brands. Because you know what you’re buying into, you’re contributing to improving the environment, to workers better wages and making yourself feel good too ❤

Next I’ll be discussing my favourite sustainable brands and why I shop from them ❤

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 ❤

 

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March Mental Health Essentials

Holy moly, we’re into another month already! I always feel like this time of year goes so so quickly. What better way to start another month off, by doing a lil’ list of essentials I think will help your month ahead! Take care of yourself you, and as always – keep real! ❤

  • Reflect– With another month beginning, it can be extremely beneficial to take a moment, and reflect on the month before. What have you done that’s real cool? Anything that you have learned, or some event that you were like ‘oh yeah, that was a fun day!’. Even if it’s the little things, reflect on the good stuff. img_20160301_175441.jpg
  • Plan ahead– What have you got in store for March? Personally, I love seeing what’s on my calendar, if there are any goals I want to achieve within a specific time frame. Whether that’s wanting to meet a deadline for some work, organising a get together with friends, or to simply read that book that’s been accumulating dust on your bookshelf. Little plans can give you structure for your month, and it feels real good to know some lovely things ahead!
  • Be kind to yourself – I know that when we’re working, or when we’re running around trying to get everything done- we get real stressed and tend to be quite hard on ourselves. Slow it down, and take some deep breaths. Allow yourself to have breaks, and make time for you and you alone. As Buddha says ‘there is no pain like disharmony’, we have to take care of ourselves and live in harmony with our minds. We live most of our lives inside our own heads, so let’s make sure they’re nice places to be. How about trying a Mindfulness Journal?
  • Allow yourself to feel – This goes with being kind to yourself. Are you having a good day? A bad day? An everything is not going right kinda day? It’s ok. Allow yourself to have these feelings and moments. It can be frustrating I know, but when we accept ourselves it actually makes us feel better. Let yourself be bummed out, don’t struggle against your sadness or stress. Sit with it. Being human is a complicated mush of emotion, and we even get upset and not really know why. But it’s gonna be ok. Days do get better, having a bad day doesn’t mean you have a bad life ❤ take time out and allow yourself to feel whatever you feel ❤