Retail & Mental Health

Working in retail this time last year, really affected my mental health. Having now experienced this year not working in a retail environment after 5-6 years of doing so, has made me realise how deeply it affected me. But you can get through this. Here’s how.

If you’re working in retail right now, you’ll be doing the Black Friday slog and the run up to Christmas. It’s peak time, you’ll be working more hours to keep the store running and obeying the inpatient demands of the general public. You’ll get the lovely regulars with a mix of extremely inpatient customers- but all in all, the magic of Christmas can be beautiful…yet for some, very hard to enjoy. 

Image by Suzanne Wright Photographer

Customer service is rewarding, and building those relationships can be some of the best parts to the retail world. Every job comes with its trials and tribulations, but when you work in retail- you don’t really have the option to take time off during the busiest part of the year, or the option to not smile and have a bad day. So when your mental health is suffering, what options do you have?

I loved where I used to work and I still love them. I have learned that my mental health deteriorated in the slope to Christmas, and even though the end of the year is always the most magical, it is also one of the most stressful and in my experience, the hardest to get through. I remember one specific night two years ago, leaving from a late night, and literally running and crying all the way home because I just wanted to curl up and have a day off.  It was raining, I was tired after getting a 2 hour commute home and I ran the last part home. RAN. Then I woke up at 5am the next day to do it all over again.


So What Can You Do?

Share your concerns with your Manager. Let one of your superiors know how you feel, whether that’s your supervisor, floor manager or whoever. Tell a colleague, but remember you need the right support from your employer. They’ll be able to see what they can do for you. Also remember, they are human! They are working in retail at the busiest and most stressful time of the year. Stick together and ask questions like, “Hey, I wondered if you had time at all this morning or later in the day for a quick chat?”, “I’d love to run something by you in private, if you have time today?”. Even if they can give you a quick 10 minutes in the back when it’s becoming too much- as long as they are aware…you’re in safer hands. Don’t struggle in silence.

If you need a mental health day…take one. To do a good job, be productive and also be a wonderful part of the team- you need to take care of yourself. Being at work and knowing you’re not feeling your best, isn’t helping yourself or any of your colleagues…that’s both physically or mentally. Try not to feel guilty (I’m with you on trying/failing at that!). Your best self is a cared for self. Take the time you need.

Christmas is a mush. Give your mental health some structure. You may be working long as heck hours, different shift patterns and days can pass in a stressful blur. Making a note of how you feel can be really important in trying to track what you’re going through mentally. Assign colours to different moods (blue- ok day, yellow-happy/smooth day, black- terrible day etc) and see if you can spot some patterns. The Mental Health Foundation have some great tools on how to support mental health at work. 

Know your rights. This is so important. If you feel you’re being treated unfairly by your employer, know that you have a right to challenge discrimination. Time To Change set this out clearly and can signpost you to the correct services, especially when it comes to legal stuff and action to take. Unsure of what the Equality Act covers? You can check out the types of discrimination here on Mind’s website.


It’s hard to keep happy during the Christmas period, just know you are not alone in feeling that way. Please check out Keep Real’s list of careline that are available.

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

Hey, November!

Good morning everyone! Here we are…it’s November! Can you believe how fast this year is going?! To kick off the month, here are some mental health tips and pointers for November. Stay warm, feel good and take care ❤

  1. It’s getting cold – so wrap up! Although it’s fairly obvious to wrap up warm when the bitter cold comes, feeling cold, shivering and losing the comfortability of heat can leave folk feeling stressed, anxious and distracted. So wrap that lovely scarf around you, keep that noggin warm and get some gloves on. There isn’t anything more uncomfortable than not feeling your fingers and shivering outdoors. Keep warm folks, the cold can actually affect your mood.
  2. Comfy shoes, comfy thoughts. It does sound silly, but feeling comfortable in yourself does include the comfortability of your clothes, right down to what you wear on your feet. For example, would you feel ok walking in heels on an icy road? No, you wouldn’t! Footwear that grips to combat the frost, ice and squelchy ground will leave you feeling confident to go about your day. Do take care when the weather is turning! wpid-img_20151101_121932.jpg
  3. Get involved in the festivities! It doesn’t matter if you’re not into the whole Christmas thing and you would class yourself as a bit of a humbug, there’s nothing wrong with having some festive fuzz. It could be just walking around the high street and seeing the Christmas lights, or taking part in secret santa at the office. The festivities provide us with so much wonderful opportunities to talk to new people, support local causes and simply give. Being good to those around you, will come back to you in abundance ❤
  4. Reeellaaaxxxxx Christmas, specific to the run up of it, can be quite a stressful and manic time of year. Try some mindfulness (check out my mindful blog post hereto take every moment as it comes ❤ try not to overthink about presents and spending your well earned pennies on extravagant gifts. The most thoughtful gifts are the best ones.

As always, sending all my positive vibes to you- and keep real! x

a hobbit’s festivities

So, the unwrapping of presents is over- and the leftovers are out.

In which case, my family here in Yorkshire (all with the average height of 5”3) are eating at breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper. The hobbit eating times if you haven’t guessed!

I feel extremely thankful for all my gifts this year. I didn’t ask for anything in particular, but my plans for next year are the main reason why. Keep Real, as Yorkshire’s Positive Goods Movement- will be opening as a high street store in the near future. Which means I will probably get vouchers for B&Q and stock up on supplies for the shop in future festivites (oh the joy of DIY). I want to make a place where everyone can feel at home, as well as somewhere they can have a browse of the walls, books and clothing that will be available. They’ll be sofa’s, armchairs and throws where people can hang out, as well as shop. (If you haven’t already- go ‘like’ the facebook page! click here) I’m looking forward to the preparation of opening my own Store, it is extremely early days yet!

We have the tradition as a family to watch ‘A Muppet’s Christmas Carol’ every Christmas Eve. We normally play the video (Yes…a video!!) and consume copious amounts of either Gin, Honey Rum or Sweet Cider. A glorious evening for the Robinson’s. We also have next door’s cat creeping in (see below, she looks right at home!)

Anyway, I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and that you are all looking forward to the New Year.

Plus I hope no one was disappointed with any of their presents!!

Kimberley x

(p.s here are some photos from my time home this December!)

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cold nights, art and hobbits.

Man this week has been killer!

But I will begin with saying I feel extremely humbled and festively fuzzy after my week.

I went to see The Hobbit- The Battle of the Five Armies in Hammersmith, and for me- a huge Tolkien fan, was thrilled. Even though in some parts it differs from the book- without those added scenes and twists, the film wouldn’t have been as good in my opinion. Who knows, I may go see it again. It makes me sad just thinking I probably will never see a Tolkien film again after the last in the Hobbit film trilogy! cry cry cryyyyy!black_and_white_text_quotes_typography_jrr_tolkien_white_background_1440x900_wallpaper_Wallpaper_1920x1200_www.wall321.com

Also, I got to catch up with my friend Alex who now lives down in London, who I’ve known from back home here in Yorkshire. We ended up wandering around Tate Modern (as an art lover/illustrator I cannot begin to describe how pretentious 95% of the art is) and walked to Trafalgar Square and grabbed a bite to eat. Modern Art definitely isn’t my thing.

After my wonderful time in London, I headed back up North for Christmas meals with my University Degree and part-time job. A wonderful drink I had the pleasure of trying was Mulled Cider. It’s like something is caressing your insides with a warm sweet nectar of the Gods. Definitely something to try out in the festivities. I pretty much danced until my legs felt they were going to fall off. I had a blast with all my friends dancing to terrible tunes of ‘Do they know its Christmas?’ and ‘All I want for Christmas’ continuously until the early hours of the morning.

I received some beautiful early presents too. A delicate little Lord of the Rings necklace from my amazing friend Kate which depicted a compass, with a card which had the script ‘not all who wander are lost’. I also had been given a large Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones– Seasons 3&4 hardback embossed book by my boyfriend. He also got me an insanely posh ‘diptyque’ candle which smells fantastic! I also got many other presents which I haven’t had the pleasure of opening yet, but I have loved each and every thoughtful present so far. So thank you!

With my goods/illustration business Keep Real, I have taken a back seat during the Christmas period. My Degree comes first during this time, but I still have major plans for it in the works. So I always have my mind on it!

Hope you all enjoy the week up til Christmas!! x