Interview with Si from Heads Above The Waves

Hey folks! Hope this post finds you well!  To start off a great week and all that Monday Motivation, I had the pleasure of interviewing Si from Heads Above The Waves, a non profit organisation providing hope and help full-logofor people who are struggling with self harm. I loved how I reached out to Si a while back, as he found me through my post over on Rethink Mental Illness, and messaged
me on Instagram. I truly look forward to seeing HATW improving mental wellness and providing a place to talk openly about mental health too. Big things to come!

1) So, for those who don’t know- what is Heads Above The Waves?

Heads Above The Waves is a non-profit organisation that raises awareness of self-harm in young people, promoting creative and positive ways of dealing with the bad days.
We talk openly about self-harm and depression.
We sell merch with a message behind the designs to help get people talking.
We run workshops to give people the chance to find what works for them.
We create content to let people know that hope and help exist.

2) Where did the name of your company come from?

I think Heads Above The Waves is quite simply a summary of what the whole ethos is – life is all about figuring out the best way to keep your head up and stay afloat amidst whatever waves life might be throwing your way. I think the name might’ve also come from me mis-hearing the opening of ‘Mike Kennedy is a Bad Friend’ by The Wonder Years.

3) Who is Heads Above The Waves aimed at?

HATW is mainly aimed at young people aged 11 – 25 who are struggling to cope, but really, I believe that a positive message that hope and help are out there for you can apply to anyone. Personally, I think there’s enough negative stuff on social media – which pretty much everyone is on these days – so it can be a nice break to see something positive as you’re scrolling through your feed.
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4) What inspired you to start HATW?

Heads Above The Waves essentially came about from me wanting to share my story and experience of how music helped pull me out of depression and self-harm. The goal really was to let other people know that it can, and does, get better. For me, it was specifically finding pop-punk music, and the positive message in a lot of the lyrics, as well as actually playing the drums.
But Heads Above The Waves is all about finding what works for you and accepting that one size doesn’t fit all. Not everyone plays the drums; not everyone makes music. But everyone’s got something that they do that helps keep them positive, regardless of whether they’re struggling with self-harm or some other battle. The more people I spoke to about it, the more I found that different people with different experiences, cope in different ways, so I wanted to build a collection of these experiences as well as positive things that I’ve drawn inspiration from to share with people, so that anyone can be inspired.
Heads Above The Waves is all about finding what works for you and accepting that one size doesn’t fit all.”

5) Tell me a little bit more about why you chose to raise awareness in mental health.

From my personal experience, I found that a lot of stuff out there talking about mental health was either quite cold and clinical or a bit childish and condescending – I wanted to make something that could speak to young people on their level. I’ve got this silly, and grammatically awful saying that I keep coming back to: everyone is people.
We’re all human beings, trying to figure out how to live life and cope when the odds get stacked against us – however big or small that may be. Even if you’ve never experienced a full blown issue with your mental wellbeing, you still know how much it sucks to feel sad. My main aim is to help everyone find what works for them to pick themselves up when they fall down, as well as trying to encourage an atmosphere of people helping other people out.

6) Do you have any tips on keeping mentally healthy? 

It’s obviously going to be different for everyone, but I’ve got a couple of things that I do to try and keep myself on top of things.

I write lists – lists of stuff I need to get done (seriously, it’s so satisfying to cross stuff off a to-do list) – lists of things that are going wrong and what I can do about them – lists of just generally what’s going on with my life (my office is covered in post-it notes). It helps me keep visual track of what’s going on, and stops everything going too wild in my brain.

I also play drums – practising repetitive rhythms is actually really good for distracting me and focussing my brain. Plus if I’m getting worked up and angry, I thrash out on a drum set and it helps.. but probably not so good for relations with the neighbours.
And something that I struggle with but I’m trying to get better at is actually giving myself some ‘me time’. Even if that’s just an hour in the evening to play some PlayStation or have a bath. Sometimes you need to shut off from other things that are going on, and not worry about being around other people or being productive – and most importantly not feeling guilty for taking time to yourself.
That’s just a couple bits that work for me, but what’s most important is to keep on trying out different things until you find what works for you.

 

“My main aim is to help everyone find what works for them to pick themselves up when they fall down, as well as trying to encourage an atmosphere of people helping other people out”

7) What is your favourite aspect of running your own business?

D’you know what’s funny? I’ve got some friends who run their own businesses, and they’ve always been the types who have wanted to run their own businesses – but I haven’t. I think ‘entrepreneurship’ kinda fell on me. I always assumed I’d come out of uni and get a ‘real’ job and just live out a typical suburban life. Yet, here we are. So the best bit for me, is probably the fact that most days are a little bit different and new and unknown. It’s exciting. It’s also utterly terrifying. But I think that the best of you can come out when you’re outside of your comfort zone, so I keep on pushing myself and learning new things pretty much daily.

8) What are your plans for HATW in the future?

Really the plan for HATW is to grow and spread and impact and hopefully make a difference to even more people. We’ve got our new site launching, we’re sharing a range of ways of coping through social media, we’re branching out and running workshops in even more schools. So the main hope for 2016 and beyond is that HATW can become a more practically useful resource to help people find their way of coping with the bad days.
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Please go and check out Heads Above The Waves on their website, twitter & instagram.

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 ❤

Why Talking about Mental Health is Mega Important

Mental health is still surrounded with that grey cloud of stigma and misunderstanding. I get it, but I cannot get my head around it either, it’s 2015! Just because you cannot see it, does not mean that it is not there. Plus, mental health effects everyone. So why doesn’t everyone talk about it?

It can be hard to start a conversation about mental health, sometimes you don’t really know what to say. It’s wired in our brains when we talk to someone to say ‘Hey! How are you?’, in which we automatically respond with ‘I’m ok thanks, how are you?’ and not really think about it. There is the misunderstanding around mental health problems too. For example, when I was doing my degree in Counselling- it would frustrate me noticing how some folk didn’t really understand or have knowledge related to depression and anxiety. Some would blurt out ‘So does depression mean that the person wants to kill themselves?’ and ‘Isn’t anxiety just worrying too much?’.

You don’t have to be an expert to talk about mental health. Whether you like it or not, mental health effects you and everyone you know too. You are actually the expert of your own mental health. It’s part of us just as much as physical health. We tell each other when we have a headache, heartburn or a broken leg- so why not talk about what else is going on for you too? It is not a weakness to talk about what you’re feeling or how you truly are. I am so ssssooo proud of anyone who talks about their own mental health! Have that conversation with someone you love, if you’ve got something on your mind- do not be afraid to talk about it!

As always, sending my love to all of y’all ❤ if you’d like to drop me an email at any point, please do so- I am always here to talk (my email is on my Contact page) ❤

My Graduation & My Next Journey

Good morning/afternoon/evening all you wonderful people! I have some fantastic news to share… I graduated from University yesterday!! I now have a Bachelor of Science Degree with Honours in Counselling. It was such a beautiful day with family and friends. I am so proud of myself, my friwpid-img_20150722_110543.jpgends and family. To know I have such wonderful people in my life that encouraged me to go for whatever I wanted to achieve, truly makes me feel incredibly blessed. When I sat down in St. Paul’s Hall with all the other graduates in our caps and gowns it was just so amazing! I gotta say I teared up a lil’ bit. I turned round and saw my mum and dad in the audience behind- knowing how proud they are makes me feel all fuzzy and thankful! An amazing and overwhelming day.

So I guess the question is…what happens now? Well, Keep Real will still be in full swing as well as the goals of fundraising for Rethink Mental Illness, but to achieve that higher goal- I want to work in Mental Health. Making a positive impact anywhere is the next journey ❤ Wherever that is, I am looking forward to it.

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University Photographers caught my family using a selfie stick!! haha!!

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Keepin’ Up With Kimberley #5

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working on a commission this week!

Hello lovelies! Man it’s been a crazy week. I have just one week left until I move out of Huddersfield to go back home after the University life!

I’ve been working on a real cool commission for a living room piece (pictured). It’s right up my alley with the whole botanical/mandala vibes going on. It’s become more intricate than I initially thought, but I cannot wait to finish it! Soooo many detailllsss!

There’s so much to look forward to, I have my 21st coming up near the beginning of July then I have my graduation! It only hit me yesterday I don’t have much time left. Student life over- now I gotta get ready for new beginnings!

Speaking of new beginnings, I want to congratulate my dear friend Ayshe- who got ENGAGED this week!!! I can’t believe she will be getting married! I wish her all the wpid-img_20150617_181808.jpghappiness in the world- it was lovely to hang out and catch up after quite a while ❤

This week has ended up being quite an emotional one for me. It’s a fairly overwhelming experience to finish my degree in Counselling Therapy and move onwards. Looking back into the year with working two jobs, finishing a degree, working on Keep Real amongst other things all at the same time, it’s just unbelievable how far I’ve come personally. I work hard to get by, to follow my passions alongside a degree and two jobs. I have become more resilient and determined to get where I want to be.

There is so much more to explore and do! I cannot wait to share with you more adventures and happenings with Keep Real!

So much love to you all ❤

Keepin’ Up With Kimberley #3

Hey lovelies, hope you are all well! I’ve managed to be quite the busy lady lately, as I’m moving out of my house and going back home to my family for a while. The University life has come to an end, so it’s time to pack up my bags and get back to the shire until I move out after Christmas! Plus, I’ve been working both my jobs and making the most of the West Yorkshire life (which means lots of wine, lots of friends…and lots more wine)!

With the giveaway of last year’s collection happening at the moment, I’ve been doing a hell of a lot of scrapbooking for the new collection. I’ve accumulated a huuuggeee amount of labels, wpid-img_20150604_184839.jpgsketches from KR, notes and cards from different independent brands and local stores. It’s a great source of inspiration for new ideas or ways to evolve the Keep Real brand. Research is key!

Also, I’ve become an Activist for Mental Health with ReThink Mental Illness!! I’m trying to find ways of raising money for charities at the moment- but blogging about mental health is so so important to me. Let’s see where the Activist journey takes me!

I’ve been doing a lot reading recently- especially ‘The Quantum Universe- Everything That Can Happen, Does Happen’ by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw (you can purchase it here). Its so beautifully written, with the advantages of not making the reader think their IQ doesn’t qualify for such a read. It talks about quantum physics, coursing through topics of historical beginnings to understanding what surrounds us today. My mind has been blown this week, so thanks Brian & Jeff!

I haven’t had the chance to do mindfulness mediation recently, and in all honesty I’ve noticed the difference. I still feel good and take the time out to write, wpid-img_20150604_185243.jpgbut man is my sleeping game poor! I’m restless and unable to sleep the night through. It’s time to get back into meditation to heal my little hobbit soul.

Hope you are all well and having a wonderful time, wherever you are in the world ❤

Keepin’ Up With Kimberley #1

So my little cherubs, I’ve officially finished my degree- and how lovely to have been given a First for my dissertation! All that is left, is to graduate in July! Hard work has definitely payed off and I’m ready to start my next journey.

With my business Keep Real, I have now signed all the papers so I am now based in the Buckley Innovation Centre in Huddersfield, contracted for a year. A place to do my work and focus on building up KR as a brand of positivity! You can also write to me too which is rad! I wpid-img_20150506_182507.jpghave my own little pigeon hole where I get post from folk or notes from my business advisor (you can find the address here on my Facebook page).

Designs are also in full swing and I plan on creating plenty of mood boards and quirky little look books to get an overall theme for the new collection. I’m so excited to start up!

So many ideas ready to get going on with and I really hope you guys enjoy the products as much as I have been designing and cultivating them. It wpid-img_20150506_104813.jpgwon’t just be garments for guys and girls, but other goods too. I’ll be posting everything on my Instagram, so keep a close eye over the coming months for sneak peeks, design processes and rad snaps!

I also want to say a mahooosive thank you for following my journey of positivity, light and Keep Real. Stay golden lovelies and keep those eyes peeled! ❤

Change Ain’t Bad

Oh the word ‘change’. A scary word that can be a veil to the unknown, the ever-evolving word for growth and development. Or change which may refer to having money in your pocket, whatever.

The past three years have been the best I’ve had- and there seems to be a little saying going round of ‘Wow, everything is going to change.’ Which it will, don’t get me wrong. But change isn’t a bad thing. It’s all about leaving your comfort zone and it really shouldn’t be resisted. It’s the way of the world, fight it and life will fight back. I’ve always held the thought that everything happens for a reason- resisting it because it doesn’t feel secure is a ridiculous way of coping.

Here’s an article I found on dealing with change that I think will brighten up your day!

‘How To Deal With Change’ 

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!