Our Wellbeing & Our Product Choices

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Being mindful of our choices as people can truly help us feel that little bit better in ourselves. I hear the term ‘conscious living’ being brought up- and it’s a wonderful thing to see. Hearing of living a slower, more conscious way of life is something I have definitely focused on this last year, more so than ever. So  how does it all tie in?

So for starters…

Wellbeing is, as a definition:

The state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.

There’s a lot that wellbeing is influenced by. From our mental health, what we eat, who we surround ourselves with, to what we purchase throughout our lives. Wellbeing is something we try to cultivate and maintain.

We all know that our clothes and things we buy reflect our personalities, and the essence of who we are as people. Why are we drawn to certain things? Some would say that we are attracted to specific clothes, products and objects based on our needs. Christian Jarrett from The Psychologist stated that ‘How much we see our things as an extension of ourselves, may depend in part in how confident we feel about who we are.’

So, what we’re truly saying is that it all comes from within, right? To truly see our clothes, objects, products as an extension of our inner souls, all depends on how we feel about our complete selves in the first place. We need to take a step back and reflect on our values too. Are you drawn to certain brands that reflect your personality? Or is it because it’s quick and easy to buy?

For me, I like to use products that reflect my passion for sustainability, and giving back to the Earth. Personally, I’m extremely passionate about wellbeing and taking care of our bodies. This goes from my brand choice for skincare (The Bodyshop, 70% Vegan, 100% Vegetarian, All natural ingredients, Cruelty Free, commitment of ‘Enrich Not Exploit’), to cruelty free make-up (Barry M Cosmetics and Sleek here in the UK) and my clothing choices too (going more second hand, vintage or apps like Shpock, DePop and Ebay). I believe that when I purchase something, it makes me more confident in myself by making mindful choices. My clothes are lasting longer, the personal care products I use make me feel amazing knowing they’re giving back, and I know my clothes are made from people with fairer wages, who aren’t exploited in the hard work they do.

When buying products, clothes or anything just be that little bit more mindful. If brands are doing wonderful things for others and the planet- then contributing to that can make us feel super lovely. Just by doing this, you’re making a difference- to other people, the planet and most importantly…yourself.

Isn’t that a wonderful thought?

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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.”

 

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! ❤ ❤ ❤

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 Apps For Controlling Your Social Media Use

I love my phone and the possession of information at my finger tips. Don’t we allllll! I hear you say. Well, I think it’s about time I started truly seeing what I was using my phone for, and if I really am using it in a healthy way. I did a little experiment this week, and came across some of the best free apps in controlling your social media usage. I think you’ll be surprised at how much you’re on your phone after these! I feel so much better using these apps for my advantage. Check these two out to give a go. Be kind to yourselves folks ❤img_20160207_120520.jpg

Quality Time – This app helps you discover your habits on your phone, how long you spend screen time per day, as well as how many times you unlock your phone too. I gotta say this is incredibly useful. One day, I had over 153 screen unlocks. That’s a scary amount! Throughout the day, I thought I’d done pretty well, considering I was busy all day. However, I noticed that because my phone is on silent, I tend to check my phone a fair bit. See for yourself folks, realising how much time you spend checking- is taking away time for more cool stuff!!

Forest (Free here on Android) – This is actual so soooo cool. Forest is an app for staying focused and present. The more time you spend off your phone, the more your virtual forest grows! Whenever you want to concentrate, you can plant a seed in Forest. In the next 30 minutes, this small seed will gradually grow into a big tree. However, if you cannot resist the temptation and leave this app to check Facebook or play a game, your little cute tree will wither away. And nobody wants a dying forest! I love it. Give it a go, and test your smartphone resistance!

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.

Social Media, Self Esteem & Mental Health

Shaun Rhatigan is an aspiring journalist with a keen interest in mental health. He also happens to be one of the most thoughtful people I have the pleasure of calling one of my dear friends! Here, he goes in depth concerning the positives and negatives of social media.

We have all undoubtedly experienced the negative effects that social media can have on our self-esteem and mental health. Researching for this blog I spoke to plenty of people who admitted spending hours perfecting their selfies, gaining self-validation based solely on how many likes they received. I’ve been guilty of this too, deleting photos and posts that got little or no attention from friends, leaving me feeling uninteresting and questioning my own self-worth.

With that being said, I don’t want to use this post to focus on only the doom and gloom of social media. Instead I want to show how it can be used to empower those dealing with mental health difficulties and highlight the positive impact it can have on your life. After all, staying positive is key!

One way social media helps me is following inspirational or funny quotes. Starting your day reading a hilarious tweet or Instagram post won’t just put a grin on your face, it will put you in a positive mood to get the most out of your day. Similarly, when faced with daunting tasks reading an inspirational quote can give you the motivation or boost to keep going. A tip for this is to screen-shot posts that have the greatest impact on you, so they are at your disposal whenever you need them. One of my personal favourites- “Failure is not falling down, but refusing to get back up.”

For those of us who struggle with face to face social interactions, social media gives you a great opportunity to connect with others without the worry of revealing your identity. It’s so important to express yourself but not everyone feels as comfortable doing so as others.  Social media opens the doors to groups and forums where you can discuss what’s on your mind or just find out if others are feeling the same way as you without the attached stigma (Check out the MentalHealthForum.com). Away from discussing mental health, joining groups where people share your interests (be it Star Wars, Art or Fashion) is a great way to mingle with others and bond over common ground whilst building your confidence and eliminating thoughts of isolation and loneliness.

Something else we might all be guilty of is preoccupy ourselves by aimlessly scrolling through our news feed. Although looking at how sloshed you and your friends got last week is fun, it’s important not to forget how much valuable information and support is at your fingertips. Organisations such as ‘YoungMinds’ and ‘PAPYRUS’ are doing great work on their social media pages by sharing campaigns, stories and advice. ‘SANE’ is another fantastic organisation that offers support through anonymous forums, their YouTube channel and text care. I can also highly recommend checking out ‘HeadMeds’ which offers easily accessible information on medication and mental health issues. These posts can not only help you get whatever support you need, they are also helping smash the stigma that surrounds mental health as people become increasingly knowledgeable on the subject.

These are just a few ways you can use social media to share with others and experiment with different forms of self-express. I’m not saying the problems aren’t there, but I do believe social media is not the big bad that we are led to believe. As with anything in life, approach social media with a positive attitude and you will reap the positive outcomes!!

 

You can follow Shaun here on Twitter and 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.

I’m on BBC Radio 4 Tonight for Mental Health!

Hi folks! Here’s a quick reminder that I’ll be on the radio this evening at 9pm (GMT)! It’s for a new series of ‘All in the Mind’ for BBC Radio 4 with Claudia Hammond, which will be discussing teenage mental health here in the UK. There is increased awareness of mental health, as we have programmes talking about it a little bit more, however- there is a rise in teen mental health problems. Here’s the infographic for the programme this evening! cover170x170

As evidence accumulates that mental health problems are on the rise amongst adolescents, are services keeping up? Claudia Hammond is joined by a panel of experts to discuss teenage mental health.

Professor Shirley Reynolds, Dr Dickon Bevington, Kimberley Robinson and Sarah Hulyer discuss the pressures teenagers face and how the mental health of our adolescents is changing. They also offer thoughts on how services could be reshaped to cope with this changing demand and what parents can do to help their teenagers.

I talk about my experiences of mental health problems concerning anxiety and thoughts on what can be changed. I don’t want to give too much away! I’m so humbled to be part of the discussion, and on the flippin’ BBC!! It is so so important.

Here’s the link to the programme: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06kch0z

If you do miss it, you can download it as a podcast at 10pm or any time/day/week after. It will be available after the first broadcast, so please give it a listen! The repeat broadcast will be Wednesday at 3.30pm (GMT)

Sending all my good lil vibes to you, and as always – keep real! Let me know if you catch the programme and tell me what you think! ❤ x

Adventures with my Grandparents

Hello beauties! I must apologise for the lack of blogging lately, but I’ve been spending some precious time with my grandparents in Grimsby, UK! It’s been absolutely wonderful, so I thought to share some photos with you!
We’ve been to Cleethorpes, completed a 6.5 mile walk with a local Walking Group, been to the market at Louth and went blackberry and raspberry picking.
I have loved every minute so far, and just love the life round here. It’s quaint and calm

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– just the break I needed. I love my grandparents to bits and haven’t spent quality time with them for a long while. The routine and calmness of every day has been refreshing, and I feel so inspired!!

Anyway- hope you are well and all the ❤

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