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) ❤

Keepin’ Up With Kimberley #6

It’s been a whirlwind of little events this week. Plusss this weather here in the UK has been crazy! I’ve been designing, reading, working, running and organising some cool thaangs. Everything seems to be in full swing, plus I turn 21 next week! Rad!

I’ve started to read Patti Smith’s Just Kids, which is her autobiography (purchase it here).download (1) Now, this book has been on my wish list for a good year and I have only just got around to purchasing it. So far, I cannot recommend this book enough! In case you don’t know who Patti Smith is, she is an Artist, Writer and Performer (she’s an all-round creative) who gained recognition in the 1970’s in the Punk Rock movement. I find myself reading it whenever I can (mostly on trains and buses!), it leaves me feeling extremely passionate and driven to do what I want to do creatively through Keep Real, as well as work hard and get to where I want to be. If you’re feeling a bit of a creative block, read Patti Smith’s memoir. I cannot praise it enough.

wpid-img_20150701_175503.jpgAlso this week, I’ve been working on some designs for the new collection as well as some pieces for other people. It’s been slow going, as cultivating a theme of mandala inspired works has left me with the laborious task of dotworking large pieces bigger than my head! It’s quite therapeutic creating what I’m creating though. I’ve been trying out varied techniques such as cross-hatching, which so far seems to be working a treat!  wpid-img_20150704_121440.jpg

Last night I had the privilege of seeing Alkaline Trio and NOFX at the 02 Academy in Leeds. The last time I saw Alkaline Trio, it was 2008 and I was the ripe ol’ age of fourteen. I remember them playing at a festival in Sheffield and hearing ‘Time To Waste’ which blew my tiny little mind. So to see them now at nearly 21- brought back a lot of memories of being that awkward teenager who still wore fake converse and studded belts. NOFX however, were incredible. I did get a little battered in the pit- but I LOVED it. Probably the most fun I’ve had at a gig in a long time.

I’m also organising which events I will be running in to raise money for Rethink Mental Illness. I have to calculate how long it will take me to have the justified amount of physical health, in order to for me to feel comfortable in running. I’m thinking of doing a 5k run, then a 10k run later in the year. Plus I want to do the Three Peaks Challenge next year! It has been fairly hot temperatures lately, but doing a tiny mile run round the woods near my home should be sufficient in the meantime every day.

Hope you are well and as always- Keep Real! x

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 ❤

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!