Keepin’ Up or Keeping It Real?

Am I keeping up or keeping it real?

Brandishing the mental health blogger brush within the social media realm, has allowed me to explore my outlook on wellbeing to the many. I even have the opportunities to discuss my journey in workshops, panels, events and every time I do a pop up with my business Keep Real.

I submerge myself in mental health news, keeping up with the latest articles and wonderful folk who are fighting stigma and openly discussing the topic more. Lately however, I forget to look at my own mental health when I am focused on finding everything out about everyone else. The constant need to feel updated.

This past week, I got-to thinkin’. Am I ‘keeping up’ or am I ‘keeping it real’? Priding myself on the brand I have created, has given me permission to explore its true meaning, and why two years ago I needed to create an extension of my ethos to stay true for mental health. 

According to Online Lang Dictionary, to ‘keep it real’ means “to stay true to one’s self; to resist the temptation to be fake.”. My brand/ ethos literally hits the nail on the head right there. So why do I feel lost in my own manifesto?

Recently, I dropped my phone into a toilet (pre-wee thank goodness), to which it never repaired (bet you didn’t think this would be my revelation story!). The journey of not having sustained access to all the news, the latest, the messages and scrolling habits- literally sunk to the bottom of the bowl in a mighty *th-lunk*. 

My reaction to not having a phone, was yes, inconvenient. My first thoughts (to my surprise) was not ‘Holy moly! I have to update my instagram/ twitter! How can I possibly scroll through the internet now?!’. It was a concern for safety…and my online train tickets I couldn’t retrieve. For the 5 days without it, I didn’t feel as upset as I thought I would be. 

The journey of not having sustained access to all the news, the latest, the messages and scrolling habits- literally sunk to the bottom of the bowl in a mighty *th-lunk*. 

The largest inconvenience of not having any digital communication, was while I was sat on a delayed train for 4 hours trying to get into Leeds. I even asked the train guard to borrow their phone, who looked at me in utter disbelief when I asked, ‘Excuse me, I don’t have a phone, may I borrow yours so I can ring my work?’. No technology to hand? Sacrilegious. 

I tend to back away from my phone a lot during a commute, with a priority to reading (currently it’s Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker) and going through my filofax diary. You know…trying to keep it real.

I had surprised myself in my innate response to the lack of a personal device. We are so accustomed to accessing all the information, all of the time. No one forgot about me. No one cared that I didn’t update my social platforms. The only important things I couldn’t do, concerned my work and peace of mind if I needed immediate help. Not social media, not ‘keeping up’ like I thought.

Remembering why ‘Keep Real’ exists, eliminates that fear within that I have to keep up. I do what I do now, because I’m proud to navigate reality and the digital world within my small strides. 

We are so accustomed to accessing all the information, all of the time.

Having your own pace, is so important. Being a self-employed ‘go-getter’ if you will, does not mean I have to keep pushing to know more, do more, be more. Neither should you.

Keepin’ it real suits me fine. 

I’m hosting a Mental Health MOT & Mindset Workshop with Scrivener, Wednesday 5th June at Leeds Postal Service! FREE tickets here

Social Platform Creature: Our Mental Health Impact

Being the social creatures we are- having connections is something we feel makes a profound difference in our lives to establish meaning and fulfilment. It’s super sweet, it makes us do the floss (which I’ve recently discovered the name of as that funny dance with the hands and the hips…) and it allows us to go “Heck yeah, this makes me want to LIVE!” in some way or some form. Thank goodness for technology- I can feel connected straight away when I’m having a hard time.

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Then why do so many of us feel that loss of meaning in a digital world? That niggling desire to perhaps gain a love heart on a photo, buy the latest tech or that pair of trousers you know you don’t need but you want to purchase anyway (Oh, wouldn’t they look great on my feed?!)…


We’re hardwired by all sorts of thaaangs to want more. More of everything. Sure, we can connect quicker and establish relationships faster- making our millennial age, the years of the throw away feelings (Hi, Tinder). But it also means we’re quick to focus on such a microscopic lens of our lives and dissect everything within an online platform. I feel we need to fall back in love with the slower processes- the most meaningful of relationships with ourselves, our loved ones and the world.

And maybe switch off our phones more often…maybe like a lot.

From the Mental Health Foundation, 49% of 18-24 year olds who have experienced high levels of stress, felt that comparing themselves to others was a source of stress, which was higher than in any of the older age groups. In 2015, Time Magazine stated “Young adults are now spending more than one full day per week online, according to new survey data from a U.K. communications regulator.”

The online world has given us a great gift and a great…distraction. The idea that we can connect quicker- but we are now constantly entwined with the notion that we need the online connectivity to affirm what we want to affirm. Whether that be fame, attractiveness, money, fame etc. It has given us the instant gratification we actively seek. We are now consumerists of emotion. In a round about term, we’re a bit addicted to quick gratification.

We just need to slow everything dddooowwwwnnn. Sllllloooowwww. Sit back and away from your phone/laptop/electronic device. You got this!! We survived before and we can survive now!

We need to look at using technology in an altruistic way. To give back, to share support- to share love, kindness, gratitude. All the wonderful things that takes you away from the incessant need to just…feel connected. In a wonderful, deep way. Something as simple as seeing your friend share a snapshot of having a day off, enjoying the sunshine- break the mould and start a conversation, ask to meet up face to face next time they’re free. Not just a love heart, nor a facebook ‘reaction’.

Use this digital world to your advantage. Altruism, yes- but surround your digital self with a lot of digital love. Not a platform to subconsciously make your self esteem drop, for your bank account to fall out of your butt and overall lose your sense of self.

You got this. WE GOT THIS. 

Interview with the Award-Winning Golddigger Trust

Ok folks, I am loving the fact I’ve been receiving messages and some of y’all got on my twitter poll to do more mental health tips. It’s all in the pipeline, so keep your sweet eyes peeled! But first…big news.

Today, my business Keep Real headed to Sheffield to film an interview with a wonderful award-winning organisation called The Golddigger Trust who are just…I have no words. Just incredible! I’ve admired this bunch of lovely folk for a while, and to be asked to collab with them via my brand was just great…and to interview them was just, well, greater. A big whole experience of inspiration. They do AMAZING work for young people (their tagline Unearthing Value, Transforming Lives is just so flippin wonderful) doing courses, projects, mentoring with girls and guys concerning self esteem. Golddigger Kimberley snap

We headed over to their offices and asked them a load of questions about the work they do, what inspires them and what’s coming up for them this year. It turns out they’ve got some incredible things that they’re working on (which you can find out for yourselves in the video we’ll be putting up soon!)

What I can tell you, is that th
ey’re aiming to raise funds for their Golddigger Trust Centre For Young People. They have said that ‘As the Trust has grown, we have long held a vision for creating our own ‘centre for young people’, somewhere that they can feel at home, and from where our award winning work can expand across the city and the UK.’

How amazing!? They need as much help as they can get, and would love for so many folk to get involved with what they’re trying to do.Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 20.24.55

These people are so inspiring, and continue to inspire so many young people every single day. Please check out their campaign here and fundraise or donate to their cause here. These guys deserve so much recognition and I am humbled to have interviewed them. Having had a really sweet talk about my business, what they’re getting up to and what we could potentially do together is just beautiful. I cannot wait to share with you what we’ve done and tell you more about the trust!

Sending all my love ❤

 

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!

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

 

Caught Up In Social Media

Hey folks! How y’all doing? I thought I’d post a little personal one for tonight about how I’m feeling recently. Now, I do realise that most of my posts are centred around mental wellness and tips on how to stay all good- but that doesn’t mean that I personally feel good all of the time! It’s impossible, and feeling rad comes with feeling bad too. They’re hand in hand, and it’s knowing the balance between the two that brings a certain harmony. Just being mindful of your thoughts and feelings allows you to go with your natural flow ❤

Even though my anxiety is for me, very tame and rarely rearing it’s head these past couple of years, there does seem to be a lil’ anxiety coming from social media lately. If some of you follow me on Instagram or even on Tumblr, you can tell from the content, I like to post photos related to my day to day activities or illustration! However, if I’m feeling good I’ll go ahead and post a ‘seflie’ here and there. But sometimes, I feel a real sense of being caught up in the world of social media. Clicking and scrolling my way through pages of content, it can be real hard to put my phone down.

Caught yourself looking at notifications for recognition or those ‘likes’ received? You’re not the only one. I’ve stopped notifications on my phone from social media now, however with my business Keep Real- I feel like I have to be constantly on the ball with it. It’s trying to find the balance between reality and your platforms online. Sometimes, finding that balance is tough. With our world communicating constantly through different networks- it really is hard to keep up.

We’re in an age where Facebook is just a given. When someone tells you they haven’t got a Facebook- you’re absolutely astounded! Why haven’t they got a profile!? Oh…you don’t have a Twitter? Are you living under a rock!?!? You have to take a step back and realise how involved you are in the world of social media. Is it taking up quite a big part of your day? Do you feel like you cannot go a day without checking your platforms?

I’ve been asking myself these questions, and feel more at ease with my web presence, and in general with my online platforms. Log out, see the world around you. Because it’s flippin beautiful and you’re missing it.

As always, sending my love to y’all- and keep real! x