Self-care and why we should all be doing it?

Last month, on the 10th of October was World Mental Health Day. A day where activists took to social media to share their experiences with mental health, with hopes to reduce the stigma, increase awareness and to all-in-all demonstrate the importance of speaking out about Mental Health. For this, I created a video, where I spoke about the importance of us looking out for each others in a society where at least 1 in 4 people experience some kind of mental health problem. It’s so easy to be a listening ear for a friend who is having some troubles, what allies need to do is understand and listen, not necessarily to lecture and give advise on how to deal with it, but just to say “Hey mate, I care about you and I’m going to be here with you, while you get through this”.

I’m not gonna simply repeat to you what I put in the video (so, go check it out!), rather, I’m going to share with you a few things I learnt from a TED talk, that I just watched. The talk is called: Why we all need to practice emotional first aid. Guy Winch guides this talk so beautifully focusing on what we so often fail to maintain: emotional hygiene. Our lives revolve around physical hygiene: keeping clean, doing exercise, eating right, but how often are we maintaining our emotional hygiene? I saw this great quote recently, it said “You gotta nourish to flourish”. And it’s so true. Imagine yourself as a seedling. As a baby, your parents/guardians give you nutrients, warmth and love, you begin to grow. As you develop into teenage years and early adulthood, we sometimes fail to nourish ourselves with the emotional hygiene, self-love and self-care that we truly deserve.

What is Self-care and how do I do it?

Self-care is an umbrella term used when an individual uses soothing and comforting methods to regulate a healthy state of mental health. Guy Winch addressed the important idea that you can’t treat a psychological wound if you dont know you’re wounded. Sometimes it’s hard to know whether you’re suffering from poor mental health, because you go about your daily life living that same reality every day, so how do you even know you have that issue? Anyone can do self-care, you don’t have to have a diagnosed mental health condition to do it. In fact, it can be the most beautiful thing when you need to feel comforted, safe and feel more you. Self-care is usually split up into three segments: physical, emotional and mental. Physical acts of self- care are like: going for a walk, doing yoga or going swimming. Whilst emotional acts of self-care are like: meditation, writing down a list of what you are appreciative of, chatting to a friend and Mental acts of self-care are: reading, colouring, taking up a new hobby, personally I love photography and I use it often to self-care( check out all the different featured images at the top of each blog piece, I took them 🙂 ).

How do I know that I need self-care?

That in itself is a very personal question. In other words, it is the same answer to: “How long is a piece of string?”, the need for self-care is very unique to the person. It might be every day, once a week, once every couple of weeks, or at times when you yourself are experiencing a rough patch.

In my eyes, self-care is a fun chore, now that may be an oxymoron in itself, but hear me out for a sec. When you’re in a dark place, as much as you want to get out of that hellhole, it is so darn hard to do so, especially when your self-confidence is low and you don’t believe that you have the power to pass through this moment in your life. (For those experiencing one of these moments right now, what you need to say to yourself is: This too shall pass. This is temporary. I will get through this.) The reason I use ‘fun chore’ is because whilst it can be a struggle to start doing self-care, it is actually so enjoyable and soothing when you begin. Just to share something personal, I do self-care at different intervals, I sort of adjust it to how I’m feeling. So, if I’m having a particularly bad day/week, I will do it that much more.

One thing I adore doing, is drawing, which is really ironic because all my art teachers used to tell me I was terrible at drawing. It’s funny how if someone tells you something enough times, you start to believe it. Well, now, years later, I am finally embracing my love for art and my originality. It reallllllllly pains me that we are living in a society as great as ours and we are put down for not being good enough. So, really embrace what you love and who even cares what other people think, if you adore playing the piano and someone tells you that you’re not good enough, don’t stop playing the piano! Play the piano because that’s what is so important to you and what makes your soul shine and after all, self-care is cool.

Self-care is just great because it is a chance to escape from some negative emotions and mostly to feel more you and more comfortable in your own skin. So, if you haven’t tried it before and you are in a rough patch, I really encourage you to take the time to do so.

Lots of love as always,

Lou

 

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4 Songs to help you through a Mental Health tizzy

4 Songs to get you through that Mental Health moment/ tizzy what have you! Tell me what songs help you through your mental health tizzies! ❤

Blessed

Music arguably is one of the greatest gifts ever. It has a way of transcending daily life and lifting you into something almost spiritually higher. Obviously, this depends on the type of music you listen to. I mean, I have such a variety of music tastes, but I’m going to share with you 4 key songs that help me during a period of poor mental health.

1. Praying- Kesha

An recent addition to the music sphere, which has left the world in awe. Praying is such a beautiful song powerfully explaining the nature of mental health, in particular depression. Kesha sings this song with such power you can feel her mental health experiences, without knowing one thing about her life and history. With a history of abuse and severe depression, Kesha opens up her music video with a powerful monologue: “Stranded. What is the lesson? What is the point?” From…

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4 Songs to help you through a Mental Health tizzy

Music arguably is one of the greatest gifts ever. It has a way of transcending daily life and lifting you into something almost spiritually higher. Obviously, this depends on the type of music you listen to. I mean, I have such a variety of music tastes, but I’m going to share with you 4 key songs that help me during a period of poor mental health.

1. Praying- Kesha

An recent addition to the music sphere, which has left the world in awe. Praying is such a beautiful song powerfully explaining the nature of mental health, in particular depression. Kesha sings this song with such power you can feel her mental health experiences, without knowing one thing about her life and history. With a history of abuse and severe depression, Kesha opens up her music video with a powerful monologue: “Stranded. What is the lesson? What is the point?” From the powerful intro to the chilling chorus, Praying emphasizes the cloud of Depression, the challenges it brings, the way it can obstruct your whole vision and change your whole outlook on life, yourself and the world.

2. Glorious- Macklemore (feat. Skylar Grey)

Glorious is another recent addition to this year. The first time, I came across this song, I was on Spotify checking out my Discover Weekly, usually you get the most random remixes and covers of songs you listened to once in 2012, but when I heard the first 30 seconds of this song, I was blown away. I love the tempo, it’s so pumping and so self-loving and inspiring. It’s one of those songs that you listen to on repeat until you hate it, but I never hate it!! hahah.  And honestly, if you haven’t seen the music video, you will probably cry, it is so heart-warming. The lyrics I definitely connect the most to, have to be: “I made it through the darkest part of the night and now I see the sunrise.” Whatever kind of mental health struggle you are going through, Glorious hits at that feeling when you begin to feel in control of the person who you are again, and also it reminds you that there is so much going on outside our own heads to be thankful for. So Feel Glorious, kids.

3. A Sky Full Of Stars- Coldplay

This beautiful classic gets me every time. When I’m feeling low and lacking hope, it has a way of opening up my mind and pushing me to believe there’s life beyond my mental health problem. I always like listening to songs with deep lyrics that I can intersperse my own meaning into. This particularly helps me because I often find my mental health is poorer at night and the lyrics: “Cause you get lighter the more it gets dark” reminds me that there’s always a flicker of light in a dark moment, that there is always something to be grateful for, that there is always something to hope for. Whilst this is not the most thought-provoking song, with the amazing instrumental, it’s always one thing that opens up my imagination.

4. Superheroes- The Script

You probably can see this re-occuring theme throughout my chosen songs, but this song really helps me feel purpose each time I listen to it. The chorus is honestly the best part:

“You’ve been fighting for it all your life
You’ve been struggling to make things right
That’s how a superhero learns to fly
Every day, every hour, turn that pain into power.”

There is something about this that just clicks. Personally, it makes me think of anyone going through mental health struggles.

People struggling with poor mental health are Superheroes. And if you’re here reading this post and you can relate to anything I’ve said here, how brief or long-term, know you’re a superhero. I’m not just saying this, what you’re experiencing is challenging, but you can pull through it, you have the power and strength to get through it, even if you don’t believe it now. Once, a friend told me to “Fake it, until you make it”. And to be honest, that is so relevant, you may feel a mess now, you may be having one of your toughest days yet, but just know, you’re here for a reason. You have a purpose. You’re a Superhero.

Got any more songs you like to listen to during a Mental health tiff, Share and comment below!

 

Sending so much love, hope and support,

Lou xxx

**Disclaimer: I can’t promise they will help you, I just know they’ve helped me. If you are really struggling, know there is always someone you can call. 116 123- Samaritans, they’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week**

 

 

Meditation, but does it actually work tho? #mindgains

Hey, world.

Do you ever feel like you pack too much into one day? Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough time for yourself? Do you ever just stop and appreciate the little things or are you caught up with emotions, thoughts, feelings?

Well, you’ve come to the right place! Meditation is a great skill and tool, which can help you shape a greater understanding about yourself as a person and how you relate to your emotions and thoughts, as well as an added awareness of the world around you. To quote John Lennon: ” Life is what happens to you, when you are busy making other plans”. The matter of the fact is, that we all fall victim to our thoughts and emotions. It’s so interesting how one thought can pop into our heads and we can literally create a whole world of concern just from that one little thought that pops into our heads.

Mindfulness teaches that there are three ways that we deal with our thoughts:

The first way is that, we can get involved with the thought. So, say this thought arises: “everyone thinks I’m annoying”, by getting involved with the thought, you might develop the thought and start to get caught up in self-depreciation, without even noticing.

The second way is resisting the thought. There are many ways in which one can do this, for example by ignoring the thought and by trying to avoid any slight bit of acknowledgement of the thought.

The third way, is observing and awareness, which is what Mindfulness Meditation teaches. It sounds incredibly simple, you may be reading this, thinking: how on earth can observing an anxious/depressive thought, for example, help me deal with my mental health?? Well, that’s a great question. Mindfulness teaches that we need to be aware of our thoughts, note them and once we have done that, we bring ourselves back to the current moment we are in and focus on what is going on around us. So, this might be the wind brushing past your face, the smell of suncream, the fluffy clouds in the sky, literally anything involving the senses in that present moment.

One of the great things we learn from Mindfulness, is the fact that thoughts are thoughts, feelings are feelings and emotions are emotions. If we have a thought that we don’t like, or don’t agree with, we don’t need to interact with them. We simply observe they are there and focus on the coping tools and mechanisms on how to slowly change your thought patterns.

So, I’m suggesting you just give it a go. A lot of what I have said, is so easier said than done. However, the whole point of meditation is that you are bringing some long-term, if not lifetime habits into your daily life. I just find that thought really exciting and I definitely think it’s worth a shot, it isn’t for everyone, but a lot of research has shown it reduces anxiety in a variety of different ways.

**Disclaimer: Meditation has helped me thoroughly. Whilst, I thoroughly recommend it, it does not work for everyone. It also is not simply a solution for mental health illnesses, rather a catalyst for appreciation and awareness, giving you an ability to understand a little more about the nature of your mental health illness or even if you dont have a mental health illness, just to get to know yourself a little better***

Let me know how it goes,

Lou x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perfectionism and the Art of being “good enough”

Hey everyone! Hope you have all had a good week, and even if it has been a tough few days, I hope you’re able to look into the details of each day and celebrate some successes, big or small.

Today, I want to talk about Perfectionism. Perfectionism is an umbrella term that can be used to express a desire to over-achieve and to be perceived as perfect by other people or to make oneself feel satisfied. Perfectionism affects people in different ways, some of which are include results to organisation to Healthy Living. I just want to highlight the difference between being an over-achiever and a high-achiever. A high-achiever is someone who likes to keep building on him/herself in hope to improve as a person and in their career. Whereas, an over-achiever is someone who tries to do more and more and no level of achievement suffices their need to achieve.

Society has a huge huge focus on being ‘Perfect’. We are constantly being shown in the media one type of body image and fat-shaming, which really affects how we feel about ourselves and our confidence. There is often that desire to push ourselves too much and to try and do everything and anything we can to present ourselves as these ‘perfect beings’.

Just dipping into my own experiences here, I have experienced a lot of issues with Perfectionism. I often find myself pushing myself to be that perfect person, who is everything to everyone. This endless vicious cycle has caused a lot of my anxiety and lows. However, once I was able to realise that I don’t need to be a perfect person, I just need to be good enough, it was such a pivotal point for me.

Saying that, it wasn’t easy to get to that point and It’s something I still struggle with it now. It’s more of the fact that I am able to recognise that I am a great human being like everyone else, with imperfections, but also a load of great qualities too. And when you’re able to recognise that, it is actually quite life-changing. I totally respect that this is a process that involves a lot of work, but being able to realize that, that inner strength inside yourself is powerful and able to fight through the challenges you experience then that in itself, is the very first step.

This lil quote type thing (below) is literally my favourite thing! Let me know if it helps you, feel free to drop me a few of your favourite motivational quotes in the comments box!

 

My main point of today’s blog is just to tell you that you have strength, each and every one of you. Even if you don’t believe it, just say this to yourself now. I am strong. I am capable. I will get through this. Surround yourself with that positivity, with that love and remind yourself every single day, why you are so great. Because, we were all put on this earth for a purpose and we are all a unique gift to this world, even if you don’t feel like it now.

Stay true, Stay you!!

Lots and Lots of love,

Lou xox

To Share or not to Share, that is the question?

Hey, world!! Hope you are all doing well. I am back to the WordPress sphere, talking about the Power of Sharing, in relation to Mental Health. In today’s world, mental health is being discussed way more. People are sharing their experiences more than ever before, which is incredible. I have the upmost respect for those that share their experience, be it to one person, a few people or even on social media.

My decision to share my mental health issues over Facebook was a huge one. I had always shared little snippets over Facebook, but I had never fully shared my experience with anyone but close friends and family. I really had no clue which way it would go. Just over a year ago now, I shared my first experience with mental health on Facebook and it wasn’t easy. But, I had some of the nicest responses ever from friends and people I hadn’t spoken to in years, talking about their experiences to me. It was a phenomenal turning point for me.

And now, a year or so later, I have recently created this blog, sharing a few more snippets into my life and my mental health experiences. The most challenging experience for me, was deciding to share my mental health breakdown in January, definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I was so worried to share these experiences, fearing all sorts of judgement, when I only had positive reactions and kind comments from friends and family members.

Saying this, I have had a few people ask me why I share such personal things in my life and to be honest, I am not the most British person in a sense by expressing my emotions, thoughts and experiences. If that wasn’t clear from the beginning, haha. I just wanted to share this experience to encourage people to do the same. It really helps people who are currently struggling with a similar thing to hear from these people. Sharing your struggles shows people they can get through what they are struggling with and that these things aren’t permanent. It also shows that we are all human and that we all experience difficulties. It’s often easy to forget this, as we are all scrolling through social media, seeing pictures of everyone having these ‘perfect summers’ and thinking that our lives aren’t as exciting as theirs.

I am just such a strong believer that openness allows other people to feel comfortable sharing their troubles and that way we feel better knowing you aren’t alone, which is easy to feel.

**Obviously openness, isn’t for everyone and if you don’t feel comfortable sharing, please dont feel like you need to. I have just found in my experience, that it has helped significantly**

Lots of love,

Lou xx

 

Medication Myth-busting Stereotypes

I’m back, world. On another mild rant, with awareness-spreading motives. Mental Health is huuuuuge. The effects it has on people, is actually phenomenal. The issue though, is the utter lack of conversation about these things. Words like ‘depression’ and ‘anxiety’ can silence a room sometimes, but why?? We should not be feeling awkward using these words, we should feel unbelievably proud for sharing an incredibly challenging and painful part of our life.

So, I’m back here again, talking mental health. This time, I’ll be talking about medication, stereotypes, and why it can actually be the best fit for an individual.

So here are three stereotypes, I’m going to clamp down on.

1. All mental health problems can be dealt with therapy and therapy alone.

**Okay, I just wanted to start this by saying that for some people, medication is simply not needed, they are able to cope with their issues through therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I am also not saying that medication is the answer and will be the answer to all your mental health issues. Often, there is a deeper issue behind these issues, which can be dealt with through therapy, but medication is a way to regulate to do so.**

If you read my last post, you will know that I had quite a big mental breakdown earlier this year. And honestly, I can say that I would not be in the place I am today without  medication. It massively helped me in two key ways. The first, is the fact that it induces sleep, which I needed because, I did not sleep for about 4 nights straight, it also helps to regulate appetite, which at the time was very small and irregular. The second way it helped me, was by bringing me down to a lower level of anxiety and depression. Without this, I definitely would not have been able to resolve the deeper issues behind my anxiety and depression.

I would also like to add, that I know several people, who only need medication and that’s it. There is a simple irregularity in their brain chemistry, usually linked with the serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters. Therapy is not for everyone, some people will try all different types of therapies and find it does not help one little bit.

2. Once you are on (mental health) medication, you are on it for life.

You’ve heard the statistic, 1 in 4 people experience mental health problems, we all know it’s 4 in 4 people, but that’s exactly the point. I guarantee that all of you reading this know at least one person who has experienced/is experiencing a mental health problem, however brief or long. Taking that decision to go on medication is not a rash decision that one should make, you are on it usually for minimum 3-6 months I say (don’t hold that against me, it truly depends on the individual). I have been on anti-depressants for about 5 months now and I am so thankful for it.

I remember when I had been experiencing lower levels of anxiety and depression before my breakdown, many people told me all the classic lines like: “Therapy will do it, don’t put toxins in your body” Erm that’s just wrong, smoking puts toxins in your body, medication is supposed to help you reach a normalised level. One of my favourites definitely has to be “You just need to keep thinking positive thoughts”, also I’ve had the whole “you’re so young” shpiel, like there’s this belief that because I am young, I am completely devoid from getting any mental health challenge in my life and that I “simply have nothing to worry about.”

Back to the point, being on medication isn’t a life-long sentence, it’s a helping hand to get you to a place in your life where you feel able to cope with life and push through challenges that would have been way worse without medication.

3. Mental health medication completely destroys your personality.

Okay, so I know people who have expressed this to me about friends and family members whose personality has been distorted whilst taking medication, but on the whole, medication has actually helped saved the lives of many an individual.

I just want to say that taking medication has changed my life for the better. I was at an event recently sitting with some friends, we were all discussing mental health stigma towards medication, then somehow at around the same time, we all said that we were on medication. It was such an amazing moment for me, to be surrounded by people living life better whilst being on medication.

Medication has not affected who I am as a person, it has made me a stronger and calmer person. It has actually driven me to beat this with the belief that I am not defined by my anxiety and depression. I am a more well-rounded person for having been hit hard in January and to still be here in one piece in June, having gotten through my first exam season since the breakdown.  I just want to say that, I am not trying to glorify medication, it’s not the answer and it’s not for everyone, there are little side effects, which are usually minuscule, but overall, it has truly helped me to be the person I want to be. I am determined to fight for increased discussion over mental health and to get rid of these stigmas entrenched in society.

Lou xo

Hey, you! Yeah, you! Check out my first post.

Hey, world. How’s it going? Been up to much today?

This post is the beginning of my musings, a place where I can share my ideas, photos (check out my Facebook Page: Completely Candid Photography to see more) and views. I don’t have a load of writing experience, but here goes.

This first post is about the importance of kindness. Kindness plays such a huge role in our lives. It’s actually unbelievable how by just holding a door open for someone, you can make someone’s day. You may be reading this and having a bit of a giggle. You might be thinking: Lou, what real effect will this have on someone’s day?

Now, let me just elaborate a little further. As a society, we are all absorbed in our phones or laptops. Just thinking about this now, I am on my phone all the time, in between journeys, when I get home and even I fall victim to going on my phone when with my friends. Does that make me an unkind human being? No. It’s about taking ourselves away from technology and doing something for other people.

Back to holding the door open for someone, let me set the scene for you. There is a young man, early 30’s, well dressed, attractive, looks like he has a good job, it looks like everything is going well for him. Let me just emphasise the word ‘looks’ here. Someone’s appearance presents only a small percentage of what they feel like on the outside. What you don’t know about this man, is that his girlfriend just left him for another man, he is heartbroken and has lost hope in the world and for the future. Everything seems to be going wrong for him. You walk into a café and spot this man walking in behind you, you give him a smile, hold the door open for him and carry on with your day. You might not believe it, but you have just made that man’s day.

You might be thinking, how on earth can opening the door really make this man feel better about himself? And I agree. I really do. I am not saying that this will solve his possible depression or feelings of hopelessness, but to know that some stranger was kind enough to take a minute out of their day to offer an act of kindness to him, offers a glimmer of hope, just a small moment where his thoughts aren’t preoccupied by negative, intrusive thoughts.

I just wanted to provide a real life example of this, that you all might have heard of. It’s the story of a man who was experiencing great despair and suicidal thoughts. This man was on Waterloo Bridge in London, considering taking his life and a great Samaritan walked past and spoke to him for hours, telling him things would get better. He managed to get this man to have a coffee with him and just talk to him. After getting therapy and recovering, there was a huge campaign over social media to find this guy who saved his life. They are friends now still and ran the marathon together this year. This is such proof that one act of kindness can literally save someone’s life.

I just wanted to finish this post, with a picture I took in Tel Aviv, last summer and hit you with some thoughts below, which I had back at the time.

Sometimes things aren’t obvious in life. You spend so much time going from A to B, this to that and you don’t see the bigger picture. With photography, you are able to use such a beautiful piece of equipment to produce a simple photo like this. All there is in this picture is a bunch of pomegranates, but by playing with the aperture, you are able to capture the best one, the juiciest let’s say. This juicy pomegranate is a metaphor of the best things in life. It’s a reminder to see the best in every situation. Life is difficult for all of us in different ways and sometimes it isn’t so easy to find that juicy pomegranate of our situation. But taking those steps to start appreciating life and offering that little bit of kindness to others, can help you to see the bigger and happier picture, so to change your outlook on life and even other people’s.

 

So, be kind everyone.

Lots of love,

Lou xo

Perspectives. What’s yours?

Hey, world! I’m back!!

I know you missed me dearly. I’ve just been thinking recently that I really enjoy having this space where I can share my thoughts. It’s so so cathartic, and the great thing is, that I might be able to help people whilst sharing my own stories.

So, here goes.

Earlier this year, around Christmas, I felt pretty stressed to say the least. To be honest, I’ve been stressed numerous times before about so many things, predominantly revision and exams. Progressively over the years, since AS levels, I became more and more stressed in different, new ways that I had never seen before. It first started off with panic attacks, palpitations and several breakdowns in front of my friends and family. Then, more recently came the lows. I had always been worried about exams, but this time around, I had it set in my mind that exams defined my life. And in my head, I had to just keep working, despite the fact that nothing was going in partly because I wasn’t giving myself any breaks. Even though I took evenings off, I hardly saw anyone. It took serious encouragement from my parents to see my best friend. Little did I know that what was ahead of me was one of the most horrible experiences of my life. So with what little revision I had done, I headed back to university. I had it in my head from numerous encouragements from my parents, that whatever happens, we will deal with it together. I am so so lucky to have extremely supportive parents. They are definitely the most amazing people ever, so I hope you’re reading this this, Mum and Dad!!!

Anyways, back to the story. I had made my way back to uni. I got back on Saturday evening and that week I had three exams: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. From that Saturday night, in fact, for two weeks before then I was having difficulty sleeping, but on from the Saturday night, I was unable to fall asleep at all. Like all attempts to shut off, were not working. From meditating, to listening to classical music, to having a warm shower. My housemate even told me to cook a banana in boiling water and drink that. That tasted bizarre lol, I definitely would not recommend that. But all in all, it was not a pleasant experience, not one bit.

Looking back now, sleeping way more and just being in a way better place mentally, I can honestly say, that that was one of the most challenging and painful experiences of my life. I felt like I had completely regressed after all the independence and maturity I had developed from my 2 years at uni and that I was stuck.

I just wanted to use this piece to firstly, despite the utter difficulties that experience gave me, to explain how  thankful  I feel, that I went through that and came out the other side. If that doesn’t show that there is light at the end of the tunnel, I don’t know what will!! The second reason why I wanted to share this piece, is just to give a few tips and ideas, if you are currently going through some sort of mental health battle at this point in your life.

So here are Louise’s 3 top tips, which have helped me, so I hope they help you!

1. Speak to someone

This might sound obvious, but sometimes the easiest thing is just to vent. Whether if it’s a friend, family member or even on an (anonymous) online forum! I can really recommend the ‘7 cups of tea’ app, it’s this great anonymous app, where there are both forums for particular mental health issues, like anxiety, depression, eating disorders, but there are also separate chats with anonymous ‘listeners’ who are their out of their own choice to listen to whatever you are going through at that point in time! Whichever person you choose to speak to, it feels great either way to off-load to someone, they can also nudge you in the right direction, like to go to a GP or to consider therapy.

2. Find yourself a cathartic hobby

Think about what you really enjoy doing, that one thing that helps you destress and clear your mind. I have friends who write poems, songs, spoken word pieces. I, personally love writing. It’s not until so recently that I’ve begun to publicise some of my thoughts on mental health. In fact, exactly a year ago, was the first time I shared a snippet of my life onto social media and I have never felt happier about that decision.  The thought that my experiences can help even 1 person, is something I can treasure for a lifetime. A couple of other hobbies that really help me, are photography and in particular exercising. I got into kickboxing a couple of years ago, and at first it was this random activity we did at school, then I took it up in first year and loved it, I really think it helped  me cope with my anxiety and developing depression. I have been doing it less this year, however, I still manage to get to the gym or play badminton when I can.

3. Empower yo’self people

*cue mini-rant*

Nowadays, there is such a pressure to be perfect. Perfectionism is definitely something I experience, always putting pressure on myself to do everything to the hundredth degree. Especially, as students(/teenagers), we are expected to: have 8 hours sleep a night, go to all of our lectures and seminars, have a solid social life, go to the gym three times a week, eat healthily, be looking for internships for the summer holidays, work incredibly hard, have experience in the field in which we wish to work in the future.

Can we all just take a second to think about this?? This is ridiculous!

There were definitely not these pressures on generations before us. With all these pressures to be perfect and be slim and toned, it is understandable why there has been such a rise in mental health issues, 1 in 4 people have a mental health illness, but does that include those who are not diagnosed? Realistically, it’s 4 in 4 people who experience some sort of difficulty in their life.

*rant over*

Back to the tip, despite all these stupid, ridiculous pressures we have on our life, we need to learn to love ourselves and notice how incredible we all are! Some ways you can do these are stick up motivational quotes all around your room. Here are a couple of my faves:

This last tip is definitely my favourite. Every morning and every evening, as soon as you wake up and before you go to sleep, you should say 3 great things you like about yourself. You’re probably thinking, what on earth? How is that going to help? By picking up those amazing things about yourself, you learn to love yourself. It isn’t easy at the beginning but, you’ll be surprised how easy it is by the 4th or 5th time of doing it.

Remember: You’re stronger than you think,

Lou xo