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Toxic Feminity

Before I dive into this blog post, I would just like to saythat I took both inspiration and information from the Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/revolian_activist/ . They discuss women’s rights, BLM, the LGBTQ+ community and so much more. Would definitely advise to give them a follow because holy moly its so insightful!

So just to explain what toxic feminity is, it can also be described as internalised misogyny. We all know what toxic masculinity is, when a male does certain things thatare hateful or problematic towards women well other women can be guilty of this as well. I can say that I have been guilty of it as well as its only something that I’ve realised is wrong in the last few weeks.

Toxic women are the women that body shame other women, bully them on how they act, how they dress, how they speak. This all due to these women feeling as if they are the pinnacle of femininty that is promoted by today’s society. Like I said above that I can admit myself guilty on this as well. I’ve sometimes caught myself saying something about how a particular girl may have dressed a certain day during a non-uniform day in secondary school. And I genuinely didn’t realise what I was doing! Being in an all girls school, I always heard other girls pass comments about someone else’s hair that day or their makeup. But, its all about educating and ettering yourself.

It can also show in the form of being nasty towards men who may be more so on the feminine side if things. This may be men who wear makeup or nail polish, men who may cry or who would be regarded as “sweet”, even men who may not be “manly” (whatever it actually means to be manly). Its toxic women in relationships who think they have the unwarranted right to hit a man bcause “he can’t hit back or who blame the victims of assault, rape or domestic violence as opposed to the ones who committed the act.

In the short of things, toxic behaviour or beliefs have no gender. If you are an inherently nasty or toxic person you need to consider educating and bettering yourself. Every right is reserved to call you out if you are putting anyone down. We as a society as a whole need to take the first step in calling out these individuals and protect those who may have little to no voice when the need to stand up for themselves arise. Please, just be kind. This world is harsh enough. And us women need to build eachother up and protect eachother.

Thanks for reading and as always, please make sure to look after yourselves guys and never hesitate to reach out. There will always be someone there to listen and offer help and guidance. Whether its friends, family, teachers, workmates or a counselling service, you are not alone. And ladies, please never forget your worth or ever let a man or other woman tell you what it is.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Here are links which contain the contact details or mental health and counselling services around Ireland:

https://www.womensaid.ie/about/links.html

https://www.aware.ie/

https://www.pieta.ie/

http://www.good2talk.ie/contact-us/#

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Feel Good Movies and Series

So I wanted to lighten things up a lil bit on the blog for this post. I thought that I would make a list of the movies that I have always found to put me in a really good mood. I gotta warn you guys though, some of these are rom-coms, some are cringey asf and some are honestly just kids movies. BUT, they are great comfort movies. (This information is based off many hours of research)

Dark Shadows (film) - Wikipedia
Dark Shadows is honestly NEXT LEVEL! Its just so funny and campy
Mamma Mia! (film) - Wikipedia
I really couldn’t make a list of comfort movies and not include this classic
Burlesque (American film) - Wikipedia
This is honestly just my fave movie of all time. My go to if I’m having a bad day
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (film) - Wikipedia
Johnny Depp is a top tier Willy Wonka
Twilight (2008 film) - Wikipedia
I honestly watch the entire franchise at least 8 times a year, I LOVE THEM. Also, Team Edward
For the season thats in it, I usually have this watched at least 5 times leading up to Christmas
Spirited Away into the World of No Name | by The Monologist | Medium
Studio Ghibli can do no wrong and this one is hands down my favourite
Modern Family (season 4) - Wikipedia
This show is honestly just so nice even in the background, its just so wholesome
Schitt's Creek (TV Series 2015–2020) - IMDb
Again just super wholesome, also the character arcs are next level. Such an amazing show
The Witcher (TV Series 2019– ) - IMDb
Henry Cavill. Thats it
Friends with Benefits (film) - Wikipedia
I ‘don’t really know why but I love this movie and its always a crowd pleaser
The Vampire Diaries (season 2) - Wikipedia
Favourite show of all time. I could watch it over and over and over and never get bored
Grey's Anatomy (season 17) - Wikipedia
I really am a sucker for strong female leads and in depth romance
Cheaper by the Dozen (2003 film) - Wikipedia
CRIMINALLY UNDERRATED
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Its Not Your Wadi, its My Body

Just a warning, I’m going to start this post off very, very sarcastically. It has well and truly been a stellar few weeks for the sexual wellbeing and safety for young girls and women in Ireland this week. Honestly, as a young woman who attended an all-girls cathlic school that disallowed the wearing of coloured bras under our white shirts, this week was a toughy. For those of you who may not have access to Irish news, there has been two scandals in the last few weeks. Both involving the young women in our country. The most recent story that dropped is from Carlow. All of the girls, ages 12-18, in the Presentation School in Carlow were sat down in their year groups and were told that they cannot take their jumpers off for PE and they are also disallowed to wear tight pants or leggings as it is unladylike and, heres the kicker, WILL DISTRACT THE MALE STAFF IN THE SCHOOL! As a girl whose secondary school disallowed anyone from taking off their jumper if they were wearing any bra that wasn’t white or beige, that was not and is not a fun time. Especially when you knew it wasn’t for ‘your virtue’ but to avoid the perversions of your educators and their wandering eyes.

Another story from the last while, is the Discord server that had over 500 Irish men sharing images and videos of indecent images of underage girls, videos girls being assaulted or raped, images of girls nudes, images of girls getting changed in dressing rooms or in the bathroom, etc. I wanted to let this simmer down a bit before I posted anything regarding this topic as it was heavy for the time and still even weighs on my shoulders a few weeks down the line. The treatment of women in this country at the minute and over the last few years even has been appalling and it always takes something tragic to get the ball rolling in making a change. However, in the last few weeks since both of these incidents, the Guards have announced that they will not carry out any further investigations due to lack of evidence and the Carlow principal, in short, has said every single girl ‘mistook’ what he said and whathe really meant.

The girls whose pictures were shared were lectured and told it was their fault. That they should’nt have been taking those pictures anyways.Its those same people who excuse the actions of a rapist based solely off of what the victim wore, if they were walking alone at night, if they were drunk, if they were in a bad area. What a girl decides to wear or do with her body should in no way, shape or form give you the right to touch, say or do anything to her. Her body is her body alone and no-one elses. Who she decides to share it with is her placing her trust in you and you should ever abuse that trust. The song below is one that I cannot stop listening to and I just find it super empowering.

Thanks for reading and as always, please make sure to look after yourselves guys and never hesitate to reach out. There will always be someone there to listen and offer help and guidance. Whether its friends, family, teachers, workmates or a counselling service, you are not alone. And ladies, please never forget your worth or ever let a man tell you what it is.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Here are links which contain the contact details or mental health and counselling services around Ireland:

https://www.womensaid.ie/about/links.html

https://www.aware.ie/

https://www.pieta.ie/

http://www.good2talk.ie/contact-us/#

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I can openly and without shame say that Christmas is my most favourite time of the year. I love the cold, the lights, the music, the movies, the hot drinks, the smells and I still believe in the magic of Christmas like some part of me still believes in Santa Claus. But I must say that given the circumstances of this year, it doesn’t feel as Christmassy as it should this year. Its just not really even in the air even though it is Christmas next week. In the blog post this evening, I would just like to have a little check in about the importance of minding your mental health and looking after your friends year round but especially this time of year.

For some people, Christmas can be the most difficult time of the year but especially this year with social distancing and restrictions in bars and even on houses can make you feel even more isolated. College students this year are also struggling with everything being online and not being able to see their friends during the Christmas holidays. Its going to be a very weird Christmas indeed this year.

Here are few tips to help yourself and your friends in ensuring your mental health is protected:

  • Try and spend less time on your laptop or phone. Too long on these devices can hurt your eyes and I always feel guilty if I waste the whole day on them
  • Go for a walk. The cold weather is great for freshening you up
  • Get cosy and read a book and listen to some music. Such a great way to clear your head
  • Text and check up on your friends and family and maybe meet them for a coffee if you’re feeling up to it
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you are struggling
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol, smoking an cigarettes and try and avoid any drugs. They may feel good in the moment but you will have a massive slump the day after
  • Treat yourself. Buy some new clothes, have a nice bath with a facemask and candles, watch yiur favourite shows and movies. Carry out your own form of hibernation

I will be posting a few mosr posts before the holidays but please makensure to have a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. Thanks for reading and as always, please make sure to look after yourselves guys and never hesitate to reach out. There will always be someone there to listen and offer help and guidance. Whether its friends, family, teachers, workmates or a counselling service, you are not alone.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Here are links which contain the contact details or mental health and counselling services around Ireland:

https://www.aware.ie/

https://www.pieta.ie/

http://www.good2talk.ie/contact-us/#

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Music Therapy

I have to say that I would be a massive believer in music having some kind of magical thing. I’m not sure about you guys, but one of my favourite things to do is either tink about what song would e the perfect backing track for whatever I’m doing or creating playlists. But the thing is is that those activities either help calm me down or distract me from whatever is weighing on my mind or is used as an outlet for my emotions.

Whatever platform that you may use to listen to music, whether it be Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube or whatever it may be, you are able to curate your own playlists. I have to admit here that I think I have a playlist for just about every mood or scenario that I have ever felt, thought about or imagined. As I have said above, music is a massive outlet for me. Its my go to when I’m sad and need a good song to cry to or when I’m so happy that all I want to do is dance and strum my air guitar. And they great thing is, I’m not alone in seeig the benefits of music in aiding ones’ mental health.

While music therapy may not be the newest form of therapy, its really only gotten popular in the last couple of years. I remember when I was attending counselling, my counseller gave me sme exercises that included the use of music to help quell some of my anxieties. Its a skill that I still use to this day and its actually the one that I mentioned above. If I have found myself in any uncomfortable or just not a nice situation then what I do is run through songs in m head that I think would either fit the situation perfectly or I think of a different situation and think of music for that one. I would highly sugest giving this video a watch, I find the whole conceot so interesting and refreshing.

Thanks for reading and as always, please make sure to look after yourselves guys and never hesitate to reach out. There will always be someone there to listen and offer help and guidance. Whether its friends, family, teachers, workmates or a counselling service, you are not alone.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Here are links which contain the contact details or mental health and counselling services around Ireland:

https://www.aware.ie/

https://www.pieta.ie/

http://www.good2talk.ie/contact-us/#

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Unhealthy Relationships With Your Food

I love food. Like I really and truly love food and I doubt that I am alone in that affection. There are somany different types of cuisines, snacks, meals throughtout the day and an unholy amount of ways to cook a potato and every time the result would be different. I just think that its crazy to think that we can grow produce and rear animals and when you cook certain parts with certain spices and herbs, you have a meal filled with nutrients that then go on to power your mind and body. Its bonkers when you really start to think about it for too long. But I didn’t always think like this.

Years ago, like so many young people my age, I though of food as my worst enemy. Some days, I still think like that but really only on bad days where I’m already moody and I feel bloated. I had this love/hate relationship food. One of those relationships that you would see in a movie or read in a book. I enjoyed food up until the point where it got into my head that it would make me gain weight and look fat and gross. I would go days without eating and I used to feel this sense of accomplishment when my stomach would grumble and a hunger pain would shoot up through my gut. Obviously at the time I didn’t realise that my relationship with food was a very unhealthy one.

When I say that I had an unhealthy relationship with food, I don’t mean that all I ate was crisps and cakes. I mean that when I ate, I didn’t value what I was eating for the nourishment that it was providing me. I never thought that the soup that I was eating was filling me with warmth or my sandwhich was giving me energy to continue the rest of my day. Even when I ate chocolate to help with my period cramps. All I would think was “I’m so going to regret this later, my stomach already looks huge”. And that is NOT how it should be! My body is a temple that needs to be looked after and if I’m having a stupendously bad day the I should be able to eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough without feeling any guilt. And every other day, I will be sure to line this temple with fruits and vegtables of green, red and orange. With protein, carbs and vitamins so that I can continue taking ovre the world.

It wasn’t until I actually discussed this with friends who said that they felt the same way that I realised this is an issue that people my age should not be having or a way we should be feeling. I decided to reach out for help for this and a few other mental health issues that I was experiencing. My counsellor could not have been more amazing. She equipped me with tools for life and she was the person who actually advised that researching these things and watching informational videos of people experiencing the same issues would be a help. I have found it has grounded me a little bit. I found this video incredibly helpful and it really hit home. Definietly worth the watch :

If you are an individual who is struggling with food, whether it be eating too much or eating too little. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. I will link the pages at the end of the post.

Thanks for reading and as always, please make sure to look after yourselves guys and never hesitate to reach out. There will always be someone there to listen and offer help and guidance. Whether its friends, family, teachers, workmates or a counselling service, you are not alone.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Here are links which contain the contact details or mental health and counselling services around Ireland:

https://www.aware.ie/

https://www.pieta.ie/

http://www.good2talk.ie/contact-us/#

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Sleep and Succeed

Sleep is bread and butter for a college student but sometimes it feels more like a luxury than a necessity. Between geeting up early to attend classes, staying up late to keep on top of assignments, fiiting in a meal or two and maybe some form of physical activity and socialising; sleep is usually the last thing on a student’s mind. You would sometimes forget that sleep is an actual thing that as a human species we need to survive and remain coherent and sane. I did some research as to what exactly we need sleep for and also how it can be used to your own advantage of becoming successful in whatever field of work you choose.

First off, sleep is vital for the body and the mind to function normally. You need sleep, quite obviously, for energy and to stay awake and it also helps strengthen your immune system to fight off illness. As a student, its important as it helps strengthen concentration and the retaining of memories and information. I don’t know about any of you guys but if I’m late the night before an exam or an assessment I find it so much harder to actually put pen to paper and input factual information. Getting a good nights sleep is also great for improving your mood. In saying that, its important to find a happy medium between getting too much and too little. Getting too much sleep will make you feel more tired and drowsy in a way but you won’t be able to sleep when you really need it. Its important for students to be getting anywhere between 7-9 hours of sleep a night to make all functions run smoothly. I would also say that in my own experience, going to sleep before the 12am mark is also supposed to help you feel more rested.

Some tips for getting a good nights sleep would be the usual run of the mill stuff but it does help. Turn off or avoid any devices for at least an hour before going to sleep as the blue light emitted from them can reduce your sleep quality. Avoid caffeine or alcohol at least two hours before going to sleep. Try and make your bed when you wake up or at some point in the day so that your bed feels welcoming and comfortable when its time to sleep. Drink some chamomile tea or maybe try melatonin if you find yourself struggling to go to sleep and maybe have a look at investing in some lavender oil which I have to say is incredible for both falling asleep and improving your sleep quality.

If you ever wanted to see what the effects of not sleeping would be, watch this video which will go through the stages day by day of what no sleep will do. The longest period of no sleep was 264 hours or 11 consecutive days.

Thanks for reading and as always, please make sure to look after yourselves guys and never hesitate to reach out. There will always be someone there to listen and offer help and guidance. Whether its friends, family, teachers, workmates or a counselling service, you are not alone.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

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Burnout is a Bummer

I think that every college student, secondary school student, parent, full-time employee, pretty much anyone who is studying or working or both has, at some stage, experienced burnout. For those of you lucky sould who have not yet experienced burnout, it can be compared to a candle thats been burning and hasn’t been put out. Its when you overwork yourself to the point that you are exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. It is not a fun time and it can be quite a stressful experience of those who have piles more of work to get through. In this post, I’m going to have a quick chat about how to spot the signs of burnout and some ways that you can prevent it from just latching onto you.

According to the ‘This is Calmer’ ( https://www.thisiscalmer.com/blog/5-stages-of-burnout ) blog, 60% of the UK’s entrepenuers, business owners and freelancers have or currently are experiencing symptoms of burnout. One of the first and most obvious signs that you are experiencing burnout is just straight up exhaustion and lack of motivation to do any work whether it be for college or even just a hobby. You may find yourself feeling ill and sickly and cutting yourself off from loved ones. You could be sleeping too much or not at all. If you feel that you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please don’t hesistate to consult a doctor as burnout is caused by stress. These symptoms can also be compared to the likes of depression so please look after yourself and your mental health.

As burnout can have major and lasting effects on one’s mental health, its important to spot the signs to help get you back feeling all good again. Firstly, its important to speak to someone about it. Now this could be a close friend or a family member but if you feel that the burnout is affecting your college or work then it also needs to be discussed with your lecturers or your manager. They will be able to offer some help and guidance and its good for them to know these things. If you feel as if you need a break from work or college, it also wouldn’t be a bad idea to consult a doctor and possibly get a certificate to give yourself some time to properly look after yourself and wind down.

When burnout does happen, it can be hard to get yourself motivated and back to working at a steady pace. To avoid burnout from happening, ensure that you are pacing yourself with college work. Try and avoid leaving everything to be done last minute as the stress of it when the time comes can be a lot of pressure. Have a look into getting a day planner or an academic calender to help plan your days and jot down dates that you have things due on. When it comes to actual work, try not to take on too much. If you are in college and work part time, don’t take on unnecessary shifts or offer to cover if you feel tired or rundown. Don’t be afraid to say no if its for your own self care. And as mentioned above, don’t be afraid to have a chat with your manager or HR department if you feel the need to.

I’ve shared one or two of Nathaniel Drew’s videos before. He is brilliant at discussing and tackling mental health topics. If you would like to have a look at his channel, here is the link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrdWRLq10OHuy7HmSckV3Vg. Thanks for reading and as always, please make sure to look after yourselves guys and never hesitate to reach out. There will always be someone there to listen and offer help and guidance. Whether its friends, family, teachers, workmates or a counselling service, you are not alone.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Here are links which contain the contact details or mental health and counselling services around Ireland:

https://www.aware.ie/

https://www.pieta.ie/

http://www.good2talk.ie/contact-us/#

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5 Bodi Posi Activities

One of the best things about social media and growing up during this day in age is the representation of all body types, skin colours, abled and disabled bodies, the list could go on. I hate sounding like a 60 year old women when I say that social media when I was growing up wasn’t as positive but its true. When I was 13 and attending an all girls secondary school, I would come home from school and log on to Instagram or Tumblr and all I would see would these gorgeous girls but none of them had my body shape or type. They were stick thin. In hindsight, a lot of social media at that time almost idolised the likes of eating disorders but thats a topic for another day. Nowadays however, you can see body representation almost everywhere. Of course, there is still a few issues with full representation for some minorities in the likes of film and TV and also a few slip ups where some companies didn’t understand the actual meaning of “plus-size” (Calvin Klein example down below) but we’re getting there. In todays post, I’m going to go through a few activities that I taught myself and learned from other girls that helped them love being in their own skin.

Myla Dalbesio for Calvin Klein

Spoil Yourself

When I say spoil yourself, I really mean it. I’m talking about bubble baths, face masks, fresh bed sheets, a glass of wine, your favourite chocolate or sweets and some rom-coms (or whatever your movie of choice is). Show your body and mind the love it deserves and spoil them rotten.

Wear Clothes that YOU Feel Comfortable In

I think that this one is pretty self explanatory. Don’t be afraid to wear what you want to wear. At the end of the day, its your body. Think of it like your bedroom walls where you have all of your favourite posters, maybe some vinyls on the wall and a plant on a shelf. You decorate it in a way that’s comforting for you. Do the same with your body.

Strike a Pose

Although this may sound a bit odd in theory, its quite a popular form of self love that I know many people have used, including myself. Look at yourself in the mirror and I mean really look, whether naked or fully clothed and just compliment it. Start with parts that you like, maybe your eyes or your hair and then the more you do it speak positive affirmations about the parts that you may not like as much. This could be your arms or your tummy.

Eat What Your Body Needs

This is something that stumped me for a long time and still does from time to time. Being a plus sized girl growing up in a world where being skinnier would be ideal, I would put myself on multiple diets so far as going on meal replacement shakes and teas but it only ever made me tired. Of course, ensure you are eating a balanced diet where you are getting your carbs, fats, proteins and water. But what I mean by that statement is to eat what you feel you need whether thats a salad or sharer packet of Chilli Heatwave Doritos. But heres the kicker, DO NOT FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT. Think of it as fueling your body with what you need in order for it to run at its optimum capacity.

Movement

Our bodies have been made for movement. We have legs to walk and run, arms to hug, hands and fingers to touch. As a species, we have had millions of dance parties, billions of miles have been walked and thrillions of hugs had. Move in a way that makes your body happy. Whether thats dancing alone in your room to One Direction, going for a run with your dog on the beach or just asking for a really long hug from a loved one.

All of these activities that I have listed are just a a tiny sum of all the activities there actually are. But to sum them all up, its the activities that make you feel happy. That bring happy tears to your eyes, make your ears ring with excitment and make your skin prickle out of sheer joy. If you do struggle to find something to do to help with any negative feelings towards your body, Google is your best friend. I would also suggest searching for body positivity influencers on Instagram. I have some of them named in my No Time For Toxic Timelines blog post.

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Lockdown 2.0

For those of you who follow my blog and who are not living in Ireland, you may not know that the whole country has gone into a nationwide lockdown… AGAIN! As of midnight on Wednesday the 22nd of October, we are in level 5 for the next 6 weeks until December 1st. A multitude of restrictions have been put in place, the summary of which advise that you cannot leave the 5km radius surrounding your house unless for essential reasons, work from home where possible, third level online education where possible BUT primary and secondary schools may remain open. This was a topic that I wanted to avoid but this is what I feel needs to be said in order for us to overcome this as a community.

The last thing that I want to discuss on here is the virus and its effects on the economy and impending lockdowns. I know that we see enough of it on the news and social media but I would just like to discuss it once as a hot topic since the virus began is its effects on one’s mental health. During the first lockdown my anxiety levels were at an all time high. I felt lonely, I wasn’t properly looking after myself and I felt like I was stuck in this endless cycle. Even with technology and social media, you can still feel lonely. Its not the same as proper human interaction.

Now that we have slipped back into another lockdown with harsher restrictions, especially over the winter period which can be a tough enough time for some people as it is, looking after yourself and your nearest and dearest should be your main priority. As always, I will put contact details for menatl health services at the end of the post. These services to my own knowledge are to remain open as essential services and can be contacted around the clock.

I think the largest and most important difference between this lockdown and the one that we had previously is that we now know what to expect. We know what we should and should’nt be doing. This time around, some of us also have somewhat of a distraction whether it be work, school or college which I do find to be quite helpful as it works as a distraction. Even if I am missing the college life, I still get to talk to my friends most days and participate in my lectures. When the lockdown was announced, while I knew my classes wouldn’t be affected, I couldn’t help my feel the same kind of anxiety and panic that I felt before. And I’m sure I’m not alone.

I would just like to ask all of you who are reading this post, whether you are in Ireland or not, I would ask that on behalf of everyone who would like the restrictions eased sooner rather than later and work towards getting back to the normal before all of this was normal that you just follow and adhere to government guidelines. Please, wash your hands, keep your distance, wear your mask when going out in public and self isolate if you believe that you are showing symptoms. And finally, please avoid having house parties or large gatherings. I know how difficult things can be when you can’t see your friends, especially at this time of year. But in order to get over this, we need to work together.

Thanks for reading and as always, please make sure to look after yourselves guys and never hesitate to reach out. There will always be someone there to listen and offer help and guidance. Whether its friends, family, teachers, workmates or a counselling service, you are not alone.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Here are links which contain the contact details or mental health and counselling services around Ireland:

https://www2.hse.ie/services/mental-health-supports-and-services-during-coronavirus/

http://www.good2talk.ie/contact-us/#

https://www.pieta.ie/

https://www.aware.ie/

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Mental Health Within the Education System

Okay, I don’t know about you guys but in my all girl Catholic school we didn’t really touch base too often on the importance of mental health and body image. I vaguely remember the odd SPHE (social, personal and health education) where we would have a quick chat about eating disorders being more prevalent in teenage girls and the odd positive quote being plastered on the walls of the hallway during ‘Mental Health Week’ but that was it. As I have mentioned before, discussions about mental health and all of its facets should no longer be a taboo topic!

Secondary school is a time where everyone’s body, girls, boys and non-binary folks, go through immense changes within their physical, emotional and mental self. Its a time in your life where guidance and assurance should be given that if you are having issues and that you can openly talk about it or ask for help. Especially in the age of social media where everything is all perfect bodies, perfect faces, perfect lives, kids and teenagers need to be made aware that life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows and that that is perfectly okay. While not everyone has a mental illness, it doesn’t mean they are not suffering with their mental health.

My own experience in secondary school wasn’t the most positive. I’m a plus sized girl with red hair and was quite awkward up until the age 17/18. I can remember so vividly feeling so umcomfortable in my own skin that I would wish most days that I could just rip it off. And as some kids, I was bullied throughout primary school and mildly in my later years. I used to feel so down all of the time. I used to walk around the school with my hood up and my earphones in and I felt like a freak if I’m being honest. It wasn’t until I said it to my mum that I didn’t feel right and went to a counseller that what I was feeling wasn’t something that I should be ashamed of. My counsellor taught me that people have a broad spectrum of emotions and feelings and depending on the hormones and signals within their brains, they process things differently. At that point in my life I really only knew of bulimia and anorexia nervosa from it briefly being touched on in class. I didn’t know that some people can have really high highs and really low lows or the effect of drinking on your mental health or that some people take medication to help with any hormonal imbalances. I was clueless and I wasn’t the only one.

I won’t lie, I do believe that some of the things that we are taught in secondary school is no use to us now. Of course, unless you are going into a specific field of study but I can happily say that I would have preferred to learn how to drive or how to actually deal with any mental health issues instead of learning about how a river is formed. Mental health education is so much more important. While I do know that my own school, or for the most part the schools in my county, didn’t have a focus on mental health education and still don’t; I do see it becoming a proper module in the future. In the mean time, please continue to reach out for help without the fear of being looked down on by your peers and please continue to educate yourself on these matters. Don’t be afraid to call in sick to work or take a day off of school if you really feel its what your mind needs. I will link another video below by Ted, who host great discussions and talks pretty much about all subjects. The one that I will link in particular will be focused on mental health within schools and why you may need to take a break. Its well worth the watch.

Thanks for reading and as always, please make sure to look after yourselves guys and never hesitate to reach out. There will always be someone there to listen and offer help and guidance. Whether its friends, family, teachers, workmates or a counselling service, you are not alone.

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Housekeeping: The College Girl’s Guide to Decluttering your Head

When it comes to school, family, work, friends, life in general, you may find your head starts to get full and your skull feel heavy as a result. You may have trouble eating or sleeping and when you add the usual stress on top of due dates or any anxieties you may have then you may find yourself struggling to keep your head above water. We’ve all been there in one way or another which is why I would like to say firstly that as alone you may feel, there is always someone there who will help you through the mud. In todays blog post, I’m going to go through a few methods that I found helpful in decluttering my mind. Please feel free to share how you clear your head in the comments.

I know how it feels when you’re having an off day after a busy week filled with college work, working long shifts at your place of work, spending time with family and then on top of that, trying to make time for yourself whether going for a walk or taking a shower. Weeks like those can leave you breathless in a way. When I feel these things begin to overwhelm me, I meditate. As trivial and cliche as it sounds, I have found it to work wonders. I usually do it before bed or if a day is particularly stressful I try and make 15-20 minutes in the middle of my day even if during my break and I just block out the world for that selected time. If you find meditation isn’t working out for you, I would just advise to try breathing exercises while listening to some chill or even your favourite kind of music.

I found this video a month ago when I was struggling with my own self worth due to some toxic relationships that I was wasting my time, effort and emotions with. Well worth the watch.

While meditating is a great way to help sort out or declutter your thoughts, it can only do so much of you are holding on to anything that is impacting you in a toxic or negative way. This includes friendships and relationships with certain individuals. There is a saying that goes “you become like the 5 people that you spend the most time with“. I have never seen a statement so true! Its something that you see everyday, in movies, in books and in real life. Cliques and friendship groups are all formed of individuals with similar likes, dislikes and interests. I am in no way saying that having close friends in that way is a bad thing but it is when you always find yourself a ball of nerves and anxiety when you think about talking to or meeting up with these people. If you feel as if you are not being properly appreciated as a a friend or you are second guessing yourself and your abilities or if you are the butt of every joke; you need to cut them off. As discussed in my last blog post, Self Care Sis, self care sometimes needs to be gritty and difficult in order to better yourself. This is one of those things. Cutting off friends, no matter how toxic, can be difficult but it allows you to make room in your life for people who will truly care for you.

As soon as I made the decision to remove toxic individuals from life, I found my own self worth and self love being to expand. However, there was still a few things that played on my mind that couldnt be helped with meditation or with the removal of negative energies. I knew I needed to talk about how I was feeling but the last thing that I wanted to do was burden my friends of family, as much as they wanted to help. I just disliked the way that if I were to speak to my family about it that it would be brought up when all I wanted to do was get things off my chest. Kinda like locking them in a box, in a room with a padlock and then throwing away the key. I know that this is how a lot of people prefer to talk about their problems so I decided to look into counselling services in my area and online as well as when I started college. Counselling gave me the freedom to just leave my problems and my worries in that one room without the fear of it being brought up or it being left on the shoulder’s of my friends and family. As always, I will provide links to the contact details of mental health services at the end of the post.

I hope you guys found this post helpful. Again, please feel free to share your thoughts or any advice you may have in the comments. Please make sure to look after yourselves guys and never hesitate to reach out. There will always be someone there to listen and offer help and guidance. Whether its friends, family, teachers, workmates or a counselling service, you are not alone.

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Here are links which contain the contact details or mental health and counselling services around Ireland:

http://www.good2talk.ie/contact-us/#

https://www.pieta.ie/

https://www.aware.ie/

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Self Care Sis

When it generally comes to looking after yourself, eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, etc while in college or working (or like in most student’s cases, both) it can be hard to make the time. When you bring college deadlines, external stress factors, any mental health issues or checkups that you may have and even just making sure you are getting enough sleep and food, it makes things seem like a much larger uphill battle. In my post today, I am going to have a chat about different time management techniques and self care methods to help calm anxieties and stressors which may be impacting on your mental health.

First and foremost, I would just like to say that some of the methods that I will be discussing today are just the basics to help you feel more relaxed and to help you come up for air. Self care as a whole is not always face masks and bubble baths. Sometimes its reaching out for help, researching healthy outlets for your emotions or even just shutting out the world for a day to let your brain have some peace and quiet and for you to release any pent up emotions that were let sit in the back of your mind for too long. For the most part, as I am no way, shape or form a licensed counsellor or therapist, I will be moreso touching on the bubble baths side of things. If you do feel like you need to talk to someone, I will link contact details at the bottom of todays post. I would also suggest to everyone reading this post to have a look at this video on re-training your mind on the meaning of self care and what self care actually is for different individuals.

As I have said in the previous paragraph, self care could have an entirely different meaning to you as what it might mean to someone else. For example, for me self care is writing my thoughts down, having a hot shower, getting into new PJs and straight into a made bed with fresh sheets. For my friend, its talking with her counsellor, bringing her dogs for a walk and then turning her phone off so that she can read a book in some peace. While our self care methods may be different, the things we do to help us wind down after a busy day or week are quite similar. When a day has been particularly stressful, we both enjoy painting our nails, doing face masks and listen to Fleetwood Mac as trivial as it sounds. While self care is important, having the different outlets to help you wind down and relax after a rather difficult day are just as important.

However, since the Covid outbreak it feels as if everything has the stress factor turned up to 100. For some people, their outlets were meeting up with friends or going out for a coffee. But now, we need to restrict our movements as much as possible in order to protect eachother. So what I have started doing the last few months, and this is something that I’ve really found has helped me, is I have started making self care check-ins and checklists to make sure I am properly looking after myself during times like these. I have also found some online counselling resources which have been a big help as a few services have now also moved online (I will also link them below). I use the check-ins once a week for some activities and every day for others. For example, the phone detox, catching up with friends and pamper seshes are something that I try and do at least once a week. While eating my three meals a day, listening to good music and exercising are something that I try and do every day. I would also suggest having a read of my previous post ‘No Time For Toxic Timelines’ which discusses the negative effects of too much or the wrong kind of social media can have on your mental health and how you can cater the pages you follow to benefit your mental health.

Here are links which contain teh contact details or mental health and counselling services around Ireland:

http://www.good2talk.ie/contact-us/#

https://www.pieta.ie/

https://www.aware.ie/

Please make sure to look after yourselves guys and never hesitate to reach out. There will always be someone there to listen and offer help and guidance. Whether its friends, family, teachers, workmates or a counselling service, you are not alone.

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No Time for Toxic Timelines

In a world like ours, where things are always changing and technology is like another limb on the body, social media seems like it will be the one thing that will stay constant. While it has been preached how terrible social media can be for one’s mental health and own body image, it isn’t something that will be going away anytime soon. With that being said, it is important to fill your Facebook and Instagram pages to suit not only your preferances but also full of positive messages and images.

https://carmanyhlam.wordpress.com/category/mindfulness/
marie kondo, sparking joy

If it is the case that all you see on your Instagram feed, TikTok for you page or YouTube recommended videos is idealistic body types, fad diets and weightloss culture, I am here to help. First and foremost, you need to ask yourself on every picture or video that pops up , in the wise words of Marie Kondo “Does this spark joy?” If the answer is no, that is when you start unfollowing and blocking the pages or online creators that cause any kind of negative thought or perception of yourself.

No matter the size or appearance of your body, face, arms, the colour of your hair, whether or not you have freckles; not a single soul has the right to dictate how you should feel in your own skin. As someone who was once very self conscience and still has their off days, I know full well its so much easier said than done when it comes to loving yourself. The first thing that I did was watch videos that included my favourite creators or celebrities discussing their own insecurities which I felt helped me in realizing that these thoughts that I was having about myself was being fueled by the media and tabloids from a young age. When I stumbled across this page, my mind was blown! I would suggest having a look at the video itself as well as the page that posted it:

When I began understanding how my body and mind actually works, I decided to do more research and to take control of what was being fed to my mind by my social media feed. I do have to say that when I started looking through the body positivity hashtag on Instagram, I was shocked to discover that stretch marks, cellulite, the little pooch at the bottom of a woman’s stomach was all completely normal! I immediately began following all of these beautiful men and women of different sizes, ethnicities, abilities and my world was changed. I then tediously went through my following lists and removed any pages which created any negative feelings within my gut or head. The moment I changed my Instagram searches from #bodygoals to #bodypositive, I slowly started to feel the comfortable skin that I was covered from head to toe in. There are people who have this confidence that is infectious. I couldn’t help but get sucked in.

At the end of this post, I will post links to pages that provide support and guidance to any of you who may be struggling with body image or mental health issues and I will also provide links to Instagram pages that contain and endless supply of positivity. Thank you for reading, I will be posting again very soon

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This link contains the names and contact details of Irish organisations that you can reach out to if you are in any way struggling with your mental health:

https://www.joe.ie/life-style/7-irish-charity-organisations-that-can-help-you-if-you-are-suffering-from-mental-health-problems-542173

Here are the links of Instagram pages that discuss body image and positivity:

https://www.instagram.com/bodyposipanda/

https://www.instagram.com/i_weigh/

https://www.instagram.com/jameelajamilofficial/

https://www.instagram.com/hi.ur.beautiful/