Really Listening To Yourself

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I’ve had a tough few days. Actually, I think I’ve had a tough few weeks. I’ve been getting up later, wearing less make up and only really leaving the flat to either go for a morning run, or to hunt down some coffee or lunch.

At first, I gave myself a bit of a hard time over my sudden hermit-like-state. But you’re in New York! You need to be making the most of life! But then I remembered why I’m here, and why I needed to be here – to rebuild myself. And a big part of that is really listening to what my mind and body needs right now.

It’s a lesson I learnt a few years ago – when times are a bit tough, always listen to yourself. I don’t mean listening to your own advice (that would be shit because mine sucks), but really getting in-tune with what your body is telling you. Understanding and accepting how you’re feeling and what emotions are flowing through your veins.

For example, when it comes to listening to my body – I know my limits, and I know when and when not to push them. I know I have a dodgy ankle (all thanks to Lady Marmalade – a story for another time). I know that I can run 5k before the pain sets in and I end up waddling home in a limp, regardless of how much I’ve stretched it or wrapped it up. For me, every run is a blessing, given that 14 years ago I was in a wheelchair for 12 months of my life.

But since moving here, I haven’t run. So, when I started back this week I listened to how my body was feeling and instead of pushing for those 5k runs again, I settled for 3 and took it slow.

When it comes to my mind, I have the same mentality. When I’ve had a tough few weeks, I really try to take a step back and look at what I’m feeling. I stay present and accept that what I’m feeling is absolutely fine to feel. It’s just an emotion. Over the years, this way of thinking has allowed me to heal and rebuild.

If my ankle hurts – I simply don’t push it to the point it breaks. If I’m feeling a bit emotionally shit, I don’t force myself to go somewhere or do something I don’t want to go or do. And that’s absolutely fine.

If your mind is telling you it doesn’t want to go exploring today, it’s okay. Don’t be hard on yourself. Instead go for a walk or take a hot bath/shower (hydrotherapy is great for lifting moods) – even when I’m feeling at my lowest, I always try to get up and go out.

The important thing is to be kind to yourself – don’t shut yourself away, just take it easy and listen to what your mind and body is telling you.

 

Zoella for Mind Charity

Zoella as Mind’s Digital Ambassador – Why It Matters

Zoella for Mind Charity

Zoella is Mind’s new digital ambassador.
Credit: Mind.org.uk

At just 24 years old, You Tube Vlogger Zoe Sugg, or Zoella as she’s more commonly known, has achieved a lot. She’s got millions of followers on her social media channels, has launched her own beauty range (Zoella Beauty) at Superdrug and will soon have her debut novel, Girl Online, published. But personally, I feel her latest project is possibly her greatest accolade to date.

Yesterday, Stephen Fry announced on Twitter that Zoella has been revealed as mental health charity Mind’s first ever digital ambassador. In the past, Zoe has been quite open about her struggles with anxiety, regularly writing about it openly on her blog and also uploading videos to her You Tube channel.

Her sudden fame, which she’s no doubt worked incredibly hard to get, has been overwhelming at times for the YouTuber, and she regularly talks to her readers and shares views about this. And they listen, respond and open up back to her. Her video on dealing with panic attacks has been view 2.5 million times. Her anxiety Q&A video on anxiety? 2 million views. And that post I mentioned where she goes into depth about what anxiety is and how you can spot it, has over 700 comments – all from youngsters saying she’s opened their minds and made them realise what’s happening to them. How many 24 year olds do you know have that sort of reach?

As someone who has faced the pains of anxiety and depression before, this is incredible to witness. Why? Because through admiring their role model and watching her open up, these young girls and boys are finding the courage to talk about their own struggles and this whole generation, for whom for them Zoella is one of the biggest stars and icons, are learning that it’s perfectly okay to feel like this. It’s absolutely normal to have worries and anxieties and it’s perfectly fine and okay to talk to someone about them and get the help and support they need. And for this, I applaud her.

The news was announced just a day before Mental Health Awareness Day, which aims to make everyone aware that we each have mental health and we all need to look after it as well as our physical health. In the UK, there are around 850,000 young boys and girls who have been diagnosed with a mental health problem, that’s anything from anxiety to depression.

As part of her new role with Mind, Zoe has launched a new initiative called #DontPanicButton, where she’s encouraging people who are facing anxiety and their family and friend’s to wear a red button to show support and solidarity. She’s also encouraging people to show pictures of themselves wearing their red buttons, to show others that they are not alone. This may seem like something little in in the grand scale of mental health, but the fact Zoe has over 2 million followers on Twitter, means this will become an incredible social media initiative, which has the potential to soar and reach millions of young girls and boys, and that is amazing.

I’ve always been a fan of Zoe, ever since I started blogging in 2011, but to see her use her incredible influence for something as amazing as this, to help raise awareness of something that we are still facing and battling stigmas around, is incredible and I feel a new-found respect and admiration for her. Because when Zoella does something, everyone pays attention.

To get involved with the initiative, make sure you upload a picture of yourself on Twitter wearing your red button, using the hashtag #DontPanicButton. And remember, 1 in 4 of us will suffer with mental health problems at one time in our lives, so you’re definitely, 100% not alone.

If you are struggling with a mental health issue, get in touch with Mind by clicking here. You can ring them on: 0300 123 3393 or text on:86463.