What is Mindful Eating?

I only heard the term ‘Mindful Eating’ last week, and I was interested in seeing what that actually meant. I’ve been practicing the Buddhist idea of Mindfulness in one way or another for around 10 years, and it makes a lot of sense to me.

If you’re not familiar with the term, it all boils down to being present, getting rid of all the peripheral thought that makes our minds fuzzy, and really listening to yourself.

My relationship with food is fairly good. As a child we didn’t buy junk food, home cooked meals were most nights, and on the odd occasion we had frozen pizza or ready meals (it was the 80s!) as we’d just got a microwave. I was allergic to artificial food colouring, and most sweets had those in, so I didn’t eat them and I’ve never liked fizzy drinks. We also believed I was allergic to chocolate, though it’s very possible that this was just early lactose intolerance symptoms. We didn’t have chocolate bars, and I remember eating a Club biscuit, finding it had no biscuit in it, and feeling really naughty that I was eating what was essentially a chocolate bar….. I didn’t tell my Mum (hehe)

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Over the years my habits have been on the healthy and then on the not so healthy side. Portion sizes grew and then diminished. Once I’d started running, my relationship with food changed. I wanted to eat food that was good fuel for the type of exercise I was doing, portion sizes were relative to the amount of energy I needed, and I was drinking a heck load of water to hydrate. I felt my body benefitting from these changes and learned what it needed and responded to.

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So, when I began looking up what Mindful Eating was, I realised that’s what I’d been doing without even knowing it.

According to Mindful.org, Mindful Eating is:

Mindful Eating is:

  • Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom.
  • Using all your senses in choosing to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body.
  • Acknowledging responses to food (likes, dislikes, or neutral) without judgment.
  • Becoming aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions to begin and end eating.

Someone Who Eats Mindfully:

  • Acknowledges that there is no right or wrong way to eat but varying degrees of awareness surrounding the experience of food.
  • Accepts that their eating experiences are unique.
  • Is an individual who by choice, directs their attention to eating on a moment-by-moment basis.
  • Gains awareness of how they can make choices that support health and well-being.
  • Becomes aware of the interconnection of earth, living beings, and cultural practices, and the impact of their food choices on those systems.

This made a lot of sense, and worked alongside what I have been doing for a while. But it was great to see it written down in this way. It’s not about stopping yourself from eating what you consider to be ‘bad foods’. It’s not about feeling guilty if you have one donut in a month. It’s about listening to your body, understanding what makes your body feel good, and making choices that are right for you.

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I’m glad to see this is something people are following and learning from. I feel like Mindful Eating is just good sense, but so often I see people not listening to their bodies, feeding themselves junk food every day that their bodies simply can’t use for nourishment, or eating far too much food in one day based on the amount of exercise they’re doing.

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I’m not judging those people – everyone’s individual relationship with food is so so personal. It can be a source of comfort, anxiety and some people don’t get any joy from food at all. But I think Mindful Eating is an accessible and simple place to start. There’s no fad dieting, no restrictions and no health dangers. To me, it’s just good sense.

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Visiting The Allergy & Free-From Show

Every year The Allergy & Free From Show exhibit at the London Olympia in Kensington. I’d been once before a couple of years back, but thought I’d give it another go this year! Tickets are free and as well as the  Allergy and Free From show, you also get access to the Just V Show (vegetarian and vegan) and Love Natural Love You (natural lifestyle and skincare) areas.

Once we got into the show we picked up our lanyards. This year the show organisers have arranged it so everyone who has bought a ticket gets a lanyard with a barcode and their name on it. Then if you’re interested in finding out more about a brand at any booth, they just scan your barcode and the show organisers will pass on your details to them. I’m sure this is a GDPR move, but it seemed very simple and effective!

The first booth I noticed was Haymax. I worked with them a little while ago, letting you all know about their fantastic natural hay fever remedies! It was great to see them there.

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By the time we had arrived, we were both pretty hungry so my focus was on finding something dairy-free to eat.

We tried a few samples on our way through the booths.

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At Portabello Attic I tried I sample of their vegan Nutty Nutella cheesecake. It was really amazing. Gooey and buttery tasting, but lovely knowing it was totally vegan.

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Then we spotted The White Rabbit Pizza Co who offered some vegan options. I love vegan pizza because the ingredients are usually more exciting than with standard pizza.

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Gary tried this pizza which is due to come out soon, and is on a brand new base style. He said it was amazing!

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I tried this vegan option and it was truly delicious. So flavourful and really yummy!

I have already looked and you can buy this brand in my local Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. I’ll be heading there soon to pick one up!

By this point I knew I needed something proper to eat, rather than samples. The only issue with this show, is that unless you want to fill up on samples (which won’t be suitable for every dietary need) or buy something from the standard permanent and over-priced cafes that line the Olympia (which don’t offer anything dairy free) then you’re pretty much stumped for food. There was a lovely looking vegetarian stand with salads and quiche but nothing suitable for me. But then we stumbled over Mahi Vegan Street Food.

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I decided to go for the Mac N’Dawg and Gary got the V-Dawg, both seitan hotdogs with toppings. Gary’s had crispy onions, chopped pickles, mustard and ketchup. Mine had mac n’cheese, chives, crispy onions and ketchup (it was meant to have sriracha but I’m a wuss!) The staff were so nice, and really efficient.

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Neither of us had has seitan before, but we both thoroughly enjoyed our hotdogs. So, So tasty and just what I needed!

But of course after you’ve had your hotdog, you need ice cream right? So off I trotted to Booja-Booja, a brand I’ve known for years but only recently tried their ice creams. The staff were so lovely, and served their deserts from a cute converted Tuk Tuk!

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I went for a scoop of caramel pecan praline, and it was divine!

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Despite it being a warm and busy show, I really enjoyed seeing what was on offer this time around. It’s so good seeing so much being offered generally for people with allergies, intolerances and alternative dietary choices.

Anyway, now I’m off to dream about that hotdog…..

HayFever Tips and Tricks: Treating HeyFever Naturally with HayMax

I’ve mentioned previously that I suffer tremendously with HayFever. My season is typically mid March to end of September, meaning I’m probably allergic to all the different pollen and spore types that are flung into the air during these periods.

You can download various apps to track your symptoms, which also tell you what kind of pollen is about at that time, and as a result can give you more of an insight into which allergens you’re sensitive to.

There are loads of things you can do to help reduce your HayFever symptoms

  • Wash your bedding frequently, especially if your windows are open during high pollen periods.
  • Avoid exposure during peak pollen times of the day
  • Wear wrap-around sunglasses
  • Cover bedding and furniture during the day
  • Wash your face, hair and hands after being outside

Over the years I’ve been through all the different medications for HayFever. I’ve tried all the antihistamines to the point where there’s now only one that continues to work for me without side effects. What I’ve found works for me currently is an antihistamine each day, supplemented with nose spray and eye drops throughout the day. But still, I find once I’m up to my maximum dosage, I’m still suffering.

I also find I’m stuffy when I wake in the morning and if I’m honest I feel like I suffer from allergies throughout the winter too. But who wants to be dosed up all year around?

Enter HayMax. I was asked whether I wanted to try a few of HayMax’s allergy barrier balms. I’d seen them around but never tried them, so I said yes!

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They sent me a whole range of their products. Their award-winning balms are organic, drug free and depending on which one you pick up, contain natural oils.

Since they’re drug-free they can be used instead of or to supplement any other allergy meds you’re taking. Perfect for me when I’m up to dosage. It also means they’re suitable for kids and pregnant or breast-feeding women. You also get no side effects from the balms, so you don’t have to worry about getting drowsy – ideal when you’re driving or taking exams.

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To use HayMax you apply a little of the product around your nostrils and/or your orbital bones first thing in the morning, or whenever you need it, and can re-apply throughout the day. The balm traps allergens before they get into your body so you don’t get itchy or sneezy. Perfect!

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Let’s look at the range.

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Their Pure balm contains organic sunflower oil and beeswax. With no added fragrance or essential oils, this one is perfect for people who are sensitive to smells or have sensitive skin.

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HayMax Kids, which is new to the range, is suitable for children from birth, and is basically the same as the Pure product but the packaging is a little more kid friendly – so your child is more likely to entertain you applying it to their face! Every little helps!

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HayMax Lavender contains organic lavender essential oil. It’s calming properties make it fab for applying just before bedtime (I’ll come back to this in a moment) but it also claims to be helpful for people who snore and acts as an insect repellent.

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HayMax Frankincense contains organic frankincense essential oil, and is helpful for anxiety, coughing and asthma, which means it’s great for those whose asthma peaks at high pollen times.

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HayMax Aloe Vera contains organic aloe vera leaf juice powder and is soothing to the skin – so if you’ve been rubbing and blowing your nose a lot this could be your saviour!

Each of the pots contains 5ml of product and a little goes a LONG way. The pots are plastic and light meaning they’re easy to pop into your bag and use when needed.

I mentioned the lavender balm was great before bed. I’ve found when I apply it this way, I wake up less stuffy in the morning. In the warmer months I sleep with my windows open, and even though I change my sheets regularly, the mix of pollen and dust mites (urgh) which no doubt lurk on my bed sheets can do nothing but add to my congestion. The calming lavender scent and soothing balm is lovely to apply and I do feel like it’s making a difference.

I’ve been using the Pure balm on a daily basis when my HayFever is really bad and my medication isn’t cutting it. I apply it to the outside of my nostrils and also applied it before doing essential work in the garden and it helped reduce the after effects I always experience.

I’m pleased to have these little balms in my tool kit – they’re a saviour when I’m at my maximum dosage and really add a little bit of comfort depending on the scent I pick on that day.

If you’re suffering from HayFever and want to go down the natural route, or you’re needing something to supplement your current HayFever tool kit, look no further.

You can pick up HayMax at pharmacies such as Boots and health stores like Holland and Barrett for around £7 per balm.

HayMax sent me these samples for review, free of charge, in return for an honest review which I have provided. 

What Striving to be More Tolerant has Taught Me

One of my new year’s resolutions last year was to fix something that had started bothering me about myself.

I’ve never been a particularly tolerant person, and I used to justify it as me just standing up for myself. But over the last few years I had started to feel petty, bitter and nasty. It was making me feel unhappy about myself, and I realised I was becoming a not very nice person.

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I would see friends, calm and collected, non-judgemental and supportive and wonder how I could be like that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a beast. I’m supportive but I could see a side of me I didn’t like. I would jump to assumptions about people, gossip and scoff at things I didn’t understand or were different from me. I wouldn’t listen and I wouldn’t learn.

So I made a conscious effort to change my behaviour. Instead of immediately jumping to an assumption about someone, I thought about things from their side. Before I scoffed at a trait or behaviour, I found out a little bit more about it.

It’s made me feel calmer and happier about myself. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a way to go, and I could never claim to be a saint. I have times where I snap back to old behaviours, when I’m tired or stressed or caught up in the moment. But those will change with time, I hope.

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I hate it when someone belittles me for something I’m passionate about, or tries to make a scene about something they don’t understand (even if they think they do) so why would I do the same? And when someone does behave like that towards me, I can now sit and reason it with myself, deal with the bad feelings it’s given me and move on. I don’t retaliate, or have that burning feeling that I have to defend myself for too long. And afterwards I can remind myself I’m a good person, and getting better every day.

It all boils down to the golden rule, do as you would be done by.

I’m pleased I took a step back and thought about what I didn’t like about myself and made a change. I hope I stay on this journey as long as it takes to become a better me!

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The Kryptonite to Creative Evolution

Flicking through my Facebook feed recently a video came up. It was the commencement address made by the actress Octavia Spencer at Ohio’s Kent State University earlier this year, and whilst I’m not too familiar with her work, her words spoke to me.

One point she made, as a young female person of colour , was that if when she’d been an up and coming actress she’d taken notice of the ‘lists’ – you know 25 actresses who made it by 25, or 30 richest lists – she would have stayed in bed, and not become as successful as she is. She referred to the ‘trap of comparison’ and told the graduates not to get caught in it, because they would continue to evolve in ways people had never thought of yet.

And this is what really struck me: comparison is the Kryptonite to creative evolution. And I’m not just talking blogging because it hits home to me, or in this situation acting, I’m talking all creative walks of life.

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Imagine the world if we’d had no David Bowie, for example. He came from the same places we did, but the creativity he brought to his field were totally unique – if he’d compared himself to his peers, and allowed that to bog him down, we would have never ended up with the Bowie we loved.

Think of any outstanding creative in any creative field and you can say the same. The ones who are most revered are usually the most unique. And let’s talk diversity – you don’t have to think back that long ago, and in some cases it’s still the same today, where these lists I mentioned earlier wouldn’t mention a single person of colour, or certain race or even feature a woman.

And I’m not trying to make this about diversity – I’m trying to make this about you. Just you sitting there. We all sit and compare ourselves. We flick through social media, and read gossip magazines online. We look at the success of those around us in our field and think “Well, if they’ve been successful and I haven’t, I need to be more like them” But then we end up with a world of clones. How boring.

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It’s the harder route, to be yourself and graft until you’re successful. And not everyone will make it to the ‘big time’ in their field. But if you readjust what success means to you – it’s not all about being top of the pile, the most famous or having the most money – then you might just find, with that mindset, you might rise higher than you’d thought.

Towards the end of Octavia’s speech, the underlined message she conveyed was

“The journey you take now, will be lead by you alone.” 

It’s a scary and powerful concept, but it’s true. Only you can carve out your path for the future, and only you are going to take it. So why would you want to carve out a path someone else has taken or is meant for a different person. Your path will have failures and disappointments, but that’s all part of learning. Because of this, you don’t backtrack on this path, you simply learn and move on.

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Life isn’t simple or easy – it’s hard graft, but if you really do work hard at it, you can earn your best life possible.

When Fear of Missing Out, Turns to Burn Out

It’s safe to say I’m on the older end of the age spectrum compared with most of the bloggers I come across. I’m still shocked when I hear bloggers I follow talk about taking their GCSEs.

I guess it’s only a shock because way back when I was doing my exams, it was really really geeky to own a computer, let alone admit that you used the internet.

These days everyone appears to have a background in marketing. Kids know how to brand themselves from 16, so as soon as they’re allowed an instagram account, they’ve got their ‘thang’ going and they’re hitting all the likes, follows and they just *know* how to maximise hashtags.

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But one of the things I’m noticing on twitter more and more, is young bloggers asking how people manage to blog, maintain their social accounts AND work either full-time or complete a degree, without burning out or one of these aspects suffering.

I work full-time, I run a blog full-time, instagram and YouTube, as well as managing two twitter accounts. And it’s not easy. But I realise where things need to give in order for me to maintain a balance.

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And I put that insight into knowing how to manage these things, down the different kind of world I grew up. When I was growing up FOMO (or Fear of Missing Out) didn’t really exist for me. The world wasn’t so accessible. You couldn’t find out anything and everything just by picking up a device. As a result you missed out on things. Most of the time I didn’t find out about the thing I’d missed out on until after the fact – I just didn’t know they were happening.

And so now, with knowledge at our finger tips, it’s easy to be tempted into things. Notifications on Facebook telling us that people we know are off to events nearby. Twitter telling us about fun Blogging meet-ups and events. Twitter chats every night – sometimes so many, I’ve been known to participate in multiple chats at once.

But it’s knowing where and when to step back.

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My full-time job is more important that my hobby. It’s how I pay for a lifestyle that allows me to blog, buy fun things and attend awesome events. For a while I was trying to do it all; twitter chats 4 times a week after a full day looking at screens at my job, blogging every weekend (including photos), posting a YouTube video weekly. It all got too much and too tiring, and the schedule that I’d set for myself became a chore. I could feel the first inklings of resentment creeping in.

So I took a step back. I decided to schedule multiple blog posts ahead of time, so I would be able to have weekends off. I decided it was time to reduce time spent on my older twitter account and just focus on one. I stopped YouTube altogether, and decided to take a break until things at home settled a bit. I stopped taking part in ALL the Twitter chats, and only did the ones with subjects that really interested me, or when I was at a loose end.

The result was a more relaxed, less tired Erin. I was also able to spend more time with my husband, who is TOTALLY supportive of my blogging hobby btw. But I realised on nights I was taking part in twitter chats, I was totally ignoring him. I missed him, and we’d been sat right next to each other.

Taking this step back meant that when I was writing articles, I was enjoying it more. I was able to take more time in what I was writing, and I wasn’t just doing it for the sake of hitting a schedule.

It’s so important to remember you don’t have to do it all, in order to feel part of something. If you’re at University and you’re not able to post according to a schedule you’ve set, then change your schedule. If your IRL social life interferes with taking part in a twitter chat, so what? We’ll still be there next week – go live your life. No one worth following you is going to mind if you miss a normal posting day. Plus you’ll have fun stuff to write about next time!

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So, if you’re one of those people who sits down at their laptop and wonders how you’re going to stay awake or motivated enough to write AND live your life – go live it. You’re not going to be missing out if you’re taking YOU-time. Sit and smell the roses, and then come back when you’re ready.

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You’ll feel amazing for it, and you’ll realise that life carries on without you – in the best possible way!

Are You On a Quest for Positivity?

I follow a YouTuber called Justin Scarred. Justin is from California and is primarily a Disneyland Vlogger (well that’s how I found him) but he also does random vlog around his life, the area he lives in and also Knotts Berry Farm, which is local to him. He’s recently travelled the whole length of Route 66 and back, which was very very interesting to watch, and I’d recommend watching it if that’s the kind of thing you like.

Anyhow, the other day Justin vlogged an update on his Quest for Positivity (or Q4P) and it was a really inspiring video. A few years back Justin went through some big life changes and somewhere along the line he made a conscious decision not to be a victim of the unhappiness he was feeling. He felt he was spiralling into a bitter cycle of feeling sorry for himself, which was projecting into the world around him, and he was tired of it.

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Listening to him talk about this Q4P and how he was getting on with it, range true with me. I’d like to think I’m a fairly positive person, but I can feel really negative too, and when I do it definitely spirals. Many years ago, I considered the practice of counting my blessings on a daily basis, and that’s where my Q4P began.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not all the way there yet, and I have MANY off days. But I know I’m trying. I’m certain that perspective comes with age. I’m about to hit 34 years old, and though no drama has really affected my life, I’m sure the things I’ve dealt with, seen and helped other people deal with, have given me the unique perspective I have on life. And by unique I don’t mean that I’ve got life all sussed in my mind and you haven’t – I just mean my perspective is different from everyone else’s – as is yours.

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I often see people being victims of their circumstances – they’re so deep into the emotions they’re feeling about something that’s happened to them that they get stuck in a rut. Even if they feel like they’ve dealt with the drama they’ve experienced, they’re now in that negative mindset and so that’s now how they deal with every situation that comes to them. Even positive circumstances will be tarred with a negative or dismissive brush.

I’ve come to realise that in my life, I need to accept negativity, then step back from it, brush it off and look at the bigger picture. I have to reset my mind to the middle ground – nice and calm, neither good nor bad – and then take the next thing I have to deal with as a brand new situation.

I’ve gotta admit, this isn’t easy. It takes a lot of practice and I’m not there yet. But once you accept a crummy situation as just that, it’s easier to deal with. No point in fighting it – just use the same amount of energy as you would feeling bitter, and put it into finding a solution.

Justin was right when he pointed out that if you keep hold of that negativity or anger, you’ll spit it out into the world, and eventually you’ll be one of those bitter and twisted old people you saw when you were a kid, but never wanted to be. That’s no way to live!

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So, you want to begin your own Quest for Positivity? A simple place to start by consciously counting your blessings every day. It can be as simple as;

  • Someone asked me how my day was
  • I heard a great joke today
  • That was a lovely cup of tea
  • I have a roof over my head
  • I’m feeling better in my self, than I was last week

There are so many things we can be grateful for, each and every day. And counting your blessings is a fantastic place to start.

We can gain perspective for ourselves, by considering the perspective of others’ in a non-judgemental way. Why did that person act this way? If I was in that person’s shoes, what would have been the catalyst for that behaviour?

As part of considering others, I’ve found it naturally leads to a change in my behaviour, because I won’t do things that might cause anger or hurt to others. I have more insight into how my actions might affect the emotions of others, and in turn I become a better person for it.

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I’m a crazy emotional person, and I find it very easy to jump to anger in many situations, but my quest for positivity has definitely helped me to gain perspective and stay calm in situations where I might not have in the past.

I’d be really interested to hear about your Q4P, if you’re on one. You might not call it that, but if anything you’ve read today rings a bell to you, I’d love to hear what practices you take to better yourself and help you along to a happier and more positive life.

Social Media and your Mental Health: Can they ever be good for each other?

When my family first got the internet back in 1997/96, it was a unknown place. Online predators weren’t something to think about and I was often in chat rooms. They were never inundated with pop-ups back then, and my friends and I had a lot of fun chatting to people all over the world.

Nowadays we are more aware of the dangers and as an adult the internet feels like a relatively safe place. But in reality, are we just closed off to the silent but deadly negatives of social media.

Since the arrival of instagram, people who are now referred to as ‘Influencers’ show us the epitome of aspiration. But in reality, the term Influencer should give us a nudge towards their true purpose online.

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Whether your chosen platform is YouTube, Instagram or blogs, it’s easy to get sucked into the realm of perfection and beauty these people portray. And in return, it’s easy to begin feeling inferior to these people. Yeah, they’re down to earth, might be living near you, and seem to be of the same social class – BUT – they have a new designer bag every two weeks, are being flown out to amazing countries, and appear to be making big bucks just by showing off brands products. It’s the dream life, isn’t it?

As a blogger and sometimes YouTuber, I know how much hard work blogging and vlogging can be – 2-3 hours per blog post, and countless hours on YouTube videos, not to mention promoting your platforms. Even though it all looks easy, it’s blooming hard work. But some of these influencers have people doing all that for them. Some of them portray a down to earth personality but in real life wouldn’t pee on you if you were on fire. Some of these influencers are taking photos of their meals, but not really eating them, and pretending their healthy lifestyle is to thank for their fit physique. And some of these influencers haven’t come from quite the humble background they’d have you think they did.

And so we get to the effect all this has on our mental health when we see it. I often see a meme floating around the internet, wondering where the awkward ‘I’m figuring out how to apply eyeliner, and ooh let’s try this blue mascara’ phase has gone from our pre-teens. I see these young girls walking around with epic contour and highlight, looking like they’re out of Teen Vogue. Little California Girl clones walking around Milton Keynes, because they’ve seen it on instagram. And I wonder, if they didn’t paint their faces this way, would it effect their social standing. When they get to 20 and have no money (because let’s face it, who had money in their 20s?) are they going to put themselves into debt trying to afford another designer bag AND choose the white marble worktop for their kitchen?

And let’s move on to the subject of obsession. More and more I’m seeing people disenchanted by those they follow on social media. And as soon as this happens, you’d expect them to stop following them, right? Nope. They continue to read their blogs, watch their videos and look them up on twitter, creating a big jealous knot in their stomachs. Tabloids have created this obsession with car-crash tv, celebrity and reading about people more famous, but possibly less fortunate or intelligent than you. The drama is addictive and soon you can’t wait to hear what’s happening with the Kardashians or on Love Island. But as you’re reading or watching, you’re feeling bad about yourself. You’re not as tanned, your lips aren’t as big, your hair isn’t as shiny, you’re not as skinny. No attractive man will ever want you if you don’t look like them. And this can be applied to social media – your bag’s from Primark, you don’t have the latest eyeshadow palette, you don’t own anything white marble……

All these things just make you feel bad about yourself, and my concern is for the young girls and guys who think it’s normal to have all this stuff, look this way and behave as if you’re an It Girl. When I’m 70 is our country going to run by TOWIE extras?

At this point, I think it’s important to point out that this is not all influencers. My choice of reading and watching has been carefully curated to only include those of substance. These people are real, they disclose what they do and how they do it. They post photos of themselves looking bare-faced as well as wearing full makeup. They don’t hide the real parts, and that’s so important.

I wonder if you, reading this, have identified with anything I’ve written today? And if you have, here’s what I’d recommend (and what I’ve done):

  • Curate your feed. No matter what platform you use, it’s YOUR feed.
  • If you scroll and something makes you feel bad about yourself, unfollow that person.
  • Take people’s feeds with a pinch of salt – people choose what they post, just as you choose what you post. Even if someone is posting every day, multiple times, that doesn’t mean what they’re showing is what’s happening right now.
  • It’s okay to want material things – but work hard for them, and they’ll mean so much more to you when you achieve them.
  • Don’t be a clone of everyone else. Being unique and not following the pack might not make you an overnight success on instagram – but you’ll have integrity and you’ll be real. Your followers will appreciate that, and no doubt be the kind of people you’ll want to stick around!

There’s so much talk of keeping on top of your mental health at the moment, but it’s important to remember, that when so much information is being thrown at you, from brands to your peers, that you CAN choose what you see. Delete your facebook if you need to. Unfollow that YouTuber if she’s making you feel jealous or bad about yourself.

Influencers need you, you don’t need them!

Look inwards – learn about you, what you need and what you want for your life and from your surroundings, and go from there.

Be happy!

 

 

 

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

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It’s been both a busy and quiet few weeks. As you can see from my blog posts, I’ve been busy writing content, and I have been working alongside a few brands to bring more to you over the next few months.

I’m trying hard to save money at the moment, so I haven’t really been out and about. I did, however, make a little splurge, and pick up an Amazon Echo during their Prime Day, for around half off.

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We use one at work, so I knew I wanted one for my home, and we’ve been using it every day since we received it (it arrived on Same-Day delivery – I love Amazon sometimes!)

We’ve also watched a few movies and TV shows. We’ve just started watching Breaking Bad – only a few episodes in but I’m enjoying it so far. We re-watched The Night Of, which is a fantastic HBO series. There aren’t too many episodes, but they’re riveting.

I also watched a film called Blue Valentine, starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. It was good whilst we were watching it, but it ended a little abruptly and I couldn’t get on board with the female character. And we finally watched Drive, which again features Ryan Gosling. I can’t get over how much I loved this film. The direction, the music, the acting. So so good. I really must buy it so I can watch it over and over. It was reminiscent of so many things for me – comic book shot framing, Grand Theft Auto, Scarface. I swear I didn’t breathe through the whole of one scene and my hard was thumping in my chest. If you haven’t seen it yet, I’d definitely recommend it if you’re a fan of any of those influences.

I’ve also been working on a few creative projects, which may or may not come to fruition. We’ll see, but if they do, I’ll be sure to let you know on here!

I’m also edging ever closer to 1k followers on twitter, and once I do, I’ve planned to hold a giveaway so if that interests you, don’t forget to go and follow me. I’m found at @Shutterbug_Blog.

And I think that’s it for now. Hoping to have a proper life update and news for you soon, so keep ’em peeled!

Anxiety: What It Took Me A Long Time To Learn

I’ve suffered with GAD for as long as I can remember. I remember realising I had something odd going on with my mind when I was in about year 5 or 6. I was having OCD tendencies, which I knew I wanted to stop and made a mental note to do the opposite of what my mind was telling me to do.

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Members of my family suffer from OCD so I knew it was something I’d been exposed to, but it still surprises me to this day that as a child I knew this was an issue and something that needed stopping.

It wasn’t until many many years later I was diagnosed with GAD and found out that this was something another member of my family suffered with. And it wasn’t until a few years after that, that I read a blog post online that really helped to change the way I dealt with anxiety.

I honestly don’t remember where I read the article. I was doing research for a blog post in my job and happened across the post, with relation to something else. But the post struck a chord with me.

Simply put, the author noted that she’d been trying to suppress her anxious feelings. They’d been weighing her down to the point where she was saying no to meetings, new business and opportunities. She’d been allowing her anxiety to define her and it was preventing her from moving forward in a business sense. Until one day she had a breakthrough. She decided she would greet her anxiety – acknowledge it. She moved forward knowing that she would have this reaction and instead of causing herself more stress trying to fight it, she described herself moving forward with the anxiety walking alongside her.

She soon found that it wasn’t there as much. Because she’d decided not to pay attention to it so much, not use up her energy analysing it or fighting it, that it wasn’t getting the attention it wanted and so it didn’t seem as important as it once had.

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This idea was really powerful to me. I hope it is to you, too.

Anxiety is a big snowball of horrid. You have it, you analyse it, you feel guilty for it, and then you have more of it. It’s a cycle that seems so unnecessary and is very tiring. It can debilitate, numb, paralyse. It’s in no way fun.

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It’s different for everyone, but I hope, if you suffer, that by reading this you might find some sense of relief. It won’t work every time, it doesn’t cure, but it might offer a little respite on occasion.