Category Archives: PSHE

Cultivating a Positive Body Image

Hello,

Yes, I’m back! I’m not regular with these blog posts, but I finally finished my undergraduate degree at the end of last month. I’m just waiting to see what my results are now – how exciting and scary! It was a pretty tough semester, doing three modules and writing my dissertation, plus I organised a mental health awareness and fundraising event at University during Mental Health Awareness Week in May. Some people will say ‘Did you not have enough to do?’, but when I’m passionate about something I tend to go after it, even if it challenges my organisation (unless I just have way too much on, then I know when to say ‘no’, even if I really want to do it), ha ha.

Today, I thought I would do a little post on body image. It’s something that can affect all of us, any age and gender, and so I thought to write a little post on it. It is a sensitive issue, and if you particularly struggle with yours you might want to talk to someone you trust about it, for example, a family member, a friend, your doctor or a counsellor (I know those latter two might sound scary, but they’re there to help you if you’re struggling, and are qualified). But I’m going to write this like I would to a friend: I’m going to try my best to remind you to appreciate your body. When I was a kid I hated the way I looked, and it took a long time, years, to actually think, ‘Yeah, okay, this is how I look’, and eventually, ‘I’m happy with how I look today’. I’ll admit I still have my self-conscious moments, but I just try to remind myself that I’m me and that’s good enough, and focus on feeling happy.

__________________________________

The summer has arrived, and some people will be feeling pressure to look a certain way (more so than at other times of the year, except for special occasions where self-consciousness can often crop up). They might want to lose weight, or have a tan, etc., and what I wish I could tell them (and you) is that it’s okay to aim for these goals, but please don’t push yourself to dangerous extremes in order to accomplish them. For example: You want to be a healthier weight (this may be an increase or decrease in weight), so you start dieting and exercising. These are good activities, as long as you don’t over-do them, and it’s important that you don’t berate yourself in the process. Thinking thoughts such as, ‘Ugh, I’m so ugly, I can’t wait till I look like this, then I’ll be fine, etc.’ are negative. Instead, try to think, ‘Okay, I have this goal, but this is a process. I’m going to enjoy the activity more than the goal: experience the fun of exercising, and finding new, tasty recipes. I’m not defined by how I look- beauty is subjective anyway’, etc. Do you see the change in thinking?

Some more examples:

  • You want to wear a t-shirt because it makes you feel good, though you momentarily think, ‘Will people look at me? At my arms? etc.’? Put it on anyway, then look at yourself and think, ‘Hey, this makes me feel good, so I’m going to wear it.’ It’s about focussing on how you feel, and not what others may think. You don’t even know if they’re thinking, ‘Wow, they look good! I like their t-shirt!’ (Unless they tell you.)

 

  • You want to change your hairstyle? Do it!  (Some workplaces and schools have policies on hairstyles though, so be aware of them.)

 

  • You want to try that activity, though you think, ‘Will I look a mess/ strange whilst I’m doing it?’ Do it, you might enjoy the experience and find a new hobby!

 

Just make sure you enjoy being you – how you look is nothing compared to how you feel. If you persistently feel low/ anxious about your body image though, then I recommend talking to somebody you trust, as I mentioned near the beginning of this post.

__________________________________

Thank you for reading that! I’d love to hear what you think of it, please, and if there is anything you would add?

Have a great day!

Jessica

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under PSHE

A Reminder

Hi!

I felt compelled to write this post, because if I can help somebody through a tough time, or remind at least one person that what I’m about to write is true, it is worth it:

You matter. You deserve respect, and so do others. Your struggles do not define you. Please don’t give up, as even if things are bad right now, there will be better times ahead. It is okay to ask for help. Some people might dismiss your struggle(s), as they don’t understand, or know how to help, but there will always be people who try to understand and help you in whatever way they can. You are not a burden, or just an arrangement of atoms – you are a person with dreams, hopes, fears, likes, and dislikes. You can achieve. The world might not be the nicest place, but you can make your world great by finding things that nourish you, and being kind to yourself and others. You matter.

Go through the paragraph above again, and change the word ‘You’ to ‘I’, or ‘me’, where appropriate, and ‘your’ to ‘my’. Repeat as much as you need, and even say it out loud – you might feel silly at first, but it could help you to realise the weight of these words, and how true they are.

Feel free to share this with the people you care about, and remind them, too.

_______________

Jessica

Leave a comment

Filed under PSHE

Mental Health Awareness

Hello!

I’m very sorry for my protracted absence.  ‘What have you been doing?’ you ask? Well I have been working away at University (I just received official confirmation of my semester one results yesterday, which make me happy), keeping up with family and friends, reading, learning a bit more Turkish (though I must confess I learn more how to sing Turkish songs than I do my basic words, but I did recently learn how to say ‘great’ (‘harika’) and ‘congratulations’ (‘tebrikler’)) and more! I’ve also recently signed up to a short online course, which excites me. I have essays due in the not-so distant future, and revision to do for an exam in the Summer, so I’m going to be very busy. That won’t completely stop me from blogging though! I just need to manage my time well.

Without further ado, I shall now give you a short blog post:

_____________________________________________

Did you know that today, the 3rd of March, is University Mental Health Awareness Day in the UK? This post will not just be directed at  University students though – it’s directed at anybody and everybody. Your mental health is extremely important, and should be treated as such.

If you’re having worrying thoughts or changes in mood, I highly recommend that you talk to at least one of the following people:

  • A family member/ carer
  • A friend
  • Your doctor
  • Support staff at your school/ sixth form/ college/ University/ workplace
  • A colleague/ manager
  • Your personal tutor at school/ sixth form/ college/ University
  • Your Programme Leader (at University)
  • Your Student Representative (at University, though a similar thing exists in schools as a school buddy).
  • The Samaritans

There is such a wealth of support, and these people should be willing to help you, even if it’s to direct you onto a more suitable person. You have nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about, although I understand it is easy to feel that way. If one of these people dismisses your issue, please don’t be disheartened. They just might not know how to respond correctly. Instead, talk to somebody else.

But how should one respond, ideally? This is something we need to learn how to do, if we don’t already naturally do it. We need to be patient, attentive, and unassuming. This means listening to the person, not rushing them, and not putting words in their mouths. In fact, talking might not be the method somebody wants to use to initially communicate a problem to you. They may want to write it down, or even draw a picture instead. What should then happen, is that you direct the person onto somebody more suitable e.g. a support staff member or a doctor. If you don’t know who to direct them to, it’s okay to ask somebody, ‘If you’re having a personal issue, who do you go to?’

Always remember this: personal issues do not define you, or any person. There are many inspiring, good people with fantastic aspirations who struggle – they just need some extra support to help them.

__________________

Jessica

P.S. – The end of this month will mark one year since I set up this blog, so you can expect a post on the one-year date too, and maybe another post for good measure!

2 Comments

Filed under Education, PSHE

Equality and Diversity

Hello!

I have finished my first semester of second year studying BA English at University, and how fascinating a time it was. It is quite astounding that I am halfway through my degree now… I have three essays to write over Christmas, and I am going to read ahead for next semester, in addition to numerous other things, but you will also be seeing me here more, hopefully!

Tonight, I wanted to write a short post on an issue I hold strong beliefs about: equality and diversity.

I have always had an interest in learning about, or observing, the way other people lead their lives. Not in a pesky or overbearing way, but just a simple curiosity, because I like to understand people. For example, in my secondary school they created a multi-faith room (whilst I was doing my A-Levels in their Sixth Form) and it was, to me, the most beautiful room in the whole place. It was wonderful to know that those who were religious could practice their religion there, as well as any other place they ordinarily attended. The room was also open to those who were not religious. This room of respect was, and is, rather inspirational.

Another source of inspiration was my holiday this summer, where I found hearing calls to prayer and the Turkish language beautiful. Once I returned from my holiday, I started to research CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) courses. Why? I researched these courses because I am sure it can be overwhelming, and alienating, for people who go to a country where the primary language used is English and they do not know it well. I want to be one of the people who help stop the alienation. (I might even try to learn some words and/ or phrases of some of the other languages I am sure to come across in my future career, because why should I not try? I will create an atmosphere of positivity, of acceptance, in whatever way I can.)

This aspiration applies to so many other areas too, areas that should not cause us to make assumptions about other people:

  • race
  • age
  • sexuality
  • religion
  • language
  • social status
  • culture
  • education
  • disability
  • family history, etc.

Such a statement is very optimistic, given how many opinions and assumptions we hear/ read every day, but I believe in it. Everybody is an individual, and deserve to be treated as such. We need to try to discover somebody for themselves, and not who we think they may be.

These values of equality and toleration are just two values I hope to promote when I become a teacher, amongst my students, my colleagues, and other people I know (though I already do it).

We need to care for each other, because we are all human.

______________________________

Jessica

Leave a comment

Filed under Career Planning, Education, Languages, Personal, PSHE, Religious Education