Tag Archives: health

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. 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.

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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 (for example, hardly eating anything for days). But it’s also important that you don’t berate yourself in the process of doing them. 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 of course they tell you).

 

  • You want to change your hairstyle? Do it!  (Some workplaces and schools have policies on hairstyles though, I know.)

 

  • 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. 🙂

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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!

Jess

 

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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:

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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.

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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!

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Hopeful Thinking for the Assessment Period

Hello!

It has been a long time since I last posted on my blog, but I found out some blogging etiquette that disrupted my planned posts (i.e. you cannot quote and cite an article in a blog post as you would in an essay, you must contact the author/s of the work and ask for their permission to refer to their work). I thought to focus on my assignments at University first though, and since I am now near the end of my assessment period, I thought I would do a quick blog. I know some students (at all stages: University, sixth form/ college, secondary school and primary school) are not near the end of their assessment period though, and this blog post is dedicated to those students. Below, I have outlined five tips for keeping the exam period a happy and healthy time:

1). Be organised. I love organisation, and there will be a blog post on organisation in the future, so now I am going to tell you a few benefits of keeping organised. The most obvious is that it just helps you to know where you are, what you are doing and when you are doing it. It gives you a finish line, a target, and you are not running around chaotically, trying to work out your bearings. You can feel extremely satisfied when you tick things off your to-do list, whether it is one major thing, or a few small things. It feels good, and you can breathe, no longer submerged in a list of tasks. Physical organisation, whether it be a diary, or files, or storage boxes, can also look really pretty (depending on your point of view of course).

2). Keep healthy. You need to keep physically and mentally healthy, especially in high-stress times. This means eating and drinking right, avoiding potentially harmful substances, exercising, and taking the time to de-stress and have fun. For ways to de-stress, try looking at what extra-curricular activities or support systems your educational establishment offers, and explore the ones you think will be most helpful for you.

3). Find the right work/life balance.  I cannot stress the importance of this. You need to put in some effort in order to learn, and you need to revise to make sure you do not forget information, but you also need to learn to take a break so that you do not burn out. Overworking is just as bad as underworking, so you must find the right work/ life balance for you. If you need some help in establishing one, talk to a family member, a friend, or a teacher.

4). Ask questions. Before you come out of that exam, or hand in that assignment, thinking, ‘Oh, I should have asked my teacher/ lecturer that question last week when I had the chance’, ask them! They are not going to think you are stupid for asking a question/ questions. Whether you are just unsure, or you did not catch that point they made, I think they will just be happy you take the time to care that you understand the subject you are studying. Teachers can get really stressed by the idea of their students not understanding something, so if you do not understand, asking questions will keep you both happy.

5). Stay positive. It is easier said than done, but you really do need to keep positive, and it is an important task all year round. Think of one positive thing about your course, and think of one positive thing about yourself (perhaps every few days, or however often you see fit). If you cannot, ask a friend. Here is one: you are a caring and patient person to have read this post so far!

You have probably heard these tips reiterated so many times, but they are important, and they are coming from a student who overworked and should have taken a few of these tips herself some time ago. She is taking them now, and they are really helpful.

Finally, I just want to wish you good luck with your assignments!

Jessica

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