Hea l thy Ideas that Change the Wor ld
Love Each Day
Feb 2018 / £4
CAN MENTAL HEALTH BE A
MATTER? (All Jokes Aside)
Make Your Passion Work
Good News Life Hacks Expert Advice True Stories
...and we're all invited
Coping with Grief & Living Life to the Full
e c n e d i f n Co n o i t u l o v Re
The Reality TV Star on...
Learn Body Language
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WAYS TO READ THE ROOM
CELEBRATE LOVE This entie’s Da, celerte those who li ou p nd ﬁll or lie wit ligt, loe d lahter
The Uplift 6 NEWS
Tomorrow’s generation solving society’s issues, and are apps the answer to our wellbeing woes?
9 THE WELLBEING WRAP
A quick review of this month’s good news
10 VAGUEBOOKING EXPLAINED
What do those mysterious and concerning status updates on our social feeds mean?
12 OVERCOMING SELF-DOUBT
14 CALLIE THORPE
The BoPo queen of the fashion industry talks body-shaming and her secret to self-confidence
24 CHANGE PLEASE
Fighting homelessness, one coffee at a time
29 COMEDY SPECIAL
Laughter is the best medicine, but can it be a secret weapon in breaking down stigma?
38 THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS Three inspiring people who’ve changed their careers to become their best selves
44 JAKE QUICKENDEN
The reality TV star shares his family grief and being inspired to live each day to its fullest
Life Stories 50 ELEANOR
22 VISIT TO THE DOCTORS Navigating an appointment for your mental health
27 LOVE IS IN THE AIR
Taking time to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a non-commercial twist
36 DECODING BODY LANGUAGE The unspoken signs someone you know may be struggling with their mental health
Sex & Relationships 52 FINDING BALANCE
Putting the real back in your relationship
From a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and an episode of psychosis to helping others
64 SIGNS OF INFIDELITY
72 UNDERSTANDING MOODS
Food & Drink
After losing her mum, Laura started helping others through writing and volunteering
Health anxiety dominated her life after learning of a family history of cancer. But her own willpower helped her regain control
Experienced anxiety for years until she found mindfulness to be hugely beneficial
Breaking free from our internal insecurities and believing in yourself
Our couples counsellor reveals the risk factors
Empowerment through emotional intelligence
54 COFFEE ALTERNATIVES We test the natural energy boosters
60 MYTHBUSTER: ORANGE JUICE
Putting the zesty drink to the test: is OJ good for us?
70 SHOESTRING HEALTHY EATS Eating well doesn’t have to break the bank
OUR Introducing the professionals behind Happiful magazine who help to ensure we deliver the highest quality advice
EDITORIAL Jake Hamilton | Editor Rebecca Thair | Writer Kathryn Wheeler | Editorial Assistant Amy-Jean Burns | Art Editor Keith Howitt | Sub-Editor
FE ROBINSON Fe is a psychotherapist and clinical supervisor. Fe advises on our content.
), B AC PR
Fe Robinson | Expert Advisor
GRAEME ORR Graeme is a counsellor who specialises in relationships and advises on our life stories.
Tristan Baliuage | Art Designer Cathie James | Art Designer CONTRIBUTORS Gemma Calvert, Maurice Richmond, Kat Nicholls, Shaun Brown, Ellen Hoggard, Becky Wright, Eleanor Segall, Samantha Hearne, Laura Graham, Henrietta Ross, Lucy Cavendish, Sarah Powell, Andrea Harrn SPECIAL THANKS Jesper Mattias, Alice Theobald, Joseph Sinclair, Graeme Orr, Rachel Coffey, Matt Holman, Ali Yates, Emily Attewell, Lucy Donoughue, Emma Shearer, Elly Granthan, Megan Harman-Potts
PR & MARKETING Maurice Richmond | Digital Marketing & PR email@example.com
LP AN BA M
RACHEL COFFEY Rachel is a life coach looking to encourage confidence and motivation.
P AC MB
LUCY CAVENDISH Lucy is an integrative counsellor and a regular contributor to The Times.
Matt Holman | Advisor firstname.lastname@example.org THE HAPPIFUL NETWORK Amie Sparrow | PR Manager Lauren Richardson | Digital Marketing & PR Assistant Carl Burton | Digital Brand Ambassador Ali Yates | Membership Marketing Ross East | Marketing Executive
CP BA MA, M
ANDREA HARRN Andrea is a psychotherapist, and creator of The Mood Cards.
CALLIE THORPE The BoPo blogger who led Happifulâ€™s self-confidence workshop.
MANAGEMENT Aimi Maunders | Director & Co-Founder Emma White | Director & Co-Founder Paul Maunders | Director & Co-Founder Steve White | Finance Director Happiful c/o Memiah, Building 3, Riverside Way Camberley, Surrey, GU15 3YL Printed by Pensord Tram Road, Pontllanfraith, Blackwood, NP12 2YA
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This magazine is FSC certified. Please help us preserve our planet by recycling Happiful. Why not pass on your copy to a friend afterwards? Alternatively, please place it in a recycling bin. Our two-for-one tree commitment is made of two parts. Firstly, we source all our paper from FSC certified sources. The FSC label guarantees that the trees harvested are replaced, or allowed to regenerate naturally. Secondly, we will ensure an additional tree is planted for each one used, by making a suitable donation to a forestry charity. Happiful is a brand of Memiah Limited. The opinions, views and values expressed in Happiful are those of the authors of that content and do not necessarily represent our opinions, views or values. Nothing in the magazine constitutes advice on which you should rely. It is provided for general information purposes only. We do not accept liability for products and/or services offered by third parties. Memiah Limited is a private company limited by shares and registered in England and Wales with company number 05489185 and VAT number GB 920805837. Our registered office address is Building 3, Riverside Way, Camberley, Surrey, GU15 3YL.
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A stand-up comic struggling with his mental health went to counselling for help. “Sit down and tell me everything,” the counsellor said. A week later, the comic had lodged an official complaint. Why? Because the counsellor was now doing his act on Blackpool Pier.
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Excuse the terrible joke, but it raises the thorny question of whether we are allowed to laugh about mental health. The answer, of course, is yes. Absolutely.
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Real laughter is medicine for the soul. It calms and soothes. It normalises feelings. And on occasions it can even heal us. If we can laugh about physical health – and we surely do – then what’s preventing us from laughing about mental health? Fear, of course. “We’re all mad here,” said the Cheshire Cat in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I can’t speak for the cat, but I know that most comedians are brilliant when it comes to raising awareness. That’s why, in this issue, we celebrate the comics who stand-up for better mental health.
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Positive news that transforms the world
Photography | Matthew Hamilton
Young People in Mental Health Scottish youth will be leading an in-depth study into child and adolescent mental health services ‘It’s crucial we place young people at the heart of finding solutions to improve services’
etween 15 and 20 people aged 14–22, from a variety of backgrounds, will be selected to join a new Scottish government youth commission on mental health services. The working group will then report back to ministers with recommendations. Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt announced £95,000 will be ploughed into the new commission to get it off the ground. Its work will last for 15 months. Ms Watt said: “The youth commission is an opportunity for us to better understand the current picture of support for children and adolescents across Scotland. “These young people will do their own research, identify issues that are important to them, and speak to experts, policymakers and service providers to look at areas for improvement.” The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) reports that half of all mental health problems in adulthood start by mid-teens,
and three-quarters by the time we’re in our mid-20s. Ms Watt called on those who have experienced the care system, are disabled, or faced discrimination because of race or sexual orientation, to take part in the commission. SAMH chief executive Billy Watson, said: “It’s crucial we place young people at the heart of finding solutions to improve services now and for generations to come. “We look forward to working with young people and our partners, and trust this work and its recommendations will lead to a step change in the provision of mental health services for children and young people across Scotland.” Louise Macdonald, chief executive of charity Young Scot, added: “Support to develop positive mental health is a key issue for young people and is raised in nearly all of Young Scot’s work with young people across Scotland.” Maurice Richmond
Expanding Services South of the border, children and young people in England could have access to mental health support at school or college under government plans to improve services. Ministers are drawing up plans to introduce a four-week waiting time for youngsters needing specialist support, and to set up new mental health support teams in schools. It is hoped around one in four schools in England will have this provision in place by 2022. Young people’s mental health has long been of concern, with startling NHS figures revealing that around one in 10 girls aged 16 or 17 were referred to specialist mental health services in England last year. The government’s new green paper proposes:
• Training for senior designated
mental health leads in schools to improve prevention work.
• Earlier access to services through
the creation of new mental health support teams working in and directly with schools.
• A new four-week waiting time for NHS children and young people’s mental health services.
• Every primary and secondary
school in England to be offered mental health awareness training.
• Pupils to be taught about mental
health and wellbeing as part of improved relationships education and PSHE [personal, social, health and economic] lessons. February 2018 • happiful • 7
The Uplift | News
Charity Urges Us to Talk Mental Health at Work We’d rather talk to colleagues about sex than our mental health – survey
Are Mental Health Apps the Answer? There are an array of apps out there for everything – from calculating how high you can throw your phone to how quickly you can milk a cow – but what are they doing for mental health? Over in Australia, a pioneering trial to find out if mental health apps work among teenagers has been given a £1.2 million shot in the arm. The cash will be used by researchers working on the project, dubbed “Future Proofing”, which will see 20,000 teenagers testing whether apps can effectively “inoculate” Year 7 students from developing depression after 12 months. Researchers involved in the trial are from UNSW Sydney, Deakin University, Australian National University, University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, University of South Australia, Macquarie University and The Black Dog Institute. Teams will examine data from smartphones, use machine learning analysis, and link this to hospital and birth records to develop reliable signals to flag the onset of depressive symptoms in young people. Following up on the students’ progress over five years, the Future Proofing study will also examine whether cognitive behavioural therapy-based apps are effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety, eating disorders, suicide risk and psychotic symptoms, as well as its impact on academic performance, sleep, physical health, and drug and alcohol use. Previous studies have shown that under optimal conditions, depression treatments could reduce 36% of global disease burden and 60% of people respond to treatment, according to The Black Dog Institute. Maurice Richmond 8 • happiful • February 2018
A Time to Change survey of 2,000 British workers asked participants to select topics they would be comfortable talking about with colleagues, from a list provided. Results revealed that only 13% felt comfortable talking about their mental health at work – the lowest score of the 10 topics – with responses showing we’re more comfortable talking about sex (18%) and money problems (26%). Despite this, over half of all participants from the same study said that they would support a colleague if they noticed they were struggling with mental health. Sue Baker OBE, director of Time to Change, urges us to break the barrier, saying: “Let’s add talking about mental health into the usual mix of workplace conversations about relationships, money and even sex – it could make all the difference to those of us who could be struggling.” Kathryn Wheeler
Loneliness and Isolation a ‘Social Epidemic’
A study into the “social epidemic” of loneliness found that isolation begins when we are toddlers. Labour MP Rachel Reeves and Tory MP Seema Kennedy led the research, which found that nine million people across the UK are lonely. It concluded that the health consequences of loneliness is costing the economy £32 billion every year. So never underestimate the value of a smile and a few kind words to a stranger.
Photography | Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com
Weird, wonderful and welcoming news
Helpline launched to support people in music industry A brand new 24-hour mental health support line for people working in the music industry has launched. Created by Help Musicians UK, it helps musicians and those working in management, tour crews and record labels. It comes as part of their Music Minds Matter campaign, launched after the death of Chester Bennington. The Linkin Park singer took his own life in July. Those needing help and emotional support can call 0808 802 8008 free of charge, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
DENISE WELCH CALLS OUT ‘OUTRAGEOUS’ PIERS MORGAN OVER COMMENTS Denise Welch has once again called out TV host Piers Morgan over his “outrageous” attitude to mental health. Speaking on an episode of BUILD on NOW TV, the 59-year-old actress hit out at the controversial Good Morning Britain presenter for his reaction to singer Will Young’s admission he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Piers claimed the singer actually had “WNTS – Whiny Needy Twerp Syndrome.” Denise went to town on Piers after he accused celebs of using mental health as “a brand-enhancing fashion accessory”. She said: “What he did in that one tweet was he closed them down and said, ‘Don’t do it, because we are going to take the fucking piss out of you.’ He shut all those people down who don’t have a voice.”
‘CALLING MILLENNIALS SNOWFLAKES DAMAGES MENTAL HEALTH’ Calling young people “snowflakes” could be damaging their mental health, a new study has revealed. Millennials – those who reached adolescence around the early 2000s – are often referred to as the “snowflake generation”. It is based on the assumption that young people are “oversensitive and intolerant of disagreement”. Insurance giants Aviva found that 72% of 16- to 24-year-olds think the term is unfairly applied, while 74% say it could have a negative effect on their mental health.
ACCOUNTANCY GIANTS THE LATEST TO SIGN PLEDGE Grant Thornton has joined other large employers signing the Time to Change pledge. The scheme, which aims to end stigmatisation of mental illness in the workplace by developing specific action plans, has already attracted 300 signatories. Firms include Royal Mail, the NHS, Barclays, E.ON, British Gas and Transport for London. It comes as the 2017 World Mental Health Day theme centred around wellbeing in the workplace. For more information, visit time-to-change.org.uk
BARBER SHOP MENTAL HEALTH PROJECT SCOOPS AWARD A national award has come for a project encouraging men to open up about their mental health. The 12th Man Barbers Shop bagged an innovation prize at the Mental Health Aid awards. Launched in May, the shop has 12 barbers trained to talk to their customers about how they feel. It was kicked off by Outsiders Community Consultants and received £3,000 towards the cause from the Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group.
Mental health radio marathon raring to go Hosts in Liverpool are preparing for a broadcast marathon, devoting 24 hours purely to mental health. Radio City Talk will be hosting it’s #MentalHealthMonday show featuring star guests for a full day of talking mental health on Monday 15 January. The show is on air from 9am, on 1548AM and DAB digital radio. For more information, visit planetradio.co.uk/city-talk
BIGGEST ISSUE FOR AUSTRALIAN TEENS Mental health has topped the list of issues of national concern for young Australians. Mission Australia’s annual Youth Survey, which began 16 years ago, revealed that body image, stress and study problems are among teenagers’ biggest worries. It edged out alcohol and drugs as the most important concern for 15- to 19-year-olds, with equality and discrimination the third biggest. The number of young people who identified mental health as a national concern has more than doubled since 2015, when 15% of the 24,000 respondents considered it an issue.
Force makes safe space for people in crisis
People having a mental health crisis and who are held by West Mercia Police, could be taken to a “safe space” rather than a cell. New laws have come into play which limit the time people suffering mental health problems can spend in custody. An NHS trust says a “safe space” area at Newtown Hospital, Worcester, means officers can be stood down. The force dealt with more than 5,000 mental health cases in 2017. Its Police and Crime Commissioner says demand on police “can be reduced”. West Mercia Police said it was constantly reviewing its own policies.
Facebook hits back at claims it is ‘destroying’ society Social media giant Facebook has hit back at a former exec’s suggestion it is “destroying society”. Chamath Palihapitiya, vice president of user growth from 2007 to 2011, made the comments in a recent interview at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Mr Palihapitiya added that he feels “tremendous guilt” about Facebook, and claimed its creators knew that its development could have “really bad unintended consequences” but carried on regardless. Facebook responded to his comments, saying it has evolved in the years since Palihapitiya left and is trying to understand how it affects the wellbeing of users.
February 2018 • happiful • 9
The Uplift | The Explainer
Vaguebooking? Social media gives round the clock updates on people’s lives. So what happens when someone posts something concerning? Writing | Kathryn Wheeler
f the 360 people I have on Facebook, I’d only call 34 friends. That’s less than 10%. The remaining 90% is a club whose members I picked up on the way. Co-workers past and present, schoolmates, an old friend’s cousin, an ex-boyfriend’s nosey family friend, the list goes on. I no longer know these people, and yet I am fed daily updates on their lives. So what happens when, amongst their landmarking announcements and cat photos, something more alarming comes up? A few weeks ago, a scroll through my Facebook feed displayed a former classmate’s post. It was only 150 words long, yet it revealed how she felt hopeless, unloveable, depressed and alone. No further details, the final brutal sentence of that post was: “I think I’ll just give up.” What was she trying to say? Was this a call for help? Enter vaguebooking, or subtweeting, they cover the same things. The Urban Dictionary defines the former as “an intentionally vague Facebook status update, prompting friends to ask what’s going on”. They crop up on most people’s news
10 • happiful • February 2018
feeds from time to time, but they aren’t confined to private accounts. December Happiful cover star, Louise Thompson, made national news when she tweeted: “You learn more about someone at the end of a relationship than at the beginning. FACT.”
f Vaguebooking is an intentionally vague Facebook status update, that prompts friends to ask what’s going on Had she split from her long-term boyfriend, Ryan Libbey (no, she hadn’t), or did she just feel like sharing what was on her mind (probably, yes). Whatever the reasons behind it, this ambiguous tweet got people talking and, for the most part, concerned.
So why do people do it? To find out, I sent a very to-the-point tweet inviting people to talk me through the thought process. Diana Villegas, a PR manager living in Hamburg, Germany, reaches out to confess to me that she’s been guilty of vaguebooking in the past. For Diana, it was about letting off steam. “I’m looking for more productive ways to reach out to people and deal with my own frustrations,” she tells me. But what kind of response did she get at the time? “It depends on the content of the post, and the way it’s phrased. I’ve gotten some good conversations out of it that really helped me understand the situation.” And what about when she sees other people vaguebooking? “You can tell when people just do it for attention,” says Diana. “Attention.” It’s a word that continues to sprout the more I talk to people. “Drives me insane. Say it or don’t post it!!” tweets Aby Moore, a UK based Mum-blogger. Aby has captured the mood of most of my replies. But is it really just attentionseeking? Chloe Berryman, lead author of a recent study into the
effects of social media on our mental health, believes there’s more to this social trend. While research concluded that social media did not lead to poor mental health, Berryman noticed a worrying trend in one specific online habit. “Vaguebooking was slightly predictive of suicidal ideation, suggesting this particular behaviour could be a warning sign for serious issues,” says Berryman. The study of 467 young adults suggested a correlation between vaguebooking and suicidal ideation, loneliness, social anxiety and decreased empathy. So, if there’s evidence to show it may be a precursor for more serious mental illnesses, why is vaguebooking continuously branded as attention seeking? Simply put, as long as there has been mental illness, there has been stigma. Sometimes it
Research shows it is slightly predictive of suicidal ideation, and could be a warning sign for serious issues tells people they’re “crazy”, “broken”, or “pathetic”. Other times “it’s all in your head”, “get over it”, “you’re just being attention seeking”. But is “attention-seeking” such a bad thing? If they’re alone at 3am and going through a hard time, why shouldn’t they put out a post to get the attention of someone, anyone, who may be able to help, or lead them to help? Even the less serious cases, the “had a crap day at work”, “you’re really winding me up today”, and the ‘“I NEED to get away for a bit” posts serve a purpose: to get it off your chest. Calling a friend, family member, or the Samaritans, amongst the many free helplines out there, could
be more effective ways to deal with it. Vaguebooking is irrational. But mental illnesses make us do irrational things. When all’s said and done, it’s better to see the odd vaguebook post over retrospectively finding out that someone was suffering in silence. Now, let’s head back to my old Facebook acquaintance. What did I do? I reached out. Saying sorry to hear she was feeling low, I sent some links to free helplines and information if she needed it. A few minutes later, she revealed all. It was over a guy she met at the pub last week. He had just blocked her phone number, but other than that, she was, “Fine, thank you.” I’ll admit, I felt put out, even a bit embarrassed. Maybe I overreacted, or jumped the gun. But will it stop me from responding to future vaguebook posts? Probably not. February 2018 • happiful • 11
How to Overcome
We are so often our own harshest critic, but imagine what we could achieve if we broke free of our internal uncertainties. Having the courage to believe in yourself is extremely powerful Writing | Kat Nicholls
hen it comes to fulfilling our potential, there are a few things that can get in the way. The biggest obstacle (and the one you have most control over) is self-doubt. This takes hold when that voice inside you says, “I can’t do this.” It takes hold when you think: “I’m not smart/good/ talented enough.” Sometimes self-doubt disguises itself as procrastination, over-planning or perfectionism. However it shows up, one thing’s for sure – it’s holding you back. Here’s a guide to how you can take back control.
12 • happiful • February 2018
Identify your big dream
When self-doubt has been in your life for so long, it can be difficult to even know what your big dream is. We rarely take the time to sit down and really give it some thought. Ask yourself: • If I could do anything with my career/life, what would it be? • If I knew I could not fail, what would I do? Write down your responses and visualise what your life would look like if you made all your dreams come true.
Figure out what behaviours are holding you back
It’s time to get really honest with yourself. Think about the way you approach your big dream and what self-doubt behaviours are stopping you from moving forward. See if you recognise any of these: • Procrastination – Maybe every time you sit down to start that novel, you suddenly find yourself scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… then Facebook again (you know, in case you missed something). • Over-planning – We’re big fans of preparation, but there comes a point when you have to stop planning and start doing. Often self-doubt will tell us we have to sort every step meticulously before starting – but this isn’t true. • Perfectionism – Not telling the world about your big dream because it isn’t “ready yet”, or waiting to start until the time is “right” is most likely your self-doubt piping up.
Become a questioner
Every time a negative thought creeps in, question it. If your inner critic tells you you’re not good enough, talk back. A simple “Who says?” can be enough.
CREATE AN INNER CHEERLEADER
We all have an inner critic, but how many of us have an inner cheerleader? Create a voice that cheers you on, tells you “You can do it!”, and treats you like a friend. Studies show self-compassion links to positive mental health (including reduced anxiety and greater life satisfaction), so consider it an act of self-care.
Connect with like-minded souls
Just do it
Surround yourself with people who lift you up and inspire you. According to Dr John Kounis, professor of psychology and brain science at Drexel University, Philadelphia, our neural connections actually change when we spend time with other people, so make sure they are changing in a positive way.
Sometimes we need a little encouragement to get started. Find inspiration through books, podcasts, or even a life coach. It may sound simple, but sometimes reading the right book (or, magazine article… just sayin’) is all you need to get inspired to start.
Being brave, feeling the fear and doing it anyway, is often the hardest, but quickest, way to silence self-doubt. Remember that the fear comes from your mind trying to protect itself from failure. Acknowledging that, telling the fear that you’ll be OK and that you’ve got this, will give you so much power. If you stay true to yourself and your passions, we honestly believe that you can’t go wrong. This magazine is testament to that. Our founders had a dream and they worked close to their goals and values to make it happen. This is not to say that you will definitely succeed, but know that you’ll be OK, whatever happens, because you will be following your dreams. You will be trying.
We’ll leave you with a quote to help you shine your light for the world to see. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” — Marianne Williamson
February 2018 • happiful • 13
PERFECT Just As You Are With 165,000 followers on Instagram, social media star Callie Thorpe, 28, is on a one-woman mission to reshape the way society views plus-size. This month, as she fronts Happiful’s body-positivity workshop, Callie reveals the truth about body-shaming abuse, her journey to happiness, and the secret to finding her self-confidence INTERVIEW | GEMMA CALVERT PHOTOGRAPHY | JESPER MATTIAS
eople are really bored by perfection. It’s something we’ve been sold our entire lives and it’s unachievable,” says Callie Thorpe, perched on a stool in the Museum of Happiness in north London, sipping her cup of tea and enthusiastically welcoming the ladies arriving for the workshop. She’s explaining why BoPo – that’s social media shorthand for body positivity – is having a moment right now. The wave of empowering self-confidence is flooding the internet: the Instagram body warriors celebrating stretch marks because they’re real and
natural. The advocates of self-love who pose filter and make-up free to prove that unedited faces and bodies are not to be feared. And the plus-size women who showcase their curves with pride – role models who are applauded by a new generation who believe we should feel good whatever weight we are. Callie, 28, is a hearty promoter of every such message. A size 24, plus-size model and one of Britain’s most successful social media influencers, she’s a powerful poster girl for selfacceptance and body autonomy, and passionate about reshaping the way that fashion sees body types. Continues >>>
omen deserve to feel good in their bodies, and plus-size women in the industry are pushing boundaries by saying that we need to see more diverse women of different sizes. We also need to see more diversity in regards to disabled women and black women,” says Callie. “Representation matters and there are more women who don’t look like those people in the pages of magazines than there are who do.” She’s right. In the UK at least, the average woman wears size 16 clothes, and plus-size is gaining more and more momentum on the high street. As well as trailblazers Marks & Spencer, Evans, Debenhams, Asda and Primark, Gap caters up to a size 24, Asos stocks 20 plus-size brands, and House of Fraser’s plus-size range offers sizes up to 28 from a selection of designers. The UK plus-size menswear market is also forecast to be the strongest performer over the next five years, with an estimated growth of more than 22%. There are plus-size fashion weeks in London, Paris, New York, Hamburg and Montreal, and plus-size models Ashley Graham, Tess Holliday, Robyn Lawley, and Candice Huffine have been making waves Stateside. It’s significant progress. In the UK, Callie can take credit for helping to – in her words – “reframe people’s thoughts on image and weight”. Her Instagram posts – seen by a devoted army of more than 165,000 followers – consistently highlight her status as a life-loving, body image game-changer. One of her most recent posts said: “I feel more secure than ever with my personal style. Maybe it’s to do with age and caring less about what people think, or the fact that I’ve grown to love being a little different.” The journey to self-love was a long one. Growing up in a village near Newport, south Wales, Callie was an average-sized child until a prescription of steroids in her teens to medicate her asthma caused her to gain weight. Callie soon found herself on the receiving end of cruel criticism from people who couldn’t accept her bigger size. “I’ve always heard subtle comments like, ‘You’ve got such a pretty face, if only you would lose weight.’ One day, in my teens, I was in the post office and an elderly woman said, ‘You’re too overweight and you’ll never find a man or be successful if you don’t lose it.’ I was crushed. Then at school a couple of boys nicknamed me ‘calorie’, which was hurtful. “Growing up, I was always popular, but I was the funny, fat friend. My confidence issues were never because of my personality; I always liked my inner self. What I didn’t like
was how I looked in the mirror, and over the years I was desperate to lose weight because I hated my body and was utterly convinced that being fat was the cause of everything wrong in my life. After university, I was in a dead-end administrative job while my friends were living their career dreams and travelling the world. I was depressed and despised myself inside and out.” By 2012, Callie was stuck in a cycle of “oppressive diets” and using laxatives to assist with weight loss. “I was a mess,” she admits, and it showed in her choice of words in her first blog, Slimming In The City, documenting her weight loss. “I was self-depreciating. I called myself all sorts of names; I hated myself. It was a way of punishing myself to feel accountable to people I didn’t know. I thought it would help me and, actually, it made me feel worse. It was crippling,” says Callie. The day she went online to buy plus-sized swimwear for a holiday to Barbados and stumbled across GabiFresh.com, a body-empowering blog belonging to American plus-size designer Gabi Gregg, Callie’s life changed forever. “I’d never seen anybody be so open or happy about being plus size, or confident about finding ways to enjoy fashion. It made me realise that without positivity, I’d never find happiness,” she recalls. Callie swiftly ditched her diet blog and launched a new one called From The Corners Of The Curve, charting her slow but sure journey towards embracing her size. “I was still self-conscious, but I was learning about what it means to be kind to your body,” says Callie. “I began experimenting with fashion and wearing clothes that I’d been taught by the media were off limits to plus-size women – prints and jumpsuits, dungarees, even crop tops. That was just the beginning.” By the time of the holiday to Barbados, Callie’s newfound confidence enabled her to wear a block colour bikini for the first time – a milestone moment that was met with rapturous praise from women who admired Callie’s self-assurance when she posted a photograph online. “Finding a place where I could appreciate my body and feel accepted was life-changing and the blog snowballed. I began writing pieces about life as a plus-size woman, talking about real issues, like chafing on holiday or feeling confident in lingerie, which other women could relate to.” Within four years, Callie had attracted more than 100,000 followers on Instagram and brands including Evans, New Look, Curvissa, Nivea and La Redoute were taking notice. In 2016, the year she became the first ever plus-sized columnist for Marie Claire, Callie signed to Milk Management, the first major modelling agency in the UK to have a “curve” division. A year later, Vogue online included Callie in a feature entitled
I hated my body and was utterly convinced that being fat was the cause of everything wrong in my life
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“Why Everyone Is Wearing This Bikini Style Right Now”, alongside mega stars like Bella Hadid, Selena Gomez and Ashley Graham. The accolade floored Callie. “I literally lost it when I saw it!” she laughs. “I’d not seen many plus-size women in Vogue before, so I was hugely proud of myself for pushing those boundaries. It was also a huge statement to the bullies who had told me I was fat, ugly and would never be successful being overweight. Here, at this size, I’d become the most successful of my life. It was an incredible feeling.” The joy, sadly, was momentary. Within a few hours of a follow-up article appearing on the Yahoo Style website including the headline “Plus Size Blogger Snaps Back at Bullies”, more than 900 comments had been posted in response, and the majority were abusive. At the south west London flat she shares with husband Dan, 28, Callie sat with tears streaming down her cheeks reading every torturous word.
At this size, I’d become the most successful of my life. It was an incredible feeling. “One person labelled me ‘visually repulsive’, another declared that I should be tied to a car and dragged along the road, and one chilling post said that Dan would be burying me after I die of diabetes,” says Callie. “Being plus size and on the web, I’d experienced negativity before, but this violent abuse was on another level. I began shaking and crying hysterically. I had such bad anxiety and my heart was pulsing. I was frightened.” Callie later discovered that she was part of a targeted hate attack through a fat-hating website in America that, sadly, the Metropolitan Police advised they could do nothing to stop. The paradox, of course, is obvious. In leading a body positive movement and having the confidence to be “honest and true” online – Callie is often make-up free and wearing pyjamas in her posts – the body positive warrior became a target for body shaming. Did she ever think she was sacrificing her own wellbeing for the sake of helping others? Callie nods. “I’ve always been an anxious person and worried about what people think. It’s got worse since I put myself online because people are a lot crueller than they are in real life. For a brief second, I regretted starting my blog, but I gained strength from the beautiful responses and saw sense. Why should I stop doing what I love and helping women, just because I’ve made some people angry? I’m not promoting obesity or telling people to be fat, I’m simply encouraging positivity by showing that you can be plus size, or small, and live a happy life.” Continues >>> February 2018 • happiful • 17
t’s a powerful statement, but that’s Callie all over. She speaks directly, with honesty and from the heart. It’s the reason why Happiful invited her to be the first speaker to front the Happiful Workshops, a new reader-inclusive franchise where, through an authentic discussion of reallife experiences – anything from depression and anxiety to fears and confidence – others can achieve self-improvement and reflection. Callie is philosophical about her “ongoing battle” with self-confidence and accepts she will experience moments of regression, like the time she had a panic attack on a recent holiday to Cambodia after locals flocked to prod and poke the flesh on her upper arms. “I felt like a stage show,” she says, the hurt etched on her face. She also recalls feeling “unattractive” ahead of her honeymoon last year, which prompted her to confess on Instagram: “I am body positive but I can’t be this all the time.” Day-to-day, Callie does her best to stay in the positivity zone by implementing simple confidence-boosting techniques that she loves to share with others. “Wear something that you know you feel confident in, wear colours that make you feel good, give yourself extra time to get ready in the morning so you don’t feel panicked, treat yourself to something you love now instead of waiting to lose weight for it, travel, eat well and spend time with your friends,” she says. “Happiness is the source of confidence. If you’re miserable and low, you can’t be confident.” Staying peaceful is key too. Callie is a new advocate of the Headspace meditation app, which helps calm the anxiety she has suffered since her teens and control clinically diagnosed night terrors, which peaked in 2012, shortly before she started Corners Of The Curve.
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“I’d run out [of the room] screaming, I’d imagine I’d swallow things on my bedside table, I’d sleep walk and sleep scream,” explains Callie, who turned to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and psychotherapy to help tackle the problem after being assessed at London’s Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital. Callie’s strength clearly comes from helping others. Going forward, she hopes to do more work to encourage greater acceptance and understanding of all shapes, colours and sizes. Last summer she hosted an anti-bullying workshop for eight to 16-year-olds as part of youth charity The Diana Award’s My True Selfie campaign – a project designed to inspire body confidence and self-esteem. “I talked about how we define ourself not because of what we look like but who we are inside,” says Callie. “In the future, I want to work with local MPs and do more with anti-bullying, because a lot of kids learn this behaviour from their parents. Appearance-based abuse is still a prejudice and we need to address it.” Although Callie doesn’t talk about her weight – “What you weigh on the scales isn’t your value” – she is fine being called “fat” and points out that although she is the biggest of her life, she is also the happiest, because her mental health has improved so much. “People think health is only what you look like. Health is a wide spectrum and your mental health affects your physical health,” she says.
I’m not promoting obesity or telling people to be fat, I’m simply encouraging positivity by showing that you can be plus size, or small, and live a happy life “I’m definitely on a journey to take care of my body. I want to have children with my husband and it’s important for me to feel good, but mental health is equally important. If you’re sad, you’ll be trapped in a vicious circle of never feeling content or happy. “A UCL study [published in the journal Obesity in September 2014] has proven that people who mock overweight people sabotage any positive changes. We should just be kinder to each other, let’s teach our girls and boys not to be obsessed with dieting, to create a more positive view of food and exercise.” Callie is a plus-sized model and mental health advocate. You can follow what Callie’s up to on her blog calliethorpe.com or on Instagram @calliethorpe
Hair & Make-up: Alice Theobald using Cult 51, Sothys, Color Wow, and BaByliss Pro tools Location: Museum of Happiness Februarymuseumofhappiness.org 2018 • happiful • 19
(l–r) Kathryn Wheeler, Elly Granthan, Callie Thorpe, Megan Harman-Potts, Kat Nicholls, Alice Theobald
The Happiful Workshop with
Callie Thorpe What happens when six women get together to talk about self-confidence? WRITING | KATHRYN WHEELER
PHOTOGRAPHY | JESPER MATTIAS
uthor and political activist Gloria Steinem was on to something when she said: “The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.” When Happiful invited readers to attend a self-confidence workshop, we thought Callie may have tips for leading a happier, more assertive life. We soon discovered there’s no secret formula for self-confidence – it’s about unlearning deep-rooted, self-restricting attitudes instilled in us since before we could talk.
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Sat in a circle in the Museum of Happiness in north London, our small group is made of Kat, a marketing communications manager, Megan, a PR manager working in fashion, Alice, a make-up artist, and Elly, a secondary school teacher. For the next 90 minutes, the conversation flows, touching on everything from getting on the local bus to travelling the world. At some points the mood is sombre, other times playful and heartwarming. By the end, each woman has had a chance to share, support, and be supported. Here’s what we unlearnt:
“I will be happy when…” “I had accepted that I was overweight,” says Callie as she opens up the conversation. “But in my head I was going to lose weight eventually, and that’s when I would finally be happy.” This thought process rang true with a number of the other women in the workshop. “I did the same thing; I attached my happiness to my weight,” says Kat, who battled an eating disorder when she was a teen. “A few years ago I was in a relationship and I lost five stone,” says Megan. “But I was always conscious about my image and I think that put a lot of strain on the relationship.” How has she tackled that? “I do keep active and eat healthily,” she says. “But it’s not to lose weight, it’s to take care of myself.”
The ‘industry standard’ Being a make-up artist to the stars gives you a unique insight into what exactly it means to be “industry standard”, and it’s something that Alice knows all about. “Everyone is vulnerable underneath it all.” She continues: “I thought going into this industry would make things worse for me, but it actually made it better because I see people at their most raw.” And Kat has her own solution to breaking out of the beauty echo-chamber: “I recently went through Instagram and unfollowed anyone who made me feel bad. I’ve also made a real effort to diversify my feed, so it’s a really positive and creative experience.”
Callie’s Rules for Instagram 1. Positivity
I control who I follow so that my feed is as positive as possible. Full of women loving themselves.
I make sure I follow bigger women, trans women, women of colour, and disabled women, so they’re all part of my normal experience.
I check myself and unfollow people if I start comparing myself to them too much.
We learnt it young Elly, the teacher of the group, offers us insight into the minds of young people: “As a teacher, I’m always reliving my teenage years, because I’m looking at these young people and the things they say about themselves. It’s heartbreaking, but that was me.” Elly tells us a story of going swimming when she was 10 years old, where a boy made fun of her because she made the biggest splash when she jumped in the pool. At the mention of swimming, the group collectively draws a breath. Megan recently decided she needed to learn how to swim properly. “I bought a swimming costume,” she says. “But I can’t go.” “Metaphorically, I want to make the biggest splash in my personal life and at work. But put me in a pool and I can’t do it,” says Elly. Callie assures us all that these things take time, but promises to take the group to her local pool for a swim session. “I find confidence is a daily process,” says Alice. “Every day I’m checking in with myself, and that works for me.”
We undervalue ourselves “We’re conditioned from day one to hate ourselves. I had a friend who tweeted the other day, ‘New diet goal: to be able to shop in Zara’,” says Megan. As we go round the circle, every woman can directly pinpoint her insecurities. “We’re all intelligent women here,” continues Megan. “We’re all amazing, intelligent women with careers. There’s no reason any one of us shouldn’t feel confident, and yet here we are.” So why do we do it? “I think we don’t acknowledge the things that we are good at, and we downplay our talents,” says Callie. “But no one asks you to prove yourself; you do that yourself.” Callie is right. If there’s one thing we’ve learnt today, it’s that we hold ourselves to impossible standards. Wherever we may have got it from, the media, our parents or our peers, as Kat tells us as we bring the workshop to an end: “It’s our job to break the cycle.” February 2018 • happiful • 21
Navigating a Doctor’s Appointment
For Your Mental Health If you’ve never talked about your mental health, the idea of opening up can be scary. For many of us, our doctor is the first person we do this with. But with some advice from our writer, who’s gone through this herself, it can be a beneficial experience Writing | Kat Nicholls
f you’re concerned about your mental health, you may be wondering whether you should talk to your GP about what you’re experiencing, and how they could help. We’ve put together some guidance to help you navigate your doctor’s appointment because it should never be scary – and we all deserve support.
Make sure you’re registered with your local practice before making an appointment
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When should I see my GP? The first question you may be asking is: “When is it OK to go to my doctor for help?” The answer is always. If you’re finding it difficult to cope, your feelings are affecting your day-to-day routine, or you simply want to find out what support is available, seeing your doctor can help. Your doctor can help you understand your feelings, talk you through treatment options, and advise on any lifestyle changes. They may refer you to a specialist and/or invite you back for follow-up appointments.
Making your appointment When you make your appointment, it’s helpful to know what your rights are: • You can ask to see a male or female doctor • You can request to see a doctor you already know and trust • You can book a double appointment (appointments are normally 10 minutes, so a double appointment will be 20 minutes) Once you are happy with the appointment you’ve made, you can start preparing.
Before your appointment If you’re feeling nervous, there are some things you can do to feel more prepared: • Write down what you want to say and any questions you have (Doc Ready is a great website that can help you put together a checklist – www.docready.org) • If you’ve spoken to a friend/family member about what you’re going through, you could practise what you want to say with them • Print out any helpful information you’ve found regarding how you’re feeling • Consider taking someone with you to the appointment Remember, you’re not the only person going through this. 30% of doctor’s appointments are related to people’s mental health.
During your appointment Being as honest as possible is key, and remember there’s no right way to explain how you feel – you don’t have to neatly fit into a diagnosis to get support. Describe how you’re feeling in a way that’s natural for you. Your doctor may ask some questions about your medical history, your mood, thoughts and any behaviour changes. They might also carry out some tests to rule out any physical causes.
“For me, the decision to go to the doctor about my mental health was prompted when I had to leave the office because of my anxiety symptoms. I’d only been experiencing symptoms for a couple of weeks, but they were so overwhelming I had to see someone. The doctor I saw was very sympathetic and mentioned that he’d also suffered from anxiety. He advised that I refer myself for cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and go back to see him if this didn’t help so we could explore other options like medication and time Kat Nicholls is a off work. regular contrib utor I felt a huge weight to Happiful off my shoulders as the process was underway. I got an appointment with a CBT therapist within two weeks, and just the act of going to the doctor and kicking things off helped me to feel more in control.”
Everything you say in your appointment will remain confidential. Your doctor may recommend you tell other people or ask permission to tell others on your behalf, but this won’t happen if you say no. The only time your doctor might break confidentiality is if they’re worried you or someone else is at risk of harm.
After your appointment Following your appointment, you should have a good understanding of what will happen next. You can arrange a follow-up appointment to check back in with your doctor, but if you’re not happy with how the appointment went or want a second opinion, you can ask for this. Sometimes seeing a different doctor can make all the difference. You can also make a formal complaint. All doctor’s surgeries should have a complaints procedure on their website explaining what you need to do. But try not to let a negative experience stop you from reaching out for help. There are different avenues you can try, from seeing a different doctor to seeking private treatment. Whichever route you go down, know you’re not alone and that there are people willing to support you. February 2018 • happiful • 23
The cup of coffee that fights homelessness Writing | Kathryn Wheeler
The ability to change a life could be as simple as where you buy your morning coffee
ccording to statistics from Crisis UK, 77% of homeless people want to work now, and 97% want to work in the future. And yet, across the country, only 2% of rough-sleepers are actually in full-time employment. At the same time, the general public is buying more coffee than ever before. The number of coffee shops in the UK is expected to rise from 18,000 in 2015 to a staggering 21,000 in 2020, and the British Hospitality Association recently revealed that the coffee industry is the fourth largest employer in the UK. When Big Issue founder John Bird and entrepreneur Cemal Ezel teamed up in 2015, they saw an innovative way to bring these two trends together. And with that, Change Please, an incredible
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social enterprise making waves in the mission to end homelessness, was born.
Who are Change Please?
Change Please are a beneficiary organisation who train and employ homeless people to work as baristas in mobile coffee vans across London. With a similar structure to the Big Issue magazine, Change Please launched in 2015 with just six staff selling a cup of coffee for £2.50 – a bargain in the capital.
The recruitment process
The organisation takes referrals from voluntary partners, including CrisisUK, the Big Issue, and One Housing Group, meaning that it is able to take people
who have already engaged with support services, and who are ready to get back into work. The baristas are then trained and mentored each day by fully-qualified industry professionals who are able to share their knowledge of customer service, quality control and management. These professionals are also able to set a workflow and standard for the beverages, allowing Change Please to compete with the high quality service that would be expected in any high street coffee shop.
More than just coffee Forever looking forward, the initiative provides additional training in health and safety, cash handling and customer service, in order to provide the baristas
The Change Please vans also ventures outside of London to attend festivals and private events
with the skills and experience they need to progress and continue employment. Once they have been working for six months, the baristas are then offered employment with one of Change Please’s partners. Safe and secure accommodation is a gateway to permanent employment, education and accessing essential services like GPs. While in employment, Change Please offers support with housing, acting as guarantors, making direct payments and underwriting tenancies in order to offer its baristas the best chance of securing themselves a permanent home.
77% of homeless people want to work now, and 97% want to work in the future
Research shows that a secure home is imperative for good mental health, and the rates of mental illness in homeless people dwarf those of the general population. With this in mind, Change Please offers support with mental wellbeing, both as an organisation and through referrals to its partners.
Their “jobs-first” approach hopes to offer the baristas a sustainable platform from which they can rebuild their lives. The work also helps to address the stigma against homeless people, allowing them to showcase their skills to the public, employers and business owners. Continues >>>
Homelessness and mental health
A worrying 32% of single homeless people reported a mental health problem, and their rates of depression are 10 times higher than that of the general population. A 2009 investigation into the mental health of homeless people found that the rate of psychosis is between four and 15 times more prevalent than in the general population. But, the same research also found that as a person’s housing situation becomes more stable, the rate of mental illness decreases over time, showing a direct correlation between housing and mental health.
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Case Study: Tom
Founder: Cemal Ezel
Since launching, Change Please has helped 35 formerly homeless people transform their lives Tom is a barista for Change Please. Since starting, he says that the initiative has given him a second chance at life. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, I never thought I’d make it past 30.” He says: “Now I’m 34, I have my own flat, and best of all I can have a chance to succeed with all the support anyone could ever ask for. Change Please means ‘LIFE’ for me.”
Supported by the Big
Peter Bird, Distribution Director of the Big Issue, sees similarities between the two initiatives: “Selling the Big Issue works well to provide people currently living on the streets with a way to help themselves work towards a better life, but there is a gap between that segment of homelessness and securing a regular job that needed a solution. Change Please provides that and will hopefully be the hand up that people need to work their way back into society.”
Fundraising for fixed sites In just four months, the first Change Please cart sold more than 78,000 cups of coffee. The team are now fundraising for a fixed site. While their mobile coffee vans can employ up to four people every year, a fixed site will allow them to
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employ double that at each site, as well as acting as a training facility and a place to bring the community together. In addition, it is their hope that a coffee shop will further help to demonstrate the level of skill and experience that these baristas have. You can support Change Please’s cafe by donating on crowdfunder.co.uk.
Hitting the shelves
In September 2017, almost two years after launching, Change Please coffee beans are now being sold in Sainsbury’s stores across the country. The packets of these speciality-graded coffees include stories about the people who helped to make it, and, in the same way as the coffee sold in the coffee vans, a percentage from each pack goes back to the homeless baristas.
Where are the coffee vans?
You can find the coffee vans, which are also available to hire for events, in 15 sites across the capital, including Borough Market, Canary Wharf, Christ Church, Southwark, Here East, and the Shard. There are also two office coffee bars at Time Inc. in Marsh Wall, and Kraft-Heinz on the 21st Floor of the Shard.
“Change Please is a huge step forward to helping the current state of homelessness in the country,” says Cemal. “We have built this social enterprise on being a ‘pick me up, not a hand out’ for the people involved, and it is their hard work that has got their lives moving in the right direction.”
The numbers In 2016: • 16% increase in rough sleeping • £1.15 billion local authority spending on homelessness
Thanks to Change Please: • More than £1 million saved in government homeless costs • 35 formerly homeless baristas employed • 15 sites in London • 375 Sainsbury’s stores selling Change Please coffee For more information on how you can support Change Please, visit their website: www.changeplease.org
Romantic Activities For a Non-Commercial
ith every other shop window decked out in anything red and heart-shaped, and radio stations playing love songs on repeat, it’s hard to escape the materialistic monster that Valentine’s Day has become. No one can deny a cute teddy and giant bunch of red roses will look great on your Instagram feed. But, while commercial giants set a standard for romance, relationships come in all shapes and sizes and, as with most things in life, the best gifts won’t be found in shops. This Valentine’s Day, put your purse away and take things back to basics with these romantic, noncommercial Valentine’s Day activities.
Play the “one hour each” game
This is a fantastic way to have a spontaneous adventure together. The rules are simple: for the whole day, take turns deciding what you do for the next hour. No longer, no shorter. And the options are limitless. One hour you may be immersed in a two-player game, the next you jump in the car and drive to the sea, and after that, who knows! For the homey-types, it could be as simple as baking biscuits for one hour, and the next snuggling up under the duvet to watch some telly.
Love hearts and roses aren’t for everyone. This Valentine’s Day, do things your way Writing | Kathryn Wheeler
Clean the house
Honestly, is there anything sexier than a disinfected kitchen counter, fresh bedding and a sparkling toilet? At the end of a long day, getting home to a tidy house is bliss. Particularly when you haven’t had to lift a finger to get it like that. So why not pull on those marigolds and surprise your partner with a ship-shape pad, ready for an evening of total, clutterfree relaxation. Love doesn’t have to cost a thing.
Have a themed day
Roses and love hearts aren’t for everyone, so why not give your day its own theme. You could pick “blue” and gift your partner a bunch of blue hydrangeas, visit an aquarium and finish the day by baking a delicious blueberry pie. Or maybe you and your partner love the Lord of the Rings? If so, a LOTR themed day including a trek up a hill, a treasure hunt and, of course, a 12-hour movie marathon could be just the trick for you and your precious.
Experiment in the kitchen
Stuck making the same old recipes every night of the week? Valentine’s is the perfect opportunity to mix things up. Let a recipe book fall open and make whatever’s on the page. Have breakfast for dinner. Cook together or surprise your partner. Whatever it may be, go wild, and add a bit of spice to your Valentine’s Day dinner.
Date night scratch cards
When it comes to planning date nights, do you and your partner get stuck in endless cycles of: “What do you want to do?” “I don’t mind, what do you want to do?” Homemade scratch cards are a fun, novelty idea, and a great way to cut out any indecision. Simply write what you want your partner to win (a museum trip, dinner, a picnic). Next, cover the card in clear sticky-back plastic, cover each prize with a couple of layers of acrylic paint, and there you have it: your ultimate date night solution. February 2018 • happiful • 27
EMBRACE LAUGHTER “Lagr i h ud h o din” - Jar t
SEND IN THE
Suicide attempts, depression, grief… Not typically laughing matters, yet comedians have always had a no-holds-barred approach. It’s their gift to produce tears of joy from the darkest of times Rebecca Thair & Maurice Richmond
“One in five people have dandruff. One in four have a mental health problem. I’ve had both.” Ruby Wax’s forthright comedy is a shining example of performers tackling so-called “taboo” topics such as mental health, and showing how laughter can truly be the best medicine – for the comedian as well as the audience. But in an industry where you face consistent pressure to perform, harsh
reviews, long hours on the road away from home, and need a tough will and determination to climb that ladder to “making it”, for comedians, the job itself can take a toll. Happiful investigates the funny business of comedy, to see how comedians find laughter in trying times, and to see just how comedy can be used to break down the stigma around mental health. Continues >>>
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ANGELA BARNES With more than a decade’s experience working in mental health before her big break in comedy, Angela Barnes is incredibly candid about her own health. Known as a TV and radio panel show regular, she’s the funny woman unafraid to tackle tough topics. Are comedy and mental health related? There are more comedians who’ve had mental health issues than haven’t, and they’re just the ones who talk about it. It’s high-highs and low-lows in comedy, and I think that mirrors what mental illness is. I think that’s why it’s an attractive thing for people, to have a job that matches that. Your dad inspired you to become a comedian. What was life like growing up? My dad was a funny man. People loved him. I was a very studious child, which my dad thought was quite boring. One parents’ evening, the teacher was telling him how good I was. He was a type 1 diabetic and used hypodermic needles, so he decided to take a needle to school and told the teacher he found it in my bag. I think he prepared me for this job because it’s very difficult to humiliate me now. What about your mental health? I was prone to being a withdrawn teenager; I was shy, I had a lot of body and self-esteem issues, but sort of fairly typical teenage girl stuff. I went to a girls’ grammar school and so my interaction with the opposite sex was minimal. When I went to university, everything felt too much. That’s when the depression kicked in. You revealed your 20s were “lost” to mental health. A lot of what happened I don’t really remember. There were two years where I had a couple of hospital stays, and throughout that period I had a community mental health team and I used crisis services. I had a main crisis point between 20 and 22, and dropped out of university.
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Throughout my 20s there would be episodes. I would be fine for six months and then I would have three months where I would have to be off work. It took a good 10 years of different medications and talking treatments to get the balance back. I still take medication now, and I have blips, but I think that’s just being human. How is it to talk about mental health in your comedy? I want to talk about mental health on stage as part of my everyday life, which is what it is. So, when I talked about my time in a psychiatric unit, it was part of a bit about something else that just happened to have taken place on a ward. There’s so much shame and stigma attached to it, and if you spent a week in hospital because you broke your leg, you wouldn’t think twice about mentioning that. I want it to be matter-of-fact. Comedy isn’t therapy, and I think it’s safe to bring it on stage and laugh about it when you’re over it. I think if you’re going through it, then that’s different. You need to sort it out in your head first.
It’s high-highs and low-lows in comedy, and I think that mirrors what mental illness is
Is comedy a good way to break down stigma? Yes! With comedy, you ask for just one result, and that’s a laugh. It’s one of the only entertainments where you instantly know whether you’ve failed or succeeded. People don’t feel guilty laughing at you and the things you’ve been through, because by going on that stage you’ve given them permission to laugh at what you’re saying. Does comedy help you tackle performance anxiety? My medication is partly for anxiety. Last year I had a medication change and suddenly I had this stage fright I’d never had before. But the more you do it the more you get used to it. I’m not scared of a comedy club on a Friday night. But I recently filmed Live at the Apollo and was a nervous wreck, but it would be weird if I wasn’t. Sometimes anxiety is absolutely justified and it’s just part of what drives you. Is there any mental health support for comics? It’s a job that can be quite lonely. You spend a lot of time on the road. You can do the best gig of your life and then half an hour later you’re on your own in a hotel room. That can be quite a comedown. But the comedy circuit is a supportive network. If you know that another comic is performing in the same town, you might meet up after the gig. People are careful not to isolate themselves and look out for each other on social media. How has turning 40 affected you? I love it. I feel like the pressure’s off. At 40, I can do what I want and people will accept it. They’re not asking why hasn’t she bought a house yet, why hasn’t she got married yet, why hasn’t she got children – they see that’s just who I am. I’m pleased with where I am today, and would be on my deathbed happy. I think it comes from the mental illness as there were times when I didn’t want to be alive. If you’ve been through something like that it can empower you.
Angela Barnes’s show ‘Fortitude’ is touring the UK in 2018. For further information, head to offthekerb.co.uk
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IAN BOLDSWORTH Ian spent 16 years on the stand-up circuit, under the stage name Ray Peacock, and won the Digital Champion Award at the 2017 Mind Media Awards for his mental health podcast. A prolific performer, down-to-earth Ian fronts up openly and candidly about his mental health.
How did you decide to introduce mental health into your comedy? I’m not sure it was a decision as such. For the most part, my stand-up was always autobiographical, so that just seemed like part and parcel of that. Sort of no different to me discussing my car breaking down – it was just a thing in my life. How did it feel to discuss your suicide attempt in your stand-up routine? That was given a little more thought. It was never a concern of how I would be perceived or any possible negative judgements on me, but I did have concerns about the fact I discussed the method – and there was no way to play the humour of the bit without doing that. I had to consider the safety implications of discussing it so brazenly. I think there was also a part of me that thought if I could make an audience laugh with that story, then I could make them laugh with anything. It certainly required them to already have a sense of me, so was very carefully placed in that show – Here Comes Trouble. It’s not the sort of thing you could open your act with… Some people find it offensive to talk about sensitive subjects through comedy. What do you think? It’s OK. My reaction would be stronger if they were trying to silence it, but people are allowed to take offence. Everyone is gonna find something offensive, for whatever reason (usually their own experience), but that doesn’t warrant a ban.
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How did being a comedian impact your own mental health? The performing part was never difficult. If I was feeling rough then actually getting to the stage was a trial, but on the stage I don’t recall a time where I was thinking it was doing me harm, or I wasn’t up to it. Travel, I started to really hate though; long hours of traffic jams and middle-of-the-night diversions. Heckling, generally speaking, was water off a duck’s back, but there were isolated incidents when it would leave me feeling very down. Not out of any self-doubt, but more an overall sadness about the way people were behaving. The idea that that sort of behaviour, at a performance with other paying audience members around them, was OK, just started to become a desperately bleak state of affairs for me.
Overall, it felt quite relieving to have had that conversation for the podcast – a convenient reason to get it out in the open between us
The first episode of your podcast revisits your experiences, but from both your own and your friend Martin’s viewpoint. How was that? That was the very first thing I recorded for that podcast, and I was dreading it. I didn’t know what the podcast was going to be, and Martin has always been something of a touchstone with bouncing ideas off, but I also know he won’t skate around stuff, even if it’s critical of me. There weren’t any major surprises in our conversation, but there was stuff I didn’t want to hear, like how desperate and hopeless he had felt in dealing with me, and when he had doubts about how genuine it was. Overall, it felt quite relieving to have had that conversation for the podcast – a convenient reason to get it out in the open between us.
what they’re getting wrong. I think we tread a very precarious line in cultivating a society that understands mental health, and the problems inherent therein, so giving someone the rounds of the kitchen because they’ve referred to someone as bonkers isn’t going to keep them onside for very long.
Have your daily interactions changed since you started discussing mental health in your comedy and podcast? Strangers come forward a lot. After every performance of Here Comes Trouble there would be people waiting and I knew why before they even spoke. I got a huge amount of emails after the podcast went live, which in all honesty became quite a difficult part of my days. I always hesitate to say it as I don’t want to dissuade people. I think it was the level of attention that I had to give it that became a struggle. I couldn’t skip-read these emails, or reply generically. I didn’t want to risk missing something important, but there were a lot. Hundreds. I’ve always had to be very clear that I’m not a professional with this sort of stuff, and I’m just stating my opinion on it. A lot of people are trying to reclaim language once considered offensive, such as ‘crazy’. Your podcast is called ‘The Mental Podcast’ – how do you feel about the language around mental health? It wasn’t considered as a way of reclaiming power, it’s just fitting in my overall attempt to not be pious or worthy about it. I know some people get upset at those words, and I wouldn’t want to goad them with it, but personally, it’s never bothered me at all. I have my sensitivities about mental health portrayals and labels; I increasingly get frustrated with the portrayals or stereotypes perpetuated in movies. On the other side of the coin, I worry about the You can listen to risks of being perceived as somebody who has ‘The Mental Podcast’ built a career around mental health. I’m very on Itunes, and find resistant to that, because of my concerns with out more about compassion-fatigue in the public; people just Ian on his website being sick of hearing about it and being told ianboldsworth.co.uk
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COMEDY CASE STUDIES Many of the most well-known comedians you welcome into your homes on the TV each night have strong connections with mental health. From previous careers, education and personal experience, they work tirelessly to raise awareness and support for people’s mental health.
She worked as a nursing assistant in a unit for adults with learning disabilities. Jo then went on to gain a joint social science degree with a Registered Mental Nurse qualification, and spent 10 years working as a psychiatric nurse.
The self-acclaimed poster girl for mental health, Ruby has been a vocal mental health campaigner, both on the comedy circuit and in lecture halls. Ruby was awarded an OBE for her services to mental health in 2015.
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Writing | Shaun Brown
Instead of letting life’s problems get us down, wouldn’t it be nice if we could just laugh them off instead? Often described as the key to a happy life, there are times when the thought of being able to have a good old chuckle seems like a total pipe dream. Enter the wonderful world of laughter therapy. Research stemming from the late 70s has shown it gives people a more hopeful outlook on life. As time has marched on, it has proved more and more popular as people look to find an alternative to traditional therapy, with both group and individual sessions available. Sessions vary depending on the therapist, however most will include a variety of activities and exercises to help individuals get in touch with their inner desire to laugh. The best news is that laughter therapy can be beneficial to people of all ages, and particularly to those with mental health issues. If you’re sitting there thinking that therapy isn’t for you despite the potential benefits, then never fear – simply finding ways to laugh in your everyday life could be enough to spark an upturn in both your physical and mental health. Attending a stand-up comedy show is an excellent way to get you giggling, and with more and more comedians using their shows to tackle some of the most important topics within the world of mental health, getting yourself down to your local comedy club could offer you the chance to not only chuckle, but relate to the stories at the same time.
Photography | Jo Brand – Featureflash Photo Agency, Stephen Fry – s.bukley, Ruby Wax – Entertainment Press / Shutterstock.com
One of the most recognisable comedians in the country, Stephen became president of Mind in 2011 and remains a strong advocate for bettering mental health. Stephen has bipolar disorder, following an initial diagnosis of cyclothymia.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE LAUGHTER
So here’s the big question – how can laughter therapy, or even just laughing in general, help? Well for one thing, it can help to reduce stress, as laughing on a regular basis produces increased levels of both serotonin and dopamine – chemicals that help to curb stress levels and stimulate certain pleasure centres of the brain. Research even suggests that merely anticipating a laugh is enough to help lower a variety of stress hormones, so a grin does go a long way to making you feel less stressed! Laughter also offers a plethora of other health benefits, including reducing blood pressure, improving your immune system and even offering a natural form of pain relief. Perhaps the most interesting benefit though is the fact that it can actually act as a mental stimulant, with studies suggesting that those of us who like a good giggle could actually perform better in certain tasks and tests. Whoever knew brain training could be so fun! So what are you waiting for? Grab yourself tickets to a comedy show, book yourself in for a session of laughter therapy, or even just get in touch with that one friend who thrives on spouting out cringeworthy puns and dodgy one-liners. This may be all it takes to get you laughing and help you reap the rewards.
Never shying away from controversial topics, comedy has been used to prompt conversation around politics, religion, sex and discrimination amongst others, and now, as the profile of mental health is being raised, people are becoming less afraid to bring it into their routines. Laughing at a topic naturally puts us at ease. And the more places we hear people broaching the subject, whether in stand-up shows, in music, in TV or our daily interactions, the more comfortable we’ll feel to make it part of our normal conversations – unashamed, unafraid and understanding. When the younger generation grow up hearing comedians joking about a situation that happened when they were in counselling, they’ll relate and know they’re not alone. For anyone concerned that it’s making light of a serious subject, consider how many comedians are discussing their own personal experiences. Think about what the joke is actually about – it’s not mocking a person going through a mental health crisis (when told right), it’s laughing at a situation. It’s laughing about ourselves – and who can’t relate to that? It may be an area where comedians still need to tread lightly so as to not trivialise a serious topic, but laughter is a new route to introduce people who may have no experience of mental illness to a new world. Research Laughter is a release, it’s engaging, and it suggests merely brings us together. It anticipating a could be one of our most powerful and laugh lowers much-needed tools stress in breaking down the stigma around mental health.
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Body Language Guide
We can say so much without uttering a word, but for those not already fluent in body language, we’ve translated some of the silent signs that might suggest someone’s struggling with their mental health
Writing | Ellen Hoggard
ental health awareness in the UK has accelerated in the past year. More of us are talking, and people are now understanding that mental health is not only an issue for the minority, it’s a serious issue for society, given that every year, nearly 10 million UK adults will experience mental ill-health. While conversation is thriving, not everyone is so transparent about how they’re feeling. Mental health affects us all, and so recognising the signs of someone in need is key in supporting people, and breaking the stigma. Body language (kinesics) is a physical, nonverbal form of communication.
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The person might not know they’re doing it, but it’s their way of conveying a feeling or intention. These nonverbal clues are important in recognising what another person is feeling, thinking, or even dreading. When we know the kinesics and what they mean, we can practise empathy and sympathy and provide the necessary support. It’s easy to live your life, oblivious to your surroundings. But becoming more conscious of the people around you, and how they feel, can be important in saving someone a lot of stress and in some cases, their life. Here are six forms of body language and what they typically mean:
While you might cross your arms if you’re cold, it can also be a way to show defence. A person may disagree with what is being said or done by the people around them, so cross their arms as a protective motion. People may also cross their arms and bend over to self-comfort, as though they are tucking themselves away.
Pulling or rubbing an earlobe commonly means they are trying to make a decision, but remain unsure. Some believe it means a person feels vulnerable and is trying to self-soothe, while others say it’s the sign of a liar.
Eyes and eyebrows are very expressive. The position of our eyebrows can mean many things, like anger, surprise or worry. But a furrowed brow is a common sign that the person is nervous or tense.
Twisting or fondling hair during conversation can be a sign of low confidence or insecurity. When uncomfortable, we tend to return to childlike comforts – touching something soft can reassure us that everything’s OK.
Shifting weight or moving our feet in a rhythmic, repetitive way can be an expression of impatience, nerves or excitement. This action can also mean the person feels fearful or even intimidated, as though keeping their feet moving can provide an escape if needed.
Repetitive behaviours are a way to pass time, enjoy a moment or help us deal with stress and anxiety. Rocking back and forth while in a trance-like state is typically a sign of extreme stress, like hearing distressing news or after witnessing a horrific event. This is a very primitive but effective act of self-soothing.
If you are worried about someone who is exhibiting these signs, here are some tips for reaching out and starting a conversation. Talking about mental health can be daunting, but remember, you don’t have to be an expert to give support: 1. Choose the right setting First, be aware of your surroundings, give yourself plenty of time and keep it casual. If they’re a friend or colleague, a quick “How are you?” over a cup of tea is a great way to start. Suggest meeting for a catch-up in a neutral space, like a cafe, for a less intimidating location. If you’re worried about a stranger, simply asking “Are you OK?” can help. You might be the only one to have asked. 2. Ask the right questions Keep the conversation positive. Be supportive and open-minded, offering them the time to open up. Of course, it’s not easy but ask how they are. Say you’ve noticed they’ve been acting differently and ask if there’s any way you can help. 3. Listen If they’re ready to talk, give them your full attention and listen without interruption. This is their moment, and they may have been holding things in for a very long time. Focus on the little steps they’re taking – remind them that talking about it takes courage and is the first step to feeling better. Keep the conversation going. If they’re a stranger, and you’re comfortable doing so, maybe share your phone number so they can text you afterwards. Follow up with friends and reassure them that they can talk to you – whenever they need you.
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s u r u i t P o e f h T Happiness Writing | Becky Wright
appiness, it’s the elixir of life. But, how many of us would like to be happier? And how many of us find work a critical factor in determining our level of happiness? We spend so much of our lives working, it’s inevitable that our careers play a key role in shaping our happiness. But, it doesn’t mean our happiness has to play second fiddle to our careers.
We discuss many aspects of life as if they’re on a spectrum. Mental health. Political beliefs. Sexual orientation. Even happiness. We’re all somewhere on that happiness spectrum, at any given moment, on any given day. Like other spectrums, our position on it is not limited or fixed – our mood is constantly changing. Our happiness is affected by all kinds of factors: the chemical balance in our brains; our relationships; what we’ve got for dinner; or even what day of the week it is. Anyone else feel happier on a Friday lunchtime than on a Monday morning, or is that just me?
But, joking aside, that does point towards perhaps one of the biggest overall factors of our happiness: work. If we look more closely at the relationship between work and happiness, there are some key observations to be made. Stress, work/life balance, unsociable hours, difficult colleagues – just a few of the things that can prevent us from being happy. But, we put up with it, because we’ve got to earn a living, right?
Photography | Alef Vinicius
There are many things in life we can’t control, particularly when it comes to our mental health. But, what we do for a living is something we can control – and something that can have a huge impact on our mental well-being
Paying the bills is obviously an important aspect of our lives. But, to be truly happy, we have to strive for more. I’m talking about engagement. Feeling fulfilled, gratified, like you have a purpose or a calling in life.
But maybe, despite the reality, you’d always hoped that one day you’d get the chance to turn what you love doing into a lucrative career path. Or, maybe you don’t really know what’s going to get you excited for Monday morning.
“Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” We all know the saying. Good old Confucius. But how many of us are actually lucky enough to be doing that? We don’t all have the luxury to be able to jack it all in, to do what we’ve always wanted – because, at the end of the month, the bills are still there.
Well, what if we all just stopped and reconsidered? Stopped dreaming, stopped wishing, stopped wondering. Stopped trying to stick to a path that we
think is destined for us, stopped thinking that we’re limited to the life we’re currently living. Stopped pretending that we’re really living life to the fullest. What if, instead, we refocused on what we can do right now to make life more enjoyable and filled with happiness? Continues >>>
ness’, Meet ‘The Pursuers of Happi who have done just that. These inspiring individuals have undergone lifestyle transformations to put their passions first, in their bid to full lead a more rewarding life, of happiness
Emma: from banking to Buddhism
Emma Slade left a high-flying career in finance to train as a yoga teacher, and eventually as a Buddhist nun. In 2015, she founded the UK charity Opening Your Heart to Bhutan to help special needs children in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. She has since received a Points of Light award for her charitable work, from Theresa May
What drove you to follow your passions?
Pursuing a personal quest for meaning in my life grew out of my experience of being held hostage in Indonesia. Escaping this traumatic situation gave me courage; I felt so lucky to be alive. I began to ask myself fundamental questions about what I wanted to do with my life, and contribute to the world.
What’s been the biggest learning curve in following your dream?
A lot of what I’ve done has been from gut instinct. It was a big thing to found and run a charity. It means I’m trusting others to volunteer their time and energy, purely out of the goodness of their heart. I feel enormous gratitude to those who help me and the charity. Realising how much can be achieved by working with others has been a huge part of my learning curve. I never expected us to make such a huge difference to the lives of children in Bhutan, but the reality is we have. It’s when I’m with these
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It’s when I’m with these children, and I see how much the charity has done to transform their lives, that I’m at my happiest children, and I see how much the charity has done to transform their lives, that I’m at my happiest.
Have you ever regretted leaving your old life behind?
No, I’ve never regretted leaving my financial career behind. Indeed, many of the skills required in running a charity mean I continue to use those very skills – just the reason for using them is different. I’m grateful for the skills and determination I learnt in the City and am pleased to see them coming to full fruition in helping children in Bhutan. In terms of living a celibate life dedicated to helping others, this may
seem like a big change. But, I was so inspired by my Lama [teacher] in Bhutan that, honestly, it was easy to adapt to this. I realise there’s a calmness of mind which comes from caring deeply for others, without being caught up in a relationship with just one individual. I realise it’s not for everyone but, for me, it’s the right way.
What’s next for you?
I wish to help as much as I can while continuing my Buddhist studies and daily prayers. For me, the discipline of time spent in this way, praying and meditating, is crucial in giving me the strength to carry on doing my very best. I hope the charity will complete building the special needs school in East Bhutan this year. We need to raise a further £40,000 to do this and I’m very hopeful this will happen. To see the school complete will be wonderful. As part of Emma’s efforts to raise funds for the charity, her inspirational true story was published in April 2017. Set Free is available on Amazon and in bookshops.
Jordan: from fitting travel around work to travelling for work What convinced you to make your passion profitable? I got bitten by the travel bug. I was using any opportunity between university and work to travel, saving my money and then spending it on the next adventure. I knew this wouldn’t be sustainable in the long run, so I had to try to make my passion into my career. I quit my job, sold my stuff and started working towards becoming a full-time traveller.
How were you able to make this your full-time career?
I’d been talking about leaving my UK life and travelling for a long time, but it didn’t seem real until I actually booked the flight. I decided to book a one-way ticket, as a push towards what I really wanted to do. After nine months, I’d burnt through all the money I’d saved up. I didn’t put enough work into carving this new life and spent all my time just enjoying travelling. My fall-back plan was to head to Australia on a working holiday visa and save up enough money to travel again. After six months, I was ready to go and was determined not to fail. I started doing freelance web design while building up my blog and YouTube channel and, this time, it all clicked – the only difference was the amount of work and time I put into it.
Have you ever had moments of doubt?
Jordan Simons went on his first backpacking trip aged 19 and, since then, all he wanted to do was see more of the world. He learned to film and started to vlog his travels on his YouTube channel, TheLifeOfJord
There’ve been times where I’ve been on top of the world, and times where I’ve wanted to quit it all. The main thing I try to remember is that everyone feels this – there are highs and lows in every walk of life. However, when I think about the future, it always involves travel and inspiring people to pursue their dreams.
What’s been your proudest moment?
When someone tells me I’ve inspired them to follow their own passion – that’s what makes it real to me. YouTube and other social media are temporary and it could all change at any moment, but knowing that I’ve made a positive impact on someone’s life and given them the push to chase their own dreams, that’s real.
What advice would give to those looking to make a career from their passions?
The main thing holding people back is usually themselves. You might be telling yourself that now isn’t the right time or how, if you had a bit more money it would all be possible, or how there are other people doing it already. The truth is, there’s never a good time. There’s never enough money. And, why aren’t you better than anyone else? Believe in yourself and start doing it now. The hardest part is just starting, you can figure out the rest along the way. Continues >>>
When I think about the future, it always involves travel and inspiring people to pursue their dreams Jordan hopes to inspire more people to travel and work remotely through his new venture, TravelContinuously.com
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Cat: from creatively stifled to taking a creative leap Cat Byrne had hobbies but, stuck in nine-to-five jobs, she never felt creatively fulfilled. In 2014 she started her design business, Gatto. Four years later, she’s doing it full-time, making a living from something she really loves
What encouraged you to make a career change?
After a year running the business part-time, I had the opportunity to take redundancy and jumped at it. I was desperate to spend all my time creating beautiful designs and doing what I loved. Honestly, it’s the best decision that’s ever been taken out of my hands. I’m not sure if I’d have been brave enough to take the leap myself!
You work for yourself now. How tough is it?
It’s really tough in a way that’s difficult to explain. Obviously, I love my job, but I really struggle with work/life balance and switching off. There’s always an email that needs a reply or an issue that needs your attention. It’s very difficult to forget about it and just relax! Motivation is also incredibly important, but mine lies in my passion for my work. Although self-employment can be tough, it’s a pleasure to do what I love every day and to have a business which sustains and supports the life I want to live.
Have you ever regretted the decision?
Last year, I really doubted myself. I completely changed my services and prices so I could work with the clients I love to work with. I went through a
quiet period where I had to really push my marketing efforts and rebuild my business. Luckily, I was working with a creative coach who helped me along the way – it was the best thing I could have done. Through times of doubt and regret, it’s important to remember the amazing work you’ve done and push yourself to get back to a good place.
What’s been your biggest learning curve?
I’ve learnt to value my own work and have the confidence to reflect that through my services and prices. Many creatives are belittled about charging for their work but, if you’re confident in your own abilities, you can ignore other people and create a sustainable business.
Although self-employment can be tough, it’s a pleasure to do what I love every day What’s next for you?
Now I’m at a good place with my work, I want to focus on creating more balance in my life. It’s easy to get swept up in the hustle culture, but I’m done working 12-hour days! I’m going to reduce my workload and make more time for personal projects and relaxing.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
If running your business doesn’t create the life you want, it’s not worth it. If running your business makes you just as miserable as having a normal job, something has to change. Create the hours you want to work, create the business you want to run, create a life you want to live. Running a business is about having as much control and freedom as possible – you deserve everything you want from life! Cat also produces her own podcast, The Creative Leap, all about creating a career out of the hobbies you love.
s happiness is subjective, it’s up to you to find out what it is that makes you happy. Whether that’s securing a dream job, finding faith, or picking up a hobby, the choice is yours. The most important thing is to be honest with yourself. Wherever you are on the happiness spectrum – whether you feel down, OK or wonderful – could you be happier? If the answer is yes, what changes can you make? The truth is, you can still bring more enjoyment into your life, even if you can’t (or don’t want) to have a complete life change. To help you, here are my tips for pursuing happiness:
you actually want from your career. More time to spend with family? To feel fulfilled in your work? Or is there an argument for working harder, to get more out of it?
Identify what happiness means to you
If you’re deliberating over a decision that feels risky, be it quitting your job, moving abroad, or booking a trip you’ve always dreamed of, ask yourself: what makes it risky? Symptoms of anxiety and excitement are strikingly similar. So, if you catch yourself feeling anxious, try reframing how you look at the situation. Tell yourself it’s an exciting opportunity – not one to be worried about.
What do you really want from life? Prioritise what’s most important to you. If you’re not drawn to anything in particular, look back at your childhood. Ask yourself: “What was I passionate about?” You might still have that passion – it’s just lain dormant for a while.
Establish your attitude towards your career
Instead of focusing on making work not feel like “work”, figure out what
Change can be as big or small as you want
Once you’ve identified your happiness trigger, you can make changes to increase the time you devote to this. Start with something small. If you want to travel more, research trips and plan ideal routes. Having done background research, you’ll have more courage to dive in.
Push yourself to take risks
Commit to your goals
Doing what you love only takes you so far. It’s integrity and commitment that
Photograph by rawpixel.c om
How to pursue your own version of happiness
will take you further. So, tell the people around you. Not only does this hold you accountable, but you open yourself up to extra support.
Find a coach
If you want to make changes to your health and fitness, it’s common to hire a personal trainer. If you want to make changes to the rest of your life, then hiring a coach to advise and motivate you could be just what you need! Visit lifecoach-directory.org.uk
Trying to be perfect and always make the right decision is very draining (and probably impossible). Instead, focus on finding the positives in every situation. Positivity and enthusiasm are contagious so, the more you embody these characteristics, the more you encourage others to do the same. The pursuit of happiness might not be straightforward but, if you’re determined enough, you will find it. So, if there’s one thing I hope you take away, it’s this: make a commitment to yourself and to your own happiness. Allowing yourself to be happy and to do things that make you happy is the best decision you’ll ever make.
Photography | Joseph Sinclair / Chilli Media
I’d tried to be strong for mum by being my usual funny self, but I wasn’t dealing with reality. I didn’t want to drink myself to death and my mum to lose another son
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Dealing with the reality of grief When Dancing On Ice star Jake Quickenden lost his dad and younger brother within four years, he began drinking heavily to numb his emotions. Today Jake, 29, tells Happiful why strength truly comes from talking out loud… INTERVIEW | GEMMA CALVERT
he endless nights of boozing had taken their toll on Jake Quickenden. As he stared at his reflection in the bedroom mirror the physical clues were obvious – the sallow complexion, the disheveled hair and the heavy, bloodshot eyes. The biggest casualty of all, though, was not visible to the eye – because, inside, he was crumbling. For five stormy weeks after Jake’s 19-year-old brother Oliver died from bone cancer – the same non-familial disease that killed their father Paul, 52, only four years earlier – Jake felt unable to “burden” his mum Lisa with his grief. Instead, the pub near his home in Scunthorpe was his solace, as he used
alcohol to numb his devastation until each morning when, sober and hungover, his feelings slowly resurfaced. “Not only did I feel bad because of the grief, I felt worse because alcohol is a depressant, so to make myself feel better, I’d go out again, the next night. It was a vicious circle,” explains Jake, 29, currently competing in ITV’s newly revived reality show Dancing On Ice. “One morning I looked in the mirror and I looked a state. I thought ‘What am I doing?’ I’d tried to be strong for mum by staying normal, by being my usual funny self, but I wasn’t dealing with reality myself. I didn’t want to drink myself to death and for my mum to lose another son so, in that moment, I realised that enough was enough.” Continues>>>
Growing up, although encouraged by his parents, in particular Paul, to be honest about his emotions, Jake believes he suppressed them in the aftermath of Oliver’s death because of a societal pressure on men to stay strong. It’s a contributing factor, believes Jake, to why men under 30 are three times more likely to commit suicide than their female contemporaries. “From being a teenager to your late 20s, boys feel like they’re untouchable and nothing can bother them, but deep down there are emotions going on that often don’t get discussed, which can have devastating consequences,” says Jake. “Mental health is the biggest killer and more needs to be done to encourage young men to talk about how they feel. Just like we have PE lessons, perhaps kids should be taught mental health in schools. A 13-year-old might be having mental health issues and not understand what they are.” Jake admits he “should” have sought help from a qualified professional long before Oliver’s death, but has no regrets about eventually deciding to confide in his mum – who split from Jake’s dad, Paul, before his diagnosis – older brother Adam, 33, and stepdad Matt, 45. “Sometimes it’s easier to talk to a stranger, but our family are so close that when I did open up, I felt like I could say anything and they wouldn’t judge me,” explains Jake. “I’ll never forget when I could finally be honest about my feelings. When I realised I could cry and didn’t need to be mega-strong, it was a relief. I realised that rather than making mum worse, opening up would make her better because we could deal with our grief together. We all bunched in together and got each other through it, but we always knew therapy was there if we needed it.” After Jake’s dad died in October 2008, the family had a year of “everyone being all right” before Oliver was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called osteosarcoma – a condition that made his bones vulnerable to breaking. Long before he passed away, Jake harboured feelings of guilt for not keeping his younger brother safe. “I was supposed to look after him and protect him and I couldn’t do it,” says Jake, who now plays football in an annual celebrity match to raise funds for Manchester-based bereavement charity Once Upon A Smile. “I always expected my brother to pull through, and when that didn’t happen and I realised that he wasn’t going to be with us forever, just like my dad, it was very unsettling.” “We literally had a year of everyone being all right after my dad died, then Olly was diagnosed. I had to get my
head around my little brother having cancer. It came out of nowhere.” Jake’s first encounter with mental health issues was at the age of 15, when he developed an obsessive compulsion to wash his hands after falling during a game of football and getting a bird skeleton stuck in his hand, which later became infected. “I’m not exaggerating when I say that I washed them 100 times a day for a good six months to a year. My hands got so dry from all the washing, they would bleed,” explains Jake, adding that his mum, who “also had OCD in the past”, helped to guide him out of the compulsion. In person, Jake is confident, engaging and an open book. It’s exactly why he has become British reality TV gold after originally finding fame on The X Factor in 2012, before reentering the talent contest in 2014, the year he appeared on I’m A Celebrity…. Get Me Out Of Here! and finished second to superbike champion Carl Fogarty. On top of a nationwide tour, guest presenting roles on ITV’s Lorraine, modelling and recording an EP, Jake’s biggest post-jungle reward has undoubtedly been finding love with camp mate Carl’s eldest daughter Danielle, 26, who he met at the show after party and began dating in February 2015. The couple, who live in Wilmslow, Cheshire, got engaged last September at their favourite wine bar in Ribchester, near Preston, where Jake ensured that Paul, Oliver and other departed family members were part of the romantic surprise. “I framed pictures of my dad, brother and Danielle’s grandparents, to let them know that they’re always in our thoughts,” explains Jake. “It made us feel like they were with us on a day that meant so much.” There’s no doubt that 2018 is going to be year to remember for Jake Quickenden, but whatever the outcome of Dancing On Ice you can be sure he will remain happy with his lot. Life has taught him there’s no other way to be. “I live by the saying: ‘You never know what day will be your last,” says Jake. “So why not put a smile on your face, get along with everyone and enjoy every single second?”
Mental health is the biggest killer and more needs to be done to encourage young men to talk about how they feel
Jake will be appearing on TV screens across the country in the brand new series of ITV’s Dancing On Ice, which kicked off on 6 January 2018. He joins stars such as Coronation Street’s Brooke Vincent and Antony Cotton, as well as singer and TV presenter Cheryl Baker. For more information and to follow Jake’s progress, visit itv.com/dancingonice
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Real people. Amazing journeys. Real people. Amazing journeys.
True Life | Eleanor’s story
An unpredictable manic episode meant I was hospitalised for my bipolar disorder Eleanor Segall had always been in control of her medication, until at 25, a high-dose of anti-depressants tipped her into psychosis. Through incredible support in the psychiatric hospital, Eleanor found her balance again, and a passion to break the stigma around mental health
sat on my hospital bed under the thin, green blanket, feeling spaced out and exhausted. I had been in a psychiatric hospital for four months and was taking a lot of sedating medications. I was admitted due to a sudden and severe bipolar manic episode – where everything unravelled and fell apart. I was diagnosed with bipolar affective 1 disorder at just 16 years old – a serious mood disorder where you have both depressive and “high” manic episodes. The disorder can be medicated and therapy helps, but it’s about finding the right medication and support, which can take a while as it’s different for each person. I’d been in hospital as a teenager, but this time I was 25 and, with hindsight, can see how I spiralled into illness. I was hospitalised in spring 2014, and in the months leading up to my hospitalisation I had a terrible depressive episode. It was one of the worst of my life. I had suicidal thoughts due to the depression, thoughts of self-harm, was lying in bed all day with a short break for meals, would cry all the time and be in such mental pain and torture. My psychiatrist and family were there for me, though, and were invaluable. I was prescribed a high dosage of anti-depressants, which lifted me out of the depression but carried their own risks. You see, as someone with bipolar, we also take mood stabilisers. My mood stabiliser was clearly not working,
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but I was too frightened to try a stronger medication. When prescribed the anti-depressants without the mood stabiliser working effectively, I tipped into a fast and unpredictable manic episode, due to the increased serotonin, and my state of mind. A manic episode means you can have racing thoughts, increased activity and movement, and delusions that, in the worst cases, can lead to psychosis, where you lose touch with reality in your mind. This is what happened to me. I was in hospital because, through no fault of my own (I had always been a stickler for taking my medication), my brain had gone quickly from depression, to normal functioning, to mania. It was extremely frightening. I falsely believed that family members were trying to hurt me and lock me away in hospital. I had no insight due to the severity of the mania, and couldn’t see how ill I was. As such, I was incredibly vulnerable. I had racing thoughts, reckless behaviour, irritability with others, grandiose thoughts where I thought I could do anything, was talking extremely quickly and pacing around most of the day. I was incredibly unwell and am so thankful for my support network and medical team for getting me the help I needed when I couldn’t advocate for myself. My brain has blocked out a lot of this to protect me. When I was first hospitalised, my psychiatry team had to move quickly to bring me down from the manic state.
This involved a lot of medication, including tranquilisers, supervision from the nursing team and my wonderful hospital psychiatrist, and a lot of patience. They knew I could get better. I had support from some amazing occupational therapists who ran groups and sat with me, making plans for my recovery, including getting back out and eventually back to work. I found art therapy to be extremely helpful – I loved expressing myself on paper. It took about two months of living in hospital before I began to recover from the manic state. I was still incredibly vulnerable and embarrassed by what had happened. I had made some wonderful friends on the women-only ward, some of whom had depression, bipolar, or schizophrenia. I am in touch with some of them to this day. However, you do become institutionalised in hospital and when, after four months, I was allowed to go home, it took a lot of time to heal from the trauma of having gone through a manic state and psychosis. It’s such a scary thing to happen when it seemingly comes out of the blue and renders you powerless. As I sat under my green blanket on the ward, I had no idea that I could recover and get back to normal life. When I came home again, my family were wonderful. I went to a local day-treatment unit for another four months, where I was started on my new mood stabiliser and attended therapy groups in the day while living at home. This really helped my recovery. After being discharged from the treatment unit, I was supported by a care coordinator – a psychiatric nurse who supports your care and liaises between you and the psychiatry team. I found her incredibly helpful, and worked with her for a year and a half, until I started feeling a lot better. Since that fateful year of 2014, I have made good strides in my recovery. I was incredibly fearful when I came home, but thanks to a combination of support, new medication, therapy and, of course, the healing power of time, I began to get back out into the world. I started working in a primary school. I learned to trust myself more and do all I could to prevent my illness from happening again. I still struggle with bad anxiety to this day, but I’m learning how to manage it.
I had suicidal thoughts due to the depression, thoughts of self-harm, and was in such mental pain and torture
For me, the most important thing once I left hospital and started my recovery was to talk more to others about my mental health. In March 2016, I set up my mental health blog Be Ur Own Light to talk to family and friends about my mental health, and it’s now been read on every continent. I also began to write for charities such as Rethink Mental Illness, Time to Change and Bipolar UK, as well as Huffington Post UK. I found writing about my health to be hugely empowering and I want to help break the stigma around mental health, which is why I am sharing, and will continue to share, my story. Having bipolar is not a curse; I look on it as a life lesson and something I will always live with. My dream would be to publish my life story as a book and share it with others across the world. The girl who lay on that ward so frightened and scared is only a small part of me. Now, I want to raise my voice even more to help others, so that stigma falls.
Our Expert Says
Graeme Orr MBACP (Accred) UKRCP Reg Ind counsellor
The support of her psychiatric team and family helps Eleanor cope with her bipolar affective disorder. Getting her medication right is a long journey, and at times she loses touch with reality, yet her medical team make the difference. Creative therapies help her and slowly she moves back to normal life out of the safety of the hospital. Now, she continues to express herself creatively by writing about mental health and her experience through blogs and for others.
February 2018 • happiful • 51
Sex & Relationships
How to avoid the ‘suffocation relationship’ This new coupling trend shows we expect way too much from our partner. But real love is all about balance Writing | Samantha Hearne
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he phrase “happily ever after” has been misinterpreted over the years to create an unrealistic version of our everyday lives. Living “happily ever after” looks, feels and behaves very differently for each of us. Relationships can be hard, involving compromise, conflict, honesty and pain. American therapists, however, have noticed a toxic new trend – the “suffocation relationship”. This is where we set ridiculous expectations on our partners, and impossible goals, in order for them to satisfy our wants and demands. Why is this happening? Possibly because we are living our modern lives at breakneck speed. It seems that once we have found love we will do anything to keep it that way, even if that means making extreme demands. Before I got married, I was told “love is not the passion, the butterflies in your tummy, the endless smiles and romance that comes at the start – it is what is left, when all of that has faded away, and you are left with two people, sitting on the sofa, holding hands in silence. That is what true love really is.” Focusing on the Hollywood fairy tale just reinforces how different real relationships can seem, and creates automatic disappointment when it doesn’t come true in our real lives. We, at Happiful, want to keep the real in your relationships, and give you some tips to give you and your partner a genuine balance.
You are only human
We all have down days. Times when we just want to sit and watch a film under a blanket; not entertain or be our best self. When you embrace this, and be 100% you, you’ll more often than not find that your partner wants the exact same! It will make
the time you spend doing new things and going to new places even more genuine, because you’re both allowing that much needed “down time” in your lives.
Go outside together
Technology is an amazing addition to our lives, but sometimes we all need time away from our devices. Agree some time together for a walk, or eating out, or just a sit down in the park. This quality time doesn’t require fireworks or huge gestures of love, but a simple focus on being present for one another – this is true love.
Once we find love we will do anything to keep it that way, even if that means making extreme demands
Have your own hobbies
We all need time to be ourselves and do our own things. So, go out with your own friends, enjoy your own hobbies, and spend time just expressing yourself as an individual. By doing this, you will have new things to talk about with your partner, a new burst of energy, and new levels of excitement. Agree in advance which nights or days you are busy and make sure you pencil in time for you as a couple as well. Love is all about balance.
Love is equality and choice. We don’t want to “trick” our loved one and not tell them when our birthday is to see if they remember. This sets them up to fail, not succeed. Plan events in advance – make sure you are both free to spend time with one another’s friends, family events, birthdays, celebrations, and anything in-between that will involve both of you. This clear communication allows you both to have the freedom to plan around these events and also enjoy the other aspects of your life that you enjoy – apart and together.
When you have conflicts and disagreements, it shows you are both passionate, both willing to argue your point and share it with the other person, and express emotions. Conflict is a healthy part of any relationship and is needed to prevent a situation escalating, festering resentment. You are individuals. Your “happily ever after” comes when you’re back where you started, cuddling on the sofa, and are reminded of why you love the other person – for their passion, drive and honesty. This is the real in your relationship.
February 2018 • happiful • 53
The Happiful Road Test
Caffeine-Free Energy Drinks 80% of the world’s population consumes a caffeinated product each day, so what would it take to give it up? Writing | Kathryn Wheeler
affeine is a natural brain and central nervous system stimulant found in tea, coffee, and cocoa plants. While it’s relatively harmless, those with anxiety and panic disorders should avoid it, and over time we can become dependant on a daily caffeine fix. Do you wake up feeling groggy and irritable? Or maybe you just can’t concentrate until you’ve had your first cup of coffee? It’s possible that you may be experiencing caffeine withdrawal, rather than actual fatigue. This month Happiful tested five different natural, caffeine-free energy drinks, to see if they could give us the energy boost we normally look for in a cup of coffee. From the concentrated shots adored by celebrities, to fruity energy drinks, how do they stand up to the energy-boosting staples?
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ORGANIC GINGER SHOT James White
Made from crushed ginger and apple juice, this shot is designed to give you an intense pick-up. RRP: £1.35
Taste Packaging Feeling Energised?
“It was lovely! I had it instead of my morning coffee at 8am – an hour later I’m feeling so much more energised and ready for the day!” – Ellen
MULTIVITAMIN FRUIT DRINK
CONCENTRATED BEETROOT SHOT
Free from artificial flavourings, preservatives and sweeteners and enhanced with vitamins, this drink is a blend of fruit juices and sparkling water. RRP: £1.45
A concentrated shot of 98% beetroot juice and 2% lemon juice, this shot has been developed in conjunction with Exeter University to give you a nutritious energy boost. RRP £1.45
Beet IT Organic
“I was quite looking forward to this drink as I normally like beetroot juice, but unfortunately the taste wasn’t what I was expecting and it nearly made me gag!” – Paul
ORGANIC GREEN TEA ENERGY POWERSHOT Little Miracles Despite containing green tea, this drink remains caffeine free and is a refreshing blend of super fruits and ginseng. RRP: £1.39
Taste Packaging Feeling Energised?
TURMERIC JUICE SHOT James White
A spicy blend of turmeric, apple juice, lemon, chilli and black pepper, this shot promises a powerful wake-up call! RRP £1.69
Taste Packaging Feeling Energised?
Here at Happiful HQ, 78% of us drink of Happiful would have up to five cups of a the caffeine-free caffeinated drink a energy drink again day, yet only 11% had looked into caffeine-free alternatives. We loved the black glass look of the Purdey’s Edge drink, and the ginger shot was the wake up call our caffeine-deprived brains needed to kick-start the day. While we found that Little Miracle’s powershot didn’t have the intensity of the other drinks, it was the beetroot shot that really turned our stomachs. Overall, 77% of us would consider having the drink again, and 65% said “yes” or “maybe” to choosing one of these drinks over a caffeinated one. So are the celebrity endorsed energy shots worth the hype? Well, let’s just say we wouldn’t turn our noses up at a nice shot of turmeric on a Monday morning.
February 2018 • happiful • 55
LEARN FROM ‘KINTSUGI’
Photo by Enis Yavuz
King i h Jas a f ar bon te w g. The loh k to asd o ﬂaw d bon s. Rep he t l ad te w pe
True Life | Laura’s story
After my mum lost her battle with cancer, I realised I had high-functioning depression Laura Graham put on a brave face following her mum’s death, but through wanting to make a positive difference in the world in memory of her mum, she recognised the emotional impact that grief had on her
e’d known it was coming, but nothing prepares you for that day. You’re looking at this person lying there who was always your strength, and now they’re gone. It was third time unlucky in mum’s case, as she had beaten breast cancer twice before. It was a persistent disease and even though she had won the battles, ultimately, it had won the war. The world became dark. Literally everything seemed dim, as if the brightness had been turned right down.
Mum had suffered with very bad health in the 10 years before her death. She’d had a heart attack, both hips replaced due to arthritis, and a very painful hernia. This was interwoven between the three breast cancer diagnoses and rounds of treatments. The first time, I was hopeful she would beat it. The second time, I figured she’d beaten it before so she could do it again. When she did, we threw her a surprise “you didn’t die” party, which she loved. The third time, I knew it was different. Continues >>>
February 2018 • happiful • 57
True Life | Laura’s story
Mum wanted to die at home and dad promised her she would
Mum wanted to die at home and dad promised her she would. He became her full-time carer. I lived two hours away and would visit on the weekends, but it wasn’t enough. Dad was on call 24/7, with very little respite available. On the Saturday, she was in bed trying to play her Nintendo DS but her brain had been affected by that stage, and she couldn’t quite work it out. By the Tuesday, she’d gone. It was 5am when dad woke me. I was glad I was there – to help, to make calls, to meet with the undertaker. It was my sister’s wedding two days after her death, and I painted my face on and welcomed guests as if nothing had happened. Even at the funeral I went into hostess mode, smiling, talking to everyone, working the room. Commenting on what a brave fight she’d put up and that at least she wasn’t in pain anymore. I was back at work the following week and did everything without thinking. I thought I was being strong. I was 26 and had lost my mum. She was too young. I was too young. Of course, I cried a lot. Mornings were the worst. I’d be getting ready for work and sobbing from the time I woke up to the moment I’d leave the house. When I shut the door behind me, I was shutting the pain in and not allowing it to feature until the next morning – that awful moment when I opened my eyes and for a second she wasn’t dead. Then I’d remember. Because I was crying so much, I thought I was processing the grief. I wasn’t. I didn’t understand what depression
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was at the time. I thought it meant that you couldn’t get out of bed, or that you would be in hospital, or on medication. I was living my life, seeing my friends and working, so I couldn’t be depressed. People mentioned counselling and I did go about six months after she died, but I only managed one session. It was 2009 and no one I knew had ever been to counselling. It felt self-indulgent and weak. I just figured that people die all the time and no amount of talking about it would make any difference. I self-medicated with alcohol, but because I was only binge-drinking at weekends, I thought I was just being a normal 26-year-old. At 30, I changed jobs. I started working for a welfare-towork company helping the long-term unemployed get back into work. I was quickly responsible for people claiming health benefits, the majority of whom were suffering with mental health problems. I learnt a lot in order to support them, and it was then that I started recognising the severity of what I’d been through. Seeing other people struggle made me realise I wasn’t alone and, actually, what I was feeling was normal. I understood that my perception of depression was all wrong and just because I was functioning, didn’t mean I wasn’t suffering. I started to realise that I hadn’t processed my grief at all. In 2016, seven years after mum’s death, I really began focusing on what kind of person she was. She was very positive and always saw the best in others. She wanted to help the most vulnerable in society and championed the underdog. I felt like I needed to do something that would continue her positive legacy, and the positivity blog “It’s Character Building” was born. One of the first blogs I posted was about mum’s death. I just wrote without thinking and it
Volunteering has given me a sense of pride, happiness and community
all came out. The guilt I felt for not doing more, not telling her how amazing she was; I hadn’t told anyone before. The post helped me to recognise that I should have talked about it, and posting it for the whole world to read was freeing. The fact that someone in Brazil has read about my mum, and what we went through, brings me happiness. It also allowed me to open up a dialogue with friends about how I was really doing. Instead of taking the standard “I’m fine” as an answer, they would ask again: “But really, how are you?” In September 2016, a month after I started the blog, I shaved off all my hair. My friend’s mum had been diagnosed with breast cancer and though I couldn’t cure her, I could raise money for Macmillan. I raised £1,700 for the charity and the process of shaving my hair was life-changing. It helped me come to terms with something that mum went through that always troubled me deeply. It also forced me to make peace with my appearance and discover body positivity. With Macmillan in the forefront of my mind, I contacted them to share my story. I have since written five guest blogs for them on topics such as surviving Mother’s Day, brave the shave, and carers week. I love the fact that my words are able to help people in some tiny way, and with that, I have a small amount of control back. Promoting the blog online led me to discover likeminded people like Lorraine and Lee. They set up The Lewis Foundation, which provides free gift packs to cancer patients at our local hospital, Northampton General. I was so moved by what they do that I contacted them to volunteer.
Volunteering with them has given me a sense of pride, happiness, and community. It’s helped to work through the grief, because I’m now doing something positive that I wouldn’t be doing had I not lost my mum. It also restores my faith in people. When I see what Lorraine and Lee have created and all the other people who contribute to raising money and creating the packs, it reminds me that the world is a good place and that we can all do our bit. Lots has happened in the last year that’s helped me see the light at the end of a very long tunnel. I wouldn’t have done any of this if it wasn’t for the difficult time I went through. None of it can bring her back, but I’ve taken this awful event and made something good come from it. The reason I named my blog “It’s Character Building” is because it refers to when mum would tell me not to worry, because whatever was affecting me was building character. She couldn’t have been more right. It’s been a long journey and I wish I knew eight years ago what I know now. I wish I’d started this chain of events long ago, but maybe by sharing my story it’ll help someone else, and that’s something I know mum would be proud of.
Our Expert Says
Rachel Coffey BA MA NLP Mstr
Losing a loved one is a difficult time, but as Laura discovered, we do need to process what’s happened. Sharing our story – with friends, a professional or in writing – is part of that journey. Laura’s courage allowed her to recognise her depression, and to use her experience to benefit others. As a result, she’s keeping her mum’s memory alive by making a positive difference in the world.
February 2018 • happiful • 59
Mythbusters: Food & Drink
Ripe for Picking? A staple in many households’ fridges, orange juice is the refreshing beverage most of us see as essential in a balanced breakfast meal. But, is the tangy, citrus thirst-quencher as nutritious as we think? Writing | Rebecca Thair
he perfect accompaniment to a hearty breakfast, orange juice is the most popular fruit juice drink in the UK, taking 64% of the market share in 2016. A great alternative for those looking to avoid a caffeine-fix in the morning, while still giving an energy boost, what’s not to love? Well, I hate to break it to you, but dentists and nutritionists don’t have such a smile on their face...
Each 150ml portion of orange juice counts as one of your recommended five-a-day, plus you get a good dose of Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant
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supporting a healthy immune system. It also helps your body absorb iron – needed to assist in transporting oxygen around your body, stopping you from feeling tired. There’s also Vitamin D, essential for keeping your bones healthy, and folic acid which helps cell growth and maintenance. The nutrients extravaganza continues with zinc, potassium and calcium too, along with other vitamins, making the health benefits pretty fruitful.
A lot of people substitute eating the actual fruit for drinking the juice instead – I’m certainly guilty. Whether it’s because it’s
quicker and easier to consume rather than fumbling around peeling an orange, or because you’re not so keen on having the smell on your hands for the rest of the morning, you might think what’s the harm? I’m getting the same goodness – vitamins and minerals, right? But, the problem is the juice is full of natural sugars. Even the freshlysqueezed-before-your-eyes kind. In a “no-added sugars” 150ml glass of OJ, you can still expect about 15g of natural sugars – roughly 17% of an adult’s daily recommended intake. If you’re drinking something processed, expect a lot more – unfortunately that sweetness does come from somewhere!
Photography | Keilidh Ewan
Alright, 17% might not sound so bad, but consider your normal portion – are you having a small tumbler or a full, large glass? To put this in perspective, 150ml is less than half the size of a can of drink. And in that, you’re still getting about the same amount of sugar as two Jaffa Cakes. The reason we need to limit our intake of sugar is because it can be very damaging to our teeth. Sugar reacts with bacteria in your mouth to create acids which damage the tooth enamel. Over time, the damage can lead to cavities and tooth decay. Additionally, too much sugar can lead to type 2 diabetes, because your body becomes resistant to the hormone insulin which changes sugar into energy.
Orange juice can definitely be part of a healthy diet, but knowing your portion size is so important – even with drinks.
While a cool glass of orange juice in the morning will give you that energy boost you might need, and plenty of beneficial nutrients to get your day off to a good start, do think about your teeth – for your dentist’s sake. Use a smaller glass, and avoid going back for more. Try using a straw to bypass your teeth a little. And check the packaging for any added sugars before you buy – these can sometimes be disguised as corn syrup, agave nectar or honey. But, the best thing to do might be to just eat the whole fruit – it contains more nutrients and less sugar than the juice alone. Your pearly whites will thank you.
February 2018 • happiful • 61
True Life | Henrietta’s story
I thought I knew my mind, until hypochondria changed it beyond all recognition After being reunited with her birth mother, Henrietta Ross learnt about a line of hereditary cancer. From that point onwards, intense health anxiety ruled her life. But by learning how to recognise her triggers, Henrietta eventually took back control
’d never met a hypochondriac before, but I knew the term tended to be used pejoratively. It was a word thrown at some malingerer who spends their life frustrating over-worked doctors with a list of imaginary symptoms, or an old aunt who takes to her bed after a particularly difficult sneeze. It was never a word that I thought would apply to me. I was the kid who loved the smell of my father’s first aid kit – those little saline wipes in foil packets, tubes of Savlon, and the antiseptic smell of surgical spirit. I used to leaf through first aid manuals just for fun, and I even took a great liking to the horror that is Annie, the CPR dummy, who my father often brought home in a suitcase as he was a sergeant in St John Ambulance. Years later, I still liked Savlon but not manuals about health or CPR dummies in brown suitcases that look like dead bodies. I feared everything and anything to do with health or death. I had sympathy for Hans Christian Andersen who carried a note in his pocket that said “I only seem dead”, in case he should be buried alive.
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I’ve always been anxious; struggled socially, occasionally been obsessive around food, and had panic attacks. But illness never usually worried me. When it did, I didn’t tell a soul because I felt horribly ashamed. Shame is often the one constant in mental illness. I didn’t know or like this version of myself, and felt utterly lost and alone. I’d never known my mother growing up, and so knew nothing about family health history. When I first met her in 2012, I found out that on my grandfather’s side, all the females had died of breast cancer. He himself had died from prostate cancer and as my mother and I met, she revealed her sister was also battling cancer.
Reunion with a parent is an extraordinarily I tried to get help, but my so called “mild anxiety” complex time emotionally, and my discovery about was brushed-off by psychiatry. It hasn’t been easy, the medical history didn’t hit me until a few months it still isn’t. We need, and deserve, help, but it isn’t later. I began to feel this odd always forthcoming, especially in times of sense of dread about my own budget cuts and scaling back of services. health. I did this alone by trying (and failed An odd sensation in my body, many times) to not trawl the web for 10– or finding a bruise or a lump, 20 seconds, gradually increasing the time makes my heart drum like a in small increments. I’d end up sitting as rabbit’s paws when sensing still as a statue, my mind and body so full danger. My lungs swell with of tension I couldn’t move. Those first few ice, my stomach’s a ball of seconds – and later minutes – could be tangled chords. Immediately, utterly unbearable. But if I got past them, I’m checking the bruise from things tapered off a little and I could try different angles, in different to re-establish a little control. rooms and in different mirrors, I had to learn when I’m more likely time and time again. to get into an anxious spiral. I’m worse Then I’m on Google comparing when I’m tired, when my period is due, my spot to the many images that when I feel vulnerable or am struggling load on the screen. Sweat dribbles with other aspects of my mental health. down my spine. My arm feels I still have to step into my thoughts numb. I read the 342 reasons for I found out that on at times and try to head off a bout of a spot, but focus on the couple approaching paranoia, but being more my grandfather’s that suggest it’s cancer. aware of the anxiety and its subtleties I am up in the night checking helps me do this more effectively now. side, all the my body, obsessively reading Aristotle said: “Nature does nothing females had died books, trawling the web for uselessly,” and it made me think of of breast cancer answers. All to ensure I’m well how much time I spent in my own versed in what I may have to nature worrying about things I couldn’t contend with at some point in control. It’s the scariest part in some the future. ways. Yet there is a freedom in not At my worst, I would turn to knowing what life will bring when you meet my partner. Health anxiety is a form of OCD and it from a less fearful, more curious place, and it has I often think trying to obtain constant reassurance allowed me to become less enslaved by my thoughts, is a fundamental part of the disorder. It put my and to take back control of my life. partner in a difficult position because no amount of reassurance could ever stop or lessen my anxiety. I also obsessed over my partner’s health, so every time Our Expert Says he cut a finger, had toothache, a cold, or complained When Henrietta’s anxiety focuses her on the of anything, I would crumble. worst possible outcomes it overwhelms her It seems astonishing, but three years after meeting life. She finds no help in the medical profession, feeling she is not a priority. Alone and forced my mum, my every waking moment was occupied to challenge her thinking processes in her own way, she pushes through her anxiety in small with disease. This was exasperated by the media, Graeme Orr manageable increments. There are difficulties, MBACP (Accred) UKRCP who constantly tell us about “the woman who had but she kept her goal in mind: freedom from the Reg Ind counsellor enslavement of anxiety... no symptoms but died of cancer in six weeks” or the “three signs you are about to have a stroke”.
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Sex & Relationships
can you spot it before it happens? Counsellors often have to tackle the thorny subject of straying partners. Our journalist-counsellor looks at the potential ‘risk factors’ that research says may increase the chances of betrayal Writing | Lucy Cavendish
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met Ed and Nadine (not their real names) for their first couples counselling session three weeks ago. Like many couples they were in pain. Nadine, an attractive woman in her mid30s, seemed small and shrunken. Ed was of a similar age, and as handsome as she was pretty. He sat on the sofa with his arms crossed rather defensively. She sat on the other side of the sofa, hugging a cushion. They told me they had come to see me because their relationship had reached a critical state. Nadine told me that Ed was having an affair, and so it all began. By this, I mean everything that occurs when someone has been unfaithful: victimisation, recriminations, shattered trust, hurt feelings and a sense of “How on earth did we get to this?” As a trained couples therapist, I deal with the thorny issue of affairs a lot of the time. Couples don’t come to see me because everything is ticking along nicely. They come because they have hit a crisis point, and that crisis has often resulted in one or the other embarking on an affair. My job, I feel, is to look at where the desire to be unfaithful comes from. The idea is that if we were all a bit more mindful of the warning signs, then couples can cut off the devastation that affairs cause at the pass. Affairs happen in 30–60% of marriages and the aftermaths can take years to mend, if at all. Families are ruined, trust is broken, it all feels horrible and disastrous. But, can we tell who is likely to engage in an affair? Is it an individual transgression or the product of a faulty (or sometimes temporarily faulty) marriage? Flashing signals for me include a man or woman who has had affairs in the past: a serial adulterer. In my therapy room, it
tends to be more men than women who have multiple affairs. Other factors might be couples who no longer spend time with each other or have little energy for each other, or a relationship where having an affair is fine – until someone has one, of course. Lives get busy. Children come along. Pastimes appear. I had one couple for whom the husband’s obsessive cycling hobby was ruining their marriage. For this couple, it was all about the avoidance of intimacy, and so cycling provided an escape. For some people, having an affair automatically signals the end of the marriage or relationship. It may be the one thing they cannot bear. For others, sexual infidelity is not particularly important and a sexual affair is of little consequence. Most of us inhabit a rather more grey area in between; it’s impossible to know how we would react until it happens. Many long-term marrieds have a habit of turning a blind eye. There’s a sense that as long as the erring partner continues in their relationship with love and support, and the non-erring partner isn’t humiliated, then maybe the marriage can toddle on as usual. These are complicated and emotive issues. So, why do people have affairs? We must look at why we might end up being unfaithful – in other words, the risk factors. Research shows there are several factors that crop up. One is a history of affairs in the family. Repeating the patterns they witnessed as a child may seem oddly “normal”. I’ve met many a person who is devastated that they have behaved just as their father or mother did. But through couples therapy we can unpick the past and help the couple move forwards. Continues>>>
Many serial adulterers actually dislike themselves intensely, but often masquerade as highly confident people
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Sex & Relationships
Affairs happen in 30–60% of marriages, and the aftermaths can take years to mend, if at all
Another factor is boredom. Some people just get bored. If you have a partner who can’t settle and is always trying out new things and changing life patterns a lot of the time, it will be a major job to keep them interested in a long-term nourishing, fulfilling, relationship. For them, that might feel stale or stagnant. They need excitement and are hedonists rather than realists, prepared to do the hard work of maintaining and sustaining a committed relationship. Low self-esteem can also lead to an affair. If a partner constantly feels as if they are an imposter – pretending at being successful but inside suffering from crucifying self-doubt – the lure of the affair is that the excitement and attention makes them feel all shiny and new. The affair is a temporary fix before the adulterer sinks back into self-loathing. Many serial adulterers actually dislike themselves intensely, but often masquerade as highly confident, competent people, without a care in the world. This can also lead to a fear of intimacy. Affairs sabotage relationships. The outcome can be catastrophic but, for an intimacy-
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avoider, they can be wonderful things. It’s impossible to get truly, frighteningly close to someone who runs off and engages in a clandestine affair as soon as intimacy rears its head. Sometimes it’s just the thrill – the chase, the first touch, the wonderful sense of being with someone new who finds you devastatingly attractive. The ultimate thrill is the fear of being found out. Many an adulterer plays a cat and mouse game with the truth, and the ultimate result can be the act of being found out. Affairs can actually bring couples together, eventually. Issues that have been avoided are forced out into the open. Other more complicated indicators are the desire to wound, and the serial adulterer who will never really change because they have no desire to. They love the whole rigmarole of being unfaithful. As political maverick (and serial adulterer) Jimmy Goldsmith once said: “If you marry your mistress you create a vacancy.” Women often tell me they’ve had an affair because of a lack of emotional fulfilment. I hear this from women a lot of the time in my therapy room.
It’s not necessarily about sex. They are unfaithful simply because they need more emotional support. As a client put it: “I feel like a lovely car that has been left in the driveway and no one bothers to shine me up and take care of me.” If they then meet someone who makes them feel emotionally looked after, and cared for, a form of affair happens which may be of an emotional rather than a sexual nature, but it can still be very damaging. There are many things we can do to cope, once an affair has happened. Change only happens when we accept life as it is on an everyday basis. This also means looking at why an affair has happened and how to keep our partnerships alive. But if we are aware of the risk factors, at least we have the ability to maybe spot what might be around the corner, and take steps to bolster up our relationships. It’s not easy. Keeping a relationship alive with all its ups and downs is hard work – we need intimacy, excitement, sex, understanding, shared memories, enjoyment of the same things, communication, acts of appreciation and a shared commitment to “affairproofing”. As famed relationship expert Esther Perel points out, mating in captivity is not easy, but it’s probably the best chance we have of survival. And hopefully happiness and fulfilment.
If we are aware of the risk factors, we can take steps to bolster up our relationships
Photography | Frances Davidson
True Life | Sarah’s story
I changed my life with mindfulness Television and radio presenter, Sarah Powell, has experienced anxiety since her teens. After trying many alternative therapies, she found mindfulness was the solution to quiet her chattering mind
haven’t meditated for a few days and I can feel it. My mind is getting busier and my body is getting tense. It’s the middle of the day and I’m inexplicably tired. I’m dreading something, but I don’t know what it is. I feel stressed, but I don’t know why. I’m worrying about everything and absolutely nothing. What does anxiety feel like? Think of it as never-ending questions that chatter away in your mind – usually unanswerable ones. For example, this morning I needed to catch a train to meet someone. I planned the journey
last night, decided which train to get and how much time I would need to get to the station. For most people the thought process would end there, but my anxiety came into its own. The questions started coming: what if I’m late? What if the train’s cancelled? What if I can’t get a seat? What if I wear the wrong thing? What if I lose my ticket? Should I even be going? Do I want to go? What if it’s awkward and doesn’t go well? What if I ruin the opportunity? This lasted the whole of last night. That’s what anxiety does, it whirls away behind the scenes creating worries and fears. Continues >>>
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True Life | Sarah’s story My earliest memory of being anxious was aged 15, going to see a band I loved. I was excited but also felt nerves, which turned into fear, and then dread. I got a sick feeling, and my arms and legs went a bit shaky. My brain was telling me I wasn’t OK, but it couldn’t tell me why. There was no reason to feel worried or scared of anything, but I was. I started to feel like this more and more in my teens and into my twenties. Then when I started progressing in my career, my anxiety found new things to worry me about. If big opportunities came up I would feel excited, but then stressed and fearful. I would get panicked and be shaky. Then the feelings started to spill over from just being ahead of big events and into my day-to-day life. My mind would get muddled as too many thoughts crashed around, second guessing and clouding everything up.
Simple decisions such as finding a train seat or choosing what to wear became hugely daunting. The worries and fears would chatter away in the background. Mental illness affects one in four of us, but despite my inner monologue being on overdrive, I never considered myself as the one in four. While one side of my brain was in constant chatter, the other side would argue back: “What do you have to complain about? Your life is amazing! How can you have the right to say you’re scared and you’re struggling?” I didn’t want to talk about my anxiety much in case people thought I was being heavy or boring or
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‘When I started progressing in my career, my anxiety found new things to worry me about’
Photography | Camilla Greenwell.
Mental illness affects one in four of us, but despite my inner monologue being on overdrive, I never considered myself as the one in four
moaning. So I thought, “I’ll wait until I’m fixed and can be carefree and happy and normal all the time!” Turns out, this doesn’t exist. So I decided to stop trying to fight it, and started to address it. I have friends who have used prescription drugs and it has saved people’s lives, and thank God for it. For whatever reason though, I knew I didn’t want to take medication. I knew I wanted to find something else. I believed there would be something else that could really help me, yet finding it took me a really long time. I’ve had acupuncture, cranial therapy and reiki. I’ve seen a shaman and had readings from psychic healers. I’ve had gong baths (sitting in the middle of a room while gongs are banged around you). I went to sound therapy, I’ve been prodded and massaged and hoovered over. I’ve had oils and crystals and sage rubbed all over me. So when a friend suggested mindfulness, of course I said I would give it a go.
I always feel better post-meditating. I’m calmer, happier, and have more energy and confidence
Mindfulness was quite alien to me when I arrived to do a workshop day about it. What I took away was putting distance between myself and my thoughts, and not being in a constant cycle of questions and worries. I could just be, just exist from moment to moment. You also don’t have to eat kale to be more mindful, nor sit on the floor with perfect posture. I now meditate for 10 minutes every day, just sitting somewhere and noticing my breath and my body. The time might seem a big commitment and at first it might feel strange or odd, but there are some amazing apps to do it with. Headspace is brilliant if you’re just starting out or you’ve been meditating for a while. Insight Timer has meditations for all kinds of moods and feelings. Self-care is usually at the bottom of our list behind work, family, food, etc. Yet I always feel better postmeditating. I’m calmer, happier, and have more energy and confidence. The chat is quieter and the questions come less and less.
Five years on from the workshop, I am still working on becoming more mindful, sometimes feeling guilty and telling myself there are people in a much worse position than me, but the truth is, it’s OK to say I’m not OK. And it’s OK to make time and space for whatever helps you get better. Sarah Powell is a TV and radio presenter, writer, and co-host of Jules and Sarah The Podcast. Sarah blogs at The Museum of Sarah and you can follow her on Twitter @ThisSarahPowell
Our Expert Says
MUKCP (reg), MBACP (reg) pyschotherapist and clinical supervisor
Sarah’s story highlights the powerful effect mindfulness can have in managing anxiety. Learning to relate differently to your feelings can contribute positively to your mental health. I admire Sarah’s persistence in trying treatment options. We are all different, and no one solution works for everyone. Keep going until you find what works for you – your mental health matters.
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Eat Well For Less
EAT HEALTHILY on a budget Writing | Ellen Hoggard
The saying might be ‘cheap as chips’ but if you’re watching the pennies, you can still have healthy, well-balanced meals that don’t break the bank 70 • happiful • February 2018
When money’s tight, the weekly food shop can be challenging. When it’s the new year and you’re dedicated to eating healthily, it’s near impossible. But if you follow some of our top tips, you’ll find eating healthy on a budget is achievable, without sacrificing taste.
QUICK RECIPE BEAN & VEGETABLE CHILLI Serves 5
Plan your meals
Think ahead about what you’d like to make and write a shopping list. This way you’ll buy only what you need without any impulse purchases.
Make the brand switch
Swap premium, prepackaged foods for basic brands. Buy loose fruit and veg sold by weight. Try out your local markets – often these are much cheaper than the big brands.
Eat your leftovers
Save on waste and put your leftovers aside for lunch the next day – making something like a lasagne can be enough for several portions, and often tastes even better a day later.
Learn to cook from scratch
Cooking from scratch is a skill. It’s much healthier (without the added sugar and salt) and costs a hell of a lot less than a takeaway.
You don’t owe loyalty to any supermarket, and some are more expensive than others. Price-check the big names on comparison sites, and do your shop online. You’ll save a bundle.
Find ‘happy hour’
You might not want go shopping after work, but most supermarkets will discount fresh produce at the end of the day. In particular, you can often pick up meat at a reduced price and freeze for future use.
Frozen fruit and vegetables are prechopped and just as nutritious as the fresh stuff, but are often cheaper and last a lot longer. Perfect for a quick, nutritious morning smoothie.
You might not be a full-time vegetarian, but cutting down your meat consumption isn’t only a great way to save money, it’s good for you and the environment, too!
For more tips and tailored advice, find a nutrition professional near you using nutritionist-resource.org.uk
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
1 tbsp coconut oil 1 large white onion 2 large garlic cloves 1 chilli pepper 1 red pepper 1 carrot 4 tbsp tomato puree 400g tomato passata 250ml vegetable stock 400g tinned butterbeans 400g tinned kidney beans 400g tinned pinto beans 1 cup sweetcorn 1 tsp hot paprika 2 tsp cumin 1 tsp oregano ½ tsp chilli powder Salt and pepper to season
Method Finely chop the onion and garlic and fry on a medium heat. Chop the peppers and the carrot into chunks. Add to the pan and cook for five minutes. Add the tomato puree and stir. Add the passata and stock. Leave to simmer. Add the beans and sweetcorn. Add the spices. Stir well and leave to simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Serve with boiled rice or a side salad. Divide any leftovers and keep in the fridge. Pop in the microwave at work for an easy, affordable and filling winter lunch!
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Sex & Relationships
HOW EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT ARE YOU? Understanding our moods and emotions provides a wealth of benefits. Psychotherapist and relationship expert Andrea Harrn explains how learning about them can be incredibly empowering Writing | Andrea Harrn
e’ve all heard of IQ, but how about EQ? These days emotional intelligence is measured for business and employment purposes as a key indicator for success in the workplace. The smartest person with the highest grades doesn’t necessarily make the best employee. On a personal and relationship level, it’s just as important. Emotional intelligence is having the capacity to identify and manage your emotions with the ability to empathise with the emotional state of others. This skill comes naturally to some, but can be worked on by everyone. We all experience a range of on-going emotions and moods. However, often we can feel overwhelmed by our thoughts or bad about our feelings. We are all transitioning through life, and our emotions are an expression of who we are in any given moment. Therefore, to deny any part of ourselves is missing a wonderful learning opportunity for self-development.
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Here are 10 key components to emotional intelligence and their benefits: 1. Self-awareness
Understanding your emotions and drives can guide you to respond in appropriate, helpful and positive ways. When you’re aware of yourself, you also become more sensitive and empathic to the needs of others.
If you’re a person who has difficulty managing your emotional states, gaining more awareness and understanding as to why you think and feel the way you do can really help to redirect disruptive or difficult reactions into more helpful practices. Self-management = selfempowerment.
Having a good understanding of your emotions will help you be true to who you are, and be more real with others. We all have ups and downs and times when we feel vulnerable. But don’t shut yourself away; have a conversation with a friend and be honest about how you feel.
When you’re more aware of yourself, you also become more sensitive and empathic to the needs of others. Having honest conversations about how you feel will allow others to open up too.
This is about listening to your gut instinct. Physical feelings can guide and protect us, but we often ignore them and listen to what our head is saying. If you are a sensitive type then you probably easily pick up on the energies around you – positive or negative. Intuition is the original seat of knowledge, so listen to what your body is telling you and trust yourself.
We all make mistakes, don’t we? Do you forgive yourself easily or put yourself down? Are you often angry or disappointed when people don’t behave the way you would like them to? When expectations are too high or rigid, this is likely to lead to disappointment. Think about why you feel the way you do and look for other possibilities. Try to see situations from other perspectives too. Accepting and understanding yourself and others will allow you to let go of resistance (a key stress builder), lead to clearer thinking and free up energy for more motivation.
Intuition is the original seat of knowledge, so listen to what your body is telling you and trust yourself 7. Motivation
Once you can accept yourself and others, you’ll be able to let go of disappointment, resentment, negative judgements or unrealistic expectations. This will free up energy to fuel passion and motivation to achieve your goals.
8. Social skills
Do you shy away from invitations with work colleagues, or embrace opportunities to socialise? Typical
emotions people have around social interactions are fear and anxiety. What are the unhelpful thoughts and blocks that hold you back?
9. Universal connectedness
We all make mistakes, say the wrong thing, act badly sometimes and regret our actions. Things happen for a reason – forgive yourself, learn from it and move on. What we see in others can be a reflection of ourselves. We are all part of a whole human chain of consciousness. For every action, there is a reaction. Be the person you wish to see reflected back at you.
We are all in a continuing process of growth, and through good and bad we strive to constantly move forward. Do you feel stuck? What stops you moving forward to the best possible you? Emotional intelligence is an ongoing process, fundamental to effective thinking. By learning to understand your emotions you become empowered. By recognising physical symptoms that accompany certain feelings, you learn to control your mind and actions. You can then apply logic to put you in the right direction for positive growth.
Andrea Harrn is a psychotherapist and expert in relationships, passive aggressive behaviour, and emotional intelligence. She is also the creator of the bestselling The Mood Cards. Find out more at andreaharrn.co.uk and themoodcards.com
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The woman offering free therapy to survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire
Nominated by her colleague, Paula Kennedy, Jane Lawson has been working tirelessly to coordinate help for all of those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire
Jane’s therapies are a welcome break from the challenges of day-to-day life
m the left) with
Jane (second fro
he Grenfell fire on 14 June 2017 devastated the lives of an entire community. But Jane Lawson, a teacher turned therapist, saw a way to bring people back together. In the aftermath of the fire, she founded Complementary Support Team UK (CSTU), a small team of therapists who have been working tirelessly ever since. Coordinating and bringing together therapists from across the country, Jane’s service offers free therapy to those who need it most, in the hope that it will alleviate some of the pain and help the healing process following such a hugely traumatic event.
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CSTU provides physical body work therapies suitable for trauma, and therapies for mental wellbeing – including aromatherapy, massage, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, meditation, yoga, kids yoga, and various counselling and talking therapies. Most of the surviving Grenfell Tower residents are still displaced and living in temporary accommodation or hotel rooms. Jane’s therapies are a welcome break from the challenges of day-today life. But the level of dedication and organisation that goes into this initiative cannot be underestimated, and Jane is the driving force behind an incredible ambition to grow the
Complementary Support Team to a national scale, with the goal being to expand the project to respond to national disasters. Speaking of Jane’s nomination, Paula told us: “I cannot recommend Jane enough. She is working tirelessly, and for free, to help the people affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.” It is in dark times like these that local unsung heroes work tirelessly to manage the painful repercussions, which will most likely be with us for years to come, and offer a glimmer of hope to those who need it the most. For more information on how to get involved and donate to Complementary Support Team UK, visit their website: complementarysupportteams.uk
Do you know an unsung hero? Send your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org
USE BOTH HANDS “As o r od, yo l ic ta y a t an, on hen urf, te h or p ots” - Aud Hpun
In aid of Valentine’s Day, we’ve got love on the brain – namely the importance of self-care, self-love and empowerment. Our features include...
Published on Jan 9, 2018
In aid of Valentine’s Day, we’ve got love on the brain – namely the importance of self-care, self-love and empowerment. Our features include...