Mindfulness is a powerful tool once we know how to use it effectively. Dr Valerie Mason-John has some valuable tips to remember when you’re experiencing bullying in-the-moment and how to minimise its effects in the aftermath.

When you are mindful, you learn to breathe fully into the body, you learn to become aware of sensations in the body. You also become aware of your thinking and learn to love yourself.

Believe it or not, mindfulness can protect us from the effects bullying.

Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start, here are some tips to get you going:

Where to start with mindfulness

1. Be assertive with breath

Focus on your breathing to assert your boundary. You may have to walk away from people calling you horrible names, and this may feel unpleasant in your body, just keep on walking, breathe and know that it will pass.

2. Become aware of your alarm bell

If your breath becomes ragged, hands become sticky, your tummy gurgling, body shaking, teeth chattering, these are warning signs to tell you that you are feeling uncomfortable. Leave, remove yourself at the first possible moment. Remember to listen to your body when it’s telling you something’s not right.

3. Thoughts

If you miss the unpleasant feelings in the body you may hear yourself thinking strange thoughts. Again, remove yourself at the first possible moment. You don’t have to be the target of someone’s bullying behaviour. You could even try an app, such as Headspace, to help ease these thoughts.

4. Your phone

If you receive an unwanted text. Breathe, and report it. Gossiping about it and sharing it with others allows it to take up too much space in your mind and will make matters worse. Find out how you can be more mindful whilst on your phone here.

5. The home

If you are at risk at home, it can be hard to find an environment to be mindful. Tell a teacher, speak to Ditch the Label, ask for help, and keep on telling someone until they listen.

6. Love

Learn to love yourself. When you practice mindfulness it will become easier to find the good in yourself.  This will make it much harder for bullying to affect you in the long term.

7. Threats

Don’t let threats stop you from telling someone what’s going on. Threats make you feel horrible in the body; nervous and scared. This is normal. Sure, it’s unpleasant but all the more reason to speak up and report it.

8. Repercussion

Sometimes it seems like when you do speak up, it can make matters worse. Maybe you have received more threats since you told someone and it’s normal to be scared of the repercussions. Remember that it will pass. Don’t let the fear be a reason not to speak up – overcoming bullying is a process and it won’t stop overnight, be patient.

9. Become aware of your body

Remember to stand tall, this doesn’t mean you have to be physically tall or big. It means you need to breathe, be confident, take up your space, and try to be assertive. Understand that you don’t deserve to be treated badly and it is never your fault. Believe in yourself.

Dr Valerie Mason-John M.A (hon.doc) is one of the new leading African descent voices in the field of Mindfulness. She is also a performance Poet-activist. Hear her TEDx talk and visit her website www.valeriemason-john.com


Got any tips of your own?

Share them in our anonymous Community where people can really benefit from your help.

The things you need to know when coming out

Are you ready to come out as bisexual? We know you’ve probably spent countless hours wondering if bisexuality best describes you– so let us be the first ones to congratulate you!

This identity is so powerful. You’re ready to be open and honest about something you value. It’s ok to start off slow– you may not be ready to tell the whole world!

We have 13 tips for coming out to help you decide who, when, and how you might tell someone.

1. Decide who, when, and where would be the safest to tell someone.

Your safety is #1. You can slide LGBTQ+ topics into your conversation to see how a friend/family member responds, and notice what environments are the most private. Having a friend who knows your location when you tell someone might help ease any anxiety.

2. Who’s the first person you want to tell?

Consider who might take the news well. This may be a best friend, a close family member, distant relative, or acquaintance. Coming out to the “easier” people first will be a great start to building your support team. You’ll then have reassurance for any people who might be more challenging to come out to.

3. How are you going to tell them?

There are so many different ways to tell someone… Will you send them a text? Say something over family dinner? Or maybe bring it up during a hike? Ideally, keep the environment neutral and remain calm so you can fully express yourself.

rainbow, lake, clouds, mountains

4. Celebrate whenever you tell someone.

No matter how small– you’ve just been completely open with someone! We love hearing about successes on our Support Community. Check out the Brag Box.

5. Be prepared for a shock.

Your sexuality is not something new to you– it’s part of you… but other people may not have expected this. Shock can cause all sorts of reactions– be prepared for any emotion, from disinterest to anger, or sadness. Remind yourself that sexuality is a completely natural thing, and that you’re better for having told someone.

6. Help them understand.

Bisexuality is not a term that’s widely understood, or accepted. Many people have misconceptions around bisexuality- check out 10 Things People Say to Bisexuals. Dispel these myths by helping people understand the facts.

7. Who can they tell?

How this truth spreads is your choice. Give clear boundaries for who they can tell. Remind them how important it is for you that they keep it to themselves, at least while you finish telling the necessary people in your life.

8. Give them time to process.

If they’re sad, or angry, remind yourself that this is their process. It’s not your fault. You were just speaking your truth and wanted to help them know you better. Do not feel guilty for their emotions, and if you find their words are hurting you– give yourself some space.

9. Address the conflict.

If someone’s reaction hurts you, check out our information on resolving a conflict, here. This can create a safe place to talk about how their actions have made you feel, and they’ll have a chance to talk about how they’re feeling.

If setting up a conflict resolution isn’t a possibility, consider writing them a letter that includes how you’re feeling, and what you would like to happen for the future.

10. If they can’t accept you – distance yourself.

It’s easier said than done, we know, but try to avoid expectations when telling people that you’re bisexual. Some people may not accept the fact that you’re bisexual, and that’s okay. But it doesn’t mean you have to try to keep them as friends. Good family and friends accept the full you!

11. Come out, again.

Although it does tend to get easier the more you tell people, sharing that you’re bisexual never stops. New people come into our lives, as do new love interests. Sometimes they deserve to know the full extent of our sexuality.

12. Check out LGBTQ+ and Bi-specific resources in your area.

Meeting people who may have had similar experiences is so powerful for feeling accepted! Finding a group where you can be fully yourself, without judgement, is a beautiful thing.

13. Join our Community

If in-person resources aren’t in your area, or if you prefer an online community, join our Support Community! Many of our other members are figuring out how to share their sexuality with people, too.

Two friends share a hug.

So this week is Loneliness Awareness Week. Even though it might seem like we’ve all got hundreds of friends and followers on social media, it is still really common to feel alone, or have friends or family who are dealing with it. Thanks to keeping social media in our pockets, it’s super easy to connect and communicate with others, but this can mean that when your phone isn’t buzzing, you find yourself spending a lot of time alone. We’ve put together seven of our best tips to help you out if you find yourself feeling like you’re on your own.

1) Social Media Isn’t Real

Yes, looking at social media, you would not be wrong in thinking that anyone with an Instagram page is having the best time ever, and has the best family ever, the best holiday ever, the best breakfast ever; even the best dog ever. But remember, you are only seeing what people want you to see. You actually have no idea what is really going on behind the screen.

Just because someone has 10,000 followers does not mean they have 10,000 friends. We are all guilty of ‘hyping’ up our lives on social media, so we should know that our profiles are not a wholly accurate representation of our reality. Don’t compare your life, and friendships, to something that is just not realistic or attainable. Comparison is the thief of all happiness.

2) Remember your worth

If you’ve been feeling lonely for quite a while then it’s understandable that you might start to feel unwanted and/or unworthy of other people’s company. This can lead to you seeing social occasions as further opportunity for rejection. You may start to shut yourself off from people as a consequence because you don’t believe your presence will be missed or worthwhile. But always remember, if you have been invited, it’s because your company is wanted! You are deserving of all the love and kindness people have to offer you so accept the invitation, get out there and enjoy yourself!

3) Start something you enjoy

Good friends often have much in common. Find something you enjoy doing and you’re sure to meet some like-minded people. Sporty? Go to an exercise class or join a run club/gym. Arty? Go to a life drawing class or attend an exhibition! Music fan? Get down to your local venue and support some up-and-coming bands! You could even volunteer your time somewhere. Make the effort to introduce yourself and you’ll meet a whole new bunch of people.

4) Compliment yourself

Are you self-doubting? You may have let your insecurities get the better of you, and this might be preventing you from putting yourself out there socially. Try acknowledging one positive thing about yourself a day, as a gradual reminder that you are perfect just the way you are and do not need to change for anyone!

5) Do not settle for bad friends

You may be craving company but don’t give your time to people who do not value or deserve it; you can still feel lonely in the company of others. Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist at NYU, noted: “Reams of published research show that it’s the quality, not the quantity of social interaction, that best predicts loneliness.” Ditch the frenemies – you don’t need them!

6) You are not alone in your loneliness

You are definitely not the only one out there feeling lonely. Despite the fact we live in an era where the internet has made communication as simple as a message away, it seems we are lonelier than ever before. With this in mind, don’t be embarrassed to make the first move if you want to reconnect or re-establish relationships with old friends. Missing someone? Text or call them and they’ll more than likely be glad to hear from you.

7) Embrace ‘me’ time

‘I’m gonna be my own best friend‘ – listen to the wise words of Beyonce and learn to enjoy spending time with YOU. When no one is available to hang out, chill with yourself! It can be really revitalising to spend time alone. Take a bath, watch a film, read a book, listen to music, reorganise your playlists! Try to make a list of things you’d love to do when you’ve got a spare minute so that you can always be busy instead of bored. Your own company is just as good as anybody else’s and it’ll prove to you that you’re a great person to be around.

Maybe you feel lonely, but always remember that you’re definitely not alone. For more inspiration, be sure to follow our Instagram @Ditchthelabel.

If you’d like somebody to talk to or get personal advice about how to overcome your loneliness, then you can join our community here.

Sometimes in life, we aren’t very lucky. Bad things can happen and we can all go through stuff in our personal lives that can have a lasting effect on us. Once the dust settles, however, one of the scariest things about life after trauma can be understanding how to tell someone about what you have gone through when they don’t already know. Opening up about past mental health issues, bereavement, assault, addiction and more can feel like an endless number of hurdles to jump every time you meet someone new. That’s why we have put together a few tips on opening up about this stuff to people in your life, so that you don’t have to worry about it.

1) Take your time

It’s important to remember that there is nothing making you rush into telling someone about something you have gone through in the past. If you don’t feel ready to tell someone yet, then don’t. It can also be tricky knowing when to tell someone new in your life, whether that is a new boss, partner or friend about what you have gone through. The key here is to make sure you can trust them with the information and wait until you get to know them a little better. 

2) Talk to someone you trust

Making sure the person you tell is trustworthy is crucial, not just so that you feel secure, but also so that they don’t use the information to hurt you in the future or tell others your secret. If you don’t feel like you have anyone like this in your life right now, but still need to tell someone about what is bothering you, you can reach out the Ditch the Label Community here. It is completely anonymous and we will listen to you. 


3) Pick a good moment 

Deciding when to tell someone about your past is a big decision, and picking the right moment is likely to make it easier. Choose a time and a place where you feel most comfortable, and where you know you won’t be overheard by the wrong people. Make it clear to the other person that you are about to tell them something important and discuss if they are ok with keeping it a secret from other people in their life who you do not want to know.

Also, make sure they are in a good place in their life to hear it as well. If they are going through a lot right now, or maybe are dealing with something similar, then it might be especially difficult for them to hear about it as well. If this is the case, consider telling someone else you trust and wait until you feel the other person is in a better place so you can discuss it. 

4) Give them time if they need it  

Sometimes, people might find it difficult to understand what you have been through. If this is the case, try not to take it personally. If they ask for time to absorb the information, give it to them, and take a breather. It doesn’t have to mean they won’t understand or be there for you once they have had time to get used to the idea. 

5) You do not have to tell anyone if you don’t want to

Finally, it is important to know that you do not have to tell anyone about your past. If you feel pressured into telling someone about your experiences, remember that it is entirely your decision to open up about your life.

If you feel like you need to confide in someone, you can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.

So it seems like we are all going to be stuck inside for more than a little while this Spring. Sure, it can be easy to get really bummed out about that fact, especially when it is a perfectly natural human instinct to want to see friends and spend time with the people we love. The thing is, right now it’s really much better for everyone if we don’t do this. 

So, we want to bring you a list of things that you can do that would mean spending time inside alone does not have to be crap. Keeping busy is crucial to helping you get through all this downtime, and will help keep your mental health in check during a time when it could get difficult to see the good side of life. Instead, you can be super productive, or really chill, and make the time go faster so we can all get back to a place where we can all be together again. 

  1. Get organised and clear stuff out
  2. The take photos of it all to put on Depop once this is all over
  3. Make a web series
  4. Take an online course
  5. Keep up with school and uni work
  6. Do some exercise videos
  7. Complete Netflix
  8. Master a new game 
  9. Finally do all that stuff you’ve been putting off forever 
  10. Become a yoga genius 
  11. Keep up with your usual self-care routine
  12. Read all your books 
  13. Download Houseparty and hang out with your buddies remotely
  14. Stay in touch with everyone you love 
  15. Try out a new recipe (if you can get the ingredients!)
  16. Learn some magic tricks
  17. Get some (socially distanced) fresh air if you can 
  18. Get the board games out 
  19. Do something creative
  20. Watch every movie you’ve ever wanted to see
  21. Start a blog about something you love 
  22. Try to go viral on TikTok
  23. Show your pet all the love 
  24. Maybe even get it to star in that viral TikTok
  25. Discover new music and a virtual listening party with your pals
  26. Rearrange your furniture 
  27. Make over some old clothes 
  28. Keep a journal 
  29. And remember, even though it might feel like it at times, this won’t last forever. 

There you have it guys! 29 things you can do to pass some of the time whilst you’re stuck inside. We know that this is a super weird time for everyone out there, but just doing one or two of these small things a day might help to keep your mind off the news. As always, we are here for you if you need us


Struggling with everything that’s going on in the world right now? Read this. Feeling lonely? We can help with that

If you feel isolated and need to talk to someone, you can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here to get confidential support and advice from one of our team of trained Digital Mentors.

So you can’t sleep huh? Tossing and turning in bed, desperately trying to drift off but you just can’t quite shut your brain up for 2 minutes to get enough peace and quiet to slip into the land of nod… we’ve all been there. Here’s a list of 50 different things you can do to help you relax in bed and fall asleep easily.

Why is sleep important?

Sleeping isn’t optional, it’s essential. We spend around a third of our lives doing it. It’s not just us humans who need it; in fact, our furry Koala friends get an impressive 14.5 hours of shut-eye every single day, but first place goes to Bats. Bats are the longest sleepers on record, getting a whopping 20 hours each night. Jealous much?

Getting forty winks makes us feel refreshed and ready to face the day ahead. A good night’s sleep is so important as it allows us to function normally the following day. One of the most frustrating things is not being able to get to sleep or having a bad night’s sleep.

We’ve all been there and pulled an all-nighter or known what it’s like to try and survive on only a few pathetic hours of kip. The results? Not good. Symptoms can include grumpiness, grogginess and a higher chance of falling asleep at your school desk.

Trouble sleeping is a vicious cycle: we can’t sleep, so we get stressed about it and we get stressed about it, so we can’t sleep… and the cycle begins again.

Not getting good sleep sucks and can affect every part of your life: your mood, your ability to concentrate, your performance at school and even relationships with your friends. So, if you’ve tried counting sheep and still can’t drift off, there’s no point lying in bed trying to force it. Here are some things you should try:

What to do if you can’t sleep

1. Read a boring book

2. Read a good book

3. Meditate – find out how

4. Experiment with your evening routine until you find one that works for you

5. Listen to relaxing music

6. Have a hot shower or bath (but don’t fall asleep in the bath!)

7. Avoid screens at all costs!!!

8. Have a light snack (but nothing too sugary or heavy)

9. Have a cup of Camomile tea

10. Get out of bed and sit somewhere else in the house for a while

11. Monitor the foods you eat and whether they’re affecting your sleep cycle, also try not having caffeine after 1pm

12. Do some light exercise a couple of hours before bed

13. Don’t go on your phone for at least an hour before you go to sleep

14. Activate a ‘night mode’ filter on all your electronic devices

15. Change your diet

16. Do a crossword puzzle

17. Finish on a happy ending… reaching the big O releases hormones that can help you sleep

18. Try a mindful colouring book

19. Write a diary/journal entry

20. Try a brain teaser puzzle

21. Write down all the things you need to do tomorrow

22. Practice mindfulness – find out how

23. DO NOT GO ON SOCIAL MEDIA!!!!

24. Go outside for some fresh air

25. Hide your alarm clock so you can’t see the time

26. Schedule a specific time in your day to think about all the things that worry you

27. Avoid bright lights before bed – try using a night light

28. Keep your bedroom cool

29. Tidy your room before bed

30. Make your bed before you get in it

31. Don’t force yourself to sleep if you don’t feel tired

32. Drink a cup of hot milk

33. Use lavender oil or cream

34. Practise positive thinking before bed

35. Try to keep track of how much sleep you do get each night

36. Listen to a podcast

37. Listen to an audiobook

38. Do some stretches

39. Practise mindful breathing – find out how

40. Try yoga

41. Make a start on that boring homework you’ve been avoiding

42. Get an eye mask

43. Get some earplugs

44. Try a relaxing sounds/white noise app

45. Get some super comfy pyjamas

46. Find a ‘chill out’ playlist on Spotify

47. Pick one thing or object to focus all your attention on

48. Daydream

49. List all the things you’re grateful for

50. Avoid eating a big meal before bed

There: 50 things you can do instead of sleeping when you really can’t drift off.

If you struggle to sleep on a regular basis or think you might have Insomnia, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor as there are lots of factors that affect our sleep and loads of things that can be done to help.

Got any tips of your own? Let us know in our Community.

Join our free anonymous community

Top Tips for Better Sleep

Avoid lots of caffeine

Especially in the evening. Be warned, caffeine comes in many forms including the obvious; yes coffee and tea but also other treats like chocolate and soft drinks.

While caffeine helps us feel more awake in the morning, it can have bad effects on your following night’s sleep. If you’re a big tea drinker, try having a herbal tea to keep you going instead. Peppermint tea is really refreshing and has minimal caffeine.

Get it off your mind

Stress is the biggest enemy of good quality sleep. If your mind is running in circles, don’t lie there hoping it’ll silence itself because it most probably won’t.

Try putting pen to paper and writing about whatever it is on your mind. If you have difficult decisions to make, use this as an opportunity to come up with some potential solutions. You could also give Stress Reprogramming a try.

The bed is for sleep

This is simple, keep all daytime activities out of the bedroom (apart from a few select things, but we won’t talk about that here) and this will help you associate sleeping with your bed and a relaxing environment (rather than endlessly trying to count sheep).

Try doing your work or studying in another room. Keep activities like eating and watching TV to a minimum (this does not include breakfast in bed).

Turn down the lights

It might sound obvious but bright lights do keep you up, our bodies are biologically sensitive to natural daylight, this is called a circadian rhythm. As it gets dark, our bodies are filled with the hormone melatonin, which signals that it’s time to sleep. Our biological rhythm is thrown off with artificial bright lighting, suppressing the melatonin.

Try and keep things dark at night by lighting some candles or putting a lamp on as you are getting ready to sleep. Plus, it’s environmentally friendly; bonus.

Limit the screens

Blue light wakes you up. fact. Using your phone, laptop and watching TV will all divert you from the ultimate goal of your restful slumber. It’s too easy to fall into a funny-cat-video blackhole on YouTube before realizing it’s 3am and you gotta be up in 5 hours. If you really have to, try turning down the brightness of your screen or switching on a nightmode filter, this will help get your melatonin in check.

Comfort

Make sure you are comfortable before you go to sleep. Although our ideas on comfort might differ, nothing beats the smell of fresh bed sheets and the classic comfy PJs you got last Christmas as you drift off into dreamland. Some of you might enjoy the calming sounds of ocean waves, or rainfall to get you feeling all cosy (there are loads of apps for this). For those of you who are more daring, try a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow to help you chill out.

Don’t force it

If you’re struggling to fall asleep, don’t put pressure on yourself, this will only make you feel more stressed, making you less likely to sleep. Try reading that book you lost interest in, it could even be time to tackle some Shakespeare (just remember how you felt back in class).

If you just lay there thinking about going to sleep, it’s less likely to happen. Get up and do something for 10 minutes and then head back… AND STOP COUNTING DOWN THE HOURS UNTIL MORNING! Trust us.

Exercise

If your body really ain’t playing the game and is adamant about staying awake, tire it out. After all, it is your body. Go for a run or something an hour or so before bedtime and see if that makes a difference.

Get quacky with it

Literally. Have a bath, romance yourself a lil’ with some candles, relaxing music and your mum’s prized bubble bath.

Listen to the right kind of music

Try to avoid upbeat music before bed. We’d recommend giving peaceful sleep playlists a try. If you’re stuck for ideas, you could try bands such as London Grammar, some lofi hip hop or The xx.


Sleep problems are actually quite common and often linked with stress but following our top tips will hopefully give you a much-needed (gentle) push in the right direction. However, if you’re really struggling with sleep, it’s important to speak to your GP.

FAQs

How do you fall asleep in 5 minutes?

Breathe deeply and relax every muscle in your body. Make sure you are in a dark and quiet room. If you need to, listen to music that relaxes you (Spotify has some great playlists for this) or use an app such as Calm to listen to ambient noises.

What hobbies can you do when you can’t sleep?

A relaxing hobby such as knitting, colouring, reading, yoga, writing a journal, meditating could help you sleep easier each night.

Related:

Kindness is a funny thing. We all know we should be kinder, but sometimes it can be hard. When the world feels a bit rubbish, even hostile, spreading kindness might not seem that appealing when you could just hole up in your room attempting to complete Netflix. Well, we don’t think that should be the case. Spreading kindness is needed now more than ever, so here are our top reasons why you should have a think about sharing a little joy, even when the world sucks.    

1) The world is seeming a little more difficult than usual right now 

It’s hard to ignore the headlines at the moment, and just about everything seems a little hopeless. Coronavirus, climate change, and loads of other pretty bad stuff has been going on to kick us into 2020, and that has been pretty impossible to get away from. Doing something small to show someone you care might seem a bit futile when you’re up against the big stuff, but it’s in times like this when being kind to each other matters more than ever. So make a cuppa, pick a flower, clean the kitchen. It’s not going to cure the world, but it might make you and someone else in your life forget about it’s problems for a minute. 

2) The weather is still rubbish and summer feels a long way off

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing and even though the evenings are getting a little bit longer, the promise of some summer sun still feels a long way away. With everything that’s been going on in the world at the moment and the promise of good times is all but cancelled, being kind to one another is so important right now. Try getting outside for some fresh air with a neighbours dog, offer a hand with their errands, or volunteer for something. Doing stuff to help others, even strangers, is a sure fire way to make you feel like you are doing your bit. 

Are you aged between 11-18 and in full time education in the UK? We’ve teamed up with Simple, who have partnered with Little Mix, to challenge everyone to choose kindness this spring. For more information on how you can get involved, check this out.

3) Someone in your life might really need it and you don’t even know it 

We all know to try to check in on friends, but also life can get in the way more often than not. Well, spread a little kindness and you never know what kind of positivity you can bring to someone’s day. Check in on friends you haven’t seen or heard from in a while, even send a letter or a postcard to some of them. Sometimes, it’s even those close to us that need it, so don’t forget about them too!

4) It’s good for your mental health as well

Being good to others has been proven time and again to boost your own mental health, as well as making other people feel pretty damn wonderful. Doing a few good deeds, anonymous or otherwise has been known to release serotonin, the endorphin associated with happiness. So not only are you making the world a better place, but you’re making your brain a better place too. Wins all around we think.   

5) Kindness catches on

Be kind, just to be kind. Pay it forward, and let others follow your example. Think about it – a fight never began because two people were kind to each other. If you start a kindness movement, whether that’s on social media, in your community or amongst your family and friends, you can guarantee it will catch on with some of them at least.

We’ve teamed up with Simple, who have partnered with Little Mix, to challenge everyone to choose kindness this spring. For more information on how you can get involved, check this out.

It’s been impossible to get away from bad news this year. 2020 needs a reset; there’s absolutely no doubt about that. The only thing is (and it’s a big thing) is that we literally cannot do that. But when the news every day is filled with Coronavirus, climate change and other things that can make you feel really damn hopeless after a while, taking care of your mental health has never been more important. That’s why we got you with this list of things you can do to stop getting into a funk about current affairs, and take care of your mental wellbeing in the process. 

1) Follow a good news site for some daily uplifting content 

It might not seem like it, but there is so much good news to be read. Follow a good news instagram or twitter account to give your feed a little balance. When everyone is posting about the end of the world, seeing something uplifting can do wonders for you. Plus, social isolation means more time spent on social media, and needless to say it’s a bummer out there at the moment. Check out this list of awesome accounts you can follow to make your social media a more positive space. 

2) Take a break from the news – even turn off the notifications 

We aren’t saying you should be cutting out the news all together as there’s a lot of important information flying around out there at the moment. But it is important to look after your mental health, especially if you are stuck inside, and so seeing hourly updates about how bleak the world might be looking is probably not all that great for you. Instead, turn off your notifications for a few hours, or pop your phone on silent for a while, and do something else. You might find it easier if that something else avoided the internet as well. 

3) Spend some quality time with friends and family (if you can)

If you are out and about in the world, use this time wisely. Spend some time with the people you love (as long as everyone is comfortable with it and no one is feeling under the weather). If you can’t see them in person, set up a group video call to hang with your friends from the safety of your own bedrooms, or play games against each other online. Similarly, get the group chat going and all sit down to watch your fave TV show together, but in your own homes. It might not be quite the same, but it will still be hilarious we guarantee. 

4) Try to discuss some good stuff  

The conversation all over the world has been dominated by some pretty negative and damn right scary things for the majority of this year, but there are good things happening all over the world too. Like, have you seen all the balcony parties happening in lockdown in Italy right now? Or the supermarkets opening early just for the most elderly and vulnerable in communities? Or even just how some people are taking a little bit of time out of their day to spread a little kindness? The world is always going to be full of great things, just right now we have to look a little harder to see them. So take some time, do some research, and talk about them to everyone you know.  

5) Keep the conversation open and honest about how you are feeling

Talking about mental wellbeing and mental diversity can be a tough one. But if you are feeling panicked, or just a bit sad and confused about what is going on with the world right now, talking about it to the people in your life is the best way to get some of the worst stuff off your brain. For tips on how to do it, give this article a read on how to talk to your mates about mental health. 

6) Spread some kindness 

It costs nothing to be kind, and right now there are a lot of people out there who really need someone to show them some kindness. If you can, offer up your services to those in need right now and do some volunteering, offer to get some shopping in for a vulnerable neighbour, or anything else that might help lighten someone else’s load. If not, start something on social media to give people a space to offer their services. Being kind to others is proven to improve your mental health, so it’s always worth a go

7) But don’t forget to be kind to yourself as well 

No matter what is going on in with the world, you need to remember to be good to yourself. Take some time to calm down by doing all the stuff you love, and see that the world is still turning and the things you love to do have always been there waiting for you. We aren’t saying to sit around on your own and wait for the news to refresh and worry – get distracted. And remember, this too shall pass. 

If you are feeling lonely, isolated or just need someone to talk to, you can speak to one of our team of trained Digital Mentors here for confidential support and advice.

Sometimes, social media is really sucky. With images of the perfect body, perfect hair, dream holidays, couple goals and bedrooms so immaculate they put your laundry covered floor to shame, it can be exhausting to keep up with how we are supposed to be living our best lives. Not only can it be simply annoying, it can actually make you feel pretty crap about yourself, and even be a contributing factor to issues such as anxiety or depression. That’s why we have compiled a short list of some of the best accounts you can follow to give your social media a mental wellbeing makeover. 

1) For some visual meditation @satisfyingvideo 

This account posts some seriously satisfying videos of all kinds of arts and crafts. From pottery to paint swirling, these guys post videos from across other super satisfying Instagram accounts that will make you feel weirdly calm inside. 

2) For the warm fuzzies @cuteanimals

This account will give you all the warm fuzzies you need to make it through the day. Trust us – this adorable array of puppies, kittens, ducks and others is sure to take the edge off any stress-filled situation. Can anyone say ‘emergency cuteness’?

3) For body positivity @bopo.boy

Body positivity knows no gender. With fitness influencers, sports stars and supermodels dominating the media with standards that are so often out of reach, injecting a bit of positive diversity into our Instagram feeds is something we can all benefit from. @bopo.boy, a.k.a Steven Blaine is leading the charge in male body positivity, and we are here for it! 



Instagram


4) For us @ditchthelabel 

How could we do a list like this without sneaking ourselves on here? Our feed is packed full of inspirational quotes to get you thinking positively about all aspects of life, love and friendship. Check out our stories for tips and tricks on dealing with the big issues, whilst our feed will give you all the best quotes, cuteness and memes to keep your social media more looking positive than ever before.



Instagram


5) For some colourful positive vibes @scarrednotscared

This super cute account will give you all the female empowerment body positive vibes that you never knew you needed to brighten up your newsfeed. Michelle Elman, the woman behind the insta @scarrednotscared, is serving looks, self love and body positive memes that will give you the BDE of the gods. 

6) For slime @slime

Sometimes after a stressful day, the only thing that will do it is watching someone play with slime. This account will give you just that, with satisfying AF videos of people playing with the squidgy stuff. 

7) For some inclusive beauty blogging @jakejamie

Make-up knows no gender just like body positivity. When beauty bloggers’ perfect faces illuminated by even more perfect lighting gets old (and it does) Jake is the perfect antidote. With skincare tutorials and product testing soundtracked by some adorable tunes, the Beauty Boy is all about the pretty, but honestly. 



Instagram


8) For daily inspiration @thegoodquote

A one-stop-shop for all your inspirational quote needs, this account will be throwing some motivational moments into your feed daily and is always ready with something that will remind you that any bad day can be turned around in a heartbeat, and that negativity doesn’t have to last forever.

If you feel like social media is getting you down, or you need to talk to someone about cyberbullying, mental health, body image, or anything that is bothering you reach out to our support community here

What Is Conflict Resolution 101?

Most of us will do absolutely anything to avoid having awkward conversations and to stay as far away from confrontation as humanly possible. Unfortunately, conflict is just a part of daily living, no matter how hard you try to avoid it. It’s impossible for us all to agree on absolutely everything and it’s also impossible to breeze through life without falling out with your best mate, hitting rock bottom with your bub or having a complete and utter breakdown of communication with your family.

There’s also a growing amount of evidence to show that some of the skills we’re going to share in this piece can be great ways at tackling bullying. We’ve put together the ultimate guide on conflict resolution to help you tackle bullying head-on and to patch up that fall out that’s playing on your mind. The techniques will also help you become better at negotiating and help you avoid further conflict.

Get a notepad and take notes. Here are the 16 things you need to know about conflict resolution:


1. Know what it is first

Conflict resolution is all about finding a peaceful solution to a problem between 2 or more people. Conflict resolution can be used to resolve a massive range of issues – from war and corruption to divorce, bullying and breakdowns in communication.

2. Assess risk

Sometimes it isn’t appropriate to do the conflict resolution yourself. If the person causing you distress has a history of violence or aggressive behaviour and confrontation could put you at risk, then explore other options. If you feel like you could safely speak to the person directly, read on…

3. Address your fears

Know that the idea of conflict resolution at first can feel absolutely terrifying and intimidating, but please don’t let it deter you. Know that most of us find confrontation uncomfortable and do remember that there is a strong chance that this will help you solve the issue.

4. Structure your conversation

Before you have your conversation, make sure you are familiar with how you’d like to structure it. An example is below:

  • Request the conversation. Example: “Hey Tom, I wondered if we could chat for a minute about something I have on my mind?”
  • Establish an outcome: “It would be great if we could figure out a better way of talking with each other”
  • Say your piece: “You keep calling me stupid. I’m not stupid and it makes me feel embarrassed. I’ve been worried about it. Did I do something to upset you?”
  • Allow them to talk. Remain calm and receptive.
  • Negotiate and agree on a solution.
  • Thank them for talking to you about it.

5. Get neutral

Conflict resolution works best when it is done in a neutral setting, like a public park, coffee shop or empty classroom. Sometimes it may be beneficial to have strangers around to prevent it turning into a huge argument, but that’s up to you.

6. It ain’t a group activity

In order to be effective, the conversation needs to either be facilitated by a trained mediator or should be just between you and the person you have issues with. This is not a point scoring exercise or a way to prove who is right and who is wrong, so don’t allow a group dynamic to influence the process.

7. DON’T SHOUT

Nothing ever got resolved by shouting. Seriously, can you think of anything that shouting ever resolved? Not really. If the other person starts to shout, no matter how angry or tempted you are, don’t do it. Stop talking and wait until they’ve stopped. Tell them you don’t want to argue and talk to them as you normally would. If they keep on shouting, suggest a break or consider ending the session.

8. Take bullet points

At first, it’s likely that you will feel nervous and stressed. These feelings will pass, but can temporarily cloud your mind. This is why it’s a good idea to write down a few bullet points of things you’d like to tell the other person before you meet with them. If you feel more comfortable, you could even write a few paragraphs of things you’d like to say and read it out to them. Be honest and tell them that the conversation makes you nervous because it’s important to you. Unless they have deeply rooted issues, it is likely that sharing something vulnerable with them will encourage them to drop their guard and be more receptive to you.

9. Don’t be personal

You’ve lost the moment you say something to purposely insult the other person. Conflict resolution isn’t a fancy way to argue, the whole point of the process is to resolve conflict.

10. Be objective

A good structure of conversation is to first talk about the observation, then the impact and then what needs to change/ask why. Example: ’You called me fat in front of the class, it made me feel embarrassed and upset and I’d like it if you didn’t do that again’.

11. Focus on an outcome

Mutually agree on an outcome at the start of the session and do refer to it should the conversation start to detract… for example, if you’ve fallen out with your best mate and they’ve been talking about you behind your back, a good outcome would be something that isn’t blaming, something like ‘We’d like to figure out what went wrong and rebuild our friendship.’

12. Repeat language back

It is likely that the other person will feel defensive at first. A great and subtle way of encouraging them to lower their barriers is to start using some of the same language. They likely won’t consciously realise it, but subconsciously they will interpret it as you both have similar ways of communicating.

13. Talk and listen

Listen as much as you are talking. A good conflict resolution session is balanced and a safe space for people to talk openly and honestly about how they feel. If you are using conflict resolution to resolve a bullying-related issue, keep in mind that often, people bully others because they have deeper issues that they aren’t coping with properly.

14. Negotiate

Be prepared to negotiate, but never allow anybody to make you feel as if your emotions aren’t valid. If you’re feeling it, it’s real and you are entitled to feel upset or angry for example. If you’re being bullied, never take ownership of your own abuse. Do be receptive to what the person has to say though and try to be respectful, even if deep down you feel as though you hate the person and how they have treated you.

15. Know when to end

If the other person is unresponsive, know when to end the conversation and to try a different resolution tactic.

16. Remember

Regardless of the outcome, learning conflict resolution skills is an invaluable process. This situation is temporary and not everybody is mature enough to have an open and honest conversation. Good luck!

Related content