Sleep is great. Really it is the best damn thing around. We love sleeping. It gives you energy, makes doing stuff easier, gives you a break from daily stresses and struggles, helps your body repair itself, and makes you remember stuff. Science. But we know that there are times in life when catching the ZZZs becomes less of a priority or just downright difficult.

That’s why we have put together a super-easy guide to follow to getting your sleep routine on fleek for 2020 and beyond. Do these things in order, and you’ll be the most chilled out well rested person you know. 

Step One: Think about how many ZZZs you actually need

We are all pretty guilty of thinking we actually don’t need that much to function. The thing is, the NHS says that one in three of us suffers from poor sleep. It might not seem like too much of a big deal if you’re in the habit of doing it, but not sleeping enough can lead to poor memory, lack of concentration, overeating and even anxiety. So maybe have a think about how you’ve been feeling lately and make some changes.

Step Two: Set up your room to be good for sleep

Your bedroom is your haven. But if you use it all day for working, playing video games, or other stuff, the chances are it’s a bit of a mess by the end of the day. Take ten minutes to make it cosy. Make your bed, tidy up the floor and surfaces. Similarly, if you work from home a lot, try to do it somewhere else in the house than in your bedroom. It might not sound like a big deal, but keeping your room for sleep related activities is a great way to separate your daily life from when you need to get some shut eye. 

Step Three: Set a bedtime 

Ok, we know you aren’t six, and that maybe you think that the whole idea of having a bedtime should have gone out the window as soon as you left Primary School behind. But having a bedtime routine of some sort has been proven to improve the quality of your sleep, as well as the time it takes to actually drop off. No one is saying it has to be teeth at 7pm and bed by 8pm, but having some sort of loose structure to the end of your day instead of binge-watching true crime documentaries until 4am is always going to help you get the rest you need. 

Step Four: Put down the phone an hour before 

So you would have almost definitely heard by now about the detrimental effects that screen time has on our ability to catch some ZZZs. Well, they ain’t lying. Blue light in screens tricks your circadian rhythms into thinking it’s still daylight, meaning your natural bodily response to the fading light at the end of the day gets stopped in its tracks. This makes it much harder to fall asleep naturally, and then to get good quality sleep. Good news is though, putting down your phone an hour before the end of the day should sort you out.

Step Five: Get your ohm on 

So what are you gonna do without your phone in that hour before bed? Well, have a think about the kind of stuff that you would find relaxing that doesn’t involve a screen. Try meditation or mindfulness, art, colouring, reading, even just chilling on your bed listening to music. Whatever you think might do the trick, give it a go! Why not try one for a few nights and see how you get on – if it doesn’t work, try something else. There is no one right way to do this – and it’s going to be down to you to see what works.

Trying to find more activities that you can do when you’re struggling to sleep? Here are 50 different things to do.

Step Six: Breath deeply to calm anxiety 

If you find your brain is still going like a runaway train after all this, get under the covers, get super comfy, and just lie there. Breathe deeply in and out and try to focus on the rise and fall of your chest and the covers around you. Keep a notebook by your bed so you can jot down anything that might be roaming around your head so you know you won’t forget the important stuff. Put some chilled out classical music on, and just breathe. You will fall asleep soon, we promise. 

And there you have it, six simple steps to building the best bedtime routine. Not only have we got your back with this post, but we also have a downloadable sleep planner and tracker here so you can sort your life out and get those forty winks when you need them. 

Download our sleep planner and tracker here

Button doesn’t work? Click here: Download our sleep planner and tracker here

Need to talk to someone about anxiety? You can reach out to one of our Digital Mentors here, who will provide confidential support and advice. 

January, amiright? We are only two weeks into the new year and it already feels like it’s been several months, and we all know this can make getting motivated to be good at life really damn hard. Long nights, short days, no funds and no social life can make actually getting stuff done feel pretty pointless, but we are here to tell you that you can definitely get your shit together and boss January like it’s any other month of the year. 

1) Set realistic goals 

Ahh the season of the million new year’s resolutions. This time around, set yourself some goals you know you can achieve in a short space of time instead of big things you have to do over a whole year. It will make you feel like you are achieving stuff and that will definitely help keep motivation levels up. When you set goals that can only be measured in twelve months time or even longer, you’re much more likely to sack them off and then feel bad about it. 

2) Don’t do everything at once 

It can be tempting to try to sort everything possible you don’t like about your life in one fell swoop at the start of a new year. The thing is though, a lot of this stuff will mean big changes and long term work on yourself. Trying to do it all in one go means that a lot of what you want to do will end up getting sidelined, leaving you feeling like a failure. Do bits and pieces, and take your time with it. You are awesome, and you don’t need to change everything about yourself to have a great 2020. 

3) List list list 

If it’s life admin you need to get sorted at this time of the year, make like Amy Santiago, Captain Holt or Monica Gellar or whoever and get organised. Put a list on your phone of small life admin things to get done, whether that’s job applications, redoing your CV, getting that project finally finished or even just doing your laundry. Being able to tick something off will give you a sense of achievement that means you won’t be beating yourself up about not doing something or forgetting about it. 

4) Try bullet journalling 

2020 is the year of the bullet journal. One of these handy little journals will help you stay on track with goals, but also let you write a little each day that can help you keep track of your mental health. Low motivation is linked to low self-esteem and emotion focussed coping, which basically can mean you ignore problems and tasks because a bit of your brain hopes they will eventually just go away. The thing is, they won’t. Doing this can help you keep track of why you are procrastinating and what things you are avoiding. With this, you might be able to see a pattern emerging and can come up with a plan to do something about it. Check out our guide to keeping track of your mental health here

5) Don’t beat yourself up too much

So you haven’t got it all done in the time you gave yourself? Well, so what?! Sure, sometimes you might have a few things to do that are time sensitive, so make these a priority and let the rest of your stuff take a backseat. The key thing is to not beat yourself up about not getting stuff done or for maybe spending just a little too much time watching Netflix instead of cleaning or whatever. Basically, if you do, you’ll find it pretty hard to justify even trying to get the stuff done because if you don’t, you’ll feel rubbish. So it seems easier not to try. Trust us, cutting yourself some slack is the way to go. 

6) Give yourself a break 

Time might be tight, but you need a break too. The festive season might have given you time off of your obligations, but it doesn’t leave much room to chill. If you overwork yourself too much at the beginning of the year, you could be looking at being burnt out even before ther end of the month, and that’s no way to set yourself up for 2020. Work some time into your busy schedule to chill out, and stick to it! You’ll thank us for it. 

7) Get some good stuff in the calendar

Similarly, the lack of social stuff at this time of year can be a bit of a bummer. Well get some things in the calendar to look forward to, and make this your goal to work towards. Like if you have a chill hang out booked in with a buddy, then try to get all your life admin done beforehand so you can really enjoy it. It’ll give you something to look forward to, which is motivation in itself. 

8) Don’t compare yourself to everyone else

We all have that one friend that made all their revision mindmaps seemingly before they even learned the stuff that could come up on the exam. Or the person who has had 20 different versions of their CV ready to go since the day they finished their final exam. Well, you don’t have to be this person. That level of organisation will put us all to shame, and the most important thing to remember is that we all work at our own pace. So don’t compare, and just get stuff done your way. 

Need some daily motivation in your life? Follow us on Instagram @ditchthelabel

Blue Monday

Blue Monday – the Mondayest Monday out of all the Mondays in the calendar

December is supposedly the most wonderful time of the year. Try as you might, it is incredibly hard not to get caught up in Christmas merriment, so it’s hardly surprising that when we are catapulted into the month of January, it can seem a little unwelcoming in comparison to its festive neighbour.

January is, arguably, the most depressing time of the year. This is corroborated by the fact it has even been awarded it’s own depression day – ‘Blue Monday’ (as if Mondays weren’t bad enough), which falls on the third Monday of the month. Yes, that’s today! Lucky us!

Why has it earned itself such a title? A combination of winter darkness, frosty weather, post-Christmas gloom (the result of over-eating/over-spending) and freshly failed New Year’s resolutions can leave us all feeling a little deflated and demotivated.

Even the television turns on us; no longer are we being visually tempted to indulge in scrumptious food, lavish gifts and the great indoors, we are now being instructed to detox, save, cleanse and buy the latest get fit celebrity DVD, like, NOW.

The good news is, in very simple terms, there is actually no hard evidence to support the claim that the 21st January is the most depressing day of the year. So let’s prove it wrong! Here are our top 8 tips for getting through Blue Monday and the rest of the month:

The January Guide

1. Lower your expectations of yourself.

All too often we are our own worst critics; setting goals and resolutions for a new year is a great motivator, but don’t let those goals turn into beating sticks if you fall short. Be supportive of yourself.

2. Do something for someone else.

An act of kindness is not only a great way to give yourself a morale boost, but you will also cheer-up someone you care about in the process! Focusing on someone else’s needs will also serve as a welcome distraction from your own.

3. Keep it simple.

January can be a stressful month so look at ways to keep your life simple. Don’t say yes to things you don’t want to do and practise honesty with your family and friends so they know how you are truly feeling. You will feel more connected and closer to them through this honesty.

4. Socialise.

Making plans to do things you enjoy or just seeing friends is a great way of boosting your overall wellbeing and happiness.

asleep, train, window

5. Practise mindfulness or meditation.

The only wrong way to meditate is to not do it at all, so why not give it a go? Taking the time to sit still with yourself – however busy or calm your head chatter is – is proven to have a multitude of benefits on your mental health. Just like your body needs attention and exercise, so does your mind.

6. Gratitude.

It is can be so easy to forget the things in our lives we have to be grateful for, especially in a month like January. Actively thinking of things we are grateful for can transform a glass empty kind of moment into a glass full kind of moment. It can help add a little bit of perspective when we need it most.

7. Action to the contrary.

What we need to do and what we want to do can feel very conflicting. Nine times out of ten, the best action to take can feel the most counter-intuitive. Get up, get dressed and fake it ’til you make it! This can work in helping lift our mood. Where the body leads the mind follows. So get going and gently put one foot in front of the other.

8. Reach out.

It might be a shiny new year but that thing that has been playing on your mind, or keeping you up at night won’t have magically disappeared because it’s now 2017. If you feel like you need it, be brave and get some support here at Ditch the Label. Don’t suffer in silence, we care and want to help…..whatever month of the year it is!

Join the support community

It seems like everyone is always harping on about self-love, amIright? The number of times we have all heard, “you know what you need to do, you need to love yourself more.” – Thaaaanks!  All of us have been prescribed self-love and self-care when we are having a down day and want to give it a go. But what does it really mean and how the hell do we ACTUALLY do it?!  

We’ve already given you some amazing tips to self-care here which is a good daily practice to go alongside life but let’s talk about self-love (no not that kind although that can definitely be a form of self-care *wink emoji*) and why it is so important.

Today we are talking about positive affirmations. To affirm is to say that something is true, self-affirmations are positive statements that you should say or think regularly to yourself. They have been proven to improve your wellbeing and we can see why, when you focus on the good, the good gets better. You can write your daily dose of self-love onto post-its and put them on your mirror, or your fridge, set them as a reminder on your phone or take a few moments to say them when you wake up, just don’t say them to the gram – they are personal and just for you remember! A self-affirmation can just be whatever you need to give yourself that big hug it deserves and empower yourself to achieve your full badass potential and slay the day. 

Our top tips for writing your own personalised affirmations:

  • Make them short so they’re easier for you to remember.
  • Start your affirmations with “I” or “My”
  • No negatives! So no saying “I’m not bad at…” Good Vibes Only remember.
  • Write your affirmations in the present tense.
  • If you get stuck, start with a negative thought and then flip it right on its head. 

IE: I’ve put on weight. Can be my “My body is healthy and strong” 

You are welcome to use any of these affirmations or tailor them to suit what you need: 

For when you need to love yourself 

I am kind.
I control my emotions; they don’t control me
I am above negative thoughts and feelings.
I deserve good things.
I am doing my best.
I will be kind to myself.

For your body

I embrace my flaws because I know that nobody is perfect. 
I don’t want to look like anyone but myself. 
I love my body as it is today.
I am strong and healthy.
I am whole.
I am beautiful. 
My body is not defined by its weight. 
I am comfortable in my own skin. 
I am allowed to take up space.

For when you mess up 

I am in control. 
I am human.
I am perfectly imperfect. 
I choose to forgive and let go of anger.
All of my problems have solutions.
I have the courage and tenacity to overcome any challenge I encounter.
The mistakes I made yesterday are creating the person I’ll be tomorrow.

For when you feel lonely 

I am surrounded by love…
I am loved. 
I  am a good friend. 
I am a good sister/brother.
I belong, and I am good enough.
I only allow myself to be in healthy relationships.

Self-love is a marathon and not a sprint and it will take time to retrain your brain into love mode. But with a daily practice of giving yourself a pat on the back with these affirmations, you will be well on your way. 

If you have an affirmation you would like to share with us or want to get support from one of our mentors – join our support community here.

So as you guys may or may not know, it’s Fear Season over here at Ditch the Label, meaning we are all about spending the spookiest month of the year facing all our fears and leaving them in the dust. 

Being alone can suck right? Who would want to be alone for ages, especially when all your pals are coupled up? Well, this is a pretty common feeling. We all have that friend (and if you don’t have that friend, you are that friend) that is ALWAYS in a relationship. Whenever they *cough* YOU *cough* feel scared of being alone, it’s pretty common to jump headlong into the next relationship with someone who will probably not end up being so great for them. Good thing you guys have us right, we’re here to get you feeling pretty damn ace about being alone. 

1) Being alone can be fun 

No, seriously. Hear us out. It might feel like being alone totally sucks and you’ll end up binge watching Netflix until you get eaten by cats, but it definitely is not like that. Being alone can actually be pretty awesome. You can make your own choices, do whatever you want when you want, and do it well. We aren’t saying that you can’t run your own life when you’re in a relationship, but there is so much freedom in being alone.

Want to go on a solo adventure in a week’s time? Book it. Feel like watching whole boxsets of The Office? Grab the laptop. Really fancy a chinese for dinner? Eat that fortune cookie baby. The point is, you can do all of this without someone getting upset you skipped forward an episode without them, or that you took a full hour to decide where you get your take away from. 

2) Get good at downtime 

One of the best things about being alone is the downtime. If everyone around you is couple up, you also get a lot of it. So get good at it. Find some awesome things to do in the evenings that help you relax and chill out after a long day. Whether that is a full pamper spa moment, besting everyone at Rocket League or something else entirely, you will get super good at taking downtime for yourself. And enjoy it – it won’t last forever.

3) Fill your life with awesome hobbies… 

Ever really wanted to do something but never had the time? Now is probably the best time for you to crack on with it! You will probably never have as much disposable income, as much free time or as little obligations again for the rest of your life. So, try out for a local sports team and meet some new people, take up art, get absolutely boss at Rocket League and try out for an ESports team, even take a few classes in things. Whatever it is that floats your boat, float the hell out of it now. 

4) …And some damn awesome people

Just like you can now fill your time with all the things you love most in the world, you can do that with people now too. It’s a universal truth that whenever we get into a relationship, we often forget to hang out with our best friends. Well, when you are riding solo you can spend a ridiculous amount of time with your ride or die crew. Do all the stuff you love doing together, even if they have other halves they can bring along. Need a giggle about being the last single one in the group? Check this out.

5) Don’t put so much pressure on yourself 

Yeah, we know that somewhere in the back of your brain there is probably a part of you that is telling you you need someone right now, even if you are telling the whole world something different. Well, try not putting so much pressure on yourself. Why not take a moment to recap everything you’ve done since being single, and all the awesome stuff you are going to do. Go out and have some fun. Just do what you need to do to remove the pressure. 

Maybe the pressure doesn’t always come from you, and your parents or friends are trying to get you back into the dating game for whatever reason. If this is the case, sit down with them and casually mention that you are not interested at the moment and are really enjoying spending time just as you. Tell them just how important it is to you to get good being alone, and hopefully they should understand.

6) Find your single crew 

So even if you do have loads of time to spend with your best buds in the universe, chances are a few of them are coupled up themselves and maybe don’t have a huge amount of time to give to you right now. That’s completely fine. But try finding a crew of people that are in the same place of their life as you are. That way, you have people to go out and do fun single stuff with when your coupled friends are at home or on holiday or whatever. Trust us, it will make you feel better, and will save some arguments with your besties in the long run. 

7) Don’t compare your chapter 10 to someone else’s chapter 20

It’s incredibly common to compare ourselves to other people, in every aspect of our lives but especially when it comes to relationships. But just because your friend from school is celebrating their anniversary doesn’t mean that you are in any way wrong or broken because you are the same age and riding solo. People’s lives move at different rates, and just because you feel behind everyone else in relationships does not mean that you are. You are exactly where you’re meant to be, so you do you. 

8) Remember, people should earn their place in your life

Don’t settle. DON’T SETTLE. This is a self love journey that you are on right now, and it’s all about getting yourself to loving yourself at 100%, with or without someone else in your life. And here’s the thing. If you only love yourself at 20%, someone could come along and love you at 25% you can be all like “wow, this person is incredible, they really want the best for me”. But if you love yourself at 100% with or without someone else, anyone who wants you will have to really go above and beyond for you. 

You deserve the world, so one more time for the people at the back. DON’T SETTLE.

9) Know that you will meet someone someday, if that’s what you want 

You might not want a relationship at all, and that’s totally fine. But if you do, know that one day, there will be someone that comes along that fits into your life and it will be amazing. They will love you at over 100%, and will probably be pretty happy to do most of the fun stuff on this list with you just to be with you. That person is out there, and you are not broken for not having found them yet. And before they do come along, you gotta have the time of your life. 

Check out our ambassador Max Hovey’s post about being the last single one in the group.

Model, activist and overall good guy Max Hovey writes in one of our guest blogs about how to face up to and overcome your fears.

“The best way to get over your fears is to face them!” Ugh, really? When you’re scared of something, literally the LAST thing you want to do is that thing. But, as much as we all hate to hear that piece of advice, unfortunately it works.

For me, it was travel anxiety. The thought of going anywhere new, no matter how I’d get there, would make my heart go at 100 miles per hour and I would just feel sick. To be fair, I thought I’d literally never get over it, then I went on Celebs Go Dating (please, judge me) and everything started to change. For this I had no choice other than to travel, but it was all booked for me (so at least that one was one part that I didn’t have to deal with). This involved a train up to London, and then getting the underground to the venue. For the entire duration of this journey I was pretty much in panic mode but, once I was there, I was absolutely fine and felt like I’d accomplished something I was afraid of. And that was milestone number 1. 

The next step was that I booked and arranged to travel to Belgium on the Eurostar (by myself!). Surprisingly this was actually super easy. I planned it all, figured it all out, and also didn’t get lost. I was only there for 3 days but still this could have been really daunting. However, after my more and more frequent travelling by train, I’d become confident and so I wasn’t actually as nervous about this. In fact, a large part of the anxiety had passed and I was allowing myself to feel excited. Ticked off milestone number 2.

The final stage was then flying by myself, and making my own way to the airport by train. I know this all sounds very dramatic, but for me it was super daunting and I know many other people that worry about it. It’s easy to panic about being in the right place, at the right time, going in the right direction, having all of the right things and so on. It’s the same as any fear; you overthink! On the surface, flying seems scarier but you literally cannot go wrong – unless you go to the wrong airport, but I mean like how? You can’t get on the wrong plane, they literally do not let you so its actually really straightforward. And so again, I did it. I got the train from my hometown with all of my luggage to London, and then the train down to Heathrow, followed by the process of flying by myself. Milestone number 3? Crushed it.

What I’ve learned from this is that overcoming your fears takes time. It will not happen overnight and it will take more than one act of bravery. For me it has been gradual; well over a year. Now, I’m comfortable travelling up to London all of the time by myself, constantly going to places that I’ve never even heard of and just taking it my stride. I never thought I’d have the confidence to do so, but I do. And if ever in doubt, just ask someone! To this day I still feel the need to double check with people and that’s ok. 

So, if you want to get over your fear, then girl you’re gonna have to face it!

For more from Max, follow his Instagram @max_hovey.

Check out Max’s last article on being the last single friend in the group here.

A concert.

In this instalment of ‘Good Fellas’, we take a look at the story and work of musician Ben Coyle-Larner aka Loyle Carner.

Ben is a musician from South London whose music has been described as sensitive and eloquent as he raps openly about his life over mellow, jazzy beats. But, his openness and introspection goes further than his music.  

Ben’s a bit of a king when it comes to owning your story and being proud of who you are. His stage name, Loyle Carner, is a spoonerism of his real last name and a very cool nod to his dyslexia. He’s spoken openly about his ADHD before, referring to it as ‘the best and worst thing about him’. Cooking was something he found all encompassing and it helped to channel that energy into something productive. He now runs a cooking school for 14-16 year olds with ADHD to help them do the same. And he only went and named it ‘Chilli Con Carner’. Genius.

Coyle-Larner is also an ambassador for CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), working on confronting the issue of male suicide – the single biggest killer of men under 45. You don’t need us to tell you that men don’t talk about how they’re feeling enough. And Ben doesn’t need us to either – his second album ‘Not Waving But Drowning‘ confronts the idea that battling mental health isn’t always obvious. It can look like someone’s successful and having a fantastic time in life, but really we can have no idea what people are actually going through. 

It’s a nod to the thousands of men who need to talk but won’t search for it.

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Ben entered the music industry with an EP called ‘A Little Late’ which featured a track called ‘Cantona‘ – a tribute to his late step-father and his idol. He then released his first album, ‘Yesterdays Gone‘, and the front cover is the entirety of his family and friends (and his dog). One of the most touching tracks is ‘Sun of Jean’. Ben’s mum – a huge presence in a lot of his music – reads a poem she wrote about him over a piano melody played by his step-father. That personal touch is rife throughout all of his work.

His second album, ‘Not Waving But Drowning‘, starts and ends with two open letters. The first to his mum about moving out to live with his girlfriend, and the second a reply to Ben to say “I’ve gained a daughter, I’ve not lost a son”. ‘Krispy‘ is a song to his best friend Rebel Kleff – who he stopped talking to – asking to move on from their differences and get his best mate back. He leaves half the song as instrumental for Rebel Kleff to write a reply. The album features recordings of him talking to his friends and family. One where he tells a music colleague that his son is “lucky to have a good dad like you”. Music doesn’t see emotional intelligence and honesty like this very often. A guy who wants to talk openly about his life to millions of listeners and empower them. A guy who wants to tackle the stigma around masculinity. A guy who knows that there’s nothing weak about being honest.

Even despite being a trailblazer for openness and emotional maturity in men, he admits it’s still hard even for him. We can’t blame him; can you imagine writing your life down and releasing it for the world to hear? On ‘Krispy’, it’s clear that men still struggle to talk and explain what they mean to each other. He wanted to say all these things to his friend but didn’t feel like he could just do it. So, rather beautifully, he put it all into a song. It proves that men can tell each other how they feel. We’re all fallible because we’re all human. However you want to do it is perfectly valid and means just as much because you’ve done it. You’ve opened up. And that’s a pretty great start.

Changing the face of masculinity is a hard thing to do. Slowly but surely, and with the help of role models like Ben Coyle-Larner, that face is changing. Being sensitive and vulnerable is a fucking strong thing to do as a man, but it’s one that will help you and your friends around you. Help a mate out and start the conversation. You’ll never know who’s waving and who’s drowning if you don’t.

If you want to speak to someone, you can join our community here.

For more inspiration and daily motivation, follow our Instagram @ditchthelabel.

With post-exams and results, starting school/college/uni and new friends who all do different, cool things; it can all be very overwhelming. Your new mates all have interesting hobbies that you’ve never even thought of and everyone has different talents that you haven’t tried. It can be easy to forget what makes you cool. We’ve all been there when we start to question if we’re doing the right thing. Am I good enough? Why is everyone else better than me? These are ridiculous thoughts we’ve all had and we’re here to explain exactly why you’re doing just fantastic right now.

1) Realise Each Journey Is Different

Remember that everyone’s story is different. Timothee Chalamet became an Oscar nominee at 22 years old, but that doesn’t mean that your journey is less valid. Morgan Freeman didn’t get his first big film role until 52. Both are still fantastic and valued actors. Things will come to you at different times than others. You’re in the right place. Keep working hard and the right things will come along. Sometimes it’s hard to realise that perhaps the things you want most aren’t the ones that are right for you now. Try practising a positive mental attitude and telling yourself to be open to all opportunities that come your way.

2) Remember The Lows Make The Highs Better 

When you hit a low point, it’s very hard to feel like things will come back for you. You feel down and out but sometimes you have to remind yourself that, without the lows, you wouldn’t know how good the highs feel. Rejection will be the making of you. It’ll make you realise one of two things; either that perhaps you don’t want it as much as you thought or it’ll make you want it more and work harder for it. You are already good enough to go out and get it. So, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep doing what you love. And, if it’s not for you anymore, there’s no shame in admitting that. Be proud that you’ve got the strength to be true to yourself. 

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3) Keep Working Hard

We believe that emotions are completely valid. If you’re upset about something; let yourself be upset. Take a day. There’s absolutely no shame in feeling annoyed. But, try not to let it bring you down for too long. The best way to pick yourself up from a low is to get back on the horse and go again. Talent can only take you so far at the things you love. Sure, it’s a fantastic start to be talented but match your talent with the same level of hard work and you’re onto a winner. 

4) Try to Keep Challenging Yourself 

As long as it pushes you and doesn’t limit you. Don’t be down about what you’re not; be proud of who you are and excited by who you can become. Sometimes, thinking you’re not good enough or putting yourself in testing situations will bring the best out of you and you’ll learn new things. Paul McCartney always said he felt like a fraud when The Beatles were at the height of their fame but, all that did was push him to get better, try new things and never stop learning or evolving. Let the idea of getting better every day push you at what you love. Let it empower you. As Benjamin Mee wrote in We Bought A Zoo: “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

5) Look At How Far You’ve Come

Look back at where you’ve come from. How much you’ve progressed with your passion and your talents in the last 6 months, or year, or five years. Be proud of how you’re doing and how much you’ve learnt. Try to remember that success is a journey, not a destination. If you’re not enjoying the journey, then why put yourself through it? Imagine if, tomorrow, you were given all the success you ever wanted. All the fame and fortune. What would there be left to do? Once you’ve arrived at your destination, there’s nowhere left to go. Enjoy each little step of your journey – no one becomes a star overnight, trust us. They’ve been working hard at it and putting everything they have into their passion – just like you. And, if it was easy, it wouldn’t be as much fun would it?

For more inspiration, positive thinking and daily motivation, follow our Instagram @ditchthelabel.

We get it. With all the fun in the sun to be had over the next few weeks, if there is one thing that is dead certain to happen over the summer break is you will eventually (or pretty quickly) find yourself with £0.13 in your Monzo account. That’s why we have come up with a list of the best ideas of things you can do super cheaply or completely free with your pals this summer. So, it might not be a day in Thorpe Park or a weekend in Barcelona, but it’s the company that counts. 

1) Go for walk/run 

It might seem super simple, but if you have the right company, just getting outside and going for a walk can be a great way to spend some time in the summer, especially if there are a few nice places near you. Before you know it you’ll have walked a few miles, and not even noticed. 

2) Commandeer a dog 

With owner permission of course, take a dog for a long walk. There is nothing that will make you want to be out in the sun more than having a furry friend to join you. If you don’t know anyone with one, sign up to Borrow My Doggy and match with pets in your area! 


3) Road trip somewhere for the day 

If one of your squad has a car to hand, have everyone chuck a few pounds petrol money their way and head somewhere a little further afield than the local shops for the day.  

4) Bake something delicious 

Get together and make like Mary Berry by raiding the kitchen cabinets and whipping up something delicious. We get first dibs on anything though, since we gave you the idea. 


5) Get crafty

You could try getting together and upcycling your wardrobe, even swapping clothes in the process, start a YouTube channel, paint, sew, glue or do whatever you do when you want to be creative.  

6) Set up your own cinema 

Seen loads of ads for those adorable (and not cheap) outdoor cinemas that spring up all over the country for the summer months? Make your own! Grab your pals, all the beanbags, cushions and blankets you can gather and set up the TV looking out into the garden. Then, wait for it to get dark and put on the feature film of the evening. Just add hot chocolate and popcorn. 

7) Photoshoooot

In need of a new profile photo for the ‘gram? Or maybe your friend needs to bulk out their Tinder profile with some brand spanking new shots to match the new season? Whatever the reason is, you can kill a few hours by heading outside at golden hour and grab a few pics that will have the likes rolling in until September. 


8) Set up a yoga group 

Get your spiritual on by setting a little yoga group in your garden. Some YouTube tutorials, a couple of yoga mats (if needs be, raid your Dad’s camping equipment for the sleeping mats) and you’re in for a relaxing time.

9) Sports tournament

Organised team sports the thing that you all have in common? Have a tournament this summer. If you are feeling super extra, you could always do a mini Olympics – winner gets cake and eternal glory. 

10) Have a throwback sleepover 

Miss those times when you and your pals would stay up late watching terrible movies? Why not recreate it this summer! Grab your mates, some throwback films and the cheapest snacks you can get your hands on. You can even raid the kitchen cupboards for some homemade face mask ingredients, or whack out the oldest video game you own and have a little tournament. 


11) Join a beach/park clean 

Get your environmental on this summer and volunteer with your pals to clean up the world we live in a little. Some even do it with silent disco headphones to keep you entertained with some sweet tunes whilst you’re doing your bit for the planet. 

12) Swim somewhere for free

If you are lucky enough to live near the sea, the chances are the beach will have a decent lifeguard on duty and all of the atlantic ocean for free (ok not all, a small portion near the shore). Make sure if you are thinking of heading to a lake or river, it is safe to swim and has a lifeguard on duty though! 

13) Pack a picnic

This one will cost as much as a meal deal or a few bags of crisps. Hit the local shop and try and get the best deal possible on snacks before heading to the nicest picnic spot you can think of. Take a few tunes on Spotify and a decent speaker and you’ve got a great afternoon with your pals.

In need some summer vibes? For daily inspiration, cute pics, memes and loads more, follow us on Instagram @ditchthelabel

Family and Friends walking on the beach at sunset.

Summer and the sun are fast approaching. The idea of relaxing in the heat on the beach and topping up your tan might spark excitement for you, but for some it can be really overwhelming. Pretty much everyone struggles with their body image at some point; so we’ve noted down all the silly things we say to ourselves and why we need to try to stop doing it.

“I don’t look good in that”

Outfits are a huge part of the summer and we’re sure everyone you know is planning their holiday look as we speak. Clothing can also be a real source of dread for many too. We think if you feel good in it then you look good in it. Your clothes should be all about comfort and, while some prefer following the latest fashion trends, if you choose what you want to wear because you feel great in it then that will reflect in your body language too. Use that to try and find your own individual style and we’re sure you’ll look awesome this summer.

“I’m not ready for the beach”

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: all bodies are beach bodies. There is no one standard or best body type because every body is different and everybody is different. No one should have to miss out on the fun of being around mates in the heat of summer. You are ready for the beach and don’t let anyone tell you anything different.

“I don’t like my…”

This is negative thinking and will only worsen your opinion of it. Try to self-affirm and tell yourself you love those differences instead because they make you who you are. It may take some time but just by changing to a positive mindset and readjusting your view to remember that nothing on your body can be wrong or bad – just different to everyone else will help you go a really long way towards self-love and confidence.

“I’ll never look like them”

In a way, you’re not wrong to think this because it’s true. We won’t ever look like anyone else but ourselves so it would be great if we could appreciate who we are. You are an individual, original and unique. Surely that’s much more exciting than being an exact copy of somebody else? The best version of you is you right now and you deserve to be on the beach.

“My skin isn’t good enough for the beach”

It’s easy for us to ask you to stop telling yourself this but, realistically, that’s a lot easier said than done. Try setting yourself small goals to spend more time outside. Even if you start with a brief walk in a quiet area and build to a trip to the beach – the point is that you’re working to be comfortable in your own skin. Unfortunately, breakouts aren’t something anyone can control but the good news is they don’t last forever and, like Kali Kushner says, “acne doesn’t define you!”

For more body positivity motivation and inspiration, you can follow us on Instagram @Ditchthelabel.