Being kind is more important now than ever before. The news is all pretty much doom and gloom, and we’ve all been through a lot in 2020, and it’s only September.

That’s why we’ve partnered with the amazing guys over at Simple, who have teamed up with Little Mix, to inspire the UK to #ChooseKindness. 

Being kind doesn’t have to be hard, and it doesn’t have to come in the form of some out of this world grand gesture (we’re not saying it can’t either).

Kindness can be something so small that just puts a smile on someone else’s face, because even the tiniest bit of kindness can make a difference.

So, here’s a list of 25 small acts of kindness that you can do to help us in our mission to make the world a better place. 

  1. Make someone a cuppa
  2. Donate to an organization
  3. Check in on a friend
  4. Ask people how they really are doing
  5. Smile at someone in the street
  6. Volunteer somewhere that needs help right now
  7. Help out a neighbour
  8. Send someone a little gift to let them know you are thinking about them
  9. Comment something positive on a post
  10. Reconnect with someone you’ve lost contact with
  11. Leave a happy note for a loved one to find
  12. Gift someone one of the Simple x Little Mix Limited Edition Packs
  13. Pet a doggy (safely)
  14. Clean up without being asked
  15. Share the kindest thing someone has done for you on social media to inspire other people to take up the mission of #choosekindness
  16. Send a letter for no reason to someone you love 
  17. Pay for the next person’s drive through/coffee/cake or shopping
  18. Be better to the planet and try out a waste-free day or week
  19. Support a local or small business
  20. Design or make something that will show someone you care 
  21. Tell a friend they can always talk to you if they need to 
  22. Encourage others to choose kindness with you on social media 
  23. Tell someone you love them for no reason
  24. Leave a positive review of a business or service you’ve used 
  25. Send someone to our Simple Hub for support and advice on all kinds of things that they might need help for. 

And there you have it – 25 small acts of kindness that could make someone’s day.

Give one of them a go and join in the #ChooseKindness movement. For more information on #ChooseKindness, check out the hub here.

It’s World Mental Health Day! We know that talking about yours can be rough and pretty scary, so we have come up with this quick guide about how to talk to your friends about mental health.

Talking to your pals about anything remotely serious can sometimes be a bit of a tall order, especially when you guys are pretty much living life in your own personal sitcom. But sometimes, when the laughter stops and you go off home, some in your friendship group (or even you) might be having a pretty tough time.

That’s why we think it’s pretty important that everyone be able to have a chat with their buddies about mental health – so that everyone has someone to go to. We know it’s awkward though, whether you go to them or they come to you, which is why we put this speedy guide together on how to do it.

If they come to you…

1) Don’t judge

This one might sound obvious, but lots of us can quite easily slip into thinking “what do they have to be depressed about?” or “they’re just being dramatic”, even when it’s a close friend that is coming to us. Try to reprogramme these thoughts when someone comes to you by thinking about how hard it must have been for them to come to you and what you can do to help. It might be that you or someone else is going through stuff too, but that doesn’t make what they are dealing with any easier. Remember that this person has confided in you because they trust you and they might just want someone to talk with now.

2) Just listen

If your mate approaches you with something they want to talk about and you’re not sure what to say, just lend an ear and listen. You don’t have to know everything about everything, and whilst it is super nice that you want to help, telling them to do the wrong thing could make a sticky situation worse.

If you really want to help, you could suggest that you both do some research about the next steps to take or find someone who can help. Alternatively, you could just be honest and say “I’m not sure how to help, but I’ll always be here to listen.”

3) Don’t make it all about you

Sometimes you can use your own personal experience to help someone else and that’s fine. But if you’re just changing the subject to talk about yourself when a friend is trying to talk, this is pretty unhelpful for them. If you can genuinely relate to what they’re going through then there’s no harm in telling them that, but always be mindful of the fact that they chose to confide in you.

If you go to them…

1) It doesn’t have to be face to face

Talking face to face is the best way of communicating for some people, for others, it can be literally the worst thing in the world. Instead, try sending a friend a quick message explaining what you are dealing with – you might find it much easier to talk about their feelings over text or by writing it down because it gives you more time to think about what you’re going to say. You could even start a group convo with some trusted mates and create a space where you can all talk about your wellbeing in a group chat.

2) Keep it casual

If you’re worried about a mate or want to talk a friend about your own mental health, you can do it in a casual way to avoid things getting too intense. You could bring it up when you’re playing a game or doing something else so that it’s not the main topic of conversation. This kind of conversation is great because it normalises talking about mental health. The more we talk about it, the less stigmatised it becomes! Here are some things you could do together whilst talking:

  • Go for a walk
  • Play a video game
  • Do something creative like drawing or painting
  • Do each other’s hair/makeup
  • Go to the gym

3) Give this a read

We know that having the conversation about something big in your past or what’s going on in your life can be really difficult, and being worried about getting it right can be a huge added source of stress. We put together this list of tips on how to open up about your past to someone in your life, and it should give you a bit of guidance on how to do it right.

Most importantly…

Always take them seriously

If they ever say that they’re feeling suicidal, or words to that effect, it’s really, really important that you take them seriously. You can help them by:

  • Notifying a trusted adult ASAP (parent, older sibling, teacher, family member)
  • Encouraging them to speak to someone at The Samaritans. You can speak to someone over email, on the phone, in person, or even by post 🐌 – find out more here or call 116 123. If they don’t want to speak to anyone, you could call on their behalf to get some advice.

Look out for each other

The best thing to do is just look out for each other everyday. Know the signs. If your friend is acting a bit off, it can be as simple as just asking them ‘are you okay?’.

If you or your friends are struggling and need someone to talk to, head over to the Ditch the Label community and we will listen.


Related:

For more information on talking about mental health, check out Time to Change 

The internet is pretty sweet right? We can all agree on that. But for people who are dealing with online hate, it can be a really rubbish place to spend time. The comments section on most articles, photos and celebrity IG’s is pretty much a minefield of tough to read insults or outright lies, and when that is directed at you, it can feel overwhelming and pretty damn lonely. The most important thing to remember if you are going through online abuse is that you are not alone. We’ve got your back and that’s why we have joined up with Simple and Little Mix to bring you a toolkit of how to deal with online hate.

1) Breathe 

Getting angry after receiving some nasty comments is pretty unsurprising, especially when a lot of them are written just to upset you. Using breathing techniques will help get your emotions under control and give you a minute to think about what you want to do next. Try following the GIF below – breathe in as the circle expands and breathe out as it gets smaller, and repeat. It might not have you feeling completely chill, but it should help to take the edge off and clear your mind a little. 


2) Think 

Being a keyboard warrior can be a good thing when it comes to saving the planet, or fighting injustice, but not so much when it comes to dealing with online hate. It’s natural to want to jump on your phone and start tapping away a reply that is both hilarious and devastating, but you might find yourself quickly stuck in a feud that even a drama channel would probably stay out of. So, instead of insulting them back, think about what you really want to happen as a result of this – the chances are, a long drawn out argument in your DM’s is probably not the one. 

3) Report it 

Everyone should have a pretty basic understanding of when and where to report stuff online and on different platforms. You can find a super quick guide to where you can do it on the big 3 (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) in our Ultimate Guide to Cyberbullying here. If it’s in a game you can find more information here. You can also report it to us here if you have already tried reporting to social media sites with no luck and we will get it taken down for you. Basically, we’ve done all the work for you so you can just get it sorted! You can thank us later. 

4) Take a Break

If it’s on social media, take a break from it. We know it’s often easier said than done, when friends are organising their boss weekend plans in IG DM’s, but it will be pretty crucial to you feeling better. It can feel really overwhelming when you are dealing with online hate, but taking a break from where it is happening will help you realise that your world is much bigger than your inbox. 

Try leaving your phone at home when you hang out with your pals or put it somewhere safe and out of sight when you are chilling with the family, an turn off your social media notifications. Trust us, a little bit of distance from it will make the world of difference. If you have a big following who expect to see some new snaps uploaded every day, try using a scheduling service so you can still take your much-needed break without your audience getting rowdy for their avo toast pic.

4) Take Care of You 

Dealing with online hate can be really stressful. Try some stress management techniques to make sure you are looking after yourself through it all. This epic list of 101 Ways to Chill Out and Reduce Stress will give you some super speedy suggestions for getting on top of it, and you can also read our Ultimate Guide to Stress to understand a bit more about it. 

A bit of self-care goes a long way when you are dealing with online hate. Make sure you take a bit of time for yourself to do something you love or that you find relaxing that doesn’t involve being glued to your phone. Why not try taking a long walk, practicing a new makeup look or hairstyle, invite a friend out for a kick about or watch your fave movie complete with a gigantic bowl of popcorn. Doing what you love will help you focus on yourself rather than the situation and remind you that you are so much more than the hate you’re getting. 

6) Talk to Someone 

Getting online abuse can make you really angry but it can also make you feel pretty lonely. The important thing to remember is that you are not alone in this, and we’re certainly here if you wanna get it off your chest. Click here to join our community and get advice from real people like you and our trained mentors. 

Otherwise, talking to a trusted friend, parent, teacher, or colleague will help you have an outlet for what is going on and ensures you will have someone to support you through it.

We’ve teamed up with Simple and Little Mix to tackle online hate. For more information on #ChooseKindness, click here

It can be pretty difficult to be kind to ourselves a lot of the time. We are all our own harshest critics, and clothes not fitting, exercise not taken, awkward words spoken and jokes not laughed at can actually end up haunting us for waaaaaaay longer than they ever should. At Ditch the Label, we think everyone deserves a bit of kindness, especially when it comes to being kind to ourselves. So, we’ve teamed up with the wonderful people over at Simple who have also partnered with the fabulous Little Mix to bring you a list of 9 ways you can be kinder to yourself every single day, and some ideas to get you started. 

1) Good thoughts 

Sometimes our thoughts can run away from us a little bit and it can be easy to get caught up in a cycle of negative thinking. Being able to catch these thoughts when they sneak up on you can be a bit difficult, but once you do, you can have a think about why you are thinking that way, and try to change them. A good help for this would be to write them down every time you think something negative about yourself or others, and track how often it happens. After every time you do, write underneath the bad though what a good alternative would be. So basically: 

  • “Ugh my legs look gross today” could be “My hair is looking amazing and feels really healthy and soft”
  • “That girl has really bad shoes on” could be “That girl has a really nice smile”

The more you start to change the bad thoughts into the good, the better you will start to feel about yourself and other people.  

2) Meditate 

Taking ten minutes before bed or first thing every day to meditate, breathe and reflect on the day is a great way to combat stress, and give yourself a bit of space from bad thoughts and negative things in your life. Making it a part of your bedtime routine can also help you to sleep better, which will also help beat the stress away. It’s basically magic. 

Not sure where to start? Yeah, it can be a bit intimidating given the amount of YouTube videos there are on the subject. We have a few ideas for you to get you started: 

– Body scans 

No, we don’t mean actually popping down the doctors for a scan of your actual body. This is something you can do to help you feel grounded in any situation and calm yourself down. Sit or lie somewhere comfortable, and think about 5 things you can see in the room, then think about 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. Reconnecting with your senses and the place you are in can help bring your mind back to the present and stop negative thoughts and anxiety. 

– Visualisations 

A quick and easy start would be to sit or lie comfortably on your bed and close your eyes. Breathe deeply through the nose for five seconds, and out again for five. Keep breathing slowly and deeply as you picture yourself lying on the bed. Then picture you on your bed in your room, and your room in your house, and your house in your street. Keep zooming out, keeping you on your bed at the centre of the visualization, until you can see the world, and space. It might sound a bit silly, but trust us – this visualization is a great way to get perspective on anything that is going on in your life right now. 

– Progressive muscle relaxation 

This one is pretty good for getting you to relax after a stressful day. Lie in bed before going to sleep and take a few deep breaths in and out through your nose. Then focus all your attention on tensing the muscles in just your toes, and release after a few seconds. Then do it for feet and ankles, then your calves, knees and basically just work your way up your body, breathing steadily the whole time. It might mean you end up pulling a bit of a funny face when you get near the end, but it is great for releasing tension in your body and slowing your whole self down. 

Want to know a bit more about meditation? You can find our Top 10 Mindfulness Apps herethat should help get started. 

3) Self-care 

So, you’ve probably heard of self-care by now, but probably not actually done much of it. Self-care is a great way to have a calm space where it is just you doing something calming or relaxing. There are loads of ways to practice self-care. You can go for a long walk, try out a new hairstyle, even just watch your favourite movie in bed with your cosiest socks on and a hot chocolate. Self-care is anything you want it to be, as long you are doing something that makes you feel better. 

4) Tell yourself something good

OK, hear us out on this one. Every morning when you wake up, before you even shower or get ready, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself three good things. Talking to yourself and about yourself positively is a great way to change your thoughts. Try to come up with three new things every single day, like 

  • ‘I feel great today’
  • ‘My smile is beautiful’
  • ‘I am going to absolutely smash (insert school/college/work here) today’
  • ‘I am a great mate’
  • ‘I can do this’

We know it sounds totally weird and not cool, but it is an awesome way to make you feel better. Putting out that level of good vibes about yourself into the universe is sure to help make you not only feel better, but look at yourself more positively. Plus, if you do it in your room, no one else knows unless you tell them – all they will see is how much more confident in yourself you are getting! 

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5) Follow stuff that uplifts you 

We all love spending a bit of time on the Gram, but have you ever found it makes you feel a bit crap about your life? Everyone else is throwing on pics of their holidays in the sun with a tan that you would literally kill for, and you are stuck at home on a drizzly and dull Sunday afternoon. We all know that social media is a highlight reel, but it can still make you feel rubbish when you see it. A good challenge to try is every time you see a post that makes you feel that way, unfollow it and replace it with something uplifting, funny or cute. There are literally thousands of accounts out there full of inspirational quotes, cute dogs, comedians and people posting some killer body positive content. 

Need inspiration for some to follow? Check out these posts for some ideas: 

6) Try a gratitude journal 

Make being grateful a part of your bed time routine and keep a journal. At the end of every day, try writing down a list of three things that you are grateful for, good things that happened that day or positive thoughts you have had that day. It could not only help in boosting your happiness before you get a bit of shut eye, but also it’s a great thing to look back on when you are having a bit of a low day. Knowing you’ve had happy days before the bad ones can make everything seem way less rubbish. 

7) Sing like you mean it 

Next time you jump in the shower, cleaning your room or doing something boring, have a bit of music on and start belting out the tunes. Try even throwing in a bit of a boogie as well (not in the shower though, we don’t want to be held responsible for any broken bones!) We promise it will have you feeling more energised, and just generally a bit more positive about life. Especially if it’s Shout Out To My Ex– that tune is still fiiiiiree.  

8) Do something just for you 

A lot of the time, we go through life taking care of everyone else before ourselves. It’s always super well-meaning, but if it means you end up struggling to deal, then it might be time to do something just for yourself. When you feel like you can, schedule in a few hours one afternoon to do something that is just for you. Not only will it give you a bit of space from whatever it is that is stressing you out or getting you down, but it will help you to reconnect with the stuff you love to do. You are so much more than the rubbish stuff you might be having to deal with right now, and doing stuff for you will help to remind you of that. 

If you are stuck for ideas, why not go to the cinema on your own, go shopping for the overpriced leather jacket you’ve been eyeing for weeks, go for a run or walk, get crafty, play music, or whip up something delicious in the kitchen. Whatever it is that makes you happy, you deserve a tonne of it right now. 

9) Talk to someone 

If you are having a bit of a tough time right now, talking to someone about it might be one of the kindest things you can do for yourself. Dealing with something in silence can take a real toll on your body and mental health, and talking about it could help ease the problem. If you feel ready, why not approach a trusted friend, colleague, parent, sibling or teacher and explain you need to talk about what’s going on in your life right now. It can help your load feel lighter and easier to deal with, and they can offer help or give you some perspective on the situation. If you don’t feel like you have anyone to talk to right now, you can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here, and we will listen to you. 

It should never be difficult or a chore to be kind to ourselves, but we know that when life gets busy or stressful it can be really difficult to give ourselves the break that we often need pretty badly. Trying any one of these things should hopefully help you to kick start a new you that is kinder to yourself, and to others around you.

For more information on the #ChooseKindness movement, click here

When shade can be thrown in any comments section, and subtweeting someone seems to be the only way to get stuff off your chest, it can seem like being negative online is a pretty common thing. The thing is, a lot of people don’t realise that the kind of negativity that they take part in online can actually be called cyberbullying, and can get serious.

1 in 3 people have been cyberbullied at some point in their lifetimes, and we are not into that. We do know though that sometimes it can feel easy to do it, like it’s the only way to express yourself, or like it won’t matter. That’s why we have come up with a little checklist of things to think about before you post something negative online, so that hopefully next time you think about doing it, you will make a cup of tea instead. 

1) Why are you posting it? 

Have a think about why you are posting it. Is it to take part in healthy debate and conversation or is it just to hurt someone’s feelings? A good idea is to write a list of as many reasons as you can think of why you feel the need to do it, and a list of reasons why you shouldn’t. Seeing it all written down might give you a bit of perspective on the situation. Plus, the chances are, you won’t be able to come up with that many reasons why you should. 

2) How are you saying it? 

We can all say stuff from time to time that comes across badly when we didn’t mean it to. Especially because we can’t really convey tone on the internet, and a lot of sarcasm, irony or even humour may get lost and taken the wrong way. Before tapping that send button it’s always a good shout to give your comment or message a read through and make sure you aren’t accidentally saying something you don’t mean. 

3) Can the person you are posting it to/about do anything about it? 

Is it a conversation that they can be a part of, offer their side of the story or defend themselves against any allegations that might get made? Imagine if you heard that all this stuff was being said against you behind your back, and you had no way of trying to solve the situation and make things right. It would totally suck, and would probably feel pretty unfair. 

4) Would you say it to their face? 

A big reason why we all find it easy to say negative stuff online is because we can do it from behind a screen, and it is way easier to type insults or rumours than it is to actually say them out loud. Always think if you would feel comfortable saying something to someone’s face before typing it out on your phone and hitting send. 

Plus, even though it might seem like it can be easy to be anonymous on social media, everything that you put out there is staying there until you take it down for the most part, and there is absolutely no guarantee it will stay anonymous forever. There is always going to be the possibility that you get in trouble for it somewhere down the line, or affect your career, relationships, school records and in the most serious of cases, could land you in trouble with the law. Not chill, huh? 

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5) How do you feel right now?

If you are thinking about saying something mean or negative online to or about someone, it might be a good idea to check in with yourself first. It might be that there is something going on with you that you didn’t even realise was making you want to behave this way. If there is, try talking to a trusted family member or friend about it first.

Usually, when we feel like posting something negative it is because we are already feeling a bit rubbish ourselves. If you don’t feel like you have someone to talk to about what’s going on with you right now, you can always talk to us. Reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here, and we will listen to you no matter what.

6) How do you think it will make you feel afterwards?

So, it’s actually a proven thing that the more we think negatively about other people, the more we beat ourselves up too. The chances are, you won’t actually be feeling that great about yourself after you’ve commented or slid into someone’s DMs with something mean. Reprogramming your thoughts into nice ones is a great way to stop your brain in its tracks, and will actually help you to think more positively about yourself. 

Grab a pen and paper and write whatever the negative thing is that you want to send. Then underneath it, write a reason why you shouldn’t, how it might make the other person feel, or something nice instead. Seeing this written out in front of you in your own handwriting might help you to see why it isn’t the best idea. By writing something nice instead, you might be able to see how being kinder is easier and how it even makes you feel better. 

7) Is it because they are famous/an influencer etc? 

Just because someone is famous or has loads of followers, doesn’t mean they won’t care what is said about them. They are humans too with feelings and emotions, and families and lives that might be affected by what you say. It can be super easy to forget that when they seem to only exist on Instagram or in tabloids, but they aren’t immune to feeling bad. Check out this piece with influencer @foodfitnessflora about how negativity has changed her life.

8) How will it affect their lives? 

There’s a good chance that whatever you say will have an actual impact on someone’s life. We know it might not seem like it when there is a screen and probably hundreds or maybe even thousands of miles between you, but whatever gets put out into the universe has the power to make waves and to damage someone’s life, career or relationship beyond repair. 

9) How would it affect you if you were on the receiving end? 

Ok so we know this is the kind of thing your teacher or your Mum used to say when they wanted to prove a point, but actually feeling empathy for other people is super important before you decide to say or send something negative online. If those notifications came popping up on your screen, the chances are you would feel a bit crap about the whole thing. 

If you want to talk to someone about online bullying or harassment, you can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.

Talking. Who has the time? The annoying thing is though, it is often pretty much the best thing you can do when you are going through something. However, it can be a bit difficult to tell if you should, right? We all can feel guilty about talking about our shit when everyone else seems to have a bunch of stuff going on as well.

The fact remains though, whether it’s a mate, a parent, teacher, colleague, or even just your dog for now (we all have to start somewhere), talking to someone about what you’re dealing with is the first step to getting back to being your brilliant bright best version of yourself. 

1) It will make you feel lighter

You’ve probably heard that saying from your Nan or someone that a problem shared is a problem halved. Well we don’t know the maths, but it will almost definitely make the problem feel less intense. Having someone as a sounding board for what’s going on, even if they can’t offer any help, will make it feel less lonely and more like you can tackle whatever is going on with more energy. 

2) It can reduce stress

Having a moment to let some stuff off your chest can really help ease your stress levels, especially when they are related to the situation. Even if what you are talking about isn’t the main source of the stress in your life, letting off a bit of steam here and there is a good stepping stone towards reducing your stress. For more on how to tackle stress, check out our ultimate guide here

3) It can make you feel closer to that person 

Sharing something that’s pretty intense with someone else is probably the quickest way to feel closer to them. It can make you feel like you have someone on your side and who you can go to with stuff, and they will probably feel the same way too. Just make sure you can trust them it before you go to them. 

4) They might be able to get you help elsewhere

So the person you go to might not be able to completely fix the problem. That doesn’t mean they can’t help a little, or help you get help elsewhere. This doesn’t mean they are gonna drag you to the doctor or a counsellor (although they might suggest it if it’s the best option for you), it can also mean you have a bit of back up when you go to your family, teacher, friend, or source of the problem. Sometimes, someone to just sit there and hold your hand is literally the best solution. 

5) It can make other parts of your life easier 

Sometimes, reaching out to someone might make the rest of your life a little easier to deal with when you are going through something. Like, maybe you have a lot going on with the family and too much work to do for school or college. Going to a trusted teacher about what’s going on with you might mean they can help lighten your workload in places, offer extensions and generally make it a bit easier to deal when you have a ton of other shit going on. 

6) It can give you a bit of perspective

When you are handling a situation on your own, it can feel way worse than it actually is. Especially because when something goes wrong in our lives, we are all chronic overthinkers! Having a chat with someone outside of the situation can give you an objective opinion on it, and maybe help you see that it isn’t the end of the world. 

7) They might be able to fix it 

If what is going on with you is directly related to another person, maybe you’ve fallen out with a friend or your Mum is stressing you out, going to them to have a straight forward calm conversation might actually remove the problem from your life altogether. Choose a place where you both will feel comfortable and let them know that you need some help with this, and explain how the situation is making you feel. 

If you don’t feel like you have anyone to talk to right now, you can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here and we will listen.

It’s funny how we can share our progress pics from the gym on Insta without a second thought, but we rarely share our emotional progress with each other. As a society, we’re not talking about mental health enough. We’re taught to look after our bodies in a million different ways but nothing is said about our emotional wellbeing because, well, “out of sight, out of mind” right?!

The team here at Ditch HQ have put together this list of nifty ways to keep track of your mental health:

1. Log

This genius calendar is a fun and creative way to track your moods throughout the year. You simply fill in each day with the colour that most corresponds to your mood. Once the year is up, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how you’ve been feeling on the whole.

Let’s hope it’s predominantly pink 😊 but let’s face it, we all have the occasional ‘red’ day…

2. Track

If graphing is your thing, you can make some awesome looking graphs to track your mood, sleep, diet, self-care and medication. There are also lots of apps available such as Daylio or Moods. The trick is to get creative! Check this out for ideas:

3. Write

Keeping a written log of how you’re feeling is invaluable to your emotional wellbeing. There are some things we simply can’t say out loud but writing them down is the perfect way to get those feelings out in the open. It doesn’t have to be in beautiful prose or perfect handwriting. In fact, you’ll probably even find that your writing will change according to your mood.

4. List

  • List what makes you sad
  • List what makes you happy
  • List what you’re grateful for
  • List the things you’re worried about
  • List the things that are going well for you
  • List the things that aren’t going so well for you
  • List the people that you love
  • Make a bucket list
  • List some self-care goals

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5. Blog

If writing lists are not your thing, why not start a blog? You can keep it private if you’d rather but you’ll probably find that lots of people feel the same way as you and it’s a fantastic way to look back over recent events and see how you’ve dealt with them. Plus, you can make them look awesome to boot, try WordPress or Tumblr for easy-to-use blogging sites!

6. Vlog

DW, you don’t have to be the next Zoella! In fact, you don’t even need to upload it for all to see but if blogging’s not for you, why not just spout all your feelings in video format? In doing so, you’re actively connecting with the way that you feel and talking it out. You’ll probably feel really silly to begin with, but it gets easier and soon you’ll be a pro – give it a try, we dare you! If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a camera, why not just record your voice on your phone and start your own personal private podcast?

7. Create

Get creative. Creativity is proven to improve mental health and emotional wellbeing. Even if you’re not ‘arty’ in the conventional sense, everybody should have a creative outlet. Be it music, cooking, building, painting, dancing, sewing… Do your creative thing once a week and look back at the progress at the end of the year. You’re guaranteed to feel accomplished and creative outlets are great for relaxation too!

8. Mind Journal

If you’re a guy and struggling to find an outlet that you feel comfortable with, you could try MindJournal. It’s widely recognised that thinking and writing about feelings doesn’t come as easily to guys, but the MindJournal is designed to help with just that. Don’t worry if this idea feels a little intimidating, it eases you in with questions to get you started. Plus, if you find it tough to express your emotions to others, this may be the perfect place for you release them.

9. Share

Chances are, you’ve got some friends who want to keep track of their mental health too. Statistically speaking, 1 in 3 people have a mental health issue. Try creating a group chat/WhatsApp group that is a safe space for you all to talk about your well-being. Sharing your problems, worries and wins is really beneficial and so is listening to other people’s. It will help you to open up, helps get rid of the stigma, strengthens friendships and relationships, helps others with their wellbeing and opens up a much-needed dialogue about mental health. Be the one to make it happen!

Wanna talk about it? Join our Community to get help from an amazing DTL digital mentor or talk it out with other members of the community who know where it’s at…

Everyone gets stressed. What was once a useful evolutionary tactic to stop us from getting attacked by bears or falling into caves now leaves us with the same fast beating heart at the thought of exams, deadlines or personal issues. However, if stress goes on too long, it can have a lasting negative impact on our physical, mental and emotional health, as well as other aspects of our lives such as grades in school or work performance.

That’s why, for Stress Awareness Month (and the Easter revision period – sorry guys, we hate to be the ones to remind you), we have put together this super handy guide to identifying stress and what you can do about it.

 

What is Stress?

Stress is a hormonal reaction in our bodies. Originally, it was used as a ‘fight or flight’ instinct to try to stop us getting into too much trouble with wildlife that wanted to eat us and other things, but it stuck around through thousands of years of evolution. Unfortunately, these days, our bodies don’t have that much use for it because we aren’t always in imminent danger. So the reaction gets triggered by stuff like exams, school, home life, and loads of other things.

What might cause stress?

These days, we have a lot going on and managing stress can become an ongoing battle in daily life. Some causes of stress could include

  • Stuff going on at home 
  • Falling out with friends
  • Exams and school pressures 
  • Work performance pressure 
  • Relationship concerns
  • Money worries 
  • Moving house 
  • Current affairs and what is going on with the world around us
  • Even social media can be a cause of stress for some of us. 

It is important to remember that everyone can get stressed, and talking about it is the first step towards being stress and worry free. 

 

What are some symptoms of stress?

There are loads of symptoms of stress. Some are physical, some emotional and some mental. Also, it is important to remember that not everyone gets every symptom and it can show up in many different ways, and not even the same combination of symptoms will show up in the same person in different stressful situations. 

Some emotional symptoms include: 

  • Feeling really overwhelmed with every that’s going on
  • Feeling irritable, or snapping at people when you usually wouldn’t
  • Heightened emotions, or crying at stuff easily 
  • Increased anxiety or nervousness 

Some psychological symptoms include: 

  • Having a tough time concentrating 
  • Not being able to make decisions 
  • Thoughts that race or won’t shut up when you want to sleep or are doing other things 
  • Constantly worrying about stuff (whether they have happened or not) 

Some physical symptoms include:

  • Intense headaches
  • Muscle aches and pains 
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • Feeling really tired all the time
  • Changes to how much you eat 

Why do we need to talk about it? 

It is important to remember that absolutely everyone and anyone can get stressed. But because we often use the term ‘stress’ casually, many people don’t think stress is serious enough to talk about. However, stress can have a lasting impact on our health and our lives if it goes on for too long. Not talking about it, and shouldering all of the anxiety that goes with it, is a key reason why it can go on so long. But, discussing it openly with friends, co-workers or trusted adults can stop stress in its tracks before it gets to be too much. 

When should I go to a GP? 

When stress gets to be too much, it might be a good idea to let your Doctor know. For example, if you are experiencing ongoing physical symptoms of stress such as dizziness or sleep difficulties, there might be something they can help with. 

Also, if you have tried home remedies and relaxation techniques for dealing with it and they don’t seem to be working, give the Doc a call. 

How do I deal with it? 

There are loads of things you can do to ease the symptoms of stress yourself. Below is just a handful of ideas that could help you out – if you need more, check out our article 101 Ways to Chill Out and Reduce Stress

1) Meditation 

Taking time to relax and rest is a great way to chill. You can use visualisation exercises (which you will definitely be able to find with a quick google) through guided meditation, or come up with your own.

Breathing exercises are also a great form of meditation. Take a moment right now and watch this circle. As the circle expands, breathe in, and the as it contracts, breathe out. Repeat three times.

 

2) Mindfulness 

You would have seen those adult colouring books by now for sure. Mindfulness is all about grounding you in space and allowing your brain a bit of a break by making you focus on another activity.

 

3) TLC 

Not feeling like those are for you? Well self care is for everyone. Take a moment for yourself and have a chilled out bath with Netflix on, go for a long walk in the sunshine without your phone attached to your hand, try out a new skincare routine – anything to make you feel calm, and at your best.

 

4) Get a massage 

So this one requires a bit of a larger budget than the others but if you are stressed you are probably carrying a lot of tension in your muscles. Not only can this get painful, but it can trigger more stress in the long run. Not got the dollar to make this happen? Get one of your parents, your partner or your best friend to give your shoulders a rub.

 

5) Sleep hygiene 

Getting a good nights sleep can seem to make every bit of stress melt away. Making sure you have a good routine before bed not only makes sure this will happen, but gets you relaxed and focussing on yourself for more of the day. Try a warm bath or shower, get in bed and make sure there are no devices near you so you can catch some high quality ZZZs.

 

Anything else? 

We have loads of other resources and guides to help you deal with stress – check them out below! 

Think you might be suffering with stress and need someone to speak to? Reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here

Woman on phone in field

We all spend a ridiculous amount of time online. With the internet in your pocket, in school, at work and at home, it is impossible to escape it. That’s why being bullied online can be absolutely shit, and can make it feel impossible to live your life. We have put together this Ultimate Guide – so you can understand everything you need to know about cyberbullying and where you can get help if you need it. 

What Is Cyberbullying?

In our research, we found that 7 in 10 young people experience cyberbullying in some form before they hit the age of 18. This is obviously a huge number of you. So first, let’s take a look at what cyberbullying actually is. 

We define cyberbullying as the following: 

“Cyberbullying is the use of digital technologies with an intent to offend, humiliate, threaten, harass or abuse somebody.”

Anybody can suffer the effects of cyberbullying, regardless of age, gender, income or occupation. For example, the kind of harassment experienced by many celebrities and public figures on social media every day counts as cyberbullying, as well as nasty messages that work their way into your Whatsapp or the mean photos that no one will take down from Instagram. It all counts.  

If you have lived through or are living through cyberbullying, you know how crap it can make your life. That’s why the most important thing is to know how to deal with it effectively and what the law says about it. 


What Does The Law Say?

Though no laws specifically apply to cyberbullying alone, there are several laws which can be applied in cyberbullying cases:

  • Protection from Harassment Act 1997
  • Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
  • Malicious Communications Act 1988
  • Communications Act 2003
  • Breach of the Peace (Scotland)
  • Defamation Act 2013

In 2012 The Crown Prosecution Service published guidelines on how cyberbullying cases would be assessed against current laws, which you can find here.

On January 1st 2014 the Defamation Act 2013 came into order and can be read here.

Get the Facts

Want to know more? Have a read through our past research papers to get an idea of the stats around bullying, cyberbullying and other related issues from the last 5 years…


Social Media etc.

What Does it Look Like?

Cyberbullying on social media come in all shapes and sizes. Some examples include sending or posting threatening or abusive messages both publicly and in direct messages, hate speech and discrimination and offensive photo or video content. 

Reporting It

FACEBOOK

How to report and remove a post

  • On the post that you want to report/remove, click on the arrow icon in the top right-hand side and select I don’t like this post.
  • When the window pops open just click the appropriate reason for removing the post.
  • Then you are given the options on how to proceed. You are given plenty of options to choose from.
  • Once you have gone through this short process, you will have several options on how to proceed including blocking the person who made the original post and making a complaint to Facebook.

Blocking a User

  • You can still block users by going to their Facebook page. Once on their profile page go to the top right corner and click on the button to the right of the messages button.
  • You now have the option to report or block them.

Dealing with Abusive Messages

  • If you are using the chat box then click on the options logo in the right corner followed by Report as Spam or Abuse…
  • If you are in your inbox, select the message that you want to get rid of or report from the left-hand column by clicking on it.
  • Click on Actions at the top of your screen and select Report as Spam or Abuse…
  • Three options will appear so just click on the one that is appropriate.

TWITTER

Blocking a user through a Tweet

  • On the tweet that you want to block, click on the more (…) icon at the bottom of the Tweet and click Block.

Blocking a user through a profile

  • Go to the profile page of the user you want to block.
  • Click on the options icon next to the follow button and select block. You can also report users by completing these same steps.

INSTAGRAM

Reporting Content or a User

  • Click on the options arrow either on a post or the users profile and click report.

Online gaming 

What does it look like?

Our research found that 50% of you have experienced cyberbullying at least once when gaming online with other people. But, it is not always clear how to report it, or if there is even anything you can do about it. 

Bullying in an online game can include harassing someone or repeatedly targeting them, sending threatening or abusive messages in chat, or even having an offensive player name.

Reporting in an online game 

Every game and every publisher will have its own reporting method and this will vary. Usually, you can find the reporting method with a quick Google search, on the website of the game or publisher and in online forums. You can find out guide to bullying in Fortnite here


Report It To Us

Did you know you can report cyberbullying to us and we’ll get it sorted?


Get Help

Cyberbullying can be really tough to deal with. If you feel at any time you need support or advice on cyberbullying, or anything else that might be bothering you, reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.

Things like self-esteem and confidence take the biggest knock as a result of bullying. We know this from the years of research we have undertaken in our Annual Bullying Survey. We internalise the mean comments and try to rationalise why we might’ve been excluded, singled out and picked on.

Eventually, we come to the conclusion that… “it must be me 😳”

In doing so we convince ourselves that there’s something wrong with us and before you know it…. hey presto! You’ve got yourself a whole bunch of social anxiety, confidence issues and low self-esteem to contend with.

The worst thing about this is that it follows us around for ages and it’s difficult to shake, even after the bullying has ended or been resolved. We’re left feeling low and vulnerable.

So, what can we do about it? The answer is simple but not always so easy to achieve: we can learn to love ourselves.

The experts at Ditch the Label put their heads together to come up with 50 things you can do to give yourself a little boost – try to tick off every single one and we guarantee you’ll start feeling better about yourself.

50 tips to rebuild your confidence

Try some of these out:

  1. Tell yourself that you are enough
  2. Change up your hairstyle
  3. Watch your favourite movie
  4. Talk to that mate that always makes you giggle
  5. Run faster than you’ve ever run before
  6. Make something you’ve never made before
  7. Shout out a window really loud about how amazing you are (we dare you)
  8. Help a mate
  9. Spend time with a puppy
  10. Write a list of all your best qualities
  11. Write a list of all the good things in your life – add to it every day
  12. Do something that you know you’re really good at
  13. Accept a compliment by saying ‘thank you’
  14. Unfollow/block all the things on social media which make you feel worthless
  15. Ask for help more
  16. Build something
  17. Complete a video game
  18. Find a sense of community (*cough hint cough*)
  19. Say yes more to fun/new things
  20. Learn a martial art
  21. Take up a new sport
  22. Literally say nice things to yourself in the mirror (a bit cringe at first, but trust us, it works 😉)
  23. Be kinder to the people closest to you
  24. Read about people who have similar experiences to you
  25. Talk to people who have similar experiences to you
  1. Treat yourself once in a while
  2. Allow yourself to laugh more
  3. Be outside more
  4. Hang out with people who make you feel good
  5. Join a forum (*cough hint cough*)
  6. Understand that the reality is, no one has it easy
  7. Be creative
  8. Practise mindful colouring
  9. Understand that it takes time
  10. Accept who you are and own it
  11. Learn about ways to stand up for yourself
  12. Learn to say no
  13. Hang out with a kitten😍
  14. Discover a new band
  15. Start your own band
  16. Be more honest
  17. Meditate
  18. Be critical of everything you read online
  19. Go shopping
  20. Cook a meal for your family/friends
  21. Join a club
  22. Organise activities for friends/family
  23. Celebrate your achievements no matter how big or small
  24. List the things you love about yourself
  25. List the things you are most grateful for

Got any to add? Stick em’ in Community – we want to hear how you stay fabulous 😍 @DitchtheLabel