The Current State of Affairs (Ft. Votes & Protests)

With the current states of affairs, it’s not difficult to feel as though all hope is lost. It can sometimes feel like to world is ending, with no one understanding the actions of their peers; with protests to battle against decisions already made and with fear being a common emotion among any old enough to understand what’s going on.

Some major decisions have been made both here and overseas that do not reflect either the view of the people or attitudes deemed acceptable today. Issues regarding equality (in all sense of the word) are rising, just when we getting confident that these old ideals were ridiculous and redundant. And although it seems as though all our problems can be pinned on one leader or another, we need to accept that as the public we are not innocent in any of this either.

It’s easy to point the finger at that orange-faced man on the TV or your government representative, because they’re the ones in charge right? But in these states of democracy we need to see that it is our actions, our views and our desperation that has put us here.

The news in America was obviously a great shock, but while others turned to anger and fighting I found myself feeling sad. I was sad for those who were so desperate to see change that they turned to archaic opinions and frightening predicaments; I was sad for the many who were hopeful but still didn’t do enough; I was sad about the lack of education and the lack of interest some people demonstrate in these important affairs. I am now sad about those who live in fear.

But at the end of the day, a vote was made. Although it may not be the vote you wanted it is the vote of the majority (including 53% of white women) and in a democratic society these changes must be made. This man should rule; that country should leave.

“democracy: (noun) a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.”

synonyms: representative government, elective government

Although it may not be the vote you cast (and as long as you cast your vote then your job is done. If you didn’t then I’m afraid you can’t really speak out) there are ways that you can make a difference and still ensure that your voice is heard. There will be some useful links at the end of this to help you, but on a smaller scale just by speaking out and remaining compassionate you can make all the difference.

The views of your current leader mightn’t (and hopefully don’t) reflect your views and this may make you lose hope when people agree with what you see to be wrong. But don’t be disheartened. This is your chance to educate and expose some new ideas.

Although protesting is obviously the most public (and seemingly most common right now) way to express your opinion, this is something that should only be done if you have a specific case in mind.

It’s all well and good blocking streets to campaign against a leader or a vote that has been made (and in many cases this is successful and generally just a good thing to do to show your support) but it would all work a little better if we were more specific about what we don’t like. In the case of Trump, there is nothing you can do to get him out of the leader seat. So instead of putting all your energy and time into campaigning for the impossible, aim to fight against his policies or the things he’s said that aren’t okay.

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Instead of being disrespectful, because even if you disagree there is still a large majority of people who thought the opposite (and even though they may be wrong they are still people and should get your respect), aim to educate. Use your campaigns, your protests and your posts to explain exactly what has happened and why it’s wrong. Be clear and honest as for some people the idea that these beliefs are wrong is just not possible. Talk about their children, use their futures as an example; make it understandable and be open to answer questions. But also be prepared for backlash and don’t push back. Instead remain calm and kind- you don’t need to stoop to that level to win an argument. Besides winning shouldn’t be your aim here, educating and exposing what is right so that people can understand the consequences of their actions should be your goal.

If you are going to protest, by all means go for it. But it’s best to be specific (stick to an issue like racism, sexism or immigration) and for God’s sake do your research. Again people are going to ask questions so use this time to educate and open more people up to new ideas. This is something you can only do if you’ve researched. Remain passionate, otherwise what’s the point in campaigning if you don’t care, and compassionate. Some people will still think they’ve done the right thing or some mightn’t even understand. They are still people. If you’re campaigning against the ill-treatment of others whether for their colour, gender or ethnicity then make sure you represent the right way to treat people regardless. Even if they disagree with you, or call out rude things.

Now is the best time for us to rally round, help each other out and generally just stay supportive. There is already too much fear and anger in the world without us adding to it. If things are happening that you don’t agree with, speak out. But please bear in mind the advice given. If you see people fighting for change, help them. But above all remain kind and respectful to your peers and the people around you, because that’s the one thing we don’t have enough of right now.


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Speak soon,

Rachael.

Important Things To Remember This Festive Season

This season is meant to be the happiest of them all. I mean the month of Christmas and all the other festivities; a time when we’re supposed to be surrounded by friends, family and wonderful food, what’s not to love? But for many people it’s just another month in the year. Or for some, even with all the festive cheer, this month still has it’s struggles and it;s difficulties.

But because we’re all meant to be so merry and bright (sorry) this month, it tends to make our dark days darker as we feel like there must be something wrong with us. To be sad, anxious or just generally not having the best time during Christmas? How can that be possible? Don’t worry, I get you.

If you are really struggling, at this time or any, please speak to someone. But for the most part, here are some important things to remember when things get a bit much this season:

  • Don’t Compare Yourself With Others

This is something I have mentioned a few times in various posts and something I try to remind myself on a daily basis. But I think it’s especially relevant during the Christmas period. It seems that everywhere people are having a perfect festive season; their families are so close and get on so well; they have enough money to buy amazing presents for everyone in their life and even the fact that people have time off is something we can get envious of. But it’s important to appreciate what you have going on and basically ignore everything else. Whenever we look at what other people have in comparison with our own, nine times out of ten we come out on the bottom. We get so busy obsessing about how we aren’t as good as the other person that we lose sight of everything we have and all the wonderful things going on with us. This one doesn’t have a quick fix and I’m still struggling on it, but please spend more time on what you have and less on other people. It’s such an unhealthy exercise to out yourself through.

  • Social Media Is A Highlight Reel

Similar to what I’ve just mentioned, it’s so easy to feel disheartened when you’re bombarded with images of perfect everything 24/7. Now that it’s Christmas we’re seeing images and videos of the ‘perfect’ way to do it, from the best decorations to expensive gifts to even constant happiness. With social media it can often feel like you’re the only one left out, but you need to remember that it’s a highlight reel. Every post on any site has been chosen carefully (in most cases) to highlight something. We all do it. Everything is edited and cut to only show what the creator has chosen to allow us to see. Why wouldn’t you just show the best parts of yourself or your day if you could? Which is all well and good but when it’s a constant thing it’s easy to forget that real life just isn’t like that. Not everyone looks flawless, feels 100% happy or is having the best day all of the time. Just because that’s what you see on social media, doesn’t make it true.

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  • Have Realistic Expectations

We all do it every year, I know. That thing where we big up Christmas and New Year and think we’re going to have the best one ever. We try to do so many things and make everything perfect that on the day nothing is good enough and we’re left disappointed. The key to this is be realistic. You don’t have to be negative, just think about the Christmases you’ve had in the past and the simple things that made them great. Do not try to replicate them or try to plan anything too much. This is really hard for someone like me to do, but it’s really important to try to ‘go with the flow’ a little bit this season. With all the stress and excitement things are bound to go wrong. With people coming and going so much, plans aren’t going to get stuck to. Plan as much as you need (ie. get your presents in before the big day!) but don’t put too much emphasis on everything being the best. Instead focus on having a good time, spending some time with loved ones and taking a break when you can.

  • It’s Only One Day

This is something I think we all forget in the excitement and stress, but Christmas is really only one day of your life. Of course it’s nice to make a big effort and join in with the excitement all month long but you need to remember that it’s only a day. When things feel like they’re getting on top of you and you’re struggling to do everything at once, take a breather because it’s only a day. 24 hours. That’s it, then it’s over. Now I’m not encouraging you to drop everything, become a total Scrooge because ‘fuck it it’s only one day’ but I feel like we all go a bit crazy over the month of December and it is a bit daft. There’s plenty of time to see your family and friends, to chill out and have a laugh. Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean you have to do everything at once.

As always I hope this helped any of you that needed it. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and I hope you’re having a good day.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Five Christmas Films You Should Watch This Season

While trying to get into the Christmas spirit, I know many of us turn to our favourite festive movies. With happy stories about family, love and Santa there’s no better way to get yourself ready for Christmas!

Here are my top five Christmas films that I’ll be watching this season and I think you should too:

Love Actually is one of my favourite films of all time, let alone favourite Christmas film! It’s such a heartwarming, lovely celebration of all kinds of love from romantic to family to friendship. It’ll make you laugh, cry and overall just appriciate the people you have in your life right now.

I remember going to see this film in Reception, as part of a school trip, and I’ve loved it ever since. I know we’ve all seen it a million times but it’s a classic that I love to come back to every year. It’s another heartwarming, funny film (my favourite kind) and the Grinch, although he’s a bit creepy, only seems to become more and more relatable as I get older!

This is my all-time favourite Christmas film and one I try to watch every year. It’s such a lovely film about the magic of Christmas and as a kid (who am I kidding? As an adult too!) getting to see this version of the North Pole, Santa and the elves makes me feel so festive and excited.

Are you getting the fact that I really enjoy funny films? This one is a favourite in my household and it never fails to make me belly-laugh. It’s such a cute film about a father trying to make his son’s Christmas by getting him the most sought-after toy. This is one I feel like all parents can relate to! It’s a silly film that is guaranteed to make you giggle.

I was obsessed with this film series when I was younger (probably too young to be watching it, to be fair). The final in the series, this film is based around the dogs in the family instead of the babies. As a fan of cheesy comedy, dogs and John Travolta (Grease is the word) this film fills me with nostalgia and still makes me laugh today.

What’s your favourite Christmas film? Also, how did you like those throwback trailers?!

Speak soon,

Rachael

Things I’ve Been Loving: October

October was a frigging long month wasn’t it? Unlike previous months, which seemed to fly by, I thought it would never end.

Now winter is basically here, Christmas  is coming and we can all breathe a sigh of relief that this weird year is coming to a close.

October was an odd month for me and not a particularly good one, but these little things made me happy throughout so I though I’d share them with you:

Dangerous Woman: Ariana Grande

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I have never really been a fan of Ariana Grande and I haven’t gotten the hype that’s surrounded her since she first hit the charts. But for some reason I was drawn to this album and I have basically listened to it non-stop all month. It’s so good and I feel like whatever mood I’m in I turn to it. There’s some belters that I love screeching along to and a couple of sassy tracks that make me feel like I’m way cooler than I am.

Chokers

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I’ve had a (none sexual) thing for chokers for a little while now but this month I just stepped it up a notch. I ordered a bunch off eBay (unfortunately not all were what I expected. Lesson learnt there) and have been wearing them more often. I feel like they add an edge to a basic outfit and can look so cool with so many different things.

Toasted Teacakes

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A random mention but this month toasted teacakes have been my snack of choice. Especially now it’s getting colder and the days are becoming greyer, I really looks forward to cuddling up with a cup of tea and a teacake. I feel like such an old lady talking about this but it genuinely has been one of my favourite things to do this month. I know, I’m such an exciting human being!

The Manifesto on How to be Interesting: Holly Bourne

book

This was the first full book I had read in such a long time and I just devoured it. I started it when I went away to Manchester for the weekend with my boyfriend and one of my closest friends and just whizzed through it. I have to confess I love a bit of YA and this one was so clever and interesting.

It goes into mental health and self-harm but is ultimately the tale of a girl who discovers herself while going through an extreme personality change. It’s quite raw and honest which I absolutely loved. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I put it down.

Primark Embroidered Jeans

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I managed to find these jeans in the sale when I went back home for the day this month. I have been looking for some ripped jeans for a while now, as well as being slightly in love with this whole embroidered trend going on. So imagine my excitement when I found this beauty, which has both! I haven’t wore them everyday, but just knowing they’re now in my wardrobe has made me so happy.

Fortune Favours the Brave Palette: Makeup Revolution

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I treated myself to this palette on a student lock-in night at my local shopping centre and I don’t regret it one bit. I know I mentioned another Makeup Revolution palette in my last Loves post but that’s only because they’re so good! They’re pretty cheap (this once was £9.99 FYI) and they are fantastic. They’re so pigmented and offer a wide range of colours, so if you’re someone like me who likes to mess about with makeup I’d give them a go. This one also can in handy on Halloween when I was experimenting with various looks.

And finally:

American Horror Story: Season 6

I have been so obsessed with American Horror Story this month! Have you been watching it? It’s been amazing- I can’t get enough of it to be honest.

Me and one of my very good friends (who also happens to be my flatmate while I’m at uni) have gotten into the routine of watching it together and it’s been such a lovely part of my week for this past month. As I’ve already said, this month has been a bit crap so it’s so nice to have something to look forward to every week.  If you’re a bit squeamish like me then watching this show with someone else can be pretty useful!

I don’t want to get too much into it, as I feel like it’s best to not know anything if you fancy watching it but I will say it’s such a dark and disturbing show. It’s also very unique and clever too. I’m really enjoying it anyway and if you fancy something to watch in the darker nights then this is for you.

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So those were the things that have made this month a bit better. What have you been loving?

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

 

 

 

What Is Self Care Anyway?

Following Mental Health Day this week (Monday 10th October, FYI) I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole ‘self-care’ thing.

It’s become somewhat of a trend on social media and we’re often surrounded by images of Lush products and bubble baths. Which of course is a part of it, but it isn’t always pretty and so Instagramable.

We all have a metal health just as we have a physical health. It just looks different for everyone.

THE BASICS

self-care 

noun: care of the self without medical or other professional consultation.

It’s pretty self explanatory but it does what it says on the tin. Although seeking help and support from other people is brilliant (in fact the Mental Health Foundation claim that talking to other people is one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. You can read that here) you can also take control and look after yourself too.

You can do this in various different ways, which I will discuss in a minute. But the main thing to remember is you have control. When you’re struggling with mental health issues, whether that be a diagnosed problem or not, it can sometimes feel like you have no control over yourself.

But this idea of self-care puts the control back in your hands and reminds you that no matter how bad it gets, there is always something you can do for yourself that can help you along your journey.

(If you are struggling I will put some useful links at the end of this post to help)

HOW TO HELP YOURSELF

Self-care isn’t always pretty. Sometimes it takes more than pampering yourself or working out. A lot of the time self-care covers things like getting yourself out of bed, ensuring you’ve washed your face and brushed your teeth. It’s the effort a lot of people have to put into doing the daily things that most of us don’t even have to think about.

Self-care can also be the bigger things in our lives that may be harder to deal with but have a great impact on our mental wellness.

If things haven’t been feeling to great for a while, Mind, the mental health charity, recommends:

  • Assess your current situation
  • Look at the relationships you currently have
  • Ask for help
  • Take note of what make you happy or sad
  • Spot the warning signs

(You can read more about these here)

These are normally the ‘bigger’ things that have an impact on our mental health. With these it may take a little longer to notice a positive effect. But trust me (and Mind) they’re so effective.

You first need to evaluate what you already have going on in your life and see how these could be effecting your mental well being. Once you recognise the issues, you should talk action to either remove them or change them. Hence why this can take a little time.

THE ‘SMALLER’ THINGS

I don’t really like to downplay mental health or any kind of health issues really. It’s such a personal thing that no one can really judge (or at least try not to anyway.)

However, alongside those bigger, slower steps outlined above there are some simpler actions you can take to improve your mental well being on a day-to-day basis.

The following are things to do when you’re having an ‘off’ day:

  • Pamper night
  • Go for a walk
  • Read a book
  • Play or listen to music (a personal favourite)
  • Chat with friends/family
  • Eat well or cook
  • Do something good for someone else (ie. make them a meal)
  • Watch a movie or TV show

You can check out some of these in more detail in a post I did a few weeks ago.

Also see Mind‘s and the Mental Health Foundation‘s tips.

The key is to try to distract yourself. Take your mind of what is currently happening, even just for a little while.

If you are struggling please seek help either from friends or family or one of the professional services linked below.

Remember that you are not alone and everyone is going through struggles of their own. You can do this.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

USEFUL LINKS

Mind Contact: http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/helplines/ 

The Samaritans: 116 123 (it’s free)

BEAT (Eating Disorders): Helpline: 0345 634 1414 Youthline: 0345 634 7650

Childline: 0800 1111

Other useful details: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/your-mental-health/getting-help

 

 

 

 

Five Tips For Becoming More Body Positive

Body image is a topic that takes up a lot of my time. Not only, like every other person on the planet, is it something I have struggled with since my preteen days but it is also a something that interests me greatly as a subject. I understand how difficult it can be when you’re struggling with your body image. Whether it’s your weight, your skin, your this, your that- everyone is struggling with something and it’s not cool.

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You have a right to feel absolutely fantastic about yourself and I think you should feel amazing for being and looking like you. So, today I’m offering some simple but effective tips to help you on your self-love journey.

  • Look At Yourself

Don’t avoid your reflection and instead take a proper look at yourself. You don’t need to say or think anything regarding your body- the main thing is to just look and familiarise yourself with the wonderful, unique situation you have going on. Getting a grasp on what you actually look like, rather than the hideous caricature you think of in your head, is so healthy and will get easier with time.

  • Get (Semi) Naked

Similarly , spending private time naked (or semi-naked) can help you become accustomed to your body. Of course, getting naked isn’t something we can always do. I have recently been spending time at home roaming around in crop tops and shorts, which is fairly revealing. Just by doing this every so often, I have found myself enjoying seeing my own body and becoming increasingly more comfortable with it as the days go on.

  • Wear What You Want

This is such a simple statement but can be a difficult task. I want you to know that regardless of your size or shape, you can literally wear whatever style of clothes you want. If you really like the look of a trend or style, just try it. We all know that this whole ‘dress for you shape’ business is bollocks anyway so go on, I dare you just try it. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to wear it again. Be brave, I dare you.

  • Use Social

Social media can be a dangerous place if you’re body-conscious, with perfected images being thrust at us from every angle. But the wonderful thing about it is everyone (well, everyone with a smartphone) can be seen. Although diversity still isn’t there in mainstream media, online so many different people are showing themselves and representing what they have. It can be a great place to recognise that everyone is unique and everyone is wonderful for that reason.

  • Be Inspired, Not Discouraged

Comparing yourself to other people is such a damaging habit and is certainly a hard one to break. But instead of comparing yourself to everyone you see, try to turn that into inspiration. You’re always going to see what other people have and what other people are going, but instead of being negative about it use that energy to be inspired and bring it back to you. You are your number one at this point, so treat yourself like it!

I hope you found this post useful or at the least an interesting read and I wish you all the best of luck on your body positive journeys!

Speak soon,

Rachael.