Small amounts of stress are healthy and can help you get stuff done. But high levels of stress can have a serious impact on your mental and physical health so it’s important that you find ways to manage this.

People find different things relaxing so we’ve constructed a list of our fave chilling out tips and urge you to give them a try to see which ones work for you!

It took us a bloody long time but we did it, we really did it. Here are 101 different things you can do to chill out and reduce stress.

TAKE NOTES …

1. Watch something funny. Laughter really is the best medicine. It relieves physical tension, reduces stress and increases immunity…so watch your fave comedy and laugh your way to tranquility.

2. Body Clench. This relaxation exercise may make you look a bit constipated but give it a go! Starting with your toes, go up through your body, gradually clenching each of your muscles right through to the tiny ones in your face, keep your whole body clenched, hold and then release to let go of all the tension. Feels good, right?

3. Try the Naam Yoga Hand Trick. Using your fingertips, apply pressure to the space between the knuckles of your index and middle fingers. This creates a sense of immediate relaxation by activating a nerve that loosens the area around your heart (don’t worry, it’s not as life-threatening as it sounds).

4. Stop multitasking. No wonder we’re all mega-stressed when we’re replying to text messages, whilst watching TV and speaking on the phone simultaneously! Not only is multitasking totally inefficient, but it’s also linked to the increased production of stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) that can send your body into panic mode! So chill out and take things one step at a time.

5. Get a Colouring Book. They’ve exploded in popularity over recent months and for good reason – colouring in helps you chill out because it’s very difficult to focus on other things when you’re doing it.

6. Have a banana. When we’re stressed out our blood pressure tends to rise but the potassium found in bananas can help to regulate this. Stress can also leave us feeling depleted but bananas give you a replenishing energy boost that will get you swinging from the trees again!

7. Organize ‘worry time’. Worry (worryingly)can counter productively occur at any point in the day and release stress hormones into the body that can cause anxiety and lower our immune systems. So schedule a 15 minute worry window in your day, where you can write down your worries and work through them. You can use Ditch the Label’s stress reprogrammer to help.

8. Do some baking. The smell of baking can make people feel calm and comforted. Many people find baking stress relieving and adding decorative touches to your creation can give you a sense of pride, enhance how you’re feeling and therefore boost your self-esteem…so what better excuse to eat cake?

9. Cook up a face-mask. Yep, that’s right, we are suggesting you mix up half an avocado, a teaspoon of honey, 2 tablespoons of hot water and smear it all over your face so that you vaguely resemble the Wicked Witch of the West. Relax for 10 to look and feel rejuvenated.

10. Stay silly. Don’t leave playtime at the primary school gates. Studies have consistently highlighted the importance of play for helping manage stress throughout our lives. Goofing around is good for us so bring out the lego, pull ugly faces and dance in the rain shamelessly!

11. Keep calm and kiss. Kissing increases levels of the love hormone, which relaxes us whilst decreasing the stress hormone. It’s been shown that kissing can lower anxiety in a similar way to meditation as well as generally improving your mood through an increase of serotonin and endorphins in the brain…so love really does conquer all!

12. Stay inside and listen to the rain. Want a good excuse to stay in your PJ’s? White noise may make you wanna tear your hair out when it’s blaring out the TV, but this sound of nature shares similar wavelengths to the frequencies produced by white noise and actually has relaxing effects on the brain. So curl up with a hot choc and let your brainwaves do the work.

13. Watch a nature documentary. Not only are David Attenborough’s dulcet tones particularly soothing, nature documentaries can also sprinkle our minds with mood-lifting wanderlust and highlight the sheer scale of life which can in turn help us gain perspective of our own lives.

14. Meditate. Create a little zen den in your room where you can meditate (e.g. light candles and incense, play calming music). Reaching a meditative state takes practice but there are some great tips for beginners online. Meditation can help ease anxiety and improve concentration, so peace out.

15. Breathe ‘Pranayama’ style. This yoga method requires you to breathe through one nostril at a time (inhale through the left by blocking the right, exhale through the right by blocking the left, repeat for 3 minutes) to relieve stress. Weird but wonderful!

16. A spoonful of honey. Mother nature’s delicious treat has compounds that reduce inflammation in the brain which can help improve a low mood. Bee happy… (sorry, couldn’t resist).

17. Turn up the music and dance. Combining music and dance can help build self-esteem, lift your mood and reduce anxiety. Dancing may also help express emotions and experiences that are difficult to communicate in words alone…so go dance like no one’s watching!

18. Watch a tearjerker. So you’re only on the first scene of ‘Up’ and you’re already in floods…don’t panic! The teary-eyed may experience a slight dip in their mood following the film but not long after you’ll notice your mood improve considerably from its original state and crying is an excellent way to relieve stress too so get the tissues out!

19. Try self-hypnosis. Forget dangling pendants and special powers, self-hypnosis can really work! There’s loads of mp3’s you can download online to help reprogram your subconscious to relieve stress and anxiety so have a listen.

20. Doodle. You may associate doodling with being bored in class but doing it in your spare time can be a great way to relax. When we’re stressed we can get caught in our thoughts but by doodling you’re engaging the creative upper right side of your brain which will give you the space you need to calm down and find a fresh perspective.

21. Play games. Board games, cards and even online/video games (in moderation!) can be a really effective way of relaxing. Fun games can trigger the release of endorphins and can help shift your attention away from stress. Interacting with friends and families through games can help ease stressful dynamics too. Looks like I’ll be playing Call of Duty forever then…

22. Have a hug. Hugging increases serotonin levels which are linked to happiness and releases oxytocin which lowers stress hormones like cortisol. How lovely.

23. Have a massage exchange. Most of us don’t have 50 quid lying around to splash out on a professional massage, so relieve tension the frugal way and exchange massages with a friend. For example, try massaging the muscle under the thumb to relieve tension in the hands (you’ll look just like a pro!) There are loads of tips online so you, your mate and your bank balance can enjoy the benefits of relaxation!

24. Drink hot water. Learn from the tradition of Chinese healing and drink a cup of good ol’, clean hot water. Ok, so it may not be as delicious as a hot chocolate but it will cleanse your system of toxins that have accumulated in the body and may be causing tension. You could try adding some lemon for flavour, vitamin C and its mood enhancing properties (e.g. reducing anxiety).

25. Support someone else. Moving your attention outside yourself can help take the pressure of stressors in your own life and supporting others can also give you valuable insight for how to redress your issues. Seeing the impact you make in that person’s life will also boost your self-esteem which in turn, can help de-stress.

26. Visit a free museum or gallery. Cultural centers provide a safe haven of positive distraction, reduce tension and inspire our creativity too. Often, you can get free entry or reduced rates so check out what’s available in your area.

27. Watch cute animals on YouTube. Oh, the power of cute! Watching our furry friends doing their thing can help reduce your stress levels and lift your mood. Aww!

28. Go Stargazing. Laying down and watching a starry night is not only awesome but it increases your brain’s alpha waves which rapidly enables you to relax. Cool, huh?

29. Light some incense. Scents like Sandalwood and Sage can help calm anxieties and aid relaxation (and make your room smell wonderful!)

30. Squeeze a stress ball. Using a stress ball can help alleviate tension by promoting muscle relaxation and providing a general sense of release.

31. Keeping a diary. Venting all those thoughts and emotions onto paper can make your feelings and problems seem less intimidating. Writing can be both insightful and therapeutic so get those words down on paper!

32. Chew gum. Chewing gum for a few minutes can help release anxiety, improve your mood and you’ll never have to worry about bad breath again!

33. Drink green tea. Feeling all worked up? Green tea is a source of the chemicals which can help relieve anger.

34. Call an old friend. Feeling out of control? Speaking to an old friend can be really grounding. Social connected-ness can reduce stress levels and no doubt the nostalgia will get you smiling and laughing too!

35. Snuggle up with a pet. Cuddling your pet can help reduce anxiety through the release of oxytocin in your brain, ease feelings of social rejection and make you feel cared for which can help boost your self esteem. The cutest therapy going!

36. Sniff those flowers. Did you know that certain smells can change our mood? Floral scents can lift your mental state and make you feel less anxious…so go stick your nose in your neighbours rhododendron bush!

37. Stretch it out. Stretching has been linked to relaxation and stress relief as well as a greater sense of wellbeing. It’s also incredibly satisfying.

38. Organise your space. Mess can really start to clutter up your mind so clean your room and reorganize your desk. Tidy room, tidy mind (sorry, we said it).

39. Take a walk in nature. Not only will walking trigger the release of endorphins which can reduce stress hormones, but being out in nature can boost serotonin levels which can also contribute to an improved sense of well-being.

40. Wash dishes. Ok, so I get that you’ve probably spent half your life avoiding this task but you’ll be surprised at how therapeutic it is. Not only will mindfully washing the dishes relax you, but you’ll please your other household members too and feel a sense of self-esteem boosting accomplishment. Concentrate on letting your mind and body experience the task with serene awareness (e.g. focusing on the smell of the soap, the feel of the dishes and the warmth of the water).

41. Visualization. Your mind is a powerful tool. Whether you use it to visualize success, visit a happy place, or embark on an imaginary journey, the technique can help alleviate anxiety and sadness so go get creative in your head!

42. Sleep well. Whilst stress can interfere with sleeping, sleeping can also relieve stress. So use some of our chilling out tips to help you relax before bed and follow our Ditch the Label Sleep Guide so you can ensure that you’re spending a third of your life in bedtime bliss…zzz…

43. Cook your fave dish. Nourishing yourself with a good meal can help boost your sense of self-worth. Cooking can be a relaxing and rewarding process and hopefully you’ll feel accomplished instead of poisoned by the end!

44. Write a card for someone you care about. Whoever it is I can assure you that they’ll appreciate a card letting them know you’re thinking of them. Random acts of kindness like this have beneficial effects for both you and the person at the receiving end. You can feel good about making someone else feel great and performing these acts has been linked to helping socially anxious people feel more positive.

45. Light some candles. Candlelight is known for its calming effects and (even better) scented candles have aroma-therapeutic properties which can improve well-being. Watching the flame of a candle can also be a great starting point for meditation. So sit back and enjoy the glow!

46. Take a nap. Don’t feel guilty, naps aren’t just for those over the age of 65! The afternoon power nap can effectively reduce stress, improve your mood and increase alertness, so we give you full permission to climb back into bed!

47. Countdown from ten. Caught in chaos? Take a couple of minutes out of your day to mindfully countdown from ten and back up again. Continue this process until you feel calm enough to resume your day.

48. Wake up and smell the coffee. Finally, a saying that makes literal sense! Smelling coffee actually reduces stress hormones, so we suggest you have a good whiff of a decaf variety over breakfast.

49. Enjoy being in a water. Paddle down to your local swimming pool and let the water do its magic. Exercise releases feel-good chemicals that can help improve our mental health and swimming is a peaceful way of achieving this. Moving in water has relaxing effects on the body as it allows oxygen to flow to your muscles which consequently regulates your breathing.

50. Give your temples a good ol’ massage. Learn from the great art of acupuncture and give those temples a gentle knead with your index and middle fingertips. Massaging your temples helps relax the other muscles in your body as well as soothing your headache symptoms (bonus!).

51. Feed the birds. Enjoy the company birds can bring and track all the different species you can view from your doorstep. Ok, so I know it’s not exactly a night out with your mates but give it a try!…being around nature has a range of positive effects on our mental health (such as reducing anxiety) and you’ll be able to see the happiness you’ve bought to these cute little creatures.

52. Have a sleepover. Whilst some social situations can be stressful, a sleepover with your best mate can be a great way to chill out. Spending time with someone you trust in a relaxed environment can do wonders for your well-being and we’re sure you’ll be laughing all night long too!

53. Hum the tune of your fave song. Feeling anxious? Humming can dramatically slow down your heart rate and ground you. It also has a relaxing effect on your face, neck and shoulder muscles. Humming your fave tune will lift your mood and ensure you don’t get some other irritating song stuck in your head!

54. Open the windows. Not only does fresh air promote well-being and relax you, but getting more oxygen to the brain improves concentration and gives you the energy boost you need without the same sugar comedown of a chocolate bar (damn).

55. Play team sports. Whilst any exercise works wonders, team sports may be better for your mental health than exercising alone as they promote a sense of connection and can reduce social anxiety. Quidditch anyone?

56. Be nice to yourself. Criticising yourself again? Take some time to practice self-love, whether that means starting the day repeating positive affirmations about yourself or nourishing your body with the nutrition you need. Remember ditching negative self-talk really will relieve a lot of stress. Check out some of our tips on building your self esteem.

57. Have a bath. Taking a dip in a hot bath will relax your muscles, enabling you to unwind both physically and mentally which can help prepare you for a good night sleep too. A good soak can also be a great way to reduce daily anxiety…unleash the rubber ducks!

58. Get up earlier. Sorry guys. Whilst I wish early starts weren’t the reality, setting your alarm clock even just 15 minutes earlier could reduce your stress levels by eliminating that morning rush. Waking up earlier also provides you with some valuable time to relax with yourself and prepare for the day ahead…so wake up sleepy heads! (Yawn).

59. Avoid negativity. Don’t let other people’s negativity shoot your adrenaline levels through the roof. It’s important not to judge someone for being negative, try to support them but make sure you separate your identity and emotions from it. If their negativity is aimed at you, it looks like their engaging in bullying behaviour so read our advice on how to talk to someone who’s bullying you.

60. Have a picnic. Outdoor activities like this promote our mental and physical well-being. Going on a picnic with your friends or family can help reduce the stress we associate with school, work and home whilst providing a bonding experience that can alleviate feelings of social isolation. Jam sandwich anyone?

61. Buy a plant. Not only does filling your room with flowers look pretty and purify the air, but being around plants can help people feel more relaxed and actually reduce your likelihood of developing stress related depression.

62. Get knitting. Get creative using your motor skills to make repetitive motions that relieve stress. Give your brain a much needed break and if your thoughts get distracted, return to the movement. Start designing your own knitwear and you’ll never have to worry about being caught in the same outfit as someone else (bonus)!

63. Relax your jaw. Release the tension you’re carrying in your jaw by opening it wide for a half a minute, breathing through your nose and gently closing it. Great practice for the dentist too 😀

64. Reflect on the day’s achievements. Don’t get stressed about what you should be doing, feel great about what you have done instead. We’re not expecting you to have climbed Mount Everest, you could have just given a friend some good advice. The reflection process can help boost your self esteem and ease anxiety as you’ll see how great you are already!

65. Munch some crunch. It’s important not to use food as a stress reducer as this can lead to unhealthy eating habits. But when you do reach for a snack, try some carrot sticks or a handful of almonds as this will help relieve stress by working your jaw muscles as well as giving you a nutritious boost. Gnaw away!

66. Deep breaths. When we’re feeling anxious our breathing changes and this ‘overbreathing’ can actually produce more anxiety. But deep breathing will encourage your mind and body to slow down and return to normal. So next time you feel yourself getting anxious, have a quick break and take a deep diaphragmatic breath in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold it for 2 and exhale slowly through the mouth for 4 (wait a few seconds and then repeat). Panic over!

67. Decompress your stress. Invest in a 3-pack of flannels, soak them in warm water and place one on each of your shoulders and your neck, then close your eyes and relax those muscles. Ta da!

68. Turn off ALL electronic devices. Technology can be wonderful but interconnectedness comes at a price…laptops, phones and tablets all subtly increase our stress levels making us feel constantly ‘wired’. They can also disrupt your sleep which will only contribute to stress so make sure you switch them off an hour or two before bed. Oh the conflicting joys of the 21st century!

69. Browse books. Go to your local library and spend some time browsing their book selection in the peace and quiet. Sit back, relax and get lost in the good book you’ve found. New research suggests that reading even for just six minutes can reduce your stress levels by two thirds!

70. Clear your closet. Having a closet full of clothes you never wear just creates clutter and adds to the stress bucket. So make a day of it, auction off your unwanted clothes and donate the proceeds to Ditch the Label! Thanks.

71. Study a new topic. I know it sounds counterproductive considering the stress studying causes, but study a topic you don’t do at school, like gender across cultures, or survival skills…we would all feel more relaxed if we knew how to survive on a desert island.

72. Mix up your route. Commuting through traffic jams could be sending your stress levels haywire unnecessarily. Try riding your bike to school or college instead for a calm and collected arrival. Or if you walk everywhere, try taking different routes to ensure your usual zombie walk stays within Shaun of the Dead.

73. Take a break from social media. Whilst interconnectedness and the opportunities of social media offer us so much, using it too often can have adverse effects. It can lower your self esteem, take you away from the moment and bring drama into your life. All of these factors massively contribute to stress so take a break!

74. Have a good cry. Bottling up your emotions can lead you down a dangerous path and suppressing those tears actually increases your stress levels so make sure you let it all out and you’ll be surprised by the relief it brings. Get the violins out!

75. Write a gratitude list. Unsurprisingly, stressful events can leave us feeling negative and as if we’re lacking in some way. But having a greater sense of appreciation for the people and things in your life can really help you gain perspective, feel more positive and enable you to better handle stress. So try writing down 5 things you’re thankful for.

76. Try herbal remedies. Mother nature scores again! Next time you’re feeling stressed try sipping on some chamomile tea, full of anti-anxiety components, or drip some lavender oil on your pillow at night to help relax you for a peaceful night’s sleep.

78. Don’t procrastinate. We’ve all been there…one minute you’re revising, the next minute you’re checking out the photos of your friends’ mutual friends’ friend on facebook (wow, that even sounds as stressful as it is), but all procrastination does is put things off and stops you achieving your goals which only generates more stress!

79. Lower your standards. Setting ridiculously high standards for yourself generates anxiety by putting pressure on you to perform and it can make you particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of emotional stress. Nobody’s perfect so try loving and accepting yourself as the great individual you are.

80. Get a hobby. Pursuing a new hobby is a fun way to break away from life’s demands, as well as allowing you to build your self esteem, forge new friendships and express yourself, which all contribute to the reduction of stress. Why not give photography a go or try out a free yoga class in your area…do whatever interests YOU!

81. Watch the sunrise (or set). Ok, so perhaps getting up at the crack of dawn to watch a sunrise is a little bit ambitious, but watching a sunset on a clear summer’s evening is both breathtaking and incredibly relaxing. So let go of your worries and let yourself get immersed in the colors. It’s true that the best things in life are free.

82. Ask for help. Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes. Trying to cope with everything on your own just exacerbates stress. Whether you open up to a trusted friend, family member or us here at Ditch, a problem shared is a problem halved!

83. Eat stress free. Incorporate stress-busting foods into your diet like avocados, oily fish, whole wheat varieties and oatmeal. Please Sir, can I have some more?

84. Enjoy simplicity. Living life in the fast lane? Rushing around is not only stressful, we forget about the simple things that bring us happiness too so learn to stop and notice life’s little pleasures like laughing with your friends or enjoying the feeling of sun on your skin. Mindfulness can significantly reduce anxiety so relax and enjoy the moment!

85. Strike a (yoga) pose. There’s loads of yoga poses you can try at home that can help reduce anxiety. Have a go at the child’s pose by sitting on your knees and bending forwards so that your face is resting on the floor, keeping your arms by your sides. This comforting pose, helps us turn inside for a while and slow down our racing minds.

86. Stop judging. With so many things to worry about, don’t let worrying about what other people do with their time be one of them. Sitting around gossiping about others and criticising them isn’t gonna make anyone happy. Try supporting them instead. If you often find yourself judging others it’s likely that you’ve been giving yourself a hard time too so ditch the criticism and you’ll not only feel better about yourself but you’ll have a lot more time to relax too!

87. Spend a day at the beach. Beautiful views, the soothing sounds of water and a Mr.Whippy in the rain…what’s not to like? Whether you go in a group or roll solo, the beach is a relaxing break away from everyday stresses and the negative ions you soak up will have positive effects on your body and mind back in reality too.

88. Nurture yourself through words. Read whatever inspires you; poems, positive affirmations and empowering quotes….let the words ground you, calm your mind and regenerate you.

89. Avoid Caffeine. That comforting cup of coffee may not be so kind to your nerves. Whilst giving you a temporary boost, caffeine injects adrenaline into your system and increases levels of the stress hormone cortisol. A cup of coffee can brew trouble for anxiety sufferers so try an equally heart-warming decaf alternative instead.

90. Learn to forgive. Everyone makes mistakes, that’s how we learn. Bullying yourself, mulling over petty grievances and begrudging others is only gonna hurt you so start forgiving yourself and other people and you’ll find there’s a lot less to stress about!

91. Say no sometimes. Being a ‘yes’ person isn’t easy. People pleasers listen up!…saying ‘no’ doesn’t mean you’re selfish or rude. Practicing saying ‘no’ will help simplify your life and give you the valuable time you need to relax with yourself.

92. Get some sun. Vitamin D (which our bodies absorb through exposure to the sun) can play an important role in your mental health but by the time it gets to those long winter months many of us are lacking in it. Keep calm and soak up all the sun you can and if you’re running low, top up with vitamin D rich foods like oily fish and eggs.

93. Listen to calming music. Oh, the power of music! Research suggests that chilled out tunes slow down our pulses, lower blood pressure and decrease stress hormones. So plug in and relax or if no one’s listening sing/shout along to release even more tension!

94. Stand tall. Did you know good posture can actually make you feel more in control and less anxious? Power poses of confidence can actually decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol, so stand proud and your mood will follow.

95. Drink more water. Even slight dehydration can lower our moods and it can increase levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Dehydration can also cause your body to stop functioning properly which can result in anxiety too…so get sipping!

96. Do a puzzle. Feeling all keyed up? Try and crack a sudoku, a crossword or piece together a puzzle to unwind and get your mind into a state of relaxation.

97. Take your brain on holiday. As much as we’d all love to be sunbathing in the Caribbean right now, most of us our constrained to mind wandering instead. But daydreaming can help you solve stressful problems, relax you and inspire creativity. So get lost in your thoughts and see where your mind takes you!

98. Spend less. Advertisers capitalise on the notion that buyers ruthlessly spend in response to stress and low self-esteem. Remember that having lots of things just adds to stress and won’t solve negative feelings so next time you’re about to part with your cash take a step back and ask “why do I want this?” and “do I really need this?”

99. Do your nails. There are loads of tips online for giving yourself the ultimate DIY mani and pedi. Spend some time looking after number one, feel relaxed and get creative with nail art too!

100. Listen to an audiobook. Being read a story is ridiculously relaxing and a comforting way to wind down before bed. It’s much less effort than reading and there’s a huge choice of podcasts online so do check those out.

101. Make your room your safe haven. Your bedroom should be your sanctuary for peaceful relaxation so make it that way! Get some candles, declutter your space and why not make a personalised noticeboard of quotes that inspire you, pictures, photographs…

Remember. You may be in a particularly stressful period at the moment and feel overpowered but remember it WILL PASS.

It’s likely that the negative feelings you’re experiencing are to do with your body responding naturally to stress. So stay calm, and relieve your stress using these tips.

But, if those feelings become overwhelming and make you feel out of control, do see your GP, speak to a trusted adult or talk to Ditch the Label. There’s great support available for you and remember that nobody deserves to suffer in silence.

Are you feeling anxious after being bullied? You’re not alone.

Ditch the Label research revealed that 37% of people surveyed in the Annual Bullying Survey developed social anxiety as a direct result of bullying.

percentage of people feeling anxious after being bullied

Social anxiety can vary from a bit of nervousness around new people to a crippling inability to connect with anyone in a social situation.

It is described as a fear of social situations that involve interactions with other people. Sounds pretty scary on the surface, but the good news is that it is possible to completely overcome social anxiety with a bit of help and guidance.

For more information on social anxiety, the NHS website has some great information.

It’s no surprise that experiences of bullying can lead to issues such as social anxiety and depression. Bullying is also proven to have negative effects on the self-esteem and confidence of the person experiencing it too which just goes to show how serious the effects of bullying can be.

There are some measures you can take to ease up your anxiety, but this does involve slowly creeping out of your comfort zone at a pace that you are comfortable with, so you have to approach it with an open mind and a will for change. Well, no one said it would be easy, right!? 

Fear not, anxious friends. We at Ditch the Label are here to help you make sure you don’t miss out on another party, football match or day out again!

Relax

We know you’re probably rolling your eyes at this one… easier said than done right!? There’s nothing worse than someone telling you to “relax” or “chill out” when you’re feeling anxious. If only it was that easy!  That’s like telling someone to just change their eye colour or to be taller! Try some of these relaxation techniques for when you feel stress and tension creeping up on you.

If it’s a particular event that’s giving you bad anxiety, think about yourself at the event before you go. Picture yourself there, having a conversation, having a laugh, chatting to people – this will help you to visualise your actions when you’re there.

Look outwards

Often, when we’re anxious we are constantly looking in on ourselves. How we feel, how we look, how we sound, how we appear to other people. We obsess over how we are being perceived so we begin to overthink everything about ourselves… try looking outwards instead. Take in the behaviour of those around you, what they’re saying and doing, how are they standing or what are they doing with their hands? What is the room like or how is the view out the window?

Once you start focussing on other things besides your own worries and insecurities, you’ll start to relax and realise that in new situations, most people are a little awkward too.

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Practise mindfulness

This leads on nicely to this next point – mindfulness! It works wonders for people with anxiety and there are some really simple things you can do to ease up those anxious feelings. …

Mindful breathing: Focus all of your attention on your breathing for one minute. Breath in through your nose, out through your mouth and try to let go of the thoughts which are bugging you. Concentrate on the sensation in your nose and chest as you fill your lungs with air and how it feels when you let it go. Once that minute is over, those worrying thoughts will feel a little less foreboding, guaranteed.

Observation: Spend one minute (or more) focusing on something in your immediate surroundings. Like the wind, some grass or a plant. Take in every detail about it; how it looks, what shape it is, how it feels, how it moves, the colour of it, how it stands or sits… you get the idea. When other thoughts creep into your mind, brush them aside and concentrate solely on your chosen object.

Colouring! Nope, colouring is not just for five-year-olds (true story). The benefits of colouring are endless! Not only does it calm us down when we are stressed, it works as a really handy distraction from worries and anxieties, enhances our focus and concentration, improves motor skills and has therapeutic effects, helping us to get rid of negativity.

Try these out next time you’re feeling particularly anxious or tell us your own mindful techniques in the comments!

Challenge yourself

Try to take daily steps to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Start as small as asking someone for the time and go from there. No one is born fearless, courage is something that you build up as you learn to manage your fear. Check out this article on social anxiety for more tips.

Don’t hide away

No matter how much you want to just hide from the world, try not to lock yourself in your room for days on end. As hard as it seems at this time, its really important that you socialise in real life and get a good balance between on and offline interaction. This can be in the form of joining a team, doing a sports activity or becoming a member of an extracurricular club.

With the internet at our fingertips, it’s really easy to visit digital hangouts and make loads of online mates. This is a great thing in theory, but it’s not doing wonders for our confidence offline with a significant rise in reported loneliness over recent years. It’s pretty ironic that as a society we are more connected than ever, yet we are in the midst of a loneliness epidemic! Don’t forget to come up for air to make some human contact from time to time! The more you do, the more your confidence will grow and your anxiety will subside.

Fear of rejection

Something which makes a lot of people anxious is a fear of rejection.  Really, whats the worst that can happen if you do get rejected?! Chances are, not much!

The more we worry about what other people think of us the more we end up suppressing our true selves, and that’s no fun at all! The best way to feel confident is to say “f*** what other people” think, embrace your weirdness and just do you 🙃

Join the Ditch the Label community and start a conversation –  no judgement, no wrong answer, no wrong questions!

join the ditch the label community, mobile, phone, screenshot

Ever had that feeling in an airport that you would rather be anywhere else in the world than there? Us too. Travelling can be a major source of anxiety for most people. Plus, because it’s an unavoidable certainty if you want to head off on holiday, everyone is in the same boat (pun intended). We think your holiday mindset should start the moment you leave the house, so we have thrown together this super quick list of things you can do to ease your travel anxiety to make jetting off way less scary!

Before you head off

1) Research where you’re going like mad

To keep the anxiety at bay before your holiday adventures, do some research into the place. Take a look at restaurants and cafes, attractions, even things like where you can get hold of medicine if you need it. This a great way to take the pressure off, and if your anxiety can’t deal with the unknown, you won’t have to worry about it for much longer. 

2) Carry all your important stuff close to hand 

Get a handy folder for all your important travel bits like tickets, travel insurance, boarding passes and more. That way, you will definitely be avoiding that last-minute panic at boarding time when you can’t find any of it.

3) Have back up confirmations etc 

If you are the kind of person who not only gets anxiety but has the tendency to lose stuff, print extra copies of travel documents and put them in your main luggage as well as your hand luggage folder. You can’t lose something twice, right? 

4) Take pictures of stuff that makes you nervy before you leave 

Ever got half way to the airport and suddenly thought you left the oven/straighteners/fire on, or the doors half open? Yeah so have we. A good trick is to take photos of everything as you do it: the cold oven, the unplugged appliances, the locked doors and windows. When you suddenly think you haven’t done something for whatever reason, you can flick through the photos to reassure yourself, and get on with the rest of your holiday.

5) Leave plenty of time for journeys 

Make sure you have plenty time to spare for long journeys. Of course, this can mean you are covered if you get held up at security, but also so that you can factor in time for the toilet and some calm moments before boarding. 

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Once you get there 

6) Screenshot Google Maps and bookings in case you run out of signal/data

Something that can be a major source of anxiety is the thought of getting lost. Screenshot your Google Maps route before you leave the solid WIFI connection of the hotel or Air BnB so you have a back-up photo of it if you run out of signal or don’t have the data. Now you just have to learn to read a map.

7) Put all the important stuff in one place before you unpack everything else 

Remove any anxiety around losing your stuff by finding a safe place for it all to go in the hotel or accommodation before you unpack everything else. Otherwise, you are sure to end up with a wallet in the bin, a passport in the sink and money under the bed. 

8) Make sure you have time to chill on arrival 

Schedule in a bit of time to unwind when you get to where you’re going, so that you can have a moment lying on your bed with a cold drink and a big bag of crisps and just be present. 

9) Have your first day planned 

Whilst planning every single day might not be your thing, having a decent plan for the first day will help to take some of the stress out of your journey. Knowing that you are going to kick off your holiday in style gives you something great to look forward to, and focus on all the fun that is to come. 

10) Take some self-care time when you need it

The most important thing through all of this is that you take care of you. If you need a moment of distance, if you need to eat snacks, if you need to take a break from travelling, do it. There is nothing worse than having travelling to or from a holiday leaving you feeling too drained to really enjoy yourself. 

Happy travelling! 

If you are dealing with anxiety and need someone to talk to, you can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here, and we will listen to you.

As part of Men’s Health Week 2019, influencer, model and mental health advocate Max Hovey talks about his journey with social anxiety, and gives his 4 top tips to helping you cope with it.

Did they just look at me? I don’t feel comfortable today. No clothes suit me. What if I annoy them? What if they don’t want to talk to me anymore? Am I being too needy? What if I’m not needy enough? Do I look ok? There are too many people here. Why don’t I look like them? 

Social anxiety. I’m not saying you need to have said ALL of the above to yourself to have social anxiety – don’t worry, it’s not a checklist. What I have learned over the years is that social anxiety can manifest in so many different ways, and everyone can experience it differently. I’m Max by the way, and I struggle with social anxiety. 


A few years ago, my friend told me that she did too, way before I even knew what it was. When she told me, I remember thinking to myself ‘she’s always so confident? She loves performing in front of people? She seems so confident in her appearance? She always seems so bubbly and happy to speak out?’ This can be a pretty common misconception about social anxiety – that you can’t have any confidence and don’t like public speaking or ANY form of attention. 

Over the years I have been learning a lot about myself and have realized that I have social anxiety. It’s weird, because for anyone that knows me personally or that follows my Instagram, they will probably see me as being quite confident, and happy to put myself forward publicly. I also love public speaking and talking in front of groups, and I’m also pretty confident in front of a camera (duh). 

Whilst all that is true, it doesn’t mean I don’t have anxiety. My social anxiety stems from relationships. I can be in a great place, feeling confident, happy with my appearance, career, education, and generally feeling pretty damn wonderful in my life. Then a boy comes on the scene, and holy shit everything changes. My confidence is shattered, and I end up critically judging everything, from what I say, to how I act, to what I wear. My self-esteem can just evaporate. Anxiety can be a lot to deal with, and I am still a work in progress, but I still wanted to share my tips for dealing with it. 


Max’s Top Tips for Dealing with Social Anxiety 

Am I going to wake up, be fierce and achieve everything today? OR am I going to wake up with a crushing pain in my stomach, panic in brain and just want to cry? WHO KNOWS! My point is that no one should stereotype or stigmatize social anxiety. Everyone experiences it differently, everyone has good and bad days, and everyone copes with it differently. Here are a few things you could try to try to take the edge off. 

1) Be kind

We have no idea what a person may be going through. Give them that compliment, boost their mood, make someone smile for NO reason at all other than the fact that you can.

2) Talk to someone

Like I said, we have no idea what someone is going through, and that includes you. We can give you compliments; we can try and boost your mood and make you smile, but sometimes what can really help is allowing us to understand how you’re truly feeling. So, open up to someone you can trust, believe me, it helps.

3) Try a thought diary

Literally type CBT thought diary into an app store and you’re bound to find it. It’s a great way of writing down what’s going through your head, and training your brain to spot your irrational thoughts, and turn them into something positive before you get carried away. I’ve tried it and believe me it works.

4) BREATHE

Like you’d think it’d be obvious but you have no idea the impact that it can have. Focusing on your breath brings you into the present, as we know anxiety is normally worrying about something that has not and may not even happen, so just taking a moment to breath can help you distance yourself from those thoughts. It can also calm your physical symptoms too, bringing your heartbeat back to normal, and halting that feeling of panic.

I’m not saying this is necessarily going to work for you. Sometimes these techniques don’t work for me, so I try something else. But the main thing is to practice, keep trying the same and new methods. Things will not get better over the night, but one thing is certain – they will get better. 

For more from Max, check out his Instagram @max_hovey

If you are struggling with anxiety, or have anything else going on that you want to talk about, you can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.

So, if you have anxiety, you are probably pretty used to hearing certain stuff. It’s usually super well-meaning people like family and friends who, whilst lovely, don’t quite get it. We decided that everyone deserves a bit of a giggle, so we put together a list of 8 of the most annoying things you are totally sick of hearing from people, complete with GIFs galore! 

“Just come out”

 

Usually from a friend, this one is always pretty hard to deal with, especially if they aren’t a close friend that you feel comfortable discussing your anxiety with. Pretty shit when the idea of going to the shops sounds like bloody torture right? If you really don’t feel like going somewhere with them and can’t exactly explain why, have a few easy to remember excuses in the back of your mind to use, or set up a chilled out sofa session with them so you don’t have to deal but still get your quality time.

“It’s fine”

 

This one is probably coming from someone who is worried about you but doesn’t know what to say or if they are going to make it worse. It might be worth having a conversation with them about it or if it’s a family member, maybe even having your Doctor explain it to them if they are really struggling with the idea. That way, they will be fully clued up on in the ins and outs of anxiety and should hopefully no longer see it as nothing.

“Don’t worry”

 

“Oh amazing! Thanks so much for that – you telling me to stop worrying about it has cured my anxiety completely and I can now go through my life with absolutely no concerns or mental health issues because you said that! You are wizard my friend! You should travel the globe doing this!” *screams internally*

“Cheer up” / “Smile”

 

Ugh. No. You are your own person and entitled to feel exactly how you want to in that moment – no one else owns your emotions, and cannot tell you how to feel at any point in your life.

“It’s all in your head”

 

To quote the late great Albus Dumbledore; ‘Of course it is happening in your head. But why on earth should that mean that it’s not real?’

“You seem normal to me” 

 

This one usually comes from someone who doesn’t understand the ups and downs associated with pretty much any mental health issue. Of course, you can feel fine some days, and days when you don’t, like literally everyone else on the planet. Besides, what is even ‘normal’ anyway?!

“Stop being so dramatic” 

 

For some people who don’t understand anxiety, it can look like you are being dramatic or making a fuss over nothing. This is just because they don’t get it. But it’s ok – try to make them understand. Pick a safe quiet place and talk to them about it. Or if you don’t feel comfortable explaining it to them face to face, send them an article about the symptoms and causes of anxiety to try to open their eyes to the realities of living with an anxiety disorder. 

 “Man up”

 

This is literally the worst. It’s saying stuff like this why toxic masculinity exists. No one needs to ‘man up’ at all (like, what does that even MEAN anyway?), but just get the help they need and deserve. If someone uses this as a reason why you should be ok, calmly sit them down and explain to them that anxiety can be a pretty crippling disorder, and that saying stuff like this isn’t going to make it any better. 

If you have anxiety or have anything else you want to talk about, you can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.

Panic attacks can be really scary, especially when you don’t know what to do when one creeps up on you. We understand it’s not always easy to think clearly during a panic attack, but knowing a few basic things could help you overcome one faster, or help a friend who is having one. If you ever get one, try to remember these 10 super simple things to do during a panic attack.

1. Breathe

Breathing during a panic attack is really important because the feelings of panic can heighten if you breathe too quickly. So breathe slowly. If you are having one now, take a look at the GIF below and try to breathe in as the circle expands, and out as it gets smaller.

 

2. Sit down

When you have a panic attack you can feel very spaced out, everything can seem surreal and out of touch. It can feel like you aren’t real and everything is far away. So you need to sit down and try and keep as still as you can without stressing yourself out more.

This way things will seem much less intimidating as you won’t have the added anxiety of trying to hold yourself together when you’re feeling unsteady. Panic attacks can last for up to an hour, so you never know how long they may last. Make sure you’re sat down, that way you’re safe and as comfortable as you can be in the circumstances.

girl, lady, female, palm trees, jumper, blue skies, sunset, dusk, dawn

3. Have some water

This will help make you feel better because you’ll be focussing your mind on holding a bottle and drinking! Not only that, but water will hydrate you and make you generally feel better by giving you something to focus on that will help to keep you grounded.

4. Take yourself out of your head and try and bring yourself into reality

Panic attacks can be because of loads of different things, but usually panic attacks come with negative thoughts. So if you try and bring yourself out of your head and into reality this may help lessen the panic feelings. It’s easier said than done but try and remember that everything is OK. You’re just thinking these scary thoughts in your mind and whilst they feel very, very real, a panic attack doesn’t cause any physical danger – it just feels like it is.

girl, female, lady, beach, view, foggy, blue shirt

5. Look around you and do the 5 senses check – what can you hear, taste, see, smell and touch?

This one really works wonders and helps bring you back into reality. So place yourself in your surroundings and observe. Firstly, what can you hear? What can you taste? What can you see? What can you smell? What can you touch?

6. Think of things which make you feel happy and peaceful

Take yourself to a happy place. Whether it be a happy memory or a place you know and love. It’ll help calm you down. If you can’t think of a real place then use your creative imagination to think up any calming scene imaginable… Think of lying in the warm sun on a white sandy beach with the sound of waves lapping up on the shore.

beach, sea, waves, crashing, empty

7. Don’t judge or entertain your thoughts

Just let them be and think of your thoughts like leaves passing down a stream. Watch them as they pass through your mind. In one side and out the other… If you judge your thoughts it’ll cause more anxiety and panic feelings. So just let them be and don’t judge.

8. But also recognise what might have triggered your panic attack and what is causing you this distress

Despite not entertaining the negative thoughts, it’s also important to acknowledge what might have triggered the panic attack. This way you may be able to address some of the deep rooted issues causing your panic and anxiety.



9. Talk it over with someone when the panic attack is over or another time when you’re feeling ready

You can chat to a close friend, partner or trusted adult like a parent or teacher. You can also go and see your GP about panic attacks, who might be able to recommend some stress coping techniques and possibly some further support. If these are not an option for you, then you can talk to one of our mentors on the Ditch the Label Community here.

10. Rest up after as it can knock the life out of you

Make sure that after a panic attack you take it easy. They are very scary and can make you feel very upset for a while after the panic attack has passed. So don’t try and rush back into getting on with things, take your time and only continue with your day when you feel ready.

Take a look at some of our other stuff on stress, anxiety and more below:

Ever obsessed over something you said that someone could have been offended by, or thought way too much about a change in someone’s behaviour around you? Us too. Turns out, overthinking stuff is something that every one of us does from time to time, some of us more than others. We know it can drive you completely mad when all you are thinking about is that time last week when you made a joke no one found funny… so we’ve come up with a list of a few quick tips to try to stop this thinking in its tracks so you can get on with your life. 

1) Notice it 

It can be really hard to notice when you are doing something, especially when it’s a habit you just do without thinking about it. But, if you try to identify when you are overthinking and the kind of stuff it is about, you might start to notice a pattern. This could be that you always overthink interactions with certain people, or certain behaviours of your own. If a pattern is emerging, try to think about what you can do to stop this from happening each time without hurting your relationship with these people or, if others are making you feel anxious. If this is the case, it might be time to let them go. Give this a read if you think someone might not be a good friend to you. 

2) Work it out on paper 

So, one of the reasons why you might be overthinking stuff for a really long time could be that you aren’t remembering it right. After a while of worrying about something, your brain might start to see details completely differently to how they actually happened. So, a good way to stop this from happening would be to work it out on paper. Try writing out in bullet points exactly what happened, as soon as you notice that you are questioning it. Then take a step back from it and do something that will keep your mind occupied for a while. After this little break, read the paper again and you’ll see if you missed anything the first time around. Plus, looking at it with a clear head might show you there was no need to worry so much about the situation in the first place.

3) Time it 

It might sound like a contradiction, but giving yourself a set amount of time to worry can help to stop it from taking over your entire life. Why not try setting a timer on your phone for five minutes, and use this time to worry about everything, writing it all down? Then when the timer goes off, put everything down, walk away and do something to take your mind off it. That way, you’ve given your brain the time it wants to freak out a bit, without it being the biggest part of your day. 

4) Take a break 

Taking a bit of time out from overthinking is definitely easier said than done. We never mean to do it, right? There are some things we can do though to empty out our brains from everything that is worrying us and give us a bit of distance from it. Try using some visualisation techniques to distance yourself from those thoughts, or use a mindfulness app (you can check out our Top 10 list here). Plus, meditation and mindfulness can be pretty great at keeping anxiety at bay in the rest of your life and you might find the more you do it, the less you need it to deal with overthinking.

5) Understand that no one is perfect

It can be really easy when you are worrying about everything to think that you are the only person who gets this worked up, and then you can start worrying about that. It’s a vicious cycle of feeling like crap. Believe us – we’ve been there. 

A really important thing to remember is that you are not alone in feeling like this, and absolutely nobody on the planet is perfect all the time. If you think you’ve done something silly, or that might have upset someone, it is not the first time someone has done it and it won’t be the last. It should not mean that you no longer get to be friends with that person, or that it should be allowed to swallow up all your time. 

Feeling stressed or anxious about something? Reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here, and we will listen to you.

In celebration of World Day of Bullying Prevention and Anti Bullying Week, here’s a little something to consider for those who have been bullied in the past and are looking forward to moving on!

The bullying is over…

Maybe you moved class, maybe you don’t work there anymore, maybe you even moved school. The point is, being bullied is now past tense – it’s not happening anymore and now, you can relax!

Their behaviour, no matter how it happened will have made an resounding impact on you. make no mistake about it, there is always an impact. You are human after all and what the behaviour of bullying does is seek to attack, undermine, break, hurt, damage, belittle and erode bits, parts or all of you.

Here’s how to deal with it 😎

If we don’t properly deal with it. We run the risk of carrying this pain and hurt with us into the rest of our lives, not to mention the impact it can have on our behaviour. From our research we know that lots of people who were bullied, often go onto bully others. With that in mind, let’s look at how to deal with what happened and ultimately, how to get over bullying…

TALK

Have you ever really properly shared what happened with someone you trust? It doesn’t really matter the scope of it, if you went through it – talk about it. When we don’t talk about our experiences we internalise them. That toxic negativity is detrimental to our well being. A bit like when you were younger and grazed your knee badly and got gravel in the cut. It had to be cleaned properly to stop it becoming infected. The same is true when we are bullied. Did you ever really talk about it? Is there still stuff to this day that you haven’t told anyone? If it still feels big and unresolved, talking could really help.

WAS IT YOUR FAULT?

This is a trick question of course. It is never ever ever your fault but if your gut reaction answer to this question was yes or maybe, take this as a sign that you need to do more talking. For as long you think any part of the responsibility lies with you, you are not fully over it and need more support.

SELF ESTEEM

One of the biggest areas to take a direct hit when we go through bullying is our self esteem. A key part to dealing with the aftermath is working to not only grow but actively protect your self esteem. We build self esteem through doing esteemable acts. Have a read of this article for inspiration and ideas to get you started.
[full-width-figure image=”https://www.ditchthelabel.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/getting.jpg” alt=”how to get over bullying”]

FIND CLOSURE

A huge part of finding closure is finding acceptance for what happened. All pain lies with not being to able to accept what it is that is causing you pain. In this case it’s the bullying you just went through. Accepting what happened doesn’t mean it sucks any less but not accepting it only means more pain. We can’t change the past but if we don’t accept it, we still live in all of its pain. You deserve to not be haunted by yours.

BE PATIENT

There is no magic wand or quick fix when it comes to dealing with bullying and its impact on us as people. So please be patient with yourself. Depending on what happened the timescales vary massively. What happened was not OK and you did your best to get through it. Now you are on the other side of it, give yourself time to heal and on those days when it feels like it was yesterday go gently, talk to a mate and trust that it does get easier.

KNOW YOUR WORTH

In today’s society we are all being fed a ginormous lie. The lie has two parts, the first is that your worth is dependant on external things like the amount of followers on your profile, your relationship status, possessions, what others think of you, money, the list goes on. The second is that your worth can be taken away from you. This is impossible because your worth is 100% unconditional from the day you are born to the day you die. Being bullied for so many of us leaves us questioning our worth or feeling robbed of it all together. Take it from us, it is still there and it actually never went anywhere, it just needs rebuilding and the only person who can truly take away your worth is you.

Wanna talk it through? Join the community now

In society there are those who are “over sensitive”, those who are “insensitive” and those who are somewhere inbetween! We’re all different and that’s great! But for those who are often told they’re “over sensitive” or “too emotional” and often feel hurt – this is for you…

Firstly, when someone who is sensitive is told “you’re over sensitive” it is obviously going to be taken as an insult! The term has negative connotations attached to it and understandably if you’re a sensitive person you’re probably going to take what people say about you to heart. And more often than not people say it in a tone attempting to put you down.

At Ditch the Label we are dispelling these insults and exposing them for what they truly are – compliments!

So, next time someone tries to insult you just remember these following 10 reasons why being “over sensitive” or “too emotional” is a positive part of who you are. It’ll remind you that what you have is a gift that many people want and don’t have! So hey… lucky you!

1. You feel everything deeper than most people ever will

Yep, including the bad stuff too which isn’t so fun. But in turn you feel the really, really great stuff so intensely too, which is something so many people are envious of! So you should totally embrace that!

http://gph.is/1PIlZnI

2. You love hard

Because you experience and feel everything so deeply it means you experience and feel love so deeply! Yep, the heartbreak also hits you hard and can be really overwhelming – but as the famous quote goes – “’tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” (Alfred Tennyson).

http://gph.is/2ohUoW0

3. You’re kind and caring

You put yourself in everyone’s shoes and feel like you can see life through other people’s perspective. This makes you compassionate and therefore, you always look out for others and make sure they feel good.

http://gph.is/2ef2wia

4. You realise the wrongs in the world – and try to put them right!

When you watch the news or read a sad story you can feel like you’ve almost experienced it for yourself! The emotions overwhelm you, you’re starting to well up, you just want to go and rescue everyone and take them home to yours for some tea and cake. But seriously, you see stories and you just can’t switch off; you want to make a difference! You want to help people! And this is a quality which will take you far. And by the way, you’re probably making a difference somehow already you just don’t realise it.

http://gph.is/1neigCU

5. You try to learn from your experiences

You try and understand your feelings and why you felt that way. When you’re really upset you try and work out what really made you feel upset. When you’re really happy you notice what made you feel that way and make sure you do it again. Yes okay, you analyse, and over analysing can be a negative thing sometimes – but the good thing is that you make sure you reflect on your emotions and you understand why you’ve felt them. So in the future you remember what to do and what not to do so that you feel good.

http://gph.is/2tkdeu3

6. You feel fulfilled

Because you make your life rich and full by experiencing everything in its entirety from the really happy to the really sad! Every moment is enriching you – people who criticise you for being “over sensitive” or “too emotional” are probably envious of you and they want to feel things the way you do – they want to be able to feel more… to feel fulfilled.

http://gph.is/Zeq0fl

7. You’re perceptive and aware of your surroundings

Because you’re sensitive you’re also aware so you notice everyone you walk past, you remember faces and you always pick up on people’s moods and personalities. You’re also observant of your environment so you’re usually the one who predicts when something bad is going to happen!

http://gph.is/2oZ1wqK

8. You embrace everything deeply so you embrace new things deeply too

Which is great for employment! Because sensitive people tend to overthink and find it hard to let go of hurt feelings and negative thoughts means you can absorb a lot of albeit negative things too, which shows how you can do the same with positive and healthy things!

http://gph.is/XI99hK

9. You are the best at self care

As you’re sensitive you take note of the fact you need lots of time to look after yourself and you realise when you need time to yourself to have a pamper or a movie night. Many people think they don’t need that. But people who are sensitive are aware they do as you’re always making sure you get enough food, self-care and sleep so you look and feel great!

http://gph.is/XKuaIB

10. It is a part of you and that is unique to you! Don’t apologise for being you!

When someone tries to insult a part of your character, it is because of their own insecurities. Don’t let someone dim your light because they aren’t shining so bright.

http://gph.is/2nBFSHx

lucy spraggan, x factor, simon cowell, musician

We talked to Lucy Spraggan about life in the public eye, mental health and coming out

DtL: Hi Lucy! You have just released the very emotive ‘Dear you’ – you have said it is about the impact mental health can have upon us; what events inspired you to write the song?
Lucy: I wanted people to speak more about mental health and thought I could start by writing something to make people talk. I want more people to reach out to others when they might be in a difficult time.

DtL: Based on you experiences, what is it like to identify as a lesbian in 2016 and what needs to change?
Lucy: I think there is a long way to go across the world for equality, but I feel like England is really leading the way. I married my wife this year and it is truly amazing that we had the ability to do that. In some places it is still punishable by death to be a homosexual so I feel incredibly lucky to live here.

“I suffer really badly with anxiety, some days it can be completely debilitating”

 

DtL: Did you ever experience bullying? If so can you tell us what happened and how you overcame the experience.
Lucy: I dyed my hair red in the six week holidays before starting year 7 and by the time the term had started it had faded to a gingery colour. Most of the boys in my new class immediately started calling me ‘Rusty’ and I absolutely hated it. I’m not sure if they knew how unhappy it made me – it stuck for ages! It’s mad how something like that when you’re younger can be so hurtful and now it would be like water off a duck’s back. I wish I’d have spoken to my family about it but instead I started to act out. I think my teachers would have been able to help.

DtL: What advice would you give to those who may be experiencing bullying or feel like they don’t fit in because of attitudes towards their sexuality?
Lucy: I think you have to remember that you are more than you think you are. You are your best asset and you are on your way to great things. Try to speak to your family and friends about what is happening, or even the police. Try to get away from the situation as best as possible and continue on your path to your great future.

[full-width-figure image=”https://www.ditchthelabel.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/lucy-spraggan.jpg”]

 

DtL: What has been your proudest moment so far?
Lucy: Every day I feel really proud of what I’ve achieved. I’m not sure there is a moment I could pinpoint!

“It’s alright to be different”

 

DtL: What are your most prominent challenges, and how do you overcome them?
Lucy: I suffer really badly with anxiety, some days it can be completely debilitating. I try to focus on what is good and what is happening in that moment. I try to be mindful and work towards feeling better.

DtL: If you could go back in time, what one thing would you tell your younger self?
Lucy: It’s alright to be different.

DtL: What are the best/worst things about being famous?
Lucy: I think it’s amazing to have people stop me in the street and ask for pictures or receive letters saying that my music has changed someone’s life. It’s a really overwhelming thing and I feel incredibly lucky for it.

I’d say the downside is negative people, in any format; the nasty, the jealous, the aggressive. Whether that’s online or in person, sadly they exist.

“I take something that makes me think and write about it”

 

DtL: What tends to inspire your writing?
Lucy: Everything. They’re closing my local cinema and I’ve been going there for my whole life. That’s something I’ve started writing about. The song’s called ‘popcorn’. I take something that makes me think and write about it.

DtL: Have you got any tips for those who might want to come out but don’t know how?
Lucy: Be brave. Make sure you are in a safe place and that you don’t feel pressurised. Take your time.

DtL: Is there anything you would like to add?
Lucy: Have a lovely Xmas! (It’s nearly here 🙈)