run away from home

Over 140,000 young people are reported missing each year. Here are just some of the reasons why somebody may think about running away from home.

If any of them sound familiar to how you’ve been feeling recently, it’s important that you talk to someone about it. Whilst running away might seem like a good idea at the time, you can often be putting yourself in danger.

Bullying

The famous rhyme is a lie – it doesn’t take a genius to work that one out! Sometimes, words can hurt as much as sticks and stones. When people tell us things about ourselves enough times, we can start to believe it.

People who bully are usually going through a really bad time themselves and no matter what they say, it is NEVER your own fault. Even if they are targeting a unique factor about you. Remember, you have done nothing wrong and do not need to change anything about yourself.

Things might feel so bad that you just want to take off and not look back but before you think about running away, try talking to someone you trust and tell them what you’re going through. If you’re being bullied there is help available. You can talk to a digital mentor by joining our Support Community today or check out this article to help you take the first steps…

Being unhappy at home

Whether you live with family, friends, a partner, on your own or in care, home is meant to be a place where you feel safe and happy. When things get hard at home, it can feel tempting to think about getting away from it all by physically removing yourself from the situation.

It might be that you want to leave to get away from someone who is making you miserable or hurting you. There are loads of reasons for being unhappy at home. Written down, some look more serious than others, but the fact is, you’re unhappy and that is making you think about running away. Even small issues can build up over time to become massive. Remember that running away is very rarely a good solution.

Being hurt, abused or threatened

If you are being hurt or threatened, then it makes sense that you want to get out of where it’s happening. It could be that at first, you thought this person or people cared about you, but the bottom line is they should not be hurting you.

Calling the police is a good option, but if you feel you can’t talk to them, you need to tell someone you trust such as a teacher, friend, family member or social worker.

Runaway Helpline can also help you. If you’ve already run away and feel you can’t make contact with the police directly, they can help you by being on the line when you talk to them. We know that bringing this out into the open takes a lot of courage but you are not alone, you deserve to be safe and there are people who will work hard to support you until you are.

Coming Out

Let’s face it, coming out about your sexuality or gender identity can be hard. Lots of people recognise that being gay or transgender is totally fine and does not change who you are as a person. Unfortunately, despite all the progress that has been made, there are still people who won’t think this. They may react in a way that you don’t like, which can hurt, especially if it’s a friend or family member.

Being in a situation where you don’t feel accepted can make you feel as if you don’t belong there and might make you want to leave. If you’re in this situation, help is available from people who care. The first step is to talk to someone you trust such as a family member or friend. Not everybody has someone they can talk to about this stuff, so you can talk to the digital mentors at Ditch the Label who will help you through this chapter in your life.

Not feeling listened to or cared about

There’s nothing worse than being made to feel like you’re invisible. Someone experiencing this at home might want to run away because they think no one will notice or even care. Well, however, you might be feeling right now, you matter.

It can be easier said than done but try not to bottle everything up and think that no one cares. Keeping something inside can make things worse and being able to speak with someone about your feelings and your concerns can help ease the situation. If you can’t speak to anyone at home about it, try a teacher at school or another adult that you trust. Of course, you can always speak to us at Ditch the Label too!


Get help

When we talk about “talking”, we don’t necessarily mean you need to actually say the words. There are services that can help by text, email and instant message. Most are confidential and you could start by saying a little bit about how you’re feeling whilst knowing you can end the call at any time if you feel uncomfortable, then when you’re ready, you can call back.

It doesn’t matter if you’re thinking about running away, are already away from home or back from being away. Runaway Helpline is a free, 24/7 confidential helpline that you can contact by call or text on 116 000 or by email on [email protected], you can also speak with someone online via IM here.

Runaway Helpline have a bunch of online advice too which you can read at your own pace, check out their advice section here.

What is Hate Crime?

Hate crime is a criminal offence. It is an act of hatred or aggression directed at a specific person, group or their property. It is motivated by hostility or prejudice against:

  • A personal characteristic
  • Gender identity
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Faith

This may involve bullying, physical assault, verbal abuse and/or insults, damage to property, threatening behaviour, robbery, harassment, offensive letters (hate mail) or graffiti and inciting others to commit hate crimes. The legal consequences for perpetrators can be serious and range from a fine to a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Why Report Hate Crime?

Reporting hate crime is important because it provides a platform from which action can be taken against perpetrators and for the abuse to stop. It can often lead to vital support for the victim and it can also benefit wider society by creating safer public areas.

Hate crime can go unreported for many reasons including:

  • Many people do not know that they can report this kind of abuse
  • People do not know how to report it
  • Some people have reservations or fears around approaching the police or authority figures

An increase in reporting will:

  • Provide more accurate statistics which leads to better services within the justice system and improves how hate crimes are responded to
  • Challenge attitudes and behaviours that endorse hatred towards anyone perceived as ‘different’
  • Encourage early intervention to prevent situations escalating
  • Increase confidence for victims in coming forward to seek support and justice
  • Ensure that the right support is available for those that need it
american, cop, car

How to report Hate Crime

In an emergency, ALWAYS dial 999 or 112 – All calls are free and will be answered by trained operators. If you are in immediate danger, or to report a crime in progress, dial 999 or 112 as above.

Other ways to contact the police:

  • Dial 101 to report non-urgent crimes or to make an enquiry
  • Call in at a police station. You can search by postcode via: http://www.police.uk
  • In incidents where the victim of a hate crime does not wish to approach the police directly there may be a police liaison officer for their region, or a Community Safety Partnership Department. Call 101 for further advice on this.
  • Reporting hate crime online: http://report-it.org.uk/your_police_force
  • Understandably it can sometimes be very difficult to report an incident alone. If you do not have a friend or family member to accompany you, help with reporting via voluntary and other agencies can be found here: http://www.report-it.org.uk/organisations_that_can_help
  • You can also report hate crime anonymously via Crimestoppers here: 0800 555 111 / https://crimestoppers-uk.org

Always tell someone if you have been the victim of a hate crime. You can speak to a digital mentor at Ditch the Label who can help you in dealing with this. Join the community today.

Don’t get us wrong, the internet can be a beautiful place – but sometimes, some people aren’t always who they say they are. It could be someone you’ve met in an MMORPG, through Instagram comments or a ‘friend of a friend’ on Twitter, you just never know.

Calling Catfish – How to Spot a Fake…

We got our heads together to share our top tips for debunking a catfish. Various things motivate people who catfish. Mostly, it’s because they are desperately trying to hide who they actually are or they might have self-esteem and confidence issues.

So if it’s all sounding a little bit fishy, and you’re wondering ‘Am I being Catfished?”… you probably are! Here are some things we advise you look out to keep yourself safe:

  • Do a reverse image Google search. This is a quick and easy background check. Right-click their photos, copy the URL, and paste in the box at images.google.com. Google will then search for other sources of that image online. If nothing is found, try a few photos and see what crops up. Don’t forget that Instagram images aren’t indexed so Google won’t be able to search them. If you’re talking on an app like Tinder or Grindr, there’s an app you can download that does the same job called Veracity.
  • Google it. There’s a lot to be said for Googling names other than your own. See if you can find any credible information about them. If there’s nothing, that should raise alarm bells.
  • Language. We all make silly spelling mistakes (especially when autocorrect is involved), but if they’re making strange grammar and odd spelling mistakes continuously, (that would drive your primary school English teacher cray-zay) proceed with caution.
  • Money. Lending a fiver to your best mate for lunch is one thing, but if your new online ‘buddy’ is already asking you for money to get their car fixed so they can come and visit you, whilst promising to pay you back ‘later’. Let’s be honest, they won’t (you’re not a bank).
  • Check their check-ins. Everyone should have some sort of indication on their Facebook or Instagram profile that they have a life outside their computer. We’ve all checked in somewhere on Facebook with friends or family, be it that time you went to Barcelona, or just your local Pizza Express. If they’re lagging in the check in’s then be warned they probably spent all their time on the internet fishing around.
  • …and their posts. Everyone gets a post from someone every now and then, even if it’s from your great aunty sharing a funny meme. If no one has posted on their wall to wish them a happy birthday, tagged them in a photo on Instagram or shared anything with them, then this has got to be a cause for concern.
  • …and their photos. There’s nothing wrong with having photos of yourself on your profile (it is your profile after all), but if they don’t have any photos with their friends or family and it’s mostly photos of themselves at weird angles with bad lighting, then something’s up; are they even tagged in other friends’ photos? If not, something fishy’s going on…
  • … and their mates. Do you have any mutual friends? If so, can they vouch for them? If they only have a handful of random contacts with no mutual friends, it’s usually a telltale sign of a fish in our midst…
  • Get real. If it seems too good to be true – it probably is (sorry to be bursting the bubble). Watch out, if it’s all getting a bit too serious, too soon and they’re making obscure promises, get the hint. They aren’t going to fly you to the Caribbean and David Beckham most definitely doesn’t send random people friend requests. Sorry, move on.
  • Got the story straight? Make sure everything they’re telling you adds up (trust your gut instinct). Conflicting information is a sign their whole identity is built on lies, so it’s hard to always keep the story straight. Remember, fish only have three-second memories, it’s easy to let something slip by when you’ve constructed an entire web of lies…
  • Skype ‘em. If they don’t want to Skype, Facetime or even Snapchat, this is a big red flag. Catfishes are often very camera shy. It’s an easy excuse to spot because they are hiding their true identity, so beware.
  • Watch out for elaborate stories e.g., lies. Catfishes tell outrageous lies which are often a dead give-a-way. A Catfish may well claim to be a model, be in a job that makes them travel to extravagant locations or work in the music industry. This will create little niggling doubts in your mind, listen to them!

Ultimately, if you’re doubting it – you’re most likely right. But before you go join the FBI as a detective, none of the above methods are fool-proof. They can, however, give you a good indication as to how credible somebody is.

If you are going to meet up with someone online, we would strongly recommend that you do it in a public place like the shopping Mall. Always arrange to meet in the daytime and always tale somebody with you or at least have a mate nearby on standby. Most importantly, never go without telling an adult first.

What’s more, we’d also advise against sexting someone you’ve never met before. Trust us… we hear a lot of horror stories from people who have been talking to someone they thought they knew….

But wait… There’s more…


What to do if you’ve called Catfish?

So, you’ve called it. Nothing adds up and their photos are looking increasingly fishy…

  • Try talking to them: You could try and reason with them to encourage them to axe the pretence and to come out as themselves.
  • Axe it: We’d recommend blocking them from all of your social media and phone.
  • Report it: It’s actually a criminal offence to Catfish. It’s impersonation and fraudulent and people can get into a lot of trouble for it, especially if they have bad intentions. Report their profiles to social networks, even if it’s just to look out for somebody else. If it’s really serious, report it to the Police.
  • Tell an adult: If you’re scared of getting into trouble, it could be somebody who you don’t know – like a Ditch the Label mentor or somebody over at Childline. It’s important to document it. Join the Community to talk to someone.
  • Mutual mates?: If you know other people on the Catfish’s friends list. Tell them. They have a right to know too.

Sometimes it happens, but we learn from our mistakes and move on. If you need any further advice or have questions and need support, please do get in touch on the Ditch the Label Community – we’ve got your back.

Join the Community.

Ever been scrolling through IG and quickly found yourself 56 weeks deep in someone else’s Instagram, feeling like they have it all? Yeah, us too. It’s pretty normal to compare yourself to social media from time to time, and we all do it most of the time without even realising it. The thing is, if you let it happen too often, it can have a pretty negative impact on your mental health. That’s why we’ve put this list together of things you can do to stop it. 

Aren’t sure if you compare yourself all that much? Take our quiz to find out here! 

Know Yourself 

It might sound stupid, but knowing what you have a tendency to compare yourself to is the first step to trying to stop it. Is it other people getting more likes than you? Is it body image, or lifestyle? Knowing what makes you feel bad when you get on social media can be hard, so try to make a note on your phone every time you scroll through something that bums you out, and then take a look at it, and clear out your social media of these things. It might be a bit of a big cull, but if it makes you feel better it will be worth it.

Take a break every now and again 

Taking a little holiday from the ‘gram is not necessarily a bad thing. You might have seen social media personalities saying it’s for a multitude of reasons, but the fact is you don’t even need one. If you have pals or followers who might worry about you if you don’t post, put out a little PSA and say that you are putting the phone away for a few days or even a week. The best way to stick to it is to make a long list of stuff you’ve always wanted to get done, and work your way through it over the course of your break. Planning your holiday? Done. Selling stuff on Depop? Make that cash. Reading those books you bought years ago and never got round to? Be a professor for a while.

Or have set times to spend on social media 

It might seem obvious to say but comparing yourself to social media happens a lot more if you are on social media a lot. So give yourself a window or two a day to be online and check out what’s going on in the world, and after you’ve spent your set time on there, put your phone down and do something else. Again, we know it sounds obvious, but it’s something that really helps.

Be aware of what you are using it for

What are you using social media for? Is it to catch up with friends? Is it to document how adorable your dog is? Is it to follow brands and organisations that you love? Whatever it is, make your social media space functional. That way, you won’t be constantly comparing yourself to people you’ve never met for no reason other than the fact that you are bored and happen to follow them. 

And bring it back to being about your own journey 

Whatever you are posting, if you are posting it to make others think your life is going amazingly well when maybe it isn’t, that’s a sure fire way to compare yourself to others. Instead of posting photos of events that you didn’t enjoy, or things you don’t own, or adventures you haven’t had, make your feed about your real life. Put the bad stuff in, and make it real. The more of us who make social media an honest space, the less compare and despair we will all feel. 

Aren’t sure if you compare yourself all that much? Take our quiz to find out here! 

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Why is sleep important?

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

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

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

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

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

What to do if you can’t sleep

1. Read a boring book

2. Read a good book

3. Meditate – find out how

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

5. Listen to relaxing music

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

7. Avoid screens at all costs!!!

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

9. Have a cup of Camomile tea

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

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

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

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

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

15. Change your diet

16. Do a crossword puzzle

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

18. Try a mindful colouring book

19. Write a diary/journal entry

20. Try a brain teaser puzzle

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

22. Practice mindfulness – find out how

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

24. Go outside for some fresh air

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

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

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

28. Keep your bedroom cool

29. Tidy your room before bed

30. Make your bed before you get in it

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

32. Drink a cup of hot milk

33. Use lavender oil or cream

34. Practise positive thinking before bed

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

36. Listen to a podcast

37. Listen to an audiobook

38. Do some stretches

39. Practise mindful breathing – find out how

40. Try yoga

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

42. Get an eye mask

43. Get some earplugs

44. Try a relaxing sounds/white noise app

45. Get some super comfy pyjamas

46. Find a ‘chill out’ playlist on Spotify

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

48. Daydream

49. List all the things you’re grateful for

50. Avoid eating a big meal before bed

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

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

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

Join our free anonymous community

Top Tips for Better Sleep

Avoid lots of caffeine

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

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

Get it off your mind

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

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

The bed is for sleep

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

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

Turn down the lights

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

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

Limit the screens

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

Comfort

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

Don’t force it

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

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

Exercise

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

Get quacky with it

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

Listen to the right kind of music

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


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

FAQs

How do you fall asleep in 5 minutes?

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

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

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

Related:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4) Try to discuss some good stuff  

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

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

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

6) Spread some kindness 

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

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

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

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

There’s nothing worse than feeling like all your creativity and productivity has been sucked dry. Hitting ‘The Wall’ at work or when you’re studying is one thing, but facing absolute burnout when it comes to your own creative passions, side projects and hobbies is quite another. What you need to do is learn to hit the pause button from time to time.

Recently, the subject of burnout has been discussed by many prominent YouTubers and Twitch broadcasters, who spoke up on the difficulties of having to create daily content at higher and higher qualities for their audiences.

We think it’s awesome to see these content creators speak up about burnout and raise awareness, so we thought we would give you some help in what to do to avoid this as we know it isn’t just these social media stars who suffer.

What is Burnout?

Burnout affects your energy, making you feel both physically and emotionally drained (even though you had a huge Saturday morning lay in). It could make you feel negative, cynical or bored of your work. You may find yourself struggling to concentrate, or even worse: struggling to sleep or be creative! 😱

A good place to start is to write down the things that are stressing you out. What’s making you anxious? What are you currently finding exhausting? What should you do about it?  Take time out? Sure. But how do you do that and where do you start?

Let’s get physical

Many people recommend the gym or running but for some, a long walk in fresh air will do the trick. You don’t have to do this alone, find a friend and have a long de-stressing gossip while you walk! Exercise makes us feel good thanks to it creating little neurons in your brain called endorphins (the same thing happens when we eat chocolate too!) Remember you need to continue to eat healthily, drink lots of water and get a good night sleep too.

Mental escapes

While it will help you in some way to (literally) run away from your burnout, mental escapes are crucial in giving yourself a healthy dose of distraction.

For some people, creative activities (whether it’s writing, vlogging, gaming etc) involve spending significant time indoors and alone. Be sure to plan cool things to do with your mates and family to make sure you stay sociable. Anything that takes your mind off things will be good for both your mental health and your creativity:

  • Watch a film
  • Cook dinner
  • Watch a TV show
  • Play a sport
  • Learn another language
  • Play a game
  • Pick up some adult colouring books
  • Bake a cake

Diversify your creations

Sometimes we need to do something a little different to jumpstart our brain into thinking differently… If you’ve spent the last week reading through what feels like hundreds of books for research or study, try drawing some ideas down instead or speak them out loud to a friend. It will help you to see things from a different perspective which is crucial in helping you over the roadblock in your mind. Alternatively, do something creative that you’ve never tried before.

Take a break

Sometimes we just need to do nothing. Making sure you have an escape from everything is equally important, we all deserve a break after all!

  • Make a cup of tea
  • Have a duvet day
  • Practise mindfulness: Go for a walk in the countryside, beach or a park and enjoy the sights and sounds around you.
  • Lay on your bed and listen to music
  • Meditate – find out how to do that here.

Don’t forget to give yourself some downtime!


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Got any tips of your own? head over to Community to share how you chill out and keep focused!

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When the days get short and it’s all dark and chilly outside, it can be easy to feel a bit rubbish about life. Combine that with everyone being mad busy getting ready for the festive season and wrapping up their years, feeling lonely is normal. The most important thing to remember is that you are never alone in feeling lonely, and there are lots of things you can do to cheer yourself up. 

1) Do all the things that make you happy 

When you feel a bit lonely, it can be really easy to wallow in it. But putting on sad songs and sitting in your room alone is only ever going to make it worse. Instead, do all the things you love doing solo. Whether it’s art, exercise, watching movies or playing video games, doing things that bring you joy will make the time go faster and make you feel fulfilled. 

2) Hang with the family if you can 

If your family is kicking around, use this time to have a bit of quality time with them. Suggest a few day trips, a meal out, a trip to the cinema or just a night in chilling. If you don’t get on with them so well, now might be the chance to spend a little bit of fixing what’s been going with you. Sit down over a cup of tea and talk to them. We know it’s easier said than done, but it might be the best or even only chance you are going to have to do this for a while. 

3) Get a temp job

The festive season sees every shop, pub and restaurant desperate for people to help out during the busiest period of the year. Have a look in your local town and hand a few CVs around. It will be a great way to meet new people, learn new skills, get you out of the house and earn some extra dollar in time for the new year. Chances are, there will be loads of people your age that are doing the same thing, so you might just make a whole new bunch of friends through it as well.

4) Meet people in other ways 

Loads of organisations look for extra volunteers at this time of year as they host things like Christmas dinners for vulnerable people, soup kitchens for homeless people, and food banks are super oversubscribed. Try volunteering for something and meet people through that. It will get you out of the house and spreading some of that Christmas good karma. 

5) If your friends are just away for a bit, try and get a FaceTime in

It might just be that your pals have all gone their separate ways for the festive period and you feel a bit lonely and left out at home by yourself. Well get active about staying in touch with everyone over the holidays. Hit up the group chat for updates on their lives or just spam them with GIFs and memes. Set up a FaceTime with your best friend so you feel connected, or reconnect with someone who might have fallen off your radar lately. 

6) Make a plan 

Use this time to get organised about next year and make some plans. Whether it’s for your holiday next year, where you want to move to in a few years or even just ways you can work on yourself next year, this is a great time to think about the future. We know that when you feel lonely, it’s really easy to get caught up in how rubbish your present is, but thinking about what lies ahead can give you hope for pulling out of your loneliness. Plus, some of these plans will almost definitely involve getting out and hanging out with people at some point soon, and that’s definitely something positive to focus on. 

7) Remember, loneliness doesn’t last forever

Feeling lonely can be all consuming, and it can make you feel like it is going to last forever. The thing is, it absolutely doesn’t have to, you just need to be proactive. We know it can make it all feel a bit pointless, but loneliness is only ever going to end if you help it to. So get out and do some of these things, meet some new people and feel connected. 

Need someone to talk to? You can speak to one of our trained Digital Mentors in confidence here.

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

1) For some visual meditation @satisfyingvideo 

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

2) For the warm fuzzies @cuteanimals

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

3) For body positivity @bopo.boy

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



Instagram


4) For us @ditchthelabel 

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



Instagram


5) For some colourful positive vibes @scarrednotscared

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

6) For slime @slime

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

7) For some inclusive beauty blogging @jakejamie

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



Instagram


8) For daily inspiration @thegoodquote

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

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