Sometimes in life, we aren’t very lucky. Bad things can happen and we can all go through stuff in our personal lives that can have a lasting effect on us. Once the dust settles, however, one of the scariest things about life after trauma can be understanding how to tell someone about what you have gone through when they don’t already know. Opening up about past mental health issues, bereavement, assault, addiction and more can feel like an endless number of hurdles to jump every time you meet someone new. That’s why we have put together a few tips on opening up about this stuff to people in your life, so that you don’t have to worry about it.

1) Take your time

It’s important to remember that there is nothing making you rush into telling someone about something you have gone through in the past. If you don’t feel ready to tell someone yet, then don’t. It can also be tricky knowing when to tell someone new in your life, whether that is a new boss, partner or friend about what you have gone through. The key here is to make sure you can trust them with the information and wait until you get to know them a little better. 

2) Talk to someone you trust

Making sure the person you tell is trustworthy is crucial, not just so that you feel secure, but also so that they don’t use the information to hurt you in the future or tell others your secret. If you don’t feel like you have anyone like this in your life right now, but still need to tell someone about what is bothering you, you can reach out the Ditch the Label Community here. It is completely anonymous and we will listen to you. 


3) Pick a good moment 

Deciding when to tell someone about your past is a big decision, and picking the right moment is likely to make it easier. Choose a time and a place where you feel most comfortable, and where you know you won’t be overheard by the wrong people. Make it clear to the other person that you are about to tell them something important and discuss if they are ok with keeping it a secret from other people in their life who you do not want to know.

Also, make sure they are in a good place in their life to hear it as well. If they are going through a lot right now, or maybe are dealing with something similar, then it might be especially difficult for them to hear about it as well. If this is the case, consider telling someone else you trust and wait until you feel the other person is in a better place so you can discuss it. 

4) Give them time if they need it  

Sometimes, people might find it difficult to understand what you have been through. If this is the case, try not to take it personally. If they ask for time to absorb the information, give it to them, and take a breather. It doesn’t have to mean they won’t understand or be there for you once they have had time to get used to the idea. 

5) You do not have to tell anyone if you don’t want to

Finally, it is important to know that you do not have to tell anyone about your past. If you feel pressured into telling someone about your experiences, remember that it is entirely your decision to open up about your life.

If you feel like you need to confide in someone, you can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.

In its mildest form, depression can simply mean feeling low. For most people, feeling sad from time to time is just a natural part of life. However, for some of us, feelings of sadness, despair and melancholia are present on a daily basis and can prevent us from living our normal lives. If you can relate to this, it could mean you are suffering from depression and should seek help from a GP or therapist. It is nothing to be ashamed of, 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health issue in our lifetime, and depression is one of the most common illnesses.

However, despite this fact, the stigma that still surrounds mental health can often hinder people’s understanding of depression; some may feel awkward towards, or unable to help those who are experiencing it.

Here, I am going to list 5 ways in which you can help someone who may be suffering from depression.

Remember that not everybody will feel comfortable asking for help, but there are some signs you can look out for, including (but not limited to): avoidance of social events/loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy, loss of self-confidence or self-esteem, unexplained anger/irritability, reckless behaviour and changes in their appetite/weight.

1. Compassion

Compassion really is key in helping someone to recover from any illness. Whether it is encouraging them to do something that might help them cope with their illness, like seeking out appropriate treatment, or offering to do something they are struggling with – even if it is just washing up the dishes!

You could encourage them gently to talk about their feelings or make them aware that you totally understand if they don’t want to open up just yet. Reassure them that their situation is going to get better and let them know you are there to support them no matter what.

2. Understanding 

They are going through a really difficult time, and their behaviour may seem erratic and unpredictable – it’s likely they’ll behave in ways which seem out of character to you. For example, they may be acting more irritable or reckless, and this kind of behaviour is liable to be misunderstood by others who do not know what is really going on. It is not always easy when dealing with the negativity, hostility, and moodiness that go hand in hand with depression, but understand that they don’t necessarily mean what they are saying/doing in their current state of mind. 

Therefore, it’s important you don’t take it personally or blame them; try reassuring them instead. If they are displaying unusual, impulsive behaviours, try not to judge them but do try your best to ensure their safety. Perhaps, when they are in a calmer state, it might be a good idea to help them in coming up with alternative and healthier strategies to deal with these impulses.

3. But, don’t become a psychologist…

…and start diagnosing them or trying to give advice beyond your knowledge – that is best left to the professionals. Just listen to them, believe everything they tell you and let them know you’ll love and support them every step of the way. Don’t force treatment on them, but remember to seek further help immediately if they’re feeling suicidal or showing no willingness to get better; if you feel there is a risk of immediate danger – tell a trusted adult or call 999. Y

ou can always contact Ditch the Label or other charities like Samaritans or Mind if you feel you need guidance on this matter. Supporting someone with depression can be stressful and frustrating so be careful not to neglect your own needs too. Taking time to look after yourself is really important; talk to others about how you’re feeling or consider joining a local support group with people who are also in a similar situation to you.

4. Have patience

Recovering from depression can take a long time and it is important that everyone goes at their own pace; this illness, for many, is an ongoing battle throughout their lifetime and they’ll have to gradually learn how to manage, so be prepared for relapses. It is important to remember that even if they’ve started treatment, it may be a long time before they really start to feel better. Therefore, having patience is really important.

What they really need at this point, is your genuine love and support. Show them how much you care by listening to them and appreciating them for who they are. They may feel like they’ve got no one on their side during this process, so it’s really important that you are!

5. Spend time with them

Someone with depression will have both good and bad days. They might show less interest in the things they used to enjoy, and might not always feel like going out – but if they do feel up to hanging out with you, then try and spend time with them by doing things you both used to enjoy. Keeping them occupied and offering them distractions where you can is really important, but make sure these are either within, or close to their comfort zone.

Equally, remember that sometimes they’ll just want to be left alone and that’s okay too. Just check in with them regularly by dropping them a message to let them know you’re there for them when/ if they need you.


If you ever need help, guidance or someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to join our Community.

Have you ever been scrolling through social media and just thought “god I want that life” of someone you’ve never even met? Maybe you’ve posted a photo that you love, but someone else’s likes start climbing higher and higher and yours sticks around the low double digits? Yeah us too.

There is no shame in comparing yourself to social media – we all do it. The thing is, doing it too much can have a pretty detrimental impact on our mental health, and even provoke us to make changes to our own lives to fit in or be better. That’s not good. So, we put our heads together over at Ditch the Label HQ and came up with this quiz, so you can see if it’s time to hang up the social media for a while, or if you are fine just the way you are handling it.



How did you do? Whatever result you got, this isn’t the be all and end all, and there loads of things that make you use and compare yourself to social media. If you are worried about how much you seem to be comparing your life to social media, read this list of tips on how to stop.

Need to talk to someone? Reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here for confidential support and advice from one of our trained team Digital Mentors.

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:

Kindness is a funny thing. We all know we should be kinder, but sometimes it can be hard. When the world feels a bit rubbish, even hostile, spreading kindness might not seem that appealing when you could just hole up in your room attempting to complete Netflix. Well, we don’t think that should be the case. Spreading kindness is needed now more than ever, so here are our top reasons why you should have a think about sharing a little joy, even when the world sucks.    

1) The world is seeming a little more difficult than usual right now 

It’s hard to ignore the headlines at the moment, and just about everything seems a little hopeless. Coronavirus, climate change, and loads of other pretty bad stuff has been going on to kick us into 2020, and that has been pretty impossible to get away from. Doing something small to show someone you care might seem a bit futile when you’re up against the big stuff, but it’s in times like this when being kind to each other matters more than ever. So make a cuppa, pick a flower, clean the kitchen. It’s not going to cure the world, but it might make you and someone else in your life forget about it’s problems for a minute. 

2) The weather is still rubbish and summer feels a long way off

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing and even though the evenings are getting a little bit longer, the promise of some summer sun still feels a long way away. With everything that’s been going on in the world at the moment and the promise of good times is all but cancelled, being kind to one another is so important right now. Try getting outside for some fresh air with a neighbours dog, offer a hand with their errands, or volunteer for something. Doing stuff to help others, even strangers, is a sure fire way to make you feel like you are doing your bit. 

Are you aged between 11-18 and in full time education in the UK? We’ve teamed up with Simple, who have partnered with Little Mix, to challenge everyone to choose kindness this spring. For more information on how you can get involved, check this out.

3) Someone in your life might really need it and you don’t even know it 

We all know to try to check in on friends, but also life can get in the way more often than not. Well, spread a little kindness and you never know what kind of positivity you can bring to someone’s day. Check in on friends you haven’t seen or heard from in a while, even send a letter or a postcard to some of them. Sometimes, it’s even those close to us that need it, so don’t forget about them too!

4) It’s good for your mental health as well

Being good to others has been proven time and again to boost your own mental health, as well as making other people feel pretty damn wonderful. Doing a few good deeds, anonymous or otherwise has been known to release serotonin, the endorphin associated with happiness. So not only are you making the world a better place, but you’re making your brain a better place too. Wins all around we think.   

5) Kindness catches on

Be kind, just to be kind. Pay it forward, and let others follow your example. Think about it – a fight never began because two people were kind to each other. If you start a kindness movement, whether that’s on social media, in your community or amongst your family and friends, you can guarantee it will catch on with some of them at least.

We’ve teamed up with Simple, who have partnered with Little Mix, to challenge everyone to choose kindness this spring. For more information on how you can get involved, check this out.

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.

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.

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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.

It’s Eating Disorder Awareness Week, so we thought we would bring you a whole bunch of super important stuff you need to know about eating disorders. Did you know that approximately 1.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorder (Beat, 2020)? Well we think it’s super important that anyone going through something like this deserves respect and understanding, which is why we have decided to tackle the top 6 myths about eating disorders, and why they are wrong. 

1) “Only girls get them”

Not true. Anyone of any age, race, gender, or background can develop an eating disorder. In fact, about a quarter of all people who get one are guys. Sure, there may be more girls that get them in the statistics, but that could be down to many things, including the fact people notice them more in girls anyway.  

2) “They are because of skinny celebrities and influencers” 

Sure, societal factors might play a role in disordered eating for some people, but not everyone’s disorder is caused by the same factors. Also, disordered eating can be caused by serious mental wellbeing issues that are much more complicated than looking at photos of slim people on Instagram. Again, these can be triggering, but not necessarily the entire reason. 

3) “It’s only for attention” 

A lot of the time, attention is the last thing on someone’s mind when they have an eating disorder. There can be so many reasons to develop disordered eating, but one thing is for sure: being desperate to be centre of attention is not one of them. 

4) “You have to look a certain way to have an eating disorder” 

This one is a big one. Eating disorders can literally come in so many different combinations that someone could potentially have an eating disorder for years without ever “looking like they have one”. In fact, it’s pretty likely that the numbers of people suffering with an eating disorder are actually much higher than we think, because of the number of people living with one that has gone undiagnosed.

5) “Only teenagers get eating disorders”

Like we said above, anyone of any age, race, gender or background can develop disordered eating patterns. Whilst the majority of those diagnosed are in the 14-25 age bracket (Anorexia and Bulimia Care, 2020), this doesn’t mean that these are the only people who can develop one. 

6) “Eating disorders are a choice”  

This last one might be one of the most important to remember, especially if someone you love is currently living with an eating disorder. They are absolutely categorically positively NOT a choice. Sometimes, when someone we love is living with disordered eating, their behaviour can change dramatically, and they can often be aggressive, withdrawn, or manic. This is their eating disorder talking, and they are not actually making these behavioural choices. They just might need a little help, and that’s OK.

If you need to talk to someone about this or anything else that might be bothering you, reach out to our community here for confidential support and advice.