Tag: Cheryl Grace

UIO: A Lasting Resource

There is something about coming to the end of a story that is satisfying yet bittersweet. You see, the thing about a timeless story is that it continues spreading joy and serving as a resource for generation after generation.

Good books have that power and nowadays a timeless podcast can do a similar thing. That is my hope for UIO podcast—that its 37 podcasts will continue to be there for teenage girls and their guardians and supporters, as and when they need them.

Though I have taped and aired my last official podcast as far as I know, ending with the U Matter campaign, comprising four podcasts, it gives me great joy to see the stats continue to rise on podcasts as far back as 2017.

My first podcast ever, Your Confidence Inside Out with celebrated businesswoman and coach Cheryl Grace, continues to serve as a great resource to girls until this day. It is our third most popular podcast ever.

The second most listened to podcast taped in November 2019 with bestselling author Claire Eastham covers the ageless issue, social anxiety.

And the top podcast in our changing world was taped in October 2020, a few months into the global pandemic. Dealing With Grief with Kristi Hugstad came at a time when so many people needed it and continues to work for many UIO listeners.

That’s the idea behind all our podcasts—that they are there when you need them. Like many wonderful podcasts, ours are available on most podcasting platforms, including Apple, Google Play, Spotify and all the rest. And of course, here on my website, too!

May our podcasts continue to be a great inspiration and resource to teen girls the world over because as UIO guest Anj Handa points out, the only thing we can really be certain of is change.

So even though the subject matters are timeless and ageless, each generation will face challenges through the lens of their time, which feels like a lot of change. To this end, good resources are invaluable.

As for me, though it’s a wrap for podcasting for now, I expect my work on behalf of teenage girls to continue to manifest in varied ways. Watch this space.

In the meantime, keep listening and taking care of yourself inside out. And do feel free to drop in anytime here or on any social platform. And remember, it is U I Owe.

 

 

 

 

Get The Facts About Embracing Your Body Image

Body Image is one of those subjects that never goes away. Ageless, it is always topical, not surprisingly. I say this because body image is all about how you see yourself physically and mentally, too.

Whether that is your face, your hair, your size, your shape, it is all about you and only you live with yourself each second of the day. No wonder having a healthy body image is crucial to a healthy overall wellbeing.

Admittedly, keeping a healthy outlook about life is hard enough on its own sometimes, what with all the challenges of growing up, let alone keeping positive about body image.

Thus, I want to share a few simple facts about how to embrace your body image right where you are.

First, focus on what you like about your body and not what you don’t like. This is easier said than done, right? Most times the thing we worry about the most, fret about, dominates the mind and can have an eroding effect on self-esteem.

Remember how draining it was the last time you obsessed about what you didn’t like about yourself. Try the opposite. Find something you really like and there will be plenty of choice and focus on it for starters. All the rest will fade into the background. For more tips on how to do this, listen to Your Confidence Inside Out with Cheryl Grace.

Next, accept that there will be bad days, bad moments when nothing looks or feels right inside out. We all have times such as these. You are not alone!

When this happens control what you can and let go of the rest. It will somehow take care of itself. For example, if you don’t like your hairstyle, change it or if you don’t like how an outfit makes you feel, find one that makes feel good. All the rest, let it go! If it is acne, for example, it will go away. If its body shape or something genetic, embrace it! It is yours!

The key is to stay healthy both physically and mentally.

After this, get clued in about what and who influences your perception about yourself. Pay attention to what you watch, what you read, who you long to be like. Let’s face it, you don’t live in a vacuum, but you can exert control over what you take in.

Limit your social media visits and report anything that makes you feel uncomfortable and cut back on television and remember that actresses and social media influencers are paid to look a certain way. That’s their job!

And don’t compare yourself to your friends or foes for that matter. Remember, that people come in different shapes, sizes, heights, colours and so on. There is only one you!

Finally, take on a few healthy habits if you already haven’t and truly make them habits.

For example, eat foods that serve your mind and your body consistently. Cut back on sugar. As sweet as it is, it is behind a multitude of health problems. And do check out Your Body Inside Out podcast with Judit Ressinka, who offers tips on how to reinvent your favourite foods such as pizza.

And don’t forget that exercise is as much about your mental health as it is your physical health. No time for a full work out? Then take a short walk or a run. Judit suggests dancing and other creative ways to get exercising.

One last tip is to talk to someone you trust, a real person, particularly when you are stuck on a dislike or feeling down about something you’ve seen. It’s good to get it out and have a reality check.

In the meantime, take care of you inside out. Check out Your Body Image Inside Out with my personal trainer, Laura Miles, who shares her journey on developing a healthy body image, as well as How To Take Care of Your Body During Tough Times with Hope Virgo. And remember, it is you I owe.

Happy New Year!

Hot Tips From UIO’s Fourth Most Popular Podcast

It’s week four of our campaign to share top tips from our most popular podcasts.  This week, we return to the first ever UIO podcast, Your Confidence Inside Out with Cheryl Grace.  As timely as ever,  the advice in this popular podcast reminds us of how important confidence is to daily living.

Choosing five top tips was as challenging as ever. Still topping my selection was –Don’t Compare Yourself to Other People. Great advice as we head back to school, back to some sense of normality.  Recently, I found myself comparing my post lockdown fashion to someone else’s and just before I went into a slump over it, I remembered that there is only one me.  And that what really matters is that I take care of me inside out. Check out the vlog here for all five top tips.

And if you haven’t caught the full podcast, head on over to  Itunes, You Tube or where ever you listen to podcasts. Meanwhile, we are less than a week away from the launch of our back to school mini-series, kicking off with Staying Safe At School During the Covid Era, featuring five panellist from experts to students from both the US and UK.  Stay tuned!

Dealing With Anxiety On All Levels

So, what is making you anxious nowadays?  If you are anything like me, you might be thinking where shall I start? There is a mountain of worries on a world scale and sometimes equally as many on a local scale. Few will challenge that notion, but it’s the personal ones, if you ask me, that really get the adrenalin flowing.

And before you know it, you’ve had something beyond an adrenalin rush that makes you think you are having a medical emergency.

Been there and done that. That’s anxiety, this feeling of unease, like a worry or a fear. Unfortunately, it happens to us all from time to time and to some people it happens perpetually.  In other words, bouts of anxiety range from mild to severe and when anxiety is severe, it is usually then considered a specific condition and treated as such in the best-case scenario.

But here is the thing. Anxiety comes under the umbrella of emotional and mental health, whether it is mild or severe.  And just as we can do things to maintain good physical health, we can do the same with mental health.  And when more severe mental health problems arise, we can get  help just as we do with a severe physical illness.

I’ve been fortunate enough to do three podcasts around mental health, one of them specifically on social anxiety, a more severe form of anxiety. Check out our podcast, On Social Anxiety, with Claire Eastham, who suffers from social anxiety, for a better understanding of what it is and what it is not. As Claire says, it is not a fear of people, it is an overwhelming fear of being judged by other people so much so that you isolate yourself.

In any case, I’ve learned a lot from all three podcasts on the matter and have gleaned some tips from the interviews, research and personal experience.  Let’s start with how to maintain good mental health to ward against anxiety.

  • Understand your anxiety. Call a spade a spade. The minute you do this it loses its power. This is one of the best tips I have ever received, and it just so happens it came from Laura Miles, guest on Your Body Image Inside Out.
  • Make time for your worry. That’s right! Give it its props, isolate it and move on.
  • Face the things you want to avoid. Claire Eastham points out that if you don’t anxiety wins.
  • Challenge your negative thoughts. That’s a biggie and goes hand in hand with positive self-talk.  Cheryl Grace talks about the importance of this in Your Confidence Inside Out.
  • Shift your focus. Get practical and physical by doing something you enjoy which relaxes the mind, such as yoga, running, or even journaling.
  • Talk about It. A problem shared is a problem halved. 

What about getting help when anxiety becomes more severe and interferes in your daily life.

  • Realise it is not your fault; it is a condition.
  • Reach out to adults/counsellors, people with more experience in the area.
  • Get a diagnosis, if at all possible. Once you know what it is, it is possible to then treat it, as you would a physical illness.
  • Care for yourself. Lots of options here including eating right, getting enough sleep, and managing the time you spend on social media.
  • Talk to someone you trust. It is important to give the negative feelings airtime so that they don’t stay buried in your mind.

So, whether it is mild or severe, anxiety can be managed for a happier and healthier life experience.  Again, check out UIO podcast for more tips.

 

The Power Of Self Talk

With the re-release of our first ever podcast, UIO: Your Confidence Inside Out with Cheryl Grace, I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of encouraging words and the impact they have on building self-confidence.  In the podcast, Cheryl points out the importance of positive self-talk.  Don’t say things to yourself that you wouldn’t say to a good friend, someone you respect.

Out with the ‘I can’t do anything right, I am a complete failure, I’m stupid and so in.’  And in with, ‘I can do this. I am good enough and so on.’ This is a truth that I have not always understood but upon reflection, negative self-talk definitely influenced my confidence, hence some of the decisions I made earlier in life.

For instance, when I was a teenager, I bought into the old saying sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.  In short, I didn’t get into many physical brawls, if any—not much of a fighter but almost always there was a war of words going on with another person or inside of my head, whether it had to do with not liking my looks or not thinking I was good at something like standardised testing.

On the latter, I now know it was believing in discouraging words of others and the negative self-talk that stood between me and my confidence to crack the tests.  Following the first low score I received on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT), I took a big hit in the area of self-esteem.

Until then I had been pretty evenly matched with those around me, those in my class, in literal arts subjects in particular. Admittedly, I started lagging behind others, mainly boys in Maths around fourth grade. That was the year of integration of the schools in the US, which is an entirely different story to be told another time but does have commonalities with this one, regarding encouraging and discouraging words. Know the power of both.

Anyhow, back to the PSAT, there was the smart boy, who most likely was a genius, who was miles ahead of everyone, who achieved an unbelievable score but I had not necessarily felt inferior to him or any of my other peers until the first low score came, which influenced my standing with teachers and peers, their outlook on my future.

Though I can’t remember a moment where I sort of shrank within, I remember vividly losing confidence, feeling less than others and going into over drive on negative self-talk. This denigration of myself combined with being told that I would need to dream smaller about college and university would haunt me for years to come.

For years as a writer, I didn’t have the confidence to believe in my views, even if they were rejected widely. Thus, I started hating constructive feedback and really didn’t grow as a writer until I started believing in myself again. This began with other wonderful writers and acquaintances propping me up and encouraging me to get on with it. I had a gift.  Then I started sharing my work and reminding myself all the time that I had a gift and even if big publishers didn’t see it, I would still write a novel or two, maybe even three.  We’ll see about that one.

Anyhow, the point is this:  don’t underestimate the power of encouraging words, not only from yourself but also from others.

Discouraging words can be a confidence buster whether from you or from others. Where you are in control, remember that negative self-talk is denigrating and limiting and positive self-talk is affirming and inspiring.  That is why affirmations are so powerful. Stay positive.

And when others speak negatively to you, don’t believe them.  Keep in mind that it is hurt people who tend to hurt others and during the teen years, life can be fast and furious. Sometimes it pays to stop, think and wait awhile before saying things to yourself that will not serve you or take on board the negative words of others.

As for that old saying about sticks and stones, don’t believe it!  Words are powerful and not only can they defend you, they can also offend. For more hot tips, check out UIO, the podcast for teen girls. 

Kicking the Comparison Habit

Today while with my personal trainer, Laura, I noticed a younger woman with her trainer lifting some pretty heavy looking weights. And suddenly I felt guilty for moaning about the seven kilogram (15 lb) weight I had used to do split squats, but the rush of emotion didn’t stop at guilt. It hurried to something else that can be even more of a confident buster than guilt. Yep, you guessed it—the comparison narrative.

“She is much younger than I am,” I said to Laura.

“We don’t do comparisons in here,” Laura replied on automatic pilot.

Only then did I realise that as confident as I can be about many things that I do, whether working out, writing, podcasting or even driving, I find myself falling into a comparison narrative, even if it is only with myself. I thought I had squashed this narrative years ago.

When I was a teenager, I remember entering the 100-yard dash race during a field day at school, favoured to win. Back then I was quite a flier and could out run just about any boy or girl my age or even a bit older. But when the whistle blew, I stalled. I didn’t have the confidence in my ability to win. I have never forgotten.

And now that I look back on it. I think it had to do with comparing myself to the other girls in my class. Those who were athletes were arguably competitive and rightly so. They were confident in their games, whatever that was. But I, who had only displayed my athletic ability at church picnics, at home and so on, compared myself to them and didn’t measure up. There went my high school, college and life interest in becoming an athlete.

And over the years, when the comparison narrative has cropped up, pushing me away from something, I have managed to put it in check, particularly to do with writing. It was only today that I realised that though it doesn’t rear its pushy head aggressively the way it used to, it turns up subtly and in the slightest way can knock my confidence.

So just remember teen girls, when you find yourself comparing yourself, your abilities to someone else, put it into perspective. There’s only one you and all you can do is be the best you can be. No one else can do that. That takes trusting in your abilities, whether that’s in academics, sports, drama, life. That takes confidence.

Wear it and wear it well, like you would protective gear for inclement weather, to paraphrase Cheryl Grace, guest on Episode 1: Your Confidence Inside Out. Listen on iTunes. As for me, so much for paying attention to others while training. It’s all about me next Tuesday. But don’t tell Laura. We wouldn’t want her comparing, now would we.

 

Recap of UIO Confidence Inside Out Week

Mid-week last week we kicked off our UIO marketing campaign and what a week it was, featuring inspiring quotes and a hot tip from Episode 1 UIO: Your Confidence Inside Out with Cheryl Grace. What a great opportunity it was to feature such a celebrated business woman.

We launched with lots of cheer from the cheer team of Dougherty Comprehensive High School, Albany, Ga, and proudly put one its very own, Zaria Davis, in the spotlight during the week.

Zaria Davis @ Homecoming

Finally, we joined a couple of key conversations online. From Priyanka Chopra’s conversation on being confident to the highlights of Miss Amazing’s pageant for girls and women with disabilities.

See our week in review @uiopodcast on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and join us in #tuningintogirls.  Oh and if you missed the podcast, it’s not to late to listen right here on our webpage or on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Soundcloud.  Just search UIO: You Inside Out podcast and tune in.

UIO Launches Instagram Page

More excitement to cheer about at UIO: You Inside Out, the podcast for teenage girls.  Today, we launched our Instagram business page @uiopodcast. Follow us, like us, join us on Instagram.

This page follows the recent launch of our Facebook and Twitter pages.

With three dedicated social media pages, UIO aims to celebrate what it means to be a teenage girl today while advocating and campaigning on their behalf.

We’ll highlight great inspirational quotes and hot tips from our special guests—women featured in the podcasts: Cheryl Grace, Judit Ressinka, Jenny Hawkins, Laura Miles, Joy Miller, Jane and Molly Goldberg, Jenny Garrett, Rachel Gardener, Helen Lewis and Natalie Savvides–as well as creative photographs of teenage girls from both the US and UK.

Again join us, follow us, like our posts. Message us directly @uiopodcast or email UIO@sonjalewis.com. See you on Instagram.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for more UIO news.

UIO Gets Dedicated Twitter Page

So many exciting things in the pipeline for UIO: You Inside Out, the new #podcastforteengirls. From the launch of ten episodes over the spring and summer to the unveiling of our first dedicated social media page on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, UIO is growing.

This week, we introduce UIO Twitter, user name @UIOPodcast, on which we look forward to joining important conversations to do with teenage girls and leading on some too.

Via our social media, we aim to celebrate what it means to be a teenage girl today while advocating and campaigning on their behalf. Thus, whether it’s to do with self confidence, values or peer pressure, we’ll be talking about it and listening, too.

In addition, we’ll highlight great inspirational quotes and hot tips from our special guests—women featured in the podcasts: Cheryl Grace, Judit Ressinka, Jenny Hawkins, Laura Miles, Joy Miller, Jane and Molly Goldberg, Jenny Garrett, Rachel Gardener, Helen Lewis and Natalie Savvides.

So join us, follow us, re-tweet our tweets. Message us directly @UIOPodcast or email UIO@sonjalewis.com. See you on Twitter.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for more UIO news.

The UIO New Look Is Out

UIO: You Inside Out announces a new look , emphasising the voice of teenage girls.

Created by Dominque Ozturk, an accomplished designer who has years of experience in working with girls of all ages, the new look will be featured across all platforms where the podcast is aired, including iTunes and the UIO dedicated podcast page.

Also you can see the new look and listen to the podcast via Libsyn   Stitcher, Tunein and on Google Play music.

Created as a versatile medium for teenage girls with their input, UIO relies on sound principles and values, and offers a safe and responsible platform to provide insight into topics relevant to teenage girls today.

The 2017 pilot series includes ten shows, featuring a range of talented women with special interest, experience and expertise on a particular topic:

Episode 1 – Your Confidence Inside Out with Cheryl Grace

Episode 2 – Your Body Inside Out with Judit Ressinka

Episode 3 – Your Skin Inside Out with Jenny Hawkins

Episode 4 – Your Body Image Inside Out with Laura Miles

Episode 5 – Your Hair Inside Out with Joy Miller

Episode 6 – Your Mind Inside Out with Jane and Molly Goldberg

Episode 7 – Your Values Inside Out with Jenny Garrett

Episode 8 – On Sex and Sexuality with Rachel Gardner

Episode 9 – Your Family Inside with Helen Lewis

Episode 10 – Peer Pressure Inside Out with Natalie Savvides

Stay tuned for more UIO announcements in the coming days and for new episodes in 2018.

‘I find the subjects and experts are good for parents to hear too, said one listening parent. ‘The podcast raises many points  for conversations with my daughter.’

For more info or enquiries about UIO, write to info@sonjalewis.com