Tag: On Girls’ Rights

Using Self-care As Preventative Medicine

So, what is all this talk about self-care on a regular basis? You’ve heard it, too, right?  Is it the latest craze, a buzz word or a practice that supports a healthy lifestyle?

Though the volume has been turned up on emotional and mental self-care lately—perhaps a credit to the pandemic and other challenging events—it has been around for a long time.  From prayer to yoga to Tai Chi to fad diets, self-care dominates our minds particularly in January and during difficult periods in life. It sometimes offers a narrow path out of the darkness, if not ways to cope while in it.

But here lately, self-care talk is not just about the dark days but about all days—using the concept as a preventative measure instead of a reactive one.

I like the sounds of this and here is why. Self-care has a positive influence on maintaining a healthy mind and with a healthy mind, life is easier to navigate.

As I think back over the years, I have always understood the importance of self-care on some level. As a young PR director at a Girl Scout Council, I remember announcing to the team that I was going home early to take some time for myself. Life was a bit of a circus, putting it mildly and I was the feature tight rope walker.

Yet I’ll never forget the eyeballs I got and the suggestions that our boss ought to put a stop to what was perceived as prima donna behaviour. And he might have, had he not understood a little about self-care. Bless him, I think he must have.

This was more than 35 years ago. And admittedly, for many years I would only take time to get the rest I needed just before breaking point. But after the loss of my mother in 2016, my anxiety and worry stepped up a notch, getting me an official diagnosis of generalised anxiety disorder.

Only then, did I truly come to understand the importance of daily self-care. Without it, it is easy to let one’s mental health go. And while there are ways to recover, as from a physical illness, it is far healthier to practice preventative medicine, if you will.

That for me often means several practices.  For example, honouring a strict social media diet is at the top of my list. As much as I love connecting with friends and family, it doesn’t serve me to binge on social media. One thing for sure is that everybody else’s business and problems makes its way into the chatter box in my head, along with the bad news of the day and so on.

In rushes anxiety, robbing me of any sense of calm and of course, sleep, which is a great segue to another form of daily self-care. I have developed good sleep hygiene, as the experts call it, which is all about setting a routine, not only for what time to go to bed, but also the time to begin winding down, and what to include in my diet throughout the day, particularly if I have had a bout of insomnia.

Other daily practices I use include saying ‘no’ to asks that either disrespect my boundaries or trigger anxiety; taking a daily walk, even if it’s a bit gloomy outside and that happens often in London; admitting when I can’t take on someone else’s problems because I don’t have the bandwidth to deal with them; and practicing mindfulness throughout the day, if only for a few minutes to focus on what I am grateful for. 

Gosh, it sounds so selfish, or does it? On the surface it might, but underneath self-care has a dominant element of selflessness. As one expert puts it, self-care is as much for loved ones as it is individuals. It simply makes us better, healthier people, which enables us to show up for ourselves and for others, not only during the best of times but also in the worst of times.

Considering what self-care is all about, I, for one, am hopeful that more of us will infuse it into our daily lives as we do other remedies that nourish us and act as preventative medicine, if you will. After all, good health is the key to better living.

For more information on practicing self-care to manage anxiety, check out UIO podcasts On Social Anxiety with Claire Eastham and On Undiagnosed Mental Illness with Eleanor Mandelstam (formerly Segall). To learn more about getting good sleep, listen to On Sleep with Dr Nerina Ramlakhan and for more insight on setting and honouring boundaries, check out On Girls Rights with Lindsey Turnbull.

Our podcasts offer great tips and timeless advice on many contemporary issues. Thank you for listening!

 

 

UIO’s Third Most Popular Podcast Featured with Top Tips

It’s the third week  of our campaign to share top tips from our most popular podcasts.  This week, we feature On Girls’ Rights with Lindsey Turnbull, a podcast that is all about exercising your rights to stay happy and healthy in the space you are in.  Though the teenage years can throw challenges at you, you have a right to meet those challenges in our own style.

Top tips include setting boundaries on and offline and honouring them. With boundaries, it is much easier to occupy a healthy space.  Following having clear and consistent boundaries is protecting your internet space. Not only does this mean, following positive accounts but it also means unfollowing negative ones.  Check out the vlog here!

And continue to watch this space for our new back to school mini-series out in mid-September.  The series features podcasts on how to stay safe at school during the COVID era, navigating the new norms and grief amongst other topics.  With a whole new world to before us, the podcasts offer loads of advice and tips on how to adjust and move forward. Take care!

 

 

Exciting Beginnings: Embracing Yourself for a Happy New Year

This morning while waiting for a prescription I overheard an elderly woman ask with reticence, “Is it really 2020?” The middle aged female pharmacist smiled and nodded and touched the lady’s hand lightly, as she signed whatever was before her.

I couldn’t help but smile to myself, having had similar thoughts now for the last nine days. Is it really  a New Year. Where has the year gone? What does it all mean?

Lots to think about, yeah? And sometimes the thoughts can get crushed or twisted amid the the hype and celebration,  which almost always focuses on resolving to do something or other.

Admittedly, I have never been big on the hype and pressure around making New Year’s resolutions, not because I am a kill joy contrary to some belief, but because I tend to be more of a realist than an idealist.

Instead of focusing on kicking all the bad habits that I have acquired over the year or resolving to fix something in a few weeks that has taken far more time to break, I tend to enjoy  the flavour of the New Year, rather than to get bogged down in the pressures of it.

I have always thought there was something exciting about a new beginning, something which encapsulates the tenderness of youth, something which holds promise and therefore, refreshes and invigorates the spirit. And New Years and Birthdays both have such characteristics.

And though I have spent every single day of this year thus far with a horrible head cold,  I am somehow feeling refreshed and ready for the excitement ahead, not only for what it means for UIO podcast, but also what the new beginning means for teenage girls.

Last year, we added six new podcasts and interviewed some amazing women on the key issues including empowering girls and we are looking forward to getting out even more stimulating, timely and relevant podcasts this year. Also, I watched stories come in from near and far about girl power, how many of you are excelling in sports, academics and activism and so many of you laid the foundations in 2019 to take on new challenges and influence change for years to come. And that is just the beginning.

Just think what you will have accomplished by the end of the year. I am thinking about what is ahead for UIO, too, but let us not  think too long and hard: let’s keep it moving.  Otherwise, we’ll  be asking ourselves the very question I started this blog off with: Where has the year gone?

Thankfully, it’s only just begun. Forget about those fleeing and self-defeating resolutions. Embrace yourself and have a Happy New Year. For more inspirational advice, check out On Girls’ Rights with Lindsey Turnbull.

Keeping Cool With UIO’s Hot Tips

I am in the heat of the moment, literally as I am in Cannes, France, in the midst of the country’s worst heat wave since 2003. Albeit Cannes is hot (il fait tres chaud and if you ask me, trop chaud) at 31 to 33 Celsius, which is 87 to 91 Fahrenheit, it is nowhere near the record temperatures of 45 C (113 F) in one small French Village. I can’t imagine and am prayerful that everyone is able to take cool cover.

Literally, when it is hot, we look for ways to cool down. Thankfully, we have an apartment with an air conditioner, and we are drinking plenty of water, etc… But what do we do when it gets a bit hot figuratively? Ditto! We look for ways to cool down.

Thus, I thought I’d take the opportunity to look to our most recent podcast series, featuring character building, emotional bullying and girls’ rights, for cool tips, though we normally refer to them as hot, sizzling hot, on how to navigate a heated situation.

Here we go:

Our guest for On Character Building, former Paralympic swimmer Elizabeth Wright, says: “Character is an integral part of life. In a nutshell, character is who you are, it is those elements inside of you that are a part of you that develop and grow. They can be parts of your personality, parts that you can pull on when times are tough.”

Elizabeth says there are four categories for building character if you will:  performance, moral, civic and intellectual.  And the key is striking a balance and knowing your strengths, particularly when facing some of the undue pressures.  

In our podcast, On Emotional Bullying, radio personality, Jillian ‘JJ’ Simmons stresses the importance of seeing emotional abuse for what it is, recognising when someone is intentionally manipulating you to gain control.

It sometimes masquerades as love, JJ points out. One of her hot tips for self-protection is to take care of yourself at the core. This means working on your self-esteem and ultimately knowing who are. In addition, she says it is important to watch what you feed your mind.

Easier said than done, right but knowing that you do have rights to protect your mind can surely help.

Our On Girls’ Rights podcast guest, Lindsey Turnbull, founder of Miss Heard Media, points out that boundaries are very important, not only for protecting your own space but they’re about respecting other people’s space, too.

Sometimes the lack of boundaries puts people off.

The key, says Lindsey, is to really like yourself. The more you like yourself, the easier it is to say no to things that don’t serve you, whether it is a seemingly small thing like accepting a salacious comment or a big thing, like going further in a sexual relationship than comfortable with.

Great cool tips for getting out of a heated situation, yeah!

Now about this heat in Cannes. I’d love to take a plunge but as I don’t swim, that could heat up pretty quickly.  Thus, I’ll stay in the flat and keep cool. Stay tuned for more news from UIO, the podcast for teen girls and listen on our website, iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Attributes for Exercising Your Rights

Since doing UIO’s fantastic podcast, On Girls’ Rights with Lindsey Turnbull, founder of Miss Heard Media, I’ve been thinking a lot of about what it takes to exercise our rights, if you will. Though girls have a right to grow-up without undue pressures, to reject objectification and sexism, the right to align with your true values and live intentionally now, it takes confidence, some self-love and great character strengths amongst a few attributes to do so.

Without confidence, for example, it is easy to get side-tracked, even at my age. Here I am in Cannes this week and the next and the next attempting to learn French at my ripe middle age. Argh! Sitting in the classroom with dynamic students from around the globe who are already having conversational French, it feels quite easy to slip into a dark space, lower my head and sneak out of the room at the first opportunity.

Thankfully, I have put on a brave face, dug deep for a little bit of confidence and hung in there, thus far. Though today, I nearly bolted when I learned that my beginners class, where everyone is world’s ahead of me anyhow, would be combined with Paul’s intermediate class, where people are having outright conversations.

No can do, I said in English. I will go next door and write my blog in English, thank you. As I prepared to leave, one of my classmates pointed out that it would be a wonderful opportunity to listen and someone else from Paul’s class spoke encouragingly to me.  Only then did I look to my character strength of perseverance.

I am a lot of things, but not a quitter, I reminded myself and so I stayed and felt more confident for it. Remember that… when you are a footstep away from walking off that football pitch or leaving that social club where no one is talking to you.

Anyhow, I have a long way to go, after only five days of language school, before I’ll be ready to jump into a full blown conversation with a fluent French speaker, except for with my friend Dominque—si gentil.

Fortunately, I have her and Paul, who is far more advanced at French than he likes to admit, cheering me on, but that is not always the case when one is trying to live life intentionally. There will be stumbling blocks in the way whether it is do with academics, sports, or relationships, for example. The key is to stay on track and take anything new or old for that matter one step at a time for the best outcome.

Not so easy, is it, especially when it comes to rejecting sexism and objectification, for example. Lindsey points out in our podcast that the more you love yourself, the easier it is to say no to things that don’t serve you. Some things like going further in a sexual relationship before comfortable are in your face decisions to make but others like considering why you dress a certain way or want to look a certain way is another.

A few years ago, while visiting Miami, I saw a group of teenage girls strolling through town with taffeta see through dresses and trousers and nothing underneath. I immediately thought of the shift in values and norms in society and the narrowing gap between being a girl and a woman, not that I think this type of dressing is acceptable for anyone. However, a woman has far more of a chance of making an informed decision and dealing with the repercussions of the outcomes than a teenage girl, who thinks it is a fun way to show off her body and gain attention.

Quite frankly, it is unlikely that dressing provocatively publicly serves anyone. But if everyone seems to be doing it and society encourages it in the name of being liked and accepted, then it’s hard not to get side tracked. But as Lindsey points, everyone doesn’t mean us well along the journey. We have to dig deep to exercise our rights to overcome. That’s where the confidence comes in, along with character strengths and self-love. 

Now about that conversational French, I’m working on it. Accorder dans trois semaines (for some straight talk in French)! Meanwhile, check out On Girls’ Rights on iTunes, our website or wherever you listen to podcasts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting The Best Out Of Life

Our latest podcast, On Girls’ Rights, is hot off the press, if you will and full of information on how to get the best out of life.  You have a right to, you know!

Actually, when I was a teenager, I am not sure I did know my rights, such as the right to reject sexualisation, for example.  From boys to men, I have had more than my fair share of unwarranted and unwanted comments about my clothes, my body, etc… And though I might have felt uncomfortable, I have often chosen to ignore the unnecessary nonsense and let the offender off the hook.

Make no mistake about it, I’m not talking about compliments. Those I love! I am talking about cat calls done with a smile. Nowadays, I’m likely to call a spade a spade but as a teen girl, I kept quiet more times than not.

Of course, every situation doesn’t call for action but when it comes to protecting your rights, sometimes you do have to step outside of your comfort zone—you have to set boundaries and honour them.

As our guest, Lindsey Turnbull, founder of Miss Heard Media, points out: boundaries are very important, not only for protecting your own space but they’re about respecting other people’s space, too. Sometimes the lack of boundaries puts people off. I can relate to that. Once I had a friendly neighbour who loved paying compliments and then one day, he referred to a certain dress I was wearing as delicious. Immediately, I stepped back and put up a physical boundary, refusing to make further small talk in any way, shape or form.

No, I didn’t call him out so to speak, rightly or wrongly, but I broke off our informal relationship, if you will. He got the message. His comment not only put me off, it did not serve me at all. Thankfully, at that stage in my life, I was confident enough to understand that he had no right to make such a comment about my clothing. No hemming and hawing or guilt to be felt about extracting myself from an uncomfortable situation. I was out of there.

But when I was younger, I often had similar things said to me or one of my peers as if it was the most normal, healthy thing to say.

The key, says Lindsey, is to really like yourself. The more you like yourself, the easier it is to say no to things that don’t serve you, whether it is a seemingly small thing like accepting a salacious comment or a big thing, like going further in a sexual relationship than comfortable with.

You do have a right to grow-up without so many uncalled for pressures. Check out the podcast for teen girls’ On Girls’ Rights for more advice and hot tips on how to exercise your rights. As usual, the podcast is full of info on how to get the best out of your situation. Listen on our website, iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud or wherever you listen to podcasts.