Tag: sleep

The Voice Of Teen Girls Matters

Having a voice matters throughout life and sometimes it matters more when you are a teenager. In our podcast On Being A Teen Girl Now, our two guests stress the importance of being heard and understood, not only in family life but also in politics and other places where decisions are made and life is shaped.

We take their point and continue to work hard to advocate on behalf of teenage girls and bring them resources that lift their individual and collective voice. To this end, we are gearing up for the final three podcasts in our third series, focusing on three hot topics that teenage girls face today.

One of them is sleep. Surprise, surprise, surprise!  I was anyhow until I did my homework and had a wonderful conversation with sleep expert, Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan. Listen to UIO: On Sleep on October 9th for the real deal on what sleep has to do with wellbeing.

Not only does Nerina give us the inside scoop on how a good night’s sleep can address physical health problems, but it can do a a thing or two for mental health too. The mother of a 15-year-old daughter, this expert talks about the importance or role modelling, negotiating and working together for a better night’s sleep.

Next up is UIO: On Internet Safety, out on October 23rd.  As experts ramp up on how to keep our children safe on the internet, we had a brilliant conversation with Charlotte Aynsley, a pioneer in internet safety.

Though the biggest safety issue on the internet has to do with body image for teenage girls, Charlotte underscores lots of other concerns and points out ways for teens and guardians to work together for the overall better experience.

And the last podcast in the series delves into a topic that plagues teenagers disproportionately, particularly girls due to the pressure on them to be perfect all the time, as pointed by our two teen girl guests in On Being a Teen Girl Now.  Yes,  you guessed it: social anxiety.

Though a very common disorder, social anxiety can go undiagnosed for years as it did with our guest, award winning mental health blogger, Claire Eastham, who points out that getting a diagnosis is so key to managing and overcoming. Yet, another opportunity to team up with parents and guardians to share concerns and get the necessary help. UIO: On Social Anxiety is out November 6th.

Stay tuned for exciting upcoming series, and in the meantime, check out On Being A Teen Girl Now wherever you listen to podcasts.

 

 

Planning for future you

Our latest podcast, On Personal Development, the last in our second series of UIO, the podcast for teen girls , got me reflecting upon my own personal journey thus far—the importance of gaining self-confidence and self-awareness early on in life, as well as finding role models.

And though I can’t pinpoint a place in time when suddenly I knew the importance of developing personally, I do remember how much I wanted to be a journalist as a teenager and what I did to get the show on the road, at least from a personal perspective. From reading the announcements at church as if reading the news on NBC to behaving like an investigative reporter when I truly had nothing to investigate, I took a rather naïve yet enthusiastic approach to pursuing my goals.

My family might recall that I always had a question for you no matter what the situation. How could they forget?

In my mind’s eye, all I had to do was hone my natural skills and for sure I would get whatever job I pursued. Peter Jennings, who dropped out of high school but still served as anchor of ABC World News Tonight from 1983 until his death in 2005, was doing so after all.

You see, though I was born in a different era, a different gender, a different race to Jennings, it never occurred to me that I might not have the same breaks, same opportunities that he had. And as it turned out I didn’t, but I did have the desire to pursue my dreams and the confidence to act. And while I didn’t end up on ABC, I have enjoyed some wonderful success as a journalist, a writer and now a podcaster but not without a challenge or two.

To this end, On Personal Development special guest Robyn Spens, a coach and rapid transformational therapist, points out that confidence is key, particularly when in an unfamiliar situation or facing challenges. Here, here to that.

I will never forget feeling as though I was going to drown during a re-branding project, which I was leading, as a major organisation’s interim communications director. And suddenly in a particularly confident moment, it hit me that I knew more than anyone else, even if I didn’t know everything. Thus, it was confidence that saw me through.

It really matters in developing one’s full potential, but it is not the only thing that matters. Robyn talks about the importance of nutrition and sleep, for example, something I am still getting my head around.

One thing that I have learned along the way is that personal development is for life, even if there are stages in life when some bits are more relevant than others. For example, when I first moved to New York, I knew very little about table etiquette. Sure, I knew the basics and had pretty good manners, but when I found myself at a posh event at Tavern On The Green, acting as publicist to the CEO of my organisation, things got really personal.

Since then, I have resorted to my investigative journalism skills. When in doubt find out. Check out On Personal Development for more hot tips from Robyn Spens.

When a plan comes together

All the talk about revising gets me thinking about novel writing or even podcasting. Sounds a bit far-fetched at first, right? But when you think about it, revising has a lot in common with such undertakings as creative writing. Not only are they both processes, they each require some level of planning.

Never mind those novelists and podcasters whose delivery comes like Johnny on the spot. They are exceptions to the rules. The rest of us need a plan, at least I know I do.

Sure, the ideas often come fast and furious, perhaps when I am running or even flying, but to develop them properly, I need a well thought out plan, which admittedly often gets chopped and changed along the way.

Arguably, the output is all the better for it. The difference between my first novel, Crossing Over, which never saw the light of day, and the actual third one, The Barrenness, which was my first published novel, was not only maturation and growth as a writer but also planning was in the detail, which meant employing writing techniques that allowed the plot to thicken, if you will.

Without a plan, I received a devastating result, a host of rejections, a vocational habit as a writer, but these were empty, without hope and questions about my abilities as a writer rejections—soul destroying.  For ages, I put the manuscript away, couldn’t stand to look at it. But years later when I did find the courage to pull it out and dust it off, not able to get writing out of my blood, I saw the error of my ways.

While some of the writing was good stuff, not all of it admittedly, the piece did not hang together as a novel. With a better understanding of novel writing, I re-wrote it, renamed it Preparing for Grace, and thanked my lucky stars that it had not been published as it was.

Someday, you never know. But for now, I have other plans, the biggest one is growing UIO: You Inside Out, the podcast for teen girls. In the meantime, I have personal plans too. One is to get more sleep. And you know what, when I didn’t have a plan my efforts were futile. But with a plan that includes signing off of all electronic devices two hours before I go to sleep, I’m catching some z’s. Now you know why I don’t answer late night messages anymore. Fair enough, right!

Of course, revising is a bit different to novel writing, but the truth is: planning is always in order, as long as it doesn’t become a distraction. The bottom line is this: planning means prioritising and being intentional about the task, whether it is writing, exercising, eating right or revising. So, what’s the plan?

What Is Personal Development Anyway?

It’s Elizabeth and I’m delighted to once again be invited to guest blog on the UIO podcast page.

This week I will be talking about personal development, a topic that will be covered also in our upcoming podcast in December.

Personal development is an often used but rarely explained term. For me, the term refers to investing in myself so that I can manage myself effectively regardless of what life might bring my way. Personal development has allowed me to be proactive and rather than wait for good things to happen, I try to get out there as much as possible and make them happen.

An example of this was the time I was made redundant from a high profile role in I.T. while on maternity leave with my first child. Initially, I was devastated and didn’t have a clue what to do. What would we do for money? How would we pay the bills? Would anyone else want to employ me? Would I have to cut my precious maternity leave short? The worries seemed endless.

Fortunately, I had just read an article on personal development and as an already optimistic person whose ‘glass is always half full,’ I decided to take this situation as a positive, rather than a negative, opportunity and used the time to reflect personally about what it was I actually wanted to do with my life – possibly for the first time ever.

I decided I wanted to become self employed and do a role whereby I could not only earn enough financially, but also work around my baby and enjoy spending the cherished early years together. I then retrained to do exactly that. It hasn’t always been easy and I’ve had my fair share of struggles, but I haven’t looked back since. I now work around both my beloved children and I’m doing something I actually really enjoy.

Personal development therefore begins with self awareness– know who you are and be it!

As we approach the New Year, like most people, I use it as an opportunity to set my ‘New Year resolutions.’ In so doing, I feel it is just as important to have a plan to realise my goal, as it is to know what it is I actually want to achieve.

An example of this is my yearly quest to set about losing weight! More often than not, my good intentions only lasted until the end of January (if that sometimes!), as I never had a plan to help me achieve it. Simply stating “I will lose weight” isn’t going to get the job done! With this in mind, last year I devised a course of action and by mapping out details specifically, I actually achieved my goal.

Personal development therefore continues with having a plan – know what you want and go out and get it!

To conclude therefore, my journey to self awareness has led me to understand that personal development is about taking the time and, making the commitment, to invest in my greatest resource–me. I think that when I put effort into developing myself on a personal level, the rewards can be amazing. I may not always achieve my goal, but I genuinely feel that I am experiencing a richer and more rewarding life by committing to pursuing my own objectives.

So, don’t be put off because the results are not always the desired outcome but do remember that to achieve what you want in life is to know that the key to success lies in the ability to manage yourself in a variety of situations. That ability comes through making a commitment to personal development and I firmly believe that this is the first step on the path to personal fulfilment.

Catching Z’s In The First Place

As a teenage girl, I never thought I got enough sleep, always dreading the early rise to get up to go to school. Growing up in small town USA, with a school in the centre of the County, I had to get up extra early to catch the bus and if that wasn’t enough to drag me out of bed, my aunt, who lived next door, was our school bus driver. So no room from catching just a few more z’s. My siblings and I were up and at em five days a week and on the seventh day, we were up equally as early to go to Sunday School.

Can’t remember why we had to rise early on the sixth day, probably because my parents rejected the notion lying in. What with work to do. Not a chance.

In those days, I felt badly done by and swore than when I reached adulthood, I would sleep all the time.  Fast forward all these years later and I am still feeling a bit sleep deprived, particularly right about now, having caught a long haul flight from London on Monday to the US. With a number of delays, I lost an entire day and haven’t been able to get it back and never will according to Judit Ressinka, our guest on Episode 2: Your Body Inside Out.

Sleep is not something you can catch up on, rather it is something that you manage as best as you can from day-to-day for a number of reasons. The key one, according to Nicola Morgan, guest on our most recent podcast: Episode 12: Your Online Wellbeing Inside Out, is that sleep informs our health. In short, the brain needs sleep to function.

Research shows that teenagers need more than perhaps some others of us as they continue to grow. No wonder I felt a bit dozy throughout my teen years but listen up teen girls, I have a confession to make: I played my part in that sleep deprivation, too.

Well before mobile devices and so on, we had landlines and I have spent a many of night, hunkered under my covers whispering to a girlfriend or a boyfriend when my mother and father thought I was asleep. Wouldn’t you know it, there was another device before mobile phones that could be misused to interrupt sleep.

However, had I known what I know today, perhaps I would have taken some responsibility for my own sleep needs. Though I can’t go back, I can share lessons learned.

  • Put the devices away 1.5 hours before going to bed as Nicola Morgan points out.
  • Leave worry out of the bed or you’ll be worrying and trying to work out the problems throughout the night, whether awake or asleep.
  • Go to sleep earlier if necessary, according to what time you have to get up.
  • Don’t blame it all on your everyone else– school, athletics, parents and so on.
  • And finally, just relax long before climbing into bed.

And remember it is not about catching up on sleep, it is about getting it right in the first place. Got it!