THE REAL BACK TO SCHOOL ESSENTIALS: MY TOP FIVE MENTAL HEALTH HACKS FOR GOING BACK TO SCHOOL!

THE REAL BACK TO SCHOOL ESSENTIALS: MY TOP FIVE MENTAL HEALTH HACKS FOR GOING BACK TO SCHOOL!

One of the hardest things that I have ever done was defer college. But I needed to admit to myself and to the people that cared about me that I just was not mentally stable or emotionally ready. And since I’ve been in recovery, I have needed to learn how to properly look after myself all over again. It was almost like I went straight back to childhood. But that’s what happens- sometimes, we forget the most simple but absolutely crucial things that keep us mentally well. We get caught up in the fact that our society tells us that our schooling will determine the rest of our lives, our standard of living, our place in that society. Trust me on this, there are ways and means around absolutely everything. And sometimes, we just need to do our best and leave the rest up to whoever is running the show. Because school does not define you. You define you. And your grades? Do not define how good of a person you are. How kind you are does, how genuine, how compassionate. Before we know it, all of this school business will be over. And what will really matter will be the same as before- our relationship with ourselves, our family, our friends and our morals and beliefs. Everything after that is an asset. THAT DOES NOT MEAN DON’T TRY. It just means that your best IS ENOUGH. So, give yourself a bit of a break. Be on your own team. And once you’ve done your best, let that shit go. Oh and while you’re at it, let go of comparisons. Stop comparing your pace to other peoples. We don’t all travel at the same speed- and it’s okay to go a little slower! Comparing yourself to other people will set you up for low self-esteem, anxiety and feelings of worthlessness. So before you even go there, DON’T. You are a unique little bunny and wanting to be like someone else is a complete waste of who you already are. So, let go of expectations. YOU AND YOUR BEST ARE ENOUGH!!

Some days are better, some days are worse. Look for a blessing, instead of the curse. Be positive, stay strong, and get enough rest. You can’t do it all. But you can do your best.

I get asked on a regular basis how I manage my stress around my college life. And I do try my best to, but sometimes I still get upset, worried and stressed. I’m beginning to see that that’s just life and it happens to everyone. However, there are certain tips and tricks that I have picked up over the last while that help me stay as grounded as possible while studying, working and keeping on top of my other bits. I am an extremely busy woman. I live with my partner, parents and brother. I have to keep on top of bills so working is not a choice. I have two ongoing college courses. I’m also training for the World Barista Championships. And my favourite of all, I have you guys to entertain and keep sweet! So, yeah, stress can be a factor. But, my recovery comes first. Because without that, none of the above would be possible. So here are the crucial basics that I keep in check to keep myself well throughout the college year!

5. SLEEP LIKE A BABY- LITERALLY!

I cannot stress how important it is to get at least eight hours of sleep each night- REGARDLESS OF YOUR DEADLINES. Sleep is your meditation- especially when your busy. If you have a life that is non-stop, maybe it’s the only time that you can truly just relax. Make it worth it! Sleep is the foundation of each day. And without a good foundation, how can you build your empire?  And I know what you’re thinking, too. This does not mean lying in bed on Facebook until 3am searching your crush’s ex partner and their sisters. This means phone off, lights off, TV off. Face washed, teeth brushed, pyjama ready. I can promise you, you will feel the benefits!

4. EAT THOSE NUTRIENTS!

I remember when my mental health really got bad initially and someone said to me that I should eat more vegetables. I actually lost my temper. I couldn’t believe how ignorant they were. I thought that they didn’t understand and that I most definitely was completely on my own. But, here I am before you quoting their very words. I’m not stating that eating more healthy food will cure you or keep you immune to a decline in your mental health- that’s clearly impossible. But, we are what we eat. If we are filling are bodies with junk food, chocolate (yum), crisps, chip shops… we are going to feel sluggish, our bodies are not being sustained. We are constantly putting crash foods into our system, and as a result, our systems crash. We get bouts of energy and then feel tired, we get bouts of happiness but then feel sad. And why? Because sugar and salt are powerful. They work, kinda like coffee, but not in the long run. So, if you’re planning on sustaining your body and mind for a whole semester, OR THREE, I suggest you consider filling your plate with the best options: veggies, fruities, beanies, ricies, oaties & nutties! These foods have been proven to be the best for slow energy release and system sustenance. GET A GOOD BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER AND DRINK LOADS OF WATER. Your body literally is your temple when it comes to your mental health. Anyway, don’t we deserve the best? Sp, if you’re in a hurry and need an  energy boost at lunch- grab a smoothie instead of a coffee. Grab a banana instead of a chocolate bar. You won’t feel as bloated, as tired or as miserable. I can promise ya that.

3. GET UP ON TIME & GET YOURSELF READY PROPERLY!

I’m an absolute devil for this. Waking up ten minutes before a lecture, being ten minutes late, leaving my bra at home, wearing crocks. But, I do find that when I get up on time, have a hot shower, pop a bit of cream on, a nice outfit… I feel so ready for whatever the day may throw my way. It’s almost like a little morning boost to just spend some time with myself, check in with Jade and just prepare for whatever may come. So, set that alarm, be in bed on time and get the HELL up. No matter how you feel. Make it to the kettle. Make it to the mirror. Make it to the bathroom. Once you start, all of the negative thoughts will lift. And by the time you arrive at your destination, you will be bright eyed and bushy tailed. You got this. Every day that you live is worth an amazing start.

2. LEARN TO RAISE YOUR HAND, ASK QUESTIONS AND SPEAK UP.

For so long, I was so scared to ask questions in school and especially college. I thought that if I made it look like I didn’t know, everyone would think I was stupid. But my Dad explained something to me and I soon got over that. He said that it takes courage to raise a hand and ask, but someone else in the class may be just like you, afraid, and maybe it’ll help them, too. You won’t be alone. You’ll just be a bit braver.

Something that I also needed to understand was that I have just as much as a right as anybody else in the classroom to learn. With regards to college, I pay my fees. I’m there to learn. If I don’t understand and I leave without asking, what am I going for? Why am I paying my fees? Why would I bother applying for a grant? Or going to work? Doing any of it!?

Have enough respect for yourself to get the best of the services provided. When it came to school, I decided to mess. Deep down, I didn’t feel good enough so I didn’t do my best (all of the time). But, I should have. I was there regardless of what I did so, I should have just taken part and got the best out of it.Do not regret sitting on the sideline! You deserve a good education. And you’re not stupid. You’re not worthless. And you are only as good as you paint yourself. Don’t be afraid. Be brave. It is within your rights- the ability to use your voice. Use it!

  1. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT WHAT YOU CANNOT CONTROL!

When people tell me not to worry, it just doesn’t help. But what does help, is differentiating what is worth worrying about. If you’ve already handed the essay in, fuck it, it’s done. If you’ve already sat the exam, IT IS IN THE PAST. And it is no longer worth your pretty little head space. If you have an upcoming assignment, be organised, get yourself prepared. But once it’s done, it is done. Things that are within your control, are yours to dictate. So, if you’ve an exam tomorrow but a party tonight, miss the party- there’ll be more. Study instead. Because you will be the first to cry if you fail. Do things today that your future self will thank you for. And if you complain about the harvest, always remember that you reap what you sow. ON THAT NOTE, I will be the first to say that sometimes certain subjects just don’t suit people. For example, in school I really liked languages. But maths? I cried and had panic attacks and left the room COUNTLESS TIMES. I just couldn’t grasp it. And that was out of my control. I learned to just pass ordinary level and be okay with my best. Because my best was enough. It had to be. It’s all I have!

Just to keep it in the day. Remember that yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t happened yet. So, keep your abilities within the day. One step at a time. You can’t run unless you learn to walk first. You can do this. This is all for you. You are worth this much. Mind your own goddam business. Look after yourself. Love yourself. Give yourself a break. The rest will follow. You will be okay. This just a chapter, not the whole book.

On another note, MENTAL HEALTH LETTERS ARE BACK IN ACTION. If you or someone you know could do with a little inspiration, motivation & sparkle, please send the name & address to my Facebook page and a magic bundle will land on the requested doorstep- FREE OF CHARGE!

AND AS ALWAYS, all of my social media platforms are open to messages, questions & queries. EVERY SINGLE PERSON receives a genuine reply.

FACEBOOK: NOT ANOTHER BEAUTY BLOG

INSTAGRAM: JAYDAMCCANNX

SNAPCHAT: JADEMCCANNX

TWITTER: JAYDAMCCANN

 

 

 

 

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Self-Doubt | Not Another Beauty Blog

Self-Doubt | Not Another Beauty Blog

Self-doubt (noun): lack of confidence in oneself or one’s abilities.

One of the hardest things I have ever had to try and learn to do is just trust myself. Trust how I feel. Trust who I am and what I know. For some reason, ever since I can remember I’ve asked for second opinions, followed everyone else’s advice. I could never just accept that maybe my own thoughts on a situation were alright, enough. Of late, I’ve had a lot of self-doubt and not around any particular situation or topic, just in general. I can doubt my thoughts, my opinions, my wants. I feel like I never really know what I want or where I need to be. And that can really panic me. When it comes to thinking about the future, I worry that I won’t accomplish all of my goals and the ‘not good enough’ monster jumps on-board. But I’m learning that it’s okay not to have it all figured out. It’s okay to want something else. It’s okay to be confused. Life wouldn’t be any fun if everyone knew exactly what they were supposed to be doing all of the time! Nobody would learn, be, or feel anything different. And on that point, it is also okay to be different!

While all this was going on, I was doing my internet research on how to keep it all under wraps and how to, in time, change all of this confusion and self-questioning. Not because it’s not okay, but just because it can be a bit of a bother. As I grow emotionally and spiritually, I really want to be sure that everything I’m doing is the next right thing. I, personally, don’t want to look back at my life and have everyone else’s advice to credit for where I am. I want to be sure of myself and be well enough to get where I am on my own advice and initiative. So, I’ve decided to share what I’ve found with you all- just in case you ever have a time that you’re just a little unsure of yourself. Always know that you are never alone.

“When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.”- Honore de Balzac

  • Ground Yourself

Sometimes I can be sucked into other people’s drama and opinions and I may not even realise but within a few days I genuinely do feel heavier, like I’m carrying a bag full of rocks. Own what you own and leave everyone else’s belongings with them. To bring me back to myself, I like to have a hot bath or shower and have an early night. Some people like to meditate. Some love to venture in to nature. Every little helps! Basically, just try staying in the moment and taking things as they are. Carrying around the negativity will not help you focus on and care for yourself.

  • Balance The Negative

If your bad thoughts are becoming too loud, argue them with some self-praise. It takes me a while, but sometimes I nit pick my life and write down a huge gratitude list. It really helps me to be more grateful and appreciative of what I have achieved so far- helping me to feel better about future Jay.

  • Take A Break

If you’re really giving yourself a hard time about something and you can’t shift it no matter what way you think about it, let it go and do something else for a while. Jump, sing, paint, online yoga, stretch, draw, ANYTHING! A fresh head might have some better ideas.

  • Nurture Yourself

It’s easy to doubt ourselves when we forget to look after our basic needs. Have you been sleeping okay? Eating right? Have you had enough down time? These are things to reconsider when we get ourselves into emotional frantic. Keeping a diary helps me to organise me time. Although, I’m not always so strict on it. The thought does stick and I do get around to it!

  • Let Go Of Comparisons

You are not her. You are not him. You are not them. You are you and that is more than alright. You have something that nobody else has- your own person. Why would you want to be like someone else when you can be even more spectacular just by being exactly who you are? I can fall into deep comparisons and I find a lot of it is based around social media and how people present their lives. It is so important for me to remind myself that social media is not real and how I am in real life, without filters & likes, is perfectly okay.

  • Connect

Self-doubt, for me, usually kicks in when I’m living up in my head or in isolation. It is a clear indication that I need to spend time with friends or family, and distract myself from my negative thought patterns.

What helps you overcome self-doubt or negative thoughts of self?

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What Is Mental Health? | Mental Health Awareness Week w/Not Another Beauty Blog

What Is Mental Health? | Mental Health Awareness Week w/Not Another Beauty Blog

 

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Hello darlings!

I’m just gonna get straight into the writing without an update for two main reasons: 1) Absolutely nothing important has happened in my life & 2) We have A LOT of work to get through!

So as we all know, I work around mental health all year long. However, due to the fact that it is MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK 2016, I have a special week planned for all of you wonderful readers that keep me afloat during my tough times. You are all fabulous and I appreciate every single reply, response and kind message or thought you send in. It really does mean so much to me and to show you just how much, there will be a HUGE competition on my Facebook page at the end of the week- the cherry on top of a week full of wonderful reading!

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Hi, I’m Eric & I have schizophrenia | Not Another Beauty Blog 

Hi, I’m Eric & I have schizophrenia | Not Another Beauty Blog 

As you all know, I am a huge mental health enthusiast and I am incredibly eager to slay all discourses surrounding mental illness. 

And although I love connecting with you guys and sharing my own experiences, I feel like some feature articles might give us all a nice break, along with some new information. And show us some home truths, that maybe we have gotten too comfortable to recognise. 

This article features a man that I have grown to know quite well over the last year through college. And one thing I truly admire about Eric is his ability and passion to speak out about his struggles, silver linings and experiences with scitzophrenia. And one really powerful message that I want you to take from this article is that not everyone with a mental illness is female. Shocker. This is a man, that stands openly and speaks out (like me) against discourses, binaries and can say without fear: I suffer with my mental health and that is okay. 

If that isn’t beautiful to you, I don’t know what is. 

I asked Eric to share his experience with me through his writings as, like myself, he is a writer at heart. This is what Eric had to say: 

Jade and anyone else who wants to read this. The following piece is me…

The following piece is a poem that Eric wrote within one of his scitzophrenic episodes. Open your mind, find identification rather than differences. In my opinion, this is a truly powerful piece. 

 Erik, doing something to help a friend, or friends, that will take me about  

 twenty minuets. I write, bit of everything really, and never edit the work. It  

 is one shot. Go with gusto. Double down and you are in the world I inhabit.

 To me skizo-reality, as I kall it, is a mesh where the most magical moment  

 kan and does kome along. Duality stops spinning the second you lay your  

 hand on it. Every choice is no more or no less important than the rest. And  

 that means everything is up for grabs. The anger at a society that tries to  

 kontrol behavior through drugs they deem worth the side effects if it  

 kontrols your mood does nothing much for a consciousness or existence  

 that lives every thought with an audience of every type of specific or  

 unique thing I kan perceive and then welkome into the fold that is writing  

 down, as quick as I kan, a poem or a story or the themes of a play about a  

 wedding where half and half kome together to kelebrate the life party we  

 are all a part of. Enjoy the good, bad, indifferent, in disguise, indecisive and

 whatever the hell else kan be kramed into my mind that if anyone other  

 than the voices understands a unit of it, a thought of it, it will matter  

 somehow to me and brother, sister, angel, demon, god and gods, bring it.

 I’m on a roll, the house is stacked and I keep bouncing on in. We all hear  

 voices in our heads. If they are real then accept them as real units just on  

 a path where some are here and some are there. I wrote that. I thought  

 that. I don’t have to do anything with it. Some might like to read it. Anyone  

 kan think, even the dead in my take on things. It kan get sad, surreal, sexy,

 scary, soul destroying as well as soul enkouraging. There is so much going  

 on that I kan’t help but think we shouldn’t need a friend to help a friend,

to maybe help some friends. You kan perceive anything you kan imagine  

 and trap it in words; thoughts that kome true and thoughts that don’t.

 What matters is that everything gets a go, understand all you know and let  

 the spin flow as we wobble on the planet’s axis, as we orbit the sun, as we  

 spin around in space with all the mad yokes in the Milky Way. And the rest. ©

 I wrote that. I thought that. I don’t have to do anything with it. Some might like to read it.


Well that was definitely something different. In my opinion, well being and mental improvement stems from expression and some sense of awareness. This piece reinforces, to me, the importance of finding a safe outlet for your inner turmoil. I was also politely reminded that despite gender roles and social expectations, MEN DESERVE (are worthy of, and definitely qualify for) JUST AS MUCH MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT AS WOMEN.

If you would like to be in with a chance of a feature article, sharing your experiences, strength and hope- contact me through one of my provided social media accounts below.

Until next time, 

Jay 🎀

Find me on: 

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& Snapchat: Jademccannx 

A Letter To My Fifteen-Year-Old Self | Not Another Beauty Blog

A Letter To My Fifteen-Year-Old Self | Not Another Beauty Blog

I was scrolling through Facebook a few days ago and came across an apparently therapeutic method of counselling toward self-acceptance. It was recommended (and I can’t remember who by) to write letters to your past and future self, to encourage engagement with past and future emotions. Apparently, it helps to move towards self-acceptance in the present and create an understanding of emotions, lessening guilt, regret, anger and pressure that may be built up inside. And boy oh boy! What have I got to lose!? Obviously, this can be done within the comfort of a diary or your laptop and doesn’t have to be published online. But, I’ve decided to make mine public in hope that someone out there may relate. I feel like this is going to be fun for both the writer and reader! I’ll also include some pictures for a giggle!

I did ask a few of my SnapChat friends what they would tell their fifteen-year-old self and I received a LOT of replies that have led to beautiful conversations. If you would like to take part in my SnapChat engagements, add Jademccannx. See ya there!

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Dear fifteen-year-old self,

I am writing this letter to you today in hope that I may get some things of my chest. I feel as though I need some forgiveness for just how hard I’ve been on you in the past, and continue to be right up to this present day. In order to forgive myself, I feel as though I need to address each issue individually and talk through all of the ‘little’, HUGE things that I have held you responsible for. Let’s begin.

The first and most important thing that I would like to point out to you is your beauty. Naturally, you are so radiant. Inside and out. Unfortunately, you’re a sensitive soul and allow people to dim your radiance. But let me remind you, aesthetically and through personality, you are beautiful. The picture above is a selfie you took before you boarded a plane to New York with your distant cousins. You spend the entire holiday in a complete daze and fell in utter love with the city. You deserved that holiday and you deserved that happiness. You deserved that peace of mind, you deserved those beautiful memories. You are not ugly. You do not look ‘butch’. You look absolutely stunning and your cornrows are hella cool. And anybody that tells you otherwise are simply jealous. And I know how hard that is to believe. All our life, our mama and papa tell us that ‘people are mean when they feel threatened’. But if you have been told something repeatedly and if you are treated a certain way by certain people for a long period of time, you begin to believe it. But you should rise above it. You should be stronger. You should believe in yourself that little bit more. You hold so many keys to success and you don’t even know it yet. You, are, beautiful. Inside and out.

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At the age of fourteen, you put yourself out there with your own organically written music productions. You released an E.P and gigged in some really amazing places. You met wonderful people and grew in so many ways, ways that don’t seem imaginable for such a young girl. You uploaded videos to YouTube of your songs, your covers, your thoughts. And then at fifteen, you let bullies take all of that away from you. You began to believe that you were bad at singing. You began to feel like the loser they framed you as. You found it harder and harder to fit in. Anxiety developed to larger scales. You blamed yourself for bothering to put yourself out there in the first place. You blamed the victim for the perpetrators actions. You took a step back from your dreams for four years. For four years you were filled with fear and shame. You developed paranoia, you allowed people to speak down to you and leave you out. You found comfort in loneliness and alcohol. 

Dear fifteen-year-old self, fuck them. They ARE jealous. They are jealous because they are not as brave as you. They are jealous because you are adventurous, you are honest, you are inspiring, you are interesting- and all they can do is watch because they are everything that you are not. 

Dear fifteen-year-old self, do not be so mean to yourself.  Do not let people take the most precious thing about you and destroy it. Do not blame yourself. Do not hate yourself. Do not stop your tracks in the hands of bullies. You are allowed to feel sad. You will find that in your life, there will be worse situations than girls making a video mimicking you. You will find that there are more petty and horrible people and things out in the world. You will find that not everything is worth fretting over. You will find that no matter WHAT you do, be it spectacular or mediocre, there will be someone waiting to drag you back, hold you down. So just do you and be the beautiful person you are. If you had not have stopped, you would be so much further right now. You may even have reached your goals. Somewhere in an alternate universe, you are standing on a stage playing in front of thousands with a huge smile on your face and a heart full of bravery.

 Dear fifteen-year-old self, do not let them stop you from being who you are, from getting what you deserve.

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Dear fifteen-year-old self, please stay as wise as you possibly can to peer-pressures. There are people that will pose in photographs with you, holding cigerrettes and alcohol, pretending to be your best friend- but they couldn’t care less if you succeed in life or not. Real friends are the kind that push you to go to training and pratice, come to see you fight and play music, stay on your back about focus and goals. Music was not your only asset. You were an incredible 247781_132282706848517_191937_nfighter with huge potential. And although to this day you’re still fit and practice, there is no doubt that you would have exceeded all expectations within that ring. Instead, you chose to spend time with people that had not your best interest at heart. People that held the key to escapism. People that provided alcohol, drugs and cigarettes illegally. You chose to pose for profile pictures instead of news paper articles. At this time, you want to fit in. You want to feel a part of something. You want to make friends. But those people are not your friends and your self-worth is more important. Funnily enough, you learned this the hard way. You really should listen to your parents more. Fitness is a wonderful thing and although your ‘friends’ may tell you so, it is not for losers. Drinking and drugging is not for the cool kids. You will see this unravel later in life. For now, have faith in your decisions and passions. Let people be who they are and focus on your strong points, your talents, your goals. Don’t let them take things from you.

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Dear fifteen-year-old self, although there are people that pose in pictures and are not your true ‘friends’, there are also people that are the purest of pure. Unfortunately, being caught up in all that is society, you can’t really tell the difference. My advice would be to hold your family close. The word family suggests that they will never leave, that you will always be this close. Unfortunately, that is not the case. You will grow up and find that every single person you know, at one stage, decides to focus on themselves. Every single person that you cherish will move on, find partners, find new friends, new hobbies, new jobs and new happiness. And that is perfectly alright. They deserve that and more. But cherish them while you can. Because although you may believe that they are forever, they aren’t. Hold the good times close to your heart and create as many as you can while you have the chance. Some people really are worth your time and really do love you. I know that it’s difficult to tell the difference between everyone’s intentions right now. But if you’re going to do one thing for me, hold your family as close as you possibly can. Say thank you. Hug for longer. Kiss harder. Laugh harder. Be there more. Don’t get angry when they borrow your clothes. Don’t argue over petty things. Let them be who they are and love them, pride and all. This is important.

 

383962_215508468525940_1586876393_nDear fifteen-year-old self, I understand that Gaffer has been your pet since you were six years old. I understand that he may annoy you when he growls and trips you up, I understand that he’s getting old and bothers you are the best of times. But can you please understand that he will not be alive forever? At times, he may feel like an extra limb. At times, he may feel like the annoying sibling. But through all of these times, remember to capture photographs in your precious little mind. Photographs of your favourite walks, your funniest times, your hyper shenanigans. He will pass in 2015. You will be hard on yourself for not being more mindful throughout your teenage years. You will remember those times that you were crying over boys and mean girls and he sat at the end of your bed like a guardian angel. You will remember how he licked a cut when you fell as a child. You will remember how he hated the bath. You will remember how you were that little bit distracted and could have cherished him more. Dear fifteen-year-old self, kiss him goodbye for me.

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Dear fifteen-year-old self, you do not need to grow up as fast as you may think. You do not need to have the most fashionable hair style, you do not need to wear heeled-boots and huge handbags, your mom’s clothes and you most definitely do not need makeup and hair-dye in abundance. Dad nags you. He pleads with you to be natural. I know that you truly believe it’s because he doesn’t want boys to like you. But fifteen-year-old self, he just wants you to be the best you that you can be. He wants you to live as innocently and pure as you possibly can, for as long as you possibly can. Because once you cross the line of adulthood, there is not one chance that you can go backwards. Accept that you’re young, embrace it. Be a beautiful fifteen-year-old. Stop trying to be twenty-odd. That day will come. And when it does, you’ll be willing to sell your soul to go back in time. Live in the moment.  Accept your age. Accept yourself as you are. Be fifteen. Boys can wait. Boys aren’t all they crack out to be anyway! Someday you will meet the most amazing man, that will never lead you to question yourself, that will love you and honestly adore you. Until then, fuck them. Let them line up. Let them want you. Let them have someone else to use, to call names, to mentally abuse, to claim and move on from. You really don’t need it that kind of negativity in your life. 

Dear fifteen-year-old self, sex can wait. Sex doesn’t matter. Stop reading magazines that are directed at grown women. Stop letting yourself be encouraged by public forums that do not concern a fifteen-year-old girl. Read KISS, or Mizz. Fuck Cosmopolitan. Fuck Soap Operas. All of these factors may seem small, but they build and develop into a huge influence of expectations for young women. It’s just not realistic. And unfortunately, you’re caught up in that. But dear fifteen-year-old self, be smarter than that. Be smarter than them. Be yourself.

 

Dear fifteen-year-old self, you have a lot to learn. Alcohol and cigerett228383_128377717239016_402150_nes aren’t cool. Makeup isn’t compulsory. Fashion isn’t a ‘follow or die’.  You’re not fat. You’re not ugly. You’re not a loser. You’re just different, beautifully!

Boys can wait. Sex can wait. You are talented in more ways than one. You can sing. You can model. You are athletic. You are clever. You don’t need negative people. You don’t have to be your own worst critic. You don’t have to spend your days comfortably alone. You shouldn’t let bullies control your success. You shouldn’t allow other people’s opinions to have such a high impact toward your future. You should listen to your family more. You should take more photographs in your mind. You should lighten up a bit. You should walk away from people that are upsetting you, block them out. You should move on more. You should let go more. You should care a lot less. And for God’s sake, love yourself. Learn now. It will make the future a hell of a lot easier if you develop the foundation of self-acceptance right now. Trust me, I’d know.

The list is endless. I could write for years about your true worth, your potential and your lessons that you’ve yet to learn. But how would I be where I am if you weren’t who you were? What’s meant to be won’t pass you. Just don’t lose who you are.

What would you tell your fifteen-year-old self?

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I Was Inspired To Bake A Chocolate, Banana & Biscuit Cake; Cooked: A Netflix Documentary Series That YOU NEED TO SEE! | Not Another Beauty Blog

I Was Inspired To Bake A Chocolate, Banana & Biscuit Cake; Cooked: A Netflix Documentary Series That YOU NEED TO SEE! | Not Another Beauty Blog

Hello there, bambinos!

There’s always something with me, isn’t there? Well, this time… I feel like we all have something to be excited about.

I was recently recommended to watch a documentary series on Netflix named ‘Cooked’. Immediately, I was glued to the screen. However, my interest did not end when the series did. I have been so inspired that I have taken serious action in the kitchen- and I cannot wait to show you all what I have made!

But first, the series. The best selling author, Michael Pollan, basically decided to take further initiative surrounding his passion for food and cooking food. His novel was developed into a Netfix original documentary series. And this may sound daunting to watch, however, there are only four episodes. Each episode surrounds the theme of an element of power: Fire, Water, Air & Earth. Each element is linked to the power of cooking and we, the audience, are taken to places like India and Australia through our viewing. Interesting, huh?

I feel like if I say too much about the series, you might not want to go and watch it yourself. Because it is so short and there is so much information packed within, I can’t say much without spoiling it for you. Basically, Pollan argues that humans became civilized (from the perspective of Darwin’s Evolution Theory) once apes learnt to cook. And surprisingly, there is a lot of evidence put forward within these episodes to support that argument. I like a good, supported argument, me! Furthermore, he argues that today’s society is so much in a hurry that we forget the beauty that lies within making food from our homes, gifting loved ones with a meal. It’s an eye-opener to say the least. I will leave you all with the trailer for the series and recommend HIGHLY that you take the time to watch it. You will not regret it-  you may even, unexpectedly, pick up a new hobby (like I did!). Watch the trailer for ‘Cooked’ HERE.

Moving forward to the beautiful cake that I was inspired to make. I got the basic sponge recipe online, however, I split it in two and used two shallow tins. You don’t have to do this, you can simply wait for the sponge to cool and cut it in half yourself. Find the recipe for the Chocolate Sponge Cake Here. I will let you guys note that I did add vanilla extract to this recipe for that little extra sweetness!! I couldn’t help myself…

Now, where decorating is concerned, I get over-excited and way too artistic. I get so carried away with aesthetics. But I think I’m right when I say that a cake automatically tastes better if it looks HELLA GOOD. With my decorating, I added some extra flavours. Which is always fun to do, in my opinion. So when the sponges came out of the oven, they looked like this…

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As you can see, I left them to cool on a cooling tray. Once they were cooled, the fun really began! The ingredients that I used for decorating my cake & adding extra flavours are shown in the next picture. If you are doing the same thing I did, you will need:

  • Two bananas
  • A jar of chocolate spread (It does not have to be Nutella! I got the one that I used in LIDL)
  • Some biscuits of your choice. I chose chocolate digestives. Yummy!12837570_979535075456605_652079783_o

It’s actually not hard to do & extremely fun- not to mention therapeutic. I totally back Michael Pollan up, our generation is missing out on some of life’s best little pleasures.

The first thing that I did (once my sponge had cooled) was put layer of chocolate spread on top of each piece. I then sliced (thinly) my banana and distributed it evenly all over one piece and sandwiched the sponges together! The middle of my cake looked like this before I stacked them…

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Once my sponges were stacked, I put ANOTHER layer of chocolate spread on the top- along with the last few bits of banana that didn’t fit in-between. I then put my biscuits in a little plastic bag and smashed them will a rolling pin, so that I could sprinkle them on the top of the cake. I popped a whole biscuit on top for an extra bit of decoration. The end result ended up like…wait for it…THIS!

 

SO, there you have it. A delicious hobby. Who can argue with that?

I was sharing on my Snapchat story (jademccannx) earlier on why exactly I found this so fun and such a positive thing to do. So, I’ll share it with you guys, too. One, it didn’t cost a penny. Every single ingredient I needed was found in my kitchen. Which means this kind of thing is great if you’re bored and don’t have a lot of cash spare! Two, I know exactly what I’m eating. A lot of the time with cake & treats, manufacturers put extra chemicals and ingredients in to create a longer shelf life. Ew! What are we even eating? With this, we know exactly what we’re consuming. And if you want to take that point to the next level, don’t use chocolate spread, melt some dark chocolate! And three, it is so relaxing and totally grounds you. It passes time on a boring evening. It tastes amazing afterwards. You may get a sense of pride afterwards!  There are a lot of rewards that come with cooking and baking at home. And I have Michael Pollan to thank for my new found passion & hobby! I also think baked goods are a fabulous gift for someone. There is much effort and love behind a cake or a loaf of bread. For me, there’s something so warm about that.

Seeing as though my blog is fundamentally mental health based, it is worth saying that ANY NEW HOBBY is encouraged in a time of despair. Especially with the likes of anxiety & depression, passing time and distracting yourself is a fabulous way to heal the soul. So if this isn’t something you’d like to try, maybe this could inspire you to try something new.

So, my Wednesday consisted of a serious spur of inspiration and an even more serious mouthful of chocolate batter. I highly recommend you all to watch ‘Cooked’- you never know, maybe it will inspire you to make something yummy! Considering that I come from a family FULL of chefs and bakers, I should have done this a long time ago. But, I think I prefer this kind of thing as a hobby rather than a job.

Please share with me your thoughts on ‘Cooked’ if you have seen it. And I would also love to hear your favourite things to make at home! I’m on a mission to explore my kitchen and all suggestions are welcome!

Lastly, I have started doing video blogs over on my snapchat so if you’re interested on what I might be ranting about or doing, please come and say hi! My username is: jademccannx. Also, click HERE to find me on Facebook & HERE to follow me on Instagram.

Until next time,

J x

 

My Experience With & Thoughts On Self-Harm | Not Another Beauty Blog

My Experience With & Thoughts On Self-Harm | Not Another Beauty Blog

If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you’ll know that I’ve been away in London having a fabulous time with my other half! So, if you’ve been missing me-that’s where I’ve been. Pictures are on my Facebook page if you’d like to have a nose through what I got up to! 

Now, back to the topic. The main reason that I started this blog was to distract me from myself and my problems, give myself somewhere that I could write freely and share with you all my illnesses, experiences, feelings. Over time, that has changed because as I have recovered, I have been more eager to try new things to write about, do reviews and travel. Which is great but we musn’t forget the basis of this blog. I am a mental health advocate and enthusiast. And although I may get distracted by shiny things, the grittiness of this blog lies with the shadows of myself. The reason I share the dark parts with you all is for one reason only- to help you. In hope that you can relate, in hope that you can feel a part of something, in hope that you aren’t so lonely anymore. So, without any further distraction, I will share with you my experience self-harming along with some studies I have collected on the topic. I really hope this inspires someone out there to speak out, try recovery or even just get through another day. Because not everyone makes it through their bad days. And although we may not feel it, we are the lucky ones.

First off, I’m gonna share with you guys some information I got off leaflets from my college about self-harm. Some people are lucky in that their college or school will be open to speak about or raise awareness for things like this and some people aren’t. So, let’s begin.

Self-harm is when someone deliberately hurts or injures themselves.  This can take a number of forms including: cutting, overdosing, punching oneself, throwing their bodies against something, pulling out hair or eyelashes, scratching, picking or tearing their skin causing sores or scarring, burning, inhaling or sniffing harmful substances, driving dangerously or excessive use and abuse of alcohol and/or drugs.

Some young people self-harm on a regular basis while others just do it once or a few times. A few people that self-harm may go on to complete a suicide, generally this is not what they intend to do. In fact, self-harm can be seen as the ‘opposite’ of suicide as it is often a way of coping rather than giving up.

Young people who self-harm have often had very difficult or painful experiences or relationships. These may include: bullying or discrimination, losing someone close to them such as a parent, brother, sister or friend, lack of love or affection or neglect, physical or sexual abuse, a serious illness that affects the way they feel about themselves. Other young people may start to self-harm as a way of dealing with problems and pressures of everyday life. Low self-esteem can be a huge factor. Peer pressure can occasionally be involved.

Understanding why you self-harm can have a huge influence on your recovery. Stopping is easier if you can find other ways of expressing or coping with your feelings. To do this, you need to understand what makes you do it. It may be useful to think about:

  • What was going on in your life when you first began to self-harm
  • How you feel just before you harm yourself
  • Whether you would find it useful to keep a ‘mood’ diary, writing down your feelings at different times
  • Whether you are always in the same place or with a particular person
  • If you have any bad memories or thoughts that you can’t tell anyone

Safe alternatives of self-harming are:

  • Finding a safe punching bag (like some pillows)
  • Putting your hands into a bowl of ice cubes for a short time or rubbing ice on the part of your body you feel like injuring
  • Use a lipstick or felt-tip marker to mark your body instead of cutting
  • Putting a rubber band on your wrist and flicking it
  • Putting plasters on the parts of your body you want to harm

Self-harm can be really hard to stop. It may take time and there are likely to be ups and downs along the way. Sometimes, however try you hard on your own, you just can’t cope with your feelings. If you can’t stop wanting to hurt yourself its best to get help from someone you can trust. This means finding someone who you can talk to about your problems and who can give you practical help.

Useful contacts & organisations are:

  • SAMARITANS- 24 hour confidential phone line for people who are in despair and need someone to talk to. Tel: 1850 60 90 90 or email Jo@samaritans.org
  • AWARE (DEPRESSION AWARENESS)- operates a helpline service, providing a listening ear for people in distress and their families. Tel: 1890 303 302 (10am-10pm)
  • CHILDLINE- offers 24 hour support for children and young people in distress. Tel: 1800 66 66 66
  • BODYWHYS- offers support, information and understanding for people with eating disorders, their families and friends. Tel: 1890 200 444 or email alex@bodywhys.ie

Guys, these support systems have been put in place for people that aren’t coping very well. And although you may deem it embarrassing as I once did, sometimes, there just has to be an end to feeling horrible. Sometimes, taking a leap and calling someone, opening up or admitting ‘Yes, I have a problem’ is the only way to get out of your own head and move on to the brighter things that you deserve.

I started self-harming at a very young age. I was twelve the first time that I cut my wrists and I did so because I was being bullied. I did it to punish myself because I believed what the mean people said about me. As mentioned above, it doesn’t have to be a regular thing. And for me, it wasn’t. I didn’t self-harm again until I  was fifteen but it only got worse. I realised people could see it on my arms and this made me anxious about it, so I started cutting my legs- thighs and ankles.I have also punched myself, thrown myself, attempted suicide, pulled hair out, pulled eyelashes and eyebrows out, burned myself. BUT, I have also called Samaritans, seen counsellors, been to meetings, hospitals and psychotherapists. Hell, I’m missing college tomorrow to go to see a psychiatrist AND a counsellor. And by looking at me walking down the street, I know that you couldn’t even tell.

I was abusing alcohol, too. And when I got a little bit older again, seventeen-in fact, the two mixed and it did not end well (not that it possibly could). I began drinking heavily and blacking out. This resulted in me waking up covered in blood and cuts but I couldn’t remember how or why. I discovered that in my drunken states I had become upset and been unable to control myself. This happened regularly up until recently (the beginning of summer just gone) and my counsellor then strongly advised me to seriously rethink my alcohol consumption. 

I’m on strong enough anti-depressants and to mix them with alcohol can be harmful enough internally, without me going ahead and harming externally, too. So, I have had to cut down drastically on my drinking and going out. At the beginning, it was hard. I was scared of what I might miss. But I actually haven’t missed anything. Weirdly enough, I’ve gained more. I can remember my nights out, I can enjoy looking good and meeting new people. It takes some getting used to but in the long run, I know that it’ll benefit me.

People say that once you talk to someone it fixes it- how you feel about yourself, your life, your situation. I spoke about it when I was twelve. I’m twenty now and I still battle a lot of the time with my feelings, anxieties and moods. If you are unfortunate like me in that you have been plagued with depression, anxiety or OCD, nothing is ever going to be fixed. It’s a working progress and you just have to learn to get through each day at a time. It takes your whole life to perfect. But, I’ve made it through all of my bad days so far so I am a lucky person. There are people younger than me dead for the same reason that I self-harmed. I count my blessings. I am not sure what the future holds or whether I will resort to unhealthy methods of coping again but for now, I count my blessings.

So guys and gals, I know I only lightly touched on my experience with self-harm and I only lightly introduced some thoughts behind it but I’m hitting 1,400 words and I feel like maybe developed thinking on this matter is for another day. I hope, though, that for now this has put some food in your thought-tank. Maybe try to be kinder to the shy kid or draw on your wrists instead of cutting them.

We all dislike something about ourselves. Whether it’s our weight, a feature, our past.. or simply everything. And we all have battles. But in this life, we only get one chance. One chance to make something, be someone at the very end. Although we struggle, we could at least try our best to turn that into some sort of positivity, if not for ourselves, for someone else.

Until next time,

J x