The Dos and Dont’s:

In our research, we found that almost half of us have experienced bullying at one point or another. Given what a high number of people that is, it is still very common to be on the receiving end of advice that although means well, isn’t always very helpful.

We also know that an alarmingly high number of us never report it and suffer in silence instead. If a friend or loved one does decide to open up to you and share what they are going through, sometimes it is hard to know how to appropriately respond.

With this mind we have compiled a list of things to avoid saying to them, as well as a helpful alternative:

1. Don’t say: ‘Ignore it’

This old chestnut can be very damaging. Being told to ignore something that is causing you stress and anxiety is not helpful. Ignoring the bullying unsurprisingly doesn’t actually work and saying something like this might stop them from sharing anything else in the future. This could have a serious effect on their mental health and lead to things such as depression, and more extreme outcomes.

Do say: ‘Let’s talk about it’

This is a way more helpful and compassionate response. Feeling like your voice is being heard is extremely important as it makes us feel less alone. It also lets us know that someone cares and is interested in what’s going on in our life, without looking to fix or dismiss the problem.


2. Don’t say: ‘It’s just a part of growing up’

Whilst experiencing bullying growing up is all too common, it does not mean you have to accept it as a rite of passage. Saying this also offers no advice on how to deal with the problem at hand.

Do say: ‘What’s been going on?’

This question gives the person the opportunity to talk honestly and openly if they wish to get what’s bothering them off of their chest.


3. Don’t say: ‘Stop being so sensitive’

This piece of advice is particularly harmful. It implies it is their reaction to the bullying that is the problem, and that if they were less ‘sensitive’ the issue would magically disappear. This is not the case. You also might embarrass them by referring to their reaction to the situation as ‘sensitive’ as it implies they are overreacting. This might stop them speaking up and seeking help in the future.

Do say: ‘It ok to feel upset/angry’ etc

You need to reassure them that whatever they are feeling is perfectly normal and natural. Try and make them understand that there is no right or wrong when it comes to feelings – all we really need to do is acknowledge them.


4. Don’t say: ‘Just stand up for yourself’

As a piece of advice, this doesn’t work for a few reasons. It can make the person feel powerless as they might not feel able to stand up for themselves or know how to go about standing up themselves. They might also be fearful of the consequences.

Do say: “I’m here for you, what do you want to do about it?”

This lets the person know you care and that you want to help them through this tough situation and most importantly, it is not their fault.


5. Don’t say: ‘Fight back’

Bullying isn’t always something you can meet with force as it can very easily spiral out of control. Often reacting in an aggressive manner can make the situation worse and can put them at risk of physical harm. If they feel it is a safe and appropriate action to take, maybe encourage them to try talking to the person who is doing the bullying.

Remind them to challenge the behaviour, not the person – so instead of accusing the person of being a ‘bully’, explain why their actions or words are causing distress.

For example, instead of saying “you’re upsetting me”, they could say “what you said/did has upset me”. It might be appropriate to suggest that a teacher or responsible adult hosts a mediation between them. A mediation can feel scary for those involved but is often incredibly powerful; it is essentially a face-to-face conversation between the person who is being bullied and the person doing the bullying in a controlled, equal environment.

Do say: ‘How can we deal with this together?’

Understandably it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when you are being attacked and therefore they might feel like they are facing the problem alone, with no one they can depend on for support.

Your friendship could make all the difference to them right now. Spend time with them, make sure they know they are not alone and try to do things that will boost their self-esteem and confidence. It’s important that they still look after their health and maintain a good diet, exercise and things like meditation and yoga. It is also important that you remember to look after yourself as well and don’t take too much on.

what to say to someone who is being bullied

6. Don’t say: ‘Just avoid them’

By saying this, you are minimising and undermining the problem. It is also not realistic to think that these situations can be easily avoided. It is better to acknowledge what is happening and try to think of ways to combat or resolve the bullying.

Do say: ‘You don’t deserve to be treated like this’

Remind them that they deserve to be treated with respect. Often people who are bullied can feel like a ‘victim’ but it’s important that they don’t disempower themselves and let the bullying dictate who they are. They need to find ways to regain control, confidence and self-esteem – we have a great guide on how you can rebuild your self-esteem here.

Remind them as often as you can that they are worthy, in control and that things will get better. Head to our blog to read stories of how people have overcome similar situations and gone on to do great things, it will help reassure them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.


7. Don’t say: ‘Telling someone will just make it worse, so don’t bother’

Almost 1 in 2 young people who experience bullying never tell anybody for this very reason. A mixture of embarrassment, fear and a lack of faith in the current support systems stops people reaching out. Please don’t encourage someone to suffer in silence.

Do say: ‘Talk to someone you trust.’

It can feel exposing and uncomfortable talking about our experiences of being bullied, that’s why talking to someone we trust can make a difference.  

It is important they share with someone what they are going through – they shouldn’t go through something like this alone as it is extremely stressful, and can be emotionally draining to endure bullying.

This stress can have an impact on all areas of your life, including your mental well-being, ability to communicate with others, performance in school/work, self-esteem and confidence.

It is therefore incredibly important that they tell somebody they trust about what they are going through; it doesn’t even have to be an adult – it could be a friend or somebody at Ditch the Label. It is vital, during a traumatic time, that they have a support system and people who they can rely on when they are feeling low, or unable to cope.

Join the community to talk to digital mentors or other people who are going through bullying – you do not need to go through it alone anymore… 

We can’t lie, times are tough for everyone. Whether you’re getting bogged down with politics, coronavirus, or literally just life in general, it’s perfectly normal to feel like you’re struggling with your mental health.

You’re probably feeling fed up and like you’ve tried loads of things to make it better which haven’t worked. 

However, we want to know, have you tried a gratitude diary? If not, here are all the great things you need to know about them ☺ 


What is gratitude?

In a nutshell, gratitude basically means being thankful and ready to show your appreciation for absolutely ANYTHING.

What are the benefits of gratitude? 

Psychologists have been researching gratitude diaries for years now and the studies often suggest they may play a part in:

  • Improving your mood and making you happier overall
  • Making you feel more connected to people 
  • Giving you a more positive outlook on life 

What is a gratitude diary and how do I do it?

So, are you still interested? If so, great! Gratitude diaries are really easy to keep and people all over the world love them. 

To keep a gratitude diary, every day or every couple of days, you can make a list of at least two/three things that you’re grateful for. You can write this down or keep it in your head, heck, you could even draw them!

People usually find it best to do this at the end of the day. You can write down just a short sentence if you like (people tend to find it easier when they keep it short!). If you want to do more, you could write down why you are grateful for whatever you’ve listed. 

When you’re listing what you’re grateful for, try to write down different things each time. You might find this easy at first, but as time goes on, you’ll probs find it harder. The aim of writing different things is that you have to really dig deep to see what you’re thankful for.

By doing this, we begin to notice and appreciate more and more positive things. For example, at the beginning, you might say more general things like ‘I’m grateful for my family’ and ‘I’m grateful for my friends’, and then, as time goes on, you might focus on really small things like ‘I’m grateful that I didn’t stand on that snail on the way to school’ and ‘I’m glad that my friend had a spare pen for me in class’. 

Do you see what we mean? As time goes on, we become more positive and grateful for our lives. We look to the tiny little things that we probably wouldn’t have noticed before. When we are grateful, we are happy ☺

By the way, with a gratitude diary, you probably won’t see the effects of it for a while and this is perfectly normal. It can often take a while to see how helpful a gratitude diary is, so it’s important to stick with it. They are more of a long-term thing.

Why don’t you give it a go for a month and let us know how you found it in the comments?

Sometimes people just need someone to talk to, someone to trust and confide in, someone to spend time with and talk through their favourite things. Sometimes, we all just need a friend.

So how can we tell if somebody needs a friend right now? Here’s six ways.

1) They get stuck on the negative side of things

If someone in your life is being overwhelmingly negative about stuff that’s going in their lives, they probably need a helping hand to see the brighter side. Sometimes, if there is a lot going on with us, we might only want to stew on the negative stuff and when this happens, finding the positive becomes almost impossible.

If someone is being overwhelmingly negative about what’s going on, reach out and see if they need some cheering up. Chances are, just the gesture of this will make them feel a bit more connected and cared for.

2) They might try really hard to chat when you see them, even if they have nothing much to say

You might think they are just waffling for the hell of it, but when someone feels lonely or like they need a friend, they might just be talking because they really haven’t had the opportunity to say much to anyone at all recently. 

3) They might be spending a little too much time on social media

The thing with social media is that it really isn’t all that social for a lot of us. Sure, the group chat is great, but the rest of it is actually kinda isolating. If someone feels a bit lonely and like they need someone, they might be spending a lot of time on social media because they want to feel connected to something. But watching stories or liking photos doesn’t necessarily mean they are OK, and it actually might be making them feel worse. 

4) You might not hear from them a lot 

This might seem like a bit of a contradiction. Like, if you’re feeling lonely, why would you spend so much time alone? Well it could be that a few symptoms of depression are coming on. Maybe they don’t want to feel like a burden to you and your other pals, and so the only solution in their head is to stay away. They might turn down a lot of offers to hang out in big groups of people as well, which we know can be frustrating when you’re trying to help. Check out this article on how to help a friend who’s isolated themselves. 

5) They might tell a few half truths 

Obviously lying is not a great trait to have in a friend, but sometimes people tell a few half truths when stuff isn’t going great for them. Whether it’s to escape what’s happening, feel better about it or even just get a little bit of love and attention from those close to them, people do it. The important thing is that these are not hurting anyone and that someone speaks to them about how damaging it can be if they carry on with this kind of behaviour. 

6) Overreacting to cancelling plans

If a mate of yours is feeling lonely or isolated, they might really overreact to you cancelling on them. We aren’t saying you should have to do something you can’t or don’t want to all the time, but it’s important to remember that they are probably getting mad at you because it might be the only plans they have had in a while and need someone to talk to or hang out with

Need to talk to someone? You can speak to one of our trained Digital Mentors in confidence here.

A healthy relationship will always make you feel happier and safe – filled with trust, love and good communication. Relationships are also different for different people, with differing levels of commitment expected and individual ways of showing love. The age you are will also change what is expected in a relationship.

While no relationships are perfect, these are all signs that you should aim for in a relationship.

And did you know that up on average, a third of women and a quarter of men have experienced abusive relationships. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline in the US, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States alone.

If you are in an abusive relationship, please contact Refuge in the UK and the National Domestic Violence Hotline in the US.

So let’s look at the 10 signs of being in a healthy relationship.


1. You aren’t afraid to say what you think.

Being able to speak your mind in front of your partner without fearing their reaction is incredibly important. Respecting each other’s opinions – even if they differ – means that you will minimise time spent arguing. If you can share and discuss with one another the good, the bad and the ugly, then you know you can truly be yourself in each other’s company.

2. You have your own space.

As Kahlil Gibran once said of relationships: “Stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.” Giving yourselves the opportunity to grow individually as people will only help you grow together as a couple. Checking up on one another constantly or needing to be in each other’s company every second of the day might be a sign that you are lacking trust in the relationship…

3. You trust each other.

This is probably the most important factor in any healthy relationship. Trust is the foundation which any successful relationship is built upon and it takes time to earn. If you trust one another, then you are able to give each other freedom without awakening the green-eyed monster that lies within, you are able to be vulnerable in their company because you know that instead of judging you, they will be there to support you.

4. You compromise.

There are ups and downs in any relationship, romantic or platonic. You are not always going to agree on the same things and there will be times where you will need to compromise; if you can meet in the middle then you know you are both mindful of each other’s needs and your shared desire to make the relationship work far outweighs any need for personal gratification.

5. There is common ground.

As important as it is to have your own sense of identity and set of interests, it is also vital that you and your partner share common ground. Having a mutual love of something creates a bond and means that you can simultaneously take pleasure from the same thing, rather than having to ‘endure’ your partner’s hobbies, passions or lifestyle.

6. You let things go.

Rather than cause an argument or hurt each other’s feelings, you both choose to let things slide. This does not mean that you are pushovers however, it just means you don’t make mountains out of molehills. Life’s too short. Even Rose let go in the end.

7. You get along more than you argue.

Fighting is an inevitable part of being in a relationship, but it should by no means be a regular occurrence. If you find that time spent arguing is more than, or equal to the time you spend enjoying each other’s company, you might want to consider whether you are well matched.

8. You support and encourage each other’s ambitions and passions.

You may not find one another’s endeavours interesting or appealing but you would never dampen each other’s enthusiasm by saying so. Instead you support and encourage each other’s pursuits and are not threatened by the possibility of either one of you achieving success.

9. You are accepting of each other’s pasts.

Everyone has one. Rather than continually delving into each other’s pasts or getting jealous of each other’s exes, you have acknowledged what went before and appreciate that it has shaped you both into the people you are today.

10. You regularly make the effort to show each other you love one another.

And not a grandiose way. It’s the little, everyday things that you both do to show each other you care.


Join our Support Community to discuss relationships with like-minded people.

1. Stare at them, a lot.

Because intensely boring into the back of someone’s head like you have x-ray vision and can see through their skull and into their brain isn’t creepy, much.

2. Stalk them on social media.

So you were just innocently admiring their new profile picture and then suddenly five hours have passed by and you have clicked through, scrutinised and compared yourself to everyone they’ve ever dated. Somehow you have ended up on the Facebook page of their first cousin once-removed’s step-mum. Your self-esteem is at rock bottom, you are hangry and you need a wee.

3. Pretend you don’t like them.

Hint: If you are mean to them, they are going to think you are fundamentally, a horrible person. Thus, your fantasies (marrying them> having all of their babies > divorcing them > having a brief fling with their BFF > rekindling your romance > remarrying them> dying wrinkled, grey and entwined with one another in a bed on a sinking ship) will unlikely play out how you had hoped.

4. Peacock.

By this I mean, you assume very posed and unnatural stances every time they look at you in an attempt to look sexy. This is until you either miss your leaning post and fall over or catch sight of your reflection and realise you look like a darn fool. A darn fool! People still say that right?

5. Think about them constantly.

You can’t concentrate, sleep or eat because your stomach feels all fluttery and your heart feels like it is going to explode every time you think about them – which is pretty much EVERY WAKING HOUR OF THE DAY. I mean, you’re even dreaming about them. They have literally invaded your unconscious thoughts. They are basically like a really cute version of Freddy Kruger.

6. Pretend to like the same things as them.

Long story short: sooner or later you gonna be found out hunni.

7. Check your phone every second and a half to see if they have text you back. 

Impatience and paranoia are just two signs that you are a product of the Apple-generation. So while I applaud you that you made it to the stage where you have actually exchanged digits with your crush, I now welcome you to phase 2: compulsively checking your phone to see if they have text you/replied to the message you sent 5 minutes ago. Your BFF assures you that if your crush leaves longer than 1.5 seconds between texts, they can’t be that into you. Even though you hate to admit your BFF is right, you have to acknowledge the fact that all millennials have superglued their phone to their hand and would be able to respond instantly if they really wanted to. I mean, it’s not like people have actual lives to live.

8. Pretend to like their BFF in some weird attempt to make them jealous.

Not only does this make you look pretty fickle, but it also means you will probably end up dating, marrying and sinking on the Titanic (see point 3) with someone you don’t actually like.

9. Think they couldn’t possibly like you back.

Because they just might – and you kind of want to avoid reacting like this when you find out they do #Playitcool:

10. Laugh maniacally at all of their jokes even when they are not funny.

Because impersonating Mr. Burns every time they say something vaguely funny probably isn’t that much of a turn-on. Also, if you do end up dating, you are setting the bar too high my friend – you’ll be faking the LOL so often, your face will begin to ache and the constant pain in your cheeks will lead you to resent your crush.

Slowly you’ll begin to loathe the relationship you are in and you’ll forget how to authentically smile. Your brow will furrow. Your relationship will end, you’ll forget how to smile and your brow will permanently furrow. It’s too tragic for words.

If you have questions about relationships, join us in our community and ask us anything about it!

FAQs

What does it mean when you fancy someone?

It typically means you are attracted to somebody

How do I know if I fancy somebody?

There are lots of different ways and sometimes you may not even realise yourself. But some of the common ways to know include them being in your thoughts a lot, a desire to spend time with them and overthinking each interaction with them.

Ditch the Label are an award-winning youth charity based in the UK. They release the annual bullying survey which is the largest study of its kind. A significant portion of the study looks into our attitudes regarding relationships and friendships. You can learn more about us here.

Small amounts of stress are healthy and can help you get stuff done. But high levels of stress can have a serious impact on your mental and physical health so it’s important that you find ways to manage this.

People find different things relaxing so we’ve constructed a list of our fave chilling out tips and urge you to give them a try to see which ones work for you!

It took us a bloody long time but we did it, we really did it. Here are 101 different things you can do to chill out and reduce stress.

TAKE NOTES …

1. Watch something funny. Laughter really is the best medicine. It relieves physical tension, reduces stress and increases immunity…so watch your fave comedy and laugh your way to tranquility.

2. Body Clench. This relaxation exercise may make you look a bit constipated but give it a go! Starting with your toes, go up through your body, gradually clenching each of your muscles right through to the tiny ones in your face, keep your whole body clenched, hold and then release to let go of all the tension. Feels good, right?

3. Try the Naam Yoga Hand Trick. Using your fingertips, apply pressure to the space between the knuckles of your index and middle fingers. This creates a sense of immediate relaxation by activating a nerve that loosens the area around your heart (don’t worry, it’s not as life-threatening as it sounds).

4. Stop multitasking. No wonder we’re all mega-stressed when we’re replying to text messages, whilst watching TV and speaking on the phone simultaneously! Not only is multitasking totally inefficient, but it’s also linked to the increased production of stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) that can send your body into panic mode! So chill out and take things one step at a time.

5. Get a Colouring Book. They’ve exploded in popularity over recent months and for good reason – colouring in helps you chill out because it’s very difficult to focus on other things when you’re doing it.

6. Have a banana. When we’re stressed out our blood pressure tends to rise but the potassium found in bananas can help to regulate this. Stress can also leave us feeling depleted but bananas give you a replenishing energy boost that will get you swinging from the trees again!

7. Organize ‘worry time’. Worry (worryingly)can counter productively occur at any point in the day and release stress hormones into the body that can cause anxiety and lower our immune systems. So schedule a 15 minute worry window in your day, where you can write down your worries and work through them. You can use Ditch the Label’s stress reprogrammer to help.

8. Do some baking. The smell of baking can make people feel calm and comforted. Many people find baking stress relieving and adding decorative touches to your creation can give you a sense of pride, enhance how you’re feeling and therefore boost your self-esteem…so what better excuse to eat cake?

9. Cook up a face-mask. Yep, that’s right, we are suggesting you mix up half an avocado, a teaspoon of honey, 2 tablespoons of hot water and smear it all over your face so that you vaguely resemble the Wicked Witch of the West. Relax for 10 to look and feel rejuvenated.

10. Stay silly. Don’t leave playtime at the primary school gates. Studies have consistently highlighted the importance of play for helping manage stress throughout our lives. Goofing around is good for us so bring out the lego, pull ugly faces and dance in the rain shamelessly!

11. Keep calm and kiss. Kissing increases levels of the love hormone, which relaxes us whilst decreasing the stress hormone. It’s been shown that kissing can lower anxiety in a similar way to meditation as well as generally improving your mood through an increase of serotonin and endorphins in the brain…so love really does conquer all!

12. Stay inside and listen to the rain. Want a good excuse to stay in your PJ’s? White noise may make you wanna tear your hair out when it’s blaring out the TV, but this sound of nature shares similar wavelengths to the frequencies produced by white noise and actually has relaxing effects on the brain. So curl up with a hot choc and let your brainwaves do the work.

13. Watch a nature documentary. Not only are David Attenborough’s dulcet tones particularly soothing, nature documentaries can also sprinkle our minds with mood-lifting wanderlust and highlight the sheer scale of life which can in turn help us gain perspective of our own lives.

14. Meditate. Create a little zen den in your room where you can meditate (e.g. light candles and incense, play calming music). Reaching a meditative state takes practice but there are some great tips for beginners online. Meditation can help ease anxiety and improve concentration, so peace out.

15. Breathe ‘Pranayama’ style. This yoga method requires you to breathe through one nostril at a time (inhale through the left by blocking the right, exhale through the right by blocking the left, repeat for 3 minutes) to relieve stress. Weird but wonderful!

16. A spoonful of honey. Mother nature’s delicious treat has compounds that reduce inflammation in the brain which can help improve a low mood. Bee happy… (sorry, couldn’t resist).

17. Turn up the music and dance. Combining music and dance can help build self-esteem, lift your mood and reduce anxiety. Dancing may also help express emotions and experiences that are difficult to communicate in words alone…so go dance like no one’s watching!

18. Watch a tearjerker. So you’re only on the first scene of ‘Up’ and you’re already in floods…don’t panic! The teary-eyed may experience a slight dip in their mood following the film but not long after you’ll notice your mood improve considerably from its original state and crying is an excellent way to relieve stress too so get the tissues out!

19. Try self-hypnosis. Forget dangling pendants and special powers, self-hypnosis can really work! There’s loads of mp3’s you can download online to help reprogram your subconscious to relieve stress and anxiety so have a listen.

20. Doodle. You may associate doodling with being bored in class but doing it in your spare time can be a great way to relax. When we’re stressed we can get caught in our thoughts but by doodling you’re engaging the creative upper right side of your brain which will give you the space you need to calm down and find a fresh perspective.

21. Play games. Board games, cards and even online/video games (in moderation!) can be a really effective way of relaxing. Fun games can trigger the release of endorphins and can help shift your attention away from stress. Interacting with friends and families through games can help ease stressful dynamics too. Looks like I’ll be playing Call of Duty forever then…

22. Have a hug. Hugging increases serotonin levels which are linked to happiness and releases oxytocin which lowers stress hormones like cortisol. How lovely.

23. Have a massage exchange. Most of us don’t have 50 quid lying around to splash out on a professional massage, so relieve tension the frugal way and exchange massages with a friend. For example, try massaging the muscle under the thumb to relieve tension in the hands (you’ll look just like a pro!) There are loads of tips online so you, your mate and your bank balance can enjoy the benefits of relaxation!

24. Drink hot water. Learn from the tradition of Chinese healing and drink a cup of good ol’, clean hot water. Ok, so it may not be as delicious as a hot chocolate but it will cleanse your system of toxins that have accumulated in the body and may be causing tension. You could try adding some lemon for flavour, vitamin C and its mood enhancing properties (e.g. reducing anxiety).

25. Support someone else. Moving your attention outside yourself can help take the pressure of stressors in your own life and supporting others can also give you valuable insight for how to redress your issues. Seeing the impact you make in that person’s life will also boost your self-esteem which in turn, can help de-stress.

26. Visit a free museum or gallery. Cultural centers provide a safe haven of positive distraction, reduce tension and inspire our creativity too. Often, you can get free entry or reduced rates so check out what’s available in your area.

27. Watch cute animals on YouTube. Oh, the power of cute! Watching our furry friends doing their thing can help reduce your stress levels and lift your mood. Aww!

28. Go Stargazing. Laying down and watching a starry night is not only awesome but it increases your brain’s alpha waves which rapidly enables you to relax. Cool, huh?

29. Light some incense. Scents like Sandalwood and Sage can help calm anxieties and aid relaxation (and make your room smell wonderful!)

30. Squeeze a stress ball. Using a stress ball can help alleviate tension by promoting muscle relaxation and providing a general sense of release.

31. Keeping a diary. Venting all those thoughts and emotions onto paper can make your feelings and problems seem less intimidating. Writing can be both insightful and therapeutic so get those words down on paper!

32. Chew gum. Chewing gum for a few minutes can help release anxiety, improve your mood and you’ll never have to worry about bad breath again!

33. Drink green tea. Feeling all worked up? Green tea is a source of the chemicals which can help relieve anger.

34. Call an old friend. Feeling out of control? Speaking to an old friend can be really grounding. Social connected-ness can reduce stress levels and no doubt the nostalgia will get you smiling and laughing too!

35. Snuggle up with a pet. Cuddling your pet can help reduce anxiety through the release of oxytocin in your brain, ease feelings of social rejection and make you feel cared for which can help boost your self esteem. The cutest therapy going!

36. Sniff those flowers. Did you know that certain smells can change our mood? Floral scents can lift your mental state and make you feel less anxious…so go stick your nose in your neighbours rhododendron bush!

37. Stretch it out. Stretching has been linked to relaxation and stress relief as well as a greater sense of wellbeing. It’s also incredibly satisfying.

38. Organise your space. Mess can really start to clutter up your mind so clean your room and reorganize your desk. Tidy room, tidy mind (sorry, we said it).

39. Take a walk in nature. Not only will walking trigger the release of endorphins which can reduce stress hormones, but being out in nature can boost serotonin levels which can also contribute to an improved sense of well-being.

40. Wash dishes. Ok, so I get that you’ve probably spent half your life avoiding this task but you’ll be surprised at how therapeutic it is. Not only will mindfully washing the dishes relax you, but you’ll please your other household members too and feel a sense of self-esteem boosting accomplishment. Concentrate on letting your mind and body experience the task with serene awareness (e.g. focusing on the smell of the soap, the feel of the dishes and the warmth of the water).

41. Visualization. Your mind is a powerful tool. Whether you use it to visualize success, visit a happy place, or embark on an imaginary journey, the technique can help alleviate anxiety and sadness so go get creative in your head!

42. Sleep well. Whilst stress can interfere with sleeping, sleeping can also relieve stress. So use some of our chilling out tips to help you relax before bed and follow our Ditch the Label Sleep Guide so you can ensure that you’re spending a third of your life in bedtime bliss…zzz…

43. Cook your fave dish. Nourishing yourself with a good meal can help boost your sense of self-worth. Cooking can be a relaxing and rewarding process and hopefully you’ll feel accomplished instead of poisoned by the end!

44. Write a card for someone you care about. Whoever it is I can assure you that they’ll appreciate a card letting them know you’re thinking of them. Random acts of kindness like this have beneficial effects for both you and the person at the receiving end. You can feel good about making someone else feel great and performing these acts has been linked to helping socially anxious people feel more positive.

45. Light some candles. Candlelight is known for its calming effects and (even better) scented candles have aroma-therapeutic properties which can improve well-being. Watching the flame of a candle can also be a great starting point for meditation. So sit back and enjoy the glow!

46. Take a nap. Don’t feel guilty, naps aren’t just for those over the age of 65! The afternoon power nap can effectively reduce stress, improve your mood and increase alertness, so we give you full permission to climb back into bed!

47. Countdown from ten. Caught in chaos? Take a couple of minutes out of your day to mindfully countdown from ten and back up again. Continue this process until you feel calm enough to resume your day.

48. Wake up and smell the coffee. Finally, a saying that makes literal sense! Smelling coffee actually reduces stress hormones, so we suggest you have a good whiff of a decaf variety over breakfast.

49. Enjoy being in a water. Paddle down to your local swimming pool and let the water do its magic. Exercise releases feel-good chemicals that can help improve our mental health and swimming is a peaceful way of achieving this. Moving in water has relaxing effects on the body as it allows oxygen to flow to your muscles which consequently regulates your breathing.

50. Give your temples a good ol’ massage. Learn from the great art of acupuncture and give those temples a gentle knead with your index and middle fingertips. Massaging your temples helps relax the other muscles in your body as well as soothing your headache symptoms (bonus!).

51. Feed the birds. Enjoy the company birds can bring and track all the different species you can view from your doorstep. Ok, so I know it’s not exactly a night out with your mates but give it a try!…being around nature has a range of positive effects on our mental health (such as reducing anxiety) and you’ll be able to see the happiness you’ve bought to these cute little creatures.

52. Have a sleepover. Whilst some social situations can be stressful, a sleepover with your best mate can be a great way to chill out. Spending time with someone you trust in a relaxed environment can do wonders for your well-being and we’re sure you’ll be laughing all night long too!

53. Hum the tune of your fave song. Feeling anxious? Humming can dramatically slow down your heart rate and ground you. It also has a relaxing effect on your face, neck and shoulder muscles. Humming your fave tune will lift your mood and ensure you don’t get some other irritating song stuck in your head!

54. Open the windows. Not only does fresh air promote well-being and relax you, but getting more oxygen to the brain improves concentration and gives you the energy boost you need without the same sugar comedown of a chocolate bar (damn).

55. Play team sports. Whilst any exercise works wonders, team sports may be better for your mental health than exercising alone as they promote a sense of connection and can reduce social anxiety. Quidditch anyone?

56. Be nice to yourself. Criticising yourself again? Take some time to practice self-love, whether that means starting the day repeating positive affirmations about yourself or nourishing your body with the nutrition you need. Remember ditching negative self-talk really will relieve a lot of stress. Check out some of our tips on building your self esteem.

57. Have a bath. Taking a dip in a hot bath will relax your muscles, enabling you to unwind both physically and mentally which can help prepare you for a good night sleep too. A good soak can also be a great way to reduce daily anxiety…unleash the rubber ducks!

58. Get up earlier. Sorry guys. Whilst I wish early starts weren’t the reality, setting your alarm clock even just 15 minutes earlier could reduce your stress levels by eliminating that morning rush. Waking up earlier also provides you with some valuable time to relax with yourself and prepare for the day ahead…so wake up sleepy heads! (Yawn).

59. Avoid negativity. Don’t let other people’s negativity shoot your adrenaline levels through the roof. It’s important not to judge someone for being negative, try to support them but make sure you separate your identity and emotions from it. If their negativity is aimed at you, it looks like their engaging in bullying behaviour so read our advice on how to talk to someone who’s bullying you.

60. Have a picnic. Outdoor activities like this promote our mental and physical well-being. Going on a picnic with your friends or family can help reduce the stress we associate with school, work and home whilst providing a bonding experience that can alleviate feelings of social isolation. Jam sandwich anyone?

61. Buy a plant. Not only does filling your room with flowers look pretty and purify the air, but being around plants can help people feel more relaxed and actually reduce your likelihood of developing stress related depression.

62. Get knitting. Get creative using your motor skills to make repetitive motions that relieve stress. Give your brain a much needed break and if your thoughts get distracted, return to the movement. Start designing your own knitwear and you’ll never have to worry about being caught in the same outfit as someone else (bonus)!

63. Relax your jaw. Release the tension you’re carrying in your jaw by opening it wide for a half a minute, breathing through your nose and gently closing it. Great practice for the dentist too 😀

64. Reflect on the day’s achievements. Don’t get stressed about what you should be doing, feel great about what you have done instead. We’re not expecting you to have climbed Mount Everest, you could have just given a friend some good advice. The reflection process can help boost your self esteem and ease anxiety as you’ll see how great you are already!

65. Munch some crunch. It’s important not to use food as a stress reducer as this can lead to unhealthy eating habits. But when you do reach for a snack, try some carrot sticks or a handful of almonds as this will help relieve stress by working your jaw muscles as well as giving you a nutritious boost. Gnaw away!

66. Deep breaths. When we’re feeling anxious our breathing changes and this ‘overbreathing’ can actually produce more anxiety. But deep breathing will encourage your mind and body to slow down and return to normal. So next time you feel yourself getting anxious, have a quick break and take a deep diaphragmatic breath in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold it for 2 and exhale slowly through the mouth for 4 (wait a few seconds and then repeat). Panic over!

67. Decompress your stress. Invest in a 3-pack of flannels, soak them in warm water and place one on each of your shoulders and your neck, then close your eyes and relax those muscles. Ta da!

68. Turn off ALL electronic devices. Technology can be wonderful but interconnectedness comes at a price…laptops, phones and tablets all subtly increase our stress levels making us feel constantly ‘wired’. They can also disrupt your sleep which will only contribute to stress so make sure you switch them off an hour or two before bed. Oh the conflicting joys of the 21st century!

69. Browse books. Go to your local library and spend some time browsing their book selection in the peace and quiet. Sit back, relax and get lost in the good book you’ve found. New research suggests that reading even for just six minutes can reduce your stress levels by two thirds!

70. Clear your closet. Having a closet full of clothes you never wear just creates clutter and adds to the stress bucket. So make a day of it, auction off your unwanted clothes and donate the proceeds to Ditch the Label! Thanks.

71. Study a new topic. I know it sounds counterproductive considering the stress studying causes, but study a topic you don’t do at school, like gender across cultures, or survival skills…we would all feel more relaxed if we knew how to survive on a desert island.

72. Mix up your route. Commuting through traffic jams could be sending your stress levels haywire unnecessarily. Try riding your bike to school or college instead for a calm and collected arrival. Or if you walk everywhere, try taking different routes to ensure your usual zombie walk stays within Shaun of the Dead.

73. Take a break from social media. Whilst interconnectedness and the opportunities of social media offer us so much, using it too often can have adverse effects. It can lower your self esteem, take you away from the moment and bring drama into your life. All of these factors massively contribute to stress so take a break!

74. Have a good cry. Bottling up your emotions can lead you down a dangerous path and suppressing those tears actually increases your stress levels so make sure you let it all out and you’ll be surprised by the relief it brings. Get the violins out!

75. Write a gratitude list. Unsurprisingly, stressful events can leave us feeling negative and as if we’re lacking in some way. But having a greater sense of appreciation for the people and things in your life can really help you gain perspective, feel more positive and enable you to better handle stress. So try writing down 5 things you’re thankful for.

76. Try herbal remedies. Mother nature scores again! Next time you’re feeling stressed try sipping on some chamomile tea, full of anti-anxiety components, or drip some lavender oil on your pillow at night to help relax you for a peaceful night’s sleep.

78. Don’t procrastinate. We’ve all been there…one minute you’re revising, the next minute you’re checking out the photos of your friends’ mutual friends’ friend on facebook (wow, that even sounds as stressful as it is), but all procrastination does is put things off and stops you achieving your goals which only generates more stress!

79. Lower your standards. Setting ridiculously high standards for yourself generates anxiety by putting pressure on you to perform and it can make you particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of emotional stress. Nobody’s perfect so try loving and accepting yourself as the great individual you are.

80. Get a hobby. Pursuing a new hobby is a fun way to break away from life’s demands, as well as allowing you to build your self esteem, forge new friendships and express yourself, which all contribute to the reduction of stress. Why not give photography a go or try out a free yoga class in your area…do whatever interests YOU!

81. Watch the sunrise (or set). Ok, so perhaps getting up at the crack of dawn to watch a sunrise is a little bit ambitious, but watching a sunset on a clear summer’s evening is both breathtaking and incredibly relaxing. So let go of your worries and let yourself get immersed in the colors. It’s true that the best things in life are free.

82. Ask for help. Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes. Trying to cope with everything on your own just exacerbates stress. Whether you open up to a trusted friend, family member or us here at Ditch, a problem shared is a problem halved!

83. Eat stress free. Incorporate stress-busting foods into your diet like avocados, oily fish, whole wheat varieties and oatmeal. Please Sir, can I have some more?

84. Enjoy simplicity. Living life in the fast lane? Rushing around is not only stressful, we forget about the simple things that bring us happiness too so learn to stop and notice life’s little pleasures like laughing with your friends or enjoying the feeling of sun on your skin. Mindfulness can significantly reduce anxiety so relax and enjoy the moment!

85. Strike a (yoga) pose. There’s loads of yoga poses you can try at home that can help reduce anxiety. Have a go at the child’s pose by sitting on your knees and bending forwards so that your face is resting on the floor, keeping your arms by your sides. This comforting pose, helps us turn inside for a while and slow down our racing minds.

86. Stop judging. With so many things to worry about, don’t let worrying about what other people do with their time be one of them. Sitting around gossiping about others and criticising them isn’t gonna make anyone happy. Try supporting them instead. If you often find yourself judging others it’s likely that you’ve been giving yourself a hard time too so ditch the criticism and you’ll not only feel better about yourself but you’ll have a lot more time to relax too!

87. Spend a day at the beach. Beautiful views, the soothing sounds of water and a Mr.Whippy in the rain…what’s not to like? Whether you go in a group or roll solo, the beach is a relaxing break away from everyday stresses and the negative ions you soak up will have positive effects on your body and mind back in reality too.

88. Nurture yourself through words. Read whatever inspires you; poems, positive affirmations and empowering quotes….let the words ground you, calm your mind and regenerate you.

89. Avoid Caffeine. That comforting cup of coffee may not be so kind to your nerves. Whilst giving you a temporary boost, caffeine injects adrenaline into your system and increases levels of the stress hormone cortisol. A cup of coffee can brew trouble for anxiety sufferers so try an equally heart-warming decaf alternative instead.

90. Learn to forgive. Everyone makes mistakes, that’s how we learn. Bullying yourself, mulling over petty grievances and begrudging others is only gonna hurt you so start forgiving yourself and other people and you’ll find there’s a lot less to stress about!

91. Say no sometimes. Being a ‘yes’ person isn’t easy. People pleasers listen up!…saying ‘no’ doesn’t mean you’re selfish or rude. Practicing saying ‘no’ will help simplify your life and give you the valuable time you need to relax with yourself.

92. Get some sun. Vitamin D (which our bodies absorb through exposure to the sun) can play an important role in your mental health but by the time it gets to those long winter months many of us are lacking in it. Keep calm and soak up all the sun you can and if you’re running low, top up with vitamin D rich foods like oily fish and eggs.

93. Listen to calming music. Oh, the power of music! Research suggests that chilled out tunes slow down our pulses, lower blood pressure and decrease stress hormones. So plug in and relax or if no one’s listening sing/shout along to release even more tension!

94. Stand tall. Did you know good posture can actually make you feel more in control and less anxious? Power poses of confidence can actually decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol, so stand proud and your mood will follow.

95. Drink more water. Even slight dehydration can lower our moods and it can increase levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Dehydration can also cause your body to stop functioning properly which can result in anxiety too…so get sipping!

96. Do a puzzle. Feeling all keyed up? Try and crack a sudoku, a crossword or piece together a puzzle to unwind and get your mind into a state of relaxation.

97. Take your brain on holiday. As much as we’d all love to be sunbathing in the Caribbean right now, most of us our constrained to mind wandering instead. But daydreaming can help you solve stressful problems, relax you and inspire creativity. So get lost in your thoughts and see where your mind takes you!

98. Spend less. Advertisers capitalise on the notion that buyers ruthlessly spend in response to stress and low self-esteem. Remember that having lots of things just adds to stress and won’t solve negative feelings so next time you’re about to part with your cash take a step back and ask “why do I want this?” and “do I really need this?”

99. Do your nails. There are loads of tips online for giving yourself the ultimate DIY mani and pedi. Spend some time looking after number one, feel relaxed and get creative with nail art too!

100. Listen to an audiobook. Being read a story is ridiculously relaxing and a comforting way to wind down before bed. It’s much less effort than reading and there’s a huge choice of podcasts online so do check those out.

101. Make your room your safe haven. Your bedroom should be your sanctuary for peaceful relaxation so make it that way! Get some candles, declutter your space and why not make a personalised noticeboard of quotes that inspire you, pictures, photographs…

Remember. You may be in a particularly stressful period at the moment and feel overpowered but remember it WILL PASS.

It’s likely that the negative feelings you’re experiencing are to do with your body responding naturally to stress. So stay calm, and relieve your stress using these tips.

But, if those feelings become overwhelming and make you feel out of control, do see your GP, speak to a trusted adult or talk to Ditch the Label. There’s great support available for you and remember that nobody deserves to suffer in silence.

Mental health… we all have it.

Did you know that as a result of bullying, 44% had felt depressed and 41% felt socially anxious? The relationship between bullying and mental health is clear, but societally we tend to talk more about looking after our physical health as opposed to looking after our mental health, too.

In this piece, we are going to look at some really simple things that you can do to maintain positive mental health. In doing these things regular and often, you’ll be able to reduce stress levels and the chances of developing a mental health issue such as depression or anxiety.

Before we start though, if you suspect you are suffering from a mental health ailment and haven’t already spoken about it, we recommend you talk to your doctor, a family member or somebody from a charity like Mind.

Firstly, it’s important to know that we all have mental health, just in the same way as physical health. We’re taught from an early age by the movies we watch and media to consume to be afraid of mental health, but it really isn’t anything to ever be afraid of.

Think about how often you see an advert for products that are designed to boost your physical health – yoghurt, juices, gym membership, the list is endless. Now compare that to things that are promoted to boost your mental health. There’s no comparison.

We want to show you some really simple, and mostly free things that you can do to enhance your mental health.

1) Combat Stress

Stress is an evolutionary thing – we’re programmed to get stressed for a short period of time to help get ourselves out of a dangerous situation. Back in the olden days, stress was used to encourage a fight or flight response from people if they were being chased by a predator. Now, in the present day – stress is all around us, but it isn’t good or healthy to feel stressed over long periods of time so it is super important to develop your own ways of coping with stress. We’ve developed a really simple to use tool, called Stress Reprogramming, to help you combat stress. Click here to use it.

2) Watch What You Eat

It really is true. You are what you eat. If you’re eating microwave meals all the time, you’re going to feel pretty pants about yourself. Where possible, up your intake of fresh fruit, veg and grains and reduce the amount of unhealthy processed foods in your diet and refined sugars. Switch the fizzy drinks for water and herbal teas and limit yourself to occasional treats. Not only does this improve your physical health, but it will improve your mental health too. Our food affects the ways in which we feel about ourselves, so fill your body with good quality ingredients.

3) Learn to Be Alone

How many times a day do you check, YouTube, Facebook or Instagram? How many texts a day do you think you send? It’s pretty much constant, right? Sometimes it’s good to just be alone and to get rid of all that stimuli. Sometimes you need to be alone. Not to be lonely, but to enjoy your free time being yourself.

4) Exercise More

When you work out, it releases endorphins. By working out, we don’t mean you have to spend hours in the gym. It could be a jog around the block or a walk through the woods. Anything that gets your body moving. If you’re a stranger to exercise, start small and work your way up. Some people prefer to be alone, others prefer to work out with a buddy. Find what works for you and stick to it.

abby-lee-miller-dance-moms-yes-face

5) Meditate

Right now, your brain is processing thousands of different stimuli every second, without you even being conscious of most of it. Our brains aren’t really built for the 21st century. Sure, they can help us escape a predator in the middle of a jungle, but they can get overwhelmed sometimes with the number of stimuli being processed. Meditation is all about silencing your inner voice, enabling you to tap into your subconscious. It is estimated that people first started to meditate in the 3rd century. We recommend meditating several times a week. If you’re a beginner, there are loads of guided meditations to try on YouTube. Give it a try and approach it with an open mind. Hate to also break it to you, but your body won’t physically float and you don’t have to sit cross-legged making humming sounds.

6) Find Something You Love

Different things work for different people. Find the things that you love by trying new experiences and creating positive habits. When you’re doing something you enjoy, your mental health benefits and your stress levels decrease. We find the most happiness when we are in the ‘flow’ of doing something we are passionate about. Your something could be anything from playing the guitar, baking or going to a theme park. It’s good to have exciting things to look forward to, especially if you’re going through a stressful time such as exam season or a breakup.

7) Talk About It

Finally, we can’t emphasise enough the importance of talking. When you’re going through a tough time, the issues often appear bigger inside your head than they actually are. It can be so helpful to speak to someone about the stuff that is stressing you out or making you unhappy. It simplifies it and also gives people an opportunity to advise you on something.

There you have it, 7 really simple and straight-forward ways to maintain positive mental health.

*If you are having suicidal thoughts/considering suicide please seek help immediately: There are a number of helplines that you can contact 24-7/365.

  • In the UK, call the Samaritans on 116 123. 
  • In the USA, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Change can suck, right? Sometimes it feels like you are just getting into the swing of life, finding your rhythm and your tribe, and then something comes around that could change everything forever. We know that that feeling can be pretty scary, and that change is not something that everyone can deal with easily. That’s why we have put together a super quick guide to getting comfortable with it. 

1) Remember that change is natural

OK, so maybe this isn’t exactly what you want to hear, but change is always going to happen. It is a natural, normal and unavoidable part of being a human. We grow, we learn, we move around the planet. All of those things make staying in one place without changing pretty much impossible. Knowing that resisting change is fighting a losing battle might not seem particularly helpful right now, but coming to terms with that is a huge step towards looking at change as something positive. 

2) Think how far you’ve come already

The fact that you are where you are right now has come about through change, and it must be a pretty good place if you want to stay there. A good way to understand that change is part of life, and that it can lead to good things, is to map out your life so far. Think about where you were a year ago, five years ago, ten years ago. Chances are in that time, there has been a lot of changes in your life that didn’t end up so bad, loads that probably made your life pretty epic, if only for a while. 

3) Allow yourself to be not ok for a bit…  

If you need to freak out about it, give yourself the space and time to do so. Why not try setting a time limit on yourself, and say you are allowed to let your mind run away with itself about the change that’s coming for no more than 30 minutes. Then, afterwards, sit down and start to rationalise. This way, you give yourself the space to feel what you need to feel about it, but it doesn’t get out of hand. 

4) …Then face it head on 

You might have had your mini freak out about the changes that are coming, but now is the time to understand it and face it head on. Take a moment to calm down, clear your mind and ground yourself by trying to control your breathing. 

Sitting upright in a chair, place both feet flat on the floor and arm resting comfortably by your side or on your knees. Close your eyes, and let out a long breath. Then, feeling your chest rise, breathe in for five seconds through your nose. Hold it for one, and let it out for another four. Repeat this until you feel your thoughts begin to slow and you feel calmer.  

Now, have a think about the changes that are coming and keep breathing in slowly and deeply. Now you’ve had this chance to freak out and process it, try to carry on with your day as normal. There is no reason to have to deal with it straight away, or all at once. In fact, processing it a little at a time might help you understand it, and that it doesn’t necessarily have to be the scariest thing in the world. 

5) Change your thoughts

If you are still feeling anxious about changes that are around the corner, have a think about the possible outcomes of it, and how these might make your life better. So, if what is making your brain run wild is the prospect of moving out of home to go to uni, try thinking logically about it in a positive way. So;

‘I am worried about leaving my family’ could be ‘I get a chance to explore a new city’

‘I don’t want to leave my boyfriend/girlfriend/partner’ could be ‘I will get to meet lots of new people and it might make the relationship stronger’

‘I don’t know if I can handle the workload’ could be ‘I will be challenged, and I will be proud of what I do because of this’

We know that change can be unsettling. If you feel like you need to talk about what is going with you, you can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here, and we will listen to you. 

Two friends share a hug.

So this week is Loneliness Awareness Week. Even though it might seem like we’ve all got hundreds of friends and followers on social media, it is still really common to feel alone, or have friends or family who are dealing with it. Thanks to keeping social media in our pockets, it’s super easy to connect and communicate with others, but this can mean that when your phone isn’t buzzing, you find yourself spending a lot of time alone. We’ve put together seven of our best tips to help you out if you find yourself feeling like you’re on your own.

1) Social Media Isn’t Real

Yes, looking at social media, you would not be wrong in thinking that anyone with an Instagram page is having the best time ever, and has the best family ever, the best holiday ever, the best breakfast ever; even the best dog ever. But remember, you are only seeing what people want you to see. You actually have no idea what is really going on behind the screen.

Just because someone has 10,000 followers does not mean they have 10,000 friends. We are all guilty of ‘hyping’ up our lives on social media, so we should know that our profiles are not a wholly accurate representation of our reality. Don’t compare your life, and friendships, to something that is just not realistic or attainable. Comparison is the thief of all happiness.

2) Remember your worth

If you’ve been feeling lonely for quite a while then it’s understandable that you might start to feel unwanted and/or unworthy of other people’s company. This can lead to you seeing social occasions as further opportunity for rejection. You may start to shut yourself off from people as a consequence because you don’t believe your presence will be missed or worthwhile. But always remember, if you have been invited, it’s because your company is wanted! You are deserving of all the love and kindness people have to offer you so accept the invitation, get out there and enjoy yourself!

3) Start something you enjoy

Good friends often have much in common. Find something you enjoy doing and you’re sure to meet some like-minded people. Sporty? Go to an exercise class or join a run club/gym. Arty? Go to a life drawing class or attend an exhibition! Music fan? Get down to your local venue and support some up-and-coming bands! You could even volunteer your time somewhere. Make the effort to introduce yourself and you’ll meet a whole new bunch of people.

4) Compliment yourself

Are you self-doubting? You may have let your insecurities get the better of you, and this might be preventing you from putting yourself out there socially. Try acknowledging one positive thing about yourself a day, as a gradual reminder that you are perfect just the way you are and do not need to change for anyone!

5) Do not settle for bad friends

You may be craving company but don’t give your time to people who do not value or deserve it; you can still feel lonely in the company of others. Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist at NYU, noted: “Reams of published research show that it’s the quality, not the quantity of social interaction, that best predicts loneliness.” Ditch the frenemies – you don’t need them!

6) You are not alone in your loneliness

You are definitely not the only one out there feeling lonely. Despite the fact we live in an era where the internet has made communication as simple as a message away, it seems we are lonelier than ever before. With this in mind, don’t be embarrassed to make the first move if you want to reconnect or re-establish relationships with old friends. Missing someone? Text or call them and they’ll more than likely be glad to hear from you.

7) Embrace ‘me’ time

‘I’m gonna be my own best friend‘ – listen to the wise words of Beyonce and learn to enjoy spending time with YOU. When no one is available to hang out, chill with yourself! It can be really revitalising to spend time alone. Take a bath, watch a film, read a book, listen to music, reorganise your playlists! Try to make a list of things you’d love to do when you’ve got a spare minute so that you can always be busy instead of bored. Your own company is just as good as anybody else’s and it’ll prove to you that you’re a great person to be around.

Maybe you feel lonely, but always remember that you’re definitely not alone. For more inspiration, be sure to follow our Instagram @Ditchthelabel.

If you’d like somebody to talk to or get personal advice about how to overcome your loneliness, then you can join our community here.

run away from home

Over 140,000 young people are reported missing each year. Here are just some of the reasons why somebody may think about running away from home.

If any of them sound familiar to how you’ve been feeling recently, it’s important that you talk to someone about it. Whilst running away might seem like a good idea at the time, you can often be putting yourself in danger.

Bullying

The famous rhyme is a lie – it doesn’t take a genius to work that one out! Sometimes, words can hurt as much as sticks and stones. When people tell us things about ourselves enough times, we can start to believe it.

People who bully are usually going through a really bad time themselves and no matter what they say, it is NEVER your own fault. Even if they are targeting a unique factor about you. Remember, you have done nothing wrong and do not need to change anything about yourself.

Things might feel so bad that you just want to take off and not look back but before you think about running away, try talking to someone you trust and tell them what you’re going through. If you’re being bullied there is help available. You can talk to a digital mentor by joining our Support Community today or check out this article to help you take the first steps…

Being unhappy at home

Whether you live with family, friends, a partner, on your own or in care, home is meant to be a place where you feel safe and happy. When things get hard at home, it can feel tempting to think about getting away from it all by physically removing yourself from the situation.

It might be that you want to leave to get away from someone who is making you miserable or hurting you. There are loads of reasons for being unhappy at home. Written down, some look more serious than others, but the fact is, you’re unhappy and that is making you think about running away. Even small issues can build up over time to become massive. Remember that running away is very rarely a good solution.

Being hurt, abused or threatened

If you are being hurt or threatened, then it makes sense that you want to get out of where it’s happening. It could be that at first, you thought this person or people cared about you, but the bottom line is they should not be hurting you.

Calling the police is a good option, but if you feel you can’t talk to them, you need to tell someone you trust such as a teacher, friend, family member or social worker.

Runaway Helpline can also help you. If you’ve already run away and feel you can’t make contact with the police directly, they can help you by being on the line when you talk to them. We know that bringing this out into the open takes a lot of courage but you are not alone, you deserve to be safe and there are people who will work hard to support you until you are.

Coming Out

Let’s face it, coming out about your sexuality or gender identity can be hard. Lots of people recognise that being gay or transgender is totally fine and does not change who you are as a person. Unfortunately, despite all the progress that has been made, there are still people who won’t think this. They may react in a way that you don’t like, which can hurt, especially if it’s a friend or family member.

Being in a situation where you don’t feel accepted can make you feel as if you don’t belong there and might make you want to leave. If you’re in this situation, help is available from people who care. The first step is to talk to someone you trust such as a family member or friend. Not everybody has someone they can talk to about this stuff, so you can talk to the digital mentors at Ditch the Label who will help you through this chapter in your life.

Not feeling listened to or cared about

There’s nothing worse than being made to feel like you’re invisible. Someone experiencing this at home might want to run away because they think no one will notice or even care. Well, however, you might be feeling right now, you matter.

It can be easier said than done but try not to bottle everything up and think that no one cares. Keeping something inside can make things worse and being able to speak with someone about your feelings and your concerns can help ease the situation. If you can’t speak to anyone at home about it, try a teacher at school or another adult that you trust. Of course, you can always speak to us at Ditch the Label too!


Get help

When we talk about “talking”, we don’t necessarily mean you need to actually say the words. There are services that can help by text, email and instant message. Most are confidential and you could start by saying a little bit about how you’re feeling whilst knowing you can end the call at any time if you feel uncomfortable, then when you’re ready, you can call back.

It doesn’t matter if you’re thinking about running away, are already away from home or back from being away. Runaway Helpline is a free, 24/7 confidential helpline that you can contact by call or text on 116 000 or by email on [email protected], you can also speak with someone online via IM here.

Runaway Helpline have a bunch of online advice too which you can read at your own pace, check out their advice section here.