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0 In Mind Yourself/ Wellness

How to Cultivate a Positive Social Media Feed

It’s no secret that social media can have a negative effect on all of our lives. Whether it’s comparing yourself to beautiful bloggers who seem to have it all under control, or seeing your ex’s new partner plastered all over his Instagram – social media can definitely bring up some bad feelings. However, social media is going nowhere fast, so it is now more important than ever that we learn to manage it properly. Here’s three easy steps you can take to make your social media feed a happier place:

The Mute Button

Ah, the mute button: a gift from the Insta gods. The mute button is a function on Instagram which allows you to remove certain people’s posts and stories from your timeline. Its perfect if you have someone in your life who can be quite negative or triggering in terms of what they post, but you might not want to unfollow them completely.

My advice: Go through your Instagram feed and see how many people’s posts make you feel unhappy, or that affect your self-esteem, and mute them. Instagram won’t let them know that you’ve muted them, and your feed will be looking more positive already!

Take Regular Breaks 

We’ve all been there – you go online to check one little thing and an hour later you’re 24 weeks deep in that girl’s cousin’s mate’s account. While going on social media can be fun and a nice way to keep up with your pals, spending too much time online can really affect your self-esteem, as well as causing you to procrastinate on the other more important things you have to do.

My advice: make sure you take long breaks from  your phone and do something that’ll boost your mood. This could mean doing that work you’ve been putting off, going for a walk or even just having a cuppa with your mam. Taking a break from your phone will allow you to clear your head from the often negative things we see circulating online. This is definitely something I’ll be trying to do more often.

Follow Positive Accounts

Now that you’ve muted the negative people, and you’ve taken a nice long break from your phone, its time to inject some positivity back into your feed. Contrary to popular belief, Instagram is not just full of models, influencers and fitspos. Although these people are fantastic at what they do, having them be the only people you see online can affect your self-esteem and self-worth. There are so many positive accounts online which are there to help educate and inspire people to live happier, more confident lives. Many of these come from the amazing body positivity movement, as well as other accounts which post positive quotes and stories.

My advice: look up hashtags about your interests – these could be related to arts, sports, makeup or dogs. There is truly an Instagram account for everything! Then, look up some key words like #positivity or #selflove. It sounds silly, but this a great way to find accounts which will fill your feed up with some self-love and care.

So, that’s it. Three easy ways to change your social media feed from being a place of endless drama and negativity to one of positivity, self-love and  true pals. As Beth McColl says in her wonderful book, How to Come Alive Again, “Look – the internet and the media can be lazy and boring and SO predictable in the things it wants us to be. So go beyond it. Take control of it. Curate your online spaces to be beautifully open and diverse and inclusive. You won’t regret it, and it’ll teach you something everyday.”

Read More: How To Keep Yourself Safe Online

Have you any tips for cultivating a positive social media feed?

0 In Mind Yourself/ Wellness

We Are Here For Roz Purcell Pushing Back Against Instagram’s Negative Influence

Roz Purcell Is Fighting Back Against Instagram's Negative InfluenceScrolling. Scrolling. Scrolling. It’s addictive, you know you could be doing so many more productive things with your time, but you’re stuck. Few people remain who haven’t been sucked into Instagram’s deep dark hole of gawking at the lives of those who seem to have it all. The perfect face, the enviable body, the endless getaways to the other side of the globe. Instagram is all about projecting your best moments, best angles and best self to the world. We continue to follow the footsteps of these people, be it celebrities or those who just appear more fortunate than us. But how does this really make us feel? The constant comparing is exhausting.

 

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I remember the first time I noticed my stretch marks probably like 11 or 12, I was like i don’t remember my cat scratching me 😂. A few months of noticing more and more I was like this is so cool I have all these reptile markings no one else has & showing them off 😂 .

As i grew up, went to secondary I realised it was something I shouldn’t think was so cool or show, no one in magazines had them I never noticed them on anyone else, it was not normal or considered beautiful. Even now it’s rare you see an unedited photo in a magazine I’m like how is that girls butt so smooth 😂. It hasn’t been until now the past two years I can confidently walk passed someone in a bikini or shorts and not cringe inside thinking that they’re probably looking at all my stretch marks and cellulite.

Maybe it’s age( most likely) but you realise if someone is doing that they’re 1. A nob 2. A nob. Stretch marks are normal, we all have them, big or small they’re part of me & they’re here to stay! Ps. Got a few replies on stories early like you know what you need to do to get rid of them ”x, y&z” sorry babes I don’t have time or the dedication to massage my but in some super oil for 30 mins before bed sure I’d slip out onto the floor🤣 #stretchmarks #mybodyismine

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Instagram vs. Reality

You may be familiar with Irish model-turned fitness/health guru Roz Purcell (@rozannapurcell on Instagram). A while back, she uploaded an image to Instagram that garnered quite a bit more attention than her usual photos of her recipes from her “Natural Born Feeder” recipe book, of her flaunting her gym gear, or photos of her adorable Jack Russell, Willy.

The series of shots show firstly the perfect picture, the “instagram worthy” shot. Swipe left and she shows us the ones deemed by society as not good enough. Un-posed as she frolics on the beach she looks less like her picture perfect self and more like any one of us. Her caption promotes a powerful message to everyone out there who finds it difficult to separate real life from life online, “This is the highlight reel”.

Sometimes we may forget the 50 or more other pictures that came before the perfect shot. We show our best angle, we get the best lighting possible and even then that doesn’t seem to be good enough when we then go and play around with filters for another 15 minutes.

 

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The reality of getting a photo on a wooden swing when your arse is scalded 😂 #instagramreality

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Everyone Has Insecurities. Everyone.

It may be hard to believe when looking at Roz that she too can have her insecurities. She admits to having struggled with body image for most of her life during her modelling years. Conscious of her dimples and rolls, she has learned to acquire a carefree attitude that I think we could all do with taking on. 

I myself have followed Rozanna Purcell on Instagram for quite a while now, something about her just felt like a breath of fresh air, she felt a lot more authentic and genuine compared to some of the others on the app. Unlike many of the big stars with perfect bodies on Instagram who promote ridiculous weight-loss teas and supplements in order to make themselves a few extra bob, Roz has written her own recipe book, full to the brim of simple and most importantly healthy meals. Roz is a force to be reckoned with, not afraid to hit back at the body shammers and doing things a little differently.

 

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Step Away From The Phone

If your Instagram feed is making you feel bad about yourself, do your mental health a favour and have a declutter. We are all too wrapped up in the social media bubble, filtering not only our photos, but our true selves to conform to societies idea of perfection. 

The internet and social media has played a huge part in not only how we view ourselves but in how we present ourselves to others. Be it friends or even strangers, most of us pick and choose what part of ourselves we want to put on show to the world. When we see the best part of other people’s lives we forget that it is not a realistic representation of real life. Look at yourself and your own social media pages, we are ALL guilty of putting our best selves out there.

And hey, there’s nothing wrong with that, but when it comes to a point where a picture is having a negative effect on how you view yourself or the life you live, remember that those photos only show a minuscule insight into that person’s life. There is a lot more to us that what is on our social media pages, FACT. 

Read More: Could Influencers Please Stop Photoshopping?

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0 In Mind Yourself/ Travel

Planning Your Leaving Cert Holiday: Our Travel And Packing Tips

Congrats, you have survived the Leaving Cert! After all that studying and stressing, you and your friends have decided to book that Leaving Cert Holiday to blow off some steam before the college year commences!

You may not have organised a holiday before, so we here at Missy have put together some tips. From deciding where to go, to packing for that pesky 10kg carry-on limit, to budgeting and travel insurance, we’ve got you sorted!

Where to go…?

(Harder than deciding your Leaving Cert subjects…)

Tradition usually see’s Leaving Cert survivors head to the party zones on islands off of Spain or Greece, and that’s great if that’s your scene, but there are other options!

Before you rush into booking the next flights to Tenerife, sit down with your friends and decide if you want a beach destination or are you more suited to a city break? You’re bound to have a great time on either! Whether it’s the golden sands of Ibiza or sprawling streets of Prague, your Leaving Cert holiday can be fab either way!

 

Getting there…

You’ve decided on your destination, now how exactly do you go about getting there? We have two recommendations; you can either book via a travel agent who will usually sort out your flights and accommodation for you, or you can book search around for the best deals yourself. If you choose to have a look for flights and hotels yourself, you should check out sites like Booking.com and Kayak!

Use this link to get €15 off of your hotel with Booking.com.

 

 

Packing!

Now that the Leaving Cert is nothing but a vague memory we presume the flights are booked, the bikini’s and sundresses have been purchased, but now you have to figure out how to get that mountain of clothes into a carry-on case! And you thought Project Maths was difficult…

Here are our tips for cramming as much into that small bag as possible! If you crammed for the Leaving Cert, this will be a doddle!

1.Only pack the essentials

Holidays have a strange effect on people, we end up packing 20 outfits for a weeks holiday, as well as triple the underwear we think we’ll need. When you have a very small space you have to be brutal in what makes it in. Only pack those items that you’ll know you’ll wear. Repeat after us, you do not need 8 different pairs of sandals!

2. Versatility is key

You probably plan to go out most nights you’re away and don’t want to be seen in the same outfit twice (imagine!). To avoid this, opt for pieces that are versatile and can be mixed and matched with other bits you’re bringing. A pair of shorts can be worn with several different tops for example. Dresses and playsuits are great for saving room as they’re a full outfit all in one, so you don’t have to bring several items for one outfit!

3. Get the most out of your space

Roll everything! You’ll fit a lot more in by rolling your clothes as opposed to folding them. They also have less obvious wrinkles and creases when rolled, in case your hotel doesn’t have an iron. Stuff underwear and swimwear into any shoes you might be packing to save a bit of space! Or try vacuum packing your clothes!

4. Know your limits

If you have booked to bring a carry on bag then you are only allowed to bring a maximum of 100ml individual liquids through security. We recommend heading to Boots or Superdrug and stocking up on mini’s of shampoo and conditioner etc. If there are a few of you heading on holiday, it could work out better to hit up a supermarket or pharmacy at your chosen destination and get the essentials there. You’ll have full sizes of everything, and probably save a few bob by splitting the cost!

 

Budgeting!

Food and drink is usually a bit cheaper when abroad, so it’s easy to lose the run of yourself when it comes to spending. The deals on offer may seem great, but when you’re heading home with not even two euro’s to rub together you (or your parents) won’t be so happy! This is probably your first real taste of freedom away from the parental unit, don’t ruin it by having to ring home and ask for them to send on money via Western Union. You will never live it down, trust us!

We recommend budgeting and allocating a certain amount that you can afford to spend everyday. Save some money by heading to the supermarket for simple breakfast and lunch bits rather than eating out. If your accommodation is self-catering even better!

If you have cash on you, separate it up into smaller amounts and keep it in various bags, shoes and pockets. Make sure that you keep an amount aside “in case of emergency“. If you don’t spent it treat yo’ self at the airport on the way home, otherwise it’s off-limits.

 

Remember to stay safe and have a great Leaving Cert Holiday!

 

 

0 In Mental Health/ Mind Yourself/ Wellness

5 Ways To Improve Your Mental Health

5 Ways To Improve Your Mental Health

This week is #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.

And although we are here for a spotlight being put on mental health, we think it’s important to put a focus on minding yourself for the other 51 weeks in the year as well.

We know that a lot of you are under a huge amount of pressure studying at the moment. Unfortunately, exam success seems to sometimes come at a cost to mental health.

Whether you’re struggling to cope with exams or if you’re just feeling a little out of sorts, here’s 5 ways to improve your mental health and start you on a more positive path.

Sweat It Out

Exercise has been proven to help decrease depression and anxiety and improve moods. Find something that you like and do it as much as you can. You don’t have to be aiming for the next Olympics or anything. Even a walk every evening after dinner can really clear out those cobwebs and improve your mind.

 

Positive Thoughts

The whole notion of #positivevibes can seem really disingenuous when talking about it in relation to mental health. But surrounding yourself with more positivity can do wonders for your mental health. If someone is continuously bringing you down, maybe its time to consider taking a step away from the for a while. Sometimes it’s so much easier to focus on the negatives instead of the positives that are right in front of you.

Gratitude Lists can be a great way to refocus your mind on the positives. Try taking 5 minutes from your day to jot down what you’re grateful for. Some days you might have big things to be thankful for, other days they might be teeny, tiny. It doesn’t matter. They all add up in the long run.

 

Talk About It

You know what they say—a problem shared is a problem halved. Choose someone who you feel you can trust. Or try talking to someone who might have been in the same situation as you previously. Talking about an issue can make it seem less daunting. Sometimes struggles with mental health can feel like you’re lugging around this big secret every, single second of the day. Talking about it and releasing the “secret” side to it can be very freeing.

Sometimes a close friend can be a good port of call. But if you are seriously struggling with an issue it really is best to confide in an adult. Your parents, or an older relative will always have your back no matter how you might feel. Your school should also have a counselling service which you can avail of. There are also numerous organisations and helplines. More on that below!

 

Write It Down

If you’re struggling to get the words out or even if you’re not too sure what’s actually bothering you, a great way to release negative thoughts and energy is to write it all down. Be old school in this approach and just take a pen and paper. Once you’re finished don’t read it, see it as being already gone. Rip it up and throw it the bin. Getting out all the words running around in your head can be so cathartic. This can be an especially good exercise if you’re struggling with anger.

If you feel that you would benefit by having someone else know what’s going on with you, but you’re not sure how the conversation will go, again writing it down can be a great way to communicate effectively.

 

Ask For Help

Missy has put together a list of different helpings available to Irish teens. If you’re stressed-out about the thought of talking to someone who knows you, please take advantage of one of these services. You will not be judged. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness. In-fact it shows great straight. Asking for help is often the most difficult step in improving your mental health.

Why not share your own 5 Ways To Improve Your Mental Health in the comments below?

0 In Mind Yourself/ Wellness

How To Build Confidence

How To Build Confidence

How To Build Confidence missy.ieHaving confidence when you’re a teenager can seem like a hit and miss type scenario. In a world that seems to focus on looks, money, and who’s wearing the latest “on trend” shoes, feeling confident in yourself can be difficult.

Maybe you don’t agree with the other girls in school that KJ Apa is the best thing to happen to this Earth. Maybe you’re more of a Cole Sprouse type of gal, but of course, you could never admit that… We’re here to tell you that you most certainly should express what your opinions and preferences in life are. It’s just about having the confidence to do so! We at Missy have compiled some tips and tricks to help you in your journey to becoming a more confident person.

 

Let’s Get Physical…

Experts have said that adjusting your physicality can have a huge impact on your self-confidence. So, by adjusting your stance to a more upright, shoulders back type position, you’ll automatically feel a lot more confident in yourself. It will also show others how confident you are. This is also true for eye contact. When we’re feeling unconfident in a situation we often avoid eye contact with people in an effort to feel less awkward. We’ve all been there. And why it’s difficult to break the cycle. It is really important for your self-confidence that you make an effort to make eye contact. It may feel very uncomfortable at first, but as time goes on you’ll realise how natural it feels and you’ll have the confidence to look people in the eye no matter the situation.

 

It’s On The Inside What Counts.

Your parentals have probably said it to you a thousand times, but it really is true. In order to have confidence in yourself, you need to understand that you are the best version of you in the world. True, you are the only version of you but actually take a second to soak that idea in and realise how amazing it is! As Oscar Wilde once said “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

You may not “follow the crowd” when it comes to certain things, from movies to books to your beliefs, but that’s perfectly ok. You don’t have to think or act the same as everyone else. Life would be so boring if that were the case!

Have the confidence to express your thoughts and ideas. If others don’t agree that’s fine, everyone is entitled to their own opinions after all. But just because something is popular doesn’t mean you have to go along with it for the sake of it. Confidence really is a state of mind. If you have the mindset that what you have to say and do in life is important, you’ll exude confidence. It’s just a case of having a little self belief.

Read More: The Importance Of Self Worth

 

You Should Go And Love Yourself

Body image and being confident in your own skin is an issue most of us will face throughout our lifetime. We live in a world where so much emphasis is put on what your body looks like. Women are expected to be curvy, yet slim, whilst men are supposed to be lean and strong, but not bulky. With social media and ad campaigns being full of pictures and Instagrams that are photoshopped and filtered until the person in said picture can’t even recognise themselves it’s not hard to see why there is a huge lack of body confidence in young people. See the backlash to a recent campaign Selena Gomez participated in by Coach here. That’s why it’s so important to take everything you see when scrolling your Insta feed with a (major) pinch of salt.

It’s so easy to focus on our flaws, because we all have them. Sorry to tell you, but Kylie Jenner is not the most au natural person on the planet. It’s sad that she feels the need to keep changing herself. And if she wants to look that way that’s her choice. But how boring is it to see so many people looking like the same cat-faced versions of each other? We cant help but thinking, were does all the surgery end? What will the Kardashians look like in 10 or 20 years?

Try not to waste your time focusing on things that you don’t like. Channel your energy on something that you love about yourself instead. Is it your Irish eyes? The way your hair curls naturally? Or unique freckles? Pick something and be confident about it. We promise that embracing even one of your great qualities will help melt away the other self-doubt that poisons the mind.

 

Social Media Is Killing Confidence 

It’s not uncommon for us to come out of the depths of the internet with our confidence in our boots because we don’t have a size 4 waist, or a six-pack, or an extremely round bottom *insert peach emoji here*. But let’s be honest, neither do those people in the pictures. With photo editing apps making it easier than ever to alter your physique and facial features, it really is hard to tell what’s real and what’s not online. But rest assured, nobody expects you to look like these images! They are unrealistic and damaging to young people.

So rather than feel down about not having toned arms or a “thigh-gap” (do not get us started…) take a look at what you have got, and learn to love your body! It’s a lot easier to pick out your flaws. But next time you catch yourself doing this remember the positives, and list them off to yourself in your head. You’ll be surprised how this can up your self-confidence. Recognise yourself for the beautiful creature you are, and don’t be minding the filtered content online.  

Read More: Could influencers please stop photoshopping?

Have you any confidence tips that you’d like to share?

0 In Mind Yourself/ Wellness

Tips For Staying Safe On A Night Out

Going out may seem like the be all and end all at this stage in your life, and sure, it’s great to socialise and have fun with your friends, but there are dangers out there that may be hard to perceive when you’re having a great time, and are slightly tipsy…

So, we have compiled a list of tips to keep safe on a night out. Whether you’re a seasoned party-goer or it’s your first time out, it’s important to keep these tips in mind to ensure you and your friends stay safe.

 

Tips For Staying Safe On A Night Out

Before

Whilst pre-drinking and layering on the fake tan may be your first priority when it comes to getting ready for a night out, it’s important to remember to take these steps before leaving the house.

  1. Inform someone (a parent or older sibling) where you are going. Should the venue move, just fire them a quick text letting them know. It won’t take 5 seconds and will give them peace of mind.
  2. Tell someone what time you expect to be home. If you’re staying at a friends, make sure their parent knows in advance.
  3. Make sure your phone is fully charged and is topped up. I know, we sound like such “buzz wreckers” but you might find yourself in a foreboding scenario and be grateful you put that fiver on your phone before you left.
  4. Set aside money for a taxi home and do not spend it on “one last drink.” When it comes to staying safe, you’ll be worrying about having cash on you, not that you should have had that last vodka after all.
  5. Eat before drinking. Eating something will ensure you don’t get too drunk too fast.

 

During

We’re all for having a good time, but there are certain things you need to be aware to ensure that you are staying safe on a night out.

  1. Always keep your glass covered and never leave your glass unattended. You might think your BFF is watching out for your drink whilst you use the loo, but there’s no telling if he or she will get distracted. So, either keep it with you or finish it before you hit the dance floor and/or toilet facilities!
  2. Don’t accept drinks from strangers if you haven’t seen the barman pour it yourself. There are all sorts out there who prey on young girls especially. So, in order to keep safe buy your own drinks and don’t let anyone sway you on that.
  3. Know your limits. Drinkaware.ie have a tonne of resources you can use to heighten your awareness of drink limits. Knowing when enough is enough is vital to staying safe on a night out. 
  4. Don’t give out private information. May seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how chatty alcohol can make you. The person asking where you’re from does not need an exact address.
  5. Consent. You’re out having a dance with your best friends having a great time altogether. Then there’s the dreaded tap on the shoulder. You turn around and are faced with some lad thinking just because you’re dressed a certain way or dancing a certain way or even look a certain way, that he is somehow entitled to put his hands on your body. He isn’t. If another person touches you inappropriately and/or is making you feel uncomfortable, you need to alert a bouncer or a member of the security staff straight away. It isn’t ok, and you have every right to feel safe and comfortable on a night out. You can read more about consent here.

 

After

When leaving the club/concert/festival never leave alone.

  1. Make sure you and your friends stick together. Try jump in the nearest taxi to avoid bumping into any unwanted company along the way, jeopardising your safety.
  2. Don’t decide that it would be a great idea to walk home. Even if you’re part of a group you could still put yourself in danger.
  3. If you’re on holiday, or if we ever get nice weather in this country, never ever decide now is a good time to go for a swim. According to drinkaware.co.uk, “Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) say a quarter of all adult drowning victims have alcohol in their bloodstream.” 
  4. Likewise, under no circumstances should you drive under any influence of alcohol. You are not only putting your life at risk, but the lives of others using the roads at night.
  5. Send a text to the person you told you were going out to let them know you got home safely. They will appreciate it no matter what time it is.

 

A Little Reminder

  • It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to buy alcohol.
  • It’s also illegal for anyone under 18 to drink in a public place or pretend to be over 18 to get alcohol.
  • A bar owner can’t legally serve drink to anyone who’s drunk.
  • It’s against the law to be drunk in a public place (that’s anywhere outside your home).
  • The Gardaí can take alcohol off under 18s who are drinking in a public place. They can also contact their parents.

Have you any tips for staying safe on a night out? Let us know in the comments!

0 In Mind Yourself

Could Influencers Please Stop Photoshopping?

We already spoke about some of the different aspects in the recent Irish Influencer Scandal, but the most worrisome problem for us is the issue of Irish Influencers photoshopping their images. It has been frustrating to watch how some bloggers have been pushing unrealistic aspirations without any regard to the consequences and the effect it is having on people’s mental health.

We kinda talked about some of the issues with social media and bloggers before, but we really wanted to double-down on the serious issue of photoshopping. Because making a location look different is a whole different ball game to dramatically altering your appearance. Colette Sexton from The Sunday Business Post recently called it a public health crisis and we completely agree. 

The True Danger of Social Media is Influencers Photoshopping

We were told not to talk to strangers on the Internet. Not to use our real names or give personal details. But one of the biggest dangers of social media today is the false images that we are bombarded with. When you see all these images of perfection it’s so easy to turn on yourself and ask “Why don’t I look like that?“. The reason is no one looks like that – unless you download the Facetune App.

We all love a good filter, or maybe make that blemish a little less notable. But photoshopping yourself to look 2 stone slimmer next level. And that’s the very real problem. Some very prominent Irish Influencers are completely editing their appearance and it’s so dangerous.

Joanne Larby a.k.a The Makeup Fairy was one of the Influencers who was mentioned time and time again in reference to photoshopping. Joanne often portrays herself as being very into the gym and says that she “works hard” to look the way she does on Instagram. But some of the photos unearthed over the past few weeks offers some very stark differences between Joanne on Instagram and Joanne in real life. Before the Influencer Scandal erupted Joanne was promoting a Beauty, Fitness & Wellness workshop. All details of the workshop have since been deleted. But The Makeup Fairy is by no-means the only one.

Rosie Connolly was forced to apologise for photoshopping an image on herself that she took as part of a campaign with Rimmel. Yes, it’s obviously terrible for her and her confidence that she suffers from acne. And it’s probably something we would all be tempted to do. But how is it acceptable to be selling a product to someone promising them fabulous skin when you know it’s not the truth? Imagine the confidence knock to anyone who bought that thinking they’d have nice skin like Rosie’s.

We all want to be that little bit more toned, but photoshopping yourself to make yourself appear thinner is unacceptable. There are people looking at these pictures and being awful to themselves because their waist isn’t that small. That they don’t have a thigh gap. Or that their skin doesn’t look that flawless. And then to be trying to sell tickets to a “confidence workshop” just shows the lack of awareness to their actions.

 

Influencers Blur The Line Between

You definitely see altered images in the media all the time, but advertisements now have to declare any image altering below. Have a look at the next Mascara ad that you see. We bet you’ll see a disclaimer at the bottom saying that image has been digitally altered. The big problem with Influencers photoshopping is that they allow you into their lives so you almost don’t expect them to deceive you in such a way. Then when they get questioned on it they’re being bullied and everyone is a hater. 

No one forces any of these influencers to post pictures of themselves. Why would you bother posting so many selfies of yourself online if you have so many insecurities? If they’re not happy with themselves why spend your time taking photos of yourself? It seems so depressing. Even more depressing is the thought of sitting there altering your picture into a way you know you’ll never look like. It’s just downright dangerous for them to be posting these images online knowing that people will be complimenting something that isn’t real. Everyone loves a compliment, but to be getting likes and compliments on a way you’ll never look is so messed up. And in turn it sets unrealistic expectations for their followers.

Joanne Larby put forward the argument that celebrities Photoshop themselves, but how is that a justification? Do we wish celebrities would stop Facetuning themselves on social media? Yes. Do we also wish magazines would stop butchering perfectly beautiful women? Of course. But celebrities are somewhat removed from our realm. Influencers are not. They can not be selling the ‘we’re your friend” vibe and then pulling this.

No Escape

It’s so easy to forget when you’re looking at pictures that they are probably not a true representation. Especially with all the scrolling that we do.

Being made feel inferior by a little grid is something a lot of teens are struggling with. Anorexia, bulimia and body dysmorphia cases are on the rise in Ireland. It’s estimated that 400 new cases of eating disorders emerge each year, representing 80 deaths annually. 

Being hard on yourself is horrible, but being hard on yourself for a way that you could never look is so upsetting and debilitating. It’s hard to escape these false images when they are so rampant on social media. Not everyone is perfect the whole time. But you have influencers pushing foundation promising perfect skin, promoting weight-loss tea and flaunting a “perfect” figure when they’re Facetuning themselves into oblivion in the photos.

We’ve Had Enough

Influencers just need to stop photoshopping. End of story. We don’t want excuses or justifications.

It’s false advertising and it’s illegal to be promoting products that don’t give the results that you say they do. They are also contributing to the current body image crisis that is continuing to grow each year in Ireland. 

It’s not good enough for Influencers to essentially play dumb when they are called out on serious issues like this. Just like any job you have responsibility to inform yourself and know what you can and can’t do.

Influencers need to stop with the self-importance and realise that their actions have consequences. Photoshopping themselves is having a detrimental effect on vulnerable and impersonal young people in this country. According to Bodywhys up to 200,000 people in Ireland may be affected by eating disorders in some way.

If Influencers are photoshopping themselves they’re obviously not happy in themselves either. It’s beyond ridiculous that they can’t then take the time to understand how they’re actions are effecting others. Most of these Influencers are grown women and the market that they are “influencing” are teenage girls who already have enough pressure and doubts to deal with.

 What Needs To Change

Let’s be clear, this issue does not only affect Irish Influencers, but it feels like in such a small and increasingly overcrowded industry here some have taken it too far. 

Let’s be honest, we’d probably be the first to complain when influencers share everything about their lives. There is definitely a struggle to produce content, but also to be relatable and real. But it is their job and responsibility to present their content and therefore themselves in a balanced way just like media and magazines must. There’s no point saying you weren’t told of your obligations. Influencers need to start being held to the same account as traditional media and disclaiming if they are altering their images. But we honestly don’t see why “good” content has to go with photoshopping like some Influencers are claiming. You can have amazing pictures without turning yourself in to a Barbie.

We would just like to see a bit more honesty and consideration from Influencers. Whether they like it or not they are role-models and figures of inspiration to thousands of followers and they need to start being accountable and recognise the responsibilities that go along with their job that they signed up to willingly. Relatability, honesty and ‘real-ness’ are all incredibly valuable attributes. 

What You Can Do

Question what you’re seeing. Love yourself. Be thankful. Speak out. Unfollow. Get help if you need it. Talk with your friends. Don’t believe everything you see and read. Be aware of the dangers of social media. What does matter is that you never, ever, let an app make you feel like less of a person or as though you are inferior. You are enough. 

 

Let us know your thoughts on the issue of Influencers Photoshopping.

 

If this affected you in any way or if you have anything that’s worrying you please get in touch with Bodywhys on  LoCall 1890 200 444, or visit their website www.bodywhys.ie

Image: Beth Sandland

0 In Mind Yourself

How To Keep Yourself Safe Online

There’s been a lot of talk over the past few weeks about internet safety in Ireland. Some points have been very valid and others are just a bit too much of a won’t somebody please think of the children vibe. There’s concern and there’s overreacting.

The internet and social media is now embedded in our society. The genie is out of the bottle and there’s no way to go back. It’s also not right to punish people, especially teens, for the bad actions of others. It goes back to the issue of victim blaming. Social Media is perfectly safe, if you’re mature enough to deal with it. The internet is a bit like driving, you need to learn how to do it safely. With all this in mind we thought we would share a few simple tips to keep yourself safe online.

Do not get caught up in a game of who has more followers.

It can be tempting to keep your profile open to gain more followers, but don’t. It’s like keeping the front door of your house open so people can come and go as they please. It’s weird and you’d never do it in “real life” so why do you leave the door to your life open online? There’s a lot of information people can get from a simple photo on Instagram. Be mysterious and safe all in one go.

Know the signs if someone is going too far.

Rule in life: always be suspicious. Is someone who you don’t know constantly trying to interact with you? It’s nice to get compliments, but is it a bit too persistent? Do they have an ulterior motive in trying to get your attention and talk to you? These are all things that you have to keep in mind. The internet is a great place to connect with people, but you still need to protect yourself all the time.

DELETE, DELETE, DELETE

Again, put yourself in the real world. If someone stood in front of you and was hurling abuse at you would you stay standing there? No. So, if someone is being abusive to you online delete and block them. If someone is anonymously harassing you online see how pathetic they are and delete them. It drives bullies insane if you ignore them. It can be hard, we know, but delete them. It’s actually pretty cathartic.  If someone makes you feel uncomfortable in any way delete them straight away and block them. We here at Missy have had to do it ourselves a few times. Protecting yourself is in no way weak. In fact is shows great strength and maturity.

How could it affect your future?

The online world is changing rapidly and who knows where it is going to be in 5 years time. As scary and downright annoying as it is you don’t know how your online profile might affect your career prospects in years to come. Once something is on the internet it’s there forever. There are lots of sneaky ways to save or find something. Rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t like your parents to see it don’t put it online.

 

Tips To Keep Yourself Safe Online.

There are certain apps we think you should avoid having on your phone such as:

– Tinder

– KiK ( Anonymous messaging app)

– Sarahah (Anonymous messenger board)

You don’t need these in your life. Be the brave one amongst your friends and say that you have no interest in them. You’ll be surprised at who will follow suit. And if someone gives you slack for not having a certain app, let them off. There are tons of other apps to communicate with friends and not randomers.

 

You should never:

– Share your location

– Agree to meet with someone you “met” online

– Share pictures/videos of any kind with people you do not know

– Accept follower/friend requests from strangers.

– Share private information

Every popular social media site/platform/app, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. have privacy settings, and you should understand your privacy settings, and should be aware of who can see the content you are sharing!

 

We recommend the following settings for the following online profiles :

– Instagram: Private Account ()

– Facebook: Friends ()

– Twitter: Protect my tweets ()

 

Here are a few key safety tips for the EXTREMELY popular Snapchat:

– NEVER send inappropriate images/videos, it is very easy for people to save them without you knowing.

– ONLY friends should be able to see your Snapchat story

– TURN OFF Snap Map! ()

 

Plenty of online profiles such as Instagram, Twitter, Tinder allow you to put personal info into Bio’s. You should NEVER include the following personal information in your bios:

– Phone Number

– Email

– Address/location

– Age

 

Be Savvy

We know that you might see some Influencers or Bloggers sharing such information, but please remember that they are professionals and such contact information is handy for PR’s and people looking to work with them. Soz hun, but you’re not a celebrity, so keep those details to yourself.

Lets talk honestly here, don’t put your age up online. If someone with a perverted mind is looking to interact with a teen and they see your age you are marking yourself straight away. You would probably put your age up innocently enough, but when you think about it from that angle it’s scary.

Reporting

If someone is making you feel uncomfortable online firstly block them. You can report them to the Social Media site. We strongly encourage you to do this, but please be aware that there are millions of people using these apps every day and it can be hard to get a quick response from the Help Teams. For that reason we urge you to share your concerns with someone else such as a friend or and adult if the situation calls for it.

One last note

If you have younger brother’s or sisters take the time to sit down and discuss technology and the online world with them. Explain the dangers and the risks, and explain how to be safe online.

Most importantly remember that NO MATTER WHAT there is always a solution and you should always share any concerns with someone else.

How do you keep yourself safe online?

0 In Mind Yourself/ Wellness

Simple Ways To Practice Self-Care

Self care is something that we should all most definitely do more often. It’s so important for our mental & physical wellbeing to take a bit of “me” time.

Self-care is defined as “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also key to a good relationship with oneself and others“.

Here’s a few simple ways that you could practice some self-care…

 

GET ENOUGH SLEEP.

So boring, we know. But seriously a few early nights really does you so much good. Switch off the phone, read a book to help you drift off and just sleep. If you’re struggling with sleep try listening to some podcasts or audio books with your headphones in. We really recommend the Harry Potter audio books, because it’s just so relaxing to listen to Stephen Fry’s voice.

READ MORE.

Taking the time out of the rest of your life to get lost in another world is one of the best ways to practice self-care. We don’t know about you, but trying to keep up with all that studying is hard. Taking the time to read something that you don’t have to is such a luxury itself. We have a few recommendations in our Book Section.

SWITCH OFF.

Probably the hardest one to do, but switching off the phone and the computer is good for the soul. We promise you will not miss anything that is worth your while. We are all far too reliant on social media these days to entertain and inform us, but it’s probably the most toxic thing for our mental health. Try switching off your phone come 7.30pm a few nights a week. Just taking the time to do something other than obsess about the latest update and likes is honestly so refreshing. We’re definitely going to try do a few weekends social media free.

TREAT  YOURSELF.

We don’t mean going and treating yourself to a Chanel bag in Brown Thomas (but if you do will you buy us one too?). If it’s a bar of chocolate or a new eyeshadow palette or a new pair of shoes that you want, just get it. Reward yourself for your achievements. Whatever it is just enjoy it. You deserve it.

MEDITATE

The practice of meditating has been a round for a long, long, long time but it’s really starting to become the thing that people turn to when looking at their self-care practises. It’s also been known as a great way to deal with anxiety. Try downloading the Headspace App which is a guided meditation and very relaxing. You get 10 sessions free, so it’s a great way to figure of if it works for you or not.

 

DEEP  BREATHS.

This is something that you can do anywhere and it takes no time at all but could make the biggest difference. Just taking a minute to take three deep breaths could really help in calming yourself down and re-focusing your mind when things get a little overwhelming.

FRESH AIR.

Probably the cheapest, but the best way to look after yourself is to get fresh air and lots of it. Grab some headphones (see below!) and get out and go for a stroll. If you want to try get a friend to come too, but sometimes its just nice to go for a stroll and be left with your own thoughts and ideas. It you hit a wall especially when studying or life gets too much some fresh air is a good way to try work it all out.

WRITE IT DOWN.

We are here for journaling! Sometimes with everything jumping around in your brain it can be great to just get it down on paper in front of you. Even just writing a letter expressing all your thoughts, worries and frustrations can be so therapeutic. You can throw it in the bin once you’re done – there’s something oddly freeing about getting rid of it.

PAMPER YOURSELF.

The above is true, but you know it is nice to pamper yourself every now and again. A bath with a little bit of everything thrown in or even sheet mask from Penneys. Pick out a new nail polish or throw in a hair mask. Do something that makes you feel great. Again, you deserve it.

WORK IT  OUT

Dance around your room, go for a walk, start running, join a club or start a new gym class. Just pick something that you enjoy doing and make it your outlet.

LISTEN TO MUSIC.

Music can be such a powerful too. Take the time to listen to a  bit of music in the morning before school as you’re getting ready or make a playlist to listen to in the car. We’re on a bit of a 90’s vibe ourselves lately. From chill-out music to just help you relax or just jump around to some rap music, find your grove – literally!

SPEND TIME WITH PEOPLE YOU LOVE.

Taking some time to spend with the people you love is great for the soul. Just be present. Put the phone down and enjoy the time that you spend together. Memories are more important than Snapchat streaks.

TALK.

Sometimes it’s just great to talk about anything and nothing. A lot goes on inside those heads of ours so sometimes it’s just nice to let it all out. If there’s something that’s getting you down saying it out loud is half the battle over.

BE KIND TO YOURSELF

One of the best things that you can do for yourself and for your mental health is to just be kinder to yourself. Let the bad thoughts go and stop being so hard on yourself.  You are enough. You are worthy.

 

This is in no way a definitive list. If you have something that’s your jam, do that. You don’t have to do these all together or all the time. The important thing is to be mindful that you are doing something just for you and because you want to. Find that thing that relaxes you, or allows you to refocus or the thing that allows you to blow off steam.

What do you do to practice self-care?

0 In Consent/ Mind Yourself/ Sex & Love

Consent: We Need To Talk About What It Is And Isn’t

Consent Is Sexy

This topic has been all over Twitter, Facebook, the news, the internet, the world: consent. It’s important that we clear up any issues as to what consent is, and what consent isn’t. 

What Is Consent?

Consent is when you verbally, or physically, say ‘yes’ to a sexual act. It’s leaning in for a kiss, it’s leaning your body, it’s agreeing to engage in the act that the other person is embarking on.  

Consent is not freezing when a guy puts his hands on you or leans in for a kiss. It’s not lying there because you don’t know how to say ‘no’ but you really don’t want anything to happen. It’s not going along with it because you kissed him earlier.

If you’re walking past a guy and he slaps your bum, he’s acting without your consent. If he ‘lobs the gob’, he’s acting without your consent. Essentially, anything you don’t want to happen is you not giving consent. In the heat of the moment, there might not be a question asked, but you should be given ample chance to give your consent.

Someone using their position of power, or their strength to coerce you into acts is not consent. Sex and sexual acts should be fun, they can be passionate, strong, gentle, anything goes, so long as both parties want it. If you are drunk, you cannot give consent because you are not fully within your senses. If you are on drugs, legal or illegal, which have an affect on your cognition, you cannot give your consent.

The problem is that we can often freeze, out of fear, or shock, and because we’ve not said yes or no, our silence is taken as an invitation. It isn’t. Our inability to verbalise our consent is therefore an indication of us not giving our consent. Silence is not consent.

The thing you need to remember is that, you are not to blame for anything that happens to you that you do not consent to. If you need more information see here: www.rapecrisishelp.ie

To read more by Michelle check out her blog speckyscribbler.com or her past articles on Missy.

0 In Mind Yourself/ Wellness

Why You Need To Get To Know Your Boobs

It really is time to think pink this month as October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Not only is it important to support the campaign by buying a pink ribbon or some of the products on sale to rise money for charities relating to Breast Cancer, it’s important to think and talk about the subject. Worryingly the current statistic in Ireland is that 1 in 9 women will develop breast cancer in the course of their lifetime.

Although statistically you may not be considered at risk of developing Breast Cancer right now sadly there are always exceptions to this. CoppaFeel! is a UK charity that was founded in 2009 by Kristin Hallenga and her twin sister Maren after Kris was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer at the age of 23. Yep, it can happen that young and also did you know that men actually have the same breast tissue as us girls? So, they are at risk of developing breast cancer to. It’s estimated that 400 men are diagnosed with it every year. So, maybe direct the men in your life here too.

CoppaFeel! state their mission as “to help everyone stand the best possible chance of surviving breast cancer, because if found early it is very treatable and survival rates are higher. That’s why you need to become good chums with your boobs and coppafeel regularly.” And we wholeheartedly agree with this.

Although the most of you reading this will not have to worry about cancer yet it is important that you should be aware of it now. You need to know what’s normal for your body and what’s not. Coppafeel! advocate getting to know your own body and the sooner you do that the better. And don’t just think of yourself, what about those around you? Ask your friends, your mom, your sister, your aunty, your granny are they checking? Are they doing it regularly? Do they know how to properly check? Have they gone for their most recent monogram? Early detection really is the best chance for us all. And talking about it and being aware of our bodies is so important.

For a quick guide on how to properly check yourself have a look here at Coppafeel’s website.  Breast Cancer Ireland also have an app that’s free to download that sends a reminder to your phone once a month to remind you to check as well as a guide on how to properly self examine yourself. There’s also a cool feature on the site that allows you to send an email about the app to 5 women in your life to encourage them to check themselves.

This October we really encourage you to support charities involved in flighting back again this terrible diseases, but also to open up a dialogue about it with those around you. Awareness really is the only way we can fight this..for now.

Image via: Birchbox