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0 In Sex & Love/ Wellness

Everything That You Need To Know About Contraception

Illustration by Carra Sykes

Contraception as a teen can be a bit of a minefield. Maybe you’re not too knowledgeable? Or you might feel weird about asking someone? Maybe you think you know, but you’re not too sure? Contraception really isn’t the sort of thing that you should be messing around with because, not to be too dramatic or anything, it can have life changing consequences. Which is why we at missy.ie think that you should be fully informed about all of the options available to you.

The important thing to remember is that you need to use safe and effective contraception every single time. You don’t build up a credit system that allows you a once off, get out of jail free card. It only takes one time to become pregnant or infected with a sexually transmitted disease. If your partner doesn’t respect you enough to use contraception or tries to make reasons or excuses for not using it, you need to stand up for yourself. Having sex without using protection isn’t smart, cool or safe.

Here is everything that you need to know about contraception…

Condoms

The condom is a barrier method of contraception – it blocks sperm from entering the womb. Condoms are made from very thin latex rubber or a very thin plastic. They are widely available in Pharmacies and Supermarkets. Family Planning clinics and college services often offer them for free. Using a condom should realistically be non-negotiable with your partner when you first become sexually active.

Condoms protect against most sexually transmitted infections, when used correctly that is. Even if you are using another form of contraception, like the Pill, condoms are recommended when you have sex with a new partner, have multiple sexual partners or are unsure of your partner’s sexual history. You need to be careful and ensure that they are properly used and be aware that they can fail by tearing or coming off during sex. Out of date condoms should never be used. If used correctly, condoms are 98% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Read: Here’s a very informative guide on how to properly put on a condom.

 

Implant

The contraceptive implant (or The Bar) is a small flexible plastic rod which is placed under your skin (usually your arm). It slowly releases the progesterone hormone and gives contraceptive protection for up to 3 years. It can be removed at any time. The implant is more than 99% effective. It’s a good idea if you want long-term contraception and if you want to avoid having to remember to take the Pill every day. Again it does not protect against sexually transmitted infections. 

You can get the Implant from a doctor, Family Planning Clinic or Well Woman Clinic. Your doctor will write a prescription for the implant and you then bring this to a Pharmacy where you can buy the implant. The device is then inserted by a doctor; although not all doctors will insert devices they can refer you to someone who does. The implant is available for  Medical Card patients.

via GIPHY

The Pill

We already chatted about the Pill before in much more detail. The Pill is a small tablet that you take daily for 21 days. You then take a 7 day “break” which will result in your period. Then you begin another packet for 21 days. The Pill is an effective birth control method only if it is taken correctly. Make sure you follow the packet instructions very carefully because if you miss a pill you may not be fully protected and you could get pregnant. You also need to be careful about taking antibiotics, because they can affect the Pills performance. Also, if you throw up for any reason your Pill may not work. So, you need to be super vigilant when taking it. The Pill does not protect against sexually transmitted infections, so we would recommend that you use condoms as well.

 

Mirena Coil (IUD)

The coil is a T-shaped plastic IUS device that is professionally inserted into endometrial cavity of the uterus. Mirena coils provide long-term birth control that is minimally invasive and very effective. They can also be used to treat a variety of conditions, including heavy periods, endometriosis, chronic pelvic pain and anaemia. It is a reliable long-term option, if you would prefer not to think about birth control on a daily basis. An IUD can be removed at any time, and your fertility will return to normal immediately.

It is an option if you cannot or do not want to use hormones. IUDs do not protect against sexually transmitted infections. You can get a prescription for an IUD from your doctor, Family Planning Clinic or Well Woman Clinic. Your doctor will write a prescription for the implant and you then bring this to a Pharmacy where you can buy the implant. The device is then inserted by a doctor; although not all doctors will insert devices they can refer you to someone who does. The implant is available for  Medical Card patients.

 

Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception is a method of contraception that can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or if your contraception has failed i.e if the condom broke or you realise that you have forgotten to take your Pill.

The 3 day emergency contraceptive pill should be taken as soon as possible and within 72 hours (3 days) of unprotected sex. It is more effective the sooner it is taken. There is also a 5 day Pill, but again the sooner you take it the better.

Emergency contraception is available from pharmacies without a prescription or from a doctor. If you go into your pharmacy just ask to speak to the Pharmacist privately. Most Pharmacies have a private consultation room now, so you can chat with them about your options in full confidence. They should be able to provide you with Emergency Contraception in the form of a tablet on the spot.

Emergency contraception is not as effective as regular contraception and should not be consciously used as an alternative to other contraception.

 

Other Options

There are other contraceptive options out there, such as the diaphragm, contraceptive patch, vaginal ring, contraceptive injection and spermicide but we thought it would be best to chat through the options that you would be most likely to use. But do be aware that they are there. If you’re not sure which option is best for you have a chat with your GP, or head to your local Well Women Centre or Family Planning Clinic.

Always Remember…

  • It is your right not to engage in sexual activity.
  • It is your right to protect yourself from pregnancy and disease.
0 In Debs/ Relationships

How To Pick A Debs Date: From Going Solo To Group Dates

Debs season can often cause a bit of panic when asked the question “so… who are you taking to the debs?” Our advice is first and foremost not to panic. We here at Missy have all the options you can take as your date for the night!

Go With… Your Boyfriend/Girlfriend

If you have a significant other it’s probably best to ask them to the debs as your first option. Hurt feelings will only cause unnecessary drama. While your friends might want you to go with them, go with what you want and ask your significant other if you want to. It’s your night too, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice who you’d like to go with.

Go With… A Group Of Friends

How To Pick A Debs Date: From Going Solo To Group Dates

Don’t fret if you’re a single gal, the debs isn’t all about finding one person to go with. If you and a group of friends don’t want to bother with asking someone to the debs, go with one another! What sounds better than partying the night away with your besties?? If a group hang doesn’t pan out and you still need a date, why not ask one of your friends from another school to go?

Go With… Yourself

How To Pick A Debs Date: From Going Solo To Group Dates

Don’t be afraid to assert your independence and head to the debs solo. It’s 2018 after all, and why it may seem daunting going by yourself means you don’t have to worry about anyone else. You also save a few bob by not having to pay for your date’s ticket!

Go With… The Person You Like

How To Pick A Debs Date: From Going Solo To Group Dates

Your debs is probably the last time you’re going to be with your class. That means it may also be your last opportunity to bite the bullet and ask the person you’ve had a crush on since 1st year! Honesty is the best policy when it comes to asking someone out, so be open, clearly communicate what you’re looking for, and make lots of eye contact.

Go With… A Blind Date

How To Pick A Debs Date: From Going Solo To Group Dates

If you’re feeling a little adventurous ask a friend if they know anyone who might be a suitable debs date. Don’t go into it completely blind and maybe arrange to meet them a week or so in advance, just to ensure you’ll get on.

Does the idea of trying to find a debs date make you panic? Let us know in the comments below!

Find out more about our FREE Debs Guide now!

0 In Friendship/ Girl Talk/ Lifestyle/ Relationships/ Wellness

5 Questions That Will Change Your Life

5 Questions That Will Change Your Life

If you think a Insta Model body or a BF is your one-way ticket to internal happiness, it’s time to get some serious perspective. Answer these questions honestly and they might just change your life!

 

1. Will Being Thin Really Make Me Happy?

If you’re frantically nodding your head right now, you could be in trouble. It’s easy to think your life would be perfect if only you were taller/shorter, blonder, more tan…but the reality is that looking “good” is no guarantee that you’ll feel confident. Spoiler: “beautiful” people have problems too.

Happiness comes from within and beauty really is only skin deep. Think about it. Do you seriously think that celebrities and Insta Models don’t have problems? Just one look at their Twitter mentions will prove that it’s not all plain sailing for them either. You wouldn’t think it to look at her, but Lily Reinhart has admitted that she suffers a lot from anxiety, depression and is very insecure about her skin. You never know what is going on inside someone else’s head, no matter what they may look like on the outside.

Is theres’ something about your body that you’d like to change, ask yourself “why“? Everyone has bits that they don’t like, but instead of stressing about them why not draw up a list of things that you do like about yourself and probably take for granted? Read over it whenever you feel down. And don’t forget that real girls aren’t perfect and perfect girls aren’t real. You’re unique and that’s what makes you pretty damn special.

 

2. Is Having A Boyfriend Really Important?

When you’re single, it can feel like everyone in the world is coupled-up (seriously, what is it with all these super quick celeb engagements?) while you’re left as the Bridget Jones of your gang. But if you think that you need to be in a relationship to be truly happy, you could be suffering from low self-esteem, especially if you’re willing to date some randomer who you’re not that into.

When you’re single you can spend as much time with your friends as you like, get to keep every weekend open for spontaneous adventures and you can say you’re an Independent Woman. When you really think about it, are you really desperate to lose all of those things? It’s normal to want to be in a secure and loving relationship, but being one of those girls who simply can’t fly solo means you’ll never feel whole unless you’re someone else’s other half. And that’s just not healthy, or much fun. When you find someone who you are truly meant to be with, you’ll know. But there’s no point in forcing a relationship just for the sake of it. And it’s an even worse idea to think that having a boyfriend will solve all of your problems, it might just create them.

Now, all the single ladies, put your hands up!

 

3. Am I A Good Friend?

Who do you rely on? Think about them right now and ask yourself can they say the same about you? Are you guilty of not being there for your friends when they need you, even-though they provide a first-rate counselling service to you? If you’re the type of person who drops friends like hot potatoes once someone else comes along, you really need to start evaluating how you treat people. Everyone needs friends and as you go through life you’ll find that you rely more and more on a core group of friends. But friendship is a two-way street and they need the effort. And in order to be deserving of good friends, you need to be a great friend in return.

If you’ve just realised that you haven’t been the best friends lately there’s no need to get down about it. Instead, get everyone around foe Netflix and chill night and make sure that they know how much they all mean to you.

 

4. Am I A Nightmare To Live With?

You probably don’t give your home life a second thought, but maybe it’s time that you do. When you’re a child, your parents are obliged to care for you and they don’t really expect any thanks for it, but now that you’re well on your way to adulthood it’s time to re-evaluate your living situation. Does your mum still make all your meals? Does she still wash your clothes and change your sheets too? Instead of talking all that hotel-style help for granted, why not give back every once in a while?

It could be something as simple as offering to vacuum the living room or washing up after the Sunday lunch, neither of which will take yo too much time or effort.

Think about how your parents and siblings view you. We all get a bit short-tempered at time, but if you’re constantly starting arguments and throwing diva fits over the slightest thing, it might be time to re-evaluate your attitude. Make an effort to be kinder and more patient with your ‘rents. Ever get scolded for having “a tone“? Maybe try improve on that. Because even if your family drives you spare at times, they still love you endlessly and are only trying to do their best. So, check the attitude at the front door and help out a bit more. Say thank you to your parents and appreciate them a bit more.

 

5. Am I Reaching My Full Potential?

Think of how frustrating it must be for your teachers and parents if they see you coast along without really, whole-heartedly trying. It’s not that they’re “always on your case”. They care about you and want to see you do well and reach your full-potential.

If you ever scraped a C after not studying for a test, imagine what you cod achieve with a bit more effort?

Instead of shrugging it off, the next time someone tells you to believe you can do something, LISTEN UP for a change. Whether it’s in school, sport or with your family and friends – you have the potential to be the best, if only you’d trust yourself. Don’t let that voice inside you that tells you that you can’t do something. Or that you’re too tired. Or you’ve done the bare minimum – it’s grand, take over. Aim for the stars – and the sky’s the limit.

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 Girl Talk/ Wellness

Menstrual Cups: What Are They?

Menstrual Cups: What Are They?

Image @msfist

 

Have you heard about Menstrual Cups? We had, but we weren’t entirely sure what all the hype was about. And honestly were weren’t sure that it was for us.

Periods are a drag, but sadly a fact of life if you posses a uterus. And Ireland isn’t exactly a country that encourages healthy attitudes about bodies or periods. So, it’s really no surprise that sometimes people are freaked out by their own bodies. Especially when you’re younger, amirite?

After hearing lots of positive stories about Menstrual Cups we decided to do some investigating and now we see why women are saying goodbye to pads and tampons forever. Here’s everything that you need to know about Menstrual Cups.

 

What Are Menstrual Cups?

A Menstrual Cup is a flexible cup designed to be inserted inside the vagina during your period to collect menstrual blood. Most menstrual cups are made of medical grade silicone or rubber.

You insert it similar to a tampon. The cup creates almost like a seal so leakages do not happen and the blood is collected in the cup.

The trick to inserting it correctly is to fold the cup. And there are many different folds. There are great YouTube clips that show you all the different folds.

To take it out you just pinch it slightly to break the seal and then just pull it out genteelly using the stem. Then you just empty it in the toilet, give it a rinse and re-insert it.

The thought of inserting a cup “down there” may sound kinda scary, but it’s really not. It’s perfectly safe and comfortable. In fact most women who use a menstrual cup say that they wouldn’t return to pads or tampons.

 

Image @zinteta

Em…Why?

One menstrual cup can be reused for a number of years once it’s looked after correctly. The average women spends €10 each month on tampons and pads. So after 3 months Menstrual Cups have already paid for themselves!

Some of us reading this might take it for granted that we can easily afford that few euro every month, but this is not the case for every woman. Period Poverty is a serious issue that affects many women around the world, including Ireland.

Menstrual cups are environmentally friendly too. It saves loads of waste because it’s reusable. There are no chemicals, and no plastic waste. Did you know that a number of chemicals are used to produce ordinary pads and tampons? Because we didn’t!

Using a menstrual cup is no harder than a non applicator tampon. It’s really just about learning how to use a menstrual cup. Like with anything, it can take a bit of practice in the beginning. Look, the first few times you use it might terrify you, but it is worth sticking with.

 

What Are The Benefits Of Menstrual Cups?

You don’t need to worry about getting Toxic Shock Syndrome, which isn’t common, but you know… a worry!

As we’ve already said, they are environmentally friendly. Just imagine the amount of waste accumulated by sanitary products throughout a women’s life.

Pads and tampons can be irritating due to the chemicals used to make them. Some women believe that they even prolong your period and make it more painful.

Some people also claim to have shorter periods when using menstrual cups and that their period pains eased.

In a slightly bizarre turn of events a lot of women who hate tampons love menstrual cups. They are more comfortable to wear compared to tampons as the cup is made of soft silicone it moves with your body.

 

Image @lunettecup

Where Can I Buy A Menstruation Cup?

There are lots of different types of Menstrual Cups on the market. Your local Pharmacy should have them. Superdrug and Boots also sell them. And of course you can purchase them online too. We know, shopping online…revolutionary! Mooncup and OrganiCup are among some of the most popular brands.

There’s even menstrual cups especially made for younger users, like the Lunette Menstrual Cup which comes in different colours! Not only is it smaller and shorter – it is squishier, so it’s easier to insert.

Here’s a handy guide that we found to help you find your perfect menstrual cup.

 

FAQ

What if it overflows?

It shouldn’t. Although it mightn’t seem like it, you only lose about 3-5 teaspoons of blood during your period.

Can it fall out?

No. When inserting you fold the cup and when it’s in it unfolds it acts like a suction cup and seals to the sides. So, it’s highly unlikely it would just come out.

Can I use them if I’m a virgin?

Yep! They’re no different from using tampons. If you’ve started your period then you can use a menstrual cup.

What about when I’m out and about?

You’ll be fine! Usually Menstrual Cups only have to be emptied once every 4-12 hours depending on your flow.

What about leakages?

Shouldn’t be a problem as long as it’s inserted properly. And believe us you’ll know if it’s inserted properly.

Can I play sports?

Yes! You can do everything as “normal”. In fact some women even think that menstrual cups have less restricting effects than pads or tampons. You can also swim.

Can you feel it when it’s in??

Not if it sits right. If it’s uncomfortable that means it’s not inserted correctly.

Will it not smell?

No. In fact there should be no smell at all. Menstrual blood develops an oder once it comes in contact with air. Because menstrual cups create a seal it will not be exposed to air, meaning no smell.

How do I clean it?

Some brands come with a container to sterilise the cups in. Otherwise just pop it in an old jam jar with water and microwave for 5 minutes. Keep it in the jar when you’re not using it.

 

Top Tips For Using Menstrual Cups

  • Try boiling the cup in hot water to soften it up before inserting
  • You can also leave the cup wet or use some water-based lubricant for some extra help when inserting.
  • Like all of us at some point, you might still be getting to know your anatomy so some practice using the cup might be needed. When you use it for the first time, give yourself plenty of time to try it out in a place you feel comfortable.

 

What are your thoughts on Menstrual Cups? Let us know in the comments or if you have any questions.

0 In Relationships/ Sex & Love

5 Ways To Get Over A Breakup

A breakup isn’t an easy thing to go through, whether you’re the “dumper or the dumpee.” But, it’s important to remember all things happen for a reason. While you may have been head over heels, it wasn’t meant to be, and the person for you is out there somewhere, you’ve just gotta be patient! However, there’s nothing wrong with having a little cry, it’s important to mourn, that way you’re in the best place to recover!

     1. Block Them on ALL Social Media

Seeing their name pop up in your newsfeed or seeing a selfie on your Insta feed after a breakup can be hard. We suggest hitting that block and/or unfollow button asap. They might get offended but it’s whats best for you that counts. A total detox is important in a break up. 

      2. Don’t Text Them 

After a breakup you can feel a bit lonely. You’re no longer texting 24/7, and suddenly you’re faced with watching the 3 seasons left in the show you were watching together by yourself. It’s important to realise that this is perfectly ok. It’s important to spend time with yourself and not become dependent on other people for amusement. So, no matter how much you crave their company, do not pick up the phone. Go for a walk and listen to some Dua Lipa! 

      3.Wallow 

Now we’re not talking enter a never ending state of self-pity, but it’s important to have a good wallow after a breakup. Fire on some Gilmore Girls, throw on your sweats, grab a hot water bottle, and a bucket of ice cream with some chocolate on the side, and wallow. As we said, it is important to mourn the relationship in order to move on in a healthy way. 

     4. Exercise 

Once you’ve had your wallow it’s time to focus on staying healthy. Both your mental and physical health are important to take care of after a breakup. If you’re a bit angry after the breakup, channel that anger into something productive, take up kickboxing or running. Push yourself. Your body releases endorphins when we exercise so it’s a great natural way to promote happiness. Just don’t over do it… 

     5. “Let’s be friends” 

If your ex suggests to stay friends after you breakup, and that’s something that you’re really not comfortable with, then politely say no. You shouldn’t feel obliged to stay friends just because you were once in a relationship. For most, a clean break is the best way to go, and that’s perfectly ok. What you want is important,there’s no need to please them just for the sake of it. Best to be honest from the off set! 

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 Wellness

Getting Braces: What You Need To Know

Back in January I shared my frustration on the Missy.ie Instagram that I was getting braces on my teeth AGAIN! Yes, I have already been down this road before. 10 years ago to be exact.

I’ve gotten a few questions since so I thought I would put together a bit of a braces survival guide.

Up front: they’re grand. Annoying at times. But fine. They haven’t impacted my life in any way. And I’m just obsessed with seeing the end result.

 

A bit of background about my teeth first.

I got braces initially when I was 14. And I had them for 18 months until I was 16. I had some over-crowding on my bottom teeth, but from what I can remember my top teeth were relatively okay. I also needed my bite corrected, so that meant a fab contraption across the roof of my mouth called an upper jaw expansion device. This was removed after 4 months.

So, I got my braces off in 2008 and everything was sunshine and roses. Until my metal retainer broke. I was never given an overnight plastic retainer. And after the mental one at the back of my teeth broke my Orthodontist removed the whole thing. Yes, the mind boggles. I started to notice me teeth moving in 2013. But 2015 it was starting to really annoy me. Long story short I lived abroad so I couldn’t go see my Orthodontist. I returned to Ireland last year and boy was it bad when I went in.

My top front teeth had really overlapped. One tooth was really sticking out and I had become very self-conscious of it when getting pictures taken. But the big problem was that my jaw had narrowed on one side and my top teeth had dramatically “fallen in”. The only option was to get the full “train-tracks” back on again. Sadly, Invisalign, was not an option.

So, now that I’m on my second round of braces I feel uniquely qualified to give some advice and guidance.

 

Getting Braces

Okay, so it’s not that they’re painful. Braces are just uncomfortable, at first. It’s a strange feeling. It’s a bit like going to the gym. Yes, your teeth kinda ache after, but you feel it working and know it’s worth while. I become obsessed with inspecting my teeth daily to see how the changed.

Also depending on your teeth and if they’re sticking out the braces might catch your gum. But that’s were the wax comes in. Yes, you will probably end up eating most of the wax, but it won’t kill you!

It’s also just a matter of getting used to the feeling of having them. The first few days are probably the hardest because you’re mouth feels like metal. It can be frustrating and a bit upsetting. But after a week or two (if even) you’ll be surprised how you didn’t even notice them anymore.

Braces Are “On Trend” At The Moment

Braces are very “in” at the moment. A lot of models in magazines are sporting them. So, there’s always that. And chances are you are probably not going to be the only one in your group of friends who has braces. Even if you are, so what? You’re teeth are going to be fab!

Investigate what options are open to you. I have white ceramic braces on my top teeth and normal metal braces on my bottom teeth. The white ceramic ones are amazing because I don’t think that they’re super noticeable. When I had my braces as a teen I used to select pink bands, but now I have clear ones. You can experiment with what you like.

 

Say Goodbye To Some Foods

Curry can discolour the white ceramic braces and white or clear bands. Hard foods such as apples and french baguettes are also out of the question, unless you cut them up small.

Stick to soft foods for the first few days after you get braces. I ate a lot of Weetabix, soup, mashed potato and sausage rolls for the first week. Since then I’ve been eating completely normal. Sometimes I find I just need to cut up my food a bit smaller, especially with steak, but other wise everything else is normal.

 

Think Of The End Result

Are your braces getting you down? Yep, I’ve been there. I’m also very self-conscious of them when I’m out incase I have food stuck in them. But I just remember how nice my teeth are going to look at the end. My teeth were getting me down before. So even though I don’t love having braces the idea of not fixing the issue bothered me more.

Especially when you first get them and the wire is going every which way. I know some people who had to have a tooth basically pulled down so the wire went up and then down. Not a good look, but you will be shocked at how quickly your teeth will start straightening up. My front teeth were sticking out a lot but within 4 weeks of getting my braces when had gone back in line. Now I’m just waiting for my jaw to widen.

Before getting braces I used to use an electric tooth-brush, but I found that my teeth are often too sensitive to withstand the vigorous clean. I bought a pack of medium tooth brushes in the super market. I find that they get worn down pretty quickly. So, I change my tooth-brush around every 4 weeks. A travel tooth-brush is also essential for your bag when you’re out.

 

Braces Survival Kit

  • A Travel Tooth Brush (Penneys sell one that folds up, plus a mini tooth paste)
  • Bonjela
  • Lip balm
  • Tooth Picks

The first time around I had a horrendous outbreak of mouth ulcers. My whole mouth was covered with them. Yes, it is as painful as it sounds. I ended up needing a prescription which cleared them in a few days. This time around I get the occasional ulcer, but Bonjela suffices.

If there’s a wire sticking into you go back and get it fixed. And if you break your brace for the love of God go get it fixed straight away. Not only can it be sore, but you will only set your progress back.

Over-all you will be totally fine. Yes, getting braces is a pain, but just think of the end results. It will be worth it.

If you have any questions about getting braces let me know below. Or email me!

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 Wellness

What You Need To Know About The 8th Amendment

What You Need To Know About The 8th AmendmentHi everyone, my name is Lauren and today we’re going to be discussing a very important topic that you’ve probably heard about in the news recently, well that is unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few months (which trust me, it’s been a cold few months we understand). That topic is the 8th Amendment and the call to repeal it.

So, you ask, what exactly is this fuss all about? Well that’s what I’m here to tell you. If you’ve got questions, I’ve got answers. So, let’s get started.

 

What is the 8th Amendment?

Article 40.3.3, known as the Eighth Amendment, was voted into the Irish Constitution by referendum in 1983. The amendment states: ‘The states acknowledge the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.’

(reference; www.repealeight.ie)

 

What is pro-choice? What is pro-life?

Ireland is a democratic country, so people have the right to vote and have their opinions taken into consideration when an election or referendum takes place.

Pro-choice means supporting the legal right of a woman to choose whether to have an abortion or not. Pro-choice people are in favour of repealing the 8th, and believe that it is a woman’s body, so it is her choice as to what happens to her.

Pro-life however, means opposing repealing the 8th and want it to stay in place. The Pro-life side can also be identified by the ‘Love Both’ slogan.

An important thing to remember that in times of oppression if you sit on the fence you are siding with the oppressor. This means that if you decide that you don’t have an opinion on matters like this, you are allowing for the pain and the suffering to continue. Therefore, it is so important to understand why we want to repeal the 8th.

 

Why I am pro-choice.

I am pro-choice because I believe that it is so vital we give women choice. Choice over their own bodies and essentially over their own lives. Because right now we don’t even have that. Because I have spoken to and I have read about women who have been in the terrifying situation of needing this healthcare and being denied access to it from the safety of their own country, denying her of her basic human rights. Not only is repealing the 8th supported by many people in Ireland and many politicians, it is also supported by the United Nations who have stated that Ireland’s abortion laws are cruel and inhumane. It is time for change.

 

What are the effects of the 8th amendment?

The 8th means that according to The State a woman’s life is seen as equal to the unborn. This causes many complications for pregnant woman. Because the woman’s life is equated to the unborn, it is illegal for the mother to make decisions for herself if she is pregnant, therefore she can end up in extremely difficult life-threatening situations and have no say over it.

Because abortion is illegal in Ireland, many women are forced to travel to other countries such as the UK to seek the medical help that they need to terminate their pregnancy. This is an extremely costly, painful and dangerous journey. It is approximated that an average of twelve women a day travel from Ireland to access these medical services.

A common misconception is that only unwanted pregnancies are terminated, but this is not the case. There are many reasons why a pregnancy may be terminated; a woman may not feel ready to become a parent, they may not be financially stable, the conception of the unborn may not have been by consent, the unborn has an extremely low chance of survival. The list goes on and on, but that really is none of our business. What is our business is to recognise that this is an extremely brave decision to make and we should support these women who must make it. For too long, the women of Ireland have been shamed for having abortions. Let’s end it together.

For many years, men and women have been protesting to repeal the 8th Amendment from the Constitution. This has risen from the fact that for far too long this country has turned it’s backs on the women of Ireland and their reproductive rights. And soon it will be time to make that change.

It is now being put forward that a referendum will take place on the 8th Amendment. This will decide whether the 8th Amendment will remain or be repealed.

 

When will the referendum take place?

As of now there is no set date for the referendum, but we can estimate it will take place around the end of May this year. So, if you are 18 before then, it’s important to register to vote, to have your voice heard!

UPDATE: The date for the Referendum has been set. It will be held on the 25th May 2018. Polling will open at 7am and close at 10pm.

 

How do I register to vote?

If you are eighteen years old, or turning eighteen in the next few months and would like to register to vote here’s what you need to do;

  • So first, you’re going to need an application form. To access this, you can go to www.checktheregister.ie and download the most appropriate form for your situation.
  • Print this off and fill out all the relevant information.
  • Once you’re all filled out, take your application form down to your local Garda station. Ensure you have the relevant ID too (your passport should be fine) and you’re all done.

If you would like more information on registering to vote you can read our article and visit www.citizensinformation.ie

 

What do I do now?

Well, whether you are legal to vote or not you can still help to Repeal the 8th. Talk to your friends and family, find out how they feel and let them know how you feel too. Keep your eye on the news for updates and information in the coming few weeks. It’s important that we discuss important topics like these for a safer Ireland. You can also get involved in the discussion online, but be careful – there’s lots of nasty people out there; remember to stay safe online and if you’d like to learn more about this you can read about that here.

If you have any other questions that I didn’t cover above, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

To read more by Lauren check out her blog.