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Missguided Mental Health Awareness Week – #ByTheWayItsOkay

For Mental Health Awareness week, we created the #ByTheWayItsOkay campaign. We teamed up with influencers and experts to answer your questions on Instagram. Whether you struggle with your mental health on a daily basis, or you have found yourself in a low place due to lockdown, we wanted to let you know that you aren’t alone. From skin insecurities to social media comparisons, find useful tips and advice below.

#ByTheWayItsOkay – Skin Confidence

As part of our #ByTheWayItsOkay campaign, we caught up with Lou Northcote. Lou is an acne positivity activist currently working in the fashion industry. She started the #FreeThePimple campaign, which soon became a global trend, encouraging people to post photos of their bare skin, spots and ‘imperfections’.

#ByTheWayItsOkay Lou Northcote

As part of our #ByTheWayItsOkay campaign, we caught up with Lou Northcote. Lou is an acne positivity activist currently working in the fashion industry. She started the #FreeThePimple campaign, which soon became a global trend, encouraging people to post photos of their bare skin, spots and ‘imperfections’.

Q: All I see on social media is perfect skin, who can I follow on social media to make me feel more normal?

A: My Instagram is @LouNorthcote, I post makeup-free high definition images of my skin and of my acne. In addition, you can follow @FreeThePimple_. I use this platform to post images of all different people, showing their skin, acne and scarring to prove that there are people out there that suffer with their skin. I know how hard it seeing photos of perfect skin all over social media, but that’s not the truth.

Q: I’m really self conscious without makeup on around my partner. Any advice?

A: I have been with my boyfriend for 6 years, he has seen the ups and downs of my skin. When I first met him I was wearing makeup and then I remember the first time I stayed at his and took my makeup off, I apologised for my skin. We should never have to apologise for our skin. It’s easier said than done, but if you are with someone that has negative thoughts or comments about it, then you aren’t with the right person.

Q: I always find myself editing my photos, how can I be brave and get to grips with my real skin?

A: Have the guts to take selfies makeup free, you don’t have to post them, just build up your confidence. Choose one that you really like and go for it. People are kinder than you think. It’s like ripping off a band aid.

Q: What’s you advice on dealing with anxiety and acne?

A: This is why I created #FreeThePimple. I used makeup as my mask, I would avoid nipping to the shop which was 5 minutes down the road because I didn’t want to apply makeup for that short period. I just wouldn’t leave the house without it. It’s not easy and we all have our down days. It takes small steps, start being makeup free around the people you feel comfortable with (friends or family), then just go for a walk. You may think that people are staring, but they aren’t!

#ByTheWayItsOkay – Sex & Relationships

Paisley Gilmour the Sex & Relationships editor at Cosmo UK took over Missguided Instagram to answer your questions about how our love life can affect mental health. If you need a little help or advice, take a look at her tips below.

#ByTheWayItsOkay Paisley Gilmour

Q: What’s your advice on how to cope with long distance relationships in lockdown?

A: If you’re separated from your partner, you’re pretty much in a long distance relationship. Make sure that you are making the most of social apps. Don’t just stick to Whatsapp, set aside quality time. Have a Zoom call, Facetime or video call to actually chat to one another and find out how you are really feeling. Have fun like you would in real life! Play games, make playlists for each other or send care packages.

Q: How to deal with a breakup that’s happened in lockdown?

A: It might seem like the worst time ever, but actually you have time alone, you can focus on yourself and you can just do things that you wanna do. There is no right way, everyone is coping differently. If you wanna sit and wallow and eat, that’s absolutely fine. Just remember to be kind to yourself. Think of a breakup as an opportunity to learn from the experience.

Q: Tips on coping with loneliness during this time?

A: For anyone feeling lonely, if you are the type of person that loves a call with your friends or a video quiz, make sure you plan ahead and schedule loads of time in with them. Then all you have to do is look in your calendar and you have lots of fun things to look forward to. Equally if you are an introvert and you don’t love that stuff, it’s important to work out what you like doing and make time for that! It doesn’t have to be writing a novel or learning a language, it could be re-watching your favourite show or working your way through a movie list. If loneliness is really impacting your life, make sure you reach out to friends, family or a mental health professional.

Q: What are the signs of someone being bad for your mental health?

A: If you are concerned that someone in your life may be having a negative impact on your mental health, it’s worth sitting down and really thinking about the dynamic of the relationship. If you are experiencing emotional abuse or gaslighting, you do need to reach out to a charity such as Women’s Aid that can help you. Often in situations like that, it’s really hard to let go and that’s not your fault. Speak to someone and do no that it is possible to move on and form fulfilling healthy relationships in the future.

#ByTheWayItsOkay – General Mental Health

We spoke to The Completion Coach AKA Wendy to get some top tips on managing your mental health. She is a Mindset & Manifesting Change Coach, who spends her days offering support, advice and life coaching to her clients.

The Completion coach

Q: I feel lost and stuck, I don’t know what my passions are or what I want to do in life

A: Start treating yourself a way a friend would treat you. We don’t ask ourselves the way we ask other people. Grab a notebook and answer the following questions ‘what do I really enjoy?’, ‘what would I like to bring into my life’ and ‘what did I used to enjoy that I don’t do any more?’. Once you start doing that, you can pick out similarities and start to make a path for yourself.

Q: My confidence is really low from being cheated on in the past, what’s you advice?

A: It’s normal to think that way, the reaction is always “what’s wrong with me?” or “am I not good enough?”. We need to come away from that and think about yourself. It was probably the case that you had a few uncertain feelings anyway, you were accepting behaviour because you wanted the relationship to work. You would never tell a friend it was their fault that they were cheated on, so why do it to yourself? Work on being your own best friend, cheer yourself on and think of the amazing things you offer and what you have to give to the world.

Q: Do you have advice for people that overthink?

A: I feel you! It’s so easy to overthink everything, from exam results to relationships. Our mind serves to protect us and sometimes it thinks it’s protecting us by giving us the worst case scenario. Your overthinking can be a superpower though, it is just your imagination. Try channelling your overthinking into something more exciting such as your future or your passions. Even creating a visionboard of the clothes you wanna wear, the house you wanna live in or the holiday you want to take. This can trigger your imagination to more exciting and uplifting things instead of the negative.

Q: Tips on making friends as an adult? It seemed so much easier when I was younger…

A: So many people really struggle with this. As an adult we meet more people at work, but if you aren’t meeting the right people there, focus on your interests. What events could you go to where you can meet people with common interests? Be brave and go to things on your own. Think about how approachable you are, do you make eye contact and smile at people? Just be open to new conversations.

#ByTheWayItsOkay – Social Media

Rex Adams is a model, actress and mental health activist. She uses her Instagram platform to speak openly and freely about mental health, the effect it has had on her as a person, as well as her role in the modelling industry. She offered advice on how to use social media in the best way to protect your mental health.

#ByTheWayItsOkay Rex Adams

Q: Social media is making me feel bad about my body, should I avoid it completley?

A: You need to work out what’s right for you. If you find yourself addictively reflecting on those images and comparing them to your own, then you should avoid it until you know that you are strong enough to know that it isn’t a reflection on you. My advice is always to remove yourself from anything that makes you feel like you aren’t enough.

Q: I feel so behind in life compared to people on social media, what should I do?

A: Remind yourself that people very rarely post their lowest points. Instagram is a reflection of someone’s singular side as apposed to all of their sides. You must not punish yourself for something that is not based on reality. Social media is based on a fragment of reality, not the whole thing. Keep going at your own pace.

Q: I can’t help but compare my body to the girls my boyfriend sees on social media, how do I stop that?

A: Comparing your body is pointless. Your partner should be someone who encourages you for who you are as a human being through your ups and downs and secondly, social media is a place of distortion. A huge percentage of people are consumed by a trend or ideal body type they see online. Your body, aside from the aesthetics is perfect because it works in the way you need it to work. Bless yourself with compliments instead of comparisons.

Q: I feel like I’m following the wrong accounts and it puts me in a bad place. Who should I follow?

A: If you recognise that these accounts are putting you in a bad place, congratulations, you’ve taken the first step to understanding that something doesn’t make you feel good about yourself. Why not try searching a hashtag of something that is relatable to you and makes you feel positive. This will lead you to accounts that portray how you want to feel. A few accounts that I would recommend for lots of positivity are @_Nelly_London and @Sophie Lee. These women are so body positive and they share their journeys with us every day.

If you or someone you love is struggling with your mental health, take a look at our list of helplines and action lines.