Are you being cyber bullied?

Cyber bullying post

The last 20 years has seen the rise in the wonderful world that is social media, without which I wouldn’t be writing this blog post. But what happens when this amazing tool designed to connect people together is misused? Unfortunately, being concealed behind a screen seems to give people the confidence to say hurtful and direct things that would not be said in real life.

I touched on this subject a few weeks ago about being more mindful about what we say over the Internet and how written words are different from spoken ones. Leading on from this, this blog post is a practical guide for those of you out there experiencing cyber-bullying.

Cyber-bullying is when messages of threat, intimidation or upset are sent to another individual or group with the intent of causing hurt or harm. Unfortunately, wherever you go in life, there is always going to be someone who gets a little bit of pleasure from upsetting others, for whatever reason. But when this upset is coming at you through your phone or laptop, when you cannot even see the person, it can be so intimidating.

Here are a few advice points that I have written to help someone experiencing cyber bullying:

1.You do not deserve to be treated like that.

Firstly, remind yourself that you don’t deserve to be treated badly by ANYONE. That’s a general rule of life. No one has the right to make you feel bad about yourself. EVER. Tell yourself that it is not your fault that you are in this situation. If someone else chooses to say nasty things to you, that is their choice, but how you deal with the situation is totally your decision and in your control.

 

2.Don’t respond or retaliate.

This is an important one. However tempting it might be to let rip and put this bully in their place, don’t! Because A) throwing shade back makes you just as bad as them, but also B) it is not going to help the situation, it is 100% going to make it worse and more often than not, it is going to make the situation escalate. More often than not, bullies are looking for a reaction from you so they know they have upset you. Retaliating to hurtful texts is just playing into their hands.

 

3.Don’t take matters into your own hands.

In the world of social media, things very easily go viral. So don’t be tempted, instead of messaging back, to share the posts/text messages with as many people as possible to ‘make an example of the bullies.’ This is cyber bullying too. Plain and simple. Don’t sink to their level. You are better than that.

 

4.Save the evidence.

The best thing about cyber bullying is that everything is written down, meaning you can save, screenshot or print what has been said. It eliminates the ‘well, she said…’ ‘No I didn’t…’ argument because it is written down for all to see. Save the evidence of abusive messages with the date and time stamp on them if possible. If things escalate, then you have proof to support what you are saying.

 

5.Tell an trusted adult and think about your next move together.

Whatever is being sent to you, you must tell an adult. A parent, a teacher, a neighbour, anyone you trust. Not so they can sort the problem out for you but so you can talk through what you want to do together. Two heads are always better than one. It also gives you a good opportunity to calm down and talk through what has happened before you decide what to do next. Anything done in the heat of the moment is often regretted. Take some time and get someone else’s opinion.

A trusted adult on your side will also be able to give some support if you want to make your school aware of what is going on on social media or if it is a matter for the police to deal with. This obviously depends on your individual situation but it is something to consider with someone you can openly talk to.

 

6.Use the social media tools available.

As standard and as a tool to protect their users, all social media platforms have a ‘Report User’ function for you to make them aware of unwanted happenings. They can then decide if the bully needs a time out or if they have violated the platform rules and need their account disabling all together.

If this feels a bit drastic to you, you might feel like blocking the person from contacting you is a more appropriate action for your situation. You should probably do that anyway so they cannot make contact with you.

 

7.Resilience is learnt.

One positive outcome of cyber bullying is a built up resilience, which is a skill that will be super helpful later in life. If someone is sending you horrible messages, the best thing to do would really be to ignore it. As hard as that sounds, they will soon stop it if they get no reaction.

When a new message pops up from that dreaded account, don’t open it. Just delete it. Whatever it contains, it won’t be helpful or add joy to your life so you don’t need to see it. If it carries on, use a different social media platform to connect with your friends. Remove yourself from the situation. The bullies will soon get bored and move on. It can be so hard to think like this when you are in the middle of a horrible situation but I promise you, it will end at some point. Each time you ignore a message, it will strengthen you. It will get easier. It will make you laugh at how ridiculous they are. Cue funny picture about how silly online bullies are:

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You are in control because you can walk away. Or turn off your phone in this case.

 

If you know someone who is being cyber bullied, be there for them. They would really appreciate someone to talk to about it. Quite often people don’t want someone to swoop in and save the day, just knowing there is someone there so they are not going through it alone is often just the support they need.

My final piece of advice, and it is an important one, is this:

Please, please, PLEASE think about the things you are sending to other people electronically, whether it is over social media or texts or emails. Even when you are sending things to people who are your friends. How often do we see in the news that a celebrity’s sex tape has been leaked, or naked pictures that were sent to a boyfriend have ended up on the Internet for the world to see? Once it is on the Internet, it will always be on the Internet, you loose control over who sees it or shares it. Please think before sending anything so that you don’t end up in a difficult situation in the future. Please protect yourself. As sad as it sounds, people who are your friends currently may not always be your friends. If you aren’t prepared to put it on a bulletin board for the world to see then don’t send it to anyone!

Sarah x

Exam season is here!

Exam stress

Exam season is officially here! Much to the dismay of many of you out there. Exams are one of those things that you have to do, but nobody likes them and the stress of them can cause sleepless nights. Well done schooling system, bravo.

Exams were a great source of stress to me when I was at school, to the point where I would have a timetable of when to write a timetable for timetabling the revision, in a timetable. You know what I mean.

So I have compiled a list of handy tips to help you prepare for your exams. They are things I used to find helpful and I hope you do to.

Here goes:

1.Find your optimum time of day to revise. Have a think, or even a test, to decide if you revise better in the morning or the evening, or the afternoon. I revise best first thing in the morning, my concentration is better. But I have friends who can work until midnight and get lots done. I know that after 9pm, my brain turns off. Like there is some sort of a switch in there or something. So I knew I would get the most effective revision done by getting up early and doing my revision first thing in the morning.

2. Find a work space that suits the conditions you need to revise. This maybe your bedroom, or the kitchen table or your school library. Once you have decided where you are going to revise, you can tell your family that you are off to revise and you would appreciate not being disturbed! I need complete silence so I can talk out loud, meaning a shared room at home was not ideal for me and people gave me funny looks in the library at school so I decided that revising in my bedroom on my own was going to be my best option!

3. Grab everything you need before you sit down to revise. I used to get a glass of water, some snacks (preferably healthy ones but you know…) and all the books I would need. I would then, as hard as it was, put my phone in another room. My theory was that I could use my breaks to get up and have a little walk about and check my phone. Having a change of scenery made me feel a bit more refreshed and ready for more revision. Getting up and having a walk also helps to loosen your stiff body after sitting at a desk for ages.

4. Which brings me nicely to this: Remember to give yourself some relaxation time! Whatever relaxes you. A bath, watching a film, listening to music. If you work so hard that you burn yourself out, then by the time you come to sit your exams, you will be exhausted! So remember to schedule some time to switch off and relax. And don’t feel bad when you are relaxing. If you are working hard the rest of the time then you deserve a break!

5. During your whole exam/revision period, try and go to bed at a reasonable time to make sure you are refreshed for the next day, be it an exam or revision day. Having a good night’s sleep will do you the world of good. Particularly if you are having a bad day, a good night’s sleep will hopefully put you in a better mood for the next day.

6. Have a playlist on your phone or Ipod that gets you all pumped and ready to tackle your exams. Listen to it every morning or on your way to school for your exam. My suggestions of songs would be the classic Eye of the Tiger, maybe Fighter by Christina Aguilera? Or thinking out of the box, I’m Sexy and I Know It (!). Not only will the power of music make you feel more up for it, but having a dance will relax you and let’s face it, who doesn’t love having a dance as you get ready for school in a morning?!

7. It is exam day. You have done the whole lining up outside the exam hall thing, trying not to listen to your peers talking about how stressed they are (not helpful. To anyone. Why do they do it?). But here you are, looking at an exam paper, your stomach churning. First thing is first. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes and breathe slowly. Open your eyes and you are ready to go, calmly. Open your paper and read each question. Read them slowly and more than once. Sometimes your brain does this cute thing when you are stressed, it makes you read the question that you want to come up, rather than the actual words that are in front of you. How helpful. So read each question super carefully. Block out that annoying kid next to you who is already writing furiously. They will get a hand cramp soon and stop. Just concentrate on what you are doing.

8. Have faith in yourself. Find an inspiring quote, find a friend to talk to who is positive, make plans after an exam so you have something to look forward to. Whatever it takes to make you believe that you can get through the exam and produce answers to the best of your ability. That is honestly half of the battle. And it is a battle you can win! So push on young warrior and do your best. I believe in you.

If you have any advice that really helps you during exam season, feel free to tweet it to @notfallingover and I will retweet it to share with everyone. Or you can leave a comment at the Instagram page: notfallingoverblog

If any of you feeling like you need some further advice for dealing with this kind of stress, I have found a very useful website called Better Help. They specialise in connecting people with counsellors over the Internet for help, but their Advice section on the website https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/stress/ contains loads of amazing articles that are so helpful for lots of different kinds of stress. Please check it out, it is full of helpful hints and tips.

And finally, good luck to everyone who is doing exams at the moment. Let me know how you get on! You will smash them!!

You can do this

Sarah x

Be Crayjust

This weekend I had the pleasure of exploring the Mind, Body and Soul exhibition at Event City, Manchester. I had never been before so I had no idea what to expect. The event was coupled with the Yoga show and Vegan Life Live so it was guaranteed to have something to interest everyone.

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There was so much to see, I didn’t know where to start! So, obviously, I went methodically up and down the rows so no stall was missed! What can I say? I like order!

There was lots of different products and stall holders there but one lady was particularly interesting.

Sharon Corbett has set up a project called Picture This. She goes into schools and colleges using her love of photography and creative writing to get children to think about their life goals and things they want to achieve, while promoting self confidence and self identity. Sharon was so moved by the work being produced by these young individuals, she decided to make their affirmations and powerful messages into a book for all to read, named: BE CRAYJUST: REAL LIFE MOTIVATION BY REAL LIFE PEOPLE. It was amazing to read, especially when Sharon said that the children who contributed to the book were between 8 and 15 years old. The thoughts and positive messages these young people were wanting to share with the world were humorous, thought provoking, emotional but most of all, they were inspiring.

Sharon had some postcards made up for the Exhibition and I bought the selection below.

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The wording on these postcards really spoke to me and I think they have such important messages. There is a lot in the media about ‘loving yourself’ and retaliating against ‘body-shaming’ but it is quite often forgotten that you should be loving the life you are living too. In amongst the struggle of exams and homework, it is hard to feel like you have control over what your life looks like, but it is so true. You have the power to create a life that you love. Strive for a job you want to do. Work towards a qualification that enables you to have the best experiences and meet the best people. As said above, ‘Follow the path that makes you, YOU!’

‘When in darkness, seek out the light.’ resonates heavily with me. I know from experience that when life is getting you down, it is very hard to see the positive in any situation. But it is when you are at your weakest that you need to make the decision to change how you think. You have to ‘see the light’. You have to be brave enough to get yourself out of the darkness. And it is so possible. You can do it. To have a young person write such a powerful message was very moving to me.

This project is a non-profit organisation. Sharon said the money she makes from selling the books and postcards gets put back into the project, which will enable more books to be published in the future. What an honour it was to meet her.

Give the project a follow on Facebook at: @BeCrayjust

Thank you Sharon, for putting such time and effort and affection into teaching young people about self identity and positive thinking. Our school system is so focused on statistics and grades, they are not teaching young people to find themselves and work towards creating a positive life for themselves, even though currently, suicide is the biggest killer of teenagers, having overtaken road accidents, making projects like these so important.

Sarah x

 

Happy Singles Day!!

Oh excellent. It is that time of year again. The 14th of February. Valentine’s Day.

I, like some of you reading this, am single. Nowadays, I am happily single but during my teenage years, I used to get really down about it. Especially when all my friends had boyfriends and I didn’t (This may have been my own fault, I talked to boys about football which always seemed to lead to being friend zoned!). So I often wanted to spend Valentine’s Day with a duvet pulled over my head, being comforted by Mr Ben and Mr Jerry. However, fear not my single friends because this year I have put together the ultimate kit for celebrating Singles day!

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I guess a lot of these items are to pamper and spoil myself. Valentine’s Day is a day to be shown how loved you are so why can’t you show yourself how much you love you? Treating and looking after yourself is so important and people don’t do it enough.

In past years, I have got together with my other single friends to celebrate Singles Day and we have had such a laugh together, but this is fun on your own too. This plan also means you can spend the day indoors, meaning you don’t have to walk around seeing couples holding hands and being lovey dovey, and you can stay in your comfy jogging pants without being judged so win win!!

I think I will start the celebrations by doing a face pack. I love face packs, especially ones that smell good enough to eat! The ones you peel off when they are dry are the most fun, mostly because it makes me feel like I am starring in my very own episode of Doctor Who 🙂 My favourite ones are by Montagne Jeunesse. They do all sorts of flavours and cover a range of different skin types, meaning you can pick one that is just right for you. They smell amazing but more importantly, leave your skin feeling smooth and clear. Word of warning: Face packs are difficult to do in groups. Especially when your friends are as funny as mine!

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I am not a girlie girl at all but I do love painting my nails so that is what I will do next. My favourite brands are Barry M and Avon, and if I am treating myself to something a little more expensive, I always choose OPI or Ciate. In my opinion, brighter is always better! My favourite style at the moment is hot pink with a black mosaic effect over the top (Mine is from Avon).

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Once my nails are dry, I will then start to make my way through my DVD collection. On a day celebrating being single, I will probably start with laugh out loud comedies such as the Miranda series (such fun!) or John Tucker Must Die, where girls get their own back on their school Romeo. Perfect for Singles Day. Last but not least I will watch Pitch Perfect because the moral of the story is that friendship conquers all. And who doesn’t love a sing-a-long?!

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The eagle eyed amongst you will have spotted the pizza takeaway menu on the table. That is because I intend to order in pizza. A big one. With a stuffed crust and multiple toppings. A pizza that I can choose exactly what toppings I want without having to share it with anyone. I would honestly rather be singe than have to share my pizza without a fussy eater (Yes I like pineapple on my pizza, get over it!). Whoever invented the half and half pizza must have saved a million relationships. Obviously there are many different companies available but for me, Pizza Hut is the King of Pizzas. And their cookie dough pudding is amazing!

And last but not least, no pampering session would be complete without some sort of chocolatey treat! I bought the little love heart chocolates from Marks and Spencer because they are super cute and easy to share. I also thought they would be the ideal size to dip in my one true love,  Nutella. If I could, I would put Nutella on everything…ice cream, scones, digestive biscuits…weird, I know!

So there you have it. My guide to celebrating Singles Day and surviving Valentine’s Day as a singleton. I hope you enjoy whatever your plans have. Send me a picture of your Singles Day celebrations to my Twitter page: @notfallingover or to my Facebook page: Positive Thinking and Not Falling Over. Can’t wait to see them!

There is a saying that states: How can anyone be expected to love you when you do not love yourself. And it is true, learning to love yourself is one the hardest, but the best thing you will ever do, especially if you are over critical of yourself as I am. It is really worth doing things like this to make you take the time to look after yourself. Remind yourself that you are beautiful and worth unconditional love.

 

Sarah x

Please note: I am not endorsed by any of the companies or brands mentions. Those mentioned above are just my humble opinion, other brands are available.

 

Your life, Your vision

January is well known for being the month of setting resolutions, turning your life around, creating the ‘new you’.

From being little I knew how your life was supposed to be. You were expected to go to school, then to college, then to University, then get a job, then… what? I left University and was very lucky to walk into a full time job pretty much the next day. But then two years later, I woke up one morning and thought…’What am I supposed to do now?’ Like, is this it? Is this what my life is going to be like until I am ready for the grave?

It is said by pretty much every adult that the aim of school is to prepare you for life. My teachers made it very clear to me that only good exam results would do and my life would be over if I did not achieve them. I know now that teachers say this to scare the students who don’t work hard enough into action, but it had the opposite effect. It scared all of us hard working students into blind panic.

School had done very well preparing me for getting into college, how to pick my A Levels, how to handle interviews but they never prepared me for what happens after you have done all that. Do you get a job and then just wait until you are old enough to retire?  When do you get to do the fun stuff? Like travelling or go to a festival or learn how to make the perfect chocolate cupcakes?

There is a very famous story about John Lennon, the Beatles legend. John was at school one day and his teacher asked him what he wanted to be when he was older. John replied: ‘I want to be happy.’ The teacher laughed and said he had misunderstood the question. John told him that he misunderstood life.

John Lennon was right. What is the point of doing a job you hate, spending time with people who bring you down or wasting the days you have until you die?

I have never liked the idea of having a Bucket List. I thought about writing one but whenever I tried, it made me feel like I was trying to beat the clock. I always felt more focused on trying to get through the list before I kicked said ‘bucket’, rather than actually enjoying each once-in-a-lifetime activity, which kind of defeated the point of doing it!

But one day I came across something that I wish I had seen when I was about 14, when I was making my GCSE choices. I needed someone to tell me that if I made a wrong decision, my life would not be over! That something was a Vision Board. A picture plan, if you like, for what I want my life to look like. The idea is simple, you make a college of things you want to do in your life, things you want to achieve, skills you want to have, places you want to see. Anything and everything that would make your life complete. This is mine, it lives on my wall, right by my desk where I can see it every day:

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I want to be a children’s author, I want to own a house that is big enough for my relatives to stay in (I have a lot of family overseas), I want to be in a loving marriage, I want to have clear spot-less skin (that drama will be a whole other blog post!), I want to be involved with my favourite sports team, I want to be involved with my favourite charity.

How I am going to achieve all this is not clear at the moment, but that is not a problem. A vision board is a plan, not the finished product. Once you have made a board, it does not mean it is set in stone. I am always changing things on mine as more ideas come to me or I think to myself: ‘Actually, that is not important to me anymore.’ Making the vision board makes you focus on all the positive things you want to experience in your life, rather than worrying about the things that in the end, won’t actually matter.

The only golden rule for making the vision board is you must write the labels on it in the present tense: I am a successful author, I have clear skin, I have a nice car. Talking in the present tense will bring the experience to you. Saying statements like ‘I would like…’ or ‘In the future…’ keeps pushing it further and further away from you, meaning you never catch it. Sometimes I look at my vision board and say some of the notes I have written on there, to remind myself of where I am heading in my life, especially when I am having a rough day. As long as I have my plan, my vision, then I know which direction I am heading in.

I know a lot of the time during your teenage years, you can’t see past school, or past those girls who are making your life hell, or that feeling that you don’t fit in and you would rather be invisible, but this is the perfect time to start a vision board. Those days will end. You can turn those bad feelings into something positive and start deciding how you would like your life to be. You are in control of what you want your life to be like and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

I am not for one minute saying do not try and get the best exam results you can. Obviously, getting good exam results does open doors for you. By law, you have to go to school so you may as well put your all into getting the best exam results you can to make the time spent there worthwhile. And yes you have to get a job so you can earn money to live off, money is not just going to fall out of the sky and land in your hand. Unless a real money tree has been discovered since I started writing this post… But what about all the things that give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside? Start planning those extra things that will make you happy. Because at the end of the day, that is the most important thing. That you are happy. 

So get planning!

Start making your vision.

And don’t forget to send me a picture when it is finished, either through the Facebook page: Positive Thinking and Not Falling Over or via Twitter: @notfallingover.

Sarah x

New Year, New Resolutions

Ah it is January again! Time to make some plans for the upcoming year.

The theme of 2018 for me is going to be looking after myself more. I am going to make time to do the things I love the most, or things that I never quite have time for.

My first new year’s resolution is going to be to read more. There is nothing more inviting when life around you is stressful than to lose yourself in a good book. Immerse yourself in another world. Yet I always say: ‘I don’t have time to read a book.’ My favourite author at the moment is Agatha Christie, the Queen of crime herself. And, true to my word, I have already finished one of her early novels, which I started over Christmas. It was brilliant and I even found that reading a little before I went to bed made me fall asleep quicker. It gave me something else to think about instead of keeping myself up worrying about other things. I think I am on to a winner!

My second new year’s resolution is to make time to look after my wellbeing a bit more. I am not the average girly-girl, but I do enjoying having my nails done and I have a little smile to myself every time I catch a glimpse of the beautiful colours for weeks afterwards, so I am going to treat myself to more manicures this year. It might seem like a bit of an unnecessary expense but the gel varnish lasts for 4 weeks and I have something to show for it, rather than spending that much on alcohol or food or something that is consumed immediately. Besides, I always feel a bit more confident when I have nice nails!

I would also like to try having a massage, I mean, what could be more relaxing? Well, this could prove a little difficult as I have a bit of a phobia where this is concerned. I am not very keen on the thought of someone I don’t know touching me. You can see why a massage may not be as relaxing as first thought! Is this a normal fear? Anyone else understand me? So I was thinking of starting with something small, like Reflexology. I read online that it has all of the relaxing properties of a massage and stimulating certain pressure points on your feet connect to other parts of the body, meaning the whole body benefits. And there is meditation music and nice smelling oils involved. I can hear the whale calls already! I will let you know how that one goes.

And last but not least, my third new year’s resolution is to put more time, focus and energy into this blog. I can get very easily distracted by…well…anything and when I look up again it is already Monday and another week has passed me by *sigh* so I hereby vow to make this blog a priority!

I would love to hear what your new year’s resolutions are this year. What I love most about resolutions is how personal they are to everyone. Your resolution might sound silly or insignificant to someone else, but to you, it is the reason 2018 is going to stand out!

Sarah x

Picture credit: https://eu.fotolia.com/tag/%22happy%202018%22

My first blog post…

Hi everyone,

Welcome to my new blog, Positive Thinking …and not falling over…

My name is Sarah, I am 27 years young from Manchester, UK. I am a music fan, sports fan, a photographer, a crafter and a writer.

I have started this blog to try and help those of you out there who are finding life difficult. When I was 15, I felt like there was no one to reach out to, to help me navigate the trails of life, the difficulties of growing up, the dramas of having to make decisions about further education when I couldn’t even decide what to have for breakfast without a minor meltdown. Or falling over. I did a lot of that while growing up. Usually in front of the whole class, or in front of a boy I liked. Who am I kidding? I still do a lot of that now. So here I am, 10+ years later, wanting to pass on what I have learnt about life.

People freak out when you mention the phrase ‘self-help’. They imagine you are going to trick them into speaking to a psychiatrist, who will inevitably tell you that your problems are all deep seated from that day that kid in nursery ate all the fruit at snack time before you had a chance to sit down and now you have an inferiority complex. (!) But I see the phrase ‘self-help’ as exactly what it is, helping yourself. Taking steps, and a little advice, to make life a little bit easier for yourself, whether it be your school work, avoiding your friendship group arguments or learning to love yourself when people around you are saying hurtful things. I would like to use this blog to share with you all the teachings that have helped me.

Don’t get me wrong, life is hard work! But if we can have a giggle about it, and a chat about things along the way, then hopefully it will make it a bit more manageable.

I look forward to the road ahead with you all.

I have never written a blog before, so I have no idea what I am doing so bear with me! But the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages are all up and running so feel free to give them a follow, links are at the top of the page, under a lovely picture of me! Share these posts with your friends and together we will make a little community, And, who knows, maybe we won’t fall over as much! One can hope anyway 🙂

Sarah x