It’s fair to say that 2019 has been one of ‘those’ years. Brexit, political battles, a new Prime Minister, predicted recessions, the final Avengers movie... It’s all been a bit much, hasn’t it?
If you’re already feeling like you’re over this year, we’re here to help! We’ve quizzed celebrities who have been through their fair share of ups and downs this year for advice on how to hold it together when everything else seems to be going pear-shaped.
From dealing with grief to body positivity, here are some illuminating self-care tips that will help get you through this turbulent time in one, happy piece.
Feel the pain
We’ve all done it: hit a bad patch and tried to cover up or ignore our feelings. Whether we numb feelings by drinking heavily or working long hours, all this does is delay the inevitable – our emotions still come to the surface.
Former Love Island star, Malin Andersson came on to White Wine Question Time to talk about dealing with the death of her mother and baby daughter and how her saving grace has been confronting her grief head on.
“I kind of felt sorry for myself for a few weeks as you do,” she explained to host Kate Thornton. “I was like you need to get up, wake up and let's do something. Don't try and hide your emotions. Don't try and run away and numb your pain with other things and distract your attention. Ride out the pain ‘cause then you'll heal yourself. When you learn to actually feel your emotion, you'll start to heal.”
Look for alternative help
It’s very easy in our quick-fix world to rely on drugs, whether prescribed or not, to help us sort out our issues. There are, however, loads of alternatives we could be turning to, something Made In Chelsea star JP Patterson feels passionate about.
“I think it's a ticking time bomb because I think we consume so much” JP said about today’s issues on White Wine Question Time.
“I think rather than actually just taking a step back, reflecting and trying to understand it, we just revert back to the quick pill. I'm tired, I'll take a pill to make me sleep. Oh, hang on, I need to wake up, I'll pop a pill. I can't have sex, I'll pop a pill. When there are so many herbal natural remedies out there, exercise… So many obtainable things out that people to talk to and we're just not taking them.”
Do you feel stressed because you’re desperately trying to be someone you’re not? You’re not alone. Even TOWIE star Bobby Norris, with his 813K followers, has struggled with being his true self, but has learnt over the years not to care so much.
“I used to care so much what everyone really thought of me,” he explained.
As Bobby said, you’ll never have everyone liking you, so it’s better for your mental health to be your true authentic self, rather than a fake.
“Over the last couple of years, I've learned to love me that little bit more, and accept if you don't like me, that's just fine,” said Bobby. “I'm not going to go home and cry into my Egyptian cotton pillowcase because you can't please all the people all the time”
Remind yourself why it’s good to be alive!
We can all get bogged down in our day-to-day life and forget about the things that really make us happy. This is why Kristin Hallenga, founder of cancer charity Coppafeel, lets her staff have one day a year to go and do something that reminds them why being alive is so darn great.
“I love what they do,” she told Kate on White Wine Question Time. “Sometimes it's literally just like I went for lunch with my mum because why I like being alive is that I have this great relationship with my mum. Or they went to a museum that they'd been meaning to go to... “
Try it yourself. Today, do something that really makes you smile and reminds you why life is so good.
Don’t suffer in silence
The worst thing you can do if you’re going through a troubled time is to bottle it all up. Talking to someone about your experience can be the start to finding your way out of it.
Benidorm actress Julie Graham opened up about her experience of domestic abuse on White Wine Question Time and said the best way to deal with it is to talk about it.
“The main thing you've got to do is tell somebody,” she told Kate. “You isolate yourself because you're ashamed of telling people, because you're ashamed of what they might think about you. If you can just share it even with one person, then it can start a whole ball rolling of finding a way out of it.”
While Julie’s situation was extreme, the same applies to anything that’s worrying you. If you don’t have a close friend to confide in, visit MIND to get help and to find a therapist near you.
Give back to others
If you’re trying to give yourself a boost, look no further than volunteering. According to the NCVO, 77% of volunteers say that it has improved their mental health and well-being. This is something Malin Andersson really identifies with.
“I was just thinking let me use all of this pain and suffering I've been through and let me try and reach out to people and let me help them now instead of trying to hold onto some Insta famous career.” she said.
“I've kind of done it and that's been the biggest part of therapy and healing for me by helping other people.”
If you’d like to volunteer, visit the NCVO site, which has lots of great tips on where and how to start.
It’s good to talk…
If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember a very famous BT advert starring Bob Hoskins, who reminded us that ‘it’s good to talk’. In an age where we’re more likely to What’s App than pick up the phone for a conversation, it’s something we overlook - but never estimate the power of a good chat on the blower. It allows you to get everything off your chest and connect with a real person down the line.
Emma Gannon, podcaster and author, told Kate on White Wine Question Time that she actually gets anxiety when it comes to phone calls, however, she appreciates one special regular call she has…
“Me and my dad talk on the phone every other day. For ages,” she said. “It's very nice. It shows that someone is thinking of you. And, actually I feel better as well.”
Honesty is always the best policy
It’s a cliché, but for a reason – as it’s pretty much true. Whether it’s being more honest with a partner, not posting such ‘glowing’ social media updates or telling your kids the real reason the cat is no longer at home, research has found that honesty does actually make us feel better. In one study, it was found that those participants that didn’t lie over a ten-week period, felt better physically and mentally, while their relationships also improved.
Ackley Bridge actress Sunetra Sarker knows this only too well. Her co-star and best mate Jo Joyner has always been really honest with her, which is something she really appreciates.
“Her kindness is her honesty,” she revealed. “Sometimes she can be really blunt and say it like ‘ouch’. But actually, what she's saying is what you need to hear.”
To hear more words of wisdom from our White Wine Question Time guests, listen to the latest episode below.