Category Archives: Love, Health and Beauty

My Story: The Mirena Coil Implant

 

There are many different reasons for and against the use of hormonal contraceptives and, given the opportunity, many will throw their opinions at you until you’re left reeling and unable to tell left from right. I think, aside from personal accounts, people should refrain from bashing others with their medical opinions and leave a lot of the talk to doctors, but when it comes to personal experience, the testimony of others can be incredibly useful.
I decided last year, for a combination of reasons, to get the Mirena hormone coil implant as it seemed the best suited to my needs after thorough research online and talking at length with my doctors. I knew the process of getting used to a piece of plastic in my lady parts wouldn’t be easy, but it seemed worth it for the peace of mind and freedom it could offer.
Here is my experience!

My Reasons

For a number of health reasons, me and my reproductive system aren’t the closest of friends. I have always suffered from Dysmenorrhoea (the fancy medical word for “Extremely F***ing painful periods”) and so decided after many years to take steps to naturally stop my periods, without completely writing off the possibility of children someday down the line.
I researched the many kinds of hormonal contraceptives available to me and tried a couple, sadly to no avail. The Mirena turned out to the be the one most likely to give me the relief I needed to lead a happy life.

The Run Up

After multiple appointments with my doctor to settle upon the Mirena, I was booked in for the routine sexual health check up required before getting a coil.
As I had never had any appointments regarding my nether regions before, this was a rather awkward and eye-opening experience for me. I almost chickened out repeatedly, not wanting the embarrassment of a doctor going anywhere near my “hoo ha”, but I realised the only one making a fuss out of it was myself – these doctors spend almost all day every day just inches from a vagina, so mine wasn’t anything new to them.
The screening itself wasn’t really a problem when I calmed myself down. The only scary part was when they said they would text me with the results, and only to worry if I didn’t hear back… And guess who was left for 6 weeks thinking she had an STI because the hospital forgot to text her…. Yup.
You can imagine my relief when they finally told me I was fine after that little doosy!

The Big Day

So, I was told to go about my day as usual before the appointment l and just to take a painkiller a short while before going in and was warned that during and after the appointment I would experience “mild discomfort” and may want to rest for the day.
In reality, the appointment was genuinely the most painful experience of my 22 years, and that includes a head injury I sustained only 2 months before my Mirena insertion. As it turns out, I have an “abnormally small” cervix which meant that it was a whole new level of pain for little ol’ me, especially as the Mirena is mostly recommended for women that have had children.
Just the word “Speculum” makes me unconsciously cross my legs and gives me shudders, but nothing can sum up the bizarre feeling of the little T shaped device popping into place. Six months down the line and I still recall every detail of the fascinating and sickening sensation.
The insertion is kind of like an injection without a needle. The Mirena is on the end of a long stick with a syringe style plunger on the end that pushes the coil into place and then cuts the threads to length as it releases the device.
For all the discomfort, the procedure itself only lasted about 10-15 minutes, plus a 5-10 minute lie down to ensure I didn’t faint from standing up too fast.
The nurses were all incredibly sweet and helpful, ensuring I was safe and as at ease as possible during the whole ordeal.
Pain scale: 8 1/2 out of 10

The First Week

So I left my appointment with my friends, feeling pretty fragile and very queasy. After almost throwing up in my friend’s car from the pain and my body’s shock to the sudden change, I got home and things went from bad to worse.
Keeping in mind that I already suffer from Dysmennorhoea and the strain period pain puts on my daily life, the pain that flooded over me was 100 times worse than any cramps I had suffered in my life.
My boyfriend bundled me inside and wrapped me up as I fought the urge to black out from the sheer agony I was in. I felt as though someone was beating my uterus with a whisk made of fire and scrambling my insides. It was intense and I kept waking up, tossing and turning all night long.
The next day, I could hardly walk. I had to call my work and explain the amount of pain I was in and they kindly let me stay home. It was so rough.
Pain Scale 9 1/2 out of 10

The First Month

I remained in consistent pain for the whole of the first month after the appointment. I had to keep a chair at work to sit on when I wasn’t doing anything and practically lived constantly hopped up on cocodamol just to make it through the day.
It was intense, but I knew what I was in for given my health and my tiny frame. I survived through work, Christmas, travelling and just focussed on staying active and living life as normally as possible until the pain eased off.
When you get the coil, your body may react to the device and try to expel it, due to it being a foreign object inside your body, so pain is normal.
Pain Scale: Constant 6-7 out of 10

6 Months Later

It is 6 months to the day since I got the Mirena coil put in and, while I cannot say the process has been easy, it has been worth it.
In the 6 months I have had the coil, I have had a total of 6 accumulated weeks off my period. No joke. Due to the hormone release, your body has to figure out what to do and get used to the chemicals rushing around in your system and that takes time. The upside is that, while the bleeding is definitely an inconvenience, the pain I get from my periods has lessened significantly and my body is already starting to adjust and I am noticing my periods seem to be wearing off and getting a little shorter in between the growing breaks off.
occasionally I still get the odd twinge from it and pains here and there, but nothing as bad as what I was feeling every month before I got the coil.

Advice and Heads Up

  • When you get the coil inserted, you must return for a check-up 6 weeks later to ensure the device is in the correct position to work, so you will need to use other forms of contraception until that point, such as condoms, patches or the pill.
  • Obvious, I know, but important: The coil doesn’t protect you from any STIs, so be safe!
  • Try not to be too reliant on painkillers as you can build up a tolerance to them and, in some cases, get addicted or damage your organs. I know they seem like an easier option, but I felt a lot worse in the times I was using them too much.
  • Don’t let the pain scare you out of it if you really need it. I have decided to be honest about my experience because I wished I had been told, but the impact this device has had on my life in incredible and I feel a lot better knowing I could be on my way to getting rid of painful periods for up to 5 years and the knowledge that I am almost completely safe from accidental pregnancy.
  • Your boobs may get noticeably bigger. Thank you, Mirena!
  • BOOK TIME OFF WORK FOR AFTER. I was very lucky I had such understanding bosses who let me take a couple days to feel better, but do yourself a favour and make sure you get yourself at least a day or two to rest before going back, even if you are fine after, just so you don’t over exhaust yourself.
  • Make sure you talk to your doctors about the options you have available to you, to find the contraceptives that suit your needs best, as we are all very different.
  • Carry your Mirena patient card with you at all times. I didn’t know this until recently myself, but I was informed that the reason you are given the card isn’t just to remind you 5 years down the line to replace it, but also for medical reasons. Say you get into an accident and are rushed to hospital, if you have the card the medics will know that you have the Mirena instantly, as the device can show up looking like shrapnel in an X-Ray and it could get removed or cause issue with treatment.
  • If, like me, the Mirena causes heavily prolonged periods, make sure you talk to your doctor about the risk of Anemia and possibly invest in some iron supplements, as you don’t want to have to deal with an iron deficiency from bleeding on top of getting used to a coil!

I will be updating this post the further along I get into my experience with the coil and hopefully adding some testimonies from other people about their Mirena stories!
Thank you very much and I hope this has been useful for you!
Please join in the conversation in the comments below and over on Facebook! Xx

Claddagh rings – The IRL relationship status!

Today, when we meet someone new that we’re romantically interested in, one of the first 12788431_971115229639817_884393266_othings we are likely to do is go on Facebook (or Twitter, Instagram – even Linked in, if we’re really desperate) and check their Relationship Status for the all clear that we want to see before we pursue a relationship. Facebook makes it so much easier to do that harmless snooping we need.

But what about BEFORE the invention of social media, where all we had to go off was the presence, or lack therof, of a wedding ring? There were no telltale signs short of just asking the person outright (which can get kind of embarrassing in some circumstances) or asking around with friends or family.
That’s why I love the Claddagh ring so much. Named after the Irish town of its origin, the claddagh ring is designed for the exact purpose of displaying a person’s “romantic status” for the world to see.
The design includes two hands holding a heart that is adorned with a crown. The hands symbolize friendship and support, the heart represents love and the crown means loyalty. These are great little details, but the really interesting part comes down to the WAY it is worn!

12776841_971115212973152_692921021_oJust by looking at the orientation on the hands, you can quickly tell if the wearer is single (or at least not currently exclusive with the person they are seeing).
When a claddagh ring is worn on the right hand, with the heart pointing out (away from the wearer’s palm) then they are essentially single. It means that their heart isn’t taken, so that could mean they are not dating anyone or aren’t yet exclusive with them.
Similarly, if it is worn on the right hand with the heart pointing IN, then their heart definitely isn’t up for grabs, as they’ve either given it to someone else or are keeping it to one side ready for them (i.e dating somebody already).
When the claddagh ring is worn on the left hand, it’s a whole lot more serious! If they wear it on their left hand with the heart pointing out, then they are engaged to be married (I always chuckle because it’s almost like the ring is going “Hey, try get me now before it’s too late!”) and if it is on the left hand and pointing inwards the wearer is married (or in a serious committed very long-term relationship – we don’t have to go by tradition here!).

Claddagh rings are an Irish tradition, but it is so common for people without Irish herritage to wear them too. I’m not aware of any Irish in my family, and I’ve worn my Claddagh ring for the last 7 years, with only a few short breaks when it’s accidentally gone through the wash or been misplaced for a couple weeks!
If you’re interested in getting your very own claddagh ring, here is the particular design I have worn for the last 7 years

And, if you are interested in some of the flashier rings, here are a few of my favorites:

I hope you have enjoyed this quick random piece! If you are interested, come and connect with us on the Learn With Amy Facebook and Twitter, join me on my own personal Twitter and also, check out my YouTube channels! Xx

Why Korean food should be on your menu

butternutWhether you are a student, living alone, living with others, bringing up a family or, y’know, just need to eat, we can all agree that eating well these days is more effort and expense than ever. We’ve become so used to being fed garbage food that claims to be good for us, while slowly poisoning us with colours, flavours, preservatives and other chemicals we need not ingest. It is alarming how we are becoming less and less aware of the contents of our food with every year and so many people don’t even beg the question of what they are putting in their bodies.

No wonder the modern world is plagued with cancer, obesity and other illnesses that would have been rarely seen once upon a time.
Now, I could go on about the evils of big corporations and how they manipulate their products in order to control their consumers, but I’m more interested in helping you find solutions.

Now, as you have probably come to realise from the blog, I am a massive lover of Korean food. While being generally quite enjoyable to make, it also has other benefits:

Flexible

I am yet to find a Korean recipe that has one fixed method of preparation. Everyone seems to have their own little tricks and variations on the recipes that I have not come across a single recipe that I haven’t enjoyed.
There is room to play with your ingredients and method that you have so many ways to make your recipe suit your needs.

Relaxing

IMG_0456.JPGI know in our “all go” age we rarely stop to enjoy the process of doing day-to-day tasks but, speaking as someone who is often in a rush and eager to finish the task at hand, I find Korean cooking incredibly relaxing.
There’s nothing quite like the meditative state I slip into while rolling Hobakjuk balls or the calm of chopping the vegetables for kimchi. I love it and I feel all the better for taking that little bit of time to enjoy the moment.

Delicious

Korean food is, in my opinion, the tastiest food there is. I have never been as satisfied as I am when I eat Korean food as it is the perfect balance of taste, texture and temperature.
The grilled meats are to die for and the vegetable dishes have given me a love for some vegetables that I had hated for 20 years!

Healthy

As well as tasting incredible, so many Korean dishes are actually really good for you. despite loving their salt, Korean food is some of the best you can have. Kimchi, a side dish that is eaten with almost every meal, has recently gained recognition around the world as a super food that is known to be insanely good for you.
Also, if you prepare your meals from scratch, you are also aware and in control of what goes into your food, such as salt and sugar.

Cheap

11696527_850932034991471_1306743554_nPossibly the biggest draw of all, Korean food is generally very cheap to make. I can make easily enough Hobakjuk (Butternut squash rice porridge) to last me a week for £5 or less, because the recipe is so simple. And £5 can easily keep you in supply of kimchi for weeks (or months, depending on how much you eat).
Korean food is such an easy hobby for me because it’s so fantastically cheap, which also makes it accessible for anyone. What money you could spend on instant noodles and burgers that offer little to no nutrition, can go an incredibly long way with the right recipes and storage.

So, there are just a few of the benefits of cooking and enjoying Korean food. If you have any questions on preparation, ingredients or storage of Korean food or want some recipe suggestions to suit you, I will be more than happy to help!
I will have more Korean recipes coming very soon! In the meantime, have an excellent day and take care! Xx

Do I have An Ugly Voice?!?!?! The truth about what you hear

"Is THAT my voice?!"
“Is THAT my voice?!”

As I’m expanding Learn With Amy onto YouTube, I have discovered one big problem that has slowed my progress: I hate the sound of my voice on recordings. And not just video! I hate my voice on the phone, when singing, but just particularly badly when recording video. But why is that?

Well, what affects me is the same thing that most people experience when they hear themselves recorded. I hate my voice because it isn’t the same voice that I hear in my head when I speak! it just isn’t! It is so far removed from the voice I have had for as long as I can remember.
But can it really be the case that my voice sounds smooth, rich and buttery until I’m placed in front of a microphone? Do my vocal chords decide to have a dance party in there? Nope!
I have done some research and it turns out that the voice that we hear isn’t actually the voice anyone else hears! We hear a very different and unique “version” of our own voices that no-one else in the world hears.
When we speak, a lot of what we are hearing isn’t the sound that comes out of our mouths and bounces around the room until it reaches our ears, but more the vibrations that come from speaking resonating in the bones of our skull. That’s why we often hear our own voice as fuller than our own.
BUT! It isn’t necessarily a case of your real voice sounding BAD, but more a case of you not being used to hearing it! Anytime that we speak without a microphone, we hear one voice that we have grown to accept as ours, and when something challenges that we are going to label it as “weird”.

Want to hear your own voice for real? Then get two large pieces of cardboard (about A4 size) and place them against your jaw, in front of your ears, then speak out loud. The voice you hear is your “true voice”, the voice everyone else knows and loves!

So, like me, you are probably going to jump to the conclusion that your voice is ugly, horribly annoying and too bad to ever be heard on a microphone again! But, fear not, because it is not as bad as you imagine. Go easy on yourself because it isn’t all that bad. How many people do you know with really “ugly” voices? Not many, I’m guessing.

So accept that, while your voice doesn’t sound just like you imagine, it isn’t as bad as you think it is either.

So, what do you think of your voice? Is there anything you want to improve upon? I’ll be doing some research and asking some people for their advice on what to do to strengthen your voice and get you the pipes you really want to hear!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article! Make sure you join us over on Facebook and Twitter! Xx

Bye-bye Grease! Taking back my hair

10432552_1013181298695894_8304708746044163524_nEver since I hit that tender age where you suddenly feel super self conscious, I have had this strong aversion to having greasy hair. Even now, a more confident adult, I still feel this (literally) sickening upset whenever I have greasy hair. I feel dirty, ugly and ashamed of myself. I know it doesn’t make any sense, but it is a feeling that I have not managed to shed after 10 years of trying.

In recent years, I have found the problem worsening as my hair was becoming greasier even faster. I got pulled into a vicious cycle of my hair getting greasy and having to wash it as smaller and smaller intervals.
I read online and spoke to people about it and the only answer I could find seemed to be to wash my hair less regularly. WHAT?! NOT AN OPTION! I couldn’t just let my hair get greasy and embrace it. So, I did a little research and learnt why my hair was getting greasier faster and faster.
While stripping your scalp of grease can cause your hair to get greasy faster, it is also the fact that the chemicals in shampoos (even “natural” ones) can irritate your scalp, making your body think that it is being attacked and releases more grease to sooth your scalp.
Now, I can go about 3-7 days without my hair getting greasy, unless I’ve worked out a lot or have had particularly sweaty shifts at work. “How?!” You may ask.
The answer probably sits in the back of your pantry, waiting for you!
It’s Baking soda!
I began washing my hair with baking soda a month ago and I’m so much happier with my hair now. In addition to that, I started rinsing my hair with apple cider vinegar and that only made things better!
Photo 09-12-2014 16 12 06This simple, and REALLY CHEAP, switch has made a world of difference. My hair is soft, smooth, easy to style, and – best of all – not greasy! This change has only brought good things – the only thing I miss about shampoo is the nice choice of smells and also the bubbly lather that you don’t get (unless, you make a doosy and mix the baking soda and vinegar at the same time) with this method.

So, how do I wash my hair? It’s really simple!

In a plastic cup, put 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda in with about 1 teaspoon of water. Then, in another plastic cup, put about 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a cup. Then (this is a very useful trick) get a little bit of the vinegar on a finger or spoon and use it to stir the baking soda mix. Doing this will cause a chemical reaction and make the baking soda fizz up a little bit, just like the volcano projects kids do in school, this will make it a tad easier to work the baking soda through your hair, as it’s much easier to work with a foam than a liquid that’s more likely to wash out of your hands as you try to get it on your head.
So, thoroughly wet your hair and then work the foamy baking soda mix through all of your hair. Really make sure you get it well onto your scalp – just don’t rub it in so hard that you snap your hair!
Let is soak into your hair for a couple minutes and then thoroughly rinse out.
When you have rinsed out all of the baking soda, wet your hair again and then pour the vinegar through all of your hair. Then let it sit for a minute or two and then rinse it all out.
Your hair may smell a TINY bit like vinegar, but you can easily spray a little perfume on to cover it up – but, I happen to love the smell of vinegar, so I don’t mind!

Photo 24-03-2015 11 56 31
Result!

So, there you have it, a cheap and very effective way of washing and maintaining your clean and grease-free hair!
If you have tried this method or you want to share your comments, suggestions or questions, please share them with us in the comments, or join us on Facebook and Twitter! Xx

Remember that this is purely based off my own personal experience. If you find that this doesn’t work for you, don’t continue this method. We’re all different and our bodies respond differently to things. Always use your common sense and take care!

Random Acts of Kindness

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We’ve all seen videos on Youtube and Facebook about people going out and doing random acts of kindness for others. They fill us up with that warm fuzzy feeling as unsuspecting people are shown gestures of kindness and good will. It’s really easy to watch these videos, but a lot of people don’t feel like they have what it takes to actually DO this.
Well, my sister and close friends have taken it upon ourselves to spread the love and bring joy to people’s day on a regular basis!

Inspired by videos of these kinds of events from big-hearted people like Ryan Higa and his crew, who regularly upload videos of themselves doing kind gestures as a way to inspire others to do the same. They give toys and flowers to people at Christmas and they went around their city giving food to the homeless for Thanksgiving. Popular Viner Thomas Sanders went around shopping mall for “Givemas” giving out gift cards to stores in that mall to happy customers and staff. These people are great examples of how selflessness can be both rewarding and really fun! These are the kinds of people who inspired us to start out own style of Random Acts of Kindness.

11041481_790157151068960_1238396688_nOne day a couple of summers ago, my sister and I traveled to a nearby town for a day at the beach together. It was nice – We drew pictures in the sand, paddled in the water and had a laugh before realising that we were surrounded, both on land and in the water, by literally hundreds of jelly fish and decided to flee the beach.
Wandering around and seeing a mixture of moods from passers-by. Some were loving the summer fun and enjoying the company of their families, while others were stressing out, sulking and generally being moody. We decided, as we were already having a great time, to do something nice to brighten other’s days a bit more. We put our heads together and decided that food and drinks were off the cards due to the insane numbers of seagulls that swoop at anything remotely edible and giving money just seemed weird, so we’d settle for something adults and children alike could just enjoy – Balloons!
After hurrying to the nearest card shop, we set off to deliver our handful of balloons to some lucky people.
Honestly, this first experience opened up so much for us. It was a great feeling to come into someone’s life, give them a gift and just let them go with a big smile on their faces. We met some absolutely lovely people and had some truly moving and enlightening conversations. And, just with balloons, we actually made a positive difference to the lives of others!

With that first experience a great success, we were hungry to do it again.

Valentine’s Day: Taking it a step bigger

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Valentine’s Day is known as a day of celebrating your love and putting on displays of affection for the world to see, but this day can be a huge downer for a lot of people with no partner and a glum attitude. In honesty, I meet more people who are miserable than happy on Valentine’s Day and that is because of the hype and weight put on having a partner. It reinforces the idea that having a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife should be your top priority and not having one is somehow a failure on your part. That can seriously bring you down and Valentine’s Day can be extra bad.
My best friend, little sister and I decided that we were going to take a stand against this yearly downer and go out and spread the love for everyone!
1939724_583856765032334_271925713_nOn Valentine’s Day 2014, we went out armed with ‘Free Hug’ banners and 20 balloons.
Due extremely high winds due to the huge storm that was pelting Britain at the time (hands up if you remember #UKstorm) we moved our post indoors and instead we targeted the students and faculty of our local university!
Shy students didn’t respond too openly to the offer of free hugs, but the balloons when down (or up) a treat! We managed to brighten many days, meet some very nice people and even confused a business lecturer when half his class turned up with balloons tied to their desks!
It was a fantastic day and the three of us had a great time seeing so many smiling faces! It brought us three closer together, introduced us to some nice people and brightened the days of many people!

Despite the success of that day, due to people getting jobs, my best friend moving back to Japan, lots of changes and such, the next time we had the availability to do another Random Act of Kindness was the following Valentine’s Day 2015.
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Due to my best friend still being in Japan, we still needed another to join us. Funnily enough, a few months after Valentine’s Day 2014, my sister made friends with a girl whom we later discovered, when we happened to talk about Valentine’s Day, we had given a balloon to on that day and then had met by chance later! This friend came along to help us out this year and the tradition continued for a second year! Armed with about 25 balloons and a handful of silk roses, the three of us wondered the town.
Due to it being a Saturday, the high street was packed full of families, couples and children of all ages. Honestly, the minute we stepped out with all the balloons ready to go we were mobbed by kids who wanted their own. Seriously, pre-teens are scary!!
The first child we were moved to give a balloon to was a small toddler whose parents asked us where they could buy their daughter a balloon like ours. I wish I could have captured the expression of true delight when we responded by handing over the big heart-shaped balloon that their little one had been so keen on and told them it was their’s for free.
We met a lot of lovely people along the road and we were really well received by everyone we encountered.

The overwhelming feeling I was left with was that it is so easy to make a significant difference to a person’s day (and thus a person’s life) simply by doing a nice gesture as simple as giving them a balloon.

How YOU can try it!

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So, now that you know that it’s actually very easy to do random acts of kindness, there’s nothing holding you back from trying it for yourself. This kind of thing is fantastic for helping the people around you, bringing friends together and practicing the very healthy activity of giving.
In honesty, it is a LOT easier to do it with a group of friends with whom you can feel comfortable around and whom you can chat to and enthuse with. Going around doing these activities does cause a physical reaction of nervousness and it takes a lot of energy, so having friends with you will help to keep your energy up.
There are so many ways that you can try this out for yourself, but sometimes you need some ideas to get you going:
Giving fun things: Balloons, toys for children, gift cards, second-hand video games, etc
Motivational: Positive/inspiring sticky notes, a letter to a stranger, a supportive and inspirational letter to give to a parent to give to their child, Random compliments, etc
Helpful: Giving food or drink to the homeless, a group trip volunteering, a fun charity event, visiting elderly neighbours, etc.

Remember to be creative in your ideas. My crew plan to expand on the original balloon idea for next time, so keep thinking and try to think of some original, helpful and fun ideas. Remember, fun and positivity are the mail point! People will remember their experience of being chosen for a random act of kindness, so make sure it’s a lovely memory for them to share with others.

Remember:

Some cultures are not so open to the contact of total strangers. Especially in more reserved cultures, some of the more friendly ideas might be seen as inappropriate or even illegal, so always be careful of what you decide to do.
In some places, it may be more or less okay to do ‘free hugs’ than in other places, etc.
Be very careful to make sure that you aren’t making yourself at the risk of any legal issues. When I handed over a balloon, I always noted that they should be used with care. Sometimes the giving of stuff, especially to children, can put you at some risk, so make sure you carefully consider that.

Do you have any ideas or questions about Random Acts of Kindness that you want to share? Share them in the comments below or over on Facebook or Twitter! Have a great day! Xx

 

This is purely an informational piece and anyone who uses suggestions from this piece or other pieces on this website should do so with care, consideration, their own common sense and always behave well within the law. Safety first!!

My Experiences: Getting a Tattoo

I love tattoos. It is becoming more and more common knowledge (I suppose since I got my first openly visible tattoo) that I love them and take great pride in the tats that I have. I’ve written before about the cultural views on tattoos and answered a few of your questions on them and their after-care. However, I get asked a lot, both online and in person, about what getting a tattoo done is like and the healing process of it, so I thought that I would document my personal experience when I got my next tattoo. Well! As luck would have it, I had been thinking about a tattoo idea for quite a while and, after a lovely design was made for me by my tattoo artist, I decided I was ready for the plunge!

Sleep on it. Eat on it. Work on it. Live with it.

So, obviously, you need to think about what you want for a good while. What do you want the tattoo to be? What meaning or message do you want to convey? What meanings or messages do you NOT want to convey? Have you done your research?
Getting a tattoo (unless you’re not afraid of the laser) is a lifetime commitment and so you need to be as sure as possible to have covered your bases. Have you checked that the image or words have no negative or criminal meanings? When I was 16 I wanted a tattoo that symbolized that you only live once, which would have meant that I would be stuck forever with a tat that basically meant YOLO… Good thing I didn’t go for that then!
Before you commit having an image put into your skin, understand the risks involved, such as a change of opinion, something going wrong, the eventuality of the design aging, cultural reaction and various (rare) health risks.

Pain factor

I get asked a lot about how painful and how scary it is to get a tattoo and there is no completely definitive answer as everyone is different and everything depends.
The level of pain you will feel from a tattoo depends on your personal pain tolerance as well as the location of the tattoo on your body. If you have a high tolerance to pain and your tattoo is on a more fleshy area, then you are more likely to feel less pain from it.
If, like me, you are incredibly skinny, then your tattoo is more likely to be a bit more painful and tattoos hurt their most when they are on areas with thin, moving skin that lie right over bones.
My first tattoo was on my right hip and it was an absolute breeze, except for when they were doing the parts right over the edge of my hip bones (and then it was still only a mildly annoying tickle).
My second tattoo was only a small design on my side and that was a little more painful because it was over a rib, which is known to be a very painful area. The only part of it that had me more than a little uncomfortable was the shading part, which is done with another kind of needle used for filling and shading.
My third tattoo, on the inside of my wrist, was pretty much fine! It only took about 10-15 minutes to do and was only really a slightly painful tingle. It was so fast to get, quick to heal and practically painless.

Tattoos, as some do not expect, go through a slightly gnarly healing stage with itches, ooze and scabs. But, trust me, it’s not as bad as it seems!
My first tattoo, a large yin and yang on my hip, was very sore the first day I got it, healed with a thick scab and took about 5 weeks to look healed. However, my second and third tattoos were healed in a matter of days.

After care

With my first tattoo, I only had the cling film on for about 3 hours and then went without it. I used Bepanthen, a product used to reduce nappy rash on babies. I found that it actually made pain and itching worse and so I stopped using it.
With my other two tattoos, I didn’t bother with any creams or cling films (actually for the second tattoo, the artist had run out of cling-film so just said not to worry about it) and everything was fine.
But it is recommended that you keep replacing the cling film every few hours for the next three days and use a cream to moisturise and protect the skin.
And make sure that you are regularly cleaning your tattoo with warm (not too hot) soapy water. blot it dry gently with a clean towel (though preferably not a fancy or nice one, as it can get mucky)

So, let’s take a step-by-step look at my experience of a new, and large, tattoo on my foot.

My New Tattoo

Idea

I wanted a tattoo that was delicate, yet strong, youthful and long-lasting. Because we are nearing Spring (my favourite season) and I love Japan, I instantly thought of the adored and celebrated Sakura flowers. I love the Sakura Cherry Blossoms and so decided that it would be the perfect look for the design.
So, as I mentioned in my article about cultural views of tattoos, any tattoos in Japan carry a negative view of tattoos, so there is not really anything I could do about that. So, I did my research and settled that the design was a safe one.
The artist who designed the tattoo for me changed the look of the flower a little bit, but I liked it and we decided on the placement of the tattoo together.
initially, I wanted the design to start behind my ankle, then go over the ankle and follow just along the outside of the foot, but I ended up liking the placement we went with instead (and it looks great with heels)!

Fear

To be honest, the sound of a tattoo gun is, in my opinion, the worst part of the whole thing. It’s like the sound of a dentist’s drill and scares the living daylights out of me before I get started.
With all of my other tattoos, I have just walked in and gotten them done on the day and this was the first tattoo that I actually booked like a week ahead of time and had to wait. Waiting made it so much worse and I was so much more scared.
Really, if you can try to calm your fear then the entire process will be a lot easier. The fear is the worst part and it has never been as bad as my fear has played it up to be.
So, do your best not to let your fear get you down or worked up. It’ll be over soon enough and nowhere near as bad as your imagination has you thinking.

Getting the tattoo

This tattoo was the most painful of all the others I’ve had. The reason for that was because this one was a lot bigger as well as being an area of the skin that moves a lot and runs over many bones and the tattoo was mostly done with the filling and shading head of the tattoo gun (which I said was the more irritating with my second tattoo).
It was rather painful, but the most difficult part was simply not moving as they were doing it. I honestly had to fight with everything in me not to kick my tattoo artist in the face as she did it.
But a good tattoo artist knows what they’re doing, will be in tune enough to know when to take a quick breather, and they’ll get it over with as soon as they can.
Try to be relaxed as you go through it. If you are getting tense and letting the pain get pent-up, it’ll irritate you and make it harder to stay still, so try to just stay relaxed, focus on a part of your body that doesn’t hurt and just zen out.

After-care

So, I learnt with my first tattoo that I cannot use the skin product Bepanthen as I’m allergic to the lanolin in it, but I learnt this time that I CAN use another product instead to sooth my raw tattoo.
Diprobase is a cream that you can get prescribed by a doctor, but is available off the shelf in many drug stores, such as Boots. It’s a very thick cream that cools, soothes and moisturises the irritated skin.
Also this time around I took care to use and regularly replace the cling film for the recommended 3 days.

Healing

As expected, for the rest of the day after I got the tattoo the top of my foot was VERY swollen and I was limping a little bit, but the pain of getting the tattoo itself wore off within ten minutes and I couldn’t feel any pain, except for some soreness when I walked, after about an hour.
And a lot of people assume that tattoos gush blood for hours and hours after you get them, but they don’t really bleed that much and they settle down pretty quickly.
Here is my tattoo after 6 hours:

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At 12 hours:

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1 day:

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With the cream:

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After about 4-5 days it begins the nasty scabby stage where it looks a bit flaky and nasty. All you can do at this time is keep cleaning and moisturising it and don’t pick at it. Scratching it will slow the healing process, can seriously damage your tattoo and hurts A LOT!!!!! It’s not worth it, so don’t scratch it.

During scabby stage:

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And, finally, now:

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After about 3 weeks it’s almost entirely healed up and is not even slightly uncomfortable. It was worth the whole thing!
I hope you enjoyed this piece! If you have any comments or questions, please share them in the comments below or over on Facebook or Twitter! X

Loving your skin

Photo 21-01-2015 13 36 02 (1)Taking care of your skin is vital keeping it fresh, clean and youthful. Especially for those of us with sensitive skin, it is sometimes difficult to know what the right thing to do is when it comes to skin care and looking good. And sometimes, main brand skin care products can cause mild to severe skin irritation. But we want to look good and find the best way to maintain healthy and nice skin. Here is some advice for keeping that sweet smooth skin just how you like it:

Give It What It Needs

Photo 29-01-2015 01 06 04It’s important that you have inside what you need to reflect your health on the outside.
Making sure that you are eating a healthy and balanced diet will go a long way to helping your health. Getting the balance of nutrients you need from meat (or meat substitutes) and vegetables is so important in every area of your life.
A balanced diet can support good physical and mental health as well as keeping your skin supple and healthy.

A multivitamin a day can really help you to keep your body topped up with all the goodies it needs. There are a lot of vitamins and minerals that we don’t get enough of naturally, so taking a supplement can help to keep your body functioning at its best.
Make sure that you take multivitamins with a meal. It isn’t bad for you to take them without necessarily, but it does mean that your body won’t absorb as much of the goodness as it would while digesting a meal.
Make sure that your vitamins contain iron. Iron is VITAL to your health. If you are like me and suffer from anemia from time to time, you need to make sure that you are getting enough iron.

QUICK TEST: Wash your hands and gently pull down your bottom eyelid to look on the inside of the eyelid. The colour of the inside should be a red-ish pink-ish colour. If it looks pale or your eye itself looks a little yellowish, then you may need to talk to consume more iron.
OR(!) if looking in your eye seems a bit nasty, you can try this other quick test
Gently squeeze the ends of one of your fingers, with the pressure being downwards against the surface of your nail. Then release and watch how long it takes for the pressure mark (usually a pale pink or white colour) to change back to the usual pink.
If it’s slow to change back (or if your nail beds are usually white most of the time) you may not be getting enough iron.

(Note: Make sure that you take and questions and concerns about your diet and supplement/vitamin intake to a medical professional.)

Pick Of the Bunch

Evening Primrose oil, extracted from the Evening Primrose flower, is high in Omega-6, which your body converts into hormones needed for numerous bodily functions, including menstruation in women (helping to make periods shorted, lighter and less painful). But, as well as being a life-saver for us ladies, Evening Primrose actually does wonders for our skin!
Regularly taking Evening Primrose Oil capsules can help to keep skin clear and prevent breakouts and rashes, due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It is also used to treat more sever skin conditions like Eczema.
Consider getting some Evening Primrose capsules as a way of helping to balance your hormones, which will do a lot of good for your whole body as well as your skin.

Stay away from the nasties

There are a lot of companies that want to produce products that SEEM really nourishing and kind to your skin which are actually full of harsh chemicals that you might not want to rub on your face or eyelids if you knew what they were.
Companies that want to cut corners will even use carcinogenic, hormone disrupting or even toxic chemicals in their products.
I know personally that it’s not much help when people say “Try to avoid products containing harsh chemicals” because I was not aware of what those chemicals ARE!
I’m in NO WAY an expert in the chemicals used in cosmetics (I could’ve been a chemist but I figured – hey – I’ll be an actor and blogger instead!) but with just a little searching and research, I’ve managed to freak myself out at the major nasties that have popped up at me, such as:

Parfum or Fragrances

Even some products that claim to be un-scented actually contain chemicals and fragrances to give off a lighter or ‘odorless scent’ (if that makes any sense). These chemicals can be harsh, drying and some can irritate eczema and asthma and some are even believed to be linked to cancers and contain neurotoxins!
If you suffer from acne, eczema, asthma or migraines, then you should be careful how many fragrance chemicals you expose yourself to, as these can be major irritants.
Of course, it is going to be difficult totally avoiding fragrances, but you should be aware of how many products you use regularly that contain them and try to minimize your exposure.

Parabens

Used as a preservative in product, parabens are supposedly really bad for you, even at low levels. Apparently many of them are considered sensitive substances as they are believed to interfere with hormones and have even been found in breast cancer tissue. They are also believed to react with UVB rays in a way that increases and speeds up skin damage and aging from sun exposure.
The way you can tell if an ingredient is a paraben is that the word usually ends in paraben. For example you have butylparaben, isobutylparaben, propylparaben and methylparaben.

Paraphenylenediamine 

(try saying that 3 times fast!)

This chemical, used in hair products, is toxic to the skin and can seriously affect your immune system. I just now looked at a box of hair dye from my old red-head days (before I chose to come back to my natural brown and white colour) and the leaflet states that it ‘contains phenylenediamines’ and repeatedly states that the product can cause ‘allergic reactions’. Is it technically and ALLERGIC reaction if it is something that is actually TOXIC to your skin??? Really???? Or is it just a toxic chemical that they shouldn’t really be encouraging you to rub on your head???
So, please, try to avoid products that contain this very nasty chemical. I, of course, am no expert in this area, but I can tell just from reading about it that it’s not nice stuff.

With all the long chemical names and numbers that you find on packaging it’s hard not to assume that every ingredient is practically acid or just become baffled, but one way of shopping for makeup (without having to memorise all these chemicals and whatnot) is to hold the product in one hand and your phone in the other. Just read the label and Google any of the chemicals you don’t recognise and look them up on trusted sources.
In all honesty, there is a lot of scaremongering over cosmetics products and everyone seems to think everything on an ingredients list will kill you, but try to just be calm and look for the facts. Don’t take any “YOU’LL NEVER WANT TO USE THIS AGAIN WHEN YOU KNOW [blah blah blah]” and just try to go as au naturel as you can.

And in these modern times we sadly aren’t going to be able to totally avoid these chemicals unless we go totally bare-faced, so it’s best that you are just cautiously aware of what you are putting on your face. It doesn’t mean that you have to give up makeup, condemn skin products and forgo shampoo, but you should be aware what you put on your skin and plan accordingly.

Treat Yourself

I know spending a lot of money on your skin isn’t always an option, but sometimes a few pounds (or Euro, or Dollars, or 円 or 원) can go a LONG way!
Just recently I went out with the intention to treat myself to some new beauty goodies. I was all ready to splurge a little and get a little pricey, but in the end, after 3 or 4 stores, I was kitted up and had only spent about £25. It may be quite an extravagant spend for some, but saving a few pence and pounds here and there will soon add up to more than enough!
Here is a list of a few items that can make your skin care routine a lot easier:

Soft wash cloth

A good wash cloth will be like a gentle kiss to your skin, rather than like scraping burlap over your face, and will help to gently wash and buff your skin clean. These days, a good wash cloth isn’t that expensive, just look around for one that feels really gentle. The way to keep your skin like a baby, is to not use anything on it that you wouldn’t use on a baby. Treat your skin with love and respect and it’ll be good to you.
A soft exfoliating brush
I know using a brush on your face doesn’t sound all that gentle, but a super soft facial brush can act as a great exfoliator when paired with a cleansing oil. Just make sure that you buffing your face lightly in small circular motions. I often find a lot of grainy exfoliators irritate my skin and the residue if often hard to fully wash off, but a good brush will do the trick.

Cosmetic pads

Where standard cotton wool can leave residue on your skin and not be very effective, cosmetics pads (while a tiny bit more pricey) will do a much more thorough job of taking off makeup and washing your skin.
I’ve heard that some people actually dry out and reuse their cosmetics pads in future uses. Please don’t do this, it’s basically just wiping days old makeup (and added bacteria) into your eyes and face and can lead to infections. Throw it away when you’re done

Facial band

Don’t you hate when your hair gets all oily/dirty when it touches your face while you’re washing it or you can’t quite wash all your face easily? Getting a nice facial hair band will help a lot. They are usually a strip with velcro either end so that you can wrap it around your head easily.

Eye mask

Light disturbance when you sleep can really affect your skin. Our bodies aren’t designed for all the artificial light in our lives these days and it can play silly games with our sleep, which affects a lot about our health, skin and mental well-being. Investing in a good sleeping eye mask will help your sleep a lot (even if it might seem a little funny at first if you sleep next to someone at night)

Eye cooling mask

Often gel eye packs that you can keep in the fridge, a cooling mask will basically do the same thing as eye cucumbers (eew, nasty mental image) but without the wastage. These help to refresh, wake-up and reduce puffiness in your eyes and are very relaxing.

Nail kit

I work in a restaurant and I also do a lot of art. Restaurant work requires being clean and well presentable whilst also handling food and drinks etc. Art can quickly get very messy and have a laborious clean-up afterwards. to both these effects, I carry around a small nail kit with me that I got from H&M for £2.99 that includes a cuticle pusher, a nail block (one of those blocks with a file and four sides for polishing) and a mini nail brush. It’s a tiny little case and is super convenient. I get so self-conscious if my nails are dirty so this makes me feel a whole lot more secure.

Black-head remover tool

This is a vital part of my skin-care. Because I work in oily environments and do a lot of running around and physical exertion, I regularly have to get rid of blackheads, especially around my nose and just above my eyebrows.

facial steamer

A tiny bit more expensive (at about the £20 mark) but it is great for refreshing your skin. Before I do a facial or black head clearing I always make sure that I steam my face to open up the pores to make it quicker, easier and less irritating.

Oil me up!

I don’t like the normal foaming face washes (especially as most of them contain really nasty chemicals), but I love cleansing oils. They’re soft on your skin and don’t strip away the natural ‘good stuff’ while taking away the dirt and dead skill cells that you don’t want!
A lot of people think “I don’t want oily skin, so oil cleansers aren’t for me. I want tight squeaky clean skin” but that is actually the opposite of what you want. Oil cleansers don’t leave your face greasy and oily all day, and they wash off really nicely. That tight ‘squeaky clean’ feeling you get is actually a bad thing, as it means that the natural good oils in your skin have been stripped away leaving it dry (thus feeling tight).
Cleansing oils might still not be for you, but try to be kind and gentle on your skin by avoiding products that strip the natural moisture in your face. Dirt and dead skin = Bad. Natural and gentle oils = Good.

Overall, a good diet, avoiding nasties, good sleep and gentle maintenance are the best things you can do to keep your skin looking b-e-a-utiful, so take care and be gentle!

(I am in NO WAY a professional. This piece is purely advise that I have gained from my own personal experience and the advice and experience of others. Please use caution and your own common sense when following the advice in this piece. Always take care! Xx)
I hope that you have enjoyed this piece. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel welcome to share them in the comment section below or join us over on Facebook and Twitter! Xx

L’OREAL Paris Miss Manga Mascara

 

miss manga 1Not everyone likes mascara, and I’m not often seen singing its praises much. I’m very lucky in the fact that I have quite thick and long eyelashes, so mascara isn’t really a high priority in my makeup routine. BUT(!!!!) I am a sucker for a good deal and can be persuaded when the suggestion of manga is involved, so you can imagine I swooned when I saw L’Oreal’s Miss Manga mascara on sale.
Now, I’m no beauty guru and the only make-up transformations I’m known for is either a very round-faced Captain Jack Sparrow or ‘slightly-less-sleepy-than-she-may-seem Amy’, but I was impressed with this stuff.

First of all, it didn’t burn my eyelids, which is always a good start with makeup. Having skin as sensitive as that of a baby guinea pig, my skin is usually irritated by the slightest thing and a mascara that doesn’t burn is often quite hard to come by (now you understand why I’m no Michelle Phan). This stuff didn’t bug me in the slightest!
It is really nice and smooth to apply, not leaving you with nasty ‘spider leg lashes’ or clumps that fall into your eyes.
As well as making my eyelashes look even fuller and longer (and hiding the couple weird white eyelashes I have) the product isn’t the usual lumpy stodgy mix you find in a lot of mascaras, but it’s really light and liquidy, so it doesn’t weigh a lot!
miss manga 2The brush is really neat-looking, with space between the bristles so it gets the right shape and doesn’t hold too much or too little product. I’m not sure why, but I find the design of the brush really good, and I’m really glad the bristles are shorter than usual so that you can get really close to the roots without jabbing your eye.

fantasticSo, what do I think of the product?

  • Nice and light, doesn’t make my eyelids feel heavy or dirty!
  • Applies really smoothly with no nasty clumps
  • Huzzah, I’m not allergic to it!
  • Cool brush!
  • Makes my lashes look longer and thicker without making them look unnatural or creepy
  • Works well on lower lashes
  • Really nice to wash off, not irritating and doesn’t leave nasty residue
  • Look Manga? Yup, I’d say it looks pretty darn kawaii!
  • Dries smooth so it doesn’t clump your eyelashes
  • No ‘spider leg lashes’!

Would I recommend it? Heck yeah (even to my sensitive skinned buddies out there)!

You can find the mascara on Amazon!

I hope you liked this piece! Let me know what you think of this product or if you want me to review any other products! Leave a comment below or come join us on Facebook and Twitter! Xx

Respect (And How to Give It)

10432552_1013181298695894_8304708746044163524_nSo I think we have all been told that we don’t respect enough. Whether it is your elders, your peers, your parents, your boss or the people who play important roles in your life that you may forget (like the barista that makes your coffee every day or the teller at the bank).

We’ve all done it, we’ve all heard it and I’m pretty sure we’ve all thought the same thing.
“What do you mean by ‘respect’?”
It’s a pretty good question, but it’s not really one that we are able to ask outright. We have to try little methods and test the water to find the best way to go without being inadvertantly disrespectful. It can be grueling to find that sweet spot.

One thing I noticed today what another dimention to respect that somehow managed to forget.
When I think of respect, I think of an apprentice who has watched the skill, discipline and restraint of his master as he has grown and taken that as a find example of how to be. The master is a master of himself as well as his art and practices all that he preaches. That feeling of awe and admiration the apprentice has towards his master is what I define as respect.
But, there was something I forgot:

There are two definitions to the term ‘respect’!

You have the sagely master-apprentice one:

“a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.”

And then you have:

“due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others.”

Starting to make a little more sense now? Eh? Yeah…

There is a big difference between the two definitions and it ca be the deal-breaker. When someone is asking for respect, that is the due regard for feelings and rights. You may owe them that due to something they have given you, perhaps by raising you, homing you, paying for your college, having been there for you for a long time.
There is a fairly easy way to define the two of the meanings:
One is a feeling towards a person
The other is an attitude and consideration

So, this begs the question, how do you BE respectful? What is it that people need when they ask for respect?
Rather than thinking “What do you mean by ‘respect’?” you can turn the question around to “What do you need that I am not supplying you with?”

Consider their role in your life –

if you upset these people, how are you disprespecting the things they have done for you. Do they feed you, pay for the home you live in, pay for your wifi or support you? Have they supported you through university or helped to pay off your car.
I mean, oweing someone respect doesn’t mean that they can’t do any wrong, but it does mean that you owe them the benifit of respectable behaviour and coonsideration for them having done those things for you.
So, if someone has done something good or kind for you, either occasionally or over a long space of time, it is especially important to consider their feelings. They have done good by you or supported you and so you owe them a return of consideration, occasionaly a ‘get out of jail free’ card to let a few problems slide and to do your best to show your appreciation for them.

When someone is demanding your respect, the thing they are really asking for is your consideration for them. They have done something, or numerous things, for you and they want you to trust their judgement, respect their values or just to let them do their thing without interference.
Let them have it and there won’t be a problem.
So here are a few situations where respect comes into play and how you should try to approach it.

Parents

This is probably the most common one because when we are growing up we see our parents as these powerful, almost divine, figures in our lives who have the power to raise you, but you also believe they have the power to END you too. It’s amazing how we can have such high expectaitons of them. Now, for some parents cannot be respected. Perhaps they were abusive or uncaring or they just don’t have any relationship with them, but for most of us, we have a relationship with our parents where they have raised us, fed us, clothed us and done their best.
When you grow up, there comes a time when you start to realise that your parents are just people. Everyone is a little bit messed up and they are no exception. We all have flaws, have problems, get irritated, get emotional or over aggressive sometimes. Normally it is okay, but it is profoundly difficult for kids to accept the same of their parents.
Sadly, this is very difficult to overcome as you spend most, if not all, of your childhood seeing your parents as these amazing, almost super-human, creatures who are supposed to be perfect, but can’t possibly be so. However, you CAN find a way around it.

Everyone makes mistakes – When you are dealing with your parents, remember that they are people and, just like everyone else, they can be touchy, rash, harsh, flawed, have poor judgement and make bad choices sometimes- and it’s okay!
Remember that it is their life that they are living and, just like you want for yourself, everyone should have the right to behave as they want in life. There are always consequences to how you behave, but you have every right to do it anyway.
Their house, their rules – If something in your house is unfair, then you have a right to feel offended by it but, as long as that unfairness isn’t infringing on your health or safety, then there isn’t a lot you can do about it. Sometimes, you have to understand that people have reasons for stuff and you also can’t have everything. Here are a few examples of times when you might hit tension:
Staying out late – Do your parents ever get mad because you stay out too late? If they do, before you get mad, try to consider WHY they are like that. There could be a whole number of reasons why:
they are worried about your safety. They may fully trust you to take care of yourself and make good choices, but sometimes in life that isn’t enough to keep yourself safe. Remember that bad stuff can happen and it’s the scariest thing in the world for them to think that it could happen to you. Cut them some slack, they love you!
There could also be the fear of problems. If they go to bed and you get home after them, they may be concerned that the door might get left unlocked or you locked out. They might want to go to sleep, but don’t want to go before they know you are back safely.
Arguments – This is a tough scenario because everyone is entitled to their feelings, but it can sometimes be taken as a disrespect when you voice them.

What I would recommend, after years and years of stupidly just blurting out my feelings, is to try and avoid the argument stage if you can. Try to be understanding and compassionate with your parent’s wishes and try to make it so that you can, instead of getting heated, changing things so that you can have a calm and reasonable conversation. Try to avoid slipping into a childish state and try to keep a level head.

Also, be open to having your mind changed! Maybe that party miles away from home with people you don’t know well isn’t the best idea. Maybe going out all the time isn’t good for you. Why are they argueing their point?? I’m pretty sure that they don’t set out with the intention to have a blazing row because those aren’t enjoyable for ANYBODY. I doubt they’d contradict you or say no purely so they can have the pleasure of an arguement.

Co-workers

Everyone needs to feel repsected at times. We all have egos and most of us have ones that bruise like a banana in a game of dodgeball. More often than not, people feel they are not respected because their egos are not getting what they need.
Everyone likes to feel important at times, so it is vital that you listen to what the people around you have to say. Do you always shoot down their ideas the moment they’ve said them? How willing are you to trust their instinct or follow their lead?
Even if you are in a position of authority, it doesn’t mean that no-one below you has good ideas and it doesn’t make you any less of a good leader to listen to what others have to say.
Try to remember how far a little caring and support goes. Ask how your co-workers are doing, listen to them when they talk and have consideration for them as a person, not a working machine.
If you are in a workplace and feeling disrespected, try to tell that to someone in a considerate and non-aggressive way. Maybe ask if they have any suggestions for how to garner more respect or have your ideas and opinions listened to a little more.
If you work with someone who is getting aggressive or disruptive from feeling disrespected, try to have a talk with them about how they are viewed and give them gentle suggestions for how to change their situation. Maybe have a friendly work with other co-workers of higher-ups about making sure that employee is treated with a little more care and consideration. A happy team is a thriving team, so making people feel good can only benifit everyone.

Bosses

You’re boss is the godfather of all respect. They decide that they are going to give you work in return for the money that we all need in life. No money makes life very difficult, so we owe a lot to our bosses that have chosen to employ us.
Remember with your boss to always keep in mind how hard it is running or managing a business – especially a smaller or independant business.
They have so much to keep in mind and so many problems to face and solve that sometimes they are not as friendly, talkative or open as others may want them to be. Having compassion is the best way forward and understanding the pressure that your boss is under.
Either position a boss is in is difficult. If they are the owner of a small business, they have a lot of competition and have to fight the battle of staying afloat in a difficult climate as well as the affect of huge corporations and taxes. If you work for a small business, understand the pressure that your boss is under.
If you work for a huge corporation, then your boss most certainly has a lot of pressure (and responcibility of a LOT of money) hanging over their head. Imagine being put in charge of a branch of a corporation where one mistake could lose you millions. It happens and no boss wants it to happen to them. They’re under extreme pressure to make sure that they keep everyone on the ladder above, as well as below, them happy too.
So, compassion is a must have when dealing with a boss, but you also need to ensure that you are communicating with them in the right way.
What sort of boss do you have? Are they someone who you can be friendly with? Do they like humour and banter or do they require a bit more formality than a group trip to the pub?
For me, I am lucky because my boss at the restaurant I work for is great! She works hard, spends time with the staff, cares about every one of us and is a lot of fun to be around! I respect her in every way as a person and a leader.
When you are with your boss, remember that they have that position for a reason, whether they were employed in it or started their own business, they deserve to be there and so they are WELL WORTH listening to. If they ask you to do something, listen. If they have a problem, listen.
Remember that no boss wants to feel like their staff don’t like them. I work in management and that’s the thing I fear the most of all. Remember that your boss is a human being, so don’t be afraid to ask them if they are okay if they look sad or tell them you’re there for them if they seem like they’ve got a lot on their plate.
SO, compassion, listening, knowing what formality is okay and not okay and remember their humanity.
If you ever feel abused by a boss or seriously neglected, don’t feel you have to respect that kind of behaviour and take action. Abuse, whether physical, verbal or mental, is never okay.

Family

Ah family, a group of people who love each other, care and get on each other’s nerves on a regular basis!
Family is tricky because, while there is quite a standard hirachy, everyone has their own needs for respect. The youngest member of the family should the the bottom of the “Food chain”, but that won’t stop them yelling about the fact they never get listened to.
You grandparents want respect, your parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins and eventually your kids, nephews, neices, grandkids and so on ALL need their respect tanks filled and don’t like it any less than nice and full.
Like with most of these examples, a lot of respect comes down to compassion. The grandparents raised the parents that raised you, so they want respect for that and your understanding that they are, escentially, the reason you’re here!
Siblings, whether older or younger than you, want your respect because you grew up together (or at least grew up one after the other in the same family) and you are peers. You know each other’s best and worst traits, you’ve heard them cry and cheer about stuff and they want to know that you, one of the people who know most about them, respects them, trusts their opinions and decisions and believes in their capabilities.
Most siblings also want support but without you trying to decide stuff for them. Telling your sibling that the guy they like is an idiot won’t usually go down very well. They want you to support them and be there for them without feeing like they can’t make their own decisions or mistakes.
Let them fly as they please, but catch them if they fall.
Non-direct family, such as uncles, aunts, etc should be treated with respect because of what they mean to your immediate family. They are your parent’s siblings, were there with them growing up and are important to them, so you should treat them with respect.
I think the best attitude in general is to be respectful to the people around you who are important to you (and the people important to them). If you value their presence, input and positive impact on your life, then show them the respect they need in return to keep up what they are doing.
I hope you enjoyed this piece and found it helpful. If you have any comments or questions on respect, let share them in the comments below or join us over on Facebook and Twitter. Xx