Happiful March 2020

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“I am the<br />

change<br />

Same-sex routines<br />

& slaying Strictly<br />

in heels, trailblazer<br />

Johannes Radebe<br />

has arrived<br />

“<br />

MARCH <strong>2020</strong> £4.00<br />

RELAX.<br />

UNWIND.<br />

DE-STRESS.<br />

The formula to find calm<br />

in five simple steps<br />

Let your<br />

light shine<br />

Ooze confidence and<br />

embrace your power<br />

DIET<br />

MYTHS<br />

Feed facts not<br />

fiction on p64<br />

9 772514 373000<br />

03<br />


DIY wellness<br />

&FRANKIE BRIDGE: “I have depression, this is who I am”<br />

Mother Pukka<br />

Addressing anxiety

Photography | Gift Habeshaw<br />

“<br />

To dance is to be out of<br />

yourself. Larger, more<br />

beautiful, more powerful…<br />


Paving the way<br />

How do we know who we truly are?<br />

What moves and inspires us? The<br />

things that spark the excitement and<br />

passion we couldn't be without? It's<br />

often in the most testing times that we<br />

actually start to find out.<br />

As Henry David Thoreau said: "Not<br />

until we are lost do we begin to<br />

understand ourselves."<br />

In the midst of a mental labyrinth,<br />

characteristics and elements of our<br />

personality we never knew were there,<br />

can rise to the surface.<br />

We can find strength in our deepest<br />

reserves, and hope in the dark.<br />

This issue features countless stories<br />

which empitomise that notion. People<br />

who have struggled, and felt knocked<br />

down, but who found a unique path<br />

out. People revolutionising the world<br />

and attitudes around them, to make<br />

others' lives that little bit better.<br />

The incredible Johannes Radebe has<br />

been through some unimaginable<br />

events, but through it all he learned<br />

the power of embracing and putting<br />

his true self in the spotlight. Loud and<br />

proud, he's sending shockwaves<br />

through Strictly, and setting fire to<br />

gender norms.<br />

We also chat to Mother and Papa<br />

Pukka about their secrets to the<br />

elusive 'happy ending' – and how it's<br />

not the fairytale people might expect.<br />

Whether we want to redefine our own<br />

future, or inspire positive changes we<br />

want to see in the world, I hope you<br />

feel empowered reading this issue.<br />

Happily ever after comes in many<br />

forms – don't wait for the story<br />

around you to unfold. Pick up a<br />

pen, and write the<br />

next chapter.<br />


W | happiful.com<br />

F | happifulhq<br />

T | @happifulhq<br />

I | @happiful_magazine

Features<br />

16 Johannes Radebe<br />

The Strictly pro on family, bereavement,<br />

and being a trailblazer for the LGBTQ+<br />

community<br />

32 Frankie Bridge<br />

Star of The Saturdays opens up in our chat<br />

about being a 'work in progress'<br />

47 Helping hands<br />

The story of how one woman<br />

managed her trichotillomania with<br />

a set of acrylic nails<br />

73 Aiding anxiety<br />

Ironically, getting help for anxiety<br />

can be anxiety-inducing. Follow<br />

our guide to reaching out<br />

The Uplift<br />

8 In the news<br />

13 The wellbeing wrap<br />

14 What is echoism?<br />

Do you skip the spotlight to blend<br />

into the background?<br />

35 DIY wellness<br />

Discover the creative activities that<br />

could help you unlock mindfulness<br />

90 Quickfire: MH Matters<br />

Lifestyle and<br />

Relationships<br />

27 Get moving this <strong>March</strong><br />

28 Ditch diet culture<br />

Columnist Grace Victory explores how to<br />

break self-deprecating cycles<br />

52 Easy lovin'<br />

Learn how to follow your feelings and<br />

restore balance with your partner<br />

76 Meet the Pukkas<br />

Bloggers Mother and Papa Pukka get<br />

honest about long-term relationships<br />

Life Stories<br />

39 Sarah: Prioritising myself<br />

Sarah's world was consumed by her<br />

eating disorder, but with time and<br />

patience she found her happiness<br />

57 Naphtaly: Breaking free<br />

PCOS controlled Naphtaly's life and led<br />

her to depression, until she had an idea<br />

that changed everything<br />

87 Henry: Building dreams<br />

Henry was living in deep depression<br />

before he met a counsellor who<br />

reignited his passion for life

Our team<br />


Rebecca Thair | Editor<br />

Kathryn Wheeler | Staff Writer<br />

Tia Sinden | Editorial Assistant<br />

Bonnie Evie Gifford, Kat Nicholls,<br />

Becky Wright | Writers<br />

Grace Victory | Columnist<br />

Lucy Donoughue | Head of Content<br />

Ellen Hoggard | Digital Editor<br />

Keith Howitt | Sub-Editor<br />

Rav Sekhon | Expert Advisor<br />

ART & DESIGN<br />

Amy-Jean Burns | Art Director<br />

Charlotte Reynell | Graphic Designer<br />

Rosan Magar | Illustrator<br />


Alice Greedus<br />

PR Officer<br />

alice.greedus@happiful.com<br />

Food & Drink<br />

62 Plate-up pasta<br />

Delve into these delicious, body-boosting<br />

pasta dishes<br />

64 10 nutrition myths<br />

We break down food myths so that you<br />

can live your healthiest, happiest life<br />

<strong>Happiful</strong> Hacks<br />

24 Ask for what you need<br />

44 Explaining your time off<br />

60 The anti-stress tool kit<br />

80 Embrace your power<br />

Culture<br />

30 Ask the experts: burnout<br />

Our career coach gets get to the root<br />

of the problem<br />

42 Our top picks this month<br />

50 Sarah Greenidge<br />

Uncovering the truth about the<br />

wellness industry<br />

68 Taking a stand<br />

Louisa Reid's latest book explores what it<br />

means to back yourself<br />

70 Therapy with a point<br />

What to expect from acupuncture<br />

83 Konnie Huq<br />

The presenter and author on girls in<br />

STEM, and not conforming<br />


Gemma Calvert, Fiona Thomas,<br />

Katie Conibear, Salma Haidrani, Jenna Farmer,<br />

Sarah Young, Naphtaly Maria Zimmerman,<br />

Henry Grace, Sylvia Mac<br />


Paul Buller, Tom Buller, Krishan Parmar,<br />

Alice Theobald, Graeme Orr, Rachel Coffey, Bethyn<br />

Casey, Laurele Mitchell, Dr Kalanit Ben-Ari, Sarah<br />

Lane, Peter Klein, Josephine Robinson, Letesia Gibson<br />


Aimi Maunders | Director & Co-Founder<br />

Emma White | Director & Co-Founder<br />

Paul Maunders | Director & Co-Founder<br />


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Helping you find the help you need.<br />

Counselling Directory, Life Coach Directory,<br />

Hypnotherapy Directory, Nutritionist Resource,<br />

Therapy Directory

Expert Panel<br />

One undeniable truth is that<br />

finding the right help for each<br />

individual is a journey – what<br />

works for one of us will be<br />

different for someone else. But<br />

don't feel disheartened if you<br />

haven't found your path yet.<br />

Our <strong>Happiful</strong> family can help<br />

you on your way. Bringing<br />

together various arms of<br />

support, each of our sister<br />

sites focuses on a different<br />

method of nourishing your<br />

wellbeing – from counselling,<br />

to hypnotherapy, nutrition,<br />

coaching, and therapy.<br />

Meet the team of experts who have come together to deliver<br />

information, guidance, and insight throughout this issue<br />


BA MA PhD psych<br />

Kalanit is a relationships<br />

counsellor and public<br />

speaker.<br />


BA<br />

Bethyn is a counsellor who<br />

offers creative therapy to<br />

her clients.<br />


BA (hons) PgDip MNCS Snr Accred<br />

Laurele is a counsellor with<br />

experience working with<br />

couples and families.<br />


BSc MSc MBACP<br />

Sarah is a counsellor and<br />

mindfulness teacher offering<br />

personal therapy.<br />

Rav's review<br />

We’re all inherently impacted<br />

by the relationships we’re a<br />

part of – they play a huge<br />

role in our lives, and each<br />

relationship we have is a part<br />

of us. In this month’s issue<br />

there’s a host of practical<br />

and insightful tips on how to<br />

better manage them, as it’s<br />

not always easy. The advice<br />

on page 24 is particularly<br />

helpful, highlighting<br />

the benefits of open<br />

communication. Given that<br />

this allows for connections<br />

and understanding, it is<br />

vital for a relationship to<br />

function healthily. Expressing<br />

yourself and being listened<br />

to is the starting point for all<br />

meaningful relationships.<br />


BA MA NLP Mstr<br />

Rachel is a life<br />

coach encouraging<br />

confidence.<br />



Peter is a cognitive<br />

behavioural<br />

psychotherapist.<br />


PhD MSc BSc RNutr<br />

Laura is a registered<br />

nutritionist, working in<br />

research and comms.<br />


MBACP (Accred) BACP Reg Ind<br />

Graeme is a counsellor<br />

working with both<br />

individuals and couples.<br />


DipCNM ANP<br />

Josephine is a nutritional<br />

therapist, and yoga and<br />

meditation teacher.<br />


Dip BSc Psych & Sociology<br />

Letesia is a creative<br />

career coach specialising<br />

in burnout.<br />


BA MA MBACP (Accred)<br />

Rav is a counsellor<br />

and psychotherapist<br />

with more than 10<br />

years' experience.<br />

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Discover advice on everything from coming out to legal rights, and find<br />

out about workshops and community events at stonewall.org.uk<br />


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The Uplift<br />

KIDS<br />

Photographer<br />

proves boys can<br />

have a royally<br />

good time, too!<br />

What makes a princess? For so long,<br />

we’ve been told that princesses are<br />

‘just for girls’. But that’s changing,<br />

and Chicago-based photographer<br />

Kitty Wolf is behind a new campaign<br />

showcasing the joy that comes with<br />

unreserved self-expression.<br />

During her time working as a<br />

princess performer, Kitty started<br />

to spot something that didn’t sit<br />

right with her. Time and time again,<br />

she would see little boys watching<br />

longingly from the sidelines at<br />

parties. And when she attended<br />

an event dressed as Elsa, only to<br />

find one particular little boy just as<br />

excited to see her as the girls, she<br />

decided to do something.<br />

Kitty created a celebration of the<br />

joy that can be found in dressing<br />

up as your favourite princesses<br />

regardless of gender, in a photo<br />

series that sees boys captured with<br />

their favourite princess performers.<br />

Speaking of the photo series, one<br />

boy’s mother said: “A child’s gender<br />

doesn’t dictate the toys they want to<br />

play with. Or the clothes they wear.<br />

Or their favourite colours. Or their<br />

emotional response to things. Let’s<br />

celebrate kids for their kid-ness, and<br />

let them be little!”<br />

Find out more about the campaign,<br />

and browse the full photo series, at<br />

boyscanbeprincessestoo.com<br />

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler

Molly attends Huntington<br />

House’s ‘Knit and Natter’<br />


‘Close-knit’ community brings<br />

pride and purpose to residents<br />

What’s better than a cuppa and<br />

a catch up? According to the<br />

residents of one care home, having<br />

a ‘Knit and Natter’.<br />

Offering a place to regularly meet,<br />

chat, and raise money for charity,<br />

the ‘Knit and Natter’ group at<br />

Huntington House care home, in<br />

Surrey, is helping to create a sense<br />

of pride and responsibility among<br />

its residents.<br />

Now an integral part of member’s<br />

lives, the group helps residents<br />

to rekindle fond memories and<br />

make new connections, and has<br />

quickly expanded to include staff,<br />

and members of the local Women’s<br />

Institute.<br />

But the social benefits are just<br />

one side – the group knits items<br />

to support charitable projects<br />

including brooches for the Poppy<br />

Appeal, and blankets and hats for<br />

hospitals in the UK and South Africa<br />

to keep premature babies warm.<br />

Director of Huntington and<br />

Langham Estate, Charlie Hoare,<br />

said: “When you become reliant on<br />

others to care for you, you can feel a<br />

loss of self-worth. But finding a way<br />

to help others can often make up<br />

for losing the independence to look<br />

after yourself.”<br />

What a perfect way to spread a little<br />

warmth and cheer, wool-dn’t you<br />

agree? Writing | Bonnie Evie Gifford<br />

WORK<br />

Loosen your tie<br />

– work is getting<br />

more casual<br />

Love casual Fridays? Well, new<br />

research suggests Monday to<br />

Thursday is getting less rigid<br />

too, as a poll carried out by<br />

Accountemps saw 91% of<br />

US managers agreeing that<br />

workplaces are less formal<br />

than they were 10 years ago.<br />

So what’s behind the shift?<br />

Managers speculate that more<br />

relaxed social norms, and<br />

organisations catering to a<br />

younger workforce, are behind<br />

the more laid back vibe.<br />

Where tattoos, piercings, and<br />

dyed hair were once a no-no in<br />

the office, a third of managers<br />

now agree that they’re<br />

sufficiently professional. Even<br />

the London Metropolitan<br />

Police has relaxed a ban on<br />

recruiting people with tattoos,<br />

saying they now consider body<br />

art on a “case-by-case basis”.<br />

But it’s not just the way<br />

we look that’s changing<br />

office culture, the way we<br />

communicate is, too – with<br />

30% of managers saying emoji<br />

use and casual lingo is now<br />

more prevalent in emails.<br />

Self-expression is at the<br />

core of who we are and,<br />

considering we spend an<br />

average of 3,507 days at work<br />

in our lifetime, being our true<br />

selves full-time can only be a<br />

good thing.<br />

Writing | Kat Nicholls<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 9

“<br />

Love only grows by<br />

sharing. You can<br />

only have more for<br />

yourself by giving<br />

it away to others<br />



Parrots prove<br />

sharing is caring<br />

You might know them for their quick<br />

wit and shrill catch-phrases, but new<br />

research shows that parrots may<br />

have a softer side.<br />

In a trial published in Current<br />

Biology, African grey parrots – which<br />

were first trained to understand<br />

that small metal tokens could be<br />

swapped for a food treat at a specific<br />

‘exchange window’ – had their<br />

compassion put to the test.<br />

In the experiment, one bird was<br />

given a pile of tokens but no window<br />

to exchange them through. Next to<br />

the first bird, another had no tokens,<br />

but access to the window.<br />

After some consideration, the<br />

bird with the tokens began passing<br />

them through the enclosure to its<br />

neighbour, allowing it to access<br />

a treat – despite the fact the treat<br />

wasn’t shared.<br />

Speaking of the experiment, Peggy<br />

Mason, from the University of<br />

Chicago, admitted she was stunned.<br />

“I think they had the sense that this<br />

was a useful token, and that it would<br />

turn into food for the other bird,”<br />

Peggy explains. “It’s surprisingly<br />

giving, just because the only thing<br />

the bird doing it gets is that warm<br />

glow of helping.”<br />

That’s a glow we’ll all be familiar<br />

with as it turns out generosity is<br />

interspecific, and that Polly is more<br />

than happy to share the cracker!<br />

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 11

Take 5<br />

Wordsmiths get ready… It’s not a race, but a chance to put your<br />

mind through its paces. Relax, enjoy, and put your brains to the<br />

test with this month’s puzzles<br />

Wheels in motion<br />

Using the letters in the word wheel no more than<br />

once, make as many words as possible of three or<br />

more letters, always including the letter in the centre<br />

of the wheel. Want an extra challenge? Set yourself a<br />

time limit – three minutes, GO!<br />

5 = word wizard<br />

10 = gaming guru<br />

15+ = Shakespearean superstar<br />

D<br />

N<br />

T<br />

R<br />

I<br />

T<br />

A<br />

U<br />

E<br />

Wordsearch<br />

Flex those mental muscles, and find the 12<br />

words in the grid below<br />

R N C D N C B T G R<br />

U R O W D Y O G A S<br />

N C R N P M X G O Y<br />

A W P I L A T E S H<br />

D A N C E N O L Y C<br />

Y L N U L B S C C T<br />

M K T A P I I Y M E<br />

J Y J U M P M C C R<br />

U C Y C N L E B I T<br />

T S W I M A E C G S<br />

DANCE<br />

CLIMB<br />

WALK<br />

SWIM<br />

RUN<br />

YOGA<br />


BOX<br />


CYCLE<br />

ROW<br />

JUMP<br />

How did<br />

you do? Search<br />

‘freebies' at<br />

shop.happiful.com<br />

to find the answers,<br />

and more!

Going up<br />

‘Dinosaurs in<br />

love’. Google the<br />

song, but have<br />

tissues at the<br />

ready<br />

Chin chin!<br />

Drinking three<br />

cups of a tea a<br />

week linked to<br />

longer life<br />

Beer yoga<br />

– yes, it really is<br />

a thing!<br />

Liar liar...<br />

Study finds<br />

people care<br />

more about<br />

appearing<br />

honest, than<br />

telling the truth<br />

330% more<br />

children admitted<br />

to A&E for their<br />

MH in the past<br />

decade<br />

Going down<br />

The<br />

wellbeing<br />

wrap<br />

Starry-eyed<br />

In a landmark<br />

achievement, scientists<br />

have taken the world’s<br />

most detailed pictures<br />

of the Sun’s surface. The<br />

patterns of boiling plasma,<br />

looking like ‘cells’, are<br />

each the size of Texas! The<br />

secrets of the universe are<br />

starting to unfold...<br />



Times are changing, and while 30 years ago, one in<br />

five couples met in their workplace, a new study says<br />

its now it’s only one in 10. The research, from Stanford<br />

University, revealed that instead of stolen glances<br />

over the printer, online dating and apps are now the<br />

most popular way to meet your other half. We might<br />

have fewer stories like Tim and Dawn, but it’s a new<br />

love story for the digitial age.<br />


86,000SQ FT OF OPEN<br />











Good news – there’s no<br />

need to feel guilty for hitting<br />

that snooze button. Experts<br />

have revealed that getting<br />

a good night’s sleep could<br />

be as good for you as going<br />

to the gym. It’s because<br />

when we’re tired, we tend to<br />

choose more calorific foods<br />

and have higher cortisol<br />

levels – time for a self-care<br />

duvet day?<br />

Zzz<br />


Love lives aside, there’s been a surprising shift<br />

away from tech elsewere. In a recent US poll,<br />

it was revealed that Americans visited more<br />

libraries in the past year than cinemas, or any<br />

other cultural activity. On average, adults went<br />

10.5 times. In another nostalgic throwback,<br />

maybe Arthur the aardvark was right – having<br />

fun isn’t hard, when you’ve got a library card!<br />


A study from Appalchian<br />

State University, USA,<br />

has found that a bit<br />

of banter between a<br />

couple could be the<br />

secret to a long-lasting,<br />

happy relationship. A<br />

bit of friendly teasing<br />

lets your partner feel<br />

‘seen’ by recognising<br />

their special little quirks.<br />

Lovely!<br />


“Imagination,<br />

life is your creation.”<br />

Barbie is certainly<br />

imagining a brighter future,<br />

with the launch of a new range<br />

of diverse dolls for its collection.<br />

Including one with no hair,<br />

and another with vitiligo,<br />

it’s a fantastic move for<br />

representation and<br />

empowerment.<br />

Work it!<br />

With so<br />

much of our<br />

lives spent at<br />

work, more and more companies<br />

are realising the importance<br />

of nurturing their employees’<br />

wellbeing. But what actionable<br />

steps can people take in <strong>2020</strong>?<br />

According to research from the<br />

PwC Health Research Institute,<br />

the top focuses should make it<br />

clear wellbeing is a priority, and<br />

encourage individuality, so people<br />

can find wellbeing practices that<br />

work for them.<br />

Pace yourself<br />

Are you a known dawdler, or<br />

basically the real-life Flash?<br />

It could be time to pick up<br />

the pace... A new study has<br />

revealed that our walking speed<br />

can actually indicate our life<br />

expectancy, with those who walk<br />

faster expected to live 15 years<br />

longer.<br />

The research from the<br />

University of Leicester, discovered<br />

that people who walked up<br />

to 100 steps per minute had a<br />

higher life expectancy that those<br />

taking 50 steps per minute.<br />

While it doesn’t directly prove<br />

that walking fast will give us<br />

more years, it certainly shows a<br />

correlation. Perhaps it’s time<br />

to lace up those trainers<br />

for a speed walk around<br />

the block!

What is<br />

echoism?<br />

Afraid to step into the spotlight, or put your own voice and opinions out there?<br />

If you’re more comfortable blending into the background, and mirroring those<br />

around you, you may be displaying echoist behaviours...<br />

Writing | Fiona Thomas<br />

Illustrating | Rosan Magar<br />

You’ve probably heard<br />

of narcissism before<br />

– and may even know<br />

a narcissist yourself.<br />

Well those who might<br />

display a lack of empathy, an<br />

inflated sense of self-importance,<br />

and a need for attention, actually<br />

have an opposite, which you may<br />

not be as familiar with – echoists.<br />

Are your friends and family<br />

always encouraging you to open<br />

up about your feelings? Do you<br />

feel sick whenever you get a bit<br />

of limelight? Do you actively<br />

downplay your successes to avoid<br />

any unwanted attention? Do you<br />

struggle to describe what your own<br />

personal interests and hobbies<br />

are, finding it easier to latch on to<br />

things that your partner enjoys?<br />

These are just a few red flags<br />

which could mean that you are<br />

experiencing echoism.<br />

14 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>


The name for the mental health<br />

disorder narcissism was actually<br />

inspired by a Greek mythological<br />

character. Narcissus was so selfobsessed<br />

that he was cursed to fall<br />

in love with his own reflection,<br />

and part of his story involved his<br />

partner Echo – a forest nymph who<br />

was punished by the goddess Juno<br />

for talking too much. Echo’s ability<br />

to express herself was taken away,<br />

and in the absence of a voice of her<br />

own, she was only able to speak<br />

by repeating the last few words<br />

she heard from others. This is<br />

where the term echoism originates<br />

from and, as with the myth, the<br />

behaviours are often intertwined.<br />

Cognitive behavioural<br />

psychotherapist and Counselling<br />

Directory member Peter Klein says:<br />

“Sufferers with such tendencies<br />

will often have had a narcissist<br />

as a parent. Narcissists tend to<br />

have opposite tendencies and use<br />

sufferers to fulfil their own needs<br />

and desires, which can make the<br />

tendencies of echoism even worse.”<br />


Coined by Harvard Medical School<br />

lecturer Dr Craig Malkin, the term<br />

echoist describes someone who, like<br />

the Greek nymph Echo, struggles<br />

to have an autonomous voice. They<br />

tend to emphasise other people’s<br />

needs over their own, and have<br />

difficulty accepting compliments.<br />

In more serious cases, sufferers<br />

can’t define their own identity<br />

because they automatically take on<br />

the interests and desires of those<br />

around them, leaving no room for<br />

their own preferences. Echoism is a<br />

personality trait, which is thought to<br />

intensify as a coping mechanism in<br />

response to living with a narcissist.<br />

Echoists aren’t easy to spot and<br />

they don’t present themselves as<br />

you might expect. They are often<br />

highly intelligent individuals who<br />

are kind, supportive, and successful<br />

to boot. But if you go against their<br />

wishes, when they adamantly state<br />

they don’t want a fuss (such as with<br />

a surprise party), be prepared for<br />

them to potentially kick off...<br />

Echoists tend<br />

to feel things more<br />

intensely, and feel<br />

more empathetic<br />

than the average<br />

person<br />


Echoists tend to feel things more<br />

intensely, and feel more empathetic<br />

than the average person. When<br />

exposed to a narcissistic parent,<br />

they often learn not to express<br />

freely, because displaying emotions<br />

evokes a negative response from<br />

their caregiver. The child is<br />

solely focused on managing the<br />

overwhelming emotional needs of<br />

the parent, leaving little room for<br />

their own. The echoist will grow up<br />

believing life is easier when they<br />

take up as little space as possible in<br />

a relationship, and will rarely share<br />

their problems because they fear<br />

burdening others. Ironically, they<br />

often worry that they will appear<br />

selfish and narcissistic.<br />

Unfortunately, cutting off ties<br />

with the parent in question<br />

doesn’t solve the problem. In fact,<br />

it can often lead to a noticeable<br />

dip in self-esteem, and even<br />

bouts of depression. “Self-doubt,<br />

worries, and self-criticism are<br />

accompanying features,” says Peter.<br />

“These make it even harder for<br />

the sufferer to express their own<br />

needs and desires.” In some cases,<br />

it then perpetuates the cycle and<br />

makes the echoist the ideal prey for<br />

another narcissist.<br />

Echoism can play out in romantic<br />

relationships, too. Women are<br />

thought to be more vulnerable than<br />

men, and children of narcissistic<br />

parents often find themselves<br />

drawn to one-sided relationships in<br />

adulthood.<br />

Those affected will gladly give<br />

their partner attention, and shower<br />

them with compliments, but<br />

actively shun anything when it’s<br />

reciprocated.<br />

Platonic friendships can also act<br />

as the breeding ground for this<br />

counter-dependent behaviour.<br />

Echoists give endlessly to<br />

emotionally-needy friends, leaving<br />

little room to talk about their<br />

own problems. On the surface,<br />

this suits the echoist just fine. But<br />

in reality, it can cause complex<br />

emotional, identity, and attachment<br />

issues, which often centre around<br />

excessive feelings of guilt.<br />


Treatment for echoism tends to<br />

focus on teaching the person to<br />

recognise their own behaviours,<br />

and express the emotions that have<br />

gone repressed for so long. Peter<br />

says: “Understanding one’s own<br />

needs in relevant situations, and<br />

the practice of expressing these in a<br />

graded manner, can be helpful. Due<br />

to the complexity and individual<br />

expressions of echoism, this is best<br />

performed in conjunction with a<br />

suitably trained professional.”<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 15

Head<br />

over heels<br />

Breaking boundaries in the ballroom,<br />

Johannes Radebe is the Strictly Come Dancing<br />

professional who’s captured the nation’s heart – and<br />

he’s certainly got our attention, too.<br />

By performing in the show’s first ever same-sex<br />

routine in 2019, and dancing up a storm in heels,<br />

Johannes is shattering gender stereotypes and putting<br />

representation on the map in mainstream media.<br />

Yet the journey to utterly embracing himself wasn’t<br />

always easy. But through bullying, homelessness, and<br />

grief, he’s remained true to himself, and it’s<br />

beyond refreshing...<br />

Interview | Gemma Calvert<br />

Photography | Paul Buller<br />

Of all the hello hugs shared with celebrities, rarely have<br />

I been as impressed as when Strictly Come Dancing pro<br />

Johannes Radebe arrives at <strong>Happiful</strong>’s south London<br />

studio, wrapped up against the January frost in a<br />

woollen pea coat and oversized scarf. A big grin is<br />

pursued by an even bigger, heartfelt embrace, and in 10 seconds<br />

flat, I’m sold.<br />

After 22 years of dance training, the South African-born star<br />

possesses a body built of muscle, but his character is gentle and<br />

beautifully exposed. After sinking into a leather sofa at the rear of<br />

the studio, away from the hubbub of photoshoot preparations, the<br />

dancer and choreographer is instantly at ease. He underscores what<br />

he says with smiles aplenty – like when he expresses adoration for<br />

his “best friend”, fellow Strictly pro Graziano Di Prima, who he was<br />

with the night before, performing on the fourth night of the Strictly<br />

Come Dancing live tour. >>>

“I spend every single day with him,<br />

mostly because his girlfriend isn’t<br />

with us. He hangs on to me for dear<br />

life but, the truth is, we need each<br />

other!” says Johannes, who joined<br />

Strictly in 2018, but enjoyed his first<br />

celebrity pairing in 2019 when he<br />

and former Coronation Street actress<br />

Catherine Tyldesley coupled up.<br />

They lit up the dance floor until<br />

week six.<br />

Touring with the Strictly pros,<br />

enthuses Johannes, is “like being on<br />

holiday with your best mates” and<br />

even though many have secured<br />

lucrative gigs outside the hit BBC1<br />

show – such as Oti Mabuse on The<br />

Greatest Dancer, and AJ Pritchard<br />

who joined RuPaul’s Drag Race UK<br />

as a dance coach – he insists there is<br />

never jealousy between the cast.<br />

“The pie’s big enough for<br />

everybody. We don’t live in the<br />

competitive world anymore. Not to<br />

say that the competition isn’t rife<br />

when we come to Strictly, because<br />

we all want to win, but we’re all<br />

different. We all have our qualities.<br />

It’s so nice amongst the pros.<br />

They’re all kind. It’s been so great.”<br />

Now 32, Johannes finds himself at<br />

a fascinating moment in his career,<br />

and has every reason to be cheerful.<br />

For one, he is finally at home in<br />

his own skin. Three months before<br />

we meet, a fortnight before he<br />

and Graziano danced in the show’s<br />

first same-sex routine, Johannes<br />

slayed a pro dance sequence,<br />

performing to ‘Fame’ in a pair of<br />

high-heeled PVC boots. It set the<br />

Twittersphere ablaze, with Strictly<br />

fans commending him for breaking<br />

the mould of gender stereotypes.<br />

It also, he says, attracted a flurry of<br />

praise from “older gay men” who<br />

“identified with the boldness and<br />

the confidence”.<br />

“That was my coming out party<br />

to the world,” grins Johannes,<br />

revealing that when show bosses<br />

proposed the idea he agreed, not to<br />

publicly shout about being openly<br />

gay, but to educate his extended<br />

family back home. While Johannes<br />

has “always known” he is gay and<br />

never hidden his sexuality, he says<br />

some relatives were still asking at<br />

family functions when he would<br />

“come home with a wife and kids”.<br />

Johannes, who concedes that in<br />

Africa there is a generational gap of<br />

LGBTQ+ education and acceptance,<br />

sighs. “It’s a reality, but we live<br />

in such progressive times, and I<br />

realised there’s no need to hide any<br />

more,” he says. “The world has been<br />

ready, all I had to do was embrace<br />

who I am fully, fully, fully, because<br />

that was always my fear – that sense<br />

of rejection, that feeling of ‘if I do<br />

this, what if somebody mocks me?<br />

I don’t want to bring shame to my<br />

family.’ It took me 32 years to finally<br />

accept that and say, ‘Honestly, this is<br />

my life.’”<br />

Johannes believes historically<br />

there’s been insufficient media<br />

representation of LGBTQ+<br />

minorities, but has observed<br />

an improvement over the past<br />

two years. He was “inspired” by<br />

groundbreaking US series Pose,<br />

which delves into the New York City<br />

ballroom scene at the height of the<br />

AIDS crisis, and accepts credit for<br />

his own role in the acceptance of<br />

greater diversity within society.<br />

“I’m the change. Honestly, I see it<br />

like that. I’m the first gay black man<br />

on Strictly. I just think, good for you<br />

Johannes. I’m proud!”<br />

In the last series of the Danish<br />

version of Strictly, a male duo<br />

emerged victorious, and Steps<br />

singer Ian ‘H’ Watkins and pro<br />

The world has been<br />

ready, all I had to<br />

do was embrace<br />

who I am fully,<br />

because that was<br />

always my fear<br />

skater Matt Evers were paired on<br />

this year’s Dancing On Ice. Surely it’s<br />

time for Strictly to regularly feature<br />

same sex couples, and to hell with<br />

the armchair critics (Johannes<br />

and Graziano’s dance attracted 189<br />

complaints to Ofcom)?<br />

“Out of how many million<br />

viewers?” says Johannes, instantly<br />

putting the protest into perspective.<br />

“It’s good that the BBC have started.<br />

Whenever they are ready to make<br />

that step, they should know there’s<br />

representation.”<br />

For Johannes, who never thought<br />

he would “have a voice”, being<br />

a respected public figure is a<br />

responsibility he cherishes. He’s<br />

actively planning to align with<br />

a LGBTQ+ youth charity, and is<br />

intent on making a difference to<br />

vulnerable youngsters’ lives.<br />

“I hope with my actions I’m<br />

breaking barriers, and bringing<br />

comfort and assurance that it’s OK,”<br />

he says. “Life gets better.”<br />

Which is true. Johannes and his<br />

elder sister Pearl grew up in the<br />

small South African township of<br />

Zamdela, raised by their mother<br />

Jacobeth, and dad Benjamin.<br />

Curiously, as he describes the<br />

“very real struggle” of a “lack<br />

of opportunity and finances”,<br />

Johannes smiles. >>><br />

18 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

Suit | Ben Sherman, T-shirt | Reserved, Trainers | Lacoste<br />

>>><br />

February <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 19

Top & trousers | Topman<br />

Dance was<br />

my escape. It<br />

became my<br />

world, my refuge<br />

“Going back home humbles me,<br />

because you can see how they<br />

[survive] with as little as they have,”<br />

he says. “As a child, I didn’t know<br />

what we lacked, because I had my<br />

dad and I had mum, and with all<br />

that lack there was love – lots and<br />

lots of love and encouragement.”<br />

Johannes began dancing at the<br />

age of seven, and at “10 or 11” got<br />

his first pair of dancing shoes, a gift<br />

from his dad.<br />

“That was his way of saying ‘I<br />

approve’. I was dancing my third<br />

competition, and while he wanted<br />

me to be a soccer star – he thought<br />

dance was going to be a phase – he<br />

gave me the freedom to explore.<br />

Our neighbourhood wasn’t the<br />

safest, so he loved that after school,<br />

I had somewhere to go and I was off<br />

the streets. Dance was my escape. It<br />

became my world, my refuge.”<br />

Johannes’ hobby and his<br />

“flamboyant demeanour” made<br />

him a target for bullies, but at<br />

dance school and in the family<br />

home, he was free. He adoringly<br />

describes his mother as his “best<br />

friend”, “queen” and “biggest<br />

counsellor” – a woman who didn’t<br />

bat an eyelid when she discovered<br />

her teenage son squeezing his size<br />

11 feet into Pearl’s high heels.<br />

“I used to hang out with my<br />

mother all the time, experimenting<br />

with all these things in front of her,<br />

and she just did not care, honestly,<br />

and in that regard, thank God for<br />

my mum,” says Johannes.<br />

At school, the abuse Johannes<br />

endured was predominantly<br />

verbal, but on one occasion turned<br />

physical when he got into a fight<br />

with a bully, and the perpetrator<br />

returned with a baseball bat.<br />

“I thought ‘This is it.’ That’s the<br />

worst it got,” shudders Johannes,<br />

still grateful for the onlookers who<br />

stepped in before damage was done.<br />

The words fired at him as a young<br />

boy, and the anticipation of physical<br />

violence, must have been incredibly<br />

wounding? He nods.<br />

“It left me confused, feeling like<br />

there was something wrong with<br />

me. It was isolating. For the longest<br />

time I thought ‘I’m not worthy,’<br />

and ‘Why are you putting yourself<br />

through this?’ I could have easily<br />

left dance because it brought all<br />

that attention to me but, at the same<br />

time, it made me so happy.”<br />

Adolence is rife with challenges,<br />

particularly for LGBTQ+ teens – with<br />

one study from the Children’s Society<br />

revealing that half of gay or bisexual<br />

14-year-olds had self-harmed.<br />

20 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

Jacket & trousers | Scotch & Soda<br />

It’s a devastating statistic, that<br />

speaks volumes to under-supported<br />

demographic, and one that Johannes<br />

has seen play out in front of him.<br />

“I lost a friend of mine. He was 10<br />

or 11 and in school with me. Talk<br />

about flamboyant and OTT, he was<br />

mighty gay and he had it harder than<br />

me. He deflected the attention from<br />

me so many times, and protected<br />

me. As young as I was, when that<br />

happened, I understood where he<br />

was coming from. He had it hard.”<br />

His friend’s suicide wasn’t the<br />

only loss Johannes experienced as<br />

a youngster. When he was 14 his<br />

father, who had then separated<br />

from his mother, died aged 46<br />

from tuberculosis – a neglected<br />

disease which still kills more than<br />

100,000 South Africans every year.<br />

The heartbreaking period of grief<br />

propelled Johannes to make a<br />

life-changing decision, and accept<br />

an offer to enrol at a dance school<br />

for disadvantaged youngsters in<br />

Johannesburg, 111 miles from home.<br />

For four years, under the family’s<br />

guidance and inspired by his dance<br />

idols Bryan Watson, Jason Gilkison,<br />

and Motsi Mabuse – who he now<br />

works with on Strictly – Johannes<br />

honed his versatility as a performer.<br />

He trained in ballroom, Latin,<br />

contemporary, jazz, and ballet, and<br />

established a steadfast work ethic,<br />

dancing in shopping malls and<br />

parking lots to fund entry and travel<br />

to national dance competitions. To<br />

this day, he remains the undefeated<br />

South African Latin champion.<br />

Despite trying to continue his<br />

studies, financial woes eventually<br />

saw Johannes quit in favour of<br />

employment in Johannesburg,<br />

appearing in a stage show and<br />

teaching dance to the elderly. But<br />

for two years, before getting his<br />

“break” on a cruise ship, Johannes >>>

lived rough, sleeping in the<br />

doorway of a city-centre taxi rank,<br />

and showering in shopping mall<br />

toilet facilities, all so he could save<br />

money to send home to his family.<br />

It was during this ordeal that he<br />

had the biblical verse ‘no weapon<br />

formed against me shall prosper’<br />

tattooed on to his ribs.<br />

“That was my mantra for the<br />

longest time. I come from a family<br />

of very strong personalities. My<br />

mother and my aunts are my pillars<br />

of strength. But looking back, I<br />

was so miserable, and I can’t tell<br />

you where the courage to do that<br />

came from,” says Johannes, quickly<br />

correcting himself. “I actually tell<br />

you lies. It was all because I needed<br />

to provide for my family. That was<br />

so important.”<br />

It still is. Johannes sends home<br />

a portion of his Strictly earnings,<br />

but now the gesture comes without<br />

sacrifice. He rents an apartment<br />

in north London, and is househunting<br />

in South Africa for his own<br />

place, plus one for his mum.<br />

I ask what his father would make<br />

of his achievements. The question<br />

prompts Johannes’ chin to fall to<br />

his chest.<br />

“Dad’s death was a sad one,<br />

because it was quick. We were<br />

very close…” he says, his voice<br />

momentarily disappearing. “I think<br />

dad would have been very proud.<br />

Mostly, I think he would have been<br />

shocked that I had the courage<br />

to do what I’ve done. The fact he<br />

didn’t get to see all this unfold<br />

leaves me feeling sad at times, but<br />

I’m happy I did it and I’m sure,<br />

wherever he is, he is happy, too.”<br />

As our time together draws to a<br />

close, I wonder whether Johannes<br />

unwittingly carried the shame he<br />

endured as a boy into adulthood<br />

I think dad would have been very proud.<br />

The fact he didn’t get to see all this<br />

unfold leaves me feeling sad at times,<br />

but I’m happy I did it and I’m sure,<br />

wherever he is, he is happy, too<br />

and, if so, what effect his two gamechanging<br />

Strictly performances<br />

and the subsequent “incredible”<br />

response of his wider family have<br />

had on his mindset.<br />

“Yes I did,” he confirms. “When<br />

I’ve got people coming up to me,<br />

saying ‘Johannes, you’re such a<br />

wonderful person,’ I think ‘Maybe<br />

there’s actually nothing wrong<br />

with me, after all this time.’ It’s<br />

a beautiful feeling. Being in this<br />

country has been very liberating.<br />

It’s nice to settle in a place where I<br />

feel I’m seen, where there’s much<br />

more freedom, and people are<br />

more liberated and progressive.”<br />

As Johannes has always sought<br />

counsel from family and friends<br />

who have kept him “in check”,<br />

what is his advice to loved ones of<br />

LGBTQ+ youngsters?<br />

“Love and show support,” he<br />

says firmly. “Make sure they<br />

know there’s nothing wrong with<br />

them. I’ve been blessed to come<br />

across people who, when I was<br />

being bullied in the middle of the<br />

street, would bring it to order and<br />

say ‘That’s not right.’ We need to<br />

live in a world where we’re not<br />

afraid to stand up to what’s wrong,<br />

because what I do in my bedroom<br />

has nothing to do with you. I don’t<br />

dictate how you should live your<br />

life, so why are you telling me how<br />

to live mine?”<br />

While Johannes’ last relationship<br />

was three years ago and shortlived<br />

– the nomadic life of a dancer<br />

doesn’t always lend itself well to<br />

long-term commitment – if the<br />

right opportunity presented itself,<br />

he would leap at the opportunity to<br />

settle down.<br />

“I wish I had a boyfriend. I’m<br />

not saying it’s the one thing that’s<br />

missing, but it would be nice to<br />

come home to somebody. I’m not<br />

young anymore! I would like to be<br />

with somebody who’s going to take<br />

this all the way,” he says, referring<br />

to marriage and children.<br />

As for the next step in his career?<br />

That’s simple. “I want to continue<br />

the Strictly journey for as long as<br />

I can,” he says. “It’s a once in a<br />

lifetime opportunity, – as long as<br />

they’ll have me, I’ll come back.”<br />

After the shoot wraps, I bump<br />

into Johannes on the street outside<br />

before he heads off to resume his<br />

Strictly tour duties. “You can’t keep<br />

away from me!” he laughs, and<br />

there’s no point denying it. When<br />

kindness, graciousness, emotional<br />

generosity, inner strength, and a<br />

desire to help others combine, the<br />

allure is truly captivating.<br />

Johannes will be appearing in the<br />

Strictly Professionals Tour from May<br />

<strong>2020</strong>. Find him @johannesradebe on<br />

Instagram.<br />

22 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

Styling | Krishan Parmar<br />

Grooming | Alice Theobald at Joy<br />

Goodman using Morgan’s Pomade<br />

and Babyliss Pro<br />

February <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 23

How to ask for<br />

what you need<br />

in a relationship<br />

Communication is often considered a secret ingredient for happy<br />

relationships, but it doesn’t need to be complicated – or secret<br />

Writing | Kat Nicholls Illustrating | Rosan Magar<br />

I<br />

think I need time alone,” my<br />

boyfriend said, looking a<br />

little exasperated on a recent<br />

Sunday evening. We hadn’t<br />

been arguing (in fact we’d had a<br />

really nice day together), although<br />

I had noticed a shift in his mood as<br />

the day went on.<br />

After a slightly confused and<br />

defensive facial expression from<br />

me, he explained what he meant.<br />

As an introvert, an empath, and<br />

someone who struggles with<br />

depression and anxiety, quiet time<br />

alone is something my partner<br />

needs at the weekend to feel<br />

recharged and ready for the week<br />

ahead.<br />

It had taken a year of us living<br />

together for him to: a) realise that as<br />

much as he loves me, he still needs<br />

time away from me; and b) that it<br />

was OK for him to ask for this.<br />

Once he explained why he needed<br />

alone time, I felt a little swell of<br />

pride. Depression has a habit of<br />

swallowing your self-worth, so<br />

allowing himself to be vulnerable,<br />

and asking for something he<br />

needed, felt like a milestone.<br />

Since then, we’ve both been more<br />

open about what we need, whether<br />

“<br />

it’s a couple of hours alone in our<br />

local cafe, or for us to share the<br />

house admin a little more. It’s<br />

taken a little navigating, but has<br />

helped us both thrive within our<br />

relationship.<br />

Often, when we’re in long-term<br />

relationships, we can feel that our<br />

partners should know what we<br />

need intuitively. We expect them<br />

to read our minds, and we sit with<br />

frustrations bubbling under the<br />

surface when they don’t. Then,<br />

one day, we hit boiling point,<br />

culminating in an argument<br />

involving demands, heightened<br />

emotions, and blame.<br />

If we can get to a place where<br />

we can ask for what we need in<br />

relationships before this point, it’ll<br />

save a lot of heartache. OK, ready<br />

to ask for what you need? Follow<br />

these steps:<br />



Understanding what it is you really<br />

need can take some self-reflection.<br />

Take your time over this. Give it<br />

some space, think through what<br />

you want to say, and plan how<br />

you’ll say it.<br />

Remember that we’re all worthy<br />

of feeling happy and fulfilled in<br />

our relationships. Asking for what<br />

you need isn’t being demanding,<br />

it’s showing a commitment to<br />

communication that will have only<br />

positive ramifications for your<br />

relationship.<br />



What we need often comes to the<br />

front of our minds when we’re<br />

not getting it, and sometimes<br />

this happens during a heated<br />

discussion or argument. Try your<br />

best not to bring it up then. Wait<br />

until you’re both calm, and pick<br />

a time when you can give the<br />

discussion the space it needs.<br />


It can sometimes feel like we<br />

shouldn’t have to voice our needs<br />

(especially if they seem pretty<br />

obvious to us), which can lead to<br />

frustration and passive aggression.<br />

If this happens, it can be easy<br />

to play the victim when the<br />

discussion takes place.<br />

However, when you use<br />

victimised language, you end up<br />

24 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

When expressing what you<br />

need, do so from a place of<br />

honesty and authenticity, not<br />

from a place of entitlement<br />

punishing your partner for not<br />

knowing something you’ve never<br />

told them. They’ll likely get upset<br />

by this, and put up walls of defence<br />

in reaction. This puts a stop to any<br />

conversation and can cause further<br />

arguments.<br />

When expressing what you need,<br />

do so from a place of honesty and<br />

authenticity, not from a place of<br />

entitlement.<br />


With the above in mind, try to<br />

stick to ‘I’ statements. Rather than<br />

placing the blame or responsibility<br />

on your partner by telling them<br />

what they’re not doing, such as:<br />

“You’re always on your phone”,<br />

keep the conversation centred<br />

on what you need and how your<br />

partner can help – “I need to feel<br />

more connected to you when we<br />

talk, and feel you putting your<br />

phone down during discussions<br />

would help.”<br />



Don’t panic! The fact that your<br />

partner is talking to you about<br />

what they need means they care<br />

about the relationship, and want<br />

it to flourish. Feeling defensive is<br />

natural, but try to remember this<br />

is not about anything you’re doing<br />

wrong. It’s about what your partner<br />

needs to feel fulfilled.<br />

Understanding<br />

what it is you<br />

really need can<br />

take some selfreflection<br />

Encourage them to explain more<br />

about how you can help them,<br />

and if it’s something you feel<br />

unable to give, try to work out a<br />

compromise. Now is also a great<br />

time for you to consider what you<br />

need in the relationship. If your<br />

partner has opened the doors of<br />

communication, keep them open.<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 25

Photography | Sept Commercial<br />

“<br />

We rise by lifting others<br />


Moving<br />

on up<br />

Most of us know exercise<br />

is good for both our<br />

mental and physical<br />

health, but it’s not just<br />

through running and<br />

hitting the gym that you<br />

can reap the benefits.<br />

Here we’ve pulled<br />

together five adventurous<br />

ideas packed with mental<br />

health benefits. Ready,<br />

set... go!<br />

Writing | Kat Nicholls<br />

1 Skydiving<br />

Jumping out of a plane may not,<br />

at first, seem like an enjoyable<br />

activity – but it turns out it could<br />

be just what your mind needs.<br />

Skydiving releases a huge number<br />

of endorphins which can help ease<br />

mild depression, and psychologists<br />

say falling through the sky can<br />

help us to put our emotions into<br />

perspective.<br />

Plus, you don’t have to jump<br />

alone. Tandem skydiving lets you<br />

enjoy the ride while safe in the<br />

hands of an expert. To book your<br />

first jump, visit goskydive.com<br />

2 Team sports<br />

All sports are great for your<br />

health, but team sports in<br />

particular have been found to<br />

have beneficial effects. Working<br />

with others towards a shared<br />

goal is a lovely way to bond with<br />

others, and our social connections<br />

play a big role in emotional<br />

wellbeing.<br />

Head to beinspireduk.org for<br />

ideas and ways to get involved,<br />

or simply do an online search<br />

for team sports in your area.<br />

Many team sports can be adapted<br />

for differing abilities too, visit<br />

parasport.org.uk for more<br />

information.<br />

3 Nordic walking<br />

If you’re already an avid walker<br />

and want to step up your game,<br />

try Nordic walking. Using two<br />

poles to harness the power of<br />

your upper body, the Nordic<br />

walking technique helps you<br />

propel yourself forward, and turns<br />

walking into a full-body exercise.<br />

The poles also take some weight off<br />

the knees and lower body joints,<br />

making it suitable for all ages and<br />

fitness levels.<br />

Visit nordicwalking.co.uk to learn<br />

more and to find a local instructor.<br />

4 Surfing<br />

From Cornwall to Scotland, the<br />

coastlines of the UK have some<br />

great surfing spots. Being at one<br />

with nature, and the adrenaline<br />

rush you get after catching<br />

the perfect wave, makes it an<br />

unsurprisingly great activity for<br />

your mental health. Apparently, just<br />

30 minutes spent catching waves<br />

can reduce negative thoughts, and<br />

decrease self-destructive behaviour.<br />

Wave Project is a mental health<br />

surfing charity that can help you<br />

use surfing as a coping strategy.<br />

Head to waveproject.co.uk to find<br />

out more.<br />

5 Horse riding<br />

Horses are used as therapy aids<br />

because they’re incredibly intuitive<br />

and have the ability to mirror your<br />

feelings. This can make horse<br />

riding especially beneficial for<br />

those living with mental illness.<br />

Horse riding is also accessible for<br />

all abilities – the Riding for the<br />

Disabled Association has nearly<br />

500 centres across the UK, learn<br />

more at rda.org.uk.<br />

If you want to reap the mental<br />

health and therapeutic benefits<br />

specifically, search for equine<br />

therapy services in your area.

Mental health and<br />

diet culture…<br />

with Grace<br />

Our columnist Grace Victory has experienced first-hand the alarming link<br />

between mental health problems and our insidious diet culture. But, she<br />

reveals, you won’t find real happiness and fulfilment in a smaller pair of jeans…<br />

One of the many<br />

reasons for my past<br />

poor mental health<br />

has been the link<br />

between diet culture,<br />

fatphobia, and the incessant belief<br />

that I am not good enough. Do<br />

you remember the first time you<br />

saw something that made you feel<br />

terrible about yourself? I don’t.<br />

I just remember grabbing my<br />

tummy at age eight, and wanting to<br />

chop the chub off.<br />

Diet culture is so subtle,<br />

so sneaky, that we digest it<br />

subconsciously throughout our<br />

lives, especially as children. It can<br />

be the ‘Are you bikini-body ready?’<br />

ad on the Tube, the ‘Nothing tastes<br />

as good as skinny feels’ quote on<br />

Instagram, or ‘I just don’t think<br />

women with big thighs should<br />

wear mini skirts’ conversations you<br />

hear at the office.<br />

Diet culture is everywhere,<br />

and deeply ingrained within<br />

our society, because someone,<br />

somewhere, is making big bucks<br />

from making women feel like shit.<br />

Keeping us hungry and counting<br />

calories keeps us small – not<br />

just physically, but mentally and<br />

spiritually, too. It keeps us focused<br />

on things that don’t actually matter,<br />

so that we don’t have the mental<br />

capacity or energy to take the<br />

patriarchy down, or question the<br />

beliefs that have been programmed<br />

into us.<br />

As children, many of us inherited<br />

unhealthy thoughts and feelings<br />

towards food and our bodies. We<br />

were taught to count calories, no<br />

carbs before marbs, no eating after<br />

6pm, and that apple cider vinegar<br />

would give us a six-pack. When<br />

Slimfast was out, Slimming World<br />

was in. When small bums were out,<br />

big bums were in.<br />

The ideals of how we should look,<br />

and who we should be, change<br />

constantly, so that we remain in<br />

a vicious cycle of self-hate. And<br />

guess what? The money keeps<br />

rolling in to the corporations who<br />

sell us the products or services<br />

that will ‘fix’ us. This is a battle we<br />

never win, because we – and our<br />

bodies – are not the problem.<br />

I remember a few years ago,<br />

after finishing treatment for an<br />

eating disorder, I was so incredibly<br />

Keeping us hungry<br />

and counting<br />

calories keeps<br />

us small – not<br />

just physically,<br />

but mentally and<br />

spiritually, too<br />

angry. I had realised that falling<br />

into disordered eating and negative<br />

body image is almost inevitable if<br />

you simply look at the advertising<br />

and messages we see and hear.<br />

There is a narrative that you<br />

are morally wrong if you don’t<br />

conform to look a certain way. That<br />

women should fall in line, and<br />

never dare to break free from the<br />

story that no longer serves them.<br />

Diet culture is just another tool to<br />

take away our power. We’ve been<br />

brainwashed into believing that<br />

our own intuition isn’t enough,<br />

and that we cannot trust our<br />

bodies to eat well. So, we allow<br />

things outside of us to do the work<br />

instead.<br />

28 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>


Grace recommends<br />

Body Positive Power: How<br />

to stop dieting, make peace<br />

with your body and live<br />

By Megan Jayne Crabbe<br />

(Vermilion, £12.99)<br />

Health at Every Size:<br />

The surprising truth<br />

about your weight<br />

By Linda Bacon<br />

(BenBella Books, £10.99)<br />

This is why our relationship with<br />

food – and ourselves – becomes so<br />

skewed. We tear ourselves down<br />

in any way that we can, and even<br />

though 95% of diets do not work,<br />

we blame ourselves if we don’t lose<br />

weight. We exercise to look good,<br />

despite feeling like utter crap. We<br />

constantly think about our bodies<br />

in a negative way, and every day<br />

that goes past is another day of<br />

self-loathing and self-deprecating<br />

behaviour.<br />

But we hardly see it, because it’s<br />

normal to hate who we are, and<br />

radical not to. We disconnect from<br />

parts of us in a bid to become<br />

smaller versions of ourselves. We<br />

shrink, pick, and even cut away at<br />

who we are, in the desperate hope<br />

that we will find happiness in a<br />

smaller pair of jeans.<br />

And this was me, and sometimes,<br />

it is still me. I’ve been so much<br />

thinner than I am now, and it still<br />

wasn’t enough. I got to my goal<br />

weight and the goal changed, and<br />

then all of a sudden I was Googling<br />

boob jobs and bum lifts. It became<br />

apparent that no matter what I<br />

looked like, I still wouldn’t like<br />

myself. It wasn’t my body after all.<br />

Happiness and self-actualisation<br />

cannot be found on the outside<br />

– it is about the inner you. It is<br />

about knowing who you really<br />

were before you internalised<br />

other people’s standards. It is<br />

about setting your own standards.<br />

It is about letting go of fear, and<br />

instead choosing love. Life does<br />

not begin when you’re thin. Life is<br />

happening now. So, stop engaging<br />

in behaviours, conversations, and<br />

diets that make you feel like you’re<br />

not good enough. You are.<br />

Love<br />

Grace<br />

x<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 29

Ask the experts<br />

Career coach Letesia Gibson<br />

answers your questions on<br />

workplace burnout<br />

Read more about Letesia on<br />

lifecoach-directory.org.uk<br />

QI am exhausted.<br />

I’m in the<br />

middle of a<br />

big project at work,<br />

and I can’t see things<br />

getting better any<br />

time soon. Every day is<br />

hard. What can I do?<br />

It sounds like your<br />

A spiritual and emotional<br />

energies are being<br />

compromised. When we live<br />

with compromise in things<br />

like our values, expectations,<br />

sense of reward, and control<br />

or fairness, is exhausting. We<br />

cope with this by going on<br />

autopilot, withdrawing, and<br />

giving up.<br />

Immediate relief will come<br />

from getting into your<br />

body more often. It will<br />

feel counterintuitive to do<br />

more when you feel tired,<br />

but gentle movement, like<br />

walking or yoga, will help to<br />

regulate your nervous system,<br />

giving you fresh perspective<br />

and a feeling of being in<br />

control again. Getting out of<br />

this dorsal state is necessary<br />

for change.<br />

This experience of work<br />

isn’t working for you. Being<br />

truthful about your mismatch<br />

with it will give you clarity<br />

on what about it needs to<br />

change. That kind of honesty<br />

is easy to say and hard to<br />

do, but the energy you’ll get<br />

back will be worth it.<br />

Q<br />

I think I need to<br />

leave my job,<br />

but it never<br />

seems to be ‘the right<br />

time’. I can’t afford to<br />

leave without another<br />

job lined up, so I’ve<br />

been putting it off.<br />

Can you help me?<br />

AIt’s great that you’re<br />

intending to leave a<br />

job that’s burning you out.<br />

But ‘the right time’ will never<br />

emerge while in that draining<br />

zone. We have to create the<br />

fertile conditions for the new<br />

strength and motivation to<br />

grow, and the first step is<br />

putting you first, more often.<br />

Write down the good parts<br />

of the day. Practise saying<br />

‘no’ more often. Commit to<br />

carving out time to start a<br />

transition plan. Can you cut<br />

down your hours, or take<br />

some holiday? Before the<br />

new job, you need to get<br />

clear on what you actually<br />

need to thrive in the next role.<br />

When you know this, you’ll be<br />

ready to start looking for a<br />

new job, and see what new<br />

energy you have for change.

Burnout<br />

Q<br />

I’m worried<br />

about a<br />

colleague.<br />

They have become<br />

detached and seem to<br />

have lost their ‘spark’.<br />

How can I support<br />

them?<br />

One of our fundamental<br />

A needs is to be truly<br />

seen, and when a person<br />

becomes disconnected, they<br />

have become invisible –<br />

even to themselves. When<br />

this is done with kindness<br />

and compassion, it creates<br />

a much-needed space for<br />

connection.<br />

Tips include keeping things<br />

simple. Let them know<br />

that you see them in this<br />

struggle, and that you are<br />

there for them. Have soft<br />

eye contact. Be gentle with<br />

your tone of voice. Choose<br />

a place and time that fits<br />

this more intimate moment.<br />

Avoid speculating why this<br />

is happening, or trying to fix<br />

it. Be ready to listen. Don’t<br />

get hung up on needing to<br />

do something, or expecting<br />

them to ask for something<br />

in return. The very act of<br />

seeing them is a powerful<br />

support in itself.<br />

Life Coach Directory is part of the <strong>Happiful</strong> Family | Helping you find the help you need


Frankie Bridge was first thrust into the spotlight as a member of S Club<br />

Juniors, before going on to join the hugely successful girl group, The<br />

Saturdays. But behind the scenes, things weren’t easy – and for a short<br />

time in 2012, she found herself an inpatient at a mental health hospital.<br />

For Frankie, this was an opportunity to speak about the realities of<br />

mental health, and she hasn’t looked back since. Here, we catch up<br />

about her new part-autobiography, part-self-help book OPEN, and<br />

what it means to be a ‘work in progress’...<br />

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler<br />

Hi Frankie! Congratulations on<br />

your new book, OPEN. Does it still<br />

feel a bit surreal? It does! It’s weird<br />

because people who I don’t know<br />

are now getting to know me quite<br />

intimately! But it’s good because<br />

when I’m saying things that I’m<br />

feeling, and seeing that others have<br />

also experienced it, it makes me<br />

feel less alone – at the same time<br />

as making them feel less alone. It<br />

was a difficult writing process, but<br />

I enjoyed it. And now I’ve got the<br />

end result, it was all worth it.<br />

In OPEN, you’re asking people to<br />

‘Speak out. Ask for help. And be<br />

helped.’ Do you remember the<br />

first time you spoke out about<br />

your mental health? I went to the<br />

doctor, I thought I was just tired.<br />

He was the one who suggested I<br />

needed some therapy, and that<br />

was a weird moment because I just<br />

couldn’t see it, it wasn’t something<br />

that I knew anything about, or<br />

that anyone had spoken about.<br />

But it was after that that I realised<br />

he was right, and I realised that<br />

things weren’t quite as they<br />

should be.<br />

In 2012 you had a short stay in<br />

a mental health hospital. Did<br />

you have any preconceptions<br />

about it before going in? In my<br />

head, it was all padded walls<br />

and being locked in your room.<br />

It wasn’t like that at all, it was a<br />

really comforting place to be, and<br />

it was such a relief to be around<br />

people who I didn’t have to lie to,<br />

or pretend to be OK in front of.<br />

It was just a massive weight off<br />

my shoulders, and I didn’t really<br />

expect that before I went in.<br />

You then went on to talk publicly<br />

about your stay. Was that a<br />

difficult decision? No – it was<br />

more that, at the time, the press<br />

assumed that I had some kind of<br />

addiction or eating disorder. No<br />

one really thought about anxiety<br />

and depression, and I just wanted<br />

to raise awareness that there are<br />

different things that people go to<br />

hospital for.<br />

How do you approach<br />

conversations about mental<br />

health now? I don’t always know<br />

how to approach it with other<br />

people, because everyone’s<br />

different, and I don’t want to<br />

frighten people off. But if anyone<br />

asks me a question, I find it quite<br />

easy to talk about my mental<br />

health. It doesn’t mean if I’m<br />

walking around and someone<br />

asks me how I am, I’ll say, “Oh<br />

I’m awful.” There are only certain<br />

people that I tell. But it’s important<br />

that I have those people.<br />

As a mother of two boys, do you<br />

talk about wellbeing at home?<br />

I do try to but, though I struggle<br />

with my mental health, I don’t<br />

really know how to approach the<br />

subject with them at such a young<br />

Photography | Sophie Davidson<br />

32 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

I have anxiety and<br />

depression, this<br />

is who I am, and<br />

it is what it is<br />

age. I just try to ask questions about<br />

how they’re feeling. When they’re at<br />

school, I ask them whether people<br />

are being kind, are they happy,<br />

and just reassure them that I love<br />

them. When they’re scared about<br />

things, I try not to just brush it off<br />

and push it to the side – I try to be<br />

understanding.<br />

You call yourself a ‘work in<br />

progress’, what do you mean by<br />

that? I’m not going to be fixed. I<br />

have a chemical imbalance in my<br />

brain, and it’s not going to go away.<br />

So every day I have to work on<br />

getting up and staying positive. I’m<br />

always learning what can press the<br />

wrong buttons, and what presses<br />

the right buttons. But I think that<br />

comes with age and surrounding<br />

myself with the right people. I’m<br />

kind of accepting that this is who I<br />

am. I have anxiety and depression,<br />

this is who I am, and it is what it is.<br />

Do you have a message for<br />

someone who might be going<br />

through something similar?<br />

Knowledge is key. Know what is<br />

happening to you, find someone<br />

you can confide in, and don’t<br />

give yourself such a hard time.<br />

Remember, a better day is around<br />

the corner.<br />

‘OPEN’ by Frankie Bridge is out now<br />

(Cassell, £18.99). You can follow<br />

Frankie on Instagram @frankiebridge<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 33

I am. I have<br />

Megan Crabbe | Joseph Sinclair<br />




• Listen • Like • Subscribe •<br />

Listen to conversations with Jamie Windust, Megan Crabbe, Kimberley Wilson,<br />

Shahroo Izadi and many others who share their passions, and<br />

reveal the moments that shaped them.<br />

34 • happiful.com • February <strong>2020</strong>

crafting<br />

From slow sewing to paper cutting, we explore the wonderful world of<br />

mindful crafts and how they benefit our mental health<br />

Writing | Kat Nicholls<br />

Many of us know<br />

by now that<br />

mindfulness is a<br />

pretty wonderful<br />

thing. It can reduce stress and<br />

anxiety, and generally help us to<br />

maintain our mental wellness.<br />

Mindfulness meditation is<br />

often hailed as the ultimate<br />

mindfulness practice. But the<br />

brilliant thing about mindfulness<br />

is that it can be tapped into in so<br />

many ways. One creative idea is<br />

to take regular crafting activities<br />

and give them a mindfulness spin<br />

by slowing down, and letting the<br />

activity absorb your attention.<br />

Counsellor Bethyn Casey<br />

incorporates creative therapy into<br />

her work, and believes crafting<br />

can be ideal for those looking for a<br />

different approach to mindfulness.<br />

“There is something outside<br />

of yourself to focus on – trying<br />

to sit and meditate when our<br />

thoughts are rushing can be<br />

just what we need, and I would<br />

never discourage mindfulness<br />

meditation, but sometimes<br />

a meditative state is hard to<br />

achieve and a busy mind can be<br />

frustrated further by the struggle<br />

to relax on its own accord.<br />

“Playing with colours, symbols<br />

and shapes can be absorbing, our<br />

attention focused on something<br />

else, but ideally pressure-free,<br />

and so we may more naturally<br />

relax into a mindful way of<br />

being.”<br />

But the actual benefits go<br />

beyond this. Research from the<br />

British Journal of Occupational<br />

Therapy suggests doing crafting<br />

activities on a regular basis can<br />

improve mood and increase<br />

feelings of relaxation. And<br />

Bethyn notes that being creative<br />

in this way can ultimately help us<br />

access difficult emotions, too.<br />

“By crafting, we’re just letting<br />

images, shapes, colours, and our<br />

intuition, lead us in different<br />

directions. Somehow the fun of<br />

the objects themselves can mean<br />

we drift out of boxed thinking and<br />

discover that something within us<br />

can quietly rearrange things in the<br />

background.<br />

“Suddenly we’ve put our tools<br />

away, and whatever it was that was<br />

stuck and knotted and inaccessible<br />

inside has somehow formed itself<br />

into something tangible that can<br />

be touched and explored.”<br />

Sometimes, focusing on<br />

something external can help<br />

us internally. If this sounds like<br />

something you’re keen to try,<br />

we’ve got some suggested mindful<br />

crafting activities for you – get<br />

your tools at the ready. >>><br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 35

Paper<br />

cutting<br />

Paper cutting involves making intricate designs<br />

using a craft knife and, traditionally, just one sheet<br />

of paper. The entire process of paper cutting, from<br />

designing to cutting, takes extreme focus and care,<br />

making it an ideal mindful craft. When cutting, try<br />

to focus your attention on what you’re doing and<br />

take it slowly.<br />

You might want to attend a class or follow online<br />

tutorials to get started. Once you feel happy with the<br />

technique, all you need is a template, a craft knife,<br />

and a piece of paper – simple!<br />

Macramé<br />

Macramé is a type of textile made using knotting<br />

techniques. You can use any materials that can be<br />

knotted, such as cotton, twine, yarn, or even leather,<br />

to create a beautiful wall hanging or plant holder.<br />

The activity is both challenging to the mind (some of<br />

the knots can be intricate), and relaxing as there are<br />

often repetitive actions needed. This combination<br />

can trigger a flow state, where you feel relaxed and<br />

as if time is standing still.<br />

Mindful<br />

scrapbooking<br />

Cutting and sticking in this way can feel incredibly<br />

therapeutic, and it turns out there’s a reason for this,<br />

as Bethyn explains.<br />

“We can discover things about ourselves we didn’t<br />

know – when collaging, we’re drawn to certain<br />

types of images, shapes, and colours that resonate<br />

with different meanings for us. By playing about<br />

Use scrap cuttings for<br />

your scrapbook<br />

with them, and rearranging what goes where, new ways<br />

of seeing old patterns appear; suddenly the world isn’t a<br />

lonely place; we are our own friend, gradually discovering<br />

new ways of relating to the world around us as we continue<br />

to practise our craft.”<br />

As a bonus, you get to keep your scrapbook after you’re<br />

done! Pick a theme or simply let your intuition guide you!<br />

36 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

Never underestimate the<br />

power of a box full of craft<br />

toys; they can open up a<br />

whole different world inside<br />

our own minds<br />

Slow sewing<br />

Instead of reaching for the sewing machine, slow<br />

sewing is all about stitching a project by hand. The<br />

gentle, focused nature of hand sewing makes it a<br />

perfect mindfulness activity. It can also be nice to<br />

try alongside other people, especially if you struggle<br />

with social anxiety.<br />

“Having crafting to focus on means the excess<br />

energy anxiety brings can go into what we’re<br />

creating, rather than building up within. Sometimes<br />

being able to share a craft activity together quietly,<br />

without the normal social pressures of having<br />

to make conversation, can be in itself socially<br />

fulfilling,” Bethyn says.<br />

If you’re new to sewing, why not reach out to see if<br />

anyone would be willing to help you learn and form<br />

a slow sewing group? You might make some friends<br />

while developing a new skill.<br />

We know carving out time<br />

for yourself can be difficult,<br />

especially when the demands<br />

of work and family seem to be<br />

tugging at your sleeve. Having<br />

a dedicated activity to turn to<br />

can not only help you prioritise<br />

‘you time’ (and make you excited<br />

about it), it can help you switch<br />

off from modern-day stressors<br />

(yes, we’re looking at you<br />

Twitter).<br />

As Bethyn says: “Never<br />

underestimate the power of a box<br />

full of craft toys; they can open<br />

up a whole different world inside<br />

our own minds; it’s a world where<br />

we get to make choices about how<br />

we shape our creations, and this<br />

can help us begin to make choices<br />

about how we want to craft our<br />

own lives.”<br />

So, whether you’re a crafting<br />

newbie looking to try something<br />

different, or a dab hand with a<br />

craft knife, you officially have<br />

permission to get creative more<br />

often. Trust us, your mind will<br />

thank you for it.<br />

Visit counselling-directory.org.uk to<br />

find out more about Bethyn Casey,<br />

mindfulness, and art therapies.<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 37

“<br />

Enjoy the little things, for one<br />

day you may look back and<br />

realise they were the big things<br />


Photography | Natasha Kasim


Learning to<br />

choose me<br />

Sarah’s world was consumed by her eating<br />

disorder for more than a decade. It’s wasn’t an<br />

overnight transformation, but with time, patience,<br />

and understanding, she learned to embrace her<br />

natural body as it is<br />

Writing | Sarah Young<br />

I<br />

was terrified,<br />

standing on the<br />

scales, praying<br />

that the number<br />

would show a<br />

drop in weight. I’d just<br />

woken from a nightmare<br />

where I’d gained two stone<br />

overnight. When I opened<br />

my eyes, my hands had<br />

been running over my<br />

protruding hip bones, even<br />

in sleep, just to check that<br />

they were still prominent.<br />

I kept feeling like there<br />

was a shadowy presence,<br />

just out of the corner of my<br />

eye, watching me. It felt<br />

like death. I felt like maybe<br />

I was ready for him.<br />

It was early 2012 and I<br />

was nearly 21. I’d been<br />

living with an eating<br />

disorder for almost a<br />

decade. The reason for<br />

its development can’t<br />

be pinpointed to one<br />

single event, but rather<br />

a combination of many<br />

factors coming together to<br />

make the perfect storm.<br />

This period was the<br />

worst I’d ever been. My<br />

brittle, dry hair fell out in<br />

clumps in the shower. I<br />

was experiencing memory<br />

loss. I was dizzy a lot, the<br />

world seemed grey, and<br />

my senses were dulled as<br />

if my brain was smothered<br />

in cotton wool. I had<br />

insomnia, and when I slept<br />

I had nightmares. I was<br />

entirely, unequivocally,<br />

weary of being sick and<br />

miserable.<br />

I was weary of being<br />

in a living hell. I was<br />

weary with the despair,<br />

the darkness, the anger,<br />

and the devastation. I<br />

was weary of the calories<br />

circling around my head<br />

all day and night. I was<br />

tired of counting down the<br />

minutes until I was ‘allowed’<br />

to eat, of the starving and<br />

compulsive exercising, and<br />

eventually, the purging.<br />

I was exhausted by the<br />

intense fear I felt at going<br />

anywhere near food, and<br />

the utter desolation of my<br />

mind and body that meant<br />

I lived in a starving shell<br />

that couldn’t function, and<br />

a mind controlled by a<br />

single focus: to lose weight.<br />

A severe mental illness<br />

caused by a combination<br />

of genetics and my<br />

environment was my way<br />

of handling the world and<br />

myself, but finally, after<br />

eight years, I decided that<br />

this could not go on.<br />

At first, I viewed death as<br />

the only escape from the<br />

torment, but as moments<br />

of clarity started to push<br />

their way to the forefront of<br />

my mind, the possibility<br />

of recovery developed<br />

from rejected thoughts to<br />

cautious actions.<br />

However, I was faced<br />

with a world that seemed<br />

to not want me to recover.<br />

Not fully, anyway. It was as<br />

if everything in the world<br />

was screaming: “Recover,<br />

but not too much. Gain<br />

weight, but not too much.<br />

Eat more, but not too<br />

much.” I felt like the<br />

world was asking me to<br />

tone down my disordered<br />

thoughts and behaviours…<br />

but not too much.<br />

I watched others call<br />

themselves “recovered”<br />

from eating disorders,<br />

while closely restricting<br />

their intake, and<br />

controlling their exercise.<br />

For me, that felt like still<br />

being sick. It felt like<br />

being better, but not well. >>><br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 39

To hear more from<br />

Sarah, follow her<br />

journey on Instagram<br />

@bodypositivepear<br />

I felt like the world was<br />

asking me to tone down<br />

my disordered thoughts<br />

and behaviours… but not<br />

too much<br />

It felt like still being inside<br />

a cage, and not able to live<br />

life freely.<br />

But I found out, you can<br />

push further.<br />

I came across a blog that<br />

suggested another way.<br />

It suggested that we all<br />

have our own individual<br />

natural, healthy weights,<br />

that our bodies need to<br />

be at their healthiest. It<br />

talked about eating freely<br />

in order to recover from<br />

eating disorders. It talked<br />

about listening to your<br />

body fully, and responding<br />

to all the hunger that<br />

recovery brings. It talked<br />

about becoming friends<br />

with your body rather than<br />

treating it as the enemy.<br />

It also led me to a website<br />

that changed my life, and<br />

made me realise that I<br />

don’t have to engage with<br />

diet culture, or live my life<br />

trying to please society by<br />

having the ‘perfect’ body.<br />

Formerly known as Your<br />

Eatopia, now The Eating<br />

Disorder Institute, the site<br />

taught me about health at<br />

every size, weight set point<br />

theory, and fat acceptance.<br />

I decided to reject the<br />

idea of an ‘ideal’ body.<br />

But this wasn’t a decision<br />

I made in an instant – it<br />

took years of research,<br />

getting involved with<br />

feminism and the body<br />

positivity movement, and<br />

learning about the impact<br />

of diet culture, and how<br />

the diet and weight loss<br />

industry intentionally make<br />

us hate ourselves for profit.<br />

It took deciding to be as<br />

healthy and happy as I could<br />

possibly be in both body and<br />

mind. It took deciding to let<br />

40 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

I choose my<br />

health and<br />

happiness over the<br />

approval of others.<br />

I choose me<br />


go of the importance that<br />

I had placed on being a<br />

certain weight.<br />

I turned out to be one of<br />

those people who naturally<br />

have a higher body weight<br />

than some. This can mean<br />

dealing with increased<br />

stigma around weight and<br />

size, and knowing that<br />

some people will look at<br />

me and decide that I am<br />

unhealthy/lazy/greedy,<br />

while knowing nothing<br />

about my lifestyle, or who<br />

I am as a person. I am also<br />

aware of my own weight<br />

privileges, in that there are<br />

people at higher weights<br />

who suffer a lot more<br />

stigma and discrimination.<br />

My body is the size that<br />

I can live my life as a<br />

healthy and happy person.<br />

If I wanted to be smaller,<br />

I’d have to focus on calorie<br />

restriction, and possibly<br />

an excessive amount<br />

of exercise, and we all<br />

know where that would<br />

lead. I accept my body. I<br />

know I am doing what is<br />

right for me. I choose my<br />

health and happiness over<br />

the approval of others. I<br />

choose me.<br />

I have been ‘in remission’<br />

as I like to call it (as I don’t<br />

believe eating disorders<br />

can ever be fully cured)<br />

for five years now. It was<br />

a long, hellish journey to<br />

end up here, but it was<br />

the most important thing<br />

that I have ever done for<br />

myself. If I could say one<br />

thing to those thinking<br />

about fighting that war, I<br />

would say that however<br />

indescribably hard the<br />

battle is, it is all worth it – a<br />

billion times over.<br />

To get to where I am<br />

now, I chose to reject the<br />

ideas and ideals that are so<br />

entrenched in our culture<br />

and our society. I chose<br />

my actual health over the<br />

idea that you have to be<br />

a certain weight, shape,<br />

or size to be healthy. I<br />

chose my actual happiness<br />

over the absolute lie that<br />

you have to be a certain<br />

number on the scales to<br />

be happy. Those lies are<br />

fed to us all day, every day,<br />

everywhere we look, but<br />

I don’t buy it any more. I<br />

have decided to live my<br />

life in a way that means<br />

working with my body<br />

and letting it be whatever<br />

weight, shape, or size it<br />

needs to be to enable me<br />

to be healthy and happy.<br />

I will not change that for<br />

anyone. I choose me.<br />

Over the years,<br />

suffering from her<br />

eating disorder caused<br />

Sarah severe symptoms<br />

that brought her to<br />

a crisis point in her<br />

life. She found online<br />

resources that helped<br />

her to change how she<br />

identified with her body.<br />

They inspired her and<br />

helped her to stay in<br />

a healthy relationship<br />

with herself and food.<br />

It helped her to value<br />

her own opinions of her<br />

body over that of others.<br />

Often this is first step<br />

in changing – knowing<br />

and finding who you<br />

are, not what others say<br />

you should be. Now<br />

Sarah is much<br />

more confident<br />

and comfortable<br />

with life.<br />

Graeme Orr | MBACP (Accred) UKRCP<br />

Reg Ind counsellor<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 41


<strong>March</strong><br />

Feel empowered by real experiences, from real people. Get involved with the global<br />

movement celebrating women and girls, discover the influencer breaking down<br />

barriers, and take action to end stereotypes around eating disorders<br />


The Wellfulness Project<br />

‘Wellfulness’ is all about<br />

using mindfulness to improve<br />

your wellbeing. You don’t<br />

need to practise meditation,<br />

mindfulness can be used<br />

anywhere at any time. The<br />

Wellfulness Project will guide<br />

you through how to apply<br />

mindfulness in everyday life.<br />

(Out 5 <strong>March</strong>, Octopus<br />

Publishing Group, £16.99)<br />

3<br />


4<br />

Women of the World<br />

Festival<br />

Women of the World is a<br />

global movement celebrating<br />

women and girls. This year<br />

is the 10th anniversary of the<br />

WOW festival, and it’s set<br />

to be bigger than ever! Visit<br />

the festival for three days of<br />

events, performances, and<br />

debates from the world’s<br />

leading speakers, activists,<br />

and performers.<br />

(6–8 <strong>March</strong>. To<br />

find out more, visit<br />

thewowfoundation.com)<br />


2<br />

London Dog Week<br />

This week-long celebration is<br />

all about the power pups have<br />

to bring people together. Head<br />

to the capital to enjoy fashion exclusives, interactive experiences, and<br />

competitions, all while raising money to support the welfare of dogs<br />

around the country. It’s bound to have tails wagging!<br />

(23–29 <strong>March</strong>, for more information head to londondogweek.com)<br />


Amber Guzman<br />

Amber lives with<br />

muscular dystrophy,<br />

which has left her<br />

unable to walk long<br />

distances, and has made daily<br />

activities more challenging. To help<br />

distract herself, Amber began to<br />

embrace her passion for cosplay,<br />

and now she inspires thousands<br />

with her complex costume designs,<br />

eye-catching<br />

photographs,<br />

and ingenious<br />

incorporation of<br />

her wheelchair.<br />

(Follow<br />

@amber_<br />

kohaku_chan<br />

on Instagram)<br />


ThinkUp Positive<br />

Affirmations<br />

Do you want to develop<br />

a more positive mindset? ThinkUp<br />

helps you achieve this by allowing<br />

you to choose a positive affirmation,<br />

record yourself saying it, and listen<br />

to it daily. You can record multiple<br />

affirmations specific to your goals,<br />

and add your favourite music and<br />

photos to tailor the app just for you.<br />

(Download from the App Store and<br />

Google Play, find out more<br />

at thinkup.me)

Images | Mulan: Walt Disney Pictures, Amber: Instagram @amber_kohaku_chan<br />

6 9<br />


How Did We Get Here?<br />

Ever wonder how you ended<br />

up in a certain situation?<br />

Close friends Claudia Winkleman and<br />

Professor Tanya Byron discuss the reallife<br />

difficulties their guests are facing,<br />

and help them to understand why they<br />

can’t put into practice what they<br />

know they should do.<br />

(Listen to the podcast on iTunes<br />

and Spotify)<br />

7<br />


This Disney favourite is<br />

back with a bang in this live-action<br />

feature film. Mulan tells the story<br />

of a young Chinese woman who<br />

disguises herself as a male warrior<br />

in order to protect her father. Far<br />

from a princess waiting to be<br />

saved from her tower, this script is<br />

filled with female empowerment.<br />

Mulan<br />

(In cinemas 27 <strong>March</strong>)<br />


Eating Disorders Awareness Week<br />

8<br />


If you’re trying to go green, a reusable coffee cup is a great way to cut<br />

down on the plastic! The WAKEcup coffee cup is made from sustainably<br />

farmed bamboo and stainless steel, and 10% of profits go directly to The<br />

Marine Conservation Society. Start saving the planet with your coffee.<br />

WAKEcup coffee cup<br />

(£19, visit globalwakecup.com for more)<br />

Win a WAKEcup coffee cup!<br />

For your chance to win, simply email competitions@happiful.com<br />

with your answer to the following question:<br />

How much coffee cup waste does the UK produce each year?<br />

a) 10,000 tonnes b) 20,000 tonnes c) 30,000 tonnes<br />

UK mainland only. Competition closes on 19 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>, good luck!<br />

Anyone affected by an eating disorder deserves support,<br />

no matter what their diagnosis, gender, ethnicity,<br />

sexuality, age or background. This week is about breaking down the<br />

stereotypes around eating disorders, and sharing real-life stories<br />

about how people are affected.<br />

(2–8 <strong>March</strong>, get involved at beateatingdisorders.org.uk)<br />

10GET<br />

GOING<br />

Chocathlon Yorkshire<br />

Getting active doesn’t<br />

mean you have to give<br />

up all tasty temptations!<br />

Choose between 5K or 9K<br />

routes, and refuel at the<br />

chocolate stations as you<br />

walk or run around the<br />

track. Prizes are on offer<br />

for the top three finishers,<br />

as well as the best fancy<br />

dress.<br />

(7 <strong>March</strong>, find out more<br />

at chocathlon.co.uk)<br />


How to deal with the<br />

“How's work?"<br />

question<br />

Taking time off for our mental health is often essential, but many of<br />

us dread explaining why we’re taking time away<br />

Writing | Katie Conibear Illustrating | Rosan Magar<br />

Often it’s not until we’re<br />

taking time off to<br />

look after our mental<br />

health that we realise<br />

how much small talk<br />

revolves around work. It’s seen as a<br />

universal icebreaker, from people<br />

we know well to those we’ve just<br />

met. We might be at a party (yes,<br />

you can be unwell and still go to<br />

parties), a family gathering, or just<br />

out for a coffee with a friend.<br />

While it can feel overwhelming<br />

to socialise when we’re unwell,<br />

it’s important as it stops us from<br />

isolating ourselves, and these are<br />

the people that can support us, and<br />

help carry us through. So to then<br />

be presented with the “how’s work”<br />

question can sometimes feel like<br />

too much to deal with.<br />

As innocent as the intention,<br />

it can be a loaded question. I’ve<br />

been asked this when I’ve been ill<br />

with mental health problems, and<br />

that feeling of dread will begin to<br />

creep over me. I’ll feel flustered<br />

and anxious, with a tightness in my<br />

chest. I’ve found myself making<br />

excuses, or trying to avoid the<br />

question completely. But rather<br />

than feeling shame, or hiding,<br />

here are four important points<br />

to remember when we’re having<br />

these conversations.<br />

1 BE HONEST<br />

Sounds difficult right? It doesn’t<br />

have to be. The way we phrase our<br />

responses can make everyone who<br />

is a part of the conversation feel<br />

at ease. Think about the person<br />

or people you’re talking to. How<br />

can they relate to your situation?<br />

Do they know us well or are they<br />

acquaintances? There are simple<br />

phrases that work well in these<br />

situations:<br />

• “I’m taking some time out for my<br />

mental health.”<br />

• “I’m making my health a priority.”<br />

• “I need time to refocus so I can do<br />

my best at work when I go back.”<br />

• “I was feeling stressed and near<br />

burnout, and needed some time off<br />

to recharge.”<br />

Depending on the person, we<br />

can figure out how much detail we<br />

want to divulge. If you feel you can<br />

be completely honest, do it! The<br />

majority of people will care and<br />

ask how they can help.<br />


We often find ourselves<br />

apologising for being mentally<br />

unwell. We do it because of shame<br />

and guilt, but thinking differently<br />

about why we’re off can make our<br />

conversations easier. Ask yourself:<br />

“How likely is it someone will<br />

think less of me? I’ve made a call<br />

about my health and I needed to<br />

take time off.” Feeling ashamed<br />

won’t help us feel better, it will<br />

sabotage our efforts to get back to<br />

work. If someone does shame us<br />

for being unwell, they need to be<br />

educated; it is a fault with them,<br />

not us.<br />



Having time out from work means<br />

you’re taking your health seriously.<br />

It might be you’ve stopped yourself<br />

from reaching burnout. Or you<br />

may have reached burnout, and<br />

had the presence of mind to realise<br />

44 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

that you needed a break. Everyone<br />

can relate to these feelings to an<br />

extent. If it’s an ongoing, long-term<br />

illness then it shows that we know<br />

ourselves well, and taking care<br />

of ourselves should be praised.<br />

We’ve taken responsibility for our<br />

health, which shows maturity. We<br />

should be proud that we’re not<br />

trying to work through an illness,<br />

but instead are making our health<br />

a priority.<br />



Although work is an important<br />

part of many people’s lives, it<br />

doesn’t have to define us. There<br />

are so many more things that are a<br />

part of us – our hobbies, passions,<br />

and personality to name a few.<br />

When we really think about all<br />

the topics we’re interested in, the<br />

possibilities for a conversation are<br />

endless. Shifting a conversation to<br />

a topic that is important to us can<br />

make socialising less stressful to<br />

deal with. It can also help us find<br />

purpose outside of work. It can<br />

help us realise that our identity<br />

matters just as much as our career.<br />

Katie Conibear is a freelance writer,<br />

focusing on mental health. She blogs<br />

at stumblingmind.com and has a<br />

podcast, ‘A Life Lived Vividly’, with a<br />

focus on hearing voices.<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 45

Photography | Marcos Paulo Prado<br />

“<br />

Accept yourself, love yourself,<br />

and keep moving forward<br />


How acrylic nails<br />

helped me beat<br />

my hair-pulling<br />

disorder<br />

For years,<br />

Salma battled<br />

trichotillomania – the<br />

irresistible urge to<br />

pull out her hair. Then<br />

a simple trip to a nail<br />

salon transformed<br />

her life, and her<br />

sense of self…<br />

Writing | Salma Haidrani<br />

For most of my teens,<br />

mornings often followed<br />

the same pattern: I’d wake<br />

up with raw and red eyes, a<br />

sore scalp, several missing<br />

lashes, and patches of bare skin<br />

between my eyebrows. It took a<br />

few seconds before it’d dawn on me<br />

why: I’d deliberately pulled my hair<br />

out, and now there was hardly any<br />

of it left.<br />

It wasn’t always like this. With<br />

our thick mane and full set of dark<br />

eyelashes, no one could easily tell<br />

me or my twin, Layla, apart. >>><br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 47

Any attempts to ‘cure’ the<br />

disorder over the years – from<br />

putting plasters on my fingers, to<br />

meditation – had failed<br />

But at 15, I’d developed<br />

trichotillomania, a disorder that<br />

saw me pull at my lashes, brows,<br />

and later my scalp.<br />

Stressed by looming exams, the<br />

familiar ritual of pulling a strand<br />

and coiling it around my fingers<br />

was soothing. It soon became<br />

addictive, and it wasn’t long before<br />

bald patches the size of a 50p piece<br />

appeared on my scalp. When I ran<br />

out of head hair to pull, I started<br />

tearing out my pubic hair.<br />

I feared anyone finding out, so<br />

I’d painstakingly spend hours in<br />

front of the mirror, lining my eyes<br />

and brows with heavy kohl liner<br />

and pencil.<br />

Despite my efforts to conceal<br />

my disorder, it wasn’t long before<br />

school friends found out. One<br />

particularly cruel jibe I heard was:<br />

‘How can you tell the difference<br />

between the twins? Salma’s the<br />

one who doesn’t have eyelashes.’<br />

The challenges that came with<br />

my condition were exacerbated<br />

by my heritage. Communities<br />

of colour like mine – I’m half-<br />

Lebanese, half-Pakistani – can<br />

often have an uneasy relationship<br />

with mental health. I certainly<br />

saw this first-hand. Relatives were<br />

reluctant to see trichotillomania<br />

for what is – a mental health<br />

disorder – but as something I<br />

could easily control. My parents,<br />

uncles, and aunts remained<br />

convinced that all it took to control<br />

my condition was willpower.<br />

Any attempts to ‘cure’ the<br />

disorder over the years – from<br />

putting plasters on my fingers,<br />

to meditation – had failed. I had<br />

resigned myself to dealing with the<br />

disorder for the rest of my life.<br />

But that all changed last April<br />

when I was taken, with fellow<br />

bridesmaids, to a salon to have<br />

matching red acrylic nails applied,<br />

ready for my sister’s wedding.<br />

That evening, I found that the<br />

length made it difficult to grip,<br />

let alone pull, my lashes. I was<br />

so overcome with panic that I<br />

considered running back to the<br />

salon to have them removed. Over<br />

that week, it became too much<br />

effort to keep trying, and soon I<br />

realised that I barely pulled.<br />

The impact acrylic nails<br />

have had on my life has been<br />

immeasurable. Within a month,<br />

lashes and brow hair started<br />

sprouting for the first time in<br />

years. Two months later, I had a<br />

full set of (albeit stubby) lashes.<br />

Applying mascara for the first time<br />

in more than a decade was surreal.<br />

With my hair growth came<br />

renewed confidence: I no longer<br />

had to hide. Now I’m rarely<br />

seen without my acrylics – I’ve<br />

experimented with neon-green<br />

talons in summer and jet-black<br />

fingertips during October. If<br />

anything, I don’t feel like ‘me’<br />

without them.<br />

That’s not to say there haven’t<br />

been drawbacks. One white<br />

acrylic nail broke mid-way<br />

through a week-long trip to Ibiza<br />

last summer, and I found myself<br />

tugging absent-mindedly at my<br />

lashes while sunbathing.<br />

Having to maintain my nails<br />

once a month can also take a<br />

toll on my finances. A new set<br />

can set me back as much as<br />

£45 (sometimes £65 if I opt for<br />

intricate designs). As a freelance<br />

journalist, my income can be<br />

unsteady, so sometimes I’ve had to<br />

cancel seeing friends, or cut back<br />

on meals out.<br />

A surprising side-effect, too,<br />

has been discovering the stigma<br />

associated with acrylic nails.<br />

Although a number of celebrities<br />

have popularised acrylic nails –<br />

from the likes of Cardi B, Rihanna,<br />

and Kylie Jenner, to the female<br />

cast of Love Island – that the idea<br />

of acrylic nails being ‘common’,<br />

‘classless’ or ‘tacky’ still persists.<br />

I’ve lost count of the number of<br />

times I’ve been asked ‘How do you<br />

do anything with those nails?’ and<br />

even ‘How do you wipe after going<br />

to the toilet?’ At times, I’ve had to<br />

reveal my condition to complete<br />

strangers – something I’ve kept<br />

secret for more a decade – to<br />

distance myself from the negative<br />

associations of acrylics.<br />

It does a disservice to the<br />

transformative impact acrylic nails<br />

have had on my life and sense of<br />

self. After all, I haven’t pulled for<br />

a year and a half, something I’d<br />

48 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

Salma’s acrylic nails helped to<br />

stop her hair-pulling disorder<br />

never have thought possible a<br />

decade ago.<br />

I no longer need to endure<br />

a three-hour round trip for<br />

eyelash extensions – nor have to<br />

I haven’t<br />

pulled for a<br />

year and a half,<br />

something I’d<br />

never have<br />

thought possible<br />

a decade ago<br />

brace myself for the technician’s<br />

confusion as she notices the empty<br />

patches of bare skin between my<br />

lashes. I can spend hours trawling<br />

make-up counters, trying new<br />

mascaras – a ritual I’d consigned to<br />

history, thanks to trichotillomania.<br />

For those battling the disorder,<br />

help is on hand. Though a fresh set<br />

of acrylic nails works for me, that’s<br />

not to say that will be the case for<br />

everyone. Mindfulness, fidget toys,<br />

wearing a tight-fitting hat, and<br />

CBT, can have a similar effect.<br />

Online trichotillomania support<br />

groups, too, offer much solace and<br />

comfort, as people the world over<br />

have made me feel less isolated<br />

as we exchange ‘progress photos’,<br />

much-needed encouragement,<br />

and distraction techniques. To<br />

women of colour like myself with<br />

the disorder, I say: you’re not any<br />

less of a ‘woman’.<br />

It’s heartening that high-profile<br />

figures, like Sam Faiers and Colin<br />

Farrell, are more vocal about their<br />

experiences with trichotillomania<br />

– I know I would have benefited<br />

from knowing that there were<br />

others who also struggled.<br />

Gone are the days of waking up<br />

with a blurred vision and tell-tale<br />

bare skin between my brows.<br />

Gone, too, are the days of people<br />

being able to easily tell me and my<br />

twin sister apart just by a quick<br />

glance at the bald patches on my<br />

scalp. And for that, and more, I<br />

thank my acrylic nails.<br />

Salma Haidrani is an awardwinning<br />

freelance writer and<br />

journalist based in London. Follow<br />

Salma on Twitter @its_me_salma<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 49

Media partner<br />

Wellbeing – fact or fiction?<br />

How many contradictory posts on wellness have you seen in the past week?<br />

It can be hard to decipher what you should (and shouldn’t) believe online,<br />

but fortunately there’s a new movement to change that – Sarah Greenidge’s<br />

WellSpoken is a trailblazer for truth and credibility across the industry<br />

Writing | Lucy Donoughue<br />

What would you say if<br />

your boss told you to<br />

bend the truth? Or<br />

that blurring the lines<br />

of what you could and couldn’t say<br />

was OK? For Sarah Greenidge, this<br />

situation came up while consulting<br />

for a consumer health PR firm...<br />

“I was really shocked, stunned, at<br />

what could be said at a consumer<br />

health level,” she says.<br />

Sarah’s concerns were raised<br />

when she was asked to cast an eye<br />

over a campaign. “I remember<br />

giving it back with red marks,<br />

noting there were a lot of things<br />

that couldn’t, or shouldn’t, be said,<br />

and was met with a response of:<br />

‘This is health and wellness, so it’s<br />

different. We don’t have to be so<br />

stringent.’”<br />

To address this shocking state of<br />

fact and fiction, Sarah had the idea<br />

for WellSpoken – an independent<br />

authority providing a code of<br />

practice to ensure consumers<br />

could get credible, evidence-based<br />

information on nutrition and<br />

wellness.<br />

Having worked in healthcare,<br />

medical communications, and<br />

regulations, Sarah had the<br />

knowledge and experience, so her<br />

first step was to get to grips with<br />

exactly what the main issues were.<br />

After a year-long journey, she<br />

realised two main things…<br />

“There wasn’t enough<br />

infrastructure, regulation, or<br />

standardisation in place when it<br />

comes to dealing with something<br />

that’s inappropriate,” Sarah says.<br />

“Unfortunately that’s still the case,<br />

unless you breach the advertising<br />

rules, but you can put out some<br />

really dodgy information and<br />

there’s no repercussions, apart<br />

from a bit of backlash.<br />

“The second thing is, I asked five<br />

CEOs what credibility and wellness<br />

meant to them, and I got some<br />

smashing answers – but they were<br />

all different,” Sarah says. “We don’t<br />

have a standard way of keeping<br />

our communications credible.”<br />

So, by working with the<br />

University of Barcelona and the<br />

University of Sheffield, WellSpoken<br />

developed a framework. It offers<br />

accreditation and the WellSpoken<br />

Mark, to ensure consumers can<br />

find trustworthy information, and<br />

that those providing it are sharing<br />

authentic, reliable, and evidencebased<br />

content.<br />

It’s an important step forward.<br />

Given that the worldwide wellness<br />

industry is worth 4.2 trillion<br />

dollars, it’s big business. But<br />

WellSpoken isn’t just about calling<br />

out misinformation. It’s also<br />

about supporting and developing<br />

credible – and incredible – content.<br />

And it’s also important we<br />

move with the times. The way<br />

we’re consuming information is<br />

changing, so it’s not just the big<br />

brands that need to be aware of<br />

the impact they’re having.<br />

“Often the way influencers make<br />

money is by being an ambassador,”<br />

Sarah explains, “or by being paid<br />

to share content about products.<br />

If you’re not experienced in that<br />

field, you might end up promoting<br />

something you wouldn’t ordinarily,<br />

and it’s not maliciously done.”

I remember giving it back<br />

with red marks and was met<br />

with a response of: ‘This is<br />

health and wellness, we don’t<br />

have to be so stringent’<br />

You may have seen the video<br />

clips from an undercover BBC3<br />

series, exposing this very issue.<br />

Influencers, including Lauren<br />

Goodger, were filmed agreeing<br />

to promote a fake product called<br />

Cyanora, without questioning the<br />

poisonous ingredient hydrogen<br />

cyanide.<br />

Part of WellSpoken’s work has<br />

involved researching the impact of<br />

influencer behaviour, by analysing<br />

more than 3,500 health and<br />

wellness influencers, and offering<br />

them data, and even guidance on<br />

pricing, for posts.<br />

But there’s still more work to be<br />

done, Sarah insists. “We’re looking<br />

at the psychology behind the<br />

influencer-follower relationship –<br />

how ‘followers’ interact with those<br />

they follow, and how this might<br />

cause them to drop their guard.<br />

“For example, if they read<br />

information in an article by an<br />

unknown author, they would be<br />

more likely to park that. But when<br />

that same information comes from<br />

someone they’ve put their trust<br />

in, they are more open to receive<br />

and act upon it – so influencer’s<br />

can have even more responsibility<br />

than a brand, in a way.”<br />

With that responsibility,<br />

WellSpoken suggests the following<br />

four tenets every content producer<br />

should abide by. “We use SOBI.<br />

S stands for substantiation –<br />

making sure you can reference<br />

research and, where it’s personal<br />

opinion, showing that really<br />

clearly. O is is making sure you’re<br />

not out of remit. B is balance. And<br />

I is for incomplete – not leaving<br />

out vital information.”<br />

It’s an approach she hopes many<br />

in the wellness industry will adopt<br />

moving forwards!<br />

Find out more about WellSpoken at<br />

wearewellspoken.com and follow it<br />

on Twitter @WellSpokenMark<br />

Sarah will be at Live Well<br />

London (28 Feb to 1 <strong>March</strong>),<br />

speaking at ‘How To Be A<br />

Credible Business in the<br />

Wellbeing Industry’ and ‘Fact<br />

or Fiction: What To Believe<br />

When It Comes To Your<br />

Wellbeing’. Find out more at<br />


How to stop resentment<br />

building in your relationship<br />

Occasional arguments can be a natural part of our relationships,<br />

but is there a way to avoid upset and imbalances before they<br />

develop into something more?<br />

Writing | Bonnie Evie Gifford<br />

Romantic<br />

relationships can<br />

be tricky things.<br />

From keeping<br />

track of the dayto-day,<br />

to the dozens of tasks and<br />

responsibilities on our plates (such<br />

as remembering the birthday of a<br />

family member you’ve never even<br />

met), relationships can come with<br />

a lot of added responsibilities.<br />

For many, the imbalance in<br />

emotional labour that can develop<br />

leaves us feeling exhausted,<br />

overstretched, stressed, and fedup.<br />

As counsellor Laurele Mitchell<br />

explains, when we feel that the<br />

balance of our responsibilities<br />

within a relationship is off, it can<br />

lead to a whole host of problems.<br />

“It’s incredibly stressful to take<br />

responsibility for someone else,<br />

to remember everything that<br />

needs to be done – never mind to<br />

do it – especially if we subjugate<br />

our own needs in the process,”<br />

Laurele explains. “It can lead to<br />

bitterness and resentment, being<br />

critical, and even contemptuous<br />

of our partner, which all have<br />

the potential to damage the<br />

relationship, especially if our<br />

partner is blissfully unaware of<br />

the problem!”<br />

Communication is key<br />

The more stressed and under<br />

pressure we feel, the more likely<br />

we are to bottle things up. After<br />

all, how can those around us not<br />

see how overwhelmed we are?<br />

Yet when we let these feelings<br />

and overall sense of discontent<br />

build, we risk making ourselves<br />

feel worse.<br />

“Effective communication is<br />

the lifeblood of any relationship,<br />

and the antidote to the impact of<br />

emotional labour,” Laurele says.<br />

But how can we start to do this, if<br />

the effects of emotional labour are<br />

already being felt?<br />

“Firstly, articulating your<br />

feelings honestly and respectfully<br />

to your partner, with the view<br />

of understanding one another,<br />

rather than apportioning<br />

blame, can actually deepen the<br />

relationship, even if it feels risky<br />

at first. Secondly, honouring our<br />

feelings enough to articulate them<br />

to another is empowering and<br />

reminds us that we matter, too.”<br />

...but how we communicate<br />

with each other can differ<br />

Relationship expert and<br />

counsellor, Dr Kalanit Ben-<br />

Ari explains that while<br />

communication is key, how we<br />

express ourselves (and our needs)<br />

can vary greatly.<br />

“When talking about emotional<br />

labour in a relationship, it’s<br />

important to note that women<br />

and men express and regulate<br />

their emotions differently. It’s not<br />

that one gender is better than the<br />

other, just that we communicate<br />

emotions in what can appear<br />

to be different languages, and<br />

52 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

in different areas of life. It is<br />

important for couples to learn<br />

about their partner’s ‘language’,<br />

and to communicate openly<br />

and honestly about their own<br />

experience. The goal is to move<br />

away from blaming and shaming,<br />

to collaboration, growth, and<br />

possibilities.”<br />

While we may think we are being<br />

open and frank with how we are<br />

feeling, sometimes our partners<br />

can miss the signs – as can we.<br />

“When one partner feels they<br />

hold the emotional labour, but do<br />

not communicate it in a way the<br />

other can really understand and<br />

share that responsibility, it can<br />

lead to resentment. Having this<br />

mindset not only disempowers<br />

them but also prevents change<br />

from happening.”<br />

Focus on what you want – not<br />

what you don’t<br />

The way in which we frame and<br />

share our feelings can have a<br />

Effective communication is the<br />

lifeblood of any relationship,<br />

and the antidote to the impact<br />

of emotional labour<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 53

What is emotional labour?<br />

In essence, emotional labour refers to<br />

having to keep up a happy outward<br />

facade, take on additional tasks (such as<br />

housework and general life admin), or<br />

take on an ‘organisational’ role at home,<br />

which can often be seen as ‘nagging’<br />

huge impact on how our partners<br />

perceive – and react – to them. Dr<br />

Ben-Ari suggests that we should<br />

share our feelings from our own<br />

perspective, focusing on small<br />

steps and potential solutions we<br />

can work towards together, rather<br />

than looking to place the blame.<br />

“For example, rather than saying,<br />

‘I’m exhausted, you never care, I<br />

need to take care of everything…’<br />

say ‘I’m exhausted. I feel a lot is<br />

going on for me. I would really<br />

appreciate it if we can have one<br />

dinner this week without the kids<br />

to share and plan the next week.’<br />

“Couples are much more aware<br />

of what they don’t want, but<br />

have little idea about what they<br />

do want. When we put the focus<br />

on what we are ‘not getting’ this<br />

is what’s going to grow. Instead,<br />

look at your partner through the<br />

eyes of love. Appreciate what they<br />

already do, ask for specific and<br />

instructed support, and this is<br />

what’s going to grow.”<br />

Share the load<br />

Resentment and discontent can<br />

build not only when we feel like<br />

we are taking on more than our<br />

fair share, but also when one<br />

partner feels like they need to<br />

be ‘in charge’ of splitting the<br />

workload.<br />

It can be easy for one partner to<br />

fall into a more ‘organisational’<br />

role, where they feel like they<br />

have to be responsible for tracking<br />

every little thing from birthdays<br />

and bills, to chores. Yet we may<br />

not realise that our partners, too,<br />

may be feeling there are areas they<br />

are shouldering the load.<br />

For example, I found myself<br />

growing frustrated that my<br />

partner expected me to have a<br />

list of chores ready for him<br />

each weekend; couldn’t he<br />

just as easily figure out what<br />

needed doing? It wasn’t until we<br />

talked about it, that we realised<br />

by having this list, it helped<br />

him to feel less overwhelmed<br />

and distracted with the sheer<br />

number of ‘little things’ that<br />

regularly add up.<br />

Identify what works for you<br />

Splitting everything 50/50 may<br />

sound like the ideal way to go,<br />

but finding the best way to<br />

balance the load can vary greatly,<br />

depending on your relationship<br />

and needs. By focusing instead<br />

on talking and working together<br />

to find compromises, you can<br />

both be happy with, you can<br />

ensure that you each feel happier<br />

with your responsibilities. We<br />

each have our own strengths and<br />

54 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

Couples are much more<br />

aware of what they don’t<br />

want, but have little idea<br />

about what they do want<br />

weaknesses; it’s OK to keep<br />

these in mind and to work<br />

with, not around, these needs.<br />

Consider speaking<br />

with an expert<br />

If you’re worried that the<br />

communication in your<br />

relationship may have<br />

broken down, speaking with<br />

a relationship therapist or<br />

couples counsellor could help.<br />

While a counsellor will not ‘give<br />

you the answer’, they can help to<br />

create a safe space where you can<br />

talk openly and confidentially,<br />

without worrying that they will<br />

‘take sides’.<br />

When you have been with<br />

someone for a long time, it can<br />

be easy for communication to<br />

break down without realising<br />

it. Speaking with an objective,<br />

unconnected third party can<br />

help you to gain new insight and<br />

perspective into issues that may be<br />

clear or more covert.<br />

To find out more about relationship<br />

counselling and emotional labour,<br />

download the <strong>Happiful</strong> app, or visit<br />

relate.org.uk for relationship help<br />

and advice.<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 55

“<br />

Dreaming, after all, is<br />

a form of planning<br />


Photography | Ian Dooley


Finally free<br />

to be me<br />

The impact of Naphtaly’s polycystic ovary syndrome<br />

isn’t just physical, but mental too. She struggled with<br />

depression and loving herself for years, but has finally<br />

found a way to nourish herself, and find peace<br />

Writing | Naphtaly Maria Zimmerman<br />

Suffering with<br />

your mental<br />

health is not easy.<br />

And I should<br />

know, having struggled<br />

with my mental health<br />

for more than a decade.<br />

During adolescence, I<br />

experienced anxiety and<br />

stress due to my polycystic<br />

ovary syndrome (PCOS).<br />

By the age of 16, this<br />

developed into low moods,<br />

causing anxiety and selfhatred.<br />

At 17, I moved to<br />

London to study, but had<br />

no social connections<br />

there at that point. My<br />

depression became worse,<br />

causing me to feel like my<br />

energy and motivation<br />

were drained. But none<br />

of this compared to the<br />

feeling that I had lost<br />

myself and my identity.<br />

During my bachelor’s<br />

degree at university in<br />

2014, it became harder<br />

and harder. I felt caged<br />

inside my own mind,<br />

dying to be free. I had<br />

a rage inside of me, all<br />

I was doing was taking<br />

medications for my PCOS,<br />

and whatever the doctor<br />

had prescribed did not<br />

work for me at all.<br />

It was hard to focus on<br />

my studies – in class I felt<br />

numb, and even lonelier.<br />

I didn’t know how to<br />

manage my anger and<br />

depression. Carbs, alcohol,<br />

and sugary sweets made<br />

it easier to survive those<br />

stressful days, but only<br />

for a short period of time.<br />

I started talking really<br />

negatively towards myself.<br />

Can you imagine spending<br />

24 hours a day inside your<br />

head, with only negative<br />

thoughts for company? I<br />

couldn’t find equilibrium.<br />

When I turned 19, I<br />

started partying a lot,<br />

which was hard as I was<br />

working full-time while<br />

going to university.<br />

The amount of pain<br />

I had from the PCOS<br />

was increasing with an<br />

imbalanced menstrual<br />

cycle, and I was putting<br />

on a lot of weight, even<br />

when eating healthy and<br />

exercising. I was going six<br />

to eight months, or even<br />

a year, without having<br />

a period, then having<br />

them last from four to six<br />

months long. Not only<br />

was my mental health<br />

affected, but also my<br />

physical health.<br />

During those times, it<br />

was hard to accept who I<br />

was seeing in the mirror.<br />

I had spots on my face<br />

and I began wearing loads<br />

of makeup to hide the<br />

person underneath it,<br />

which didn’t help. There<br />

were days where I locked<br />

myself inside my room<br />

without seeing daylight,<br />

without seeing or talking<br />

to anybody. The worst part<br />

was that I was ashamed to<br />

tell my parents, friends,<br />

or partner how I felt,<br />

because I didn’t want them<br />

to feel sorry for me. When<br />

I began explaining to a<br />

few friends and colleagues<br />

about the way I felt, it<br />

was always one answer,<br />

which was “It’s only in<br />

your head” or “You’ll get<br />

over it.”<br />

At the age of 22, I was<br />

feeling rejected, sad,<br />

unmotivated, and things<br />

weren’t going well in<br />

everything from my<br />

personal life to my career.<br />

I hated feeling like there<br />

was no spark in my soul. >>><br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 57

I felt caged inside<br />

my own mind,<br />

dying to be free<br />

I wanted to only spend<br />

time with myself; all I<br />

wanted was to be in my<br />

own sad little world.<br />

But I had – and still have<br />

– my amazing supportive<br />

partner who was always<br />

there to help me through<br />

this process.<br />

In 2017, during my final<br />

year at university, I was<br />

feeling exhausted and<br />

drained, but I didn’t want<br />

to feel that way anymore.<br />

I went to the doctor to<br />

get help with my PCOS.<br />

I looked myself in the<br />

mirror, and asked myself:<br />

is this how I want to feel?<br />

My answer was no, I<br />

wanted help, I wanted to<br />

be myself and happy.<br />

I’ve tried numerous<br />

things to combat my<br />

depression – I changed<br />

jobs, went on frequent<br />

holidays, exercised, ate<br />

healthily, spent time off<br />

social media, had herbal<br />

teas. The list goes on, and<br />

it was tiring. But nothing<br />

seemed to work.<br />

In 2017, I had an idea:<br />

why not create something<br />

for relaxation without<br />

breaking the bank? I<br />

wanted to provide and<br />

practise self-care within<br />

the comfort of my home,<br />

so I started to investigate<br />

what was needed. I<br />

thought home fragrances<br />

and skincare would be<br />

a great way to start, and<br />

launched NaphtalyWorld<br />

in summer 2017. This was<br />

the start of me being able<br />

to accept my depression,<br />

and start on the road of<br />

recovery. I used to see<br />

my mental illness as an<br />

affliction. But now it’s a<br />

part of who I am, and I’m<br />

comfortable discussing it<br />

openly now.<br />

I realised that I had<br />

to learn to forgive<br />

myself, and show more<br />

compassion towards<br />

myself. Now, I keep a<br />

gratitude journal and write<br />

positive things in it every<br />

day. I have a healthy diet,<br />

exercise more often, and<br />

58 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

Find out more about Naphtaly<br />

at naphtalyworld.com<br />

I don’t beat myself<br />

up for having a<br />

bad mental health<br />

moment, or day, or<br />

week anymore<br />

travel when I can. I also<br />

have positive affirmations<br />

posted all over my house,<br />

and I make sure to practise<br />

mindfulness daily.<br />

I am now better at<br />

looking after myself, and<br />

do more for me. I go on<br />

solo-dates to restaurants,<br />

the opera, movies,<br />

holidays, and generally<br />

make myself a priority.<br />

I don’t beat myself up<br />

for having a bad mental<br />

health moment, or day, or<br />

week anymore.<br />

My business has been<br />

a game-changer for me,<br />

not only because I’m<br />

doing something I love,<br />

but because I can share<br />

my story with others<br />

who are also living with<br />

depression and PCOS, or<br />

are looking for a new way<br />

of improving their health<br />

and wellbeing.<br />

Now, for the first time<br />

in my life, I am more<br />

than happy and feel at<br />

peace with myself. I am a<br />

health and wellness coach,<br />

dedicated to helping<br />

others and myself. I run an<br />

award-winning skincare<br />

and home fragrance<br />

business, and I am writing<br />

a wellness cookbook to be<br />

published this year. I hold<br />

wellness events, do public<br />

speaking, and much more.<br />

My journey has taught<br />

me the importance of<br />

health and wellbeing for<br />

creating a balance of good<br />

nutrition, good health,<br />

and happiness in one’s<br />

life. I hope my words<br />

give you the strength and<br />

knowledge you need to<br />

act as your own advocate,<br />

and the power to create<br />

change in your life –<br />

starting from today. Many<br />

women learn to manage<br />

PCOS naturally. For me,<br />

I have learned not to let<br />

this affect me mentally<br />

anymore – everyone is<br />

different, and trust me,<br />

you are not alone.<br />

Please know that there<br />

is no quick fix or magic<br />

potion to cure depression<br />

or PCOS, along with<br />

many other mental health<br />

conditions, but there is<br />

still so much hope for<br />

those affected. Help is all<br />

around you – yes, it often<br />

does take a lot of hard<br />

work and courage, but you<br />

will get there.<br />


Naphtaly’s story is one<br />

of inspiration. Gradually<br />

people are recognising just<br />

how many of us struggle<br />

with mental health. It’s also<br />

not unusual for our physical<br />

health to impact upon it too.<br />

What’s fantastic is Naphtaly<br />

found a way through her<br />

darkest days – what’s more is<br />

she’s willing to share it.<br />

The more we feel able to<br />

open up to others, the lighter<br />

the burden becomes. It also<br />

enables us to find a new path<br />

through our struggles – for<br />

Naphtaly that was through<br />

her business.<br />

There’s always<br />

a way through<br />

– it begins with<br />

sharing your<br />

story!<br />

Rachel Coffey | BA MA NLP Mstr<br />

Life coach<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 59

How to de-stress<br />

in five simple steps<br />

Writing | Kat Nicholls Illustrating | Rosan Magar<br />

Sometimes stress builds up, and you feel totally overwhelmed. When<br />

this happens, you need tools that work in the moment to<br />

help you feel relaxed and in control<br />

60 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

W<br />

e all know that<br />

too much stress<br />

isn’t good for<br />

us. As well as<br />

damaging our<br />

mental and physical health, it can<br />

cause problems at work and in<br />

our relationships.<br />

But taking action can be easier<br />

said than done. Making time<br />

for self-care, reaching out for<br />

support, and getting enough<br />

sleep, are all fantastic for keeping<br />

us calm, but let’s be realistic,<br />

sometimes circumstances don’t<br />

allow for this.<br />

There are times in our lives<br />

when things build up, and the<br />

feeling of being overwhelmed hits<br />

you like a brick wall. When this<br />

happens, getting up from your<br />

desk at work to go to a yoga class,<br />

or saying “Sorry kids, I need some<br />

me-time, make your own dinner”<br />

isn’t always possible.<br />

This is why having some tools<br />

to lower stress is so important.<br />

The following steps can help you<br />

do just that.<br />

1 SAY ‘STOP’<br />

Often when we’re stressed,<br />

our thinking becomes too fast<br />

and we spiral into panic. The<br />

trick to getting out of this is<br />

self-awareness. As soon as you<br />

recognise what’s happening, say<br />

the word ‘stop’, ideally out-loud –<br />

but in your head is fine, too.<br />

The ‘stop’ technique (or thoughtstopping)<br />

is often used in cognitive<br />

behavioural therapy (CBT) to help<br />

prevent obsessive or worrying<br />

thoughts from taking over. By<br />

recognising what’s happening,<br />

you have the opportunity to<br />

change your way of thinking.<br />


A good step to take after using the<br />

stop technique is to deepen your<br />

breathing. When we’re stressed,<br />

we take more shallow breaths, and<br />

this can lead to physical anxiety<br />

symptoms such as dizziness and<br />

chest pain.<br />

To counter this, try to breathe<br />

from your belly and exhale a little<br />

longer than you inhale. The 4-7-<br />

8 breathing technique is great at<br />

reducing anxiety and stress – simply<br />

breathe in for four seconds, hold for<br />

seven, and breathe out for eight.<br />



This may sound incredibly simple,<br />

but a little visualisation can go a<br />

long way. Imagine yourself in a calm<br />

setting, somewhere quiet, and really<br />

allow yourself to be there. Maybe<br />

you’re on a beach, in your childhood<br />

home, or a tranquil garden. Find<br />

a place you feel safe. Remember a<br />

time you felt calm, confident and in<br />

control. Recall how you felt, and let<br />

your body respond.<br />


Developed by psychotherapist<br />

Gabriele Oettingen, the WOOP<br />

technique can be a powerful way<br />

to move past mental blocks. Take<br />

a few minutes to think about the<br />

following:<br />

Wish – what is your wish or hope<br />

right now?<br />

Outcome – what is the ideal<br />

outcome?<br />

Obstacle – what might be getting in<br />

your way?<br />

Plan – what is one action you can<br />

take? Make the following plan: “If<br />

[obstacle], then I will [action or<br />

thought].”<br />

Imagine yourself<br />

in a calm setting,<br />

somewhere<br />

quiet, and really<br />

allow yourself to<br />

be there<br />



Classical music has been shown<br />

to slow heart rate, lower blood<br />

pressure, and reduce stress<br />

hormones. But if classical isn’t your<br />

thing, any music you love will give<br />

your mood a lift. Find something<br />

that reminds you of a happy<br />

memory and, if you can, have a<br />

five-minute dance party!<br />

Use these techniques when<br />

things get busy, but try not to rely<br />

on them solely for reducing your<br />

stress. There are times when stress<br />

is unavoidable, but it’s important to<br />

recognise when it’s taking over and<br />

becoming a daily feature.<br />

If you’re finding stress is<br />

affecting your health, you need<br />

to think long-term. It’s always<br />

worth speaking to your GP, but<br />

you may also want to try talking<br />

therapies such as CBT to help<br />

you understand the link between<br />

thoughts and behaviours, or<br />

hypnotherapy which can help you<br />

change your response to stress.<br />

Stress affects us in many ways but<br />

there are also a variety of methods<br />

to tackle it, so don’t worry – the<br />

right help is out there for you.<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 61

Bellissimo!<br />

Pasta recipes to make you weak at the knees<br />

Writing | Ellen Hoggard<br />

Sometimes, nothing<br />

beats a warming bowl<br />

of pasta. It’s cheap and<br />

cheerful, and you don’t<br />

need to be a Michelinstarred<br />

chef to whip up something<br />

mouth-watering. By dabbling in<br />

the world of seasonal vegetables,<br />

and mixing up your sauces, you<br />

can make a pasta recipe go a long<br />

way – cooking in bulk to feed<br />

you for a whole week, while also<br />

providing you with more than<br />

your five-a-day.<br />

Nowadays, it’s a lot easier to<br />

accomodate for allergies, too. With<br />

pasta varieties in abundance, and<br />

many alternative dairy products<br />

now available, there’s nothing<br />

stopping us all from getting out the<br />

big pot and whipping up a bowl of<br />

delicious, but nutritious goodness.<br />

Vegetarian Bolognese<br />

Serves 4<br />

Ingredients<br />

1 onion<br />

1 large carrot<br />

1 courgette<br />

1 red pepper<br />

200g mushrooms<br />

2 tbsp olive oil<br />

1 tsp garlic<br />

1 tsp dried mixed herbs<br />

2 tbsp tomato paste<br />

1 tbsp vegetable stock concentrate<br />

400g can chopped tomatoes<br />

400g spaghetti<br />

40g parmesan, grated<br />

Method<br />

• Slice the onion. In a pan, heat<br />

the oil and cook the onion until<br />

soft. Chop the carrot, courgette,<br />

pepper and mushrooms into<br />

small chunks and add to the pan.<br />

Sauté for 5 minutes.<br />

• Add the garlic, dried herbs and<br />

mix. Add the tomato paste,<br />

vegetable stock and chopped<br />

tomatoes. Bring to boil, then<br />

simmer for 20 minutes.<br />

• In a large pan of boiling water,<br />

add the spaghetti and boil for<br />

10–12 mins.<br />

• Drain the spaghetti and divide<br />

into 4 bowls. Add the vegetable<br />

bolognese with a sprinkling of<br />

cheese. Serve hot with an optional<br />

side salad.<br />

Grilled Asparagus<br />

& Pesto Spaghetti<br />

Serves 4<br />

Ingredients<br />

25g basil<br />

25g flat leaf parsley<br />

1 tsp garlic<br />

100g green olives<br />

2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted<br />

40g parmesan, grated<br />

2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra<br />

for brushing<br />

230g asparagus, trimmed<br />

and halved<br />

300g wholewheat spaghetti<br />

Salt and pepper<br />

Method<br />

• In a food processor, add the<br />

herbs, olives, pine nuts and<br />

parmesan. Combine until coarse.<br />

Add a glug of oil and combine<br />

until a smooth, green pesto.<br />

Set aside.<br />

• Preheat a griddle pan, or the grill.<br />

Brush the asparagus with a little<br />

oil and cook for 10–12 minutes,<br />

turning regularly until tender.<br />

• Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in<br />

a large pan of boiling water for<br />

10–12 minutes.<br />

• Drain the spaghetti and return<br />

to the pan. Add the pesto and<br />

asparagus and stir. Serve in<br />

bowls with an extra sprinkling<br />

of parmesan and black pepper.<br />



Vegetarian Bolognese<br />

This is a great recipe to batch<br />

cook and store in the freezer for<br />

busy evenings. The large variety<br />

of vegetables offers a myriad of<br />

good bacteria, promoting healthy<br />

bacterial diversity in the gut.<br />

The carrots and red peppers<br />

are loaded with vitamin C and A,<br />

benefitting the immune system<br />

and skin. These well-cooked<br />

vegetables will be easy to digest,<br />

while rich in fibre, which should<br />

help stable blood sugar levels.<br />

I would suggest opting for<br />

fresh vegetable stock instead of<br />

concentrate, to benefit from the<br />

added antioxidants, and enhance<br />

the nutrition-density of this recipe.<br />

Grilled Asparagus<br />

& Pesto Spaghetti<br />

I love the use of fresh basil and<br />

parsley. Not only do they add<br />

flavour, but they also offer a<br />

myriad of nutritional qualities!<br />

Parsley is well-known for<br />

promoting bowel motility and<br />

decreasing bloating, while basil is<br />

highly regarded for its immuneenhancing<br />

properties.<br />

The basil and pine nuts make a<br />

feisty immune-boosting combo,<br />

while the nuts also offer a dose<br />

of healthy fats for satiety, and<br />

minerals, such as magnesium (for<br />

sleep), zinc (for skin), and iron (for<br />

healthy red blood cells).<br />

You could swap asparagus for a<br />

more seasonal vegetable, such as<br />

purple sprouting broccoli.<br />

Find a nutritionist near you at nutritionist-resource.org.uk<br />

Josephine (Beanie) Robinson<br />

is a nutritional therapist,<br />

yoga and meditation teacher,<br />

and co-founder of The Health<br />

Space. Find out more at<br />


10 nutrition<br />

myths debunked<br />

We all want to live healthier lives, but with so much nutritional information online<br />

and on social media, how can we separate the facts from the fiction?<br />

Jenna Farmer chats to the experts to debunk the myths around<br />

healthy eating, and shares their top tips for a healthier you<br />

The myth: Going gluten-free<br />

will improve your gut health<br />

The myth: Carbohydrates cause you to gain weight<br />

The reality: Unless you have an<br />

allergy or intolerance, a glutenfree<br />

diet really is no healthier<br />

than one with gluten in it. “For the<br />

majority of people, going glutenfree<br />

is not going to improve gut<br />

health. However for the 1% of<br />

the population who have coeliac<br />

disease it is of course essential,”<br />

explains Dr Sammie Gill, a<br />

dietitian who specialises in gut<br />

health. If you suspect gluten is<br />

a problem for you, ask your GP<br />

to test you for coeliac disease,<br />

but don’t cut out any food group<br />

without medical advice.<br />

But what about those food<br />

intolerance tests we see on social<br />

media? Registered nutritionist Dr<br />

Laura Wyness urges her clients<br />

to be wary. “Many allergy tests<br />

have no scientific basis, and can<br />

be harmful when multiple foods<br />

are excluded without reason – not<br />

to mention a waste of money!”<br />

Laura advises any testing should<br />

always be done under medical<br />

supervision with the support of a<br />

dietitian.<br />

The reality: We’ve all heard the<br />

mantra ‘no carbs before Marbs’,<br />

but is it true that tucking into<br />

carbohydrates can cause weight<br />

gain? Absolutely not. The NHS<br />

advises that there’s very little<br />

evidence that ditching carbs can<br />

help with weight loss, and that<br />

tucking into healthier whole grain<br />

carbohydrates, like brown pasta<br />

and rye bread, actually offers a<br />

whole host of benefits.<br />

64 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

The myth: Eat five pieces of fruit<br />

and veg a day to stay healthy<br />

The reality: Five-a-day is<br />

certainly a good target to aim<br />

for, but it’s not quite as simple<br />

as that. “Some research suggests<br />

seven, or even 10 per day, is<br />

actually optimal,” explains<br />

nutritionist Anna Mapson. But<br />

however much fruit and veg you<br />

manage to consume, don’t go<br />

reaching for the same produce<br />

time and time again. “Smoothies<br />

can help with upping your<br />

intake, but they reduce the<br />

amount of fibre, so you<br />

shouldn’t have more than one a<br />

day. Instead, aim for variety to<br />

keep your gut microbes happy,”<br />

Anna adds.<br />

The myth: It’s difficult to get<br />

enough protein on a vegan diet<br />

The myth: We all need to up our fibre intake<br />

The reality: There’s no denying<br />

that fibre is vital for a healthy gut,<br />

but it’s not as simple as reaching<br />

for the Bran Flakes. “Different<br />

fibres behave in different ways<br />

when they reach the gut, so<br />

variety through different sources<br />

(such as wholegrains, fruit, veg,<br />

nuts, seeds, and legumes) is<br />

key,” advises Dr Sammie Gill.<br />

“In some circumstances you can<br />

have too much of a good thing.<br />

For example, with irritable bowel<br />

syndrome (IBS), certain types of<br />

fibre can aggravate symptoms,<br />

and increasing fibre too quickly<br />

may actually worsen symptoms<br />

temporarily.” Therefore, if your<br />

gut is sensitive, quickly upping<br />

your fibre isn’t the answer. It’s<br />

worth keeping a food diary, paying<br />

attention to the types of fibre<br />

you consume, and increasing<br />

it gradually to avoid digestive<br />

discomfort. Those with medical<br />

conditions, such as inflammatory<br />

bowel disease and diverticulitis,<br />

are sometimes advised to follow<br />

a low fibre diet to help with<br />

symptoms.<br />

The reality: This one has an<br />

element of truth in it. Make<br />

the switch without doing any<br />

research and you could find it<br />

tricky. However, with a little<br />

forward thinking, it’s perfectly<br />

possible to tuck into plenty of<br />

protein-rich meals on a vegan<br />

diet. “Vegan protein intake<br />

requires careful planning, but<br />

can be achieved,” explains<br />

Anna Mapson. “Ensure you’re<br />

eating protein at every meal.<br />

Plant-rich sources include<br />

tofu, beans, pulses, and nuts.<br />

Most people underestimate<br />

how much protein is actually<br />

plant-based – one cup of beans<br />

is around 8–9g of the 50g of<br />

protein you need a day.” Beans<br />

on toast for dinner it is then... >>><br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 65

The myth: Switch to<br />

sugar-free alternatives<br />

to help with cravings<br />

The reality: Many sugar-free<br />

drinks and sweet treats rely on<br />

artificial sweeteners such as<br />

aspartame. A recent overview<br />

of studies found that these<br />

sugar substitutes actually offer<br />

no health benefits, and aren’t<br />

linked to weight loss.<br />

Find more<br />

nutritional<br />

info on the<br />

<strong>Happiful</strong> app<br />

Generally<br />

superfoods are<br />

expensive, but<br />

common vegetables<br />

like carrots, cabbages<br />

or blackberries, are<br />

packed with just as<br />

many nutrients<br />

The myth: You need to<br />

splash out on superfoods<br />

to be healthy<br />

The reality: Hands up if you’ve<br />

dashed out to buy the latest<br />

superfoods – such as kale<br />

and pomegranate – without<br />

really understanding the<br />

hype. There’s nothing wrong<br />

with these products, but<br />

you’ll often find the health<br />

benefits elsewhere – at a much<br />

cheaper price. “Superfood is<br />

a marketing term,” explains<br />

nutritionist Anna Mapson.<br />

“Generally superfoods are<br />

expensive, but common<br />

vegetables like carrots,<br />

cabbages or blackberries,<br />

are packed with just as many<br />

nutrients.” Save your cash and<br />

spend it on a rainbow of fruit<br />

and veg instead.<br />

66 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

The myth: Not eating after<br />

7pm helps you to lose weight<br />

The reality: What time you<br />

tuck into that cheeseburger<br />

and fries really makes no<br />

difference to how many<br />

calories are in it. You might<br />

find it more comfortable to eat<br />

a heavier meal at lunchtime<br />

(and find this helps with things<br />

like bloating and heartburn),<br />

but that’s about it!<br />

The myth: Alkaline diets<br />

prevent the body from<br />

becoming too acidic<br />

The reality: Alkaline diets have<br />

been on the scene for years<br />

now, but do they actually have<br />

any truth in them? Dr Laura<br />

Wyness says no. “It stems from<br />

the idea our blood PH can<br />

change according to our diet,<br />

but if food changed our blood<br />

PH we’d be in a lot of trouble!<br />

Our body constantly regulates<br />

the PH of our blood to ensure<br />

it stays within a PH of 7.35 to<br />

7.45 to prevent us from dying.<br />

Alkaline foods include lots of<br />

fruit and vegetables, so in lots<br />

of ways it can be healthy, but<br />

not because of the impact on<br />

our body’s PH level!”<br />

The myth: Everybody should<br />

detox on a regular basis<br />

The reality: It’s often been<br />

said that a regular detox<br />

(whether that’s through a juice<br />

cleanse, fasting, or cutting<br />

out food groups from your<br />

diet) is necessary for optimal<br />

health, but the truth is that<br />

your body already does this<br />

on a daily basis. Our bodies<br />

detox in a number of ways – in<br />

fact yours is probably doing<br />

so right now! Essentially, our<br />

bodily systems can flush out<br />

‘toxins’ every time you take<br />

a deep breath, go to the loo,<br />

sweat, or even get your period.<br />

And the good news is that it’s<br />

perfectly capable of doing it<br />

without our help. While you<br />

don’t need to embark on detox<br />

cleanses, ditching habits, like<br />

excessive alcohol consumption<br />

and smoking, does make it that<br />

little bit easier for your body to<br />

do its job!<br />

What time<br />

you tuck into that<br />

cheeseburger and<br />

fries really makes<br />

no difference to<br />

how many calories<br />

are in it<br />

Jenna Farmer is a freelance<br />

journalist who specialises in writing<br />

about gut health. She has Crohn’s<br />

disease and blogs about her<br />

journey to improve gut health at<br />

abalancedbelly.co.uk<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 67

Book<br />

Review<br />

Gloves Off<br />

Raw. Relatable. Re-readable. Unforgettable.<br />

Writing | Bonnie Evie Gifford<br />

When it<br />

comes<br />

to books<br />

for teens,<br />

the topic<br />

of bullying isn’t exactly<br />

new. It’s something<br />

that, by the time we<br />

reach adulthood and<br />

are finally able to<br />

start making our own<br />

decisions, we will<br />

have encountered in<br />

some form or another.<br />

And yet, somehow,<br />

Louisa Reid’s young<br />

adult novel, Gloves Off,<br />

manages to encapsulate<br />

the whole, horrid<br />

experience in what<br />

feels like a unique and<br />

visceral way.<br />


Written in poetic verse,<br />

Lily, a teen in secondary<br />

school, shares her<br />

experience of being<br />

mercilessly, physically<br />

and emotionally bullied.<br />

When a particularly<br />

bad incident forces<br />

Lily to open up about<br />

her experiences, she is<br />

introduced to boxing<br />

as a way to confront<br />

her fears, stand up for<br />

herself, and own her<br />

own space.<br />

Split between Lily’s<br />

perspective and her<br />

mother, Bernadette’s,<br />

thoughts and feelings,<br />

it’s easy to become<br />

swept away with<br />

Lily’s journey from<br />

victimhood to learning<br />

to take charge of her<br />

life, and discovering her<br />

voice. An emotionally<br />

taxing read, Lily’s<br />

journey feels as<br />

refreshingly authentic<br />

as it is frustrating.<br />


From our personal<br />

expectations to our<br />

world view, the adults<br />

around us shape us<br />

more than we might<br />

realise. Throughout<br />

Gloves Off, we see how<br />

Lily’s life, experiences,<br />

and expectations, have<br />

been affected by those<br />

around her. From her<br />

distinctly working-class<br />

background and the<br />

unsafe estate in which<br />

she lives, we see how<br />

the pressure to succeed<br />

can be as stifling as<br />

it can be a source of<br />

strength.<br />

While Lily’s<br />

relationships with her<br />

mother, who shares<br />

many of the same<br />

weight and confidence<br />

struggles, and her<br />

father – a supportive<br />

and loving, if albeit at<br />

times absent, figure –<br />

create a complex, often<br />

thought-provoking<br />

backdrop, it is Lily’s<br />

school life that is one<br />

of the most frustrating<br />

aspects of her story.<br />

Highlighting the<br />

failings of over-worked,<br />

under-experienced<br />

young teachers, it<br />

feels like Lily is being<br />

failed by a system<br />

that should be there<br />

to make everyone feel<br />

safe and included.<br />

While Lily seems able<br />

to brush off the failings<br />

of her teachers, as a<br />

reader, I was left feeling<br />

frustrated and angry<br />

on her behalf. And this,<br />

in many ways, is how<br />

the author succeeds<br />

in creating such a<br />

believable, and heart-<br />

68 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

wrenching story; we see<br />

genuine human failings,<br />

rather than easily<br />

dismissable villains or<br />

malicious intentions<br />

from those around her.<br />


Yes. If, like me, you’re<br />

unfamiliar with fiction<br />

written in poetic verse,<br />

it can take a little<br />

while to get used to<br />

the format, however<br />

it’s easy to become<br />

lost in the rhythm and<br />

authenticity of Lily and<br />

Bernadette’s voices. The<br />

stylistic choices help<br />

readers to feel more<br />

connected with Lily<br />

in particular, and her<br />

thoughts and feelings<br />

as you experience each<br />

twist and turn along<br />

with her.<br />

For teen and young<br />

adult readers, getting<br />

a glimpse into Lily’s<br />

mother’s perspective<br />

offers a truly unique<br />

take. Highlighting<br />

the delicate balance<br />

between how parents<br />

can teach and guide<br />

us, and how they risk<br />

passing on their own<br />

insecurities and fears<br />

to their children, it<br />

feels like both parents<br />

and teens alike can<br />

each get something<br />

different, yet equally<br />

as valuable, from<br />

reading Gloves Off.<br />

Offering a stark<br />

reminder of how<br />

cruel teens can be,<br />

Gloves Off is not only<br />

a must-read for teens<br />

who have experienced<br />

bullying themselves,<br />

If you liked this, you’ll love...<br />

but is an important<br />

narrative for all of us.<br />

Intrinsically, we want<br />

to fit in – we want<br />

to be liked. Gloves<br />

Off reminds us that<br />

using cruel words – or<br />

turning away when<br />

we see behaviour that<br />

we know isn’t right –<br />

can have a significant<br />

impact, perhaps just<br />

as much as that of<br />

those who are actively,<br />

overtly bullying<br />

others.<br />

Touching on so many<br />

important subjects,<br />

from self-loathing<br />

to suicidal thoughts,<br />

friendship to social<br />

isolation, fat-shaming<br />

to building selfesteem,<br />

Gloves Off is<br />

simply a must-read, no<br />

matter your age.<br />

Must<br />

Reads<br />

To find out more<br />

about spotting the<br />

signs of bullying,<br />

and advice for<br />

teachers, parents<br />

and employers,<br />

visit counsellingdirectory.org.uk<br />

Gloves Off<br />

by Louisa Reid<br />

Paperback available<br />

from 5 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong><br />

(Guppy Books, £7.99)<br />

Great for…<br />

No Big Deal<br />

by Bethany Rutter<br />

What If<br />

by Anna Russell<br />

Being Miss<br />

Nobody by<br />

Tasmin Winter<br />

• Teens looking to see<br />

the wider impact of<br />

bullying<br />

• Parents with teens<br />

Emily knows she’s smart,<br />

funny, awesome – and fat. She<br />

doesn’t need anyone else to<br />

tell her these things; she likes<br />

herself and her body – it’s time<br />

everyone else caught up.<br />

Written in poetic verse,<br />

Russell’s latest novel<br />

explores mental health,<br />

OCD, and the impact our<br />

struggles can have on<br />

friends and family.<br />

Rosalind hates her new school,<br />

and is an easy target. Creating<br />

a new blog, Miss Nobody,<br />

Rosalind finds a place to speak<br />

up. But has Miss Nobody<br />

become a bully herself?<br />

• Anyone who has<br />

struggled with<br />

their weight, selfconfidence,<br />

or<br />

bullying<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 69

Acupuncture<br />

Getting to the point<br />

It’s thought to have been around for more than 5,000 years, and today it’s used<br />

alongside standard treatments as an alternative therapy that promises to be the<br />

solution to a number of complaints, from chronic pain to mood control. So what<br />

can you expect from an acupuncture appointment? <strong>Happiful</strong>’s Kathryn Wheeler<br />

took to the treatment chair to find out<br />

Illustrating | Rosan Magar<br />

For me, acupuncture<br />

is the Big Foot of<br />

alternative therapies.<br />

Everyone knows<br />

someone who<br />

knows someone who’s tried it,<br />

and there are plenty of myths<br />

and unanswered questions that<br />

surround it. Does it hurt? How<br />

can having needles systematically<br />

tapped into your skin be relaxing?<br />

And, vitally, does it work?<br />

Acupuncture is used as a<br />

complementary therapy to soothe<br />

complaints about everything from<br />

muscle and body pain, to stress,<br />

anxiety and depression. Using<br />

very fine needles that are tucked<br />

under the skin at specific points<br />

on the body, the practice is based<br />

on traditional Chinese medicine<br />

which believes that life energy<br />

flows through us. It’s thought<br />

that this energy can get stuck<br />

or blocked, causing pain or low<br />

mood, but that it can be relieved by<br />

the needles, restoring our balance.<br />

While some modern practitioners<br />

embrace this traditional belief,<br />

many now work alongside Western<br />

medical practices, viewing it as a<br />

means of tapping into neurological<br />

systems, and a way to complement<br />

formal diagnoses and treatments.<br />

Eager to find out more, I headed<br />

to therapist Toni Hennings,<br />

at Crowthorne Health, to try<br />

acupuncture for myself.<br />

I’ll admit, before I arrived, I was<br />

feeling apprehensive. I don’t have<br />

a fear of needles, as such, though<br />

the thought of what was about<br />

to happen did make me a little<br />

nervous. But my fears were soon<br />

put to bed.<br />

To begin the session, we sat down<br />

to chat about my medical history.<br />

Of the 90-minute appointment,<br />

this took up the bulk of the time as<br />

Toni meticulously worked through<br />

everything from childhood<br />

illnesses, to my general lifestyle –<br />

reassuring me that no stone would<br />

be left unturned, and that the<br />

treatment would be tailored to my<br />

specific needs.<br />

I got undressed and lay face down<br />

on a massage table, as Toni began to<br />

gently press up and down my back,<br />

either side of my spine, feeling for<br />

where to insert the needles. She<br />

told me to take a deep breath in,<br />

Try this at home<br />

While it’s not a good idea to<br />

experiment with acupuncture<br />

on yourself, you can try pushing<br />

certain pressure points with<br />

your fingers to relieve stress and<br />

anxiety.<br />

Feeling worked up or<br />

overwhelmed? Run your finger<br />

down your pinkie and into your<br />

wrist crease, keeping it in line<br />

with your little finger. Pressing<br />

firmly on this point is thought<br />

to alleviate anxiety and help to<br />

regulate your emotions.<br />

and then on the out-breath, she<br />

tapped in the first needle.<br />

To say I didn’t feel anything would<br />

be a lie... I did feel the needle go in,<br />

and as she worked down my back,<br />

some areas were more sensitive<br />

than others. It was a small prick,<br />

like you may expect, but there was<br />

no pain once they were in place –<br />

and as she left me with the needles<br />

in my back for a few minutes, I<br />

soon forgot they were there, and<br />

began to feel calm and relaxed.<br />

After a short time, Toni removed<br />

the needles, and I slowly got up to<br />

70 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

sit back on the table. Moving on to<br />

target points specifically chosen<br />

to ease stress and anxiety, she put<br />

two needles in my knees and in<br />

my wrists. Now, honestly, these<br />

points tested my cringe-factor.<br />

It’s not every day that you spend<br />

a morning sitting with needles in<br />

your soft spots, but I closed my<br />

eyes and breathed through the<br />

taps, soon settling back into the<br />

calm place I was before.<br />

Following the session, we<br />

reflected on how the treatment<br />

went, discussing how acupuncture<br />

could be used long-term to manage<br />

mood – and touching on how, often,<br />

people who come for a physical<br />

problem will find the wellness<br />

benefits are just as powerful.<br />

For me, I left feeling energised<br />

and intrigued about the potential<br />

that acupuncture has to be an<br />

effective treatment across so many<br />

different areas. And that night I<br />

slept soundly straight through to<br />

my alarm, something Toni had<br />

predicted would happen.<br />

If you have any hang-ups about<br />

whether the treatment will be<br />

painful, let me put your mind<br />

at ease – you may feel a small<br />

prick, but make sure to breathe<br />

through the insertion and you will<br />

be fine. For those uncomfortable<br />

with needles, you probably don’t<br />

need me to say that this may<br />

not be the treatment for you.<br />

But with a relaxed mindset, and<br />

good communication with your<br />

therapist, acupuncture can be a<br />

great complementary therapy that<br />

gets straight to the point of your<br />

concerns.<br />

Visit crowthornehealth.co.uk<br />

to find out more, or head to<br />

therapy-directory.org.uk to<br />

discover therapists in your area.

72 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

Why is getting<br />

anxiety<br />

medication<br />

so anxiety<br />

inducing?<br />

When you live with<br />

anxiety, certain tasks can<br />

feel overwhelming – none<br />

more so than booking an<br />

appointment with your<br />

doctor for support<br />

Writing | Kat Nicholls<br />

Standing in front of my<br />

wardrobe, looking at what<br />

clothes I should pack<br />

for a weekend away, I<br />

started to cry. My anxiety was at<br />

its worst; the simplest of tasks felt<br />

impossible.<br />

When you have anxiety, your<br />

thinking gets very fast and your<br />

brain works overtime. Your<br />

body reacts accordingly – cue<br />

symptoms like chest pain,<br />

nausea and dizziness – putting<br />

you in a constant state of fight or<br />

flight. This can leave very little<br />

headspace for decision-making<br />

and carrying out simple tasks.<br />

It’s no wonder that, for many of<br />

us living with anxiety, life admin<br />

often falls to the bottom of our<br />

to-do list. This can be even<br />

more pertinent when it comes<br />

to tasks involving our anxiety,<br />

such as booking a doctor’s<br />

appointment, or getting repeat<br />

prescriptions.<br />

Before we can get the help we need,<br />

we often need to overcome obstacles.<br />

Some of these are in our mind, and<br />

some are very much in the real<br />

world. But whatever obstacles you<br />

are facing, there are ways to leapfrog<br />

them, and get the support you need. >>><br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 73



“With mental health conditions<br />

that aren’t always visible, like<br />

anxiety, people can worry that<br />

others – including their doctor –<br />

won’t believe them,” counsellor<br />

Sarah Lane explains. “Sometimes<br />

clients are socially anxious, and<br />

seeing an authority figure, such as<br />

their GP, might be challenging for<br />

them, as they fear being judged.”<br />

Sadly the fear of not being<br />

believed can, in some cases, come<br />

from experience. Jessica Pardoe<br />

tells me how she was affected<br />

when the first doctor she visited<br />

about panic attacks dismissed her.<br />

“It caused me to totally resent<br />

the idea of talking to a medical<br />

professional about the way I was<br />

feeling again for some time. Every<br />

time I went to the GP I considered<br />

bringing it up, but had that usual<br />

twang of anxiety that stopped me<br />

from doing so.”<br />

With encouragement from her<br />

boyfriend, Jessica was able to go<br />

to a different doctor and received<br />

the support and medication she<br />

needed. The experience does still<br />

come up in her mind, however,<br />

when she goes for check-ups.<br />

“I’d love it if initiatives could<br />

be introduced to help curb the<br />

anxiousness that doctor’s surgeries<br />

and pharmacies bring about.<br />

Perhaps less intimidating decor,<br />

or finding a new way to book in<br />

patients for appointments without<br />

them having to state what they're<br />

visiting for – which, if you live with<br />

anxiety, is awful.”<br />


First of all, remember that you<br />

deserve to be heard. If you have<br />

a bad experience, or<br />

aren’t comfortable<br />

speaking to a certain<br />

doctor, you can<br />

request to talk to<br />

another. If you’re<br />

worried about leaving<br />

the house, or being at<br />

the doctor’s surgery<br />

itself, ask your doctor<br />

if they offer telephone<br />

assessments, or home<br />

visits. If they can’t,<br />

they may be able to<br />

recommend a quieter<br />

time for you to book an<br />

appointment.<br />

It can help to have<br />

someone attend your<br />

appointment with you<br />

for support, and some<br />

GP practices also allow<br />

other people to book<br />

appointments for you.<br />

If talking about your<br />

mental health worries<br />

you, Sarah encourages<br />

you to remember<br />

the facts: “Anxiety<br />

is very common;<br />

a high percentage<br />

of your doctor’s patients will<br />

also have anxiety, so they are<br />

likely to understand what you’re<br />

experiencing and how it might be<br />

affecting you.”<br />




According to GPonline, nearly<br />

three quarters of GPs in the UK<br />

reported a rise in appointments<br />

over the past year in their practice.<br />

With more appointments and<br />

not enough doctors to help,<br />

delays in getting appointments<br />

If you’re unhappy with the<br />

service you’re receiving, you<br />

can make a complaint. You<br />

can do this directly, following<br />

the surgery’s complaints<br />

procedure, which should be<br />

available on their website. If<br />

the problem isn’t resolved,<br />

you can complain to the NHS<br />

Commissioning Board, email:<br />

contactus@nhs.net or call<br />

0300 311 22 33.<br />

and medication are sometimes<br />

inevitable.<br />

“The biggest problem with<br />

getting medication for anxiety is<br />

actually booking to see a doctor,”<br />

Ben Taylor tells me.<br />

74 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

What matters is that you are<br />

able to access any healthcare<br />

treatment that you need<br />

“Both myself and my sister got<br />

knocked back because the nurses<br />

at our practice can’t talk about<br />

mental health issues. So you build<br />

yourself up to go, and end up<br />

leaving empty handed and told to<br />

book again with someone else...<br />

which you don’t.”<br />

In 2019, changes in legislation<br />

allowed advanced paramedics<br />

to prescribe medication, and<br />

Ben says this has made a real<br />

difference in his area. Having said<br />

this, it’s clear that availability and<br />

waiting times for appointments<br />

are ongoing issues.<br />


The best approach here is to<br />

get familiar with your doctor’s<br />

surgery, and do your homework.<br />

Find out the best ways to book an<br />

appointment and ask about typical<br />

waiting times.<br />

Apps like Patient Access and<br />

MyGP may also be able to<br />

help. These allow you to book<br />

appointments, pharmacy services,<br />

and access medical content easily.<br />

Speak to your doctors about the<br />

booking services that they’re<br />

supported by.<br />




When you first start taking a<br />

new medication, you’ll need<br />

to have regular appointments<br />

with your doctor to ensure it’s<br />

helping you. While this can feel<br />

stressful, we all react differently<br />

to medication and it’s important<br />

to be monitored initially. You may<br />

need adjustments to ensure what<br />

you’re taking is working as well as<br />

possible.<br />

For Dan Francis, getting past this<br />

point to a place where he could<br />

order repeat prescriptions made<br />

things easier. However, he found<br />

it tricky to remember to order<br />

medication before he ran out.<br />

“The main way to get medication<br />

when this happens is to contact the<br />

doctor’s practice and request an<br />

emergency prescription, but this<br />

can take up to five days to be ready.<br />

“For a few months I was<br />

limited to a two-week supply as<br />

I was forced to see a doctor for a<br />

check-up... even though the next<br />

appointment I could book was<br />

in a month’s time. This meant I<br />

had to keep putting in emergency<br />

prescriptions to the doctor’s<br />

practice just so I could have<br />

enough to keep me going.”<br />


For Dan, help came in the form of<br />

technical assistance. He was able<br />

to use the Patient Access app to<br />

order repeat prescriptions to be<br />

delivered to his local pharmacy<br />

and used calendar reminders to<br />

prompt him.<br />

“Setting reminders in my<br />

calendar in advance so I<br />

knew when to order my next<br />

prescription really helped take<br />

the pressure off worrying about<br />

forgetting it.”<br />

There are several services<br />

available to help you order repeat<br />

prescriptions easily, including<br />

Healthera, Well, and Echo<br />

Pharmacy. Speak to your doctor<br />

and find out which services are<br />

available in your area.<br />

Finally, when it comes to both<br />

booking appointments and<br />

getting prescriptions, Sarah<br />

advises us to not put them off.<br />

“When we avoid things,<br />

although it makes us feel better<br />

in the short term, in the longer<br />

term it tends to increase our<br />

anxiety. Try to put aside worries<br />

about what other people – GPs,<br />

receptionists, pharmacists,<br />

assistants – think of you. What<br />

really matters is that you are<br />

able to access any healthcare<br />

treatment that you need.”<br />

Keeping up with appointments<br />

and taking any prescribed<br />

medication is, ultimately, a form<br />

of self-care. Try to see it in this<br />

way, and lean on the support of<br />

loved ones, and even apps, when<br />

you need to.<br />

Learn more about Sarah Lane’s<br />

work and find support for anxiety at<br />

counselling-directory.org.uk<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 75

PUKKA-UP<br />

Romance isn’t dead – it’s just not always<br />

as easy as it once was. We delve into<br />

the secrets to a long-lasting relationship<br />

with the digital parenting superstar duo,<br />

Mother and Papa Pukka, who reveal<br />

their top tips to rediscover your<br />

long-term love...<br />

Writing | Gemma Calvert<br />

When does the gloss<br />

dull on a shiny,<br />

happy marriage? For<br />

author, presenter<br />

and journalist Anna Whitehouse,<br />

it was precisely eight years and<br />

two children after saying “I do” –<br />

the moment she discovered one<br />

of her husband’s jagged toenail<br />

clippings in her cosmetics bag.<br />

“That was the straw that broke<br />

the camel’s back,” admits Anna,<br />

whose filter-free parenting blog,<br />

Mother Pukka, has become a<br />

go-to for frazzled parents. Over<br />

the past six years, Anna has<br />

“cracked open the very real<br />

issues” of her life, sharing her<br />

innermost feelings with her<br />

241,000 Instagram followers,<br />

about everything from five<br />

miscarriages, PTSD, anxiety and<br />

postnatal depression, to working<br />

in pyjamas, getting “spangled”<br />

with her mum on a rare night out,<br />

and swimming with two kids (FYI<br />

don’t do it).<br />

During the hard<br />

times, Anna, 38,<br />

credits her hubby<br />

– fellow journalist<br />

Matt Farquharson,<br />

43 – with being her<br />

rock. She recalls<br />

with heartbreaking<br />

clarity when she<br />

first miscarried in A&E. “Matt just<br />

held me and that was the point<br />

where we got married – not the day<br />

I was worried about favours, the<br />

live band, and 5,000 Scrabble tiles<br />

spelling out our guests’ names,’ she<br />

says. “We got married in a hospital<br />

ward during one of the darkest<br />

moments we’ve experienced<br />

together.”<br />

But by the beginning of last<br />

year, Anna and Matt’s solidity<br />

had weakened. Confused by the<br />

seemingly gaping chasm between<br />

“I do” and “The End”, and tired of<br />

daily frustrations with each other,<br />

the couple became disillusioned<br />

by marriage.<br />

“It’s easy to cruise along and<br />

think ‘everything’s fine’, but you<br />

let little disappointments go, and<br />

ignore things that should be dealt<br />

with – that shortness with your<br />

partner, that sarkiness about<br />

mundane nonsense, starts to build<br />

and affect someone,” explains<br />

Matt, aka Papa Pukka, whose<br />

hilarious take on fatherhood has<br />

turned him and Anna into digital<br />

parenting royalty.<br />

Anna agrees. “It was never one<br />

thing, it was an amalgamation of<br />

things that were chipping away<br />

at our happiness, and wearing<br />

down on what was once a really<br />

shiny thing,” she says, adding that<br />

Photography | Emily Gray<br />

76 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

Anna and Matt’s Flex Appeal campaign for flexible<br />

working for parents, has helped get a bill read in<br />

parliament. They are striving to change attitudes<br />

about a ‘one-size-fits-all’ worklife, and to think<br />

about individual needs instead<br />

Matt just held me and that was the<br />

point where we got married – not the day<br />

I was worried about 5,000 Scrabble tiles<br />

spelling out our guests’ names. We got<br />

married in a hospital ward during one of<br />

the darkest moments we’ve experienced<br />

Images | Instagram @mother_pukka<br />

such issues were compounded by<br />

“exhaustion, postnatal depression,<br />

redundancy, the weight of finances<br />

and admin”.<br />

All of this led Anna to one place –<br />

hunting for an escape route.<br />

“I’ve said to Matt a couple of<br />

times ‘Maybe I should just f**k<br />

off,’” she confesses. ‘You get to the<br />

point where you wonder ‘Is this it?’<br />

and ‘If this is it, do I want this?’”<br />

To find answers, Anna and Matt<br />

committed not to a divorce, but<br />

to writing a book “separately but<br />

together”. They agreed on nine<br />

topics, from going it alone to porn,<br />

and then wrote down their deepest<br />

thoughts while interviewing<br />

experts including residents of a<br />

love commune, monks, and their<br />

own parents. They only read<br />

each other’s contributions before<br />

penning the final chapter. The<br />

process, says Anna, “nearly broke<br />

us, then mended us again”.<br />

“One psychiatrist said ‘being<br />

married or in a long-term<br />

relationship is about as close as<br />

you can get to being in therapy<br />

without being in therapy’ because<br />

the other person is this mirror,<br />

reflecting back to you your very<br />

best and worst traits,” says Matt,<br />

who believes the process helped<br />

them reframe the meaning of the<br />

“elusive” happily-ever-after by<br />

getting real about the dynamics of<br />

a modern-day relationship.<br />

“It’s taught me patience and a<br />

rediscovered mutual respect. We’ve<br />

now worked out what the next stage<br />

is, and that it can be just as happy if<br />

not happier.”<br />

But Anna and Matt, whose 2017<br />

book Parenting The S*** Out Of Life<br />

became a Sunday Times bestseller,<br />

refute the suggestion that they are<br />

now bonafide relationship gurus.<br />

“We’re just two exhausted<br />

people who found divorce one<br />

administrative thing too many,”<br />

laughs Anna. “Matt and I are still on<br />

a journey… but I haven’t told him I<br />

want to f**k off for a very long time!” >>><br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 77


ROUTE TO<br />



How are you? Who are you?’ We<br />

have lost each other so very much<br />

in the last few years, because we<br />

haven’t checked in enough in this<br />

pursuit of the bigger, the better,<br />

the faster, the richer.”<br />




“One of the things we learned is<br />

the huge value in being able to<br />

bugger off and be by yourself,”<br />

says Matt. “Everyone needs a<br />

little bit of time in their own<br />

head and you don’t often get that,<br />

especially in a family set-up.<br />

Creating a bit of space purely for<br />

you, whether through exercise,<br />

going to a museum or watching a<br />

film, is incredibly important for<br />

helping you appreciate the time<br />

you do have with your partner.”<br />


“Realise that the mundane is the<br />

happy ever after, that the banal<br />

cheese and pickle sandwich, and a<br />

cheeky bum squeeze by the fridge,<br />

are the things to celebrate, not big<br />

romantic dinners where there’s so<br />

much pressure to have the perfect<br />

date,” advises Anna. “Stop chasing<br />

what Google wants you to find,<br />

what Getty Images are telling you<br />

love looks like. Stop looking for<br />

that Disney happy ever after.”<br />



“It’s easy to stop trying when<br />

you’ve been with someone for a<br />

while,” admits Matt. “It’s worth<br />

stopping to think: ‘If I was to give<br />

my best self to this person, what<br />

would that look like, and what<br />

would I be doing?’”<br />

“Be vocal about your needs,”<br />

adds Anna. “I recently said to<br />

Matt, ‘I just need you to ask me<br />

sometimes, ‘How was your day?<br />


“When one person feels like<br />

they’ve lost themselves, maybe<br />

after giving up their career,<br />

there’s often a sense of ‘who am I<br />

now?’ For a healthy relationship<br />

with yourself and with your<br />

partner, you have to have that<br />

something,” says Anna. “The<br />

minute I stopped putting heavy<br />

expectations on other humans<br />

in my life to fix me and make<br />

me happy was when – through<br />

writing this book – I found<br />

happiness. It was such a simple<br />

shift.”<br />



“A psychiatrist I spoke to said<br />

problems creep into relationships<br />

when parents worship their<br />

children in a way that they don’t<br />

any more worship their partner,”<br />

explains Matt. “What kids need to<br />

78 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

As part of the Flex Appeal campaign, which supports<br />

parents, carers, creatives, and anyone for whom the<br />

standard nine to five isn’t suitable, Anna and Matt<br />

organised a flash mob dance in Trafalgar Square<br />

see is a loving, mutually respectful<br />

relationship between whoever is<br />

raising them. It’s easy for people<br />

to overlook that, and I’ve definitely<br />

realised I need to make my best<br />

effort with Anna as much as I do<br />

with our kids.”<br />


“On a really primal level, the more<br />

you have sex, the more you want<br />

to have sex, the more you feel<br />

connected, and the healthier and<br />

happier you are. The physical side<br />

can just be contact – a hug or a<br />

fruity WhatsApp message,” says<br />

Anna. “That said, the other day I<br />

messaged Matt to say ‘let’s get it on<br />

tonight’ then by the evening I was<br />

really tired, I’d dealt with a doctor’s<br />

appointment over a potential<br />

bunion, and I wasn’t there!<br />

Actually, what mattered was that<br />

contact, a hug, and recognising<br />

that those little moments build up<br />

to a bigger picture.”<br />


“Recognise that tears can be<br />

just as good as laughter,” insists<br />

Anna. “If you Google romance<br />

and love, you’ll see pictures of<br />

sunsets and cocktails on holiday<br />

in warm weather with a very<br />

heteronormative couple holding<br />

hands. The images should be those<br />

when you’re in a million pieces,<br />

sobbing on the floor with mascara<br />

running down your face, unable to<br />

find a way out of the door through<br />

anxiety, or postnatal depression,<br />

or post-miscarriage trauma, and<br />

your partner is there lifting you<br />

up, holding you up as you sob,<br />

saying ‘It’s sh*t and I’m here.’”<br />


“The desire to get on and do better<br />

is part of the reason people end<br />

up having affairs,” warns Matt.<br />

“People remember the great<br />

relationship they had with their<br />

partner in their 20s, then 15 years<br />

later, with kids and a mortgage,<br />

hanker after that with someone<br />

else. Marriage vows say ‘for richer,<br />

for poorer’, but ‘the poorer’ is<br />

more important. Tackle that.<br />

Money isn’t going to buy the joy<br />

that you’re seeking.”<br />

‘Where’s My Happy Ending?’<br />

by Anna Whitehouse and Matt<br />

Farquharson is available now<br />

(Bluebird, £14.99)<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 79

Small changes to feel<br />


We all have days when we feel out of our depth and like we’ve lost control. Here<br />

are five small changes you can make to get back on top. It’s your time to shine<br />

Writing | Ellen Hoggard Illustrating | Rosan Magar<br />

We live in a ‘switched<br />

on’ world where we<br />

pride ourselves on<br />

being busy. We work<br />

hard, maintaining social lives and<br />

relationships, while also striving to<br />

be the best version of ourselves. But<br />

sometimes, this constant state of<br />

busyness can leave us feeling downand-out.<br />

Naturally, we hit a point of<br />

exhaustion, and when things feel<br />

out of our control, we typically fall<br />

back and surrender.<br />

But there are ways you can<br />

reignite your energy levels and<br />

80 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

get your power back. Lifestyle<br />

changes and maintenance –<br />

regular movement, healthy eating<br />

and time for yourself – are key in<br />

looking after both your physical<br />

and mental health, and we know<br />

that. However, there are some<br />

tricks you may not know that can<br />

jump-start the ignition. Small<br />

changes you can make to feel<br />

powerful, whether it’s planning<br />

your week ahead, or sneaking<br />

into a room five minutes before<br />

a meeting to flex your favourite<br />

power pose. Ready?<br />


If there’s something specific<br />

grinding your gears, acknowledge<br />

it. Are you feeling overwhelmed by<br />

your ever-growing to-do list? Have<br />

you got a month full of social plans,<br />

but really, all you want is a night<br />

in your pyjamas and a takeaway<br />

pizza? Has a loved one or colleague<br />

annoyed you, and you can’t seem to<br />

get it out of your head?<br />

Whatever it is that’s winding<br />

you up, acknowledge it. Shout it<br />

from the rooftops. Get in your car<br />

and scream. Let out a loud sigh,<br />

dropping your shoulders as you<br />

release the breath. Sometimes, it’s<br />

letting go of your frustrations in a<br />

physical way that can immediately<br />

give you a sense of relief.<br />

2 MAKE A LIST<br />

Write down the things you need to<br />

do – or think you need to do. If you<br />

have a million things going round<br />

in your head, you’re never going to<br />

be able to focus and do them all to<br />

your best ability. Write everything<br />

down and then, be ruthless. What<br />

do you absolutely need to do?<br />

Mark the tasks. Next, mark the<br />

jobs that are important, but not<br />

urgent. Then, mark the things that<br />

someone else can do, or are low<br />

priority.<br />

On a new piece of paper, write<br />

the top three things you need<br />

(and want) to get done. Forget all<br />

the little jobs and things that are<br />

holding you back. You now have<br />

your list for the day (or week) – try<br />

to stick to it. Giving yourself this<br />

time to complete your priority<br />

tasks will leave you feeling much<br />

better – and totally in control.<br />


When you’re feeling stressed, it<br />

can take a lot of energy to actually<br />

get out of bed and dressed. But<br />

trust me, putting on your favourite<br />

outfit – one that makes you feel<br />

like you can do anything – is a<br />

quick trick that can really put a<br />

pep in your step.<br />

When you’re wearing what makes<br />

you feel good, you naturally hold<br />

your head higher. And by being<br />

open and standing tall, you allow<br />

air into your lungs. You relax<br />

your shoulders and float with<br />

ease. Sometimes, it’s as simple as<br />

pushing your shoulders back and<br />

taking a deep breath.<br />


This may be as small as picking<br />

up a coffee on the way to work,<br />

or arranging a night out (or night<br />

in) with your loved ones and a<br />

delicious meal. It’s easy to get<br />

bogged down with the negative<br />

stuff and forget to spend time on<br />

yourself.<br />

A simple but effective change can<br />

be your attitude. There’s nothing<br />

wrong with throwing your hands<br />

up and proclaiming, f**k it! Forget<br />

Get in the stance<br />

that for you,<br />

reflects true<br />

power, and soon<br />

you’ll be oozing<br />

strength and<br />

confidence<br />

those little worries that you can’t<br />

do anything about. Often in the<br />

grand scheme of things, they<br />

don’t matter. Book some time<br />

away. Take a day off to do what<br />

you want. Leave the guilt behind.<br />


For an instant boost in energy,<br />

confidence and power, you need<br />

to find your power pose. Brought<br />

to public attention by psychologist<br />

Amy Cuddy, whose TedTalk has<br />

now garnered more than 55<br />

million views, power posing is a<br />

technique in which you adopt a<br />

stance you associate with power,<br />

in the hope of “feeling and<br />

behaving more assertively”.<br />

It may sound silly, but for many<br />

people, taking five minutes<br />

before a big presentation to take<br />

a deep breath, and stand in a<br />

position that represents power,<br />

can instantly lift your mood and<br />

clear doubts. It doesn’t have to<br />

be applied only at work either; if<br />

you’re going on a date, or doing<br />

something that makes you feel a<br />

little nervous, channel your inner<br />

power muse (think, what would<br />

Beyoncé do?). Get in the stance<br />

that for you, reflects true power,<br />

and soon you’ll be oozing strength<br />

and confidence, and going about<br />

your day with ease.<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 81

£57<br />

£40<br />




Reader offer<br />

First two copies + postage & packaging = FREE<br />

On an annual subscription using<br />

code HAPPIMAR at shop.happiful.com<br />

Includes postage and packaging (mainland UK). Prices and benefits are correct at the time of printing, using code<br />

82 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> HAPPIMAR, which expires on 16 April <strong>2020</strong>. For full terms and conditions, please visit happiful.com

Konnie Huq:<br />

An exact science<br />

What did you want to be when<br />

you grew up? A police officer?<br />

A teacher? An analytical<br />

textile technologist? The world<br />

of science can often feel<br />

mysterious, but author and<br />

ex-Blue Peter presenter Konnie<br />

Huq is on a mission to open up<br />

the world of STEM to the next<br />

generation. Here, we speak<br />

about the pressure to conform,<br />

the importance of visibility,<br />

and her debut children’s<br />

book, Cookie… and the Most<br />

Annoying Boy in the World<br />

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler<br />

Photoraphy | Ed Miller<br />

It “ was a different time,” Konnie<br />

Huq says, as she reflects on<br />

her childhood, and the ways it<br />

compares to those of children<br />

in <strong>2020</strong>. “We used to play out all<br />

day in the holidays, we’d be on our<br />

bikes and just come in to eat.”<br />

Today’s children have a lot to<br />

contend with, from tackling the<br />

technology problem (Is it good? Is<br />

it bad? When is enough, enough?),<br />

to an ever increasing pressure to<br />

perform at school – and, of course,<br />

the age-old question: what am I<br />

going to be when I grow up? >>><br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 83

When I was growing<br />

up, going into TV<br />

as an Asian wasn’t<br />

necessarily something<br />

I thought was actually<br />

a possibility<br />

“I was going to be an engineer,”<br />

says Konnie. “I did physics,<br />

chemistry, maths, and further<br />

maths A-levels. My parents came<br />

over from Bangladesh in the 1960s<br />

with dreams of their kids being<br />

scientists, engineers, doctors,<br />

accountants, and mathematicians<br />

– because those were revered<br />

professions.”<br />

In the end, Konnie took another<br />

course, stepping into the limelight<br />

when she first appeared on our<br />

screens in 1994, presenting a<br />

Saturday morning children’s TV<br />

show on GMTV, before going on<br />

to be Blue Peter’s longest-serving<br />

female presenter, from 1997–2007.<br />

Though, she notes that this wasn’t<br />

something she did, or even realised<br />

she could, aspire to as a child.<br />

“When I was growing up,<br />

going into TV as an Asian wasn’t<br />

necessarily something I thought<br />

was a possibility because I didn’t<br />

see any others,” she says. “And<br />

actually I sort of fell into my job.<br />

I went to open auditions for TV<br />

presenters, but not with a view to<br />

getting a job as a TV presenter, just<br />

for a fun day out.”<br />

“I remember hearing a lady’s<br />

voice on the radio when I was really<br />

young and thinking, ‘I didn’t realise<br />

women can do radio DJing as well.’<br />

So it’s only what you’re used to that<br />

you see as a possibility.”<br />

84 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

There are so many forces at play<br />

when it comes to predicting how<br />

our lives will pan out. Wealth,<br />

ethnicity, disability, geographical<br />

location, and many more variables<br />

all come together to affect the<br />

choices that we make. So often,<br />

the first step to breaking down<br />

these invisible barriers is visibility<br />

– seeing people who look, sound,<br />

and think like you, doing the<br />

things you aspire to be.<br />

“My role model, though I don’t<br />

know if I had her when I was<br />

a kid, is Ada Lovelace,” Konnie<br />

says. “She’s the epitome of a<br />

woman scientist. She foresaw that<br />

computers had the ability to make<br />

music, pictures, and all the things<br />

they do today. Though I don’t<br />

know that I discovered her when I<br />

was at school, because she wasn’t<br />

celebrated as much as all the men<br />

you hear about.”<br />

These days, we’re taking the<br />

time to retrospectively celebrate<br />

the women who may not have<br />

got the credit they deserved in<br />

their time. But the current gender<br />

divide in who’s going into STEM<br />

(science, technology, engineering,<br />

and mathematics) subjects and<br />

industries is something worth<br />

talking about. Girls make up just<br />

35% of students taking STEM<br />

subjects at school and in higher<br />

education, and just 22% of the<br />

industry workforce. Undeniably,<br />

there’s something at play here,<br />

and this issue is at the heart of<br />

Konnie’s debut children’s book<br />

series Cookie.<br />

A sassy, determined girl, Cookie’s<br />

love for science takes her down a<br />

path of hilarity and the occasional<br />

sticky situation (think classroom<br />

lemonade bottle experiments<br />

gone explosively wrong). Konnie<br />

describes the series – the second of<br />

which she is currently writing – as<br />

‘stealth woke’, subtly expanding<br />

readers’ experiences of different<br />

people, and weaving in lessons on<br />

all kinds of systems, from solar<br />

to social.<br />

“For instance, Cookie is from<br />

an ethnic minority family. She’s<br />

Muslim. Her best friend has<br />

two dads,” Konnie explains. “It’s<br />

the minorities that make up the<br />

majority, and the majority is more<br />

interesting for the variety. That’s<br />

what inclusivity and diversity<br />

are about.<br />

“So I’ve got a lot of that in the<br />

book, but instead of shoving<br />

it down people’s throats it’s<br />

secondary,” she continues. “It<br />

doesn’t affect the plot that Cookie<br />

is Muslim, or that Cookie is from<br />

Bangladesh. It’s nothing to do<br />

with it. It’s like you’re saying if a<br />

character has green eyes. We’re all<br />

defined by so many things.”<br />

But breaking free of the messages<br />

that tell us to blend in with<br />

everyone else, and celebrating<br />

who we are, isn’t always easy – and<br />

Konnie notes that the early years<br />

of her career were full of pressure<br />

to “conform” to a certain standard.<br />

“When I was in my 20s, I was<br />

more easily led by other people,”<br />

Konnie says. “I was never really<br />

into fashion, but for work I was<br />

told that I had to be into fashion.<br />

I do think that when you’re in<br />

this industry you have to play the<br />

game. You have to toe the line.”<br />

For Konnie, a lesson that she’s<br />

learned over time is that happiness<br />

can be found in the simple<br />

things in life – with the people<br />

you surround yourself with, and<br />

the things that you choose to<br />

prioritise.<br />

‘Cookie! and the Most Annoying<br />

Boy in the World’ by Konnie Huq is<br />

available now (Piccadilly<br />

Press, £6.99)<br />

“When you find friends who<br />

you really like and who you really<br />

get on with, that’s kind of all you<br />

need,” she says. “I can go have a<br />

laugh with them or chat to them,<br />

and I come back thinking, ‘That<br />

was priceless.’ Happiness comes<br />

from within, it comes from<br />

helping each other.”<br />

At a time when questions about<br />

consumerism, technology,<br />

and the future of the planet,<br />

are all weighing heavily on our<br />

minds, it can be easy to take the<br />

dimmer outlook. But perhaps<br />

by turning our focus on to the<br />

people who matter most to us,<br />

while simultaneously broadening<br />

our horizons and embracing the<br />

limitlessness of our abilities, we<br />

can begin to make the difference<br />

that we want to see in the world<br />

around us.<br />

As for Konnie, is she hopeful for<br />

the future?<br />

“Just look how amazing young<br />

children are,” she says. “Yes, I am.<br />

I am, definitely.”<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 85

Is mental health on your company agenda?<br />

We believe mental health first aid training should be given equal importance to physical<br />

first aid training in every workplace. If you would like to become a mental health first aider<br />

at work, <strong>Happiful</strong> can train you, and we've created this email template to help you explain<br />

the benefits to your boss<br />

Dear ,<br />

I'd like to become a mental health first aider for<br />

and I'm hoping you can help.<br />

Here are some of the reasons why <br />

will benefit from offering Mental Health First Aid training to our<br />

employees:<br />

1. Build staff confidence to have open conversations around mental<br />

health, and break the stigma in the office and in society.<br />

2. Encourage people to access early support when needed. Early<br />

intervention means faster recovery.<br />

3. Empower people with a long-term mental health issue or disability<br />

to thrive in work, and ensure that we are compliant with legislation<br />

in the Equality Act 2010.<br />

4. Promote a mentally healthy environment, and allow people to thrive<br />

and become more productive.<br />

5. Embed a long-term, positive culture across the whole organisation,<br />

where our employees recognise their mental and physical health are<br />

supported as equal parts of the whole person.<br />

6. Proudly share that mental health is on our company agenda, and<br />

improve retention as a result of a reduction in staff stress levels.<br />

<strong>Happiful</strong> offers two-day mental health first aid training courses for<br />

individuals across the country for £235 + VAT per person, and they<br />

can also offer bespoke courses on-site at our workplace if we have a<br />

minimum of eight attendees.<br />

Yours sincerely,<br />

<br />

Did you know that stress,<br />

anxiety, and depression<br />

are the biggest causes of<br />

sickness absence in our<br />

society?<br />

Mental ill-health is<br />

currently responsible for<br />

91 million working days<br />

lost each year. The cost<br />

to UK employers is £34.9<br />

billion each year.*<br />

<strong>Happiful</strong> has partnered<br />

with Simpila Healthy<br />

Solutions to offer<br />

internationally recognised<br />

courses and training<br />

events in the UK.<br />

Each course is delivered<br />

by an accredited Mental<br />

Health First Aid England<br />

instructor and is delivered<br />

in a safe, evidence-based<br />

programme.<br />

Proudly working with<br />

*Source: MHFA England<br />


Healthy Solutions<br />

To register your company’s interest or to book an<br />

individual place, visit training.happiful.com or<br />

drop us an email at training@happiful.com


A voice of<br />

understanding<br />

After years of hiding his pain and depression, Henry<br />

found himself at breaking point. But the connection<br />

and trust with a special therapist, and his own passion<br />

for music, opened him up to the possibility of a brighter<br />

future – one which he embraced whole-heartedly<br />

Writing | Henry Grace<br />

Photogrphy | Emmanuelle Le Chat<br />

When I was<br />

18, I was<br />

diagnosed<br />

with<br />

depression. It was 2010,<br />

and I had just finished<br />

high school. But instead<br />

of celebrating with my<br />

friends, I was admitted to<br />

a psychiatric hospital in<br />

London. The truth is that<br />

it was a relief. For so many<br />

years, I’d covered up my<br />

depression and, to some<br />

extent, hidden it pretty<br />

well from even myself.<br />

I never told anyone about<br />

the pain I was in, the selfharming,<br />

or that I almost<br />

took my own life when I<br />

was 16. It probably seems<br />

strange that I was unaware<br />

I needed help. But mental<br />

health was just never a<br />

conversation at home or at<br />

school. And so when the<br />

truth finally came out, I<br />

hoped that life would get<br />

a little better.<br />

But after three years of<br />

therapy, and a few stints<br />

in psychiatric hospitals,<br />

my condition had only<br />

worsened. I’d been<br />

diagnosed with multiple<br />

mental illnesses, and was<br />

put on a cocktail of drugs<br />

that left me comatose<br />

half of the time. I felt<br />

completely hopeless<br />

and often contemplated<br />

suicide. The few things<br />

that brought me any real<br />

happiness during this time<br />

were my family, friends,<br />

and writing music. I count<br />

myself incredibly lucky to<br />

have not only lived a life<br />

surrounded by wonderful<br />

people, but also to have<br />

found a passion so early<br />

on that has always found a<br />

way of guiding me. Music<br />

has helped shape me as a<br />

person and, in many ways,<br />

defined my life so far.<br />

But by the time I turned<br />

21, life had pretty much<br />

unravelled. I could<br />

no longer maintain<br />

relationships, couldn’t get<br />

a job, or even get through<br />

the day without having<br />

a panic attack. I had<br />

overdosed twice, dropped<br />

out of university, and<br />

stopped writing music.<br />

With nowhere else to go,<br />

I moved back home to<br />

my parents’ farm in rural<br />

Oxfordshire and, after<br />

only a week or two, found<br />

myself contemplating<br />

suicide again.<br />

Suicide is a really complex<br />

topic. It totally devastates<br />

everything it touches but,<br />

for so many who feel like<br />

they can no longer cope, it<br />

often seems like the only<br />

way out. For me, life had<br />

become unbearable. I had,<br />

quite literally, lost the will<br />

to live and so, one summer<br />

evening, I walked out the<br />

door of our farm and tried<br />

to end my life.<br />

A few days later, I woke<br />

up to find myself in a<br />

hospital hooked up to<br />

multiple machines. I can<br />

remember closing my<br />

eyes tightly and feeling<br />

devastated that I had<br />

survived. When doctors<br />

told me that there were<br />

no available beds in any<br />

of the NHS psychiatric<br />

hospitals across the UK,<br />

my family organised for<br />

me to go to a rehab in<br />

Arizona. Two days later, I<br />

found myself boarding a<br />

plane to America.<br />

I arrived in Arizona a<br />

completely broken man.<br />

But it didn’t take long for<br />

me to find my feet. >>><br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 87

Henry performing at<br />

Bush Hall, fundraising<br />

for Young Minds, in 2019<br />

Photogrphy | (Right) Isabella Clegg<br />

For me, life had<br />

become unbearable<br />

On my second day, I<br />

met my therapist. He told<br />

me his life story – how<br />

he’d lived through gang<br />

warfare, abuse, addiction<br />

and depression, and how<br />

he’d transformed his life<br />

to eventually become the<br />

man sitting across from<br />

me. It blew me away. No<br />

therapist had ever told<br />

me anything personal<br />

before. But before I even<br />

had a chance to catch my<br />

breath, he was asking to<br />

hear my story.<br />

And so I spilled my<br />

whole life out before him.<br />

He listened and somehow<br />

made me feel completely<br />

comfortable. It was as if,<br />

for the very first time, I<br />

was telling my story to<br />

someone who actually<br />

understood. When I<br />

finished, there was a<br />

brief silence between us<br />

as I watched the wheels<br />

in his mind turn, before<br />

he asked plainly: “What<br />

would your life look like,<br />

if it wasn’t like this?” I<br />

told him I had no idea.<br />

He nodded in agreement,<br />

looked me dead in the eye,<br />

and asked: “Do you want<br />

to change?”<br />

The question took me by<br />

surprise. Not because it<br />

was so direct, but because<br />

no one had ever asked it<br />

before. Usually therapists<br />

took these moments to<br />

just tell me what they<br />

thought was wrong with<br />

me, and that I needed to<br />

do this or that to cope. But<br />

here was a man simply<br />

asking me if I wanted to<br />

change, and asking in such<br />

a way that made change<br />

almost seem possible. Hope<br />

started to swell inside me,<br />

and suddenly, with more<br />

honesty and integrity than I<br />

had ever had before, simply<br />

said “Yes.”<br />

At that moment I realised<br />

that I had the power to build<br />

the life of my dreams.<br />

And so I admitted to<br />

myself that, through no<br />

fault of my own, I had<br />

gotten myself into this<br />

mess. Events had happened<br />

in my life that I’d had no<br />

control over, and no<br />

idea how to deal with.<br />

I’d become accustomed<br />

to being my own worst<br />

enemy, and had grown<br />

to see the world not for<br />

what it was, but for what I<br />

perceived it to be.<br />

By taking ownership of<br />

my depression, I suddenly<br />

had power over it. With<br />

every day that passed, I<br />

worked on changing my<br />

way of life, my beliefs, my<br />

actions, my views – both<br />

of the world and of myself.<br />

I was reclaiming my<br />

existence, and it was the<br />

most incredible feeling.<br />

To achieve something<br />

you want in life, I think you<br />

require three things. You<br />

88 • happiful.com • <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

Photogrphy | Emmanuelle Le Chat<br />

Here was a man simply<br />

asking me if I wanted to<br />

change, and asking in<br />

such a way that made<br />

change almost seem<br />

possible<br />

have to believe in yourself,<br />

you have to work hard, and<br />

you need a bit of luck. I was<br />

lucky to go to Arizona, I<br />

was lucky to meet the right<br />

people at the right time,<br />

and I worked harder than<br />

I ever thought possible,<br />

but, more than anything,<br />

I believed in myself. And<br />

that’s what it took for me<br />

to beat nearly a decade of<br />

living with depression.<br />

I don’t have all the<br />

answers, and life still<br />

grinds me down at times,<br />

but I really wouldn’t<br />

change a thing, because<br />

my past, however hard it<br />

was at times, has made<br />

me who I am today. I<br />

truly believe that hope is<br />

everything, so I never let<br />

go of it.<br />

Instead of returning<br />

home to England from<br />

Arizona, I moved to Los<br />

Angeles, acquired a visa,<br />

enrolled myself in a<br />

small college, and started<br />

a music career. I met<br />

people who helped me<br />

in more ways than I can<br />

ever possibly explain. But<br />

what I am most grateful<br />

for, above all else, is that<br />

they encouraged me to<br />

start taking my music<br />

seriously. During my<br />

five years in California, I<br />

released two EPs, had my<br />

music played on the radio,<br />

picked up endorsements,<br />

and, in 2016, moved to<br />

San Francisco after being<br />

accepted to study at the<br />

University of California,<br />

Berkeley.<br />

I graduated last year<br />

with a degree in English<br />

Literature, and moved<br />

back home to England,<br />

where I now work as a<br />

musician and a mental<br />

health advocate for young<br />

people. I have toured the<br />

country, gone on air with<br />

the BBC to talk about<br />

mental health, and curated<br />

shows that raise awareness<br />

and money for mental<br />

health charities.<br />

Advocating for mental<br />

health was never an<br />

intention of mine at the<br />

beginning, and I certainly<br />

never imagined that I<br />

would now be trying to help<br />

people on a daily basis.<br />

But, in the end, I became<br />

so inspired by those who<br />

shared their stories, and by<br />

the countless people who<br />

devote their lives to helping<br />

others, that it only seemed<br />

right to share mine in the<br />

hope it can help someone,<br />

somewhere, believe in<br />

themselves again.<br />


Henry’s experience is<br />

truly inspirational, having<br />

overcome such adversity,<br />

to now being in a position<br />

where he is helping<br />

others and shining the<br />

light for positive change.<br />

His journey did not come<br />

without it’s struggles.<br />

After multiple attempts<br />

to end his life, Henry<br />

found invaluable support<br />

from his therapist that<br />

changed his life forever.<br />

The role that music has<br />

played is also key for<br />

Henry. Connecting with<br />

an activity we enjoy is vital<br />

to maintaining our<br />

wellbeing, and<br />

provided Henry<br />

with a flourishing<br />

self-belief.<br />

Rav Sekhon | BA MA MBACP (Accred)<br />

Counsellor and psychotherapist<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> • happiful.com • 89

Mental health<br />

matters<br />

After suffering severe burns as a child,<br />

Sylvia Mac founded her campaign<br />

and support network, Love Disfigure,<br />

in the hopes of reaching others with<br />

skin disfigurements. Here, she shares<br />

personal milestones, and the things<br />

she’s learned along the way<br />

Mental health matters to me<br />

because… I suffered for years<br />

with severe depression, anxiety,<br />

and low self-esteem due to the<br />

scars on my body. Learning<br />

about my mental wellbeing has<br />

certainly helped me become the<br />

survivor, or thriver, I am today.<br />

When I need support I… talk to<br />

family members to get their<br />

advice, but more importantly<br />

get their hugs and love.<br />

When I need some self-care,<br />

I… recover by resting and<br />

spending alone time, or have spa<br />

treatments with my daughters.<br />

Reading positive books on selfcare<br />

always helps. Sometimes<br />

you’re pulled from all different<br />

directions, but I know how to<br />

deal with this by knowing my<br />

self-worth.<br />

The best lesson I’ve learned in life<br />

is… always accept a compliment.<br />

All too often, we deflect positive<br />

messages such as, ‘You look<br />

great!’ We reply, ‘Oh no, not me.’<br />

Replying with a simple ‘thank<br />

you’ not only makes you feel good<br />

about yourself, but it should also<br />

help keep that positive mindset.<br />

The moment I felt most proud of<br />

myself was... when I received my<br />

Point of Light award from Theresa<br />

May. The certificate came through<br />

the post with ‘10 Downing Street’<br />

marked on the envelope and I<br />

couldn’t stop reading it over and<br />

over. It was definitely one of my<br />

biggest and proudest moments.<br />

When I’m lacking motivation I...<br />

take ‘time out’ and switch off<br />

from everything. Sometimes I<br />

turn off my phone and relax in<br />

a calm environment – a bath or<br />

swimming pool – or pop to the<br />

gym and listen to high-energy<br />

music until I’m back on track.<br />

One thing that being a burn<br />

survivor has taught me about<br />

myself is... just how strong I am<br />

emotionally, physically, and<br />

mentally. I count myself as a<br />

thriver, which is third in line after<br />

‘victim’ and ‘survivor’. I no longer<br />

have ‘down days’ worrying about<br />

what people will think about me<br />

and my scars. It’s truly amazing.<br />

Photography | Kaye Ford<br />

My biggest tip for self-love is…<br />

remind yourself every day just<br />

how beautiful you are. Look<br />

in the mirror and repeat: ‘I am<br />

beautiful, I am worthy’. Keep hold<br />

of that positive mindset and carry<br />

it throughout the day.<br />

The main thing I want people<br />

to know about dealing with<br />

disfigurement is... no matter<br />

where your skin differences<br />

are on your body, it still affects<br />

many people mentally as well as<br />

physically.<br />

Visit lovedisfigure.com for more.<br />

Sylvia Mac will be speaking on<br />

‘Finding Your Confidence – Inside<br />

and Out’ at Live Well London<br />

(28 February to 1 <strong>March</strong>). Visit<br />

livewelllondon.com for tickets.

Photography | Joelvalve<br />

Dance is the hidden<br />

“language of the soul<br />


December 2018 • happiful • 91



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