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Mental Health Awareness week couldn’t have come at a better time. We’re all dealing with the new normal and looking after our wellbeing is more important than ever. Everything might feel harder than usual right now and we’re right there with you, but make an effort to be kinder to yourself because it’ll makes you feel better, both now and in the long run.

We spoke to influencer Ali Hemsley about her own mental health and how she is prioritising it during lockdown. Ali is wearing a tee from our Feel Good charity collection that you can add-to-bag soon to help us support the UK’s mental health and wellbeing.

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

I'm a fashion, fitness and lifestyle influencer, and also work in Marketing. I'm 25 (soon to be 26!) and have had chronic illnesses ME & Fibromyalgia for 9 years.

What is your lockdown mood/mindset?

My lockdown mindset and mood has fluctuated so much - and that's okay! My main focus is trying to keep my mood as stable as possible and making sure that I balance what I need for my mental health with the needs of the others in my household. 

Why is Mental Health Awareness Week important to you?

Our mental health and wellbeing are just as important as our physical health but often we can feel ashamed or worried to talk about it. Mental Health Awareness Week is a great opportunity to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and to start much-needed conversations. When I first became ill with my chronic illnesses, I also experienced anxiety and depression for the first time. My mental health was severely affected by both my illness and the isolation that it caused me. Campaigns that raise awareness remind me that I’m not alone - and I should not be afraid to talk about how I’m feeling.

How are you maintaining your wellbeing & being kind to your mind?

For me, self-care is HUGE. Right now, that involves giving myself some time to be alone (away from work, family and social media) to watch a tv show I enjoy, to bake some brownies or to exercise. I'm limiting my news intake because I spend a lot of time on social media and I know that it can make me feel overwhelmed. I'm also reminding myself on a daily basis that it's okay not to be "productive" all the time and that I shouldn't compare myself to others. For example, I love seeing everyone's 5k challenges, but I don't have to do one myself if I'm not able to or if I don't want to!

What positives have you been able to take from this time?

I’ve got three! The first positive is how strong community spirit is and how helpful it can be during tough times. Secondly, how amazing the internet is and the things we’re able to do with it. Just imagine lockdown without FaceTime – no thank you! Finally, I’m really appreciating the slower pace of life and spending a lot of time with my family.
What are you most looking forward to?

Playing football! I play for Bexhill United Ladies FC and am really missing it. Thankfully, we've been doing regular Zoom sessions (including Bingo!) to stay in touch.

Who would you most like to send thanks to?

There are so many incredible people to thank right now - all of the key workers and everyone else who are doing their part to keep others safe, even if that's by staying inside. 

I'd particularly like to thank everyone that has donated to charity because they're not receiving the amount of support they might usually get due to cancelled fundraising activities, so all donations really do make a difference!


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