Wednesday 15 May 2019

May #TBCSmiles #MHAW

It's time for this month's smiles and it's Mental Health Awareness Week. Smiles are infectious and while the right one can melt your heart and make everything okay, a grin or smile from anyone will almost always help. This photo is from BlogOn Conference - not quite winning 'most Bloggers in a lift', but possibly a contender for best reflection...

We are all now more aware of our Mental Health. We know how important it is to be open and honest if we are struggling, and we know we should ask for help, but it'll be a long while yet before we can all do so freely without embarrassment, feelings of failure or worry we'll be laughed at.

One of the most important lessons I've learned over the last few years is that we are all allowed some attention - it isn't a crime. Labelling anything as 'attention-seeking' belittles it and equates it to being mardy. People want attention because they need something, and it generally reflects their health mentally. Risk-taking or extreme behaviour is a shout to be noticed, and a 'cry for help' is exactly that.

Language that you use is incredibly important and if you are concerned about someone it is very easy to let them say "I'm fine" and move on. When you ask how someone is, you might not really fancy the next 5 minutes listening to them list their ailments, but mean it. Look them in the eye and ask how are you? What follows might make a huge difference. Your 5 minutes can show them someone does care, and they'll tell you because they want to get it off their chest. We all do really. We all need to be able to spill out the bad bits and complain about the state of our hips, or the world, or the lack of nice carrots in Tesco. We need someone to tell us it'll be okay, even if it maybe won't. We need someone to listen.

This year's theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is Body Image. I have incredibly strong feelings about this and you'll never see a diet product on my blog. You'll never hear me say 'I'm on a diet' or talk about calories or Syns, and I will stop anyone I know talking like that in front of children. There are huge numbers of very young children now struggling with their own body image, at an age where I was only concerned about who was going to be at the park or whether we'd have art tomorrow at school.

I encourage every single one of you to think before you say anything negative about your own body in front of yourself. This is you, and you are the best you there can ever be. Take time to focus on the best bits and find the beauty where you'd never have seen it. I will always have a 'zip' scar running from my bra to my knickers, but it means I'm alive. Those operations saved me, they're why I'm here and I can love my zip line for that. My stretch marks are gifts that came free with my children and the wrinkles beside my eyes show you how many times I've laughed until I cried, or wee'd, or both. You are a sum of all of your parts and people love you just as you are.

Smiles are brilliant for your mental health and this month we've had lots of adults join in with #TBCSmiles. It's brilliant. Get out from behind that camera! I've made a real effort recently and I'm enjoying it - it's a nice change to grin at photos I'm in myself!

I've chosen 9 of the biggest smiles you shared for a collage, but there are literally thousands more if you take a look at the hashtag on Instagram, and you will grin. A lot. Thank you to everyone who has shared their smiles, giggles, chuckles and those little coy grins where there's just a corner of the mouth turned up. You are all stars.

At the end of the day, being happy is what it's all about, and every smile is a true treasure. Anyone is welcome to join in - just tag any smiley photo #TBCSmiles

These smiles were thanks to the following Instagrammers:

I didn't take many photos, mainly because I spent half the month in bed! I still managed to capture a few though, and I saw many more. If you can't see yours, keep looking, they are always there.

I wrote about the relationship between sleep and mental health for Tempur last week and I have many other posts about Mental Health, some of which are listed below. The reason we collect our smiles is because we lost one of our teenagers to suicide in 2014. Smiles are the reason and the reminder of why we carry on.

Always ask for help if you need it, there is always someone you can talk to. Don't be alone.


  1. Such lovely smiles from everyone, just what I need this morning xx

  2. Such a lovely post with so many wonderful smiley faces. Just a delight xx


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I read every one and try my best to reply!