swipe left or swipe right
PLEASE NOTE: You must be 18 or over to legally use a dating website or app so please bear that in mind.
Online dating has become increasingly popular in recent years and it looks like that trend is only going to continue. Gone are the days of meeting someone in a bar or through a mutual friend. It's easy to see why people turn to websites like Tinder, or Match.com. It is so easy to create a profile and it allows you to meet single people outside your circles who you may not have otherwise given a second look.
But online dating is also scary. With an estimated 323.9 million people using dating apps (source: Cloudwards.net) it can be really difficult to decide who to 'swipe left' or 'swipe right', so to speak. Not everyone on a dating site is going to be trustworthy and who they say they are and, certainly for women, unsolicited pictures (colloquially known as 'dick pics') are a common occurrence. But it’s not just women. Men can also feel concerned for their safety as women online can also be inclined to lie or make omissions about who they are and their life. So do the pros of online dating outweigh the cons and if so, how can you keep yourself safe?
I am extremely inexperienced when it comes to dating. My first and only serious relationship was when I was 15/16 years old and it really didn't end well. I had briefly considered online dating before but I had always been scared as all I’ve ever known is the horror stories you hear about catfishes and dick pics and people just looking for sex. I knew I didn’t want that so I was very reluctant to go online, despite my godmother insisting that I needed to get out there again and give dating a chance. But, despite my reservations, I have recently taken the leap and decided to try Facebook Dating. It’s been an interesting endeavour, to say the least. I was decidedly optimistic about online dating and thought I’d met ‘the one’ the first time I matched and spoke with someone.
That was my first encounter with what I call ‘the bullshitter.’ He told me he’d never met anyone like me, never felt this way about anyone and he was falling in love with me (this was all on the first date, two days after we’d started talking, can I add.) He kept saying how he couldn’t wait to put a ring on my finger and spend his life with me. Cue two weeks later, two days before our second date, he messaged me to tell me he was getting back with his ex-girlfriend… who was also pregnant with his baby. I mean - what, wow. What am I meant to do with that?
Understandably, I was pretty cautious and nervous after that about getting too invested in anyone. I didn’t want to be let down yet again. In the past month or so, I have matched with many people and spoken with roughly half of them. Half of those I’ve clicked with and half of them either didn’t work out or didn’t even reply. I’ve been ghosted, sent unsolicited dirty messages and blocked for no reason at all among other strange interactions. I honestly considered deactivating my profile and just giving up again.
Roughly two weeks ago, I met one of the sweetest guys I've ever encountered. He has one young daughter which is a bit scary for a 22 year old, but he is so kind and makes me feel pretty damn special - not in the way the bullshitter did though, but in a genuine way. He’s made it very clear that he’s fine with me needing to slow down and he won’t pressure me into anything that I’m not ready for or completely 100% comfortable with. It’s early days but we’ve been on three dates so far and thanks to him, I’ve regained a little bit of hope and faith in online dating.
Just because I have met some horrible people doesn’t mean that everyone is horrible. There are some genuinely nice guys online, as proven by the latest guy I’ve met. Online dating is scary and yes, it can be really difficult to navigate like some kind of unsolvable puzzle. But I don't want you to write it off just because of the prospect of meeting someone horrible. So here are some tips from personal experience on how to keep yourself safe and enjoy the experience.
So whilst I encourage you to enjoy the experience of online dating if you decide to try it, I’ll leave you with this thought: be careful and stay safe.
~ Kenzie x
When it’s coming up to Summertime we all like to have something planned. That’s when a bucket list comes into action! A bucket list is when a person makes plans that they would like to accomplish during their lifetime.
Summer is about creating special memories with family and friends. But who’s to say bucket lists are just for Summer?
There are four seasons every year, so we can make more bucket lists! The benefits of having a bucket list are you have something to be excited about but also you can plan it out too! Also, it can make you feel motivated that you’re going to accomplish your dream!
Here are some ideas for each season!
Spring Bucket List;
Summer Bucket List;
Autumn Bucket List;
Winter Bucket List;
So there are just a few ideas on how to create your seasonal bucket lists! But remember these bucket lists don’t have to be big ideas they can be little ones like helping out a neighbour or taking your family out for dinner.
The things you put onto your season bucket list are your personal ideas and you can complete them anytime you want! It’s fun to create seasonal bucket lists so you can have an idea of what you would like to do in the New Year.
Some of the things I’d like to complete in the New Year are;
My bucket list has helped me to grow my confidence to get out more but also have a positive look at life. My future can be filled with exploring but also discovering myself more.
The importance of a bucket list is to live a life with hopes and aspirations. Whilst also reflecting on our values and goals,
Periods are natural and nothing to be ashamed of. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. We must not only normalise the physical impact they have, but also the effect they have on mental health too. Instead of shaming others, we must focus on promoting love and support during this stressful time. Whether you are reading this and relate to menstruation affecting your mental health, or want to help those close to you, I hope I can offer some useful tips in tackling this monthly battle.
Over 90% of menstruating people suffer from at least one symptom of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), including headaches, feeling upset, anxiety, irritability, tiredness and bloating. Linked to this, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a health problem similar to PMS but causes more serious symptoms, like severe irritability, depression and anxiety, and these can present themselves a week or two before the period actually starts and ease two or three days after it has begun. Yet, there is still the stigma that people on their periods are overreacting and seeking attention, even though they may be having an internal war with themselves, facing a formidable opponent to their personal growth and success.
While hormones are real chemicals that affect us, the destructive thoughts they bring do not in any way represent who we are, our intelligence, our talents and our overall mental health. It is natural to feel so emotionally distressed during menstruation that you may feel you can’t get out of bed. Hopelessness may cripple you, isolating you from the happiness you may have felt the day before and the happiness that may be found in the future. I assure you, the thoughts that are engendered during this time of the month can be soothed and there is always a way for you to prepare yourself mentally, before this self-deprecating version of yourself takes your place temporarily.
Before I began to question why I was feeling so despondent and angry during my period, I felt lonely and frustrated with the fact that I couldn’t control my emotions. This still happens now; sometimes I don’t even recognise who I am on my period. I find my thoughts being damaging towards my dreams, my regrets and my self courage. As someone who isn’t a stranger to ill-temper, I find that before, during and after my period, I react badly to those around me and I’ll admit, I say things I don’t mean and find no relief in slamming a door or two after an argument I caused to erupt. Feeling alone, I become restless, unable to sleep and losing passion for my interests. Finding control during menstruation isn’t a simple process and even after finding ways to cope, I sometimes find it impossible to counteract unhealthy thoughts.
Imagine training to become an Olympic athlete, being dedicated to wake up early every morning and train, only to be told by your biggest supporter, AKA yourself, that you don’t deserve to succeed/ you can’t succeed/ you don’t want to. Not everyone has a lifelong ambition to become an athlete, but as humans, we strive to become better versions of ourselves, in whatever makes us happiest. Personally, I love to write, but I’ve found that on my period, I tend to doubt my writing ability and words I’ve written before suddenly seem worthless and terrible. I also find my brain trying to convince me I hate my favourite book and it can be difficult to find enjoyment in anything. This is reality; this is life, for a lot of us. But don’t be deterred from trying a few coping mechanisms, because I assure you, you don’t have anything to lose and some of these have really alleviated the symptoms I experience when on my period.
How to care for yourself during menstruation:
How you can help others:
I cannot stress enough the importance of understanding mental health during menstruation, as if you’re not self-aware, you may not only hurt yourself but also hurt others. If you think you have severe symptoms, please don’t hesitate to see a doctor. There are many options out there and people who can help, such as cognitive behavioural therapy and fluoxetine- an antidepressant. If you already have a mental illness, your mental health can ameliorate during your period and you should never suffer alone. Talk to a loved one and explain how you’re feeling, as even if they don’t comprehend it now, they will once you have.
We’re here at TWE to help if you ever have any concerns or doubts and honestly, contact me or anyone from the team if you ever need someone to talk to.
It is fair to say that stress affects the lives of many young people today, admittedly, myself included. I say “admittedly” not because it is something to be embarrassed by, but rather because it often lies behind a tough exterior. Students in particular have to grapple with all kinds of pressures, both societal and personal. According to a survey conducted by the Union of Students in Ireland in 2019, 23.1% of female college students stated that they felt severely stressed. Being a student myself, this is something that I can relate to. In this article, I hope to share with you my experience with stress and how I manage it on a daily basis.
I personally believe that stress is determined by two related factors: a desire to please people and a fear of failure. Despite being able to recount moments from my childhood in which I felt rather anxious, I think that my real battle with stress began when I entered secondary school. All of a sudden, I felt an enormous pressure to excel in my studies and became obsessed with the thought of failure. This was one of my many fears, and it still is today. I began to associate productivity with self-worth and self-esteem – if I achieved an ‘A’, then I was a capable and hard-working individual. This caused a lot of stress, and at times, the fear was so overwhelming that I would cry, procrastinate my work, and become irritable and withdrawn. I essentially set myself a standard that I could not always reach; a standard that few people can ever fully live up to. Where this stemmed from I have no idea, given the fact that I was a diligent student who was in no way headed towards the path of failure. Nevertheless, it was an experience that forced me to unpack my fears and realise my own potential.
Intertwined with this was the desire to please others, namely, to confirm or deny their perception of me. This was an inner personal conflict that bred stress and made setting boundaries quite difficult. I have always struggled with saying the word “no” and tending first to my own needs. This intensified in university, following various failed attempts at finding work and the pressure that comes with exams. There were times at which I felt torn between what others expected of me, and what it was that I truly needed (a break). Even now, in my daily life, I am constantly in a tussle with stress and the feeling of inadequacy. However, rather than running away from it, I choose to confront it head-on; in fact I transform it into creativity.
But how do I actually achieve this? How do I tap into my anxious thoughts and ultimately use them to my advantage? Allow me, if I may, to share with you some tips and advice on how to do this. Firstly, the biggest revelation for me was identifying my triggers. By this, I am referring to what actually prompts me to feel stressed (a fear of failure and a desire to please others). After coming to this realisation, I started filtering out certain habits from my life that were both unnecessary and stress-inducing. The biggest of these was the constant need to give an instantaneous reply to text messages (text messages that did not necessitate an urgent response). Along with this, I began practicing saying “no” to social outings and only made plans to attend them when I felt rested and mentally-relaxed. This brought freedom and serenity to me in ways for which I will forever be grateful. I began to realise that protecting my energy was vital to reducing the amount of stress that I encountered daily. I learned how to say “I cannot physically do everything at once” to myself, which in turn, led me to being both assiduous and patient. Consequently, my desire to satisfy the demands of other people gradually diminished and I created my own sense of liberation.
In addition to this, I decided to undertake various activities as a means of creatively expressing my anxious thoughts. This not only served as a calming method; it also allowed me to remain centred and combat my fear of failure. Being a writer, I take comfort in putting pen to paper and jotting down my thoughts. I believe that this is one of the most cathartic acts performed by humanity. In doing so, my stress takes on many different forms, manifesting as poetry, affirmations, and journal entries. The practice of doodling can also be calming, and I strongly encourage you to try it.
Likewise, sending myself an encouraging text message or typing notes in my phone is another means of relieving stress. If I am travelling somewhere that makes me feel anxious, for example, an exam centre or my place of work, I will type little notes for myself to read on the bus. A simple “you’ll be okay” can be quite soothing and make me feel as though I am capable and ready to complete the task ahead. I also, quite often, create a list on my phone of everything I get to do when I return home. This reassures me that even if the experience does not go as planned, my day can still end on a positive note. This activity, as well as the others that I mentioned, enables me to maintain hope and perseverance in the face of stress. After reflecting on my experience for the purpose of this article, I truly believe that such activities can be applied to the lives of other young adults and teenagers.
And so bearing that in mind, I would like to say this to you, the reader:
Stress in itself can be a wonderful gift that enables you to discover small ways to bring joy to yourself. It is a natural part of the human condition, and indeed of growing up. Do not fear it, for it can be tamed, and do not dismiss it, for it is innate. Stress is your teacher – it stimulates growth and fosters development. Rather than running from it, allow it to motivate you to finish that assignment, to attend that job interview, or to take time for yourself. Transform your stress into creativity and watch closely as it, in turn, transforms you.
the one who cares about you is you
“In case of a cabin pressure emergency, put on your own mask first before assisting others.” We always hear this sentence every time we take a flight. It is a good concept to apply to our lives. We need to remember the importance of helping ourselves first before helping others. Putting yourself doesn’t mean you’re choosing either your or another's life. It means putting yourself makes you function better and strengthens you to support your loved ones better. Even a therapist can ask guidance from other therapists. It doesn’t mean they’re not credible. It helps them prepare and recharge so that they can help clients as well.
One way of self-help is self-love. Loving yourself is different from being a narcissist. A Narcissist needs professional guidance because Narcissistic Personality Disorder is characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance. They lack empathy and therefore rarely make friends with others. Different from being narcissistic, self love is an act to appreciate and care about oneself.
Self-love is a journey and everyone should have a trial and error method to find the best way to love themselves. In order to help our self, here some ideas that I’ve tried and you can apply them too:
No screen day
Due to online situations, life is attached to the screen. Sometimes, I’ve gotten very anxious about things on social media. I couldn’t bear to look at notifications on my social media. So, reconnecting with nature instead of the screen, would be very relaxing.
Hugging someone with no context
This gives me another level of satisfaction. When hugging someone, I feel calm and relax. Also, my negative emotions go away. It may be because the stress hormone is released.
I’m not sure with the actual method, but it is kind of staying still and being aware of nature’s sounds. Nature’s sounds help release my anxiety and stress.
Those tips may work for some people but not others. Hopefully, they can help some of you guys. Enjoy your journey to a fulfilling life!
Creativity without judgement
The word “creativity” can mean a variety of things. For some people, creativity is visual art, like painting or pottery. For others, creativity takes a less physical form through things like writing and music. From dancing, to photography, to poetry, it is clear that this word has an extremely broad definition. What things do these art forms have in common? Passion. Creativity is what drives people, giving them such an interesting emotional outlet. While this passion is usually positive, there are harsh expectations that get in the way of people expressing their creative interests.
It is not easy to pursue an interest when there are so many pressures to face. One of the most common issues people struggle with is the so-called “failure” to meet their own expectations. When there is a clear image in your head of what you want to express, the reality may be disappointing. Unfortunately, this fear of a mediocre outcome is what stops a lot of people from attempting to begin in the first place.
In addition to the internal struggles, there are plenty of external factors that contribute to the discouragement of creative hobbies. Though many do not outwardly admit it, social media plays a major role in our motivation. Sometimes it can drive people to create art only to post about it. Unfortunately, many people get too caught up in posting about their work rather than actually falling in love with it, therefore building extremely high expectations for themselves. Additionally, comparisons to other people can make it difficult to have confidence in your own work, which can also build up high expectations that may be difficult to achieve.
A few years ago when I was stressed with school, I used painting as a creative outlet. When I was completely invested in my work, I could release all my stress and worries onto the paper. It genuinely didn’t matter to me if the painting was messy, I was only focused on the joy of creating the piece. This delightfulness soon haltered once I started posting about it.
The thought of posting my work on social media created an ocean of presuppositions about when to post, what to paint, and if it even looked good enough to hit the public eye. What began as a hobby quickly transformed into a chore. As time passed, I began to realize how disappointing it was to allow my own standards to stop me from doing what I used to love.
After several attempts to continue my passion for art, I finally found some lasting solutions. The first being my promise that I wouldn’t paint with the intention of posting it after. Instead, I would be painting for my own validation. This helped me center my focus on the process of the piece as opposed to the outcome. Another practice that really encouraged me to continue painting was setting realistic goals for myself. Instead of expecting to finish my work in only a few hours, I would set a goal to finish it in two or three days. That way, I could take breaks without feeling overwhelmed or guilty.
The advice I gave doesn’t just apply to art but also to any other area of creativity! It’s always good to give yourself both time and space to focus, and breaks are a fantastic way to practice this.
It is so important to be kind to yourself during the creative process. Progress is not always linear, and that’s okay! The ups and downs are part of the journey. Practicing a method of non-judgmental creativity will help everyone find a way to continue their passions!
Do you have problems with studying or just need some advice in regards to studying? Well here I am to propose some options to change your study habits for the better. Study tips that I point out may not work for you or everyone else; you just need one study tip to work to increase your productivity.
These tips build on note taking, time management and decreasing procrastination. Here are the benefits at a more detailed perspective.
Managing your time and trying to avoid procrastination is hard. Procrastination is the level that all students go to, some stay at that level for a while and others leave quickly. I advise you to learn that level as fast as you can. Procrastination increases mistakes, stress, mental illnesses, and more. It does not help to leave work for later when you just do not want to do it. You can start to reward yourself when doing work before the date because in psychology it is proven that positive reinforcement promotes the likelihood of that behavior of doing work earlier knowing there is a reward to stay with you. Managing your time is basically planning ahead, sometimes the plan will change, but it is just the thought of you planning what homework you will finish, when you will go to the gym, and more. Creating good habits is the most important thing.
I struggled with studying growing up and I learned the hard way of the importance of efficiently studying. Only in high school did I start to take my own advice on my studying but every now and then I do procrastinate and life just becomes 100% stressful. Stress then takes over and ruins me emotionally and physically. Do not allow that to happen to you. Take the extra mile if you have to. The hardest path usually is the best outcome. Your studying habits is only something you can do and it will be hard to maintain it. But you can do it, just believe in your own judgement.
Watching others studying on YouTube makes me personally feel the need to study. Sleeping well and working out makes me feel ready to take on the world. I prescribe you that, taking better care of yourself physically and mentally.
Having and creating better studying habits will take time so be patient. Nobody in the world is perfect, we all struggle with things. Use your faults to bring you up and not down. Do you have a set of personalized study habits and do they work? Do you last and honestly are they worth it? That is up to you to answer since out of all the people in the world, you know yourself the best. So sit down and talk to yourself, which is not a bad thing to do from time to time.
Ice cream. A treat that is loved by people all across the globe - myself included. It tastes so good, good enough to make me sick. Suddenly, I am covered in red rashes and find myself sneezing profusely. I remember my mom saying, “I told you to stay away from milk and milk based products. You don’t listen to me! “ But how do you resist something so tasty? I pondered. ”You have to resist for your own good.” This may be easier said than done.
According to Mayo Clinic, an allergy is an abnormal response of our own immune system, causing our bodies to fight a peaceful substance. This can cause a variety of symptoms which can range from coughing and wheezing, to shortness of breath and digestion problems. I am lucky that my milk allergy is moderate and does not cause anaphylaxis (closing of the airway). Some people, however, aren’t as lucky. In fact, anaphylaxis is quite a common issue. Though there are parallel symptoms between a milk allergy and lactose intolerance, it is important to note that they are not the same. Each needs different routes of treatment in order for a patient to experience relief.
So, how did I find out I have a milk allergy?
When I was about one year old, my mom took me to a doctor as I was showing signs of breathlessness after drinking milk. They performed blood and skin tests, and determined that I had developed a milk allergy. When I first learned this, I wondered: “why did it take so long to figure it out?”
It didn’t. We don’t have a fully developed immune system at birth. As it continues to grow, our systems can make mistakes and initiate fights that have no source of prior conflict, hence allergies. In my case, when I drink milk, my immune system sends out antibodies to attack the casein protein found in the substance, which creates sickness-like responses. These responses are different in each individual.
How do I cope with my love for sweets and how do I manage symptoms?
I rely on antihistamines or sometimes epinephrine shots. Both of these help my body to realize that there is nothing harmful to battle within it. Since you can’t be taking these drugs constantly, I avoid consuming milk at all costs. I do this by looking up the labels for each and every product I eat. Sometimes the casein protein will be found in food products that don’t list it as an ingredient. It is important to be aware of this, and consult your immunotherapist or general practitioner about any foods or drinks you are concerned about. I mainly eat soy or rice based frozen desserts, sorbets or puddings which are really good substitutes for those I can’t enjoy, like ice cream. I will admit, I give in sometimes and eat treats that contain the casein protein, but I quickly pay for it by experiencing my usual symptoms. Then as usual I have red rashes and have to take antihistamines. I have to take supplements too to fulfill my daily calcium and Vitamin-D requirements. This makes for quite the hassle. Thankfully, this allergy is well-known and science revolving around it is rapidly advancing. Soon enough, we will have better treatment. It’s just a matter of time, patience and symptom management.
In the meantime, however, if you or someone you know is struggling with symptom management or resistance, please feel free to reach out to me through our TWE platforms. I would be more than happy to offer you further tips and tricks.