Are you feeling a little clumsier than usual? Finding yourself tripping over cracks in the pavement, doormats, your own stupid feet? Don’t worry, you haven’t just woken up one day with the coordination of a baby deer. It’s probably just because you’ve grown a few inches instead.

During adolescence, girls can grow at a rate of up to 8cm per year. That’s the length of an iPhone 6. Or a £20 note. Or Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix stacked on top of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Am I going to be a towering giantess?

It’s hard to say definitively how tall you’ll grow to be, but your height is largely decided by your parents. Your parents’ heights, that is – they didn’t get to fill out a request form. If you have tall parents, you might want to take up basketball. If your parents are on the shorter side, a glowing career as a gymnast or jockey might await you. Or not. Point is, there’s no such thing as a ‘normal’ height – they all have their pros and cons.

If you’re on the smaller size of things, you will always have more legroom on planes, you will never hit your head on doorframes and you can shop in Topshop’s Petite section. If you’re on the taller side of things, you will always be able to reach the top shelf in the supermarket, you might be effortlessly good at the high jump in PE, and you can shop in Topshop’s Tall section. And medium height? Well, Topshop might sell out of 32″ jeans quicker, but at least you’ll never have to grit your teeth while aunties comment on your remarkable stature over Sunday dinner.

How does it work?

Your hands and feet are the first things to grow, so next time you feel your shoes pinching, it’s a pretty good sign that you’re going to have a growth spurt in the not-too-distant future.

Next come your arms and legs, and then your spine. Finally, your hips and pelvis widen, making you less likely to blow over in the wind.

TLDR? Here’s the important stuff:
  • Your height is closely linked to your parents' heights. But tall, short and everything in between is beautiful – so embrace it.
  • Often during your teenage years, growth spurts happen so quickly that your brain struggles to keep up. Hence the tripping over.
  • Growth spurts are often triggered during puberty as the levels of testosterone rise in both boys and girls.
  • Girls generally grow their fastest at 12-13 and tend to finish growing around 18, while boys grow their fastest between 14 and 15 and finish growing around 20.

Often during your teenage years growth spurts happen so quickly that your brain struggles to keep up. Hence the tripping. Your centre of gravity is changing so rapidly that your brain is having to calculate new rules for balancing, like, all the time.

Some people also experience growing pains, which can feel like an intense, cramp-like pain in your legs. Like owls, witches and vampires they generally only come out at night, and will have disappeared by the morning.  

Why now?

Growth spurts are often triggered during puberty as levels of the hormone testosterone rise in both boys and girls. This chemical also causes sexual organs (willies, vaginas, those guys) to develop, which is why these two things often happen at once. It’s kinda like a biological version of synchronised swimming. But not really.

When will it stop?

Girls generally grow at their fastest rate at 12-13 and tend to finish growing around 18. On average, boys grow their fastest between 14 and 15 and finish growing around 20.

So hold onto your hats ladies, we’ve got some growin’ (and tripping over inanimate objects) to do! But whatever height you end up, work it. Every inch of you is A++. 

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Oh, spots. You enigmas.

We can squeeze you, prod you and ignore you – but we just wish we could understand you. If we could only sit down for a good heart-to-heart, here are a few of the burning questions we might ask.

1. “Why?”

The first word that springs to mind the moment you catch sight of the monster staring belligerently at you in the mirror. Just why, you ask desperately – and for a while, this bleak three-lettered word is really all you can think. Facts about sebaceous glands, stress and hormones can’t reason with it.

But eventually the blind panic subsides into more nuanced questions like…

2. “Why me?”

It’s hard to answer. Spots are caused by all sorts of complex reasons – see above – but if there’s one thing we can assure you of, it is not because the universe hates you. It seems that way right now, but this has everything to do with chemicals that everyone has – and nothing whatsoever to do with you personally.

Pimples (a slightly more technical term for the little terrors) appear when oil-producing glands become clogged and infected. This could be hormones causing you to produce more oil; it could because your fingers or a hat or scarf you’ve been wearing has been irritating your face. It’s unlikely to be a product – most are tested for that these days – and probably not your diet either, whatever certain people in your family and friendship circles might tell you.

3. “Why now?”

Because, hormones. They’ve the starring roles in the film Period – and if you’re feeling them, chances are it’s heading to a cinema near you shortly. Testosterone levels are generally higher in puberty, and as that’s believed to increase oil production, it means you could get spots any time. Rest assured this has nothing to do with the fact you’ve a date tomorrow night, and it doesn’t mean said date is automatically doomed either.

4. “Are you as obvious to other people as you are in my head?”

Is Vesuvius erupting on your forehead? Is there real lava and people running away you screaming? Then no, he (spots are always he) isn’t.

Other people probably haven’t even noticed it. But that won’t stop you capturing every conceivable angle another human could see your face at in the mirror and on your phone camera, and begging friends, “but what about the south south west-facing aspect of my chin??”, of course.

volcano

5. “When will you make for good pick?”

Officially, of course, the answer to this is ‘never’. But we know that no sooner has the offending spot appeared than you are assessing his fitness for picking: prodding and stroking, dreaming of past victories, and comparing their colour and feel. Weirdly – grossly –  it’s actually a very similar process to that of feeling if a fruit is ripe: you will know innately when the moment comes. The challenge is holding off until it then. Strike too soon, and you’ll blow your chances of great picking for good.

6. “Why did you pretend to be ready when you weren’t?”

He looked so promising and pickable! Now he’s just a messy, painful blob. Ow. Liar.

7. “Can I hide you?”

The sensible seventh question one can only arrive at having wailed one’s way through the first six – to which the answer is that it varies according to the spot you have. If you leave him bare, he will heal quicker – but provided the spot is not, in the least gross possible way, leaking, then if you want to cover up with some concealer (or a big scarf) go for it. Just ensure you choose your product wisely…

scarf

8. “Why the hell won’t you just stay covered?” 

In short, not all concealers are born equal. Indeed, some are so ineffective they succeed in creating more of a blemish than the one they’re supposed to be concealing: all too vividly do I remember one teacher telling me that I had “a splodge of mud, dear, on the centre of your chin.”

So do your research: ask friends, family, magazines, the woman at the make up counter, what they recommend for your blemishes. You’ll cut not just the amount of time you have a spot, but the amount you spend checking, and thinking about checking, and – after you have checked – obsessing about the way the spot is blooming though your cloudy concealer like a full moon.

9. “How long are you here for?”

You beg to know, every single time you meet it in the mirror. There is no clear answer, but one’s thing for certain: the longer you pick, prod and fill him with rubbish concealer, the longer you’ll be having this conversation. Like so many bullies, the best way to deal with a spot is to not engage.

10. “Is this it for the rest of my life?”

Now for the good news. Though you will probably run into the odd one from time to time, once puberty’s done and dusted the most offending spots will plague your younger siblings (who’s laughing now, brother?) and leave your skin in peace.

peace

See ya, tiny pal. So glad we had this chat.

@finney_clare

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We’ve all been there. The good intentions, the 12 minutes of exercise and then… the sweat.

Whether it’s the telltale drip-drip-drip down the small of your back that you know is about to go full touch-and-reveal on your new t-shirt, or whether it’s just getting up from some equipment in the gym and seeing your own butt imprint left in sweat, the wet stuff can really be a buzzkill.

Whether you’re trying to exercise, dancing like a maniac at the weekend or simply… enjoying a sunny day, sweat can feel like a sneaky shaming pal, dobbing you in just when you thought you were going to have a good time. Except it isn’t a false friend. It’s actually clever, useful and kind of amazing – it’s just that we have convinced ourselves it’s the stuff of evil.

Ok, so no one wants to be wandering around looking like they’ve just been hosed down by a fireman, and no one wants to stink all afternoon just because they took their bike to the shops, but to know sweat is – if not to love it – then at least to fear it a little bit less.

So what’s the (g)lowdown on sweat?

Basically, sweating is our body’s way of regulating temperature. We each have 2-5 million sweat glands dotted around our bodies, and they release the damp mixture of proteins, salt and water onto our skin. The process of this liquid evaporating is what cools us down – as you’ll know if you’ve ever got off a crowded bus and felt your top clinging to you like an ice sheath as you hit the cold outdoors.

Despite what we think, there aren’t more sweat glands in, um, ‘moist’ places like our armpits or our groin – it’s just that those areas are harder to get air circulating around to evaporate the liquid. And not all sweat glands are the same, either. Most are ‘eccrine’ sweat glands, which are kicked into action by excess heat, but some are ‘apocrine’ ones, which are stimulated by emotional responses like stress or excitement. Weirdly, that sweat actually smells a little different from the stuff prompted by eccrine glands.

But the weirdest fact is that sweat itself doesn’t actually smell at all. Ok maybe if you had 10 garlic cloves in your dinner you might smell a bit like a French bistro in the morning, but the smell we associate with sweat is actually the bacteria on our skin breaking down the acids in our sweat. Its medical term is bromhidrosis and it’s totally normal. But if you want to get rid of the sweaty pong, the simplest way is to get in the shower: if you’ve got the post-sport sweat off your skin within an hour or so of exercising, that bromhidrosis isn’t going to be wafting around after you all day. If you wait till bedtime to get clean, it just might.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

What else can we do to master this soggy mistress? Well, not that much, but perhaps that is because we need sweat.

And we really do. Why else do we feel so great after a good run, a dance-off in our bedroom or even a chance to sit in the sauna at the gym? Because sweating flushes out loads of the crud on our skin’s surface, cools us down so we don’t pass out at the gym or on the bus, as well as letting us know if something serious is up in terms of illness.

So while we needn’t commit to a lifetime of honking up every small room we enter, we shouldn’t be ashamed of the odd bit of sweat either. After all, look at how many advertising images have artfully sprayed ‘sexy’ sweat onto both men and women, how proud athletes look at their sweat as they finish an event – or even how nice it feels to know that our body, without even being asked, is doing exactly what it needs to.

Now if only we could do the same for our feelings, we’d be sorted.

@Hemmo

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Cystitis is a common type of urinary tract infection (UTI) – aka “owww, it burns when I pee” or “I’ve been on the loo so long, maybe I should move the TV into the bathroom?”

Basically this means your bladder is inflamed, which happens when rogue bacteria finds its way into your bladder through the urethra.

The soul singer?

No that’s Aretha. Your urethra is the tiny tube your pee travels down – though like Ms Franklin, it also deserves R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Feeling the burn…

The most common symptoms of a UTI are a burning, stinging sensation in your bladder and the desperate urge to pee more frequently. You might also have pee that’s darker or cloudier than normal, aches and pains in your lower abdomen and general fluey tiredness.

Some lucky people never experience it at all, but if you have, the first thing to say is: don’t worry. Cystitis is super common and generally nothing to worry about at all. The second thing to say is: poor you. Because while it might not be serious, it sure ain’t fun.

But isn’t cystitis… er, a sex thing?

NOPE. Or at least, not always. One of the most popular misconceptions about UTIs is that they’re only caught via sex (hence cystitis sometimes being referred to in an embarrassing, nudge-nudge-wink-wink way as ‘the honeymoon disease’) but the truth is they can be triggered by plenty of things, at any age, whether or not you’re sexually active. So it’s nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed to tell someone about – or text for help from your bathroom throne.

Causes of cystitis can include: wiping your bum from back to front, chemical irritants like scented shower gel and bubble bath, inserting tampons messily, not emptying your bladder fully, tight jeans or pants, dehydration or holding your wee in for too long. And yes, sex too. Friction around your pee hole is the most common way for bacteria to find its way in.

TL;DR? What is Cystitis - the important stuff:
  • Cystitis is a type of urinary tract infection, which can occur when bacteria gets into your bladder.
  • The most common symptoms are burning, stinging feeling when you pee, and the urge to pee more frequently than usual. Ow.
  • Scented products, wiping back to front, holding your bladder and friction from tight clothes can all cause cystitis – not just sex.
  • Drinking lots of water, going to the loo and taking painkillers will often get rid of it, but your GP can prescribe antibiotics in more severe cases.

Boys and men can also get cystitis, but girls and women are much more prone to it because our urethra is shorter and everything’s a bit more crowded down there. Cheers for that design feature, Mother Nature.

How do I fight the fire?

With fire! No, we’re kidding. That has basically never been good advice.

It might feel as though you’re never going to be able to get off the toilet, but don’t panic – most bouts of cystitis clear up within a day or two, if you catch them. The best way to treat it is to drink lots of water, and keep going to the loo regularly until the urge passes.

Painkillers such as Ibuprofen or paracetamol to ease the pain (ask an adult and follow the packet instructions) or a hot water bottle between your legs might help soothe things too.

You can also take over-the-counter powder to help relieve the symptoms (it’s not a taste sensation, you’ve been warned), while many people swear by drinking cranberry juice to help cure and prevent UTIs. Doctors are dubious about whether it actually works, though, and downing a bucketful of juice can just add ‘stomach ache’ to your sufferings.

What if it won’t go away?

If the symptoms don’t ease up or feel like they’re getting worse, head straight to the doctor. They can prescribe antibiotics to clear things up and make sure the infection doesn’t travel into your kidneys (ouch).

A GP can also help if you find you’re getting cystitis all the time – it may be common, but that doesn’t mean you have to just put up with it.

How can I stop it happening again?

The good news is that once you’ve done battle, the fire-breathing UTI dragon is fairly easy to keep at bay.

The best ways to prevent cystitis are through drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding harsh perfumed products near your vagina, always wiping from front to back to avoid transferring bacteria from your bum to urethra, and going to the loo as soon as you need it rather than holding your bladder (Netflix has a pause button for a reason, guys).  You might find avoiding tight jeans and underwear helps too.

And a note for the future…

If/when you’re ready to have sex, peeing immediately afterwards is the most effective way to prevent cystitis. It’s almost never shown on TV or in films but believe us – all over the world, cystitis-prone women are leaping from bed and racing cheerfully to the toilet.

So it’s NBD?

Nope! Just an big ol’ pain in the… bladder.

Find out more from the NHS here.

Illustration: Katie Edmunds

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It’s perfectly natural to feel panicked in certain situations. Sometimes life can be a bit panicky. When you’re late to an appointment and there’s a red light; when you can’t remember where you put your mum’s favourite necklace; when you are watching literally any episode of Pretty Little Liars.

But a panic attack is something else, something next-level – a very real, physical reaction to what’s going on in your mind. Put simply, panic attacks are when that feeling of ‘Oh my god, something awful is about to happen,’ spreads throughout your body and makes it hard to continue with your day.

What do panic attacks look like?

During a panic attack, you may feel like you can’t breathe or you are going to be sick. Some people describe feeling like they’re having a heart attack, or the frantic need to escape whatever place or situation you’re in.

Physically, you might feel like your heart is beating weirdly or really fast. You may also feel hot and sweaty, or shaky and weak in your legs. Some people experience blurry vision, or a sensation that their surroundings feel strange and distant.

Panic attacks normally last between five and 20 minutes. Part of what makes panic attacks so frightening is how quickly they come on and how intense the symptoms can feel. However, it’s important to remember that panic attacks can’t cause any physical harm. We’ll say it again: they can’t cause you any physical harm. So that’s one less thing to worry about.

TLDR? Here’s the important stuff:
  • Panic attacks are when that feeling of “Oh my god, something awful is about to happen,” spreads throughout your body and makes it hard to continue with your day.
  • Symptoms include: feeling sick or short of breath, feeling like you're having a heart attack, feeling hot and sweaty, shaky or weak in your legs, blurry vision, feeling the need to escape, or the sensation that your surroundings feel strange.
  • Panic attacks normally last between five and 20 minutes. The symptoms can feel intensely real and scary, although they can’t actually cause any physical harm.
  • Breathing exercises, listening to music, exercising or keeping a diary can all help, and so can talking to your doctor.

What causes panic attacks?

The exact cause isn’t understood. Sigh.

For some people, there are places or situations that can trigger a panic attack, whereas other people will experience them at random. They go hand-in-hand with anxiety, although not everyone who has a panic attack has anxiety disorder, and vice versa. But whatever the cause, they’re common. About one in 10 people experience panic attacks, and they effect twice as many women as men (cool thnx, patriarchy). 

Are they treatable?

Yes. The worst thing about panic attacks is that you can talk and think yourself into them – but that’s also kind of the best thing, because it means you can talk and think yourself out them too.

Obviously, this sort of mental gymnastics can be incredibly difficult, but it’s definitely possible. There are a lots small things you can do that can make a huge difference; talk to someone you trust, try some breathing exercises, listen to music, exercising or even keeping a diary. And beyond that, talking therapies with a mental health professional can give you coping strategies to keep panic at bay. 

When should I go to the doctor?

If your panic attacks are frequent, linked to general feelings of anxiety, or just making life difficult, it’s always a good idea to have a chat to your GP about what they recommend.

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Image: Hailey Hamilton

You know when you wait ages for a bus and then three come along all at once? Well, that’s how becoming a teen felt for me.

I had found primary school easy. I had lots of friends, exams were a breeze and I never really thought about how I looked. But then lots of things came along all at once.

My parents had never got on well, but suddenly they were fighting so much more. I had my first crush, but he didn’t like me back. I started my period, but had a lot of painful cramps. My friends were arguing and taking time off school to go to the park. And to top it all off, I was finding it really difficult that everyone else in my class — not to mention everyone else on the planet — seemed to have big boobs and mine felt tiny in comparison.

So much had happened in one go that I didn’t know how to deal with it. It’s easy to pick up one or two Maltesers when they’ve fallen out of the packet, isn’t it? But what about when the whole packet falls on the floor? Well, you either start picking them up… or you don’t pick them up at all.

That’s what I did. Instead of coping with one thing at a time, I felt really overwhelmed. It was like a big, sad cloud was following me around and raining on me all of the time. I tried to hide it and pretend my parents breaking up wasn’t a big deal really or I didn’t even want to have boobs and look like the girls in the magazines. But deep down I was overwhelmed. And the worst part was that I thought other people could tell. This meant I did less and less. I didn’t want to socialise with my friends or get dressed up because I thought I was just a quiet, sad girl to them.

I didn’t really know where these feelings were coming from, either. I thought everyone else was dealing with things a lot better than me — and that I should be happy. After all, I got good grades, I had friends, I had a mum who was just absolutely ace. All I really needed at the time was someone to tell me that it’s ok to feel sad and confused sometimes when you hit your teens. Worrying about your body when it’s going through puberty and changing so much is really natural. Getting sad about your parents arguing would probably even make Beyoncé want a good cry. And feeling unsettled when friends were falling out and crushes wouldn’t text back? Well, that was something everyone was going through too.

But it felt like just me.

One day I remember feeling so trapped and sad that I just ran outside to get away from everything. As simple as that. I ran and I kept running. And suddenly my heart was beating faster, I could feel the wind against my face, I was breathing normally, I was holding my head up high, I wasn’t caring about how my body looked. I felt free.

More importantly, I felt happy.

Happy that I could make a decision to get outside when it felt like life was too much, that I could make my body work for me, that I could feel a surge of happy exercise endorphins in my blood and that I could breathe free and easy rather than feeling panicky and nervous.

I’d always loved to exercise when I was growing up. But PE lessons had sucked all of the fun out of running and climbing and dancing around — all of the things I loved when I was young. Team sports felt so boring and fake to me. But discovering running for myself felt like I had opened up a brand new world.

From then on, anytime a sad or nervous or “I’m rubbish!” feeling came along, I’d decide not to let it take over. Instead, I put on my trainers and went outside. Taking some time out of each day to do something for me, how I wanted to do it, in the way I wanted to do it felt really good. It didn’t stop the sad feelings, it didn’t make my parents get back together or magically grow me a huge pair of boobs to make all of the other girls in my class jealous. But it made things feel easier, happier and somehow just a little bit lighter. Because I was proving to myself that I was stronger than my sad thoughts.

It doesn’t always work, though. Sometimes I don’t go running. Sometimes I still sit inside and forget how nice it feels. Sometimes lots of sad feelings still come along. But that’s a natural part of being me.

And years later, I still run and it’s still the best medicine for when I’m feeling sad and when things get too overwhelming. I’ve not trained for a marathon, I don’t spend a lot of my money on fancy running clothes or run a lot of races for charity. But I do feel like I have a secret weapon for whenever life gets a bit too much.

@BeccaCaddy

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Image: Manjit Thapp

It’s 9.30am, Saturday morning, and I am standing bare-legged in a muddy field: hard, cold rain pelting my t-shirted shoulders, icy wind blowing a gale up my skirt.

In one hand, I carry a long stick with a net on the end, while the other is in the grim clasp of the opponent I’ve been instructed to shake hands with. “Hi! I’m Clare,” I introduce myself, brightly. “I’m pretty rubbish at this; in fact, the chances are strongly in your favour.” She looks at me warily, like this is some kind of distraction technique – but by the end of the game, I’ll have managed to convince her. Though I loved playing, turned up to practice religiously and enter into every game with gusto, I was – and still am, I suspect – genuinely bad at lacrosse.

I can’t run very fast – being by nature more of a long distance girl – and the art of running, holding a ball in my stick and cradling it (a strange motion in which you wiggle the stick from side to side) at the same time eluded me. I could almost catch the ball – but when it comes to ball games, almost-catching doesn’t get many goals.

Fortunately for the school, I was in the B team – which in some schools would be an esteemed position but at St Helen’s meant losing most games and winning, by total fluke, just a handful. On one memorable occasion we lost three games at a tournament just because we forgot which pitch we were on.

We were, in short, a shambles – but man, did we have fun with it. Pressure off (if we turned up, we’d exceeded the school’s expectations) we were free to enjoy the game for what it was: a means of meeting mates, getting some fresh air and exercising with a common goal loosely in mind. If the goal was reached, it was a bonus: if not, we’d still worked out, mucked in and had a laugh in the process.

Free of the pre-match nerves, we enjoyed both the coach journey there, with its banter and colourful energy bars; and the ride back, where our ‘post match analysis’ consisted of raucous re-enactments punctuated with laughter. We enjoyed ourselves: a feeling which those who are good at team sports can often miss out on because the pressure’s on and if they mess up, their team mates point the finger, shout angrily, or talk about them behind their back.

Taylor ball

These are the joys to be found in a team sport when you stop worrying about how well you’re playing, and start asking why you’re playing. Yes, you’re playing to win – but unless there are lives or great prizes at stake, aren’t you playing for something more?

Of course, it is not just ‘the taking part that counts’, as with all things you get out what you put in, and there’s honour as well as more exercise in trying hard. But stop (not on the pitch, obvs) and look at the game as a whole and you will reap rewards so much more more satisfying than cups, trophy shields and goals.

You’ll be stronger: not just physically (though being able to stand up to your brother’s pretty great) but mentally too. Exercise and fresh air works wonders for the brain as much as for the bod, releasing chemicals which make you feel good (endorphins) and improving memory and performance. Besides, it is character building, persisting in something you find challenging – even if (in fact, especially if) you are used to being top of the class in everything else.

Most people give up activities they aren’t very good at. But the funny thing is, it’s often in doing the stuff you’re not good at that you find other strengths. One B-team mate’s insistence on hitting the ball round the field rather than carrying it in the stick brought her to hockey; my flat inability to reach any speed higher than steady jog is what lead me to cross-country running; and of course, there is always the possibility that you might get better at the sport itself. Many of our B team ended up in the As.

I didn’t. Even now ball games elude me. But the memories of our floundering on the pitch, and the fits of giggles afterwards – they’re still strong. Honed by hilarious defeats, our team’s sense of humour equipped us with one of the most invaluable life skills: the ability to laugh at ourselves.

@finney_clare

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Image: Getty

Did you know that some historians believe that yoga is 5,000 years-old but could actually be nearly 10,000 years old? That’s right, our ancestors might have been perfecting the downward-facing dog and saying ‘Namaste’ from way back in the year 8,000 BC. Just let that sink in.

That’s why it’s even more mind-blowing to see that yoga is still such a popular and effective way to get fit, improve flexibility and chill out when everything else feels really stressful.

Over the past few years or so there’s been an extra surge in popularity thanks to celebrities talking about their love for yoga, big brands like Sweaty Betty focusing on it with their leggings and sports bras and the rise in Instagram stars who make yoga look fun – and not to mention easy – for un-bendy beginners.

The reason Instagram has become such a great place for yoga fans is because all kinds of people take photos of them practicing it. You don’t have to be on a mountainside in Thailand to do yoga, you don’t have to be super skinny and you don’t have to chant and light incense – but you totally can do all of those things if you like!

We’ve collected together our favourite Instagram yoga stars, including a range of body types, nationalities and styles of yoga that’ll hopefully inspire you to find a class near you, stretch a bit more or follow their tutorials.

Laura Kasperzak (@laurasykora)

Red lip, red leggings, red kisses! 💋 . Wearing my fave Fall color leggings from @aloyoga ❤️

A post shared by Laura Kasperzak (@laurasykora) on

Laura is a yoga star with a background in gymnastics and cheerleading, which you can see in some of her photos. A lot of her poses are really advanced and others you can learn in your first class – she posts a lot of great posts you can aspire to!

She’s one of our favourite Instagram yoga stars because she loves to include her family and her dog in a lot of her poses – proving that yoga isn’t something that’s difficult and only meant for a studio. You can try it anywhere and with anyone!

She also practices Acrovinyasa, which is a kind of AcroYoga and involves working with a partner (she practices with her husband) to perfect certain moves.

Jessamyn Stanley (@mynameisjessamyn)

Thanks to all of you being really enthusiastic about #everybodyyoga, I've received a lot of exceedingly generous press lately. But real talk, if I individually shouted out every media outlet that has shown me love, I would probably blow chunks all over my computer from verbal masturbation fatigue. That being said, I'm REALLY FUCKING HONORED to be included in @fastcompany's 100 Most Creative People in Business issue- thanks for validating a career path that totally goes against the advice of every authority figure in my life. In fact, I reallllllly want to insert a few petty as fuck emojis toward some of my undergrad and grad professors but yoga is making me shut my ass up soooo ANYWAY the link to the profile is on my Facebook page- check it out if you're into that kinda thing 💋 Totally unrelated, I'm teaching a retreat at @1440multiversity in August AND I'll be at Hawaii Yoga Festival at @kalanioceanside in October- see you there? Check out jessamyn stanley.com for more info! Photo by the amazing @yogicphotos

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Jessamyn is based in the US and has become an Instagram sensation for her inspiring posts, great form and yoga knowledge, from really advanced poses through to those that would suit a complete beginner.

She’s recently launched a book called Every Body Yoga, which she wrote to inspire all kinds of people to embrace yoga – whether they’re beginners or struggle with issues surrounding their appearance.

She teaches a lot of body positivity and talks openly about the challenges she’s faced throughout her journey with her size, race and accepting herself. She’s a true inspiration. If we had to recommend you only follow one person of Instagram forever (can you imagine if that was a rule?) we’d tell you to follow her in a heartbeat.

Honza and Claudine Lafond / Yoga Beyond (@yogabeyond)

Real-life couple Honza and Claudine Lafond share their amazing lives with the world through Instagram, as they travel the globe and teach yoga everywhere from Turkey to Australia. Talk about #RelationshipGoals!They’re really inspiring because they created Acrovinyasa, a style of AcroYoga that incorporates yoga, acrobatics and even some dance. As you can imagine, it looks bloody amazing on Instagram!

They’re really inspiring because they created Acrovinyasa, a style of AcroYoga that incorporates yoga, acrobatics and even some dance. As you can imagine, it looks bloody amazing on Instagram!

But that’s not all, they also have an online community and site called Yoga Beyond, which is where they share their stories, tell their fans where in the world they’ll be and explain more about their Acrovinyasa practice.

Valerie Sagun / Big Gal Yoga (@biggalyoga)

My book is finally here for you all! 💓 Thanks for all the love and support, it seriously means so much to me and makes me want to cry happy tears 😂😭! If you want to order the book now, links to all the places in my description! When you get a copy share on here and use the tag #BGYogatoEmpower of #bgybook so I can see and give you some love!!! I only have a handful of book tour dates set up now on the west coast. To RSVP or register for either of them go to www.biggalyoga.com/classes This Saturday July 29th I will be at @curvygirllingerie from 5-8pm for a Q&A with the owner Chystal, followed by a book signing after! Hope to see you there! Sign-up through the Eventbrite to buy a book and RSVP for the event! The following week on August 6th I will be at @bethechangeyoga from 12:30-4:30pm for a yoga class, Q&A, and book signing! Register for the class through the event link on my website, and stay for the Q&A and book signing! 8/10 7-9pm Q&A and book signing at @theplusbus 8/13 2-4pm Yoga class at @everybodylosangeles w/theplusbus 8/27 TBA w/ @ybicoalition in LA . 📸 by @ruestory

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Valerie loves yoga, she loves her body and she isn’t afraid of sharing her stories with the world. Her mission is to teach everyone, no matter their shape, size, race or knowledge of yoga, to find self-acceptance and empowerment through practicing yoga.

She teaches regular yoga classes over in the US and has also released a book that celebrates her extensive yoga knowledge and teaches a big dose of self-love to her fans.

Amber Carnes / Body Positive Yoga (@bodypositiveyoga_)

Amber’s mission is all about making yoga way easier to grasp, whoever you are and however fit you are. She posts a lot of handy tips on her Instagram page, as well as some nice personal photos of her life and her travels.

Her big aim is to get people loving yoga, practicing more and appreciating their body for what it can do TODAY – not always wishing you looked like someone else. We couldn’t agree more.

Rachel Brathen / Yoga Girl (@yoga_girl)

Move your body until your mind is still and watch everything fall into place. #yogaeverydamnday

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Rachel is a super famous Instagram yoga star because she’s been practicing for years and has amassed a whopping 2 million followers!

She posts a lot of personal posts about her life and her travels nowadays, but we love her for her speeded up yoga tutorials, which she posts on Instagram a few times a month.

She also posts regularly about her meditation practice (20 minutes every day) and writes about little changes she makes in her life to make her feel happier, healthier and her best self.

Feeling inspired to start bending, stretching and perfecting your crow pose? Us too! Remember that to get started with yoga you have all kinds of options, from finding some tutorials on YouTube (we love Yoga With Adriene) through to finding a class in your area. But be sure to give all our favourite yoga Instagram stars a try first to motivate you, keep you on the right track and teach you a bit of self-love whenever you’re feeling down. You’ve got this.

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It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Like Lyme Disease, lupus has been getting an increasing amount of press lately, mostly due to Selena Gomez’s diagnosis. With the singer having to cancel her world tour last year because of the condition, then taking some time out from public life to deal with its side effects, what actually *is* lupus?

Well, it’s an illness of the immune system that currently (and sadly) can’t be cured, putting all of the sufferer’s major organs at risk of damage. It’s caused when your immune system produces too many antibodies, meaning your white blood cells won’t just get rid of infection as they are designed to do, but will also attack your organs.

Sounds scary, right? But – in most cases – lupus can be kept under control. Read on for more info on symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of the autoimmune disease.

What are the symptoms of lupus?

Most people with lupus will experience extreme tiredness that seems impossible to shift with rest, as well as joint and muscle pain. Additional symptoms can vary dramatically from person to person, because some forms of lupus are very mild, while others are life-threatening. These include headaches, rashes, mouth ulcers, hair loss, anaemia and even depression.

How is it diagnosed?

Lupus diagnosis isn’t easy, as it can often be mistaken for other conditions, due to its wide-ranging symptoms. Blood tests can confirm a lupus diagnosis.

Is lupus contagious?

Nope, lupus isn’t contagious, though your genes seem to play a factor in whether or not you get lupus and how severe it is. Lupus is more common in women than in men and a family history of autoimmune conditions (like arthritis, MS and diabetes) could make you more likely to suffer from it.

How do you treat lupus?

While there is currently no cure for lupus, there are medications available to manage the disease, with exact treatment varying from patient to patient. Anti-inflammatories are often prescribed and sufferers should make sure they get plenty of rest and take time out when necessary – as Selena did.

Where can I find out more information on lupus?

Lupus UK has lots of info and October is always Lupus Awareness Month in the UK, where you can get involved in sponsored walks, lunches and even just representing by wearing the colour purple. If you think you might be suffering from lupus, make sure you seek medical advice from your GP.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

There’s tired. There’s ‘just so tired’. And then there is limb-achingly, head-swimmingly, deliriously tired; the kind of tired you only experience after spending all night on homework/revision/text to a potential bae. It’s a tiredness that knows no end; that refuses to be beaten by tea or coffee even if they were being fed via IV into your bloodstream. 

So how do you cope when you feel this way? Here are a few theories, none of which involve caffeine. Obviously if you love your morning flat white, be our guest, but tread carefully with coffee, Coke or rocket fuel energy drinks like Red Bull – too much caffeine can have unpredictable effects on people, and too much caffeine is as likely to make you queasy as psyched.

Instead, look at your day. Break it down into the most bitesize of chunks, and consume accordingly, with scheduled breaks and something sweet to look forward to. Because tiredness is a state of body – but it’s also a state of mind.

1. Splash your face with cold water

And no, I don’t just mean in the morning. I mean whenever you feel the weight of sleep slowly, gently crushing your eyelids into submission. I mean every hour, if you have to – and if you want an extra boost, moisturise and mascara yourself too, or get a hydrating facial mist like this one from Superdrug. The cold will wake you; the stimulation of drying your face on a towel will get your blood going; and the mascara will both stop you from rubbing your eyes (the telltale sign of the sleep deprived) and make you feel more normal. Because whatever ‘normal’ is, it’s not face-planting your desk.

2. Eat a banana

I once met a women who ran marathons, two businesses and a family of four children. Her secret weapon? Bananas. “They are the ultimate energy boost,” she explained. They come ready packaged. They pack a punch full of sugar – fruit sugar, that is – and plenty of other nutritional good guys too, like potassium, riboflavin and vitamins B6 and C. We’re not entirely sure what they do exactly, but science tells us it’s beneficial, and my body agrees.

3. Go for a run

Failing that, go for a walk. Failing THAT, jump up and down outside for a few minutes. I know it’s cold, but that’s one incentive to move. The second incentive – if I may be so bold – is to increase your blood flow, which gets the blood into your brain and your thoughts into action. The third incentive is that it boosts your mood, your appetite, and gives you that gentle pull-yourself-together slap that only bitter, damp February air really can.

4. Get changed

Say what you like, there is something about a fresh pair of pants that makes even the weariest of days feel less weary. Even the starchy, white-whites smell of washing powder has an uplifting effect. Just as getting ready to go out can put you in the mood even when you least feel like leaving the house, so going through the motions of getting ready can perk you up. Even if it’s just changing your hoodie so you can sit back down at your desk and carry on revising.

5. Dress smart

The old saying ‘dress smart, think smart’ isn’t just a cunning ploy by adults to get you our of your trackies; it’s true, at least for many of us. Studies have suggested that for people who have to wear a uniform to work, putting it on has a positive effect on their concentration levels. You don’t have to wear your lab coat to write that biology essay (though it can’t hurt, if you feel like it) but a changing out of that jumper you spilled ketchup down yesterday might just help.

6. Let there be light

The brighter it is, the more alert you’ll feel too. Sure we might all look better in low lighting – that’s why candles are so popular – but if this essay/revision sheet/workbook is ever going to get finished, you’re going to need the lights a-blazing. And if it’s still daylight, work by an (open, preferably) window.

7. Sniff something

Not that we’re suggesting you become an amateur aromatherapist, but a quick whiff of citrus, vanilla or mint can be pretty effective at stimulating your senses – and your brain with them. No need to buy the oils (although they’re not too spendy in Holland and Barrett) – a nice fat grapefruit, vanilla stick or a handful of fresh mint leaves will suffice! Or failing that, body spray. But stop before you get a headache, you should know that by now.

8. Have a nap

Let’s be honest, sometimes it’s just the only thing to be done. Sweet dreams.

@finney_clare 

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

When it comes to puberty, there’s no ‘right time’ peeps. That being said if you’re the first of your girls to hit this hairy, moody, booby milestone, there’s a couple of things you will know all too well…

Oh hey boobs

Suddenly you’ve got ‘em and no one else does. In years to come you’ll cherish them, but for now they can feel a bit embarrassing, not to mention awkward when you’re trying to squeeze into your old tank tops. Or better yet, borrow a top off ANYONE. You’ve also now got to enter the confusing world of bras by yourself. What the actual? From measurements to straps to whatever the f a ‘balconette’ bra is, picking your first boulder-holder can be a bit of a stressful task. Don’t fret, just drag your mum to M&S. Their ‘Angel’ range will become your best friend.

Hang on, why am I literally wet with sweat?

While you may grow to love your boobs, sweat nuh-uh. Unfortunately this perfectly natural bodily function just comes with the territory. If you’re the first to hit puberty you’ll know the panic of smelling BO all too well (y’know, when you’re trying to subtly smell your own armpits in the classroom to check it’s not you, but it is you because no one else has hit puberty yet. GAH). Chill girl, BO or not, you’re still fabulous. Mini deodorants will save your life.

Well that hair wasn’t there before…

Another weird and wonderful part of becoming a woman is body hair. Legs, armpits, your vagina, heck maybe even a fuzzy little tash, hair suddenly sprouts from everywhere. Feel free to totally embrace it (it can feel pretty empowering), but if you’re into hair destruction, find the best way to suit you and your skin. Whether it’s waxing, hair removal or plain old shaving, there are plenty of ways to take down unwanted hair. Just remember, you’re your harshest critic, chances are nobody else even noticed.

Wow, I am suddenly the tallest in my squad

So, it’s got to the point where you have to say goodbye to your trusty jeans. They’re now ankle swingers and not in a ‘cool’ way. For the next few months your mates will be asking you to reach for stuff on the top shelf in the supermarket, but take comfort in knowing that this new height comes with a load of benefits – an excuse to update your wardrobe is deffo one of them.

Hmm, am I meant to be putting on weight?

“Filling out” (as your granny calls it) is another sign that you’re sky-rocketing towards womanhood. Embrace it. You’ll be the first of your friends to nail Beyoncé’s latest moves, plus it’s actually a sign that you’re super-healthy and your body is growing and changing with time. So ignore the scales and own your curves, they’ll catch you up.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Amber Griffin

Whether you’re the kind of person who faints at a papercut or can watch gory hospital shows without nightmares, the monthly drama in your pants can be daunting. For one thing, it can look (and feel) like SO. MUCH. BLOOD.

But it isn’t. Honestly, it isn’t.

The average person will pass between two and eight tablespoons of menstrual fluid during their whole period. So even at their heaviest, that’s still less than half of a small Starbucks cup size – and it could be as little as a squirt of syrup. But let’s not ruin syrup by thinking about that too much.

Will it always be like this?

Just like your favourite hot chocolate order, the heaviness of your period can vary from person to person. The bottom line is: we’re all different, and you’ll find out what’s normal for your body.

It’s common for bleeding to be heavier during the first day or two, then calm down and lighten up towards the end of your period (so better use it as an excuse to claim that last cookie now).

TL;DR? Here's the important stuff:
  • On average, you’ll only produce between two and eight tablespoons of menstrual fluid during your whole entire period (it just feels like loads more).
  • It’s common for your period to start heavier and get lighter – both through the week, and as you get older. But everybody is different.
  • If your period is so heavy that it’s making life difficult, have a chat to your GP.

Your first period will often be light, more like a sticky stain or a few reddish-brown spots (more delightful details here), but many people find their periods are heavier in the first few years, while things are settling down. Stress, diet, medication, health conditions and loads of other things can affect the amount you bleed from month to month, and also over the course of your adult life – so don’t panic if you go from a trickle to a stream to a river.

Um, it feels like a waterfall.

Still don’t panic! Remember, it’s so much less than it looks. Periods are tricksters like that.

But if you find you’re bleeding so much that you have to change your pad or tampon every hour, use both a tampon and pad at once, or get up in the middle of the night to change your pad or tampon, it’s known as ‘flooding’ – and it’s not much fun.

So don’t be a hero, tell someone! If heavy periods are making life difficult, your GP should be able to help.

And if anyone tells you to ‘just go with the flow’, you have permission to throw a cushion at them.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Katie Edmunds