Summer is a bit like Marmite – you get people who love it and people who hate it, and if you fall into the latter category everyone else thinks there’s something wrong with you. Sure, the promise of long days and warm sunshine sound good in theory, but if you’re not keen on summer (and you’re not alone) then you know the real truth.

1. You’re sweaty. All the time.

Your forehead gets so shiny it basically becomes a mirror and your hair ends up hanging greasily around your face because, just like you, it’s wilting in the heat. And when you try to embrace summer fashion… BAM. Sweat patches. Ugh.

2. Bugs are trying to eat you.

The simple act of hanging out in the park with your friends becomes a survival exercise thanks to all the bees and wasps that want a piece of you.

View post on imgur.com

3. Sleep? Good luck with that.

Sleeping without a blanket on top of you feels weird, and fans are useless and noisy. And when you do finally fall into a sweaty slumber the sun’s coming up, ready to turn your bedroom into an oven again.

4. Your family is constantly in your face.

No matter how much you love your family, having them in your business 24/7 is stressful and tedious, especially when your mum won’t let you lie in ‘because it’s such a beautiful day outside’, or you’re expected to entertain your siblings. And family holidays? They’re great until you’re trapped in a car together for hours on end.

5. The weather is always wrong somehow.

You’ll spend days flopping around in the heat with nothing to do, but as soon as you plan something it’ll start chucking it down, so you daren’t go anywhere without sun cream and an umbrella, and possibly a spare pair of shoes (because flip flops in the rain are not the one) – and who can be bothered with all of that?

MRW I get caught in the rain and remember that California is dying because they don’t have any.

6. You are literally burning.

Sunscreen is important, and really, you should wear it every day regardless of the season, at least on your face. But it takes on a whole new level during summer, when the sun is literally trying to cook you. No matter how high the SPF and how frequently you slap it on, you always end up with a red nose and pink bits on your back that you can’t quite reach.

7. Pollen. Everywhere.

Summer’s great if you love sneezing and looking like you’re always crying. Which you probably are on the inside, because hayfever is the worst.

8. Summer fashion ain’t for everyone.

Summer clothes can be really fun and cute, and a breezy sundress is a godsend when the temperature rockets, but exposing pale legs or manoeuvring big boobs into a vest top can be hella stressful. And no-one’s really about the crop-top trend. Roll on jumper weather.

9. It gets boring.

You start the summer holidays excited at the prospect of six long carefree weeks to do whatever you want and you’ve probably got a few fun plans lined up. But three weeks in you’ve done pretty much everything at least twice and all you can muster is another Netflix marathon.

10. There’s so much PRESSURE.

Instagram and Facebook are full of stories and photos of people doing cool stuff, and every day is a day closer to the end of the holidays, so you get major FOMO and panic that you’re not having enough fun. But you can’t be bothered to do anything, so you just keep scrolling through Facebook, which just makes it worse. Ugh, summer!

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: Twilight

We talk about boobs a lot here at betty, but we haven’t actually spoken about how to do one of the most important things: fondle your tits. (The more scientific phrase is obviously: how to examine your breasts, but that doesn’t sound as exciting.)

So, here’s the lowdown on how to check your boobs and why you need to do it. By the end of this, you’ll have monthly reminders on your phone. We bet you 50p.

I’m only a teenager, why do I need to check my boobs?!

Right?! We hear you. If you’re still a teenager, or even young adult, then what’s the point of checking your boobs for anything nasty?

The facts state that developing breast cancer in your teenage years is ‘extremely rare’ and it’s still even ‘uncommon’ when you’re in your 20s and 30s. The NHS doesn’t start sending ‘COME AND GET YOUR BOOBS CHECKED’ letters until you’re 50, which is the age (and above) at which most breast cancers are diagnosed.

BUT, nevertheless, it’s good to get the practice in. It’s easy, quick, and free, so why not start a routine of checking?

Also, you might not find anything cancer-related but you might just find something else. There are many different types of breast lumps and most of them aren’t malignant (cancer). Benign breast lumps are non-cancerous and come in many shapes and sizes, and many different ages.

One example is a fibroadenoma. They’re lumps that can grow thanks to your hormones (surprise surprise), can be quite common to find during puberty/as a young woman, and aren’t dangerous, but can hurt if they’re sizeable and can be removed. (Spoiler: I had two when I was 20!)

how to check your boobs

How do I check them properly?

Both the NHS and boob charity CoppaFeel say that there’s no one right way to check your boobs, so don’t feel nervous that you’re doing it wrong. Just bloody do it.

Some basic pointers are:

  • Check them in the shower! While you’re naked, get touchy feely too. Two birds (blue tits, obvs), one stone.
  • But if you do check in the shower then make sure you actually use your hands and not a scrunchie thing. You need those fingers to properly prod about.
  • For checking not-in-the-shower, you can start by standing front of a mirror with your hands on your hips, looking like a strong, empowering badass. Have a good ol’ gander at your boobs to see if anything’s changed since the last time you checked.
  •  Then, THROW YOUR ARMS IN THE AIR LIKE YOU JUST DON’T CARE and have another look. This is basically the natural way of grabbing your boobs and lifting them up to check from a different angle.
  • Have a nice lie down. Your boobs will flop like pancakes down on your chest. This is one of the best ways to check for actual lumps. Just give your boobs a gentle prod around using a couple of fingers.

Don’t panic if you DO feel some lumps and bumps. All boobs are lumpy (or ‘nodular’ to be scientific) with milk-making bits and fatty bits, but you’re looking for any differences, either between your two boobs or from the last time you checked. Keep a tit diary!

A #valentinesday message* from the Boob Team 💘

A post shared by CoppaFeel! (@coppafeelpeople) on

What am I actually looking for when I’m checking?

You’re not checking for just lumps and bumps. Other signs of mischief can be:

  • Changes in texture. Look for any dimples, where the skin goes in a bit like a mini-crater.
  • Swelling. There might not be any actual lumps, but check for any general swelling or redness.
  • Pain. Some pain is normal, especially in the week of your period, but if you’re in pain all the damn time, or it’s getting worse, then there could be an issue.
  • Discharge. Are your nipples leaking? They shouldn’t be, so have a check.
  • Changes in shape and size. Not everyone’s boobs are identical and that’s totally fine, but if one boob has suddenly changed in shape or size so the other one is like ‘u ok hun’ then there could be something up.
  • Changes in nipples (inversion or direction). The same goes for your nipples. If one has suddenly dived headfirst into your boob then definitely question that.
  • Rashes or crusting. It sounds gross but please don’t ignore wild rashes or crusty nipples! Be brave and flop that boob out to your GP.

Remember, you’re always looking for differences. Checking your boobs from now on will make you more aware of what your normal boobage is, so you notice any differences better in the future.

I think I’ve found something weird, what do I do now?!

DO NOT GOOGLE. Ya hear? Don’t do it. Step away. Put the phone down. It’s not worth it.

The best thing to do is to see your doctor. No shockers there. Don’t be worried about what they might say – remember that in all likelihood, it’s fine. The stats are on your side. There are a load of reasons why your tits are titting about. Grab a family member or good friend and make that appointment.

You can always read our article on how to talk to your doctor about embarrassing stuff if you’re flapping!

Do you owe us 50p now?

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. 

Change can be a good thing. Changing your hair. Changing your bedsheets. Changing the world. The change in your pocket that helps you buy a doughnut.

But sometimes, and especially at new year, the pressure to change yourself can be a massive pain in the arse. “Make a resolution! Make another one! Join a gym! Run 10 miles! Eat more kale! Eat less everything else! Learn French! Learn to contour! Go out more! Stay in and do yoga! Get more sleep! Stop sleeping, you lazy slob!” After the lovely, cosy, sugar-topped fun of Christmas, January can feel like a big old pile of ‘you’re not good enough, loser’.

And to that, we say: nah. Shut up, nagging voices. Pipe down, people who believe that we need to overhaul our bodies, minds and lives just because the calendar flicked over a page. We’re fine as we are thanks – just as we were in December, and we will be the rest of the year too.

Instead, our January mantra on betty.me is ‘New year, same you!’. We’re going to be all about celebrating yourself – the actual you, not the perfect fairytale fantasy version – and spending time on stuff you really love, instead of the stuff you think you ought to be into. We’ll have ideas to celebrate staying in (mm, staying in), the most glorious geekery, exercise for people who really cba, and hacks to make the most of the wardrobe you already have – plus all our usual tips and funny tales from the coolest girls we know.

Shake things up, but don’t beat yourself up. Pick positive, realistic #goals, or just carry on doing exactly what you’re doing… because you’re doing it damned well.

Also nobody needs to eat any kale. Unless you actually want to.

Leslie Knope vegetable gif

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

Winter is coming! In the nice way, not the Game of Thrones way. And along with all the usual wintry excitements – Starbucks red cups, ice skating, wearing two pairs of tights under your jeans – this year we have a new obsession. Hygge.

What?

Hygge!

Are you just making noises?

No! Hygge is everywhere, trust us.

It’s pronounced ‘hoo-ga’ – or ‘hewwguuah’ if you want to attempt a Scandi accent – and it’s the Danish/Norwegian word for… well, there’s no direct translation but the closest is ‘cosiness’. Or ‘simple, homely pleasures’. Or the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you’re bundled up in a blanket next to a fire with a good book and a hot chocolate and maybe Bing Crosby playing soft jazz in the background.

That sounds like effort.

Ahh, but it doesn’t have to be. While the shops might try to flog you snuggly blankets and rustic slippers and candles that smell like pine trees in the name of this trend (and we want them, we won’t lie), the true meaning of hygge is something much simpler that everyone can embrace.

Here are five ways to find your inner ‘hygge’ for free…

cold-cats

1. Go outside so you can appreciate being inside again

You know how playing hockey or football or netball or doing cross-country or any outdoor physical exercise at school is basically hideous between October and March – because you’re frozen solid, your nose and eyes are streaming like fountains, your hands have become mangled claws and your PE kit was designed by someone with no respect for weather? Well, that amazing feeling when the final whistle goes and you can all race back into the feety-smelling warmth of the changing room and throw your jumper back on and sit against a radiator whimpering until the feeling comes back into your fingers? Hygge!

Of course, in Scandinavia you might go for long walks in a forest followed by a woodland sauna. But it’s basically the same.

Scrubs reading cosy gif

2. Reread a childhood classic

Sure, grappling with Tess of the D’Urbervilles is going to look ace on your personal statement when the time comes. But to really stir up those feelings of inner cosiness and contentment, park yourself on the sofa under a blanket with a classic book you have known and loved for years. It’s the literary equivalent of buttery mashed potato or custard. Which, come to think of it, are also very good ideas.

May we recommend: Ballet Shoes, Winnie the Pooh, Matilda, Angus, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, any Harry Potter.

Smore gif

3. Toast something

Toastiness is central to the whole hygge situation – whether that’s a marshmallow, bread or just your own feet.

Sure, you might not have an open roaring fire to warm yourself in front of, Scandi-style… but you probably have a candle (try the messy drawer in the kitchen if all else fails – they are basically legally obliged to contain at least one old candle, as well as eight thousand rubber bands and five takeaway menus), a grill or a gas hob, right? Indulge all those campfire fantasies you picked up from American movies by making s’mores, or go for a stack of hot buttery toast and breath in its exquisite scent. Hygggggggeeee.

Cosy hamster

4. Get dressed under the covers

Remember this old gem from your childhood? Go on, we won’t tell anyone.

Or if your desire to shower outweighs your desire to start the day off cosy, you can always wear your duvet to the bathroom and back – a manoeuvre we like to call ‘the walking sausage roll’. Genius.

Friends group hug

5. Surround yourself with love

Much as we love the shopping possibilities, the true meaning of hygge isn’t chic minimalist homewares or amazing food or even just being cosy and warm – it’s really about surrounding yourself with good spirits. Which could mean filling your bedroom with eight shrieking friends on Friday night, or enforcing a family board game tournament on a rainy Sunday afternoon, or even just draping your cat around you like a furry scarf while you watch seven episodes of Gilmore Girls. Whatever works.

And if anyone asks why they have to play board games for five hours or sleep on your floor or stay still long enough to become a living accessory, you just yell ‘hygge! HYGGE!’ until they give in.

See? Cosy.

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: Getty

Everyone experiences anxiety at some point or another. Whether it’s because there’s a big exam coming up, a first date, or your parents are wondering who spilled coke on the sofa and you are trying to avoid eye contact.

These are all perfectly natural times to be anxious. It’s a normal biological response; the same one that keeps you safe and made sure that our ancestors ran away from lions and tigers and bears (oh my!).

But some people find that their anxiety stretches beyond these sorts of objectively stressful circumstances, bleeding into other aspects of their life and making it hard to ever chill.  

This is called Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

What does anxiety look like?

There are both mental and physical symptoms of GAD. Mentally, people may find that they’re constantly worried; often about things that are a regular part of everyday life, like talking to people, getting on the bus or answering a question in class. Or they find they’re disproportionately worried about things that are super unlikely to happen – like your parents being in a car accident, or that gravity will stop working and we will all be flung into space.

And sometimes, people with anxiety worry about worrying.

Physically, a person with anxiety may find themselves having difficulty concentrating or sleeping. Some people experience dizziness, a racing heart, nausea, excessive sweating and breathlessness. Basically, all the fun stuff. When these sort of sensations become overwhelming, that’s a panic attack – and as anyone who has had a panic attack will tell you, for something that is supposedly ‘all in the mind’, they can feel incredibly, terrifyingly real.

TLDR? Here’s the important stuff:
  • Everyone experiences anxiety at some point or another. But when anxiety stretches beyond objectively stressful circumstances and affects other aspects of life, this is called Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
  • People with anxiety may find that they’re constantly worried. They might find themselves having difficulty concentrating or sleeping, that their heart is racing or they feel dizzy, nauseous, sweaty or breathless.
  • There will always be times in your life when you feel anxious, but GAD is totally treatable. Many options involve talking therapies and anti-anxiety medications.
  • If you feel like you have any of the symptoms we’ve been talking about, it's a good idea to head to your GP for a chat.

What causes anxiety?  

Unfortunately, the exact cause of GAD isn’t fully understood. However, there are lots of things that are thought to contribute to some people developing generalised anxiety disorder – such as traumatic childhood experiences, your habits and diet, genetics and your overall mental and physical health.

Is Anxiety treatable?

Well there will always be times in your life when you feel anxious, and that’s not a bad thing. Anxious feelings can keep you safe, help you recognise true love or alert you to the fact that you do really care about your school work.

But generalised anxiety disorder is totally treatable. Many treatment options involve talking therapies, such as seeing a psychologist or a counsellor to chat about your feelings. Talking therapies can be great as they can teach you practical tactics to help you cope in certain situations, and strategies to avoid triggers.

There are also anti-anxiety medications available, which can help people cope with their symptoms and balance out their mood. It’s common for people to try a combination of talking therapies and medication, depending on their GP’s advice.

When should I go to the doctor?

It’s always good to take your mental health as seriously as your physical health (after all, your brain is a pretty vital body part). So if you feel like you have any of the symptoms we’ve been talking about, it’s not a bad idea to head to your GP for a chat.

Remember, it’s totally ok to be anxious from time to time – but if your anxiety is impacting other areas of your life, there is always help available to calm things down. 

Image: Manjit Thapp

Depression is not a bad mood.

Let’s just get that out of the way, right at the beginning. It’s not a matter of feeling sad for a few days. It’s not something that you can ‘snap out of’. And it is absolutely NOT a sign of weakness.

Depression is a very real illness, with very real symptoms.

But with the right treatment and support, it doesn’t have to take over your life either. Some people with depression will make a complete recovery, others might find themselves managing their symptoms on and off their whole lives. But either way, it is always possible to feel happy again. Pinky promise.

What does depression look like?

Part of what makes depression so difficult to understand is that often, there isn’t anything to see. It’s not like a broken arm or a bleeding toe, something you can point at and say “here! This is where it hurts!”

But when you think about it, there are heaps of things we can’t see. Love. Gravity. Farts. Pokemon. We still believe they exist.

However, depression can come with physical symptoms too. Some people find that they constantly feel tired, others have trouble sleeping or sprout various pains and aches. Some people lose their appetite while other people find that their appetite has quadrupled overnight.

Emotionally, people with depression may find that they have lasting feelings of sadness or hopelessness and that they don’t find happiness in things they normally enjoy. Such as hanging out with friends and family. Puppies. Chocolate milkshakes. It’s also common for people experiencing depression to have symptoms of anxiety. But that doesn’t mean that if you have depression you’ll also have anxiety, or vice versa.

TL;DR? Here's the important stuff:
  • Depression is a mental illness but it can have physical symptoms too, such as fatigue, pains and aches and a loss of appetite.
  • There are loads of reasons that people develop depression; sometimes there is a trigger and other times there seems to be no reason at all.
  • Depression is treatable. Treatment often involves talking therapies, and medication such as antidepressants.
  • It’s totally normal and ok to be sad sometimes. But if you’re worried your sadness might be something more serious, talk to your GP or an adult you trust. You don’t have to go through this alone.

It’s perfectly natural to experience feelings of sadness or anxiety at certain points in your life – especially during puberty, when often it can feel like your brain and body are running in two different races at the same time. This is part of being a human, and usually nothing to worry about in the long term.

Even though they might look similar from far away and are often mistaken for each other, when you get close up, you realise that depression and sadness are completely different things.

What causes depression?  

There are loads of reasons that people develop depression – and sometimes, no obvious reason at all.

Sometimes there is a trigger, such as parents splitting up, being bullied, or losing someone close to you. Some people might just be more prone to depression than others. Every family gene pool is a lucky dip of quirks and conditions that might be passed down – from heart disease and diabetes to pointy noses, and sometimes, yep, depression or other mental health issues.

But having a history of depression in your family doesn’t mean that you will get it, just as no history of depression isn’t a guarantee that you won’t. That’s the thing about a lucky dip: no one quite knows what they’re going to get.

Is it treatable?

Yes, a million times yes. Treatment for depression often involves talking therapies, such as seeing a psychologist or a counsellor to chat about your feelings. Talking therapies can be great as they can teach you tactics to help you cope in certain situations and strategies to avoid triggers.

There are also medications such as antidepressants, which can help people cope with their symptoms and balance out their mood. It’s common for people to try a combination of talking therapies and medication, depending on their GP’s advice.

When should I go to the doctor?

It’s always best to be on the safe side, so if you feel like you have any of the symptoms we’ve been talking about, it might be a good idea to head to your GP for a chat. You can also find lots of helpful info on Childline.

Remember, it’s totally normal and ok and fine to be sad – that’s what we have Weepy Girls’ Corner for. But if you’re worried that your sadness could be depression, talk to someone. It could be a teacher, a parent, a doctor, an older sibling, a synchronised swimming instructor… basically, an adult you trust.

Because however difficult things seem, you never have to suffer in silence.

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: Getty