Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Fasting and Mental Health

Ramadan is one of the Holy months of the Islamic calendar, a time in which Muslims dedicate to refocus on purifying their souls and perform through self-reflection, self-sacrifice and prayer. It is a month of fasting and abstaining from any bodily pleasures which helps Muslims develop self-control and a closer connection with God. This month has many positive benefits, however for those who may be suffering an illness, fasting can become quite difficult to practice - physical or mental illness.

Over the last few years I have personally struggled with fasting due to how deep my mental health issues had gotten with my depression and anxiety. I was on anti-depressants which is one of the reasons why both my doctor and therapist advised me not to fast but also because of my own triggers and habits which I was aware of such as self harm. Being in that state of depression, it would have been unsafe for my well-being to practice the fasting and this took me a while to accept as religion is something very close to my heart but also something that I struggled with due to the effects of my mental health.

It is known that physical health can have a huge impact on mental health so this is another factor as the lack of nutrition led me to become quite weak. Combining that weakness with the battles going on in my mind at the time, it was not a healthy mix.

This seems to be a controversial topic to some however I believe that everybody must do what is right for them regardless of the thoughts of others. I continued the month through prayer and worship despite not fasting, which I believe is one of the main explanations of my mental health improvement overall.

Now with a better mental state, I find fasting is something that actually boosts my mental health through the ability to focus on self-reflection and worship. But it is important to know that this is a very personal situation as each individual has different reasons, beliefs and stories.

For any of my Muslim readers who are suffering with their mental health and it is preventing you from fasting, just remember that it is between you and Allah (swt), nobody else. He can see your struggles and He will ease those struggles so please keep praying and have faith always beautifuls x

Friday, 21 September 2018

Is university for me?

Hey beautifuls!

So, majority of those from my year group are moving out for university soon and I thought it would be a perfect time for me to share with you the reasons why and how I decided that university is not for me right now.

It's a pretty strange feeling to be around everybody who is getting ready for their first year at uni whilst I'm going on to do something completely different - I'll be honest, it's taking some time to get used to the fact that I have finished with education and I don't really need to study anymore. However, I will say that it is one of the most exciting and happy choices that I have made for myself!

It has become a norm for everybody to go to university after college/sixth form, without even looking into other opportunities. These decisions are sometimes based on the fact that everybody else is going so one feels like they must too - but no, that's shouldn't be the case which is why I wanted to cover this topic so I can ensure that you all make the decisions that are best for you. This could be going to university or doing apprenticeships or even going straight into work.

This post isn't me telling you not to go to university at all, but rather making sure that you go for the right reasons - because YOU want to. Not because others have told you to, not because you think it's the only option, not because you don't know what else to do.

As many of you may know, about a year ago whilst I was finishing my first year of sixth form, I decided that I didn't want to go to university as I had other plans for myself. I didn't really enjoy my A Levels which led me to realise that I wasn't interested in studying further, and that was okay. So I applied to college to do a Foundation Art Diploma for a year and was going to work, blog and create YouTube content on the side. However, these decisions soon changed because I did the Lubna Rafiq Academy hair and makeup course over the summer this year - so I am now a qualified professional makeup artist. I now work pretty much full time alongside building up my own brand and doing work on mental health. All of these decisions were made myself and for myself because it's what I wanted to do and what made me happy - I encourage all of you to make the right decisions for you in order to make yourselves happy.

Although I am doing something that I am so passionate about and am working hard for - it didn't come easy. University is something that was still expected of me and I almost felt looked down upon by some people because of my decision which is something that I shouldn't have felt. Even now when I tell people that I am not studying anymore, it's almost as if it's not allowed and it baffles me. However, I am blessed that my parents were supportive of my decision and are there through what I would like to do with my future.

This is for those of you who may not be interested in going to university - you will have people trying to convince you thinking that they know what's best for you, but only you know what's best for you. Stay strong and have faith in yourself with whatever you want to go ahead and do.

There are so many opportunities out there now that people aren't aware of because majority of schools are so focused on getting their students to university and concerned with those applications that other options such as apprenticeships, vocational courses and work are dismissed.

If you're 16-18 years old, start thinking about the options you have available to you and my advice would be to research. What do you enjoy doing? What is your dream career path? Research, make a plan and go for it! Don't be afraid of following your dreams.

Remember to always have faith beautifuls.

Love you lots,
Sanz xoxo

Thursday, 13 September 2018


Hey beautifuls! It has been a very long while since you have heard from me here but I am now back; I will be working to create content for you all as consistently as I can.

I have chosen to talk about this topic as its something that I have been asked frequently over months and months if I'm honest - and it's something that we all are affected by. So..


It's inevitable that everybody will experience stress at some point in their life, whether it be involving family, friends, relationships, money or mental health issues. But one thing that some people may not understand is that stress is not just worrying and over-thinking of the mind - it has mental, emotional, physical and behavioural effects which can be quite serious.

- Racing thoughts, constant worrying and difficulty concentrating 
- Overwhelmed, wound up, anxious and lack of self-esteem
- Headaches, dizziness, tiredness all the time, sleeping problems and eating too much/too little
- Snapping at people, avoiding people or problems and drinking/smoking more

Stressing can actually be quite a serious thing to go through and I find that it has become something that people undermine a lot and although it is something that is hard to understand by others because the stress is usually a personal matter - it is something that is as equally difficult to explain in order to be understood.

It's completely normal and natural to be stressed, we definitely don't ask for it. So please remember to be considerate of others around you just as you would appreciate them to be the same to you. The extra and unnecessary frustration from judgements does not help the stress at all. In fact, we all need the opposite when we are stressed - peaceful and a 'good vibes only' atmosphere.

Doing your GCSEs/A Levels? Yes, you're bound to be stressed. Going through troubles in your relationship? Yes, it's bound to cause stress. Having money troubles and in debt? Yes, that's bound to stress you out.

My number one advice when it comes to dealing with stress would be to remember that you are the most important in any and every situation - and yes, I am telling you to be a little selfish. We are talking about your health so looking after yourself should be a priority. However, this is not to say that we cannot be considerate of others at the same time. Something that helps me is to remind myself of what makes me happy - whether it be art, listening to music, makeup or even 'sorting my life out' which is something I like to do a lot!

Besides from the obvious, yet still important ways, such as sleeping and eating right - I believe that having a routine as well as being organised is so important and helpful because it can make your mind and thoughts seem a little less chaotic than it feels. This 100% works with school/revision stress and it will most likely solve a lot of stressful problems during exam season for example.

Another thing that works for me is to have 'me time' - which can involve doing the things that make you happy. But by this, I also mean pure relaxation and peace to allow yourself some time to think to yourself and for yourself because when we are stressed, it can hinder our thought process which isn't useful for decision-making at all.

My last piece of advice in terms of tackling stress would be to make sure that you live a balanced life as I know that it is so easy for us to get so caught up with loads of things at once which can add to the stress. By making sure that everything in our life is balanced which can be done by us realising and accepting what we can and cannot take control of in our lives. We cannot manage anything and everything in this world, we just can't so don't be so hard on yourself and allow yourself to be stressed but also allow yourself time to get back on your own two feet.

Unfortunately, stress is just one of those things that will keep appearing at different times throughout our lives but each time we will gain a better understanding as well as learn how to tackle the stress more effectively.

It's easy for me to just say: don't stress. However, we all know that it isn't that easy!

I hope you found this useful, even if it was just a slight bit and remember to always have faith beautifuls.

Love you lots,
Sanz xoxo

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

GetGrowGive Resilience | #TPSmentalhealth

Hey beautifuls!

I had the pleasure of being invited back to The Priory School in Hitchin for their second annual mental health conference which focused on the matter of resilience this year. The day was based around how us students as well as teachers can get, grow and give resilience. Dr Kate Middleton says resilience is about overcoming and pushing through tough situations - can we get back up from these moments?

Here is how the day went!

Katie Southall, Assistant Headteacher of The Priory School, introduced the day by emphasising the importance of speaking about mental health, whether you are a student or teacher and Kate then followed on with an opening of what it means to be resilient as well as touching on 5 things to remember to be resilient:

1. Storms will always come - but it is about how you can get back up from these storms! Us humans have convinced ourselves that we cannot fail and perfection is something that has to be met as if we are super-humans with superpowers which is not true. For example, we feel as though we can only post selfies or pictures which show that we are happy and doing well but why is it not acceptable to share that maybe we are not okay sometimes?

2. Happiness isn't just a luck of the draw - 50% of your happiness can be your genes and personality etc but the other 50% is totally your choice - are you a pessimist or an optimistic? We all have  duty to learn how to be happy and how to manage our emotions but this can be difficult for us teenagers. The biggest lie your emotions will tell you is that you are not in control but YOU ARE IN CONTROL.

3. What really matters? - we can all feel under pressure about things that we think are important but realistically, they do not really matter such as Facebook or Instagram likes. It depends on what you decide to build your life on - people tend to think that perfectionism is associated with success and not struggles, if we built our lives on success, this would be known as flimsy resilience as success can go in a matter of minutes. Instead, build your life on knowing how valuable you, how loved you are and how significant you are - not on grades, money, success, beauty popularity etc.

4. Emotions and the Truth - emotions do not always tell us the truth, they are there to alert us and get our attention. We need to understand what our emotions are really telling us and not overthink it to be something worse.

5. Instincts are not always helpful - emotions set you up on what to feel and what to do as if there is something that we need to do in order to control something but sometimes we can be in situations where we have no control over it.

Session One: Understanding the Teenage Brain

I attended Dr Kate Middleton's talk about understanding the teenage brain and even I was truly amazed with what I learnt:

1. Emotions

  • grabs our attention from something important which then results in physical changes as well as analytic thoughts
  • attention can be brought by anxiety and anger which is strongly physical
  • emotions are like striking a match - grabs your attention, can turn into a fire but eventually goes away
  • due to the way teenage emotions develop, they can be easily triggered and hyper sensitive
  • analytic brain is very active during teenage stage which triggers negative thoughts rather than positive
  • teenagers brains are trained to focus on social life, friendships and romantic relationships
  • adult brain = good at self regulation
  • teenage brain = small things trigger mood, energetic and fun life, commonly known to get down and normal for mood to be up and down
  • emotional hijack = reacting before you think
adult = green        teenager = red
2. Identity
  • adults - have a sense of self and know who they are
  • teenagers - do not understand themselves so the world revolves around them
  • comparisons to others
  • what do others think of me?
  • more prone to feeling pressured by magazines etc about looks, body size 
  • harder to get a realistic perspective of who you are

3. Self-Esteem
  • grow up with a foundation of self-esteem
  • as you grow up, you fill in the gaps on what others think of you
  • you realise that everyone has a perspective of you which results in you questioning what you should be like

4. Relationships
  • you come out of egocentric stage and start to recognise others more
  • as you grow up, it is your duty to depend less of parents but more on peers 
  • time you figure out your romantic self and sexuality
  • Am i just friends with them or am I in love with them?

5. Risk Taking
  • frontal lobe takes the longest to develop
  • this part motivates you which is something teens always struggle with
  • teens' brains are more prone to neuroactive substances such as alcohol and cigarettes

Session Two - Time to Change Strategies

This session with Lauren Steele, Jodie Goodacre and Tanne Spielman was such an insighful and real experience which I was able to relate to so I just want to give a huge thank you to you all on my blog - I am going to leave links below for all you beautifuls to check these beautiful people out.  Also, a shoutout to Time to Change which is an amazing organisation out there changing peoples' views on mental health, here is what they do:

  • reduces stigma and discrimmination
  • growing movement of people changing how we think and act about mental health
  • using mental illness as adjectives can also been seen as stigmatising 
  • celebrities who have spoken out about mental health: Zoella, ZAYN and Demi Lovato
Young people experience stigma from:
  • friends (60%)
  • family (50%)
  • boyfriend/girlfriend (45%)
  • teachers (43%)
https://www.justagirlinterrupted.com/ - Jodie's blog

After these sessions, I made my way around the carousel of organisations and was fortunate enough to speak to quite a few people about volunteering with charities etc.

The day ended with a Q&A Panel which was very helpful, touching on the topics of: males and mental health, sleep and making time for yourself and looking after yourself.

I hope to be back again next year and also to get involved a lot more with mental health awareness in the year coming!

I just wanted to give a little message out there to you beautifuls - please do not think that you are alone, please don't feel like you should be isolated or ashamed if you are struggling and please please please speak out and talk to someone.

It won't be easy by any means but I encourage you all to start up conversations about mental health as it is an increasing topic affecting many of you and if we all can help end the stigma and discrimination towards mental health then we could really be saving lives!

Stay kind to yourselves and stay kind to others.

I love you all lots,



Tuesday, 28 March 2017

My Blog/YouTube Story | start of sanz.shares

Hey beautifuls!

It seems so weird to think that I started up this blog over a year ago and the things that I have achieved from it is something I will forever be proud of. Never did I think that starting up a blog would lead me to become the person I have today; I cannot explain how happy I am that I started this journey. I just want to thank you all beautifuls for the support, love and encouragement you have given me so far and I hope this continues.

So Saturday 3rd January 2015. That's when it all started.

To be completely honest, I had no clue what I was doing. I just knew that I wanted to get onto a platform where I could be myself, share my thoughts and interests; maybe even help my readers. I like to think that I have inspired some of you in the last year, whether that be through my blog or YouTube videos. I taught myself through watching YouTube videos on how to get started on a blog which was extremely helpful. (If you would like me to blog about this further, please do let me know.) I wanted to make it as original as possible, but I am thinking of making a few changes, what do you think?

Originally, this blog was meant to be purely beauty, fashion and lifestyle based, however as you guys can tell - I have slightly broadened the topics I write about as my interests have increased. At the moment I think that my blog has been very focused on mental health which is amazing because I am so passionate about it, however I don't want to be neglecting the beauty side of me. I hope to keep consistent and balanced in what content I create for you beautifuls.

I started vlogging on Snapchat in February 2015 which was a massive step for me because it was completely out of my comfort zone. I am so glad I started that; otherwise I would not have had my YouTube channel or the confidence to create video content for you all.

My YouTube is at the very first stage and is fairly small in terms of audience and being known, but I am very excited and determined to keep it going. As I am still studying, I find that it is difficult to balance my studies with my blog and YouTube but hopefully I can work on consistency.

If you have any questions then please do contact me; either by commenting on this post, using the contact form or messaging me on Instagram or Snapchat!

Remember to have faith beautifuls, I love you lots,

Sanz xo

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Finding Myself | selfharmUK

Hey beautifuls!

Imagine being so confused with yourself to the point where you can't even recognise who you are anymore; well that was me roughly two years ago.
I was diagnosed with severe depression in January 2015 when I was fifteen years old, at this time I was referred to CAMHS where I had regular therapy sessions since until October 2016. I have been discharged from the services, however in the past two years I had an incredibly difficult time in living my life as the thoughts of worthlessness and uselessness overwhelmed the positivity that I once had. Fortunately I have regained my usual self through therapy as well as medication which I was put on in December 2015 as this was known to be a better route for me. I went through more than 3 suicide attempts and I am near to 11 months clean from self harm which is such a proud achievement for me.  
I can honestly say that, I would never wish any of the experiences I went through on anybody at all because feeling like you want to leave the world is such a horrible feeling and us teenagers should not be thinking such a thought when we have our whole life ahead of us. The same goes for anybody of any age group as everybody has a purpose, whether you can see it yourself or not. This is why mental health awareness is vital and too important to ignore. Since my diagnosis, I have learnt so much about mental health and this has added to my passion about mental health and getting people to start talking about this topic rather than viewing it as a weakness and a taboo thing to talk about. It is my mission to do my best in raising awareness to mental health as it certainly does not get the attention that it should do. I raise awareness through my blog, YouTube Channel, Instagram, Twitter and my Snapchat Vlogs.
Currently, I am at Sixth Form studying Art, Sociology and Philosophy & Ethics and I am absolutely loving Sixth Form life! As well as studying my A Levels, I am beginning an Art Therapy group for the younger students at my school, I have a YouTube Channel, a blog of course, I have started doing freelance makeup artistry as I have a passion for beauty as well and I also attend blogging events and meetings.
I have huge plans for my future which I did not think I would have as I honestly did not think I would get this far in life but I have, which is saying something – if I can then anybody can! I want to become an Art Therapist as well as continuing my blog and YouTube Channel. I want to make a difference and I want to inspire, those are my main goals.
Mental health is like physical illness, how long will it take for people to realise this?

This blog post of mine was written for a mental health organisation called selfharmUK; they are a group who share the help that can be given to those who suffer from mental health and self harm. Please do visit their website:
Remember to always have faith beautifuls, I love you lots.
Sanyha xo

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Understand,Implement and Prevent | #TPSmentalhealth

Hey beautifuls!

On Friday 7th October, I had the pleasure of attending the Well Being and Mental Health Conference at The Priory School in Hitchin - the first ever UK schools' conference about mental health. I am honestly honoured to say that I was a part of that conference as it is the start of something amazing in my eyes. It is evident that mental health has been brought to attention to many people hence the many charities and funds out there to help those who are suffering in silence or with diagnosed disorders. However, I am 100% sure that there is not enough attention towards mental health at all due to the sigma attached - this is something I raised an understanding of, previously in the year on Time to Talk Day.

The day consisted of various workshop sessions throughout the day as well as a few talks and prize givings. As well as this, there were many organisations who had come to present beautiful stalls and to talk about what their charity or fund was based on. These organisations were the following:

  • Time to Change
  • Youth Connexions
  • Be Who You Dare
  • LGBTQ+ 
  • Alumina

Plus many more which will be shown in my YouTube vlog of this event.

The workshop sessions that were taking place, included:

  • Suicide Prevention
  • Self-Harm
  • Yoga
  • 5 Things to WellBeing
  • Well Being Forum
  • LGBTQ+
  • Time to Talk
  • Drama/Art Therapy

Out of these, I was elected to take part in the Yoga, Drama/Art Therapy and Well Being Forum sessions which were all incredible and I had the chance to speak to many other students who were passionate about this topic. 

Before this session, I had never actually taken part in a yoga session but I can tell you now that I really really enjoyed it. After experiencing the hardest times in my mental illness journey, I considered taking part in Yoga classes to help relief stress instead of resorting to harming myself. Although, I did not get round to starting this, I believe it is not too late so hopefully I can fit this into my weekly routine soon and I recommend you do also! In the small amount of time I had, I was still able to come out of the gym in such a relaxed mood than I first walked in with. 
People tend to think that Yoga is only for girls but in fact, the yoga teacher from the conference has more male students than female which surprised many people in the room. Not only does Yoga relax you, but it also teaches you resilience as some of the postures may be very difficult to hold.
I have definitely learnt a lot about Yoga which I didn't think I would before attending the session.

Give it a try - you might like it!

Drama/Art Therapy
I was extremely excited about taking part in this activity as some of you know that I am aspiring to become an Art Therapist in the future. During this time, we created our own creature using plasticine and then we made a story board about this creature of ours which included: the home, its purpose, a problem it faced, who helped the problem and the outcome of the help. Soon after we got into the activity, everybody started to recognise that their was a pattern in all of our stories as it turned out to reflect our own personal lives and experiences.
I found this session really interesting and I hope to implement this into plans for my school as it clearly does make a difference to people, whether these therapeutic sessions are through art, music, drama or even dance.

Well Being Forum
In this session, we did a lot of discussing about how we can improve the awareness of mental health in schools and what we can place in our own schools that can really helpful. Personally I think this workshop was a great one to end with as it gave my group so much motivation and inspiration to get started on our action plans which we cannot wait to start. 

As well as the different stalls and the various sessions, we had a few speakers being the Assistant Head of The Priory School in Hitchin, Jim McManus and Steve Mallon. All of the speakers were amazing but to me, Steve stood out the most as his talk was very hard hitting. I won't be going into detail, but his son killed himself a few weeks after his 18th birthday and 6 weeks after his got accepted at Cambridge University, this led Steve to start up a mental health charity - the way he speaks is so captivating and I am glad he was able to attend the conference. 

This event has really inspired me to take more action in raising awareness because we cannot just sit back and do nothing - that would be the worst thing we could do. So please, I ask you to share this if you can, not for me but for everybody else out there because you may be helping to the extend of saving a life by letting people know its okay to speak up. Tweet, snap, instagram or even just spread the word by talking about mental health because I believe that we can really make a difference as it is possible if we get people on board!

I hope to continue to do my part in helping as much as I can and don't forget that you can email, tweet, snapchat or even DM me on Instagram for any queries or suggestions. 

Remember to have faith beautifuls, I love you lots,

Sanyha xo