Supermodel and entrepreneur Karolina Kurkova shares her birth plan for her third baby on this episode of In The Know Baby Banter with Hannah Bronfman.
Supermodel and entrepreneur Karolina Kurkova shares her birth plan for her third baby on this episode of In The Know Baby Banter with Hannah Bronfman.
Only 46 per cent of seats were filled, compared with 76 per cent two years ago
In bid to ramp up war on plastic waste
A snapshot of the pandemic, the Duchess of Cambridge’s book features 100 images taken by the public
L-r, Marcus (Noah Jupe), Regan (Millicent Simmonds), and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) brave the unknown in “A Quiet Place Part II.” In 2018, A Quiet Place introduced audiences to a frightening post-apocalyptic world in which silence was humanity’s only saviour. Almost three years (and several delays) later, we’re finally going to find out how the world was thrust into a state of perpetual fear thanks to the highly-anticipated sequel. A Quiet Place Part II picks up where the first film left off: newly-widowed Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) tries to lead her three young children to safety after her husband Lee (John Krasinski) sacrificed himself to help them escape. Now armed with a bit more knowledge about the predators hunting them down — part one revealed that the terrifying alien creatures are physically affected by the screeching sounds of feedback — the Abbotts leave their home in search of new shelter. What’s awaiting them beyond their sound-proofed home is pure chaos, fuelled by the survivors’ growing fear of the mysterious creatures lurking in the dark. The Abbotts happen upon two men (played by Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou) who have just barely survived the predators’ attacks, and they are forced to come together to gather whoever might still be alive after all this time. Part two also offers a glimpse into the events that may have led to the monster apocalypse; in the final trailer for the science fiction film, Lee (Krasinski) makes an appearance in a flashback. We see him taking in a particularly disturbing news report with concern during a routine grocery trip. “What the hell happened?” he asks. “Some bomb, I think,” answers the grocery clerk. We know now that he was very wrong. Thankfully, we’re that much closer to finding out exactly what these creatures are and where they came from. That mystery was supposed to be solved more than a year ago, when A Quiet Place Part II was first scheduled to be released in March 2020. Of course, that was right around the time that Hollywood essentially shut down at the start of the global coronavirus pandemic, so Paramount Pictures pushed the release date three different times to make sure it could be shared in cinemas when the world was somewhat safer. View this post on Instagram A post shared by John Krasinski (@johnkrasinski) “One of the things I’m most proud of is that people have said our movie is one you have to see all together,” Krasinski wrote in a statement shared to his Instagram after the first delay was announced. “Well due to the ever-changing circumstances of what’s not going on around us now is clearly not the right time to do that. As insanely excited as we all are for you to see this movie, I’m going to wait to release the film until we can all see it together. So here’s to our group movie date. See you soon!” Krasinski got his wish — A Quiet Place Part II will be released to the public on May 28 in cinemas. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?A Quiet Place II Trailer Is HereSee The First Teaser For A Quiet Place Part IIThis Star Is Joining The <em>Quiet Place </em>Sequel
When my grandfather passed away in 2009, I posted a status on MySpace that read, “rip grandfather <3”. Looking back, it seems cringey and performative — it’s not like he could see my status, and I wasn’t friends with anyone in my family on the platform (as a 13-year-old, I was too young to be on it anyway). But still, I felt compelled to publish that post. I wanted to not only feel like I was doing something tangible to recognise and acknowledge the death of someone I loved, but to invite others to grieve along with me, too. We’ve come a long way since MySpace. Platforms like Facebook took off not long after top-eight lists ruled our lives. Instagram soon entered the picture along with Snapchat, LinkedIn, and most recently, TikTok, amplifying our reach and connections to others across the internet. And while social media is often seen as the highlight reel of our lives, there are instances in which people can get pretty deep and vulnerable with what they choose to share. As social media has evolved, so have our public displays of grief. From entire photo albums to heartfelt posts to carefully crafted video montages, our compulsion to share remains the same, but our feeds seem to play a role in shaping how we memorialise those we’ve lost. Hayley Hendricks lost her father earlier this year. She posted the news to her Instagram and Facebook profiles, alerting her friends, family, and followers of his passing. As the months have gone on, Hendricks has continued to share photos and stories of her father whenever she feels low, or comes across something that makes her smile. “When my dad passed, I realised I had so many pictures and beautiful memories with him that I wanted to share,” Hendricks tells Refinery29. “It made me feel better posting pictures of us on vacation, videos of us dancing and laughing, and just showing people on social media how great our relationship was. I miss him all the time and when I share something on social media it makes me feel like I’m keeping his spirit alive.” In many ways, Hendricks’ approach has become the norm. Plenty of people turn to social media while grieving to memorialise and remember what they loved about the person they lost, and to share the memories that they still hold onto. Far from being unusual, sharing in this way may actually be vital to the grieving process. “One of the things my favourite author and speaker, David Kessler, says is that grief needs to be witnessed to be healed,” says Liz Kelly, LCSW, therapist at Talkspace. “When we post on Instagram or Facebook about our loved ones who died, we’re allowing other people to be able to witness our grief.” Kelly says this is why funerals and memorial services are so important; they help us process loss. But during the pandemic, not everyone was able to gather in this healing way. Hendricks’ father’s funeral, for instance, was a lot smaller than her family had anticipated because of COVID-19 precautions, something that she says “broke my heart.” “I wanted everyone to be able to say goodbye to my father, and they didn’t get the chance,” she says. “I needed more closure than I got.” For many, social media has become an increasingly important way to allow others to witness our grief. Shannon O’Reilly’s brother, Thomas, passed away from addiction in 2019. Every so often, O’Reilly will post a memory or a photo of Thomas on Instagram. “With grief, I can be fine one day, but tomorrow I could be drowning. It’s this wave, where you’re out in the ocean and you’re just floating and trying to tread water and some days you can keep your head above and some days you can’t,” she says. “On the days I can’t, it helps me to find an old picture of him and put it on Instagram.” And sometimes, her brother’s friends will use the comments of the post to share their own funny or touching memories of Thomas. “I do enjoy the stories or somebody saying something about him, because it makes me realise that we all don’t just remember the bad times with him, that there actually were really good times. If I didn’t [share], I feel like I don’t know how else I’d keep his memory alive with other people not forgetting him, that he was here and that he mattered and that he wasn’t always like this.” The grieving process doesn’t have a set end date, either, so social media can become a way to let your friends, family, and even coworkers know where you are in the process and how you’re doing, says Courtney Grady, whose father died in 2018. Grady started posting daily letters to her father on her Instagram page, where most of her colleagues followed her. “I could write how I was actually doing on my Instagram in a letter to my dad, and my coworkers could see that and could know,” she says. “It gave me that outlet in the morning so that I could have a little bit more strength to grin and bear the work day.” But sometimes, the thought of exposing our grief and innermost thoughts to an audience can be intimidating. Before her husband, Mo, passed away due to a heart attack at the end of 2019, Dr. Alisha Reed had already built a substantial social media platform. After her loss, she wasn’t sure if she wanted to continue using social media at all. “At the time, I thought that I was going to be in a dark hole and crawl into a ball and just cry every day,” she says. But Reed did briefly share the news of Mo’s passing on her social media platforms, and in response, she received an immense amount of support from friends, family, and followers. “Everyone was so supportive and just reaching out and sharing memories and telling me to take my time and they would be here when I came back,” she says. “I decided to keep going and share my life as a widow and a single mum. And what I found was that a lot of people don’t share that part of their lives. They don’t talk about grief or loss, and it’s just blossomed into an even bigger platform because people were able to see how I was dealing.” Reed touches on another benefit of using social media to share grief: Doing so can help others who have experienced a similar loss feel less alone. “Any time that a difficult issue, behaviour, or experience is shared, it helps normalise that experience for other people who are going through it,” explains Pamela Rutledge, PhD, media psychologist and director of the Media Psychology Research Center. By sharing on social media, Reed was able to connect with other widows. She started “Mo Mondays,” inspired by the trend Man Crush Mondays, to post her thoughts and feelings surrounding his death at the start of each week. “That kind of caught on to where people were looking forward to seeing the pictures of us and the memories,” Reed says. “I felt like it allowed other people to grieve too, people that may have been holding it in and not wanting to express it. That was a huge part of my healing for me, being able to share those experiences.” Although Reed no longer posts an Instagram every single Monday, she has created a growing Facebook group for young widows in her area and started a podcast where she discusses grief along with other widows. She describes the community that’s blossomed as comforting. “We are just able to share our thoughts and emotions with each other because we understand each other,” she says. “We’re able to communicate with each other and share our events and anniversaries and milestones with each other.” Grief is often isolating, — especially during the pandemic, when we’re already disconnected from our wider social circles. So being able to create or find a community that understands how you’re feeling or what you’re going through can be indescribably helpful. And for all its flaws, one huge benefit of social media is its ability to host communities. After losing her best friend and her twin in a tragic car accident, Leah Vanderpool posted about it on TikTok. She took part in a trend in which users post video montages of their “soulmate.” “I wanted to show my twin sister, Lane, because she’s my soulmate,” Vanderpool tells Refinery29. “Then it blew up, and I didn’t realise how many twins also lost their twins.” Now, the original video she posted has over 4.6 million views. “It actually really helped, because a lot of twins recommended me to join some groups on Facebook for twin loss… I joined, and it’s just twins posting about their grief and their experiences and people commenting and being supportive,” she says. “I personally haven’t posted or anything, but I do go through and read everyone else’s.” While sharing one’s grief on social platforms can be healing, being vulnerable about such personal and sensitive experiences online does come with some risks. “Brené Brown, another one of my favourite authors and speakers, said that we should only share our story with people who have earned the right to hear them,” Kelly says. “Something to remember when you’re posting online is that you’re actually sharing your story with everyone, you’re not just sharing your story with people who have earned the right to hear it.” In other words, when you post online, you don’t have control over other people’s responses or reactions — and with platforms like TikTok, where content can go viral in an instant, you may be welcoming in some not-so-productive comments. “At first when I gained a lot of followers, I was kind of scared,” Vanderpool says. “It’s not that I get hate comments, it’s more insensitive comments, like people being nosy and wanting to know the full story about everything.” That’s why it may be helpful to take a beat before posting about grief, or before checking the comments and reactions to any sensitive posts you have shared. You can also enlist a trusted friend to scan the comments or reactions on vulnerable posts for you, and to weed out anything that may be upsetting. But even when the reactions are all positive, it’s still smart to be prepared for any kinds of emotions that may come up for you after opening yourself up to a wider audience. People grieved online before the pandemic began, and will continue to once it ends. But exactly how we use technology to process and share grief is sure to continue to change. “The platforms change, and then people change, and then the platforms change,” says Dr. Rutledge. “This is an evolving system. As people start sharing more personal experiences, it becomes a more normal thing.” While Kelly says she loves “that social media is really shedding some light on what grief actually is,” ultimately, whether or how you choose to share your journey on a public or semi-public forum is up to you. Some may choose to grieve quietly, while others are more inclined to be open about their ongoing process. No matter what feels right, though, it’s nice to know that, in this way, social media is there for us if we need it. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?TikTok Grief Videos Are Helping People To HealMeghan Markle Opens Up About Pregnancy LossThe Bucket Hat That Helped Me Grieve My Father
He looks so grown up!
Holidaymakers could need paper Covid vaccine certificates The destinations likely to be on the travel 'green list' this summer The destinations most likely to be on the 'amber list' Sign up to the Telegraph Travel newsletter A surge of pent-up holiday demand is set to be unleashed today when the Government reveals the first countries to make its “green” list, allowing quarantine-free travel from later this month. British holidaymakers are expected to be allowed to visit only a handful of destinations when the ban on international travel lifts on May 17, with Portugal, Malta and Israel due to make the cut. Details on which countries will make the “green” list on the new traffic light system, and which “amber”, meaning quarantine will be required on return, is expected in a Downing Street press conference at 5pm. Emma Coulthurst, a spokesperson for TravelSupermarket, said the holiday comparison site had already begun to see increases in search for those countries mooted to be on the list. The Government has taken a country's infection rates, vaccine progress and genomic sequencing capacity into account. “There are some really good prices at the moment if people are happy with the terms and conditions for the package holiday and decide to go ahead and book,” she said. “Once the green list is announced, there will be an anticipated increase in demand for those destinations on the list and, depending on demand levels, prices may go up.” Scroll down for the latest updates
If pub gardens and park picnics have got you feeling frazzled
Caitlyn Jenner has had a busy couple of weeks. On April 23, Jenner announced she’s running for governor of California, hoping to unseat current Gov. Gavin Newsom. Last Saturday, she said to TMZ that she believes trans girls shouldn’t be allowed to participate in girls’ sports. And just last night, Jenner appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show to do the difficult work that is required of this country’s politicians during this time: lament the horrors that unhoused people impose on the white, rich, and powerful. “My friends are leaving California,” Jenner told Hannity while *checks notes* sitting inside her Malibu airplane hangar. “The guy right across, he was packing up his hangar and I said, ‘Where are you going?’ And he says, ‘I’m moving to Sedona, Arizona. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t walk down the streets and see the homeless.'” Jenner’s comments — coming from an out-of-touch, rich white woman who has never experienced being unhoused in her life — immediately drew outrage. After all, Jenner’s estimated net worth is an egregious $100 (£72) million. She lives in a $3.5-million £2.52m) ranch-style home in Malibu, CA. She owns a number of expensive vehicles, including multiple Porsches and an Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite. So it’s safe to say that her taking offence with Los Angeles’ large population of unhoused people doesn’t exactly bode well for her bid to become governor of California. But it’s not just Jenner’s ignorance when it comes to unhoused people that is the problem — it’s her lack of understanding that her own community, the trans community, is also plagued by this issue. Recent data shows that a reported 63% of trans adults and 80% of gender non-conforming adults in the US are unhoused, according to data from the National Alliance to End Homelessness. One 2015 survey examining the experiences of over 27,000 trans people across the country found that one in 10 surveyed experienced violence at the hands of a family member once they came out, and 8% were kicked out of their home because they were transgender. The same survey found that 30% of respondents who had a job had been either fired, denied a promotion, or experienced mistreatment or harassment in the workplace as a result of their gender identity. And the unemployment rate among respondents was three times that of the total U.S. population, while nearly one-third were living in poverty. Shelters that provide clothing, food, and housing to those experiencing housing insecurity often double as another source of potential danger for trans and gender non-conforming people. Of respondents who had experienced being unhoused over the past year, 70% said they were mistreated in a shelter because they’re transgender, and 26% said they avoid shelters altogether for fear they’ll be harassed or assaulted. But just like Jenner has no clue what it’s like not to have access to housing or shelter, she doesn’t seem to know much about the many other struggles facing transgender people. Shortly after she shared her political aspirations with the world, Jenner supported Republican-led efforts to ban trans students from joining school sports teams that align with their gender identity. “This is a question of fairness,” Jenner told a reporter. “That’s why I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls’ sports in school. It just isn’t fair. And we have to protect girls’ sports in our schools.” If Jenner truly cared about the problems of trans people who don’t live in Malibu mansions or fly on private planes, she would know that 43% of trans youth have been bullied on school grounds, and that 60% of trans and non-binary youth have seriously considered suicide. She would also know that studies have shown participation in school sports can lead to greater wellbeing, a reduction in anxiety, increased self-esteem, and improved overall mental health. Of course, there’s also the possibility that Jenner does know these facts (after all, Google is a thing) and simply doesn’t mind sacrificing children on the altar of partisan politics. It’s clear now, more than ever, that she is making an appeal to conservative Californians — rich, white ones at that — in her effort to gain political power. Unhoused trans kids be damned. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Caitlyn Jenner Doesn't Want Trans Girls In SportsCaitlyn Jenner Is Running For Governor, I GuessCaitlyn Jenner In Office Would Hurt Trans People
On the eve of the announcement of quarantine-free ‘green list’ countries, Simon Calder has answered your travel questions
Dear Daniela,What can I do to improve my skin texture? I’m pretty good with my skincare and have a routine that I stick to, but I still have a lot of scarring left from past breakouts and some kind of bumpy texture on several patches of my face. Makeup never looks as good as I want it to, and I’m not sure the skincare is doing much to change it. Please help!Lily, 34 On returning to face-to-face (albeit distanced) socialising last week, I noticed something odd. As I looked around at the faces of passersby and friends, I realised that for over a year, the only images of people I’d seen were either on a video call, on social media or on TV. Even without retouching or beauty filters, which my friends are all too hot to use, these kinds of images have a certain degree of blurring or smudging due to their virtual nature. As such, I’d totally lost sight of what a real, unfiltered face looks like. And guess what – they had texture. I glanced in a compact mirror – I had texture, too! What is skin texture? I’m not trying to minimise your concerns or sweep them under the rug. I just think it’s important to remember that our perception of the uniformity, quality and appearance of our complexions has perhaps never been more skewed. We’ve spent at least 12 months looking at screens or seeing controlled images of others but been left to stare at our own faces in 4K detail without any filtering, in good light and in bad. I’m hopeful that the gradual unlocking of society will lead us to greater self-acceptance as we relearn how faces move, emote and look. To your point: skin texture is a tricky thing to treat! This is because, according to cosmetic physician Dr David Jack, any scarring or marks that leave you with textured skin are an injury to a much deeper layer of skin. “Things like acne scars or marks occur on the dermis, not the epidermis, which is the layer that skincare treats,” he explained. Essentially, anything like pigmentation or dullness (which is considered skin texture, although I would say it’s more skin tone) can usually be remedied through the use of the right skincare products, like vitamin C and retinoids. However, once you’ve got a raised and/or sunken scar or mark, the root lies deeper than skincare may be able to reach. Can face peels help improve skin texture? Depending on your skin type and colour, as well as the nature of the scarring or marks, there’s a range of different options. Dr Jack said that face peels, such as The Perfect Peel, can work really well to help resurface and brighten the skin, while dermaplaning is another option. He stressed the importance of not attempting anything on this level of invasiveness yourself – these are clinical procedures, often with some downtime, which need to be carried out in a safe setting. “Another option that’s popular in my clinic is something called Morpheus8. It’s a mix of radiofrequency and microneedling that works on the dermis layer of the skin. It essentially heats and remodels the skin tissue, and helps kickstart collagen production,” explained Dr Jack, adding that you might need between one and three sessions. Another option for scarring on a smaller area, he suggested, might be to inject a little bit of hyaluronic acid filler to plump out the mark. What are the best skincare products for smooth skin? If the texture that’s bothering you isn’t scarring, it’s simply pores, then you may be able to make a notable difference with skincare. Cosmetic physician Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme explained that large pores are a very common complaint in her clinic but that the right routine can often alleviate them. “Pore size is generally dictated by an increase in sebum (oil) in the skin, a decrease in collagen, and a bit of dehydration,” she explained. “There’s a genetic size that your pores are set to, as it were, but the way you’re looking after your skin can make them appear larger if you’re yet to find the right balance for you.” Can retinol and exfoliating acids help improve skin texture? To help with collagen production, Dr Ejikeme suggested a retinoid skincare product. I’d really recommend something as gentle as La Roche-Posay’s Retinol B3, or perhaps something stronger like the Medik8 R-Retinoate if your budget and your skin sensitivity can stretch to it. For sebum production, you’ll want to integrate some exfoliating acids into your routine, which will also help with the dehydration. Dr Ejikeme suggested starting very softly and just a couple of times a week – Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA is one of my favourites to recommend for beginners; if you’re more confident, the SkinCeuticals Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight Cream is a great weekly peel option – just ensure you’re not using it in tandem with your retinoid on the same night, and that you’re being scrupulous with sun protection. “When it comes to hydration, I’d be looking at trying to improve the superficial hydration with ingredients like panthenol, glycerin or hyaluronic acid,” said Dr Ejikeme. CeraVe makes a great affordable serum, the Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum, with all of the above plus moisturising ceramides to help prevent water loss. I’m always conflicted about covering expensive, in-clinic procedures in my column because I appreciate that for many people, they’re way out of budget, and I don’t like the narrative or idea that we must ‘fix’ things with our skin. However, I like having treatments (I’ve had several with Dr Jack over the years) and I know I’m not the only one so it would be hypocritical not to mention them as an option. Plus, I’d much rather suggest a reputable, safe clinic rather than have people chance it and get injured – believe me, that happens. Also, I don’t want you to waste your money on endless products if they can’t fundamentally address your concern. I’d much rather keep it real with you.Good luck, Daniela Got a question for our resident beauty columnist Daniela Morosini? No problem, qualm or dilemma is too big, small or niche. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, including your name and age for a chance to have your question answered. All letters to ‘Dear Daniela’ become the property of Refinery29 and will be edited for length, clarity, and grammatical correctness. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?4 Oily Skin Mistakes To Stop Making ASAPThe Truth About Drinking Water For Great SkinTikTok Can't Get Enough Of This Affordable Cream
For fashion-minded folk, jewellery is an integral part of self-expression. Whether you like the fanciness of baroque pearls or prefer to keep things playful with resin rings, how you incorporate jewellery into an outfit says a lot about your personal style. It's one of the main reasons that people shy away from gifting jewellery, with many afraid that it's just too personal to pick for someone else. There is one type of jewellery that everyone enjoys, though: the kind that has your name on it.Personalised jewellery has enjoyed its fair share of iconic fashion moments over the years, from Princess Diana wearing a yellow gold 'D' pendant at the polo to Carrie Bradshaw’s beloved nameplate necklace on Sex and The City. But it was a recent Instagram post from Queen B herself that proved the style was back with a vengeance, with the star donning a white suit covered in oversized monogrammed necklaces in Las Vegas.Elsewhere on the internet, small designers and indie sellers are taking a more childlike approach to the trend, with alphabet-adorned beaded necklaces and charm bracelets. The Y2K-inspired jewellery has proved popular with Insta It Girls like Kaia Gerber and Sofia Richie, both of whom have been seen sporting brightly coloured plastic pieces. If you're someone who likes to keep things simple, there are plenty of classic designs on the market, too: initial signet rings and delicate chains are both super chic options. To take a peek at the best personalised jewellery that the fashion space has to offer, click through the slideshow ahead...Refinery29's selection is purely editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items we love! As part of our business model we do work with affiliates; if you directly purchase something from a link on this article, we may earn a small amount of commission. Transparency is important to us at Refinery29, if you have any questions please reach out to us.YOJ Initial Choker - M, $, available at Wolf & BadgerAbbott Lyon Mini Letter Sphere Chain Necklace (Gold), $, available at Abbott LyonCLED Engravable Signet Ring, $, available at The CledBy Nouck White Pearl Initial Choker, $, available at By Nouckaurum + grey Sisterhood Bracelet, $, available at aurum + greyMonica Vinader Signature Signet Ring, $, available at Monica VinaderEFHANDMADEJEWELRY Pearl Name Necklace, $, available at EtsyDesignB London Initial Necklace in Gold 'M', $, available at ASOSP D Paola Bond Gold Earrings, $, available at P D PaolaT Balance Bespoke Crystal Bracelet, $, available at T BalanceEdge of Ember Nameplate Gold Necklace, $, available at Edge of EmberOliver Bonas Alphabet Twisted Initial Silver Pendant Necklace, $, available at Oliver BonasAlex Monroe Gold-Plated Floral Letter U Alphabet Necklace, $, available at Liberty LondonA METAL STORY Sterling Silver Initial Bracelet, $, available at wolf and badgerType Berlin Letter R Alphabet Initial Ring, $, available at Wolf & BadgerRachel Jackson Art Deco Initial Gold-Plated Sterling Silver Necklace, $, available at Selfridgesdreamiejewellery Beaded Pearl Name Necklace, $, available at EtsyBuff Jewellery Personalised Eternal Flame Ring, $, available at Buff JewelleryOttoman Hands Gold Initial Necklace, $, available at Ottoman HandsBuff Jewellery Personalised Shot Through The Heart Ring, $, available at Buff JewelleryTom Foolery London Letter Bead Pack, $, available at Tom Foolery LondonNo13 Jewellery Silver Initial Signet Ring, $, available at No13 JewelleryP D Paola Letter Necklace, $, available at P D PaolaLike what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?11 Of The Best Brands Nailing Gold Jewellery6 Brands Keeping Your Jewellery Box Sustainable12 Perfectly Flawed Baroque Pearl Jewellery Pieces
With the return to dating looming on the horizon, you’re probably remembering that getting to know someone new can be an overwhelming process. There are so many things to consider! Are you compatible? Will they get along with your friends? Do you see a future with this person? As women, when we start dating, one of the main things we’re trained to look out for are red flags. Pretty much all of us have dated someone toxic and obviously it’s something we’d want to avoid doing again. If you’re someone like me who has ignored red flags in the past, you’ll understand the significance of ensuring you’re aware of them. However, I’ve recently felt that I’ve become too hyperaware of red flags. Always on high alert, I’ve found myself expecting red flags to come up everywhere; when I started speaking to someone new a few months ago, our very first conversation was about the possible red flags we could see in each other. Way to put a dampener on things early on! We didn’t even know if we were compatible but we were already anticipating why things wouldn’t work out. Noticing red flags is good but being too aware of them can feed into a lot of premature negativity. Marine Ravinet, head of trends at dating app happn, believes that focusing on red flags too early on can actually be a form of self-sabotage. Marine says: “Not only are we making the other person seem less desirable in some way but we’re stopping ourselves from progressing in our romantic endeavours.” She believes that we may even enjoy looking for the things that could go wrong as it gives us a sense of control. “If we end things before they get a chance to, then we can’t get hurt, can we? It was our choice to not let things play out naturally. We’re completely protecting ourselves from any possible heartbreak.” On top of this, often it’s possible to conflate run-of-the-mill turn-offs with red flags. Sometimes, what we think is a sign of a toxic person could actually be us being super picky. “We may question our date’s choice of outfit, their hairstyle, their height – anything that makes us feel less concerned about ourselves. What we don’t realise that we’re doing is passing our own insecurities off onto someone else,” says Marine. Relationship coach John Kenny believes the difference between a turn-off and a red flag is how we feel in our gut. “One of the signs of a toxic or unhealthy situation is if you don’t feel comfortable with someone else’s energy,” he says. “It’s important to think about how you feel in their energy, rather than looking at something you’re not particularly keen on.” And so these days, I’m making an effort to focus on green rather than red flags. Green flags are things we want in a partner. “It’s a chance for us to reflect internally,” Marine says. “Is your date making you laugh? Are you smiling? Are you attracted to them physically? Is there an emotional connection? If the answers are yes, then you’ve just acknowledged green flags.” Twenty-five-year-old Ayesha* thinks that concentrating on green flags has made dating easier, especially as a Muslim woman. A green flag for Ayesha is someone who aligns with her faith, who has the same love language as her and is someone she can feel calm and safe around. “Too many times the dating scene feels like a maze and that’s an inconvenience because companionship in Islam is supposed to bring a level of comfort which is lacking in today’s relationships and dating scene.” Ayesha believes that focusing on green flags helped her find her current partner. She says: “It helped me solidify what it is I actually love in a partner; it’s to have someone who looks at me and feels comfort and the urge to truly take care of me and bring enjoyment, without me having to give up my personal space and be anything other than myself.” Allowing yourself to be more positive and focus on the good things while dating is hard but it’s not impossible. John says we should start by looking at what we like rather than what we don’t like. “Go in with your energy high rather than being pessimistic. Just think, I want to date this person and see if they tick my boxes without being too picky. Don’t worry about finding the right person straightaway, you’re just dating or going to get to know someone and see if they fit into what you really want.” Ayesha says that trying to have a positive outlook in all areas of her life made it easier to avoid negativity in her dating life. “I’ve learned to exercise a bit more restraint [when] focusing on the negatives, on what could actually just be me feeling nervous. I’ve also gotten better at setting boundaries in my dating life and take joy in being open about my emotions and how I love others.” Marine says the dating experience will feel more fun when you start to focus on all the good things that can happen. “When you start opening your eyes up to all the green flags popping up, you’ll notice how the pressure lifts in a new way. Looking forward to a date, or having high hopes, doesn’t mean that your heart is going to get broken if it doesn’t go the way you want. Instead, you’re able to take note of what you do want in a future partner and continue your dating journey with fresh eyes.” *Name has been changed Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Is It Ever Okay To Out Someone From A Dating App?3 Young Asexual Women Tell Us About DatingQueer Dating In The Big City Hasn't Gone Well
“I am about to turn 25 in six weeks and I feel like I will never be a success. I am thinking about transitioning [my career] to something boring and soul-destroying.” Sarah* is a 24-year-old who until recently was doing a PhD at a high profile university, alongside some freelance writing and “advertising bits”. She had long-term ambitions to be an editor, get a PhD, write a book and eventually become an academic. “I’ve wanted to be an academic since I was 18, wanted to write a book since way before then and wanted to make headway as a writer for the past few years,” she tells R29. Before 2020, Sarah had been making progress towards achieving her goals but the pandemic collided headlong with her drive. She discovered there was a distinct lack of support from her university for students reckoning with their mental health and for low-income students who need to work to afford their fees – both of which affected Sarah significantly. Together, her mental health and her struggle to support herself during the pandemic forced Sarah into a situation where she had to take interrupted study and is about to officially drop out. “I was made to have a personal sit-down with the head of my department where I was told I was as likely to become an academic as I was to become a prima ballerina,” she tells R29. “Given that I managed to get a distinction in my master’s from Oxford while working full-time and paying for everything myself, and had no problems getting a high first class honours at undergrad, I thought that was unnecessary. I felt babied and out of place in the university (maybe because I’m queer, femme, mentally ill etc.) but being talked down to by the staff at the university was too much!” Like many other young people, the fallout of 2020 has had a huge impact on Sarah’s opportunity and ability to work at all, let alone in her chosen field. Her ambition to be an academic or an editor has burned out, leaving her feeling like she’s entered “some kind of quarter-life crisis“. DashDividers_1_500x100 The impact of the pandemic on workers and working conditions has been huge, especially for those early in their career. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), people younger than 25 made up 58.5% of the decrease in payrolled employees from February 2020 to January 2021. Separate data from the ONS shows that redundancies have increased faster during the pandemic than during the 2008/2009 economic crisis, with research from the Resolution Foundation showing that young people and those from ethnic minorities were more likely to be made redundant after furlough. The ONS also reports an increase in the overall unemployment rate between October and December 2020, with the average for graduates the highest at 6.3%. It reached a high of 12% between July and September. While those lucky enough to have jobs in roles they enjoy are not immune to burnout or questioning their work, those on the outside looking in at their dream career or just starting on the path to said career can feel their ambition hitting a brick wall. The circumstances of working and surviving in the pandemic have slowed or entirely derailed people from that path, making the barriers to entering many industries all the more apparent. Working and surviving in the pandemic has slowed or entirely derailed people from the path to their ambition, making the barriers to entering many industries all the more apparent. Suzanne Guest is a registered occupational psychologist who specialises in helping people get back into meaningful work. She says there are several ways that the pandemic has affected people who are trying to break into industries. “A lot of companies have struggled financially and had to go into crisis mode and furlough people,” she points out. “So people have not had the same opportunities and companies have been reluctant to hire because they don’t know if there’s going to be another lockdown.” Suzanne also specifies how this has had a serious knock-on effect on voluntary opportunities with charities, which can be key to getting a foothold in particular industries. “If you want a career in law for example, places like the Citizens Advice Bureau often offer voluntary work for people that would be relevant. But a lot of the charities have had to batten down the hatches and they’ve not been taking on new volunteers, partly because they’ve lost funding and because they can’t do face-to-face contact.” Training, too, has been impacted, with vital experience in careers like counselling hampered by the struggle to learn about body language through the medium of Zoom. While voluntary opportunities, entry level internships and training have all been impacted, it’s important to remember that even before the pandemic, they were stepping stones that were not available to everyone. The pandemic has only exacerbated how much competition there is for opportunities, and how entry into many fields is not determined primarily by skill but whether you can afford to study full-time for a PhD like Sarah, or take on voluntary opportunities. Ambition is hard to sustain when the available options aren’t financially viable and paid opportunities are scarce. It puts people like Sarah in the position where they are forced to choose between ambition and paying rent. The psychological impact of the pandemic weighs heavy too, as the amorphous force of ambition – the determination to reach the targets we set ourselves – has been tapped by the anxieties and stresses we are surrounded by. Anna Codreo-Rado identifies this inability to strive to reach goals or ambitions as goal fatigue – where the ongoing pressures of living through this period in history rub up against one another, making it feel impossible or even futile to sit down and put in the work. The pandemic’s knock-on effect on mental health will only add to this: younger people and women who are more likely to have lost work or had their career derailed are also the most likely to experience depression, according to the ONS. The will to keep going in these conditions is hard to sustain. In the face of these challenges, is there anything that can be done to counter ambition burnout? On a wider social level, a lot needs to change. There needs to be better financial support in academia and in training, as well as mental health support both in academia and in the world of work. Big companies need to be shamed for exploiting people by making them work for free in internships with no view to a role at the end, and voluntary positions where both parties gain from the experience should be more widely available. More generally, ambition burnout points to an existential issue where our work and our careers are tied inextricably to our self-worth. As Sarah tells R29: “People need to be encouraged to not tie up all their self-worth in their job. Ideas of success shouldn’t be underpinned by a counterpoint of ‘failure’ – there needs to be less of a shame-driven culture when it comes to those who don’t excel at work and there needs to be more of an emphasis placed on valuing aspects of your life out of work.” Understanding that this burnout is influenced by a wealth of factors – and that the fatigue at the heart of it is a legitimate phenomenon – can help alleviate the sense of failure and futility. This gives room for individuals to make choices that focus on their mental health in that moment and find ways to stay happy. Unpacking the role that careers currently play in our psyche can lead to a re-evaluation of what we really want from the dream jobs that lie at the end of our ambition. Doing so can help us make choices that centre happiness and contentment without sacrificing work satisfaction. There are a few practical steps you can take, too. If you are facing ambition burnout but want to pursue your goal, Suzanne is a big believer in planning a step-by-step route. “If you can volunteer and get skills, that’s always going to be helpful. If you’re volunteering somewhere, the chances are those people will know other people so you can potentially try and get in front of the right people. I do think LinkedIn is a really good resource too. So keeping your LinkedIn profile properly up to date, so that you put in all your experience and your voluntary experience, and also looking at who’s in the work area that you want to be in and seeing if you can connect with those type of people.” And if you are ready to broaden beyond your initial dream, Suzanne advises looking closely at what you hoped to gain from the career you had chosen originally and seeing if you can apply it to other areas. If you wanted to pursue law, for example, because you enjoy face-to-face work and want to help people, look into other professions where you could get that same sense of reward. The pandemic has and will continue to cause us to reconsider everything we thought we knew about the world, particularly around work. Many of the past year’s ramifications are inescapably unfair and place a particular burden on young people who have been hit the hardest. But if there is one positive, it’s that many people have had the opportunity to explore what is really important to them in life beyond specific goals, and to reframe their ambition to focus on something other than job titles or particular roles. Mental wellbeing and quality of life in the moment are equally as important as steps along a career path. *Names have been changed Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Is Ambition Dead?"It Was One Of The Lowest Points Of My Life"Long Live The Good Enough Job
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