Friday, 22 January 2016

More Than Role Models by Sarah Evans

The other day I saw an article online about the first line of dolls with disabilities. They are made by British toy maker Makies. The dolls can be customized and come with accessories such as hearing aids, canes and facial birthmarks.

People are going to have different reasons for liking these dolls. Some would say that kids with disabilities are going to like playing with dolls that they can relate to and see themselves reflected in. Other people say that the dolls will help kids with disabilities feel "normal" or that it's good toy companies are reflecting diversity.

While all these things are true, I think that we need to go further. I wonder if the millions of kids without disabilities would want to play with these dolls. Is this just going to be a disability thing or is this going to do anything to educate people (kids especially) about disability issues.

I think these dolls are a good start and they can be a great advocacy tool. For toys to be truly inclusive, they need to be available to all kids and be seen; not as segregated and special, but rather as a fun toy. 

Monday, 18 January 2016

Living Mindfully by Sarah Evans

Improving health is a goal many of us try to achieve as part of our New Years resolutions. Most people focus on improving their physical health, but looking after our mental health can also help us achieve better physical health. Did you know that mindfulness can help us both mentally and physically?

Being mindful means living in the present and focusing on the moment. When you are able to master mindfulness, you automatically reduce stress and the physical and emotional complications it causes. This is something that I struggle with. My mind is constantly wandering. I always have to keep my mind occupied or else it goes off in a million different directions. This can be very frustrating. I end up dwelling on things I don't really want to think about and I am not paying attention to what I am doing. Sometimes it takes me a while to re-focus my attention.

Meditation is a popular way to help improve our ability to be aware of how we are affected by our surroundings, feelings and emotions. It also helps to have something to focus on, like an interesting activity or pleasant music. I know that mindfulness will lead to more peace and health in the end. Personally, I feel better when I'm paying attention to what I'm doing. I feel calmer mentally and I am more confident. It is not easy to be mindful, but there are many resources available online to help you get started on a healthier way of interpreting the world around you.

Visit the following links to learn more about mindfulness:

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Getting Healthy in the New Year by Sarah Evans

Happy New Year! It seems like most people resolve to get healthier anytime a new year rolls around. They talk about eating properly and working out, but there are a number of other areas in our lives where we can get healthy.

One of those areas is our social lives. How you prioritize your social life can seriously impact your mental health. I plan to work on being more socially active this year. Believe me, it is easy for me to make excuses to stay home. Sometimes I tell myself that I'm too tired to go out or that going out would be too difficult for me to organize (having to take into account my attendant care, transportation and issues of accessibility). The thing is, I know that I feel better when I go out and socialize with my friends.

Perhaps, the key is to think of things you like to do and use them to put some purpose into your day. I like to go to visit the library to find games and activities. This gives me a chance to do something fun and meet new people. Even if I just go to the library to do my work, I feel better just being around other people.

Your mental health is as important as your physical health. Don't just make a New Year's resolution. We all forget them because they quickly stop being important to us. You don't need a new year to change something for the better in your life. Instead, understand that looking after your mental health affects everything else in your life and commit to making a lifestyle change that you can work toward, little by little.