December 29, 2019
You might recognise them from the TV, the red carpet or a sports stadium – but in 2019, celebs showed us once again that mental illness does not discriminate.
9 Self-Care Tips Weve Learned From Celebs Who Spoke About Mental Health In 2019
HuffPost UK’s series What Works For Me asks famous faces what they do to look after their mental health, to break stigma and remind us all that self-care and professional help, when needed, can go a long way.
From dealing with everyday challenges like stress and a busy schedule, to more serious mental illnesses like depression, OCD and anxiety disorders, our interviewees didn’t hold back, reflecting on their toughest days and how they coped with them.
Here are just nine of the lessons we’ve learned from them about mental health and wellbeing this year.Related... 14 Important Health Lessons We Learned This Year Saying ‘no’ is vital – Dame Kelly HolmesOlympic legend Dame Kelly Holmes spoke to us about her experience of depression and said now she understands the importance of saying “no”.
“It’s about recognising when I’m having a down day and realising that I don’t need to go out training,” she said. “Sometimes I think ‘I should really go for a run, but I don’t want to’, and then I say ‘well don’t go then’. I’m better in tune with my body and my mind now.”
Holmes said people need to work on getting to know themselves, and being confident enough to say “no I can’t” or “yes I will” when it suits them. “I’ve learned to say ‘no’ a lot, which I didn’t before,” she said.
Read the full interview.There’s no ‘one cure’ to mental illness – Fearne CottonTV presenter and radio presenter Fearne Cotton spoke to us about her experience of depression, anxiety and panic attacks. She’s since also revealed she suffered from bulimia in her 20s. 
Cotton told HuffPost UK she uses a combination of art, yoga and running for self-care, which has made triggers less frequent and episodes less pronounced.“There’s no cure. There’s no ‘do this once and you’ll feel amazing’,” she said. “But they’re all small things that I have in my back pocket now that I know are going to help me get back eventually to feeling good – and that might be in an hour, a day, a week or in a year. But I think as long as I always keep those things up regularly, it will help.”
Read the full interview. Related... 'You Are Enough': How To Overcome Shyness When It's Holding You Back Therapy isn’t embarrassing – Martin KempSpandau Ballet star and Eastenders actor Martin Kemp said he went through “the darkest depression” after being diagnosed with two brain tumours. But he was reluctant to get help, until his wife, Shirlie, tricked him into attending his first therapy session by pretending she’d booked him a massage.
“I was a typical Englishman who thought therapy was a waste of time and that I could deal with it. I thought ‘I don’t need somebody who I don’t know talking to me,’” he said. 
 “From the very first 10 minutes of [the therapist] talking to me, I burst into tears – and I’ve never looked back. That was the beginning of my recovery mentally and coming out of that horrible phase. Since then, I will recommend therapy to anybody.”
Read the full interview. A routine helps – Professor GreenProfessor Green shared his experience of OCD, depression and anxiety. It may sound like an introvert’s nightmare, but the rapper and documentary-maker said sleeping with the curtains open eases his anxiety – by forcing him out of bed in the morning and into a routine.
“I just find that getting up and out and getting my day started, irrespective of what my sleep was like, makes me feel better,” he said. “The longer you leave things the more they manifest, the more you have to do and the more difficult it seems to take that first step. But I think the first step is the most important thing when it comes to mental health.”
Read the full interview.Addressing grief is cathartic – Clara AmfoBBC Radio 1′s Clara Amfo told us about the intense grief she experienced after her father’s death in 2015. She was in Paris collecting her bib for the city’s half marathon when she was told the devastating news over the phone. In 2016, she returned to Paris to complete the race. 
“Running for me was such, and still is, a bit of a saviour to be honest,” she said. “Going back to run in Paris was one of my proudest moments. It was very healing and cathartic.
“We can often make certain places and activities the enemy if they’re attached to trauma, but Paris is a beautiful city and France is a lovely country. I never wanted to think ‘I can’t go back there’ because of what had happened.”
Read the full interview.Related... How Safety Signals Might Help 'Slow Down' Your Anxiety Accept the unexpected – Jonnie PeacockHaving contracted meningitis as a child, paralympian Jonnie Peacock struggled to accept himself as an amputee in his teenage years. But over time, he learned that life is unpredictable – and recommends doing the same for better mental health.
“We all want to be the perfect version of ourselves, but unfortunately that’s not what life has planned. Sometimes things happen and life throws you curveballs and it’s just realising that you’re still here,” he told us. “You’re always preparing yourself for the worst, when in actual fact, you should just relax and see what happens. I try to think about every day individually and cross each bridge as it comes.”
Read the full interview. Dance can be therapy – Ashley Banjo For some, talking to a counsellor is vital for their mental health, but others find release elsewhere. Choreographer and TV presenter Ashley Banjo described dance as his “therapy”, saying it has kept him grounded in life and has helped him stay tee-total.
“It’s very judgmental and it’s quite superficial, that world of celebrity, fame and doing things in television. But there’s something about movement and dance and music – it’s got the power to lift your mood in the way that nothing else has,” he said. “I don’t drink or anything and when people say: ‘Really, how do you not?’ I think it’s because of my dancing.”
Read the full interview.Pampering is a form of self-care – Paris LeesJournalist and trans activist Paris Lees told us that growing up, she would plait her aunt’s hair but didn’t get to experience the same thing. Now, pampering is her primary source of self-care. 
“There is nothing that my hairdresser doesn’t know about my life. It’s just a relief. You can talk, get your head massaged, you walk out of there and feel lighter,” she said. 
“A lot of what I do in my life – I go for facials, I get my hair done, I get my nails done – you’re almost paying people to mother you and care for you. You want to look nice, but it is a social experience. We are social animals and I think it’s so important, actually, just to be touched.”
Read the full interview. Connection is key – Konnie HuqBlue Peter presenter-turned author Konnie Huq told us the most “destabilising” moment of her life when when she left the show after 11 years, adding: “I was in this stage thinking: ‘I don’t know where my next meal is coming from.’”
Adding to this feeling of instability was the fact her father was ill with cancer. He died in 2014 followed by her mum’s death in 2017. Losing both parents highlighted the importance of making connections with the people around her for good mental health. 
“We’re all anchored by family, work life, friendships and relationships,” she said. “You’re just a person floating in space essentially, but you stop floating when you have those things.”
Read the full interview.What Works For Me is a HuffPost UK interview series that speaks to people in the public eye about mental health, wellbeing and self-care. You can catch up on the full series so far here. READ MORE: 'You Feel Like Your Reality Collapses': Ben Miller On His Struggle With Panic Attacks Bryony Kimmings: 'Weightlifting Helped Me Feel In Control Of My Destiny' Lizzie Deignan On Discovering Balance: 'It's Not About Giving 100%, 100% Of The Time' Useful websites and helplines:Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: help@themix.org.ukRethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on www.rethink.org.
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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