#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek has been going strong since Monday with countless social media accounts across the globe sharing their personal stories, struggles, achievements and opening up the conversation about mental health. However, it’s important to remember that these can be daily, monthly, yearly struggles for some.
Pandora Symes has been a strong advocate for talking about mental health and body positivity in particular. Drawing from her own battle with food and body image, along with her training as a nutritionist, life coach, yoga teacher and meditation guide, Pandora has made it her mission to be a voice for women that want to feel empowered all year around.
We sat down with Pandora to get her views on mental health and body positivity in the digital age …
What does body positivity mean to you?
Body positivity means being kind and compassionate to your body and connecting your mind and body as one. In fact, I’d go as far to say I prefer the term ‘body neautrality’, so being very neutral about our bodies – not making them a ‘thing’. With body neutrality we can work towards the concept that instead of emphasising the need to label our bodies, we can learn to make peace with them. My hope is that one day we can go further beyond this, where commenting on how we look doesn’t take place at all! If you can be happy in your skin and know that you are so much more than you body, my work is done!
How do you feel social media has helped in opening up the conversation about mental health?
It’s been really helpful for mental health to be so widely talked about in a way where people can connect to others who they feel are living a similar life or with the same challenges. The flip side is that it leaves a huge space for people to be judged and critiqued and a place where comparison is rife, which only fuels mental health issues. I think as long as we understand we are in control of what we scroll through and making the choice to unfollow or mute anything that brings on these negative feelings or sensations, then it’s a good space to be a part of. Taking a break is key to keep yourself balanced.
How do you use your own social media account to inspire others?
I try and give as much value as possible and not always sell sell sell. I want my content to make women feel empowered and I want it to be authentic and real. If it doesn’t feel that way, I won’t post. I try to keep things relevant; people follow me for what I do as a job – and so I try not to make it too personal; i.e. sharing pictures of my daughter all the time. Obviously there’s a space for that – it is who I am but I try and keep things balanced. I’m not necessarily an influencer and whilst I do collaborations etc, my day job is coaching. Value and relevance is my social media mantra!
Why and how did you start your social media account? Did you know you always wanted to talk about body positivity?
No, my feed has grown with me and over time I’ve been a yoga teacher, nutritionist and then onto coaching. I also did some food catering for a bit back in the day. I’ve always talked about body positivity, but my feed has sort of grown as I’ve grown as a practitioner. Now I’m really focused on what I talk about – intuitive Eating, Living and Business.
If you could give one piece of advice to your followers, what would it be?
Know your values in life and don’t do anything that doesn’t match up with them. Own who you are and don’t be afraid to show up for yourself. Expand and explore always. Make your life matter. You have so much to give so don’t hide behind a lens.
Check our Pandora’s Instagram and Website for more details:
Push PR x