Happy Not Perfect x Semaine
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The New Year often starts off with great intention, big plans for the new year and every opportunity that might come along, but as you return to your inbox, that relaxed state of mind slowly (or hurriedly in some cases) goes out the window and your age old friends, anxiety and stress - who you’d hoped you’d left in 2018 - creep in.
This week’s tastemaker, Poppy Jamie, is someone who most definitely knows that feeling. She last took to the Semaine pages with her best friend and business partner Suki Waterhouse - with whom she shares eponymous accessories brand Pop & Suki - but it is because of another string in her multi-hyphenate bow that we meet the TV presenter come entrepreneur, today.
As her career moved from strength to strength, Poppy reached her breaking point. Exhausted and burnt out without understanding why, Poppy consulted her doctor and a series of tests revealed a surprising diagnosis: adrenal burnout. With side effects like mood swings, low energy, depression, weight gain and autoimmune issues, adrenal fatigue is not to be casually brushed aside. Hooked on the torrential flood of emails (from two time zones, thanks to her bicontinental lifestyle) and downing coffees to get through the day, Poppy had finally hit complete and total exhaustion.
The pressure to live up to arbitrary standards of perfection fractured her peace of mind but in the midst of this chaos Poppy realised she was not alone, and with the help of her neuroscientist mother, Pippa, crafted the tools in which to combat the effects of this burn out; Happy Not Perfect, the Millennial-targeted wellness app. “Happy Not Perfect came to me in the middle of the night. I wanted to do something about the mental and emotional crisis we’re in at the moment. Never before have Millennials—all humans really— been so stressed out.”
Since appearing on SnapChat's Pillow Talk with Poppy in 2015, Poppy found that viewers around the world were reaching out to her with the same concern: stress—specifically stress exacerbated by a smartphone-driven life. “It didn’t matter the age, gender, or location. Everyone seemed to be struggling with the same things. The messages would be like ‘I’m so stressed out about work, family, friends, the future, my grades.’ Everyone seems to be in the same boat here,” she said.
New research suggests that Millennials are at the highest risk for loneliness, stress, anxiety, and depression thanks to increasingly competitive expectations of individual success. At times it seems like being busy is a competition—walking the line between optimal achievement and burnout is a badge of honor. It means you’re firing on all cylinders; it means you are achieving, or does it? Drawing inspiration from this emotionally and physically demanding low-point, Poppy hit the books. Specifically Alex Korb’s The Upward Spiral.
“I thought it was so interesting how Alex Korb had broken down neuroscience in really easy, actionable steps,” she said. “One thing that he spoke about quite profoundly was that there’s one thing knowing about the mind—knowing that exercises are good for us—but there’s another thing about doing something. But it’s very difficult to ‘do’ mindfulness.”
After three years of neuroscience research alongside Korb and earning her certification as a breathing specialist, Poppy launched Happy Not Perfect to do just that. Discovering that the brain's neuroplasticity means that it can be reshaped and retrained at any age was a watershed moment for Poppy, and forms the core intention of the app: to retrain our brains to prioritize happiness over perfection. Designed to steer overextended idealists away from reaching burnout, the clean interface is user-friendly and instills a feeling of serenity. The notifications shy away from acting as a stress trigger, and instead range from positive affirmations to gentle reminders like ‘The Refresh’, a seven-step exercise designed to start your day off with mindfulness.
“When I first launched [Happy Not Perfect], no one was really talking about mental health. No one was sharing about mental health. Now… people are being so open and saying ‘Yeah, this is what I’m doing.’ It’s like people posting gym selfies,” she said. “We all do that, and now people are all actively sharing how they’re looking after their minds. People go on Instagram and they post their Grateful Journal or they post screenshots of ‘The Refresh’. That’s been a real surprise for me.”
Starting the day the Poppy way means setting aside time for a five minute deep dive into mindfulness. “We’re the first kind of mind gym that uses interactive exercises to exercise your inner happiness muscles,” she said. “Science has proven we have a 40% control over how happy we are. That’s a huge amount! If you were doing a test, that’s the difference between an F and an A. But like any other part of our bodies—just like brushing our teeth—we need to take action to look after our mind.” Backed by extensive research, ‘The Refresh’ is made up of seven key activities from deep breathing exercises to ranting about mood triggers and setting them on fire with the touch of a finger, compacting wellness into less than five minutes. Happy Not Perfect also distills professional research on mental wellbeing into expert-directed articles aimed at handling stress related to work, relationships, and snackable, clinical-based courses.
“Technology is going to be part of our lives, so let’s use it for its most positive ability, which is to be on hand with information at all times,” Poppy said. “That’s what [Happy Not Perfect] serves—it’s a positive tool to help you feel your best regardless of what you’re going through.”
This year we wish you all the best health to attack and accomplish any opportunity that may come to you and we hope that meeting Poppy and discovering the tools she’s built to look after your mental health.
Happy New Year.
By Lauren Sarazen for Semaine.
One month premium for free
Meditation Set Cornflower Blue Zafu and Flat Mat
Make Good Fitted T-Shirt
HNP Magic CBD Drops - 500mg
Cashmere Track Pants - Navy
Apple Watch Series 3
In our quest for connectivity, we double down on apps designed to streamline our lives. Poppy’s picks will put the pep back in your step and decompress the stress.
How to Breathe Better
Who knew we were doing it all wrong?! As a certified breathing instructor, Poppy swoops to save us all from out shoulder breathing. Take a deep breath, and read on… (Then take another deep breath because the one you took the first time was probably wrong).
Hockney Posters Hardcover
Berlin stretch-jersey bodysuit
Bel Ritual Candle
LoRox Aligned Foam Roller
Blue Light Blocking Screen Protector
Bring Happy Not Perfect off your phone and into your physical life with the latest swag even Poppy can’t live without—from the ultimate weighted eye mask to peppermint CBD oil.
Feel Good Classic Hoodie
Zafu Buckwheat Cornflower Blue
Happy Facts Tee
Chill the f**k out spray
After our shoot, we sat down with Poppy for a round of quickfire questions on what Happy Not Perfect is all about.
Belly breathing and taking a cold shower, both activate your vagus nerve to move you from the fight and flight state into the rest and relaxed state.
Oh god.. natural response would be flight and after a pep talk, fight.
Freddie for making me celery juice this morning. Lily for being a great friend and forcing me to take a break and I feel so much better for it! My mum for chatting to me for the past hour about something I’ve been worrying about. (And of course my health is always a top one!)
Complete the Refesh on the Happy Not Perfect app and once you’ve processed these thoughts.... Exercise!!!! Or put on your favourite tune and sing or dance at the top of your lungs/ dance around your living room! (Sorry that’s 3 but you need a 360 approach to bust a bad mood)
Being on the ocean or with my family laughing about something silly.
Daffodil ... I know, odd but for some reason I just love it.
Hmmm become more fun as I’m worrying less about tomorrow!
Face your fears... the only way to overcome uncomfortable feelings is to face them head on and move through them. Nothing is as bad as your mind imagines it to be, have courage friends.
To think a little more before I send emails and messages! A few more seconds reviewing often helps prevent reactive responses... and leads to better outcomes and to care less about the things I can’t control.
Poppy’s Essential Reading
Happy Not Perfect distills volumes into concise, accessible tips. Feeling like you just want more? Read along with Poppy and discover the diverse possibilities of your brain.
Dare to Lead
The Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success
The Upward Spiral
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Principles: Life and Work
How to Be Human: The Manual
Poppy’s 10 Destinations to Unwind
Pack your bags to take a wander around the world to some of Poppy’s favourite places to slow down. Although Poppy wants you to know, "the truth is, with the right tools and right practices, you can unwind anywhere, without having to spend a fortune on flights or retreats. Often just taking a weekend ‘offline’ can be the reset you need, be that at home in your own apartment or a staycation wherever you live. Below are some amazing places and people around the world who offer ‘detoxes’- but remember - you have the power to find calm no matter what is going on around you."
Big Dot Sock - Blue & Orange
The Bigger Carry-On
No. 56 Yogi cashmere-blend track pants
Doon Cashmere Scarf
Self cleaning water bottle
Earbud Plus Earphones Cobalt
Lattice knit cashmere cover hot water bottle
Yoga Matt Bag
SDU low-top trainers
Inver Rib Knit
Self cleaning water bottle
SHA Magazine 2
24H Cream 50 ml
The Ranch Malibu
Muesli 400 g