FRAHM is an extension of my beliefs, so I feel it’s appropriate for my brand to help on a human level. It’s an amalgam of my obsession with the joy of the outdoors (jackets), self expression (creativity), doing the best job I can (quality & detail) and helping people not to suffer as I and so many have (Mind Charity association and talking honestly about mental health stuff).
First off, I am doubling our donation to Mind, the mental health charity, from £10 to £20 for every jacket sold from now on.
Now, whatever your mental state, here’s my practical unpretentious (moi?) guide to feeling less sad and worried:
Walk 15 hours a day. Throw your dog it’s stick until your elbow disintegrates. Wild swim until your dick drops off.
That’s what I want to do (apart from the dick bit). It’s hard to spend too much time out in nature. Nature kills (viruses, hurricanes, bears) but almost entirely it gives. We are animals. We roam. We need forests, lakes, sky, rain, wind. Get in it.
Embrace the simplicity. The ability to calm your thoughts. The joy of movement. Learn to love the cold rain hammering your eyelids. Now you know you’re alive. This complicated modern-life bollocks will fade. Find calm.
EXERCISE IS THE HOTTEST DRUG
When I was at my lowest, my wife would stand over me until I’d put on my cycling kit (have you ever stood over a grown man putting on bib-shorts? It’s not nice). She’d push me out the door and I’d ride.
I have NEVER felt worse for riding a bike. EVER. I could leave literally contemplating ending myself, and gradually, rise and rise to a place of quiet thrall with the world. Sometimes I come back like Tigger - bouncy bouncy. Sometimes ok, instead of awful. But I’d always come back better than I left.
Exercise IS a drug - it’s hormonal. But it’s also mental. They call it mindfulness *shriek*. You can feel your body working. You appreciate it. Breathing makes you remember you’re alive. You exist. Your world shrinks, yet expands. Your thoughts calm. You are achieving something - self worth, no matter how small.
I’m lucky - I’ve always loved being active. I enjoy going to the gym FFS. Don’t trust my opinion.
Do DO something though. It will accelerate until you do love it. Get on that horse. Punch the privet hedge. Do forward rolls. Climb the apple tree in the back garden and eat crisps (I’ll turn a blind eye). Do anything - remind yourself you have this wonderful fleshy muscular gift. It’s fucking amazing (even if it wobbles a bit).
SOCIAL MEDIA IS THE DEVIL
My business is built from Instagram. This troubles me, so I make sure what I put on there is a help, not a hinderance to our wellbeing. Because social media really is stuffing us up. It is natural for us to seek information - we’re inquisitive creatures. But algorithms reward the scary stuff. We are being brainwashed by negativity reaching the top of the pile.
So cut it out. Leave your Twitter. Close your Facebook. Leave the attention seekers and panic merchants to their clickbait. Or mercilessly cull your feeds. Remove the trolls, the flappers, the nasties. Keep the kind, the positive, the helpful listeners.
Maybe leave it all. I left it for 6 months in 2017 - the difference is scarily good.
IF SOCIAL MEDIA IS THE DEVIL, BOOZE IS THANOS*
*Or some other baddie, depending on what you’re into. To be honest this analogy is one of my very worst.
Thanos is cool because he's naughty. He’s fun. He’s purple. He’s powerful. He has a lot of (in my opinion rather gaudy and ostentatious) rings. He’s also a dick. Just like alcohol.
I wrote one of my most-read blogs on my mixed relationship with booze. Drinking is kind of nice. It’s also kind of not.
If you’re felling low, anxious, not sleeping, plain old depressed - alcohol is not your friend. I know it’s hard - alcohol numbs, it distracts. But you pay. If I have a glass of white wine on a weeknight, the next morning I’m a tired, grumpy, snappy, fuzzy, sullen bastard. I’m not even depressed.
Booze is a poison and a depressant. Don’t put shit in your body and feel worse. Tough it out and drink lemonade (the cloudy stuff). You’ll get addict to how much better you feel. Plus, you’ll probably lose a tonne of weight (see earlier reference to wobbly bits).
NB: I do still have the odd beer.
IT’S NOT NEWS UNLESS IT’S BAD NEWS
True story: I was looking for a hilarious image of Thanos and came across this pop-up. Come on guys, really? This is what I mean: Paid Panic Content. FFS.
No news is good news. So they make sure it’s always bad news.
Once you’re online, you can start going down the fear warren. They want your little innocent fluffy white bobtail bobbing down into their filthy satanic depths. One tunnel, another, another. Fear. Worry. More clicks. More revenue. More sadness and worry.
I’ve changed my mind about what we should do about Coronavirus every damned day for the past two weeks. I read this I read that. I have a life-science degree and a reasonably serviceable brain - I don’t know the answers.
Control what you can control. Know what you need to know. Be sensible, then stop filling your head with that guff.
Fill your head with this instead:
You don’t have to paint the Sistine Chapel (they would be extremely angry if you did).
Write the crap in your head down. Write poems that nobody will read. Hell, show them to someone you’re scared of showing them to. Build a business plan for that Robotic Ferret Fusser idea that you keep talking about. Design a boat. Paint anything. Do what you fancy.
This is all about being you. Challenge yourself. Remind yourself of who you are. Free of judgement.
To inspire you first, absorb Dickens and Azimov, inculcate Beck or Otis, devour Scorcese and Pixar, bathe in Kalo and Klimt - remind yourself of humanity’s extraordinary beauty, complexity and kindness.
DON’T BE A DICK
Do the right thing. You’ll sleep better (with that boring herbal tea you had instead of a nice whisky). Kindness makes you happy. It does go round. Don’t burden yourself with selfishness. Give something of yourself to make yourself more whole.
Sorry, strayed into mawkish self-help speak there. Apologies, lads.
HUMANS ARE LOVELY
It’s easy, amongst the Facebook twattery and Twitter trollery to forget that almost everyone is actually really smashing.
People are pretty bloody lovely. Find lovely people. Be lovely. Feel sorry for the dickheads - they’re sad, angry, lonely - they need help, not our anger.
I find pity helps me (just about) ignore toilet roll hoarders. It’s just toilet rolls. They’re probably just scared. Being scared is ok.
GET LOST IN THE STARS
I take great comfort in knowing, as I stare up (literally every clear night before bed) at the stars, that we are utterly utterly insignificant.
Gas bills, Love Island, past failures, saying the wrong thing at work - these huge balls of super heated plasma in that insane expanse of freezing vacuum couldn’t give two lukewarm farts about your life or anyone else’s.
Space does judge. It doesn’t care. It doesn’t hate you. It just is.
I like that.
Your life is how you perceive it. That’s not easy. But be glad you’re here. It’s pretty bloody amazing. That you breath in billions of unseeable oxygen molecules that travel around attached to iron in your blood cells, setting off little energy reactions that move your fat thumbs is FUCKING AMAZING.
Nature is awesome. Sometimes it makes viruses. Viruses are rubbish, but they’re not out to get us. They haven’t got a mean bone in their body. They just ‘happen’.
What matters is your experience of Life. Breathing. Kissing. Wishing you were kissed. Seeing trees. Absorbing and giving kindness. Moving. Being.
Everything isn’t fine. People suffer. You have and will suffer again. I have. My wife has. What brings me unavoidable sadness is my kids will too. That idiot who cut you up at the junction as well. We’re all just trying our best. But we can try better.
Better is simple, outdoors, moving, creating, learning, being kind.
If you're feeling really ill and can't cope, please please contact Mind, your doctor, tell someone close, or a stranger like a counsellor.
Do that instead. Doing helps. Do. Do good. Keep doing.
Go get ‘em cowboy. x
I wanted to capture the lurid neon cityscapes that I obsess about.
FRAHM has its first employee. Emmalou, my wife & partner of 24 years.
It’s a perfect fit, apart from our little rages.
We are honoured to work with a true legend on our new scarf range.
Enjoy a tour of the beautiful and inspiring Johnstons of Elgin, Scotland.