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 2019 – 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.”
Images by Claudio del Olmo
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.
"3 Tips for Mindfulness (without the bullsh*t)"
In this video, Poppy talks us through the functions of her app 'Happy not Perfect', and if you skip to a little later on, leads us in an empowering meditation to set our minds straight.
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.
Happy Not Perfect
“The HNP App I use before I go to sleep. The new feature is a sleep wind down, and it gives me a 5-minute ritual to reflect on my day. For example, if I have a stressful day, it will ask me to think about what I can learn from the experience, and I find that really helpful because it reminds me that every emotion we feel, we can learn something from, and so it encourages you to extract the learning from all of the things you go through whether we like them, or if they are potentially less pleasant.”
Mind Stream Music
“Mind Stream is a collection of ambient music, without lyrics and you can find it across any music streaming platform. It is music that has been specially curated by the composers to either help you go to sleep or de-stress from the day or help you focus. I stream their music quite a lot when I am working to help me stay concentrated. They have actually just integrated on HNP too, so I listen to their sleep music on there.”
“I found this series to be such a lovely escape into this romantic world, and I thought it was so well put together.”
My Octopus Teacher
“An amazing documentary about how a diver learned so much by befriending an octopus. It was such a delightful reminder about how much we can learn from nature around us, and seemingly no one has ever celebrated the octopus- it almost seemed normal and mundane, but actually it was just a beautiful documentary to shed light on how wonderful these creatures are.”
Happy Not Perfect
“A weekly show, and each week a new thought leader comes in. It is my heart and joy! It is a conversation with someone who is an expert in the mind, soul, science field. I have interviewed a lot of authors, including Doctor Tara Swart. Each of the guests blow my mind, whilst soothing my soul! From psychiatrists, psychologists, mindfulness leaders, and inspirational people.”
"The Happy Shop"
Bring Happy Not Perfect off your phone and into your physical life with the latest swag even Poppy can’t live without.
Happy Factor Adaptogens
Blue Zafu Meditation Cushion
"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.”
Snapper EX32 7JY
“Obsessed! You give up caffeine, you are in nature; I felt like a completely different person. The people who run it are so lovely, and it just couldn’t be more wholesome. It is amazing if you want to get fit and lose a bit of weight, or just feel healthy!”
5 Carrer del Verderol
“Beautiful space where they combine Western and Eastern philosophies. It is such a gift to yourself! You leave feeling so clean inside and out. The treatments are world-class, and their practitioners are absolutely phenomenal. The treatments are very forward-thinking, and they can also provide allergy tests. It is a 360 well-ness retreat!”
9082 Maria Wörth
“A very effective health retreat for anyone that needs a pit stop; to refuel, refresh, and recharge.”
“A real dive into Ayurveda treatments. The food, the treatments are deeply, deeply relaxing, and in such a beautiful setting.”
Four Seasons: Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat
71 Boulevard du Général de Gaulle
“I went there with my best friend and business partner Suki Waterhouse, and we had such a wonderful time. We thought it was just the most beautiful place in the South of France, and it is lovely for anyone who wants a luxurious mini-break!”
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
by Brené Brown
“Brené has been such an inspiration of mine because she addresses the complexity of being human in such an honest
and funny way.”
“I read this book when I was 15 and it completely changed my life! Because it very simply explains what the title suggests- the spirituality behind your success. It helps teach us to live a life of giving and not just getting.”
“This book inspired the Happy Not Perfect app. I read this when I was 25, and I ended up working with Alex Korb,
who is a neuroscientist at UCLA. He breaks down the brain in such an easy to understand way.”
Principles is a big inspiration for my book. It is a man that has just got so much wisdom, and I think it is always really interesting to read books by people who have had so much life experience; that they are able to impart on the pages.”
“I absolutely fell in love with this book- because it is about how there is no such thing as coincidence. If we wish to see these synchronised events; it is a sign that everything is unfolding in exactly the right way.”
“After learning about the mind for the last five years and speaking to all of these world leaders in the field for my podcast; I realised that the power to be flexible and bend is our greatest superpower.”