Yinka Bokinni is used to being the nation’s morning motivator - waking people up on the airwaves from 6.30 to 10am every morning over on Capital Xtra. But having beans during the breakfast show doesn’t mean she’s immune to feeling crap.
We’re catching up as part of ITV2 and CALM’s How We Move series – a new show that’s all about finding new ways to look after your mental wellbeing. And for Yinka, it all comes down to liking the person you are.
“At the end of the day, you’re the person that you go to sleep with at night, and you’re the person that you wake up with in the morning. You’ve got to look after yourself. People think that their brain is just there, but it’s like everything else. It’s something you need to work out, work on, and work with. When you realise that, you can create little processes that help you get through the day, the week, the month, the year.”
Being kind to yourself is a phrase that’s full of stereotypes and cliches that belong on a virtual shelf alongside ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ and ‘Learning to dance in the rain.’ But it doesn’t have to be about scented candles and bath bombs. Yinka brings it back to basics.
“I always say to myself ‘would you say this to your friend?’. It’s as simple as that. I'm the sort of person who, even when good things happen, I think about how I could do better. I'm really hard on myself, but if my mate gets a high score on a video game, I’m immediately celebrating them. You need to be your own yas queen.”
So what does that look like day to day? Whether she’s in the studio or at home, a simple check in with herself makes a huge difference.
“If I'm looking in the mirror and I'm feeling a bit butters, or I've done a job and I'm not particularly happy with the way that I've done it, I think ‘would you say this to your friend?’. If the answer's no, I know I’m being way too hard on myself. Ultimately, you would never sit there and just berate your friend the way you do to yourself. You’ve got to show yourself respect.”
While Yinka is open about when she’s struggling now, it hasn’t always come easily. One of seven siblings, she wishes they’d known earlier that chatting about how they’re feeling, would have loads of benefits.
“I've got a huge family. And when it comes to mental health, I wish we’d started talking about it sooner. When people love you, when people opt into your life, friends, family, partners, whoever, they want all of you. And I think when you’re going through a rough patch, you can almost convince yourself that you have to face it alone. When actually, if you flip it around - you always want people to confide in you. And you always want people to tell you what's wrong. Your friends, family, significant others, they feel the same way. And I think that's a long lesson to learn.”
Yinka has a great support network, but still struggles after the loss of her mum. She thinks there needs to be more conversations around grief and loss - after all, it’s something we all go through at some point in our lives.