Tag: mental-health

Thursday thoughts.

Whenever I am feeling a bit “off”, be that anxious, a bit down or really frustrated, I like to find great quotes to fill my mind with and get myself headed in a better direction. I really think that our thoughts are powerful. They determine the energy we put out to other people and they can affect our health. Here are the things that are soothing me today…

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I’ve decided that whenever I am feeling conflicted or I find myself thinking negatively about people or circumstances, I am going to ask myself this question. Is this worrying/resentment etc good for my soul? Maybe not. I must remember to look after myself, rather than expend my energy on being annoyed or worried about other things or people that I ultimately have no control over.

I must do what is good for my soul and keep it healthy.

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I tend to be an over thinker. Which can be a good thing (it’s great for blogging and for having a greater understanding of myself and the people I meet) but sometimes I don’t know how to switch off. I can find myself worrying about the future or over thinking the past. I need to take a deep breath and be here in the ‘now’. Right now is good. Right now I am sitting at my dining table while my Little Mister plays, the sun is out and right here in my bubble of ‘now-ness’ everything is good. What a relief. I must remember to take life moment by moment when it starts getting away from me in my head.

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I must remember that those frustrating little hiccups in life do indeed pass eventually. That dreaded task you have to do will eventually be done with. That stressful deadline for whatever it is will come. And go. That miserable weather that’s getting you down will eventually make way for sunny days. That phase your toddler is going through will pass and that will probably be bittersweet so just go with it. It won’t last forever. Some things pass us by quicker than others, but most of those ‘every day’ type stresses will make way for better things. This quote really helps to put most things in perspective. I feel very fortunate that it applies to my life.

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Oh yes. Our brains can really play tricks on us. Sometimes we can let our inner voice be really mean. I am choosing to not believe every single thing my brain tells me. My brain can be a lying liar with its pants on f*cking fire sometimes. Especially when I’m anxious or angry. I need to always stop and ask myself – what evidence is there that the worst case scenario is actually happening or going to happen? Am I really as awful as my mind is telling me right now? Let’s be honest, probably not. Being able to recognise when this is occurring can be the difference between sanity and…the alternative! It can make the difference between positive and negative thinking.

I need to discriminate between true intuition and false thoughts that are destructive (and not good for my soul – see above).

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Unfortunately, there are people in this world who would rather squash your spirit so that they can feel better about themselves, rather than be inspired to raise themselves up and become better. It can be really helpful to recognise when this is happening. I have made a vow to myself to never lower myself to a level of behaviour that I am not OK with. It’s not worth it just to fit in, make your point or to make peace. The price your soul pays each time this happens is just too great. I am all for compromise, but it must go both ways for the betterment of a situation. NOT because someone wants to put me in my place or make themselves feel taller by standing on my shoulders. Those sorts of people get rather heavy after a while, don’t you think?

I will happily give somebody a hand up or support them as they make great changes, but it won’t come at the cost of my ability to live with who I am.

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Here’s a lovely one. As I look forward to Christmas (sorry to mention it before December haha), this is really important to me. I hope that I can show a generous spirit to those around me. The benefits of being generous of spirit are just too good to ignore! Putting all that positive energy and love out there is a beautiful thing. It’s not all about money or material things either. It’s about sharing your abundance, whatever that might be, with others. It could be a donation to charity or a thoughtful Christmas gift. But it can be as simple as a smile, a listening ear or great thought put into what we do for others. These things cost nothing to give.

I hope you all have a wonderful day.

How to stay (relatively) sane on the internet.

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The internet can be an amazing forum/resource for parents (especially those of us who are new to the game), because it can offer us support groups online, and gives us a connection to other people, even when we’re stuck at home feeling a little isolated.

On the flip side, it can be a nightmare! There is information out there that is very dubious. There are people everywhere who think that having an opinion and a keyboard qualifies them to insult, degrade and fight (dirty ugly fighting) with those who have a different opinion and a keyboard too. There is a flood of articles thrown at us daily on how to do this, how to do that. It can make your head spin. It can make you feel worse.

Yeah, yeah. You’ve probably read these ‘how to have a good time on the internet without being a douche bag’ guides and tips a million times over and I have debated with myself over whether to even bother. BUT I think it bears repeating sometimes. At least here is my own personal spin on it all. These are the things I try to do. The things that help me to stay sane.

Stop reading if it makes you feel icky.

It’s that simple. You know that sinking feeling you get when you read something that makes you feel bad about yourself? Or perhaps you read something that makes you feel anxious because it makes you feel judged and makes you question everything you do? Sometimes it’s our own sensitivities or insecurities on a given day, other times it’s because the writer is inciting these feelings. It really doesn’t matter. If you feel icky, you need to take a moment. Y’know? Perhaps reading that thing isn’t the best thing for your mental health right now. Take a break.

If something you read makes you see red, if it makes you so angry that all you can think is four letter words towards the writer/website/Facebook page, that is a lot of negativity to be bathing yourself in. Scroll past. Unfollow. Do what it takes to not willingly return to such material. You don’t need that in your life! It’s wasted energy we could be using to better our own lives or the lives of those we care about. I mean, you could have been using that time to laugh at videos of Jimmy Fallon’s lip synching battles on YouTube, instead of reading about that writer who hates SAHMs/working mums/breastfeeding mums/bottle feeding mums/school mums/funny mums/serious mums/mums who are pretty and fit/mums who are overweight/mums who…you get the idea. Don’t buy into the hate-fest.

If the writer doesn’t write in a way that shows you the respect (you can respect people even if they do not share your opinion), do not give them the time of day. They haven’t earned it.

Do not bite the click-bait. 

Ever read those provocative headlines? The spiel before a link to an article, which is designed to entice readers into clicking and giving a website a lot of traffic? Some of it is just blatantly designed to get us hate-reading by inciting an outrage within us, which makes us say, “WHO WOULD SAY THAT HORRIBLE THING? I MUST KNOW.”

It’s so tempting. SO tempting. I’m trying harder to resist. I want to read things because I want to learn something, not because the website has tried to suck me in for negative reasons.

“WHAT THIS MUM DID NEXT WILL HAVE YOU OUTRAGED.”
“THIS WRITER HATES CHILDREN AND HERE’S WHY…”

You know the kind. If a website is resorting to that kind of manipulation, that says a lot. It also says a lot that it’s probably, sadly, working. I want to try harder to not be a part of the problem. If I know I’ll be angry when I read it, that’s not a good space to be in. I don’t need the virtual drama cluttering my head.

Keep it classy. 

Often people use the old, “it’s my freedom of speech” excuse for being a**holes. Yes. We are all entitled to our opinions. We are allowed to disagree with other people on an unlimited range of topics. But in my mind we have a responsibility in how we express them. You don’t need to attack somebody else’s character, belittle them, wish awful things on them or enter into a week long commenting argument with them to make your point. Try to be eloquent. Make your point in a way that might actually get through to the other person. Calling them fifty names probably won’t help the situation. If you are truly passionate about telling someone else what you need to say, then make sure your communication is effective. It ceases to be effective if you are insulting somebody. All they will see is the insults and not the message. You’re better than that. And that goes for passive aggressive comments disguised as constructive feedback. Come on. We’re not stupid. That doesn’t count as taking the high road! It’s not genuine. Just LET IT GO.

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And? If you’ve shown all the class you can show and the recipient doesn’t want to understand or refuses to reciprocate? LET IT GO. They’re just strangers on the internet who disappear when you turn off your computer (or click unfollow). You don’t need to win them over to know that you’re an awesome person.

Yay! 🙂 You are, by the way.

We can pick our battles too. People power definitely has a place (advocating for the equal rights of all people is important), but sometimes silence can be a dignified response – it can be all something deserves.

Think critically. 

Where is this information coming from? What are the interests of those publishing it? What are their motives? Are they a reliable source? Are they using reliable sources? This helps me to sort the junk from the stuff I might want to be paying attention to. I know not to get my knickers in a knot over stuff that has little credibility. I won’t be taking their advice to heart, that’s for sure.

Also? This includes reading all of the article/blog post carefully. Dissect the writer’s intentions. Where are they coming from? What are they really saying? Read it a couple of times if you have to and carefully consider your own response. If the writer explicitly says, I don’t agree with ‘a’ but I do understand why some people do, then don’t rant at the writer about how they are agreeing with ‘a’ and how wrong they are. It will undermine your credibility if other readers can see that you haven’t taken your time to understand what the writer is saying.

Have empathy. 

You might not agree with the writer or what they do might not feel right for you, but if you put yourself in their shoes for a minute, you might understand their intentions and be able to give constructive feedback. Also, it’s not always somebody’s fault if they do not ‘know better’. They might be struggling or simply not have certain tools to work with. You can’t always know the whole story in a few hundred words. You can either be a helping force or a negative, judgemental one. How would you like to be spoken to if you’d had the courage to put it all out there?

Come at it with a positive approach.

Proofread! 

Lastly, if you are a blogger or a commenter, re-read your comment/blog post before clicking ‘post’ or ‘publish’. I try to re-read everything I write – more so if I know I’m commenting on a contentious issue. I make sure I’m not letting my emotive response overtake my message. I make sure I haven’t insulted anyone. I make sure that I’ve said it in a way that it can be read easily (I am a waffler and I am sorry haha). I remind myself that I am saying something in a public manner. This has saved me many a time. I’ve even written comments and then deleted them when I realised I was not offering something relevant or helpful to a discussion. It reassures me that I won’t write a knee jerk response before I can calm down and think about it rationally. I only want to write things that will let me sleep at night!! There is nothing worse than saying that silly thing and then feeling haunted by it (or worse feeling the backlash over something you didn’t really mean to say because you didn’t think it out).

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I know I am not perfect so I don’t mean to preach. I am just passing on the stuff I’m working on. ‘Working on’ being the operative words. I mostly just hope that I’ve made a space where my readers feel free from all the crap out there.

I feel like parents in blog land and on social networks need to band together more. Have a supportive, nurturing approach, not a shaming, judgemental one. We have such great opportunities to build online communities and to learn so much from each other. Let’s not waste them with ‘mummy wars’ (just that term makes me want to spew a little in my mouth). Let’s not fall for the tricks of those bigger websites (who shall remain nameless) that rejoice when we go into a frenzy. We are seriously better than that. We are amazing people from all walks of life. Let’s not lose perspective.

And did I mention that you’re absolutely gorgeous and you’re doing great stuff? 😉

Do you have anything to add to my list of tips? What do you think? 

World Mental Health Day: My promise.

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I have a confession. I am an appointment putter-offer. I find ways to procrastinate when it comes to my health and well-being. I am by no means a martyr (trust me), but I just let time get away from me. I support my husband in making the appointments he needs to and I will always have the Little Mister’s back. I just can’t seem to be as motivated to do it for myself. I don’t say this with any smug pride about putting everyone else first. It really isn’t a great thing. I admire those who remember themselves and make sh*t happen. I know that for my family to function, I need to function!

I often wait too long. Whether it’s for me-time like beauty maintenance or for regular health checks (skin, lady things etc), I always wait until I’ve lost the plot before I make those calls and commit to those times. I always wait until the fatigue, anxiety, resentment or lack of confidence in myself have gotten on top of me. I always seem to wait until I’ve snapped at someone or had a mini meltdown. Because that’s healthy.

Sure, sometimes circumstances might mean that it’s impossible to do these things at the optimum time for my sanity, but I need to try harder, that’s for sure.

Sometimes I get annoyed at Mr Unprepared because he just decides on what he needs to do for himself – socialise, make appointments etc – and then he does them. Not a bloody care in the world! No guilt! I get so jealous. SO JEALOUS. But I need to take his lead more. I need to stop telling myself it’s too hard. I need to stop talking myself out of everything. I need to stop getting so ridiculously guilty about asking someone else to take care of the Little Mister for a few hours here and there. I need to be a bit more honey badger (honey badger don’t give a sh*t) and put myself first when I need it. Before the meltdown. It’s called maintenance and that’s perfectly justifiable and why haven’t I ever thought of it this way before??

Yesterday I took the whole morning to myself. I used a spa voucher from my sister and brother in law to get my nails done. It was glorious. I got to soak my feet in a petal filled tub and everything. There was peaceful music playing. I could talk to the beauty therapist without being interrupted. I could also just sit back and say nothing and soak up the quiet. QUIET. I got to leave the spa with the fingernails (and toe-nails) of a chick who looks like she’s got her sh*t together. Hell, my nails are so hot right now. I could almost be the next Pinterest nail model (if there was such a thing). I am THAT on trend. And while I am not easily sucked into the superficial, there is a bit of a thrill about that. Just a reassurance that I haven’t totally lost touch! Cool stuff doesn’t have to just be for everybody else to enjoy!

I am so glad that even though the voucher still had about six months left on it, I got on with it. I booked it (a big step for me haha). I was so grateful for such a gift. I also got to feel even more guilt free because I didn’t have to pay anything – so basically it was perfect! Awesome! Also, my parents stepped up and took the Little Mister when my brother was feeling ill and couldn’t (although it is always SO appreciated that he’s willing to do that for me)! Thanks, family.

Today is World Mental Health Day. Last night I visited the website and made a mental health promise to myself (they have a really cool Promise Wall which you should really check out and post your own promise too). I had only 140 characters to work with, but basically I called myself out on all of the above. I will look after myself. Maintain instead of fall apart (physically and mentally).

I chatted with Mr Unprepared about my promise last night. He told me that he has my back. Always good to hear.

I am lucky to have the support network and resources in my life that I do. I need to utilise these sometimes.

What promise would you make for yourself and your mental health? Leave a comment!

Let’s take it sloooooooow.

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That’s it. It’s Friday. We’ve made it to Friday. I declare this Friday to be Slow Day. What is Slow Day? Well, seeing as I made my own version of this up (literally a couple of hours ago), I suppose I am the only person who can tell you.

Today is about slowing down. No rushing. No ‘busy’. No lists to tick off – I am so good at lists, you guys…well, writing them anyhow. There have been many busy days before this day and there will be many after it. But today I am taking it slow and easy. I figure a slow day is not a ‘do nothing’ day. It’s just a day where I won’t be feeling like a chook with its head cut off. I won’t be freaking out. I will take the stress element out of it. I will do things with  intention. I will be in the moment. I will enjoy it. Speed and deadlines will not be the answer. Moving fast in order to avoid certain thoughts or feelings is out of the question. I’ll just choose to be happy and content.

I’ll always have my SAHM stuff to do, but as I look around, I see a happy toddler and a place that isn’t perfect but is ‘under control’. I have some cute secret squirrel things to prepare for Mr Unprepared’s birthday (tomorrow!!), some meals to plan and some details to iron out, but I’ve decided that none of it is a ‘big deal’. This is absolute luxury. It’s the equivalent of what pre-kid me would have felt about a week away on holiday in a beautiful beach house. Yep. Slow Days are what I dream of when things get hectic.

I thought I’d be bored, a little down and feeling kind of like I wasn’t anchored to anything when we got home from our month long trip around South Korea and Japan (so much of our lives was consumed for months with planning the trip and then undertaking the once in a lifetime journey). I thought I’d be sitting at home, bored, scrambling for meaning and new activities. Oh, Kez. Gosh your funny little expectations are just so cute. I could not have been more wrong. I am so happy to be home. Investing in my life here more than ever before. It’s so great. It’s just HECTIC. I think I may have become ‘yes’ drunk. I should probably pace myself a little.

Hey, I’m going to go so slow that I bought a new slow cooker for the occasion. Yep. I’m even gonna cook my food slow.

The Little Mister and I are staying in and getting back to basics. He’s going to play and use his imagination with what he’s already got here (he is so great at it). I’m going to drink water, wear ‘soft’ and comfy clothing, soak in the calm, blog (you might have figured that out by this point), chip away at the usual daily chores at my own pace with no real sense of urgency. Get back in touch with my feelings and my soul. Centre myself. Watch the Little Mister grow right before my eyes and cherish where he’s at right now. Today.

Today is not about productivity. It’s just about finding joy in the mundane. A sense of calm.

F*ck, it’s like I think I’m like the new Eckhart Tolle or something (I’m so not) haha.

How would you spend a Slow Day? Do you call it something else? 

Oh and I have to confess something. I’ve become a little obsessed with Taylor Swift’s new song (and video), Shake it Off. It’s shockingly everything I’ve ever wanted to tell myself when I feel a bit down, left out of something (FOMO!) or afraid of being judged or taken the wrong way. It’s the ‘cheer up’ song of the moment and to be honest, the video is just damn cute and she’s so funny that my inner 11 year old girl wants to be her friend. The mum in me can only dream of how wonderful the song’s message is for kids today. Especially after I wrote this other post. Also? It’s damn catchy and it sounds like musical sunshine (oh gosh this is just too much for my ‘alternative’ music loving brain to take).

I’ll leave you with this and then I’ll have to kill you because now you know my embarrassing guilty little pleasure of the moment but not today, because today is Slow Day and you can’t really kill people on Slow Day because it probably isn’t good for your zen or your chi or karma or whatever: 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfWlot6h_JM]

Happy weekend, everybody! x

Words are the new sticks and stones.

Everyone’s heard that saying:

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

I’m sure the expression was created with the best of intentions many years ago, with the message that it’s important to be resilient and have a tougher skin when people say mean things (which is fair enough on some levels and that’s for a whole other blog post), but in all reality, words are so important and shouldn’t be given less significance than physical hurts. It is our responsibility to use our words wisely. I know that as the Little Mister grows up, that is one very important thing (of many) that I want him to know.

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While we’re always drilling home the important idea that we must be strong and choose the way we react to a challenging situation or person, we need to remember that we also need to be considerate of what words we put out into the world for others to react to. Should we be hurting them in the first place? Of course not. Will everyone in the world be nice to us and use kind words? Of course not. But should we try to do/be better than that? F*ck yeah.

Even though, we are supposed to all be ‘tough’ and ‘strong’, some of the worst hurts we look back on in our lives can be very emotional or involve something horrible someone has said that has made you feel a certain way. While in my mind, physical violence is abhorrent and should never ever be tolerated, we need to also remember to never use our words violently – even in the heat of the moment.

Words can constitute emotional violence and abuse. Yes. It’s a thing. A very real, awful, damaging thing. People don’t realise it, but physical violence is actually a tool that abusers use to reinforce their verbal and psychological bullying. It can make or break a person’s self esteem, whether it is a child or a partner. You can only put a person down or use controlling language and threats for so long before they start to believe what you are saying, too afraid to escape a situation. According to the ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics), one in four women report to having experienced emotional abuse, and one in seven men. We need to teach our children not only to not accept this behaviour from others, but also to never be the perpetrators. It starts now. While they’re young. We need to teach them that words matter.

“Whatever. It’s just words. It’s not like I hit anyone…” should never be uttered as an excuse. Ever.

Personally, my worst memories involve the words that people have used. They are the hardest to shake. Sometimes people don’t mean to use their words hurtfully, but can be careless. Once something is said, it cannot be completely unsaid. We need to think before we speak (or type). Especially in this modern age of social media and internet anonymity. Of trolling and cyber bullying.

Think words aren’t that powerful? That words should just be ignored? That people should just ‘get over it’? Maybe consider these things:

Words can make or break a politician’s career. How many times have we judged them on what they’ve said and whether they’ve meant it or not? How many times have we seen a pollie crash and burn because they’ve said something completely intolerable or ridiculous (I can think of several very recent examples)? Or remembered the politicians who said such powerful things that they are forever immortalised by their inspiring speeches?

Without words, blogs (and bloggers like myself) would not exist (nor would lively debates in the comments sections). Books wouldn’t be so powerful. When’s the last time you read a book and thought, ‘Wow. That was so amazing that I couldn’t put it down. That writer really brought the story to life. I shall never read another book again because no book could ever be as good as the book I just read!’
Unless it was a picture book…I’m pretty sure the words mattered the most. With the exception of 50 Shades of Grey of course – I’ve heard it’s terribly written, but somehow it’s sold about a bajillion copies. Still, it consists of words. Words that make people feel things *shudders*.

Same goes for the scripts of TV shows or movies. We fall in love with, or loathe, characters because of the words they use. The way they speak. The stories they tell. We quote them and they become iconic. Sure, there are a lot of things we can like about movies without even hearing the dialogue (hello Channing Tatum!), but it’s the things characters say that tell us the most about them (um…every word ever in The Notebook)!

Without words, we wouldn’t be sucked into clicking everything on the internet ever. Have you ever heard of click bait? Those few words designed to lure you into clicking a link to a blog about something that’s ‘sure to go viral’? You know the type. If it wasn’t for those ‘You’ll never believe what happened next…” thingies, you wouldn’t waste hours of your life in a rabbit hole of crazy internet stories that may or may not be true.

*ahem* not talking about myself here of course *cough cough*

Words are how we sell something. Sure, people would argue that sex sells, but work with me here. If you walk into a store, who is going to convince you to buy that thing? The person who mumbles, accidentally offends you, doesn’t know what they’re talking about and sounds like they’re lying? Or the person who is confident, well spoken, whose words seem honest and genuine? Communication skills are important.

If we’re worried about a loved one, perhaps they’ve gained a little weight or we’re worried about some of their habits, do our words matter then? Um, hell yes. What do you think makes things better?

“Honey, you’re so fat now. Go to the gym. You’re hurting my eyes.”

or…”Honey, I’ve noticed you are not feeling like yourself lately and you’ve lost a bit of confidence because you seem self conscious about your weight. Is there anything I can do to help? Wanna work out together?”

I know what I’d rather hear!! Even for selfish reasons, we need to consider what our words can do. If the result we want is for someone to do something for us, will insults and put downs really work or will kindness and sensitivity get us the results? The way we speak to someone we care about truly matters. It can definitely make or break a relationship. Tact can go a long way.

Why do people go to therapy? Because talking is important.

I can only imagine how many family feuds began because somebody said something that hurt somebody else. Hello, Dr Phil would be out of business if that wasn’t the case!

If words were not a thing, we wouldn’t be able to sue each other for saying nasty, untrue things about each other in the public eye. If words are not that important, we wouldn’t be outraged when somebody writes offensive things on picket signs at funerals or abortion clinics.

We can’t just stand there, quoting our ‘sticks and stones’ crap while living a life that says we do actually really really care what people say. It would be hypocritical. Language and words exist for a reason.

We care if someone is telling us the truth or lying. We care about those text messages that come without emoji to tell us whether it’s a nice one or a mean one (and we won’t admit that we sometimes lose sleep over it). We care about the passive aggressive tactics someone uses to make us feel bad about ourselves (have you ever seen the mother in law on Everybody Loves Raymond?). Entire social movements and campaigns have been created, based on some careless words somebody has said somewhere in the world. For better or worse.

I want my Little Mister to know that words matter. That he can be strong when somebody uses them badly, but that he shouldn’t tolerate it either. I want him to know that if he speaks ill of somebody it will come back to bite him. I want him to know that he can enrich his relationships by using his words lovingly. That if he speaks out of line, he should be quick to mend it with an apology and a heartfelt, “I’m sorry, what I meant to say was…”

That what he writes on the internet can stay there forever.

I want him to be clever. Not to resort to physical blows over some horrible words that have been thrown around. It’s not enough to tell boys and young men to just punch someone to fix a problem. Even if the other person is in the wrong.

Words are used to convey our emotions. To clarify something. To present ourselves in resumes and job interviews. To tell people who we are. To show we care.

I want to use my words to encourage, inspire and uplift my child. I don’t ever want to squash his spirit or hurt his confidence. My words will matter too. There is a best way to use your voice or to say anything important that you feel (even if it’s a touchy subject or it’s not what someone wants to hear). I hope I can lead by example and that person by person, we might make a difference in this world where people seem to have forgotten that words have so much power.

Let’s think before we add more meaningless noise to the world (and even the internet)! Who’s in? x

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Some words I didn’t write.

OK, so last night I went on a bit of a pinning spree (referring to Pinterest by the way). The X Factor grand final was on and I had locked myself out of social media such as Facebook and Twitter out of fear of having the winner revealed to me ahead of time. What else was I going to do?? 😉

Also, there have been a few things on my mind and while some would find it really obnoxious and cheesy, I like to look at inspirational quotes when I feel feelings.

Here are some of the things that resonate with me right now…

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What’s on your mind this week?

Sorry this post is just reposted Pinterest sourced quotes, but I thought I’d just leave it without adding my own comments. I did write some, but thought better of it. I will leave it up to you to take from them what you need most in your own situation xx

 

Note to self: Read this when overwhelmed.

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I really think that being overwhelmed is one of those things that comes with adulthood. Actually, it starts much earlier than that for a lot of us…I guess we become much more aware of it with the responsibilities that trying to be a fully functioning adult can carry. I feel overwhelmed at least once a week fortnight month and each time I am trying to learn how to better deal with it. You may know the feeling – too many tasks to complete, not enough time. Too many people asking things of you, not enough of you to go around. Feeling like you’re super busy all the time getting nothing done. You know when you’re an anxiety ridden mess and you start feeling all snappy, emotionally eating, then bawling when a new task inevitably gets added to your to-do list, sending you over the edge? Just me? Surely not just me 😉

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to navigate through these feelings and I have narrowed it all down to five ways to beat that freaked out, overwhelmed feeling – before it impacts on your mental health and your relationships.

These are (hopefully) not those cheesy things you read all the time, but they come straight from my brain and my own experience. These actually work for me.

Stop being such a bitch…to yourself

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Seriously. Would you take that kind of talk from someone else?? I bloody hope not! When we feel like we can’t do everything on the timeline we hoped for, when we feel like we’re not being everything to everyone no matter how hard we try, when we feel like everyone can see that we’re so obviously not in control, we can resort to self defeating trash talk.

It’s horrible when you start telling yourself, “Everyone will know you’re failing. Look at you, you’re a mess of a person. You’re not capable of being a normal human being. You’re so pathetic. You can’t even get this much done. Everyone else can do it. What a wuss. This will never get done. It’s impossible. You should just give up now. This is too hard. There’s too much. You’re such a crap friend/family member/employee/house keeper/pet owner/parent/any other hat you wear in life.”

Would you let your best friend/child/family members be treated like that? Again, I bloody hope not! So why are you doing it to yourself?

It’s time to think positive. You may not feel positive and that’s OK (you’ll get there), but you need to remember to be kind to yourself. Be your own best motivational speaker. No-one feels inspired when they’re beaten down with harsh words all the time. It’s emotional abuse! Why is it any different when you’re speaking to yourself? Remind yourself that you’re only one person, you’re human and you can’t be responsible for the things you can’t control. It’s OK to only achieve things at a human standard/pace – no need to be a superhero. The people who count will understand that you’re doing all you can. Shock horror, they might even be proud of you just for giving things a go!

Remind yourself of the context of your situation. Maybe you’ve been through a rough/insanely busy time. Maybe you should cut yourself some slack. Maybe when you count out the (wo)man hours you actually had to get a million things done, you’ll realise it would be physically impossible to achieve the things you’ve expected of yourself. Maybe you’ll see that you’ve done the best you can and you should be proud of your efforts. Maybe the things you haven’t got done now are great goals for the near future, not just a list of failures.

Celebrate your achievements – no matter how seemingly small they might be. Don’t forget self care. You need to fuel yourself with positivity so you have the energy to keep going.

Don’t compare yourself to others

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This is something that has taken me almost all of my 29 years as a human to understand. It’s one thing to choose an inspiring person to keep your spirits lifted (“If this person can do it then I can learn from what they’re getting right and I can do it too!”), but it’s another to say, “BUT EVERYONE ELSE HAS A CLEANER HOUSE/BETTER FINANCES/BIGGER SOCIAL LIFE/BETTER ORGANISATIONAL SKILLS/15 CHILDREN AND THEY CAN ALL DO IT ALL BETTER THAN ME.”

You don’t know every person’s story. You don’t know what their lives are like behind closed doors. You don’t know what they’ve sacrificed in order to achieve what they appear to have achieved. They’re not perfect, just like you. I am sure there are the rare ‘almost perfect’ people who really have it all out there, but what are the odds that everyone but you is one of them??

Letting yourself feel inferior based on someone else’s (perceived) successes is only going to hurt one person. You. And like I said earlier, why are you being so mean to yourself???

Just remember that you are doing the best you can with the resources you have. Other people have differently distributed time, energy and resources. You’re just working with what you have. You know how we tell our kids, “As long as you are trying your very best, I am proud of you”?

Let’s take that advice for ourselves!

If you feel like you know you’ve slacked off in certain areas (speaking from experience of course), that’s something you can address – but stay positive! We’re all learning and improving all the time. It’s never too late to try a new approach! x

Focus on what you CAN do, not what you CAN’T do

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It’s always so tempting to focus on the things we’re not getting done. Oh my gosh, I still have THIS, THIS, AND THIS TO DO!!! AND WHAT ABOUT THIS?!!! It’s not possible!! I still have to do this, this this and this before I can do all of those other things I just mentioned!!

Something’s holding you up? Something out of your control is stopping you from achieving something else? Don’t sweat it! It’s not possible right now anyway! Break it all down and think about what you CAN do. Chip away at things. Finding one task really daunting and don’t feel ready to tackle it? Pick out the parts you do feel more confident about – do what you know and the rest will follow. I used to take this approach when I had university assignments coming out of the wazoo. Can’t write this essay from the beginning to end – stuck on the first argument? Get writing – blab on about the things you do know, the things you do want to say. Then research can back it up, a bit of editing…and hey presto, the rest doesn’t seem so horrifying after all. For me it was about not letting the fear of saying the wrong thing (or of failing) get so overwhelming that I couldn’t start.

I think a lot of it was about building confidence.

The same could be said for big jobs around your home (can’t paint that hideous rendering yet but you can go to the hardware store and look at colours), your parenting (not ready for that big change but you can take baby steps in preparation – excuse the pun) or your social commitments (can’t attend the 15 things people have planned then streamline down to the easiest or most important events to attend). Do what you CAN. Let go of what you can’t. Be realistic and confident in your decisions. Remember what I said about being kind to yourself when you can’t do it all at once.

It’s the same with anything. There’s always something you CAN do. Something to nibble away at bit by bit. Channel the energy you would use lamenting at what cannot be done right then and there into what you CAN do right then and there.

Just start SOMEWHERE. The rest will follow.

Communicate communicate communicate! 

Ever felt like you have to handle everything on your own because you think it will prove you to be a stronger person? Bottled up those scary overwhelming stressful feelings and then accidentally unleashed on someone close to you or had a meltdown that has everyone worried? Yeah…I’ve learnt the hard way throughout my life that this isn’t really so healthy.

If your partner (or anyone really) notices that you are tense and asks what’s up, don’t say, “Nothing. It’s fine. I can handle it. Just some stuff. I’ll get over it.” and then proceed to stew away in your own anxious juices.

Open up. Tell someone what’s worrying you. Maybe even ask for help. Admit to the crappy feelings you’re experiencing. Hear their encouraging words (if they are not using supportive language – find someone who will). Let them help you out – even if it’s just having someone listen to you. Maybe once you say it all out loud, you’ll realise it had just got massive in your own head (this happens to me all the time). Maybe it’s time to bring this mountain back down to a nice molehill size again. Maybe your go-to person knows exactly how you feel – maybe they feel the same. Share the burden and maybe this communication will help to bring you closer. It might certainly pre-empt a stupid frustration filled argument or unpredictable eruption of feelings later – that can only be a good thing.

Prioritise and organise! 

When I feel stressed out, I start writing notes in my daily planning diary like a mad person. All of those scary dates and times and invitations swimming in my head are just going to make me feel crazy and out of control if I don’t! I then take everything day by day, safe in the knowledge that what I need to know or do for that day is written down safely in my diary – there’s no need to read fifteen days ahead and scare myself. Just concentrate on one day at a time.

It’s amazing how things get less scary when you’ve organised them somewhere.

Sometimes when you’re stressed and overwhelmed, you need to prioritise. Put the most important things at the top of the list and don’t stress if the not so important things have to wait a while. If it ALL seems super important, then perhaps the chronological one day at a time organisation I mentioned above will help.

Sometimes you need to streamline. You can feel bad sometimes when you have to say no to stuff, but if you are struggling and you are in survival mode, maybe it will really help to let yourself off the hook a little bit. Just for a little while. The people who count for something in your life will understand. You can only do so much. Sometimes it truly is physically impossible to do everything. I’d rather do a few things well, than a hundred things half arsed. I think the people in my life would prefer me that way too.

And here’s one final thought…

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Seriously. Why do we all do this? Ask yourself. Are you busy for the sake of being busy? What would happen if we all just slowed down and said no every now and then? If the only reason we’re busy is so we can tell other people we’re so busy, then it’s time to reassess. Life could be so much calmer and we could be so much more content living in the moment. It’s really hard because we’ve been socialised to believe that ‘busy’ is best. It’s like a competition about who can seem the busiest or the most stressed out. I’m trying to take this off the table. Who knows how much time and energy I can save in my life? 🙂

R U OK?

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Have you ever been in Struggletown (like really really trying to hold onto sanity) and not had the words to tell someone about it? Have you ever felt like talking to those close to you might make them feel burdened with your problems, so you hold onto them tight? Have you ever been scared that you might be considered to be whingey and mopey if you tell people what you’re really going through? Scared you’ll bring everyone down? Annoy them? Or have you held secrets about your well being close to your chest and not known how to express them or feel safe doing so? Have you ever felt that crushing fear of being vulnerable? Putting your heart out on your sleeve?

I have. Many a time. Let’s face it. I’m Kez and I am sh*t at asking for help. I am sh*t at telling people the deep, dark stuff. Truly. You wouldn’t think it. I’m such a bloody chatterbox and I am generally quite in touch with my feelings. I can talk about feelings quite well (mostly in writing or in counselling) but there’s only so far I can go when I am truly having a rough time. It’s not that I don’t trust anyone, far from it. I get scared that I’m going to be that high maintenance friend. That drama llama. Oh, yes. That Kez. She’s got *whispers* issues. All the time. Or sometimes I’m scared that if I say it out loud, I’ll be judged or worse, hurt even more.

I’ve often been known to use my smile to cover my vulnerabilities. Lots of positive talk. A bounce in my step. I wonder if anyone would even think I don’t have an awesome life? I mean, I do. It’s just that when it’s less than awesome, I wonder if anyone can see past my facade. Ironically, sometimes I even cover up my own feelings/struggles by helping others with theirs and neglecting my own…yeah, I know. I promise that’s not what I’m doing while writing this post. PROMISE 🙂

Sometimes in life, you just hope that someone will reach out and ask, “Are you OK?”

Just check in with you and take the fear away.

Well, they asked me if I’m OK so they must want the answer. Maybe it’s OK to tell them the truth. Maybe they don’t see my feelings as a burden after all.

It can feel like such a relief – like you’re able to breathe out again. It can be the start of a rewarding journey back to yourself (or the rest of the world) or it can resolve the horrible feeling of a problem eating away at you. Perhaps when the burden is shared, it lessens.

September 12 (that’s tomorrow) is R U OK Day. It’s something I really believe in and I am so glad it exists. Here’s the little blurb directly from the website:

What is the R U OK? Foundation?

The R U OK? Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to encouraging all people to regularly and meaningfully ask ‘are you ok?’ to support those struggling with life.

R U OK?Day is our national day of action on the second Thursday of September (12 September 2013), and dedicated to reminding people to regularly check in with family and friends. We also have Resources for You to use throughout the year to help you ask ‘are you ok?’ regularly of family, friends and colleagues.

You can visit the website here – you can find advice on how to ask someone if they’re OK as well as inspirational stories about people who dared to ask the question – and those who had the courage to answer them.

You just don’t know if you might be saving a life, by asking such a simple, compassionate question.

While R U OK Day might only be one day, it can inspire you to think about how to ask those you care about how they are throughout the year. I know that this campaign has given me the courage to ask the question many a time where in the past I might have chickened out. What if it’s none of my business? What if I’m intruding? What if I’ve imagined this person’s struggle in my head and I’m going to make a fool of myself? What if asking the question makes the other person run away from me? What if…I get a truly honest, heartbreaking answer and I don’t know what to do about it?

The R U OK Foundation says we just need to listen without judgement – we don’t need to fix everything or have all the answers. Starting the conversation in the first place can be very valuable.

I promise that the times I’ve had to dig deep to take the step of asking someone if they were OK, I have never regretted it. Just listen to your gut – if it’s telling you to ask because you truly care – and don’t ignore it. That person might have needed you to ask that very day. So, you get knocked back? That person still knows you care, even if they’re in too much pain (or even denial) to realise right away.

I have not been asked to promote R U OK Day (although would be very open to it in the future) and have nothing to gain by posting about it. It truly is something that I believe will make the world of difference to someone who is struggling. I’m sure we can all relate on some level as either the ‘asker’ or the ‘answerer’. While I have quoted the R U OK Day Foundation on this post (as clearly as possible), the opinions in it are mine only and I speak from personal experience.

I want my readers (regular or first time visitors) to know that I really do care about your well being.

So I’ll ask the question, which I mean from the bottom of my heart and truly care for the answer.

Are you OK? What’s happening for you right now? How are you feeling?

You can privately message me on Facebook, email me, DM me on Twitter or leave a comment on this post (you may use an anonymous username if you prefer – your email address is never published). Anything you tell me privately will not be shared and will not be judged. I just want you to know that I’m listening.

I hope that you will ask the question tomorrow too. It could be the start of a very important conversation.

x

For one night only.

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So last week I was having some weird moments. I was just mentally…struggling? I don’t know if that’s the right term, but all I know is that I was not my best Kez. I had perhaps a little dose of PMS (yep), my husband was away for a week, I had a lot of sh*t going on in my brain (it was still trying to process the whole previous year month) and I felt like I’d lost my mojo. I was letting all of my insecurities play out in my mind (usually in the mid afternoon when I felt the most bored/drained of energy). Fears of not being the best parent I could be, fears of rejection/being invisible to the world, worrying, worrying and more worrying. I was not eating as well as I had been the months previous (I lost 2.5 kilos by being a good girl) and due to my coccyx being quite badly bruised, I hadn’t been able to get my exercise endorphin hit.

On one particularly rough day/s (my Twitter followers will know exactly which few one because I became some kind of emo annoyance), I checked Facebook (after spending all day being the aforementioned annoyance via tweets) and I saw how wonderful everyone’s social lives appeared to be. I saw how amazing everyone looked (we all show our best sides on Facebook, right?) and I couldn’t take it anymore.

So I did it. At times I felt a little lost. I am embarrassed to say that at one point, I wished to tweet: Have turned off Twitter for the night. Feeling a little lost without it.

Yuh.

Don’t worry. I stopped myself.

We get so used to broadcasting our every thought to every person that nothing is sacred anymore. Now, I’m not really totally against that – how could I be? All you have to do is read back over my timeline to know that I have no right to be a hypocrite about it now! However, occasionally it’s probably a good thing to go old school. Back when you had to actually talk to someone about your feelings. Someone you know. In real life. You had to spend time without all the constant ‘noise’ in your head from seeing every person’s every move ever online. You had time and mental space to actually sort your sh*t out and to think straight. Time to think straight is a commodity for a parent in general as it is!

As I sat at my (new and shiny birthday) laptop, my iPhone nearby, I suddenly realised why there are crazy experiments on current affairs shows all the time where families spend a whole week without technology in order to become more creative, interactive, peaceful people. I wouldn’t go to that extreme, but I kind of get it.

While I had to almost slap myself on the hand to prevent myself from tapping the Facebook icon on my phone or tweeting all my opinions on all things that ever existed on Twitter, I stuck to my guns for a whole evening. And it felt good. I caught up on some TV. I read some inspiring blogs. My thoughts became more positive when I wasn’t secretly (in my mind) snarking about somebody and their posts on Facebook. I didn’t have up to the minute ‘news’ on Twitter to get my knickers in a twist about – politics, human rights, misinformation pertaining to recent terror attacks around the world. Nothing was in “real” time. I was on Kez time. Living Kez moments. Sure, they weren’t the most scintillating moments, but they were mine. Nobody else’s lives injected themselves into my peaceful evening. I didn’t have momentary commentary to react to RIGHT THEN AND THERE.

I found myself wanting to blog, not dreading it. Not overthinking it.

I began to wonder if I could actually go without it for another day. And then maybe another? What stuff could I get done without the constant ‘noise’ in my brain? What awesome things could I think of next? What if I only used the internet for ‘useful’ things – things I wanted to know? Not things that popped up every second in my newsfeeds and timelines, whether I liked it or not? What if I could be in control, just for a little while?

Maybe I’d actually find those healthy recipes I’d been thinking about (and then actually cook them, toddler permitting)? What if I blogged about MY thoughts? Thoughts I might not have had if I’d been busy ‘liking’ everyone’s cute baby photos/duck faces the minute they were posted? What if I kept some special memories just to myself and my little family? That funny thing the Little Mister did, the milestone we all reached together. What if I felt no obligation to just ‘check in’ so that everyone knew what was going on? Who says they wouldn’t find out if they needed to?

I think social media is a wonderful and valuable tool. It connects people to other awesome people they might not have known existed. It keeps people in touch in the easiest, most immediate ways when time and distance can separate them. It is there when you need support (especially as a new parent) and it can even be responsible for positive societal change – people can unite from all around the world to champion a fantastic cause.

Yep. It has its downsides too. There are probably too many to list once you mention the fact that it can be abused. But that’s for another blog post. I am 29 now, not 19. I should be mature enough to do the best thing for myself when I’m feeling down/flat/lonely. And last week it was to switch off the social media sites and to listen to myself.

That afternoon (before the Little Mister was in bed), I picked up the phone and called my mum for a heart to heart. I snuggled with the Little Mister whose fledgling wicked sense of humour and unabashed displays of affection light up my life. I wasn’t distracted by the flash, flash, flash of my phone as notifications rolled in. I zoned out and it felt good. Who hasn’t earnt that after a long hard day? OK, so I retweeted a couple of things…but I was a good girl once the evening rolled around. As I lay in bed, my overwhelming problems turned into achievable goals and solutions. I taught myself new things – things I’d felt held back by because I didn’t know how to do them. I stopped holding my breath, feeling that anxiety in the pit of my stomach.

I didn’t miss it! I didn’t miss the viral posts about how 1000, 000 likes were required to cure some rare disease. I didn’t miss the photos and the status updates as people advertised the best sides of themselves. I didn’t miss the latest celebrity gossip. I didn’t miss that feeling of insecurity that crept up when I didn’t get any ‘likes’ or felt like everyone was having a great time but me.

The next day I felt differently about social media. I realised that I need to be in control of it, not the other way around. It was up to me when I logged in and why. From now on, when I’m feeling blue or insecure, I’m going to switch off. Without feeling weird or …guilty. I’m sure a Facebook message can wait another day for a reply. I don’t have to be switched on 24/7. Who made that rule, anyway (don’t get me started)?

I’m going to slow down and live in the moment. At least as much as I can. Every now and then, at least. Maybe. Look, I’ll just try to be marginally less irritating. I suppose. Kind of. Y’know…

Oh, look at me being all non committal for fear of being a massive hypocritical liar…

In all seriousness, I think it’s all about being mindful. So many times, I stumble upon Facebook and Twitter half awake, bleary eyed. Liking and tweeting without really thinking about it. Letting my mind become flooded with information that I haven’t consciously prepared myself to receive. I think that I can try harder to open these social media apps/sites deliberately. Not just on auto pilot – out of habit. So far, I have been able to do that. I’ve thought about it a lot more. I feel better for it.

I can’t promise that I won’t have my annoying moments on Twitter – no-one’s perfect – but I’ll probably save bucketloads of moolah on therapy by switching off/slowing down every now and then 😉

How do you feel about social media? Hate it? Love it? Love to hate it? x

Weekly Inspiration. Or whatever I end up calling it.

I got such a positivity kick out of writing my last motivation/inspiration post , that I have decided to keep it going. I was going to call it Motivational Monday, but according to Google, that’s not very original. Any ideas?? Oh, well. We don’t have to label everything!

Here are the things that I would like to be inspired by this week!

4ce5d529659fb18bb1a6bd1820f65303This past week, I learnt that sometimes everything is just out of my hands. You have those crazy days where you’re reliant on someone else’s needs/timetables, you can’t control your environment or your child’s routine and you’re completely at the whim of everybody else. It’s good to realise you just have to let go and feel your way through. Trust me. Otherwise it means a whole lot of sleepless nights or tense evenings as you try to plot every little move for the next day, when the truth of the matter is that you can’t.

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And on that note, I must remind myself that worrying about those things I cannot control is just a waste of my energy and time! I must replace worrying, with constructive planning. If there is nothing I can control, I need to just let it go. No more waking in the middle of the night!!!

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OK, so I need to get my butt back in gear. I’ve had a very exhausting week or so and I need to get back on track. I need to not give up on my exercise regime or my calorie control. Just because I mess up a little or get too busy to exercise the way I’d like one day, does not mean I shouldn’t treat each new day as an opportunity to push on in a positive way!

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I need to remember to laugh. Find the funny side of something that at first does not seem so hilarious. Lighten up. Not worry so much. Watch a comedy. Have a secret giggle when the Little Mister is running around in nothing but a nappy, with a stolen broomstick, knocking things over with it and making hilarious faces because he thinks we don’t know (before sneaking up on him and giving him a serious face and a “And…what do you think you’re doing?”). I’ve got to make sure I don’t get bogged down with the intense stuff 🙂

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In real life (and in my blogging), I often find my creativity blocked because I’m too busy worrying about whether or not everyone will be pleased with what I have to offer. I sometimes forget that you can’t be bosom buddies with everyone and that if I don’t love, or even like, everyone I meet, then they have the right to feel the same (possibly about me)! I’m finally reaching a great place where I feel like I have accepted all of who I am and I’m cool with that (self improvement included of course). I hope this will remind me in those shakier moments 🙂

What is motivating you this week?