My new relaxation strategy is Crochet! What?!

I’m the least crafty person I know… that’s not totally true I like to do what Kyle has named Food Craft. Yes I can make tiny little cars out of mini mars bars and tea cups out of tick tock biscuits. teddy

Recently my beautiful friend Camille visited Melbourne and taught me how to crochet after she recently learnt. The first 10 minutes was painful, learning how to hold the hook and getting confused about the stitches but after that I got into this rhythm and it was meditative. For the next few nights I worked on my little beanie and I noticed that I had a really good nights sleep.

Since then I’ve made a few beanies and a few scarves. I find that it’s so nice at the end of a busy day to do something with my hands and almost forget what is going on with the rest of the world. I am working towards making my niece a blanket, I have one that a family friend made for me, I love it and I’ve always wanted to learn to make them but I thought it wouldn’t be something I could do, but turns out I can! Woohoo!beanie

Since gaining this new skill I have taught a friend who like me isn’t great at winding down. She is so much better than me already and more importantly she has also found it relaxing. We think it’s because it’s not hard to do but you have to concentrate enough to calm your mind from whatever thoughts are rushing through your head.

If you want to learn there are a lot of free online tutorials and patterns. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration and free patterns – you can check out my crochet board. Here are a few good free basic patterns: Beanie, Scarf and also check out my friend’s blog on her crochet.

Enjoy!

Random acts of kindness

Last weekend Kyle and I were strolling home from the shops when I noticed a lady in her 70′s struggling with a ‘Nanna trolley’ full of groceries. I kindly offered the services of my husbands muscles to carry the trolley up the 56 stairs (she told me how many stairs, I didn’t count them).

Even though it took some convincing that Kyle was more than capable of carrying her groceries (I had to say ‘don’t worry he goes to the gym’ Kyle may have been slightly offended by this) she was very grateful offering us both a cold can of Pepsi. Very cute.

While our five minutes of being nice made her day easier it was the feeling of helping someone for no other reason than it was a nice thing to do which stayed with me. It made me think… I often do random things for my friends but not often for strangers. It made me think is this because we don’t look for the opportunity?

While I will keep my eye out to do nice things for random people I will continue to do nice things because… well to be honest it’s easy and it makes me feel good. Win! Win!

If you are after some ideas check out the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation and 40 Acts of Lent two really nice websites.

 

 

Kyle you are my Captain America

Apparently I don’t blog enough about how amazing my husband is so here goes.

What makes Kyle similar to a super hero? Well he…

  • doesn’t let Barry get out of control (Barry is his belly and three is a crowd so he’s not allowed to  hang with us)
  • learnt to cook and has even named a salad after himself “Kyle’s Special Salad”
  • understands that doing housework = happy wife = happy life
  • can put together kit furniture without having any leftover parts (according to my Dad & brother-in-law you must have super powers to achieve this)
  • has a very high tolerance level of my many moods, often in the one day and my need for constant attention
  • can shop – this equals great clothes for me as I don’t like shopping; and
  • like Captain America Kyle was skinny and now he as amazing ARMS!!

At the end of the day you can’t complain when you get to see your best friend every day, sure he may not have super powers but he’s still super hero!!

 

 

Yoga makes me angry!

I lovely friend at work asked me if I wanted to do Yoga in my lunch break. Knowing this is very good for me and that I should do something to calm my mind and become zen like I said sure, great Idea.

Problem one: I hate yoga

Problem two: same as problem one.

So I tried I did three classes I think and I have to be honest the instructor was really good, it’s a power type of yoga so it’s faster and a bit of a workout. I don’t mind the strength work as I’m kind of good at it but I just don’t enjoy yoga especially if I’m stressed. I think it’s the language used to describe the exercises, it’s so fluffy!

I get very fidgety and having to slow down in the middle of the day, while it works for some, it makes me angry. I am much better off doing something that I enjoy or that is intense as I find I can then relax once I’ve gotten rid of some energy.

Oh well I tried, maybe not as hard as I should have but I sold off my spot to one of the other girls in the office. I’m a much nicer person for stopping yoga.

I Survived Sweets Free September… October was a different story

I LOVE sweets cake, lollies, chocolate…. I have a huge sweet tooth and I have a minimal amount of willpower. I know it’s not good for you but it tastes good and I’m very good at making bad food choices when I’m stressed so I often eat a lot fair amount of crap.

My beautiful friend Mel was telling me she was going to do Sweets Free September – basically no crap, no chocolate, dessert, cake, lollies you get the drift. I thought this sounded like a great plan as in my office there is always crap and if not I can get it from down the road.

The first two weeks were hard. It was made a lot easier by being able to text Mel when I was having a moment of weakness, encouraging words of support such as “if you eat that it will go straight to your ass, sorry but you needed to hear that” were never far away and it may sound harsh but it really helped.

By week three I really wasn’t missing it. In fact I felt amazing, I was drinking more water, sleeping better, exercising every morning and really enjoying creating health snacks.

October has been a different story. The first week I said I would set boundaries and stick to them. I didn’t set the boundaries and I was offered all sorts of tasty treats and I’d have just one. Now It’s almost the end of October and work has been very stressful my eating of sweet goods has gone up, exercise has gone down and I’m feel rather average.

November will be different I’ve set boundaries – no sweets Monday to Friday! I don’t normally have access to sweets on weekends so I will see how I go! Wish me luck x

I only like running because it’s FREE

There are people out there who like running. I know some of them and they are lovely people and for some reason they look fabulous when they are running. I on the other hand look like I’m about to die and should be being accompanied by a St Johns ambulance.

Recently I decided that I should start running again, not with any aspirations to do a fun run or start taking it seriously but just to help improve my fitness and well to be honest because it’s FREE. I already own runners so I just have to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other… quickly. However despite how easy running is in theory I really don’t like it that much.

Here are my top tips for making running tolerable:

Scenery: Run somewhere that has nice scenery that way if you get bored you have something to look at.

Get a sports app – There are heaps of FREE ones, I use Endomondo. A nice American lady kindly tells me how fast (or slow) I am running and that helps keep me motivated. I’ve nicknamed her Mary and I think I could beat her if she was real and I had to race her (yes, clearly running gives you too much time to think). This is a great way to track your progress and see improvements.

Pick a loop - The good thing about running a track that’s in a loop (especially if there is water in the middle of it) is that you have to keep going and you can’t take short cuts.

Suck it up –  Focus on the first 5 minutes this is the hardest bit once you get through that it’s not so bad.

Hopefully these tips are helpful for those of you who don’t enjoy running. Remember it’s free, you can do it anywhere and despite feeling like dying at some points during your run all the endorphins that are released will make you feel awesome at the end. Happy running peeps!!

My reward sneakers

My reward sneakers

 

Do what makes you happy!

do what makes you happy

Image created from http://appreciateamate.com/

I love my parents with all my heart, they are amazing people. However, as with many parents, it’s an occupational hazard to try and solve their children’s problems. This was made evident when I recently told them I was going to take a break from studying even though I have only one semester left before I’ve finished my Masters.

Despite telling them this when I was in tears from being so stressed, exhausted and miserable they came up with a plan which included:

  1. Dad calling me at 6am every morning so I could do homework before work (cute, but was never going to happen).
  2. To be honest I can’t remember all the other plans they came up with but there were a lot.

They didn’t understand that I can go back to study when and if I want, but also that this was the right decision for me and I guess they are so used of me making decisions based on other expectations that this must have come as a shock.

To give you an idea of how unhappy I was when I finally quit my colleague said “what happened to grumpy Bec? You are way too happy to be the real Bec” hmmmm… that’s not good, I don’t want to be that person. I get that sometimes we have to do things we don’t like but when you can’t remember why you are doing it and in my case when you aren’t learning anything or enjoying it and you are bursting into tears every time you look at your laptop then you have to question why continue.

I am so happy I made this decision, doing what makes me happy has so many other benefits including being a better wife, sister, daughter, friend and colleague and personally that is very important to me.

What I learnt from this experience:

  1. Never tell your parents stuff they may wish to think about prior to them driving home (especially when they live a six hour drive away).
  2. People are lovely and want the best for you – even if they don’t understand what is best for you.
  3. People you least expect to understand can be the most accepting
  4. Doing what makes you happy makes life so much easier :)

Drink to celebrate, commiserate and everything in between!

It seems there is always an occasion to consume beverages of an alcoholic nature, birthdays, watching sport, because it’s Friday, because it’s not Friday! Everything in our cultures seems to revolve around alcohol.

There is a great campaign called Hello Sunday Morning which encourages people to nominate a time to give up alcohol to help them consider how drinking is impacting on their life. For some it can be an awesome experience a chance to wake up every Sunday hangover free and maybe achieve some new goals with the extra time. The campaign isn’t aimed a convincing people to stop drinking but more just to give people a break from alcohol and in the process try to help change our drinking culture.

For three months last year I gave up drinking, something that to be honest I don’t find that hard to do, I never drank until I was 24 so it doesn’t bother me to be the sober person. What I did struggle with is being a social drinker people don’t always respect your choices. They just buy you a drink and expect that you will drink it, after all it’s rude not to, right? Wrong… this is part of the problem. If someone is not drinking then I found that other people struggling with this concep really impacts on me… hang on a minute that’s peer pressure.

My other struggle was I don’t really like soft drink so sometimes I just drink because it’s the best tasting option and oh one more and this is ridiculous but I also like drinking out of nice glasses, I don’t always want to drink from a tumbler. So my beverage of choice for the three months was mineral water and fresh lemon or lime in a wine glass (why shouldn’t I still get to drink from a nice glass).

The best bit was every weekend I would wake up feeling fresh – sure sometimes a bit tired but never with a hangover! At the time it was a great help to reach a few fitness goals as well.

If you are don’t know how drinking is impacting on your life, maybe you have never had the space to think about it, I encourage you to give it a go. I did it for three months but as I said I don’t drink much so I found it reasonably easy. I’ve also had a few friends do it and it’s really change they way they view their drinking habits.

Why the FIVE MEGAMIX makes me happy!

Firstly I would like to thank my dear friend Suzy as she introduce me to the five megamix, 11 minutes of pop magic. This lead me to create some new playlists (no that’s an essential activity not procrastination) to include mostly pop music classics including Britney, Christina, Pink and even a bit of ol’ school J.Lo!

People look at you funny when you admit you like pop music for example I was recently at the Tasmanian Young Achiever Awards and my table was surprised that I knew all the words to Taylor Swift’s Love Story. Despite all my years of listening to Triple J and my love of a range of music I have to say that when it comes to lifting my mood pop works best for me.

Working in mental health means that I get to read a lot of information that… well… it isn’t all that pleasant. The other day I sat through 1.5 hours of suicide prevention talk, interesting - yes, sad – VERY!. So to help me keep my mental health in a good place I chuck on my iPod and go for a brisk walk, singing along gives my head some space, I get the added bonus of some exercise and I return to work ready to take on the afternoon.

While working I usually listen to slightly more relaxing music (Of Monsters and Men is a favorite at the moment) as pop music makes me over excited and I have a tendency to end up like a hyperactive teenager which can be rather annoying for my colleagues.

Do you find music can brighten your day? I’m always up for a new song recommendation :)

I might just treat myself… again!

Growing up treats in our house was just that rare… School holidays we got to have Nutella! Awesome! Birthdays, Easter and Christmas were the best! All the food we didn’t get to eat for the rest of the year! I would gorge myself as I was unsure if I would ever see Russian toffee or vanilla slice ever again.

Now that I have disposable income I seem to still have the same mindset when I come in contact with ‘sometimes food’. What if I never see a tim-tam ever again? I better have two or three, who am I kidding; I best eat the entire packet. NO REBECCA you are an adult you can buy another packet if you really needed to.

I must point I don’t think it’s bad to overindulge occasionally. However after eating far too many Easter eggs and reflecting on my recent eating habits I feel my treats have become a bit too regular and they really aren’t treats anymore.

For the next four weeks I’m going to eat 6 days of everyday foods and one day where I can eat ‘sometimes food’. I think this is a pretty good ratio, I just need to stay strong and not give in at the first sign of cake (this is a regular occurrence at my work). My challenge also extends to going out for dinner and trying to choose the healthy option on the menu, this might be my biggest challenge as I have a mental block when it comes to ordering salad. Why would I order salad when I can make salad?? The problem is if I’m eating out often I can’t order everything that I want to eat (mmmm…. Lasagne) I need to be a bit smarter and choose a healthy option!

In four weeks I will report back with how I went on my challenge and any strategies I found useful. If you want to join me on my 4 week challenge, let me know and leave a comment!