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.
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
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!
So I’m not your typical creative type. My only form of drawing are excellent stick figures, I hem my pants with a stapler and the only craft I can do is with food (see image of the teddy bear GP).
But who says being creative has to involve art. It got pointed out to me the other day that engineers are some of the most creative people as they have the ability to come up with new ideas to solve problems with specific parameters. So on this definition anyone can be creative and innovative just by having good ideas.
In my previous job I had a boss who said No to every single idea I had on the odd occasions I got a Yes but… which equalled NO! After some time I decided not to bother having any ideas and I would just spend a lot of time buying scoopon offers that I didn’t need. Crushed my confidence in my ability to come up with innovative ideas.
I recently was taught some techniques to help foster other people’s ideas. One included rather than saying Yes, but… try saying Yes, and… This is awesome! It makes you stop thinking of the negatives of why an idea can’t happen and perhaps how you can take that idea to the next level. I’m not saying if you do this with every idea it will work but it feels good when someone doesn’t laugh at your idea and says Yes AND what if you….
Since this workshop a friend an I have been emailing each other one idea per day, they can be big / huge ideas but the object is to encourage each other. Once you start having ideas they just keep popping into your head. One of mine is so good I might start planning how I could develop it Woohoo!
So next time someone comes to you with an idea that is a bit left of centre think Yes AND… you never know where it might take you.
I played volleyball in high school, I was put into the Mildura Phantoms team by my PE teacher. It was full of ex-state hard court players who just played for fun. They didn’t need to train, they were undefeated most seasons, so I was just shoved on court. I clearly remember them pushing me around the court and me just having to figure out how to play. Scary! But I feel in love with the sport, that was until I moved to Melbourne and discovered beach volleyball!
I played until I started working shift work. 4am starts were not conducive to being able to play 9pm matches, this forced my retirement at the age of 23. In 2008 I was walking past the beach to see a heap of people out on the sand and decided it was time to take up a sport again, I also thought this would give me the opportunity to meet some new people as many of my friends had moved away from Melbourne.
This was the best thing I have ever done! I love the sport I spend most of my spare time from October – March on the sand not just because I like to play but because of the community that VicBeach (the guys who run training and the tournaments) have created. I am fortunate to have so many good friends from this sport, there is something about the culture that attracts good people who are just lovely!
VicBeach tournament in 2012 – perfect Melbourne day!
Sport is more than just about exercise, it can be about the people you meet, the friendships created and the skills you learn. If you have never played a team sport I highly recommend giving it a try!
Want to get involved in beach volleyball or take up a team sport?
VicBeach - run training and tournaments in Melbourne (also have links to other Melbourne clubs)
Australian Sports Commission – want to find a sports club in Australia? There is a search function on this page to a majority of sports and local clubs!
This week the University of Queensland published an article “Diabetes risk for elderly couch potatoes in Australia” so how do you encourage your grandparents to stay healthy and what should they be doing?
Exercise for general function and preventing ill-health is extremely important as we get older. There are three basic components that are essential for older adults to stay healthy in relation to exercise.
1. Balance – This in my opinion is the most important. Balance is a learned skill, it needs to be challenged to improve it. Older adults are often surprised that they have lost their balance – a test for this is to walk one foot in front of the other (heel touching the toe in front). Balance needs to be challenged and with age people change how they do daily tasks such as sitting down to put on your pants or socks rather than standing on one leg. There are a stack of exercise that can be done to improve balance. Having good balance also prevents falls and maintains confidence.
2. Weight Training – A few older people I used to train had stopped visiting some friends as the were scared that they would need to go to the bathroom they didn’t have the strength to get off the toilet without a hand rail. Weight training has amazing results! As little as twice a week can improve bone density and increase strength improving general function.
3. Heart Health – Cardio is still important when you are older. It’s the same as everyone else walking is a great way to continue to keep your heart healthy however without good balance it can be difficult especially if you live in an area without even footpaths.
There are a lot of programs around that you can encourage your grandparents or parents if they are getting on to participate in. The Council on the Aging (COTA) have a list of strength training programs aimed at older adults on their website. Local community health centres often run groups for older adults and many gyms are also running specific groups.
Physical activity groups also offer a good opportunity to socialise and meet new people. At a time where there are large life changes such as loosing friends and partners, these groups can be a welcome distraction to meet new people who share a similar interest in staying healthy and independent.
At the end of the day it can be difficult to convince anyone to be active but being able to continue living in your own home and doing the simple things such as doing your own shopping and visiting friends can be all the motivation some people need.
Being healthy = being organised!
Sound to simple? But sometimes it’s hard to be organised and it can be a challenge trying to create a new routine. The number one reason that people don’t exercise is because they don’t have time. One of the major reasons people eat take away is because they don’t have time to cook.
In my experience of working with a variety of clients people make time for the things that are important to them. Sure sometimes life gets crazy but for the most part we choose what we fit into it. So if you want to be healthy you have to do some prep!
The biggest part of loosing weight and maintaining a health weight is healthy eating. Don’t get me wrong physical activity is important, very important for a range of reasons but if you are going to see a personal trainer and then on your way home you stop at the bakery for a vanilla slice do you think you are going to see results? (I know people who do this… it’s more common than you think).
Planning out what you are going to eat is essential for a range of reasons:
- identifies how often you are eating out
- prevents impulse purchasing when you are hungry and can’t be bothered cooking
- helps ensure you are getting a range of fruits, vegies and meats
- it helps if you are watching your wallet
How to develop a meal plan
- Write down when and where you are going to be for the week so you can determine who has the cooking duties.
- Choose meals that are easy if you aren’t used of cooking a lot and make double so you can freeze them.
- Go back to basics – grilled chicken and steamed veggies… Takes no time to prepare and is super healthy!
- Don’t forget to plan your lunches (salads, wraps, left overs) and snacks (nuts and fruit!)
- Write a shopping list and do one big shop! This helps to avoid temptation to get that packet of biscuits when you are hungry. Oh and don’t go shopping on an empty tummy… bad idea you will end up with a plethora of items that weren’t on your list.
There are heaps of meal planner tools around here is an example.
Need some healthy recipe ideas check out:
I’d love to hear what your favorite healthy recipe or healthy eating tip is!
When you ask a room full of people what they think of when they hear ‘Physical Health’ they tend to respond with exercise, fit, healthy, active etc. However, when you ask the same people what they think of when they hear ‘Mental Health’ they say depression, anxiety, bipolar, etc… Why is it when people think of mental health they start by describing mental illness?
In general people have an understanding of exercise, they know that they need to keep moving to be healthy, we have been taught this since school. However we really don’t get taught much about how to stay mentally healthy and is often taken for granted.
Do you know how to keep your mind in peak condition? Do you have enough tools in the toolbox to deal with a life event that might be a major stressor? Here are a few suggestions:
- Relax! Taking time out is important! Relaxation can be as simple as going for a walk or reading a book. In a world where we are all so busy it is important to make time to relax even if that means scheduling it in your diary.
- If you struggle to stop your mind from constantly racing a meditation course could be for you. It can be hard to learn but it is an amazing skill to have.
- See a professional! Sometimes we need help to develop new skills or to talk through problems and a psychologist can help with this. You could see them to discuss strategies on how to deal with difficult relationships, develop reframing skills or learn new ways to manage stress etc. If you have an employee assistance program at your work you may be entitled to three free sessions so why not take advantage of this.
- There are loads of free online programs to help you prevent or manage depression and anxiety. Check out MoodGym and ECouch.
If you ever get asked what you think of when you hear ‘mental health’ I hope you say happiness and resilience!! I’d love to hear what you do to keep your mind in great shape
If you are looking are in need of support for depression or anxiety please head to www.beyondblue.org.au or call 1300 22 4636.
6 weeks ago I signed me and the hubby up for a Melburn Roobaix, my friend and her partner also signed up. This is a bike ride not a race, there are no prizes for finishing first and it is themed on the French classic, Paris-Roubaix. A 38km course tackling Melbourne’s cobbled alleys, laneways and cycle networks before finishing on the Brunswick velodrome.
So today was the day of the big ride and we were so lucky Melbourne put on a good day the original forecast for hail didn’t happen, not even any rain (we may have chickened out if that had occurred – soft!). The ride stared in Hawthorn and we decided it was easiest to ride there… we encountered our first challenge riding a bike with one gear and hills! So not the best idea but it was doable. When we arrived we were surrounded by every type of cyclist: Lycra clad, costumes including ninjas, sharks, Wallies (as in a group of Where’s Wally), tandem, unicyclists and two guys with a side cart (one navigator and one cyclist).
The aim of the ride is to read your map and decide on the route you want to take to each cobble stone section, ride it and at the end you collect a clue. It’s kind of like a scavenger hunt on a bike. I managed to accidentally bump into one cyclist on a cobble stoned section, sorry my bad! I was going very slowly at the time so no one was hurt. You can skip sections if you wish, stop for lunch or a beverage. We may have skipped collecting a few clues but we finished and riding on the velodrome was fun if not a little scary. There was food and beverage stalls at the end for all the hungry cyclists.
We had an awesome time, it was a great way to be active and hang out with some great friends whilst riding all over beautiful Melbourne. I will have sore legs and a sore rear end tomorrow but I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to do something a little different. You only need a basic level of fitness and an enthusiastic attitude. You didn’t even need a bike as Melbourne Bike Share were loaning them for free for the event! Very cool!!
Want to check out the details head to Fyxomatosis.
Why are we so FAT if we know all we have to do is exercise and eat healthy?
The problem with the obesity epidemic is that we are trying to treat a problem that is normal. It’s normal to be overweight or obese, approximately 2/3 of the Australian adults fit into this category and 1/3 of children. If being fat is the norm… then maybe that’s why traditional physical activity and healthy lifestyle interventions have had little effect, many people don’t know they are in fact overweight or obese.
Solving the problem of obesity should be easy – educate people about healthy eating, get them to exercise more and Hey Presto! problem solved. But research shows that doesn’t work. Why not?
Obesity is one of the most complex conditions out there.Very little research is able to show interventions that can decrease the weight of a population. The WHO Collaboration Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University has completed three studies that have included world first results and they all relate to increasing the communities capacity to change. Including one study in Colac. Victoria which identified that the town consumed significant amounts of fish and chips so the town got the fish and chip shop to change the oil it uses to make the fish and chips just a little bit healthier (obviously there was more to this study than just a change of oil).
In Australia we can access any type of food we like at almost anytime of the day or night. So changing the capacity of the community to understand the small changes they make can have a huge impact is important in overcoming the obesity epidemic! We need to make the healthy choice the easy choice, if only this was easy to do!!!!