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Rest. Relax. Recharge.

5 Apr

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If we want to live a wholehearted life, we have to become intentional about cultivating rest and play, and we must work to let go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self worth. – Brene Brown.

Rest is when we shift from deliberate and effort filled thinking, to a more effortless, playful, peaceful, aimless wandering and daydreaming state.

Rest lowers our heart rate, stress and shoulders.

One of the most interesting things about rest is that it’s usually about carving out a wee chunk of solitary time, versus relaxing, which is able to be done in the company of others. Relaxing with someone else just needs a common agreement, that it’s unwinding time, it’s not about achieving, planning, or accomplishing anything in particular. What we believe is restful and relaxing, will be, and both are restorative.

  • Have it be ok to slow things down and give yourself permission to meander and potter around.
  • Unplug from the worries and what-ifs for a portion of every day.
  • Move from doing to being.
  • Let go of “I have to” and replace them with “I get to.”
  • Let nature lull you.
  • Look for slivers of simplicity that speak to your soul.

When you don’t know what to do, do nothing. – Oprah.

 

 

Create Calm.

1 Apr

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It’s one of our basic needs, the need for security, which is triggering fear in many people. Although many things are out of our control, we need to keep working at reducing and releasing fear, panic and anxiety because it over activates our flight-or-fight mode. When we are in what I call Meerkat Mode, our body wants to take constant action. Because present circumstances make that a bit restrictive, it’s possible that the tension that builds as a result of being ready to pounce on problems begins to physically hurt a little. It could also be the reason that people are getting ants in their pants and pushing the boundaries of their bubbles. 

Calming our mind and soothing our system is not a luxury thing to do, it’s vital. It will help us through this long haul experience.

Parents, be sure to grab a small moment each day, just for yourself. Today I found this super cool kids meditation, that is 15 minutes long, which I also adored. It’s free. Why not lie down together and listen, and make it a shared part of your day?

https://insighttimer.com/discoveringmypurpose/guided-meditations/boosting-immunity-and-feeling-calm-in-this-time-of-coronavirus

Grown-ups, below is my most favoured way of reducing stress, that I learnt when I trained in Mindfulness.  Jon Kabat-Zinn is Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

 

 

 

 

Ignite Hope.

31 Mar

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Hope and fear cannot occupy the same spaceMaya Angelou

Hope is allowing ourselves a peek into a positive future. It’s about expecting and desiring that this will work out. It’s about believing that good things really do happen. It’s about remembering that magic exists, beauty surrounds us, and miracles are possible.

Hope lends us slivers of happiness which uplift us and make difficult situations easier to bear. Hope grows into optimism which encourages a positive belief that we really do have the inner power and strength to step into the unknown.

All the things we do for ourselves or with our children that are prevention measures,  show we’re in control and can solve problems. When we’re proud of washing hands and wiping things down, when we celebrate covering our nose and mouth with a tissue or elbow when we cough or sneeze, when we follow the rules, we shoo away feelings of helplessness. 

If we seek to make the best of a situation we’re in by seeing new experiences more as a challenge and we laugh and share our failures and successes, we role model hope.

Keep activating logic and facts which are reassuring because reassurance offers hope. Our immune systems are incredible and fight off germs all day every day like a super hero. Keep quoting hopeful facts. Most people who do get the virus recover 100%. 

Answers do exist and the more we cheer on the great people helping others and put our trust in the experts out there working around the clock, using their incredible brains to discover breakthroughs, advances in medicine and solutions for all the problems, the more we keep hope alive.

People are amazing and helpful and resilient. Let’s keep using heartfelt encouraging words to ignite hope in ourselves and others, and once we ignite it, keep it alight so it illuminates the way forward. We’ve got this.

 

Inhale Courage. Exhale Fear.

30 Mar

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If posts about people cleaning cupboards, doing yoga, crafting, making preserves and cookies is causing you to worry or panic that you’re not in that “positive” space, breathe low and slow, and know that you are not alone. This isn’t a sprint to a predetermined finish line, it’s a marathon and we are all in it together.

Covid-19 has changed how the world works. It’s ok to pause and it’s more than ok to be experiencing grief (whether we recognize it or not) because the new reality is that there are people all over the globe that are sick or afraid of becoming sick. They have lost loved ones, jobs, clients, incomes, autonomy, roles, identity and hopes and dreams. Fear and anxiety comes with the territory.

Shallow, upper chest breathing is part of a typical stress response but if your ribs are a bit sore, your chest feels tight, or you feel more light headed, a bit dizzy and feel tingly in your face or hands, chances are you are over-breathing, which can prolong feelings of anxiety.

The good news is, it’s not too late to notice it and fix it. We breathe effectively when our lower belly rises when we fill our lungs with air.  Slow it down. Breathe in and out slowly through the nose and extend the exhale so that it’s longer than the inhale.

Don’t

  • overthink
  • catastrophize
  • hyperfocus on the future, and get caught up in what-ifs
  • drown in negative, doom-filled thoughts. 

Do

  • meditate and relax
  • do things that truly soothe you
  • face fear and feel it and if you find it hard talk to a trusted professional
  • remind yourself that you are resilient and resourceful, and full of courage.

 

When we are afraid, we ought not to occupy ourselves with endeavoring to prove that there is no danger, but in strengthening ourselves to go on in spite of the danger.  –Mark Rutherford.

Dementia. Becoming a Stranger in an Unfamiliar Body.

18 Aug

The prettiest tree in the world, full of tuis, just down the road from the resthome.

Mum’s grandkids might think that a zombie has stolen her brain. Apparently only high functioning zombies go for the brain. They are after serotonin, the happiness hormone. Our mum hasn’t actually been near any zombies, they didn’t steal her brain, but something has partly stolen her happiness. Mum very sadly has vascular dementia, brought on by mini strokes, which now affects the way she thinks, feels, behaves and perceives things.

Dementia appears to sadly be a taboo subject. An article in psychology today says that somehow, to many of us, the idea of dementia seems more horrifying than cancer. Perhaps we fear the idea of losing who we are – becoming a stranger in an unfamiliar body. I think if we focused less on it being a mental health issue and saw it for what it really is, a most complicated brain disease that is fatal and cannot at this time be cured, it could take the ‘stigma’ out.  The most challenging part of late stage dementia, psychosis with symptoms that present a danger to the person and others, where someone is inconsolable and in persistent distress with a declining ability to function, can be helped greatly by anti-psychotics. 

Although memory loss wasn’t the main early symptom of mums dementia, she now has hardly any recollection of recent information or experiences. She can ask the same question 5 or 6 times in a loop and yet still remember her way from one town to another. She knows where her mother was born and that mushroom soup is horrible. She also knows she has never had to have anyone help bathe her before. Continue reading

Reasons Why, For Dry July.

4 Jul

Reposting from http://www.womansday.co.nz/health-diet/health/2015/6/the-benefits-of-taking-a-break-from-alcohol/

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Here’s how Dry July could benefit your own health as well as those you’re fundraising for

Dry July encourages participants to go alcohol-free for a month to raise funds for adults living with cancer, but the benefits of doing the challenge don’t stop there.

Leanne French, a relationship therapist and addictions counsellor, says taking a break from the booze could have a positive impact on your health and mental wellbeing.

“Drinking even small amounts of alcohol often can make you feel tired and depressed,” says Ms French, who has been a counsellor for over 25 years.

“One of the biggest benefits from taking a break is that people feel healthier and better in the morning, and have more energy, which naturally leads on to doing other healthy things, like eating better food and exercising.”

There’s also the ‘feel-good factor’ associated with setting yourself a goal and achieving it, and that can help improve your self-esteem. Not only that, going alcohol-free for a month could give you the opportunity to improve your relationships with the loved ones in your life.

“Drinking and recovering from drinking can be selfish. It can shut other people out and make you less physically and emotionally available to your partner,” Ms French says.

“Taking a break means you can assess whether this is happening, and may change your attitude to alcohol if it’s something that is having an impact on your relationship with a loved one.”

For more information on Dry July, visit their website.

Image: Getty

Other media releases http://www.nzwomansweekly.co.nz/health-home/health/reaping-the-benefits-of-dry-july/

http://gemsofgorgeousness.com/5-reasons-to-do-dry-july/

Who Is The Fairest Of Them All?

19 Sep

 

Snow White. (Thanks Gabrielle Laubscher for the photo of your princess.)

Snow White. (Thanks Gabrielle Laubscher  for the photo of your princess.)

 

You are of course!

I forced myself to watch an episode of “botched up bodies” to remind myself  just how rotten the consequences can be when people become repulsed with what they deem to be unacceptable about themselves.

For some, there is still such intense pressure to conform to an ideal standard of beauty. It’s everywhere. Even in the fruit aisle at the supermarket. If it’s too organic looking with a lump or a bump or a spot, out it goes. Most times it doesn’t even get to go on display even though it’s bursting with deliciousness.

It seems so villanous to banish anyone worth loving because they might have flabby arms, a jelly belly, a bald head, or a flailing bank balance.

I hope that we can all learn to be more gentle, more accommodating, and place less emphasis on beauty and begin to celebrate other important things that reside within, like talent, smartness and wisdom.

What do you think? Does there seem to be an increased demand or pressure for people and things to be more perfect and how do you feel about it?