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A very simple plot

I started a new job a few weeks ago with the Department of Conservation (https://www.doc.govt.nz) and yesterday I travelled to Auckland and back to help a manager. Their office is based on North Head, near Devonport. It has the most amazing views of Auckland city and the surrounding Hauraki Gulf Islands.

Hauraki Gulf Islands

(the red X is approximately where North Head is)

I couldn’t help but say how beautiful it was to those I was meeting with. The answer from the people I was with was, ‘oh yeah, I suppose we forget how beautiful it is’. This made me think about how often we take things for granted. What a beautiful country we live in. The amazing flora and fauna that we have. The wonderful friends and family that we have. The ability to move our bodies and eat and drink yummy things.

Anyway, I spent most of the day travelling to and from Auckland. My hubby dropped me off in the car, I caught a flight, then the Skybus and lastly the ferry from downtown Auckland to Devonport. Then did all that in reverse after my meeting. Had a slightly extended stay in Auckland due to flight disrupts around the county, but I did make it home to Wellington. One of the lucky ones to get to where I wanted to go. In Wellington there were quite a number of people waiting for flights. I bumped into an old friend and his wife who had been waiting since 8am for their flight to go to Auckland and then on to Brisbane. Not sure if they managed to get there or not, but that’s nature upsetting the plans of humans.

Then this morning I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and stumbled upon this https://www.lbc.co.uk/news/watch-iceland-christmas-ad-banned/ and it hit home how much humans have disrupted the lives of many beautiful creatures. Have a watch and make sure you share it. I hope that it will make you rethink the creature comforts that we have and what we are taking from nature and it can’t defend itself. Very sobering.

So, anyway where was I going with all that? Good question, what started this post was a quote from a book that I picked up in Auckland airport. It is from Eric Idle’s, Sortabiography titled ‘Always look on the bright side of life’. The quote is:

‘Life has a very simple plot,

First you’re here

And then you’re not’

Made me stop and think, and also made me want to buy the book. Which while on the aircraft I laughed out loud while reading. I think I got some funny looks, but you know life is far to short too care about what other people think. And you know, I hope I made them smile.

Make the most of the ‘First you’re here’ bit. Do something each day that scares the pants off you. Apparently, that is good for you and will help you live longer. I suppose that depends on how much you scare yourself? I myself don’t want to get to the ‘and then you’re not’, with any regrets. Or wishes that I had done more, seen more, and loved more.

Get out there, explore and make the most of everyday I say!

View from North Head

View from North Head to Auckland City.

 

Firsts

As we get older there are less chances to do something for the first time. And the thought of doing something new can be quite scary, for anybody. It is a bit of the unknown and not wanting to be seen as an idiot. But you know, sometimes you just have to put yourself out there and give it a go. As my mum and probably yours always said “there is no such word as can’t!”

Thoughts

It’s about turning that ‘I can’t’ into ‘I can’. Changing your mindset from a negative to a positive. If you think you can’t do something, then you have already told your brain that you can’t. If it’s an exercise thing, the muscles on the whole can likely do it, if you have been putting in the hard work and practice. And if it is about going to an event where you are not sure you will know people or starting a new job that is scaring you then brace yourself – look in the mirror and give yourself a good talking to. More on that below.

I have been doing CrossFit for about five and a half years now and it has taken me a long time to feel confident to do box jumps. Some of it is because I have seen quite a few of my friends connect their shins on the box and scar themselves. Some have had to have stiches – let me tell you, it is not a pretty sight. Enough to put anyone off. And the some of it has been me telling myself that I can’t do it.

 I have progressed from stepping up on the boxes and then I have been dragging out plates to jump on and slowly increasing the height until I knew that they were close to, if not, the same height as the boxes we jump on (50cm).  I was given some shin guards for a present (by the Crossfit crew) in January and so I thought I better ‘man up’ so to speak and jump on the box. I had plenty of encouragement from my Crossfit family. And guess what ‘I can’ do it. I have now completed a couple of workouts doing box jumps. I have to say I am quite proud of myself.

My next challenge or first is going to be a pull up without a big rubber band – I am getting close to achieving this, the bands I use are slowly getting smaller. One day I’m going to get there. I have changed my thought pattern to say I can do it, and I have worked on the progression to get there.

So the other scary firsts are the ones where you have to turn up, i.e. the events, first days at a new job or just when you need to put your big girls pants on and face the world. How do you progress towards those? It’s not quite as tangible as the Crossfit stuff. But there are still things you can do. One is to try some self-affirmations. Stand in front of the mirror. Look yourself in the eyes. Find something you like about yourself. Tell yourself how good you look. Use words like – I’m proud of myself. I believe in myself. I am confident. I deserve the best and only good things are coming my way.

I am worthy

I have done the above and it was really hard the first few times. I made myself cry as it was really hard to believe what I was saying. But after a while it feels right. And you can face another day of firsts.

Go on give it a try, you have nothing to lose! Even better, write the affirmations on post it notes and put them on the mirrors around your home. Each time you look into the mirror, repeat the affirmation/s.

 

Friends

Last week I wrote about the nine best things that are free. Which, if you didn’t read that post are: hugs, smiles, friends, family, kisses, sleep, laughter, good memories and love! This post is all about friends and how much I value them, their company, their thoughts, their hugs (another freebie) and their love (yet another of the freebies).

I have been going through my own road works lately and I have made a conscious effort to make sure I connect in with my friends. This is because I know that I have a tendency to internalise when going through issues. Sometimes this is because I don’t think they want to know or that they will care. And sometimes I don’t want people to know that I’m not perfect. Silly eh? But believe me, when I say that a problem shared is a problem halved. And sometimes just putting your internal thoughts into actual words, then what you are going through is not really that bad. Well, sometimes they are, but you can get a little perspective around the issue by talking out loud. Your friend can also just be there to listen and give you a hug, and sometimes a tissue. Or even better a very stiff gin and tonic.

Some friends stay in your life for a very long time and know practically everything about your life. The ups the downs the in betweens and they are still there. You don’t always catch up every week or month, but both of you know that if required, you would be there for each other at the drop of a hat. Other friends are in your life for a short while and afterwards you understand that they were in your life for that time, due to something one of you is going through and they or you are their guiding angel for that time.

Some people you meet and instantly know that you are going to be friends for a long time. You don’t need to know everything they have gone through to bring them into your life, you are just there for one another and instinctively know that it will be a great friendship. Even better when you discover that your respective hubbies like each other too. Much easier to organise catch up times then.

I have made one such friend recently (while in the middle of the road works) and she has been amazing, and some have said like my twin. Scary for all of those that know both of us. I look forward to getting to know her and her family better and sharing and making stories together. It is my turn now to be her guardian angel as she goes through some roadworks.

Make sure to treasure your friends. Reach out and check in if you haven’t spoken to some of them recently. Tell them how much you value them, their personality, their hugs, their non-judgement (in most cases) and that you are there if they need you.

And don’t forget that a problem shared is a problem halved or at least some sense made out of it.

Friends

The best things in life are free….

This saying couldn’t be truer. Over the last three weeks I have been a volunteer dresser backstage at World of WearableArt Awards Show (WOW) and I have done this role for 13 years. I dress a model, who wears the most remarkable garments and I am part of an amazing show. You have to see it to believe it, something crossed between Cirque du Soleil and an art/fashion show. Very hard to describe.

Anyway, there are many reasons why I keep going back year after year (and I have been heard to say by many that ‘this year is my last year!’) but mostly it is the lovely group of ladies that I dress with and dress. We don’t catch up all that often, but once show time comes around we like to have a wine or gin after the occasional show and catch up on what has happened I the past 12 months. Although I only see these ladies for the WOW season, I still consider them friends. We share good memories, have a laugh, a hug and enjoy what we do backstage.

Best things in life are free

Then this meme showed up on my Facebook feed and it reminded me of how lucky we all are to have these free things in our life. A bit like my gratitude post, it made me pause and reflect, that we don’t need money or things, we really only need these nine things. It also reminded me of how much I value my sleep.

A friend of mine is going through some roadworks at the moment and is struggling to sleep, this doesn’t help with the everyday stuff that comes up and it would be hard for her or anyone to be able to value the other eight best things due to the lack of sleep.

How often are you going through some roadworks but forget to reach out to your friends and family for help? Is it because you don’t want to be seen as a failure or unable to cope with life? Or are you caught up with your issues and internalise stuff instead? Don’t forget the value of family or friends they are there as they love you and are your support group and cheer leaders. It may be hard to fess up that things aren’t going well, but as the saying goes and problem shared is a problem halved.

Do you ever notice that when you smile at someone they can’t help but smile back? What we don’t know is what has happened in their day and that maybe that smile you shared made an impact on their day – something else free to share.

Last week in New Zealand we had mental health awareness week, and there was a lot in the media about looking after yourself and making sure you ask one another ‘are you okay?’. This is a wee reminder that this shouldn’t just happen one week of the year, we should be regularly asking each other this, and genuinely listening to the answer we get. You never know you may just help someone.

Just remember the nine free things in life – hugs, smiles, friends, family, kisses, sleep, laughter, good memories and love!

Food for thought

My sister shared a short video (3:30) with me this morning and it resonated with me, so of course now I must share it with you.

In essence, the video is about whole foods and how if we are eating good nutritious food then there is no need for medicines. It also mentions that so many of us leave it till it is too late to look after ourselves. For instance, you get really sick and then you realise that what you are fuelling your precious body with is not actually doing it any good. Watch it here  https://www.facebook.com/100006565819164/videos/2280339332194905/

How many of us know where our food comes from? Sadly, there are many children in the world that cannot recognise and name vegetables. How is your food processed? What is its nutritional value? Is it good for you? Do you suffer from reflux? Bloating, lots of burping and flatulence? Do you know what foods cause you to feel that way? Is it time to figure it out for your good health? It has taken me 50 years, but I know that diary is not good for me. If I eat dairy, then my body tries to fight it. Then I have to start the process again of getting and feeling better.

There are many different ways to work out what is good and not good for you, you could follow a FODMAP diet. This effectively eliminates any food that could potentially be causing issues for you, then you slowly reintroduce one food at a time to see if there are any reactions.

However, the best place to start would be to eliminate any processed foods. Not sure what those are? Anything that has a label and you don’t recognise as a whole food. Would your grandmother recognise it? When shopping stick mainly to the outside of the supermarket. This is where the vegetables and meat are normally located.

A little bit about labels – did you know that they can be up to 25% wrong? They are a best guess estimate in most cases. So, if you are concerned about calorie counting, this is not a good place to start. Again, whole foods are best, they don’t require a label.

Your body is an amazing machine (and you only get one – there are no replacement parts quite the same), but like other machines it requires the right fuel to provide energy throughout the day. Are you fuelling yours on high octane, diesel or something a little dodgy?

In my bookcase I have a great book called ‘Prescription for nutritional healing’. It’s a huge book, which covers every known condition that can happen within and on our bodies. And it suggests the whole foods, vitamins, minerals and herbs that can help heal that condition. It also suggests what you shouldn’t have if you have that condition.

For instance, under flatulence it suggests, eating four to five meals per day instead of three big meals. To eat slowly and mindfully, in a relaxed setting. Keep a food journal to determine what foods or combination of foods cause the gas. Choose less-processed, whole foods. Pretty simple eh? These recommendations are the same as in my new text book, so it must be the right things to do.

So, till next week… keep eating good whole foods and if you need any help in working out what is nutritionally good or not for you I am happy to help.

Food for thought

Passion and the rabbit hole

I’ve been making a list of the topics that I want to write about on this site and each week I think that I will write about one of them and then as I start to type something else pops into my head that is relevant for me on the day. Today is no different.

I mentioned in my first post about my plans to get a qualification in the health and wellbeing area. I am pleased to say that I have started that journey and I am studying with Precision Nutrition (PN) on how to be a nutrition coach. This course ticks quite a few of the items that I am interested in. It is about being client centric – meaning, I won’t be forcing my views on my client (as I have done in the past). But rather helping my client gain an understanding of what is good for them, nutritionally, holistically and exercise wise. Then helping my client make small improvements to a better healthier person.

I have finished the first chapter already and I am waiting for the text book to arrive from Canada. The tracking system informs me that it will be on the 10th October. In the meantime, they have generously provided chapter two on-line, and I can’t wait to get started on that.

One of the articles I have read from PN talks about following your passion. In fact, it said ‘go down the rabbit hole’. This was written by one of the founders of PN, and he talks about the advice he received from career counsellors that said he was mad to want to work with sports teams and athletes to help them eat, move and live better. Every counsellor he went to said the same thing – you should go to medical school instead.

They in affect squashed his dream. So, he went to medical school, but every moment he had, he volunteered to help sports teams, he attended seminars and he read everything he could get is hands on the topics he was interested in.

He graduated with a pre-med degree, but other doors had opened for him in the areas he was passionate about. He followed his passion and went down the rabbit hole. And that is what I am doing too. It has taken me a lot longer than him to realise what rabbit hole I wanted to go down. But as the Mainland cheese advert says, “Good things take time”.

I have really enjoyed reading the articles and text so far with PN. It has not felt like a chore to take time in my day to read and take notes. The information resonates with me, so I know that I have made the right choice. I can’t wait to put it all into practice and I am lucky that I already have a client that I am working with to help her achieve her goals.

If you are interested to hear more information about how I can help you achieve your health and wellbeing goals, please get in contact.

Rabbit hole

Stress

Hopefully the title got your attention?

Do you know when you are stressed? Do you identify with any of the below?

Cognitive symptoms   Physical symptoms
  • Memory problems
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor judgement
  • Seeing only the negative
  • Anxious or racing thoughts
  • Constant worrying

 

  • Aches and pains
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Nausea, dizziness
  • Chest pain, rapid heart rate
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Frequent colds or flu
 
Emotional symptoms   Behavioural symptoms
  • Depression or general unhappiness
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Moodiness, irritability, or anger
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Other mental or emotional health problems
  • Eating more or less
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to relax
  • Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)

I know that there have been many times in my life when I have had one or more of the above symptoms. However, at the time, I never thought that I was stressed. It wasn’t until the thing that was causing the stress had gone away or been dealt with that I could look back and think ‘Boy, was I stressed then!’.

I mentioned in an earlier blog about my first marriage breaking up. Surprise, surprise, I was stressed, but I couldn’t see it. Funnily enough a girlfriend gave me a little book called ‘The little book of calm’. I wondered why she gave me the book. I thought I was acting normally and well in control. It’s not till reflecting on my behaviour over that time that I realise now I was showing quite a number of the above symptoms.

The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale list the top ten stressful life events that contribute to illness. They are

  1. Death of a spouse
  2. Divorce
  3. Marriage separation
  4. Imprisonment
  5. Death of a close family member
  6. Injury or illness
  7. Marriage
  8. Job loss
  9. Marriage reconciliation
  10. Retirement

However, what stresses you can be something completely different, and just because it is not on the top ten list, doesn’t mean you are not stressed.

So, how do I deal with stress, you might ask? Well, exercise is great, in two ways. One, you have time in your day when you don’t have to worry or stress about what is going on – you just workout. Two, it helps raise endorphins (if you don’t know what they are, they are similar to the effect of morphine on your body. In other words, you feel really positive about life and this also enhances good feelings).

As mentioned in earlier blogs, other ways that I deal with stress are gratitude, positive thinking and remembering that this time is just some ‘road works’ and it is up to me to make the choice to work my way through it.

One of my pet hates is people who moan and groan about what is going on in their lives and then don’t do anything about it. We all have choices and you have to live with the choices you have made.

There are numerous articles on stress on the internet, and this blog is not the be all and end all to how to identify or deal with stress. Stress is a very personal experience and if you are feeling stressed or showing any of the above symptoms, make sure you talk to someone who can help you understand and work your way through whatever it is that is stressing you. And/or make the choice to deal with what is making you stressed.