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“No, I can’t play with you at the moment darling!”.  Mama, dear mama, how many times have you snapped those words at your toddler while rushing around trying to get dinner cooked and a load of washing on after a busy day at work?  It is something I am usually very mindful of, but I am far from perfect.  In fact, I did it today, and as those words passed my lips and I turned my head to look at Mr 3, I caught the look of defeat in his eyes as he let out a soft ‘ohhh’ while dropping his gaze and walking out of the room.  And of course, it’s not the first time I have ushered him out of the way while trying to get things done, and it’s not the first time I have seen that look on his face.  As he walked over to his desk and started drawing, the internal struggle started in my mind.  As parents, the struggle never ends, does it?  Children, work, home – our lives are full of commitments and the balancing (or juggling) act can be tough!

A couple of hours after I made that choice to put the washing before playing with my son, we heard the tragic news that a friend of my husband’s lost their beautiful little girl unexpectedly on the weekend. Utterly heartbreaking…  There is something that hits you deep inside when you hear news like that.  It hurts.  You wish there was some way you could ease the grieving parents pain and bring their baby back for them, but of course you can’t.  Your mind wanders to your own babies, my baby.  Did I tell him I love him enough times today?  Did I hug him and gaze into beautiful blue eyes for long enough?  Did I make time to play with him and give him my attention, or did I tell him I couldn’t play with him because I was too busy?  I know two parents that would give the world to play with their baby again right now…  It really puts it into perspective, doesn’t it?

So, what are Moms (and Dads) to do?  How do we maintain life’s commitments and obligations, needs and wants, all the while ensuring we make time for what is most important – our children.  Of course, there are other very important things in our lives, such as our partners, families and ourselves, but today I want to talk about our children.  How can we do what we need to do without jeopardising precious time spent with our babes?  Here are some tips for you super Mama!

1.  Let them help

I know what you’re thinking, and my OCD brain is agreeing with you, but bear with me here!  On the weekend, I was folding washing and my son came in and declared that he wanted to help.  The fact that he couldn’t pick his pyjamas up off the floor in his bedroom is irrelevant, apparently!  He was adamant that he wanted to join me in folding some clothes too.  He chose a pair of my husband’s shorts and proceeded to fold them, in the most unusual way, before rolling them into a little ball.  Just as I was about to tell him that it wasn’t right (who decides that anyway?) he looked at me with the biggest smile on his face and yelled out for his Daddy to come and see.  He was so proud of his effort!  So much so, that we popped some music on and let him fold/roll all of the shorts up while I did the rest.  He told me that folding washing was so much fun when we do it together.  Maybe rolled up shorts are not practical in your home, so find something they can do.  Maybe they can roll up the towels, or pass you the clothes, or pop the clothes away for you.  Get creative, and let them help!

2.  Give your undivided attention

When you do make the decision to stop what you are doing and watch/play/listen to your child, give them your undivided attention. If you can plan to play between chores, giving each task your undivided attention, you will be more productive too!  Go and play on the floor while waiting for your washing machine to run its cycle.  Be sure to leave your phone on the table too!  Pop dinner in the oven and go outside and play for 15 minutes.  15 minutes of wholehearted focussing on your child is far more valuable than an hour of ‘kind of invested, but also doing five other things’ attention.

3.  Don’t sweat the small stuff

Prior to becoming a Mom, my house was like a show home.  Everything was immaculate, always clean and organised.  Cue baby, turned toddler, now little boy.  Over the last 3.5 years I have learnt not to sweat the small stuff, sometimes not even the big stuff!  It has allowed me the freedom to relax and enjoy my son more.   If there is only half hour until Mr 3’s bed time and the house is a mess.  Guess what? It is staying that way, at least until he has gone to sleep.  If you don’t get your shirt ironed because you spent 10 minutes longer cuddling – don’t sweat it!  If you choose to buy some pre-packaged food in a box to save time making something else from scratch – don’t sweat it!   Give yourself permission to not sweat the small stuff.  The rewards will be many, including saved energy and more time with your babes.

4.  Let them wait

Wait?  What?  I know what I said before.  I started this article off with a story about making my son wait, while I did housework.  But here’s the thing – in life, sometimes we must wait.  We also must learn patience.  The difference between this tip, and the example I gave with telling my son I couldn’t play with him earlier is parameters.  Give clear and concise parameters so they know what is going on.  Reality is, sometimes we will need to finish a chore or task before we can stop and give our attention to our children.  Instead of just saying ‘No, I can’t play with you at the moment’, try explaining what you are doing, and how long you will be, and assuring them that you will be right with them once you are done.  I have found a found a timer works great in these situations.  You might also want to switch that scenario and play with them first (perhaps with a time limit) and then complete your tasks afterwards.

Life is busy, and so is motherhood. Regardless of what you have going on, take the time to make your child feel like the most precious thing in the world – because they are.  We all know that you will benefit from the time spent with them, just as much as they will.  Before you know it, it will be too late.  They won’t be asking for those cuddles, or for you to listen to those adorably silly stories they have made up, forever.  Give them, and yourself, the quality time desired.  And on the days it doesn’t go to plan – remember that it’s okay, you’re doing the best you can.  Remind them how special they are and try again tomorrow.  You’re doing a great job mama.

Well here we are, fast approaching the end of the 30 day nutrition challenge set by my local crossfit box.

There are technically still 2 days to go, but I will wrap it all up in this final part four blog.

Last week I was faced with a bit of an injury, which unfortunately only worsened over the past 4 or 5 days, limiting my movement/exercise. Limiting it to non-existent actually!

After a couple of trips to the doc and a scan to check things out, it appears I have a torn muscle in my back causing me a bit of grief with certain movements and deep breathing.  It was decided I needed to completely rest it for a week and cross my fingers it is happier before I return to the doctor this week.

A couple of years ago I started running for the first time in my life, and after a break from it I have been thinking about taking it up again – there’s nothing else quite like that runner’s high you get when you cover a distance you didn’t think you could!  But for now, I just need to rest and heal so I can get back moving in any capacity!

As far as my nutrition went last week, it was pretty good!  There were a few deviations along the way (including an incredible Korean bbq lunch and perhaps a chocolate frappe one day!) but overall, I stuck to the guidelines as prescribed.

The further into the challenge I got, the more I realised that this way of eating is not something that I would want to pursue long term, and in all fairness, it was never designed for that.

I knew that signing up to this challenge would be exactly that – challenging!

The following three aspects were the ones I found most challenging:

1.  The hard and fast list of ‘allowable’ foods.

Although it was quite extensive, I do enjoy having food freedom.  If I have something special planned, I like to enjoy the food (and drink) on offer with no guilt about whether I am ‘allowed’ to eat it or not.   I also prefer to listen to my body and eat when hungry, rather than having to eat a certain amount of food every day.

2.  Plenty of carbs!

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my carbs, in fact I love them.    Not every day, and not with every meal.

Sure, I eat some carbs every day (most often in the form of fruit and veggies), but most grains don’t seem to agree with me and that seemed to be the easiest choice during this challenge.  You were encouraged to include a significant portion of carbs with each meal, and I found myself most often having potato or fruit to fill that requirement.

3.  Low-fat dairy.

I’ll admit, I struggled with this recommendation, despite understanding why they chose to prescribe it.

Dairy and fat are two big nutritional topics that are up for debate often these days.  Dairy?  No dairy?  Low fat dairy?  Low fat anything?  Good fats, bad fats.  No fats.  What should we be doing?  I can’t answer that question, nor do I believe anyone can give a one size fits all answer to that question, but I would encourage everyone to research and experiment.

Keep a diary of what you are eating and how it makes you feel.  Bloated, foggy, sick?  Satisfied, hormonally balanced, well-rested?  Personally, I am an advocate of moderate healthy fats such as olives, coconut oil, animal fat (from grass fed/free range animals), avocado, olive oil, etc.

If you tolerate dairy well, you could also include full fat butter, cream, milk etc. It keeps me satiated, reduces my inflammation and stabilises my moods.

By cutting fats during this challenge (combined with eating more carbs) I could feel a difference, particularly with inflammation.

On the flipside, there were some things I really enjoyed about this challenge.

1.  Mindfulness!

At the start of the 30 days, I mentioned that I had become quite complacent with my nutrition of late.

This challenge was a great tool for making me more mindful about what I was eating, how much I was eating and when, and how it made me feel.

This was probably my biggest takeaway from the past 30 days, and something I am going to continue to be aware of.  Less eating on the run mindlessly, more planning and making time to sit and eat peacefully, purposely.

2.  Trying new things.

When given a list of ‘allowable’ foods including some things you don’t normally eat, of course you are going to experiment and try new things!

I enjoyed seeing some new things on my plate (even if they didn’t agree with me greatly) and creating some new recipes to share with my family.

3.  Feeling GOOD!

Who doesn’t like feeling good? Within the first few days of the day challenge, I physically felt some benefits.

As previously mentioned, I have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and some foods on this program don’t agree with my body.  Despite all of that, overall, I certainly feel better than I did immediately prior to the challenge. By day 5, the bloating I had been dealing with more often than not for the previous couple of months literally disappeared.

Now I have no doubt that there were various factors that contributed to this, but none more so than reverting back to simple wholefoods!  The days where I did experiment with rice, too much fruit or potato, bread etc, I found those symptoms quickly reappeared.

All in all though, over the past 30 days I have felt more energised, am sleeping better, and most days have less inflammation that I previously did.

So How Did I Do?

As you know, we have been earning and accumulating points throughout the challenge, and I set myself a mini goal of 100 points in the 30 days.

Week two was pretty much a wipe out thanks to our holiday laden with delicious, non-compliant, food (if you had more than one meal that didn’t follow the guidelines you could not earn any food points). I have also done a lot less exercise over the last 30 days than I normally would, again due to being away and my current injury, and certainly less than what I anticipated – but that is life, we will always have things pop up and challenges presented to us.

During week 4 I accumulated 30 points – a slight improvement on the previous week, but not quite what I was hoping for.  Today I have added another 5 points to that, bringing me to a total of 86 points for 28 days.   With two days to go, if I stick to the challenge 100% with zero deviations, I could earn an additional 14 points, bringing me to bang on 100!  However, I’m still not allowed to exercise so, that won’t happen!

Final Thoughts

Regardless of the points earned, I have enjoyed doing the 30-day nutrition challenge.

I did find it challenging, and most importantly I found it to be a good tool for being mindful again.

If you are contemplating any changes to your lifestyle or eating habits, please do your research and remember that everybody is unique – what works for someone else to make them feel great, may not do the same for you, and vice versa.

Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, please speak to a health practitioner.

Above all, listen to your body – she knows the answers, and wants you to feel good!

I have to admit, I am a little oil obsessed.

We diffuse essential oils in our home, apply them to our bodies, use them in cooking and more!  A few years ago, if someone told me I would be using little bottles of smelly stuff on a daily basis, and instead of tablets and medicines, I would have thought they were crazy! But here I am.

About 3 years ago I participated in a low-tox living course which is where I first learnt about the benefits of oils and how to use them to replace chemicals in our home.  Soon after I began to experiment and soon discovered the therapeutic benefits too.

They are now a big part of our holistic approach to health.

Of course there are multitudes of oils on the market, so ensure you choose ones that are good quality – 100 pure therapeutic grade!  Some good quality brands include DoTerra, Rocky Mountain Oils, Young Living and Edens Garden just to name a few.  If you do a quick google search you will be bombarded with numerous options!

As long as you choose a pure high-quality oil, you will reap the benefits.

Although I use a lot of a different oils, for a lot of different things, here are my three favourite single essential oils.  They are very common and can be used for a diverse range of ailments.  Don’t forget to always check with your health practitioner before using if pregnant, have a medical condition or using on a child.

PEPPERMINT

peppermint essential oil uses

I love this stuff! I have extra bottles in my kitchen, the bedroom and in my purse!

As an IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) sufferer this oil is my best friend.  It is great for soothing digestive issues such as bloating, indigestion, nausea and cramping.  Simply rub a few drops into your tummy in a clockwise direction or pop a couple of drops behind your ears. You can even add it to hot water and drink it.

Peppermint oil can be used for stress relief as it can decrease cortisone (our stress hormone).  It is also great for muscle pain relief as it is natural painkiller and muscle relaxant.  For this reason, it is also effective for sinus problems when inhaled.  I also rub some into my temples if I have a headache and feel better in no time!

Due to the cooling effect, it is also great for reducing fever too.  These are just a handful of uses, but as you can see everyone should have peppermint oil in their medicine cabinet!

LAVENDER

lavender essential oil benefits

Lavender is perhaps the most common essential oil around, and for good reason!

It is well known for its calming and soothing properties above all else.  Due to its relaxing effect on the body, lavender oil can be effective for reducing anxiety, panic and insomnia by simply inhaling or using topically.  It is a favourite of mine when my little one is overtired!

It can be used on cuts, burns, bites and stings and can help to stop bleeding and kill bacteria.  It is also great for sunburn and chapped lips.

In fact, it is great for many skin problems including dermatitis, acne and eczema.  As you can see, Lavender oil can be used to remedy many health concerns!

OREGANO

benefits of oregano essential oil

Oregano isn’t just great in cooking, but it is a potent oil that has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties.  It is a must have for the first aid kit!

It is great for immune system support and can be used to treat a wide range of ailments including arthritis, UTI’s, allergies, cold and flu, athlete’s foot, worms, psoriasis and more.

It can also be used for toothaches, earaches, menstrual cramps and respiratory issues including asthma, bronchitis and chesty coughs.  This is far from an exhaustive list but gives you an idea of just how versatile and therapeutic this oil is!  Due to the potent nature of oregano oil, you should always dilute it before using.

As a bonus, all three of these oils can come in handy in the kitchen, and of course have many other uses too!  If you have never used oils before you should definitely give them a go.  From a previous non believer, now convert, I can definitely say they have enabled us to live a more healthy and chemically free life.

Do you already use essential oils?  If so, which oil is your favourite and why?

We are now three quarters of the way through our 30 day nutrition challenge and the last week has been interesting!

I was expecting to come home from our holiday with a new sense of motivation after such an indulgent week away.  Overall week three was okay, but it felt like hard work, and was certainly far from perfect.  I felt like I was still in holiday mode and I was finding it very difficult to stay committed!

I had the last week off work as part of my vacation, and I quickly realised that routine was my friend, and preparation was key!  I spent the first 4 days at home on my own, and the other 3 days away camping.  During my time at home I had a few appointments, but also enjoyed catching up with some friends, working on some creative projects and relaxing.

As we had been away the previous week, I wasn’t prepared with any pre-made meals or a meal plan like I normally would have.   This resulted in me eating on the run, and some days eating too much or not enough. I also have a sore shoulder (despite massage and chiro to try and fix it) so due to that and my other commitments during the week, I only went to CrossFit once during week three.

30 day challenge diet

If you have been reading along each week about the 30 day nutrition challenge (here, here and here), you will know that there is some pretty strict guidelines around it, which is why they called it a challenge!

If you follow the guidelines as prescribed, you can earn up to 6 food points a day, plus earn an additional point for exercising. It was designed as a nutritional reset, and even if not being strictly adhered to the organisers hoped that participants would create some new healthy habits and be more mindful.

Personally, I have definitely been more mindful, and so far the biggest benefits have been eliminating bloating and better sleep.  I can also feel the feedback my body gives me when I eat something not so nutritionally great, and have been trying to ensure most meals consist of appropriate portions of protein, carbs, veggies and good fats as recommended. I have also tried some new recipes which is always great!

For example, I normally eat some combination of meat and vegetables for breakfast but tomorrow I am trying banana rice pudding (with collagen hydrosolate for protein)!

As mentioned, we went away camping for the final few days of week three.

I was not at all prepared with my meals, but I did make sure I took adequate healthy food, and choose to snack on apples instead of crackers and cheese!  I also took plenty of water so opted for that over alcohol or soda.

Normally camping involves more food than required, and not much movement, but due to what we were doing while away, it was quite the opposite this time!  We actually went away so my husband could compete in a 4WD competition, so they days were long and majority of the time we were off in the bush away from camp.

In fact, on the Saturday I checked my watch and I had walked well over 10km back and forth spectating!

However, I did enjoy a sausage sizzle and a couple of lollies the following day too – I ended up with zero points that day!

Overall for the week I accumulated 25 points taking my total to 51.

With just over a week to go to try and reach my goal of 100 points during the 30 day nutrition challenge, I am not too sure if I will make it, but I do know that I have been so much more mindful, and feeling more vibrant than I have in quite some time.

diet challenge

I find that when I am focusing on my health rather than just mindlessly carrying on with things, not only do I feel better in my body, but also emotionally.

Of course, food and exercise impact our mental health and emotions, but by giving our health a little more attention than usual, we notice the benefits and do more of the ‘good’ things our bodies love.

More water, more rest, and just generally more in tune with what our body needs and desires – so we deliver.

This coming week I am back at work with no events planned so will be in my normal routine and ready to finish the 30 day nutrition challenge with a bang!

Featured image via Stocksnap

I knew from the start of this nutrition challenge, that week two was probably going to be a bit of a write off.

Our holiday, a 7-night cruise to the Pacific Islands, was planned well before the nutrition challenge came about, but I accepted the challenge nonetheless!

My goal was/is to earn 100 points throughout the 30 days and I hoped I could do that in the 3 weeks of the month that I wasn’t on holidays!  You can read about week one and how points during the challenge are earned here.

In my last post, I said that I was aiming to earn my one bonus workout point each day while away.  I packed my activewear and gym shoes, printed off my list of home workouts and was ready to get in and get it done.  Until I got there that is…

Before we left, friends told me about the food on the ship.  They said the food was good and there was plenty of it.  Whoa was that an understatement!

As someone who loves food, but has battled an eating disorder most of her adult life, and who still often finds herself challenged when faced with temptation, the food on the cruise was both an overwhelming blessing and curse rolled into one.

The main dining room onboard was called The Pantry – from memory it included eight individual outlets offering different cuisines and options, one of which was called the Sugar Bar! You could as much and as frequently as you liked.  Then there was The Waterfront restaurant that offered a different 3 course menu for lunch and dinner daily.

In addition to these two dining options that were included in your fare, there were 4 other restaurants, a grill, 2 cafés and an ice creamery on board.  Oh, and there was a lollishop and numerous bars of course!  So much food (and temptation) in one small space.

On day one I realised that although what I put in my mouth is always my choice, saying no didn’t come as easy as I hoped in this situation!

So, what did I eat?

Apart from way too many desserts?  Well a bit of everything really!  We ate breakfast and lunch in The Pantry, and dinner at The Waterfront each night.

Breakfast for me usually consisted of bacon, egg, tomato and mini croissants.  And pancakes.  With syrup.  I know I know…  For lunch I usually chose some sort of roast meat and vegies, but I did also have fish with wedges, calamari, Asian noodles and sticky chicken wings throughout the week.    And dessert.  The Sugar Bar that I mentioned, it was full of desserts every lunch and dinner time. Cakes, slices, jellies, tarts, custards, meringues, even chocolate dipped bananas – you name it, they probably had it at some stage, and let’s be honest, I probably tried it too!

Dinner varied every single night, but again, I usually choose some type of meat and vegetable dish.  And dessert.  Again.  Oh, and bread rolls!  So many bread rolls!

We attended a high tea on board which was very luxurious and tasty, and also experienced a traditional morning tea and lunch while in Vanuatu, which simply consisted of fresh organic fruits and home-made sweet potato chips followed by grilled meats and salads – it was delicious!

Despite eating a lot of food I wouldn’t typically choose when at home, I did make some good choices too!  I choose meat and vegetables more often than not.   If I didn’t enjoy something, I didn’t eat it just because it was there.   I didn’t join my husband in late night snacks from The Grill, such as nachos, burgers and hotdogs.

During the entire week, I only had one cocktail – one!  I also had one soft drink, one juice (that tasted bloody awful), one milkshake and one hot chocolate.  For the rest of the time I chose water.  And lots of it!  I also turned down the vast selection of cheeses and crackers on offer each night.  That may have been because I was too full of desserts, but I turned them down nonetheless! So, it could have been worse, right?

Food aside, I did have a goal to move my body (aka exercise) each day while away.

On the first day, I headed down to the onboard gym to check it out.  I have never seen so many machines in such a small space, and being a crossfit girl (we don’t use machines) it was quite overwhelming to be honest.  I decided to stick to my home workout printouts that I brought with me.

Later that day I attempted to do burpees in my room.  Except there wasn’t enough space without me hitting either a bedside table, wall or ladder from the top bunk.  I tried to do some step ups on a chair in the room, but it was too soft and unstable.

Then I had an idea. Stairs!  There were 14 decks on our ship – that is a whole lot of stairs!  There were also 2000 people on the cruise so although you couldn’t really exercise in the stairwells, you could choose to take the stairs instead of the lift whenever you had to go between decks, which felt like about eleventy billion times a day.  No that’s not a real number but you get my point!  I can assure you that my legs got an amazing workout during our cruise! We decided to switch the lifts for stairs for the entire week.

In addition to the endless stairs we also did a huge amount of walking and exploring on the islands, particularly at Lifou.  On board gym?  No.  Home workouts?  No.  Moved my body every day while away?  Yes.

In regards to the challenge, week two was pretty much a flop.

Let’s be honest here!  Although I didn’t earn any points while away, I was much more mindful of the choices I made (whether they served me or not), and I did make some great subtle choices (such as the stairs, meat and veg options, and no drinking) to ensure I kept feeling good, and not all was lost just because I went on vacation.

Now I am back home, and back into the full swing of the challenge, currently sitting at a grand total of 31 points.

There are two weeks to go and I need to remain focussed to come close to my personal goal of accumulating 100 points during the 30 days.

I look forward to checking in next week!

Featured image via Stocksnap

I recently had a chat with a fellow mom friend about how much happier and more organised she felt when she has a tidy home.

Not necessarily a perfectly clean sparkling home, but one where things are relatively in order, minimal and where they should be! And I 100% agreed – I love coming home to a clean inviting space.  It could be argued that the reverse is more relevant.  That the happier and more organised you are, the tidier your home is.

No one wants to come home and clean up after a long stressful day or during a challenging time of their life, so if your emotional health is at a low, maybe that could be reflected in your home or surrounds too.

Either way, a decluttered home and mind seem to work hand in hand!

Our home should be our oasis.

Our safe and easeful space.  Unfortunately, if we let clutter build up it can become overwhelming to know how to sort it out and where to start.  But here is a list to help you out!

Tackle one small task every day for 30 days.

In the words of Elsa, if something is broken, mismatched, worn out, useless, expired, no longer needed, outgrown, duplicated or unused, let it go!

You could donate, bin it or give to a friend or loved one.  If it is useful or sparks joy – keep it! Easy!

Ready to declutter your home and your mind in the next 30 days? Start with these:

donate old bras - Feeling Stressed Out? Try Decluttering Your Home Parfait Lingerie

1.  Clothing

If it doesn’t fit, or hasn’t been worn in over 12 months, why do you still have it? Donate it!

2.  Clean out your bag

If your bag is anything like mine, it seems to have a bottomless pit!

3.  Inside your fridge

Check out all those jars and sauce bottle expiry dates too.

4.  Shoes

C’mon, I know you don’t really need 174 pairs of shoes!

5.  Accessories/jewellery

I also know you don’t need to hang on to those neon beads from 1988…

6.  Toys

Get the kids involved. What have they outgrown? What could they donate?

7.  Games

If you haven’t played a game in the last year, do you really need it anymore?

8.  Pantry Contents

Check those spice labels!

9.  Junk drawer

We all have one somewhere.

10.  Photos

If you have photos stored on multiple devices, pop them all on one hard drive. Don’t forget to make a back-up copy.

clean out your bag - Feeling Stressed Out? Try Decluttering Your Home

11.  Laundry cupboard

When was the last time you sorted through your cleaning products?

12.  Medicine

Check those dates, keep everything in one locked drawer or high cupboard.

13.  Books

Any books you are finished with would be gratefully received by someone else!Linen cupboard – How many mismatched sheets or towels do you have. Consider donating them to a local animal shelter.

14.  Linen cupboard

How many mismatched sheets or towels do you have. Consider donating them to a local animal shelter.

15.  Freezer

Do you even know what is in the bottom of your freezer?

16.  Desk

Empty those drawers and clear some space for fresh ideas!

17.  Magazines

If you’ve read it you don’t need it anymore.

18.  Sporting equipment

I know you had good intentions when you bought that ab roller 10 years ago, but if you’ve only used it twice, it probably should go!

19.  Makeup/body products

Wrong shades, empty bottles, old and expired makeup, products you didn’t like…

20.  Movies

Put anything you want to keep on a hard drive to save space.

throw away old makeup - Feeling Stressed Out? Try Decluttering Your Home

 

21.  Kitchen drawer

Last time I cleaned out my kitchen drawer I found no less than 7 medicine syringes. Two is more than enough!

22.  Social Media

While you are decluttering, unfollow anyone who no longer sparks joy in you.

23.  Car

Clean it out, freshen it up!

24.  Email subscriptions

There is no need to keep subscribing to the site you signed up to just for a discount code in 2011!

25.  Gifts

Yes, those things that someone very kindly gave you. Just because it once was loved, doesn’t mean you need to hang on to it forever.

26.  Kids creations

Have you kept every drawing they have ever made? Consider taking photos of each one (if they spark joy!) and compile into a digital collage instead.

27.  Receipts and bills

When was the last time you cleaned out your filing cabinet?

28.  Craft supplies

There’s no point keeping dried up paints and half-finished projects!

29.  Plastics cupboard

You know the one that you have to throw the Tupperware in and then shut it really quickly?

30.  Underwear

Hmmm, if it has holes, bin it!

throw away old underwear - Feeling Stressed Out? Try Decluttering Your Home Parfait Lingerie

As you work through your home, take note of how it makes you feel.  Do you feel a little less overwhelmed?  More organised?  Maybe you notice new things coming your way once you have let go of some of the old.  If you want to read about more ways to declutter your home and mind, check out Marie Kondo’s Konmari Method, in ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’.

Featured image via royalty-free stock photo

I love affirmations.

I believe they are a powerful tool in changing the stories we have previously told ourselves, or have been told by others.  The more we say something, the more our brains hear it, obviously. When we repeatedly hear the same message, it begins to embed in our subconscious mind, effectively programming our mind to believe whatever it is being told.  Something else I love is confidence.  To see someone stand in their power, owning all that they are and not only believing in themselves, but backing themselves too, is such a wonderful thing.

Unfortunately, confidence doesn’t always come easy.

In fact, for some people it is a very difficult thing to build up. Even if you are a normally confident person, sometimes confidence ebbs and flows, or you can feel more confident in one aspect of your life than others.

There are many reasons our self-confidence can change throughout our lives, from experiences and life events to influences and expectations from others.  Often influences from other people could be as simple and accidental as a family member mentioning that you weren’t very good at something as a child, or being laughed at for something that didn’t go as planned.

At the other end of the spectrum, low self-confidence could be a by-product of a volatile relationship where someone intentionally tried to put you down, or make you believe that you were less worthy than you really are.  Life events such as losing a job, having a baby, or even aging, are all examples of things that can also rock our self-confidence boat.

Confidence is powerful.  Confidence is sexy. Confidence is the best outfit you can wear, so try it on for size and rock it gorgeous.

Whether you are wanting to improve your self-confidence at work, or in your relationship, or maybe just boost your self-esteem in general, here are 21 of my favourite affirmations to make you feel fiercely confident!

21 affirmations for confidence 2 - 21 Affirmations That Will Make You Feel Fiercely Confident!

I am powerful.

Everything I desire is possible.

I breathe in confidence and breathe out fear.

I am in charge of how I feel today.

My self-esteem is solid and unbreakable.

I have the power to create the life I want.

I deserve the best, and I now accept it.

All I need is already within me.

I am fiercely capable.

Every challenge is a gift.

Amazing opportunities exist for me.

I am beautiful, inside and out.

I believe in myself.

I create positive and supportive connections.

I accept and love all of me.

I am energetic and enthusiastic.

I am flexible and adapt to change easily.

I am surrounded by love.

I have confidence in every decision I make.

I trust my intuition.

I have the ability to achieve my dreams.

Now you have these affirmations, it’s time to give them some oomph, some heart, and use them.

There is no right or wrong way to use affirmations, however I have tried many things over the years and have found some simple things that work for me – and they might just work for you too!

Perhaps the most important, is to say your affirmations out loud, often.  I suggest 3-5mins, 3 times a day. Nine to twelve minutes a day is not much, but when you are reading your affirmations, you can fit a whole lot of repetition in that time, which is exactly what you want.  The more often, the better.

You can also write, or print your affirmations and place them in prominent areas of your home or office – even in your car!  The more often you see/read/say them, the better.

In addition to repetition, I believe that connection is important.  These words you are about to imbed are important. 

They shouldn’t be read half-heartedly as you are doing 10 other things.  Be deliberate and heartfelt throughout the process.  And if you can do it in front of a mirror, even better!  Place your hand over your heart (or womb, or both) and breathe.  A big deep inhale and exhale between each affirmation.  Look into your own eyes.  Repeat…  And, not only will you be an affirmation pro in no time, you will also become fiercely confident in no time!

Featured image via royalty-free stock photo

Just like that we are a week into our 30-day challenge!

Well 5 days actually, because I am writing this a little early before we sail off on our cruise (internet free!) later today.  I have quite enjoyed week one, despite some headaches due to the lack of ice-cream in my life this week!

If you missed my previous blogs regarding this challenge, you can read about it here and here

In a nutshell, the challenge has been put forward from my local crossfit gym to eat high quality wholefoods, in appropriate portion sizes, from a recommended list of proteins, carbs, veg and good fats. We receive points for eating correct foods and correct portion sizes.  We can also get a bonus point daily if we workout.

Here is how week one went!

Day 1

On day one I woke up feeling optimistic and a little excited, despite being extra bloated and groggy after fried chicken and chips the night before and only 4 hours sleep – neither of which I would recommend!  I did some journaling around my intention for this challenge, why I was doing it, and wanted I wanted to get out of it.

My main objective was to give my digestive system a reset to reduce IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) symptoms, to improve my energy, mood, sleep and performance by fuelling my body correctly, and to start to see a change in my measurements or body shape.  I had already prepped my meals for the week ahead, so was ready to go!  I had a rotation of 3 meals to keep things simple.

On the menu was taco bowls (salad, taco mince and avocado) with banana and strawberries, ginger and lime baked chicken thighs with sweet potato mash and sautéed greens, and silverside with baked potato and tomato and zucchini bake with. Every meal was delicious!

By lunch time on day one I was already wanting something sweet – already!  I started to realise just how much sugar and processed rubbish I had been eating again prior to the challenge.  Regardless, I was happy to let that feeling come and go and not judge it.  By late afternoon I had a headache but went to crossfit anyway, and felt much better afterwards.

Day 2 & Day 3

Days two and three were quite similar, wanting something sweet and getting headaches, but I found that having some fruit with at least one of my meals and making sure I was drinking plenty of water certainly helped.

Within those first few days I was feeling more tired at bed time, but more rested when I woke.  I think that was because I had stopped screwing up my body’s communication.  I have been impartial to some very late nights over the past few months and one way I was able to do that, was to have sugar when I was feeling tired to keep me awake a bit longer – again, definitely not recommended!

On day three I was faced with some of my biggest temptations – fudge and donuts. Homemade donuts, that looked sooooo good!  A work friend had made them the night before, and as we have often joked about making donuts ourselves after indulging in some fancy ones at work on occasion, she really wanted me to try them.  I declined.  She asked again, and again, and then heated them up.

Ya’ll know what hot cinnamon donuts smell like right?  Yeah, I caved.  Totally my choice of course, like everything is.  The good news is that they were actually little miniature donut balls – literally about a bites worth!  So, I tried the mini donut and it was delicious.  I could have eaten another half a dozen of them, but I didn’t.  That’s a win in my books!  Next came the fudge.  Another work friend bought back handmade chocolate and caramel fudge after her lunch break.  She said it tasted amazing.

Once upon a time that would have been all it took, a simple offer, and I would have gladly accepted, whether I actually felt like it or not.  But, I didn’t feel like eating fudge, so I politely declined – yay!  The donut choice did result in me ‘losing’ a point for that day but I was completely okay with that.

So, days one and two I accumulated max points – 6 points for food and portion sizes, plus 1 bonus point for working out.  On day three I accumulated 5 points for food and portion sizes, and no bonus point as I didn’t work out that day.

Day 4

Day four was my first day at home during the challenge, which I found a lot more difficult than being at work!  Although I had my meals prepped and ready to eat, there was also a fridge full of other yummy foods for hubby and my son which all of a sudden looked quite appealing.

It probably didn’t help that I was on my fourth day of the same 3 meals on rotation – noted for next week (well week 3 actually, more on why soon)!  Despite all of that, I did stick to my planned meals.

By day four I was feeling quite good.  My bloating had reduced massively and the headaches had subsided.  I noticed that my knee which had previously been aching on and off for some weeks had also improved which would have been due to reduced inflammation from the absence of undesirable foods (atleast for me) again.

I also noticed by day four that I was going to the bathroom regularly again.  Due to my IBS, numerous foods can disrupt my digestion, causing anything from chronic constipation to diarrhoea.  Not pleasant, but certainly a means of feedback from my very clever body!

Day 5 & Day 6

When I was faced with the choice of my prepared meals (and following the challenge guidelines) or the fridge contents on offer during day four, I kept thinking about my impending holiday.  As mentioned, we are leaving today, on day six of the challenge, for 8 days on a cruise ship.

When I committed to this 30-day reset I was very mindful of our holiday and how it would affect the results/outcome of the challenge.  I was also very honest with myself and my desire to enjoy, indulge and celebrate while away.  So, with a very challenging week ahead, I chose to make the most of the days beforehand.

Due to packing, running errands and travelling, I did not work out again on day four, so ended up with 6 points for my food and portion sizes the day.

Day 7

And that brings me to today.  This morning I woke up and did a home workout – one point for me!  Although I followed the challenge guidelines for breakfast, I know that when we board the ship today, I won’t.  Let’s be real here!

Sure, I intend on making healthy choices more often than not, and certainly know I will be more mindful of what I am eating than I would have been had I not been doing this challenge, but I am looking forward to enjoying, indulging a little, and celebrating just like I mentioned above.

With the challenge point system, if we have more than one meal in a day that is not ‘compliant’ than we do not get any points for that day.

Therefore, I don’t foresee that I will be earning any food points while away because no doubt I will enjoy atleast one meal plus a drink or dessert that doesn’t fit the guidelines.  I am aiming to do a workout every day so I can claim my one point each day, so we will see how that pans out.  Laying by the pool is pretty much swimming, which is pretty much a workout right?

Featured image via royalty-free stock photo

Self-love is almost becoming a bit of a buzz word or catch phrase of late, and there are plenty of people giving advice on how to love yourself.

Perhaps you should tell yourself more often, take yourself on a date, or gift yourself a pedicure.  How about running yourself a bath, or buying yourself a gift you have been eyeing off – that will help right?  Probably not, no… Sure it is nice, and you deserve nice things, but personally I do not believe it is as easy as saying ‘I love you self’, or buying something special.  Like any relationship, it needs to have substance and be genuine.  So where do you start?  The same place you do with anyone else!

Acceptance – be kind and forgive

Perhaps the most crucial step in loving yourself, is simply accepting yourself – quirks and all.   If you can’t accept the person you are right now, and instead think you will like her better when she weighs less, has more money, is more accomplished, etc, let me ask you, who is going to get her there?  The person you are right now, that’s who.  She’s been through a lot, and no matter how you or others have treated her, she still shows up and does the best she can with what she has.

self love quotes

Accepting yourself as you are, right now, doesn’t mean you don’t want to change.

It doesn’t mean you have to stay the same as the person you are today.  We all want to keep growing and learning and that is okay, but please remember who is going to do the work and accept her in all her current glory.

Afford yourself the same kindness you give others.  If you can be so kind to forgive someone for a choice they once made, or a decision that perhaps doesn’t sit well in your soul, I pray you can do the same for yourself.  And then when you do, and you make the same mistake or choice again in the future – forgive, again.

Don’t set your standards so high that you are constantly at battle with yourself.

You don’t need to be perfect every day.  Hell, you don’t need to be perfect any day!  Free yourself from that judgement and you will be well on your way!  Just like your friend or neighbour, you too have challenges, pain, fears and doubts.  You too need someone to accept those things, to be gentle, kind and forgiving.  Why not be that person for yourself?

Honor thy self

There are so many ways to honor you, and it is a sure-fire way to ignite that love within!

Firstly, celebrate your awesome.  Think about what you have done, what you have achieved and what you have overcome in your life.  Make a list if you like!  You did those things.  You!


Related: 10 Negative (and Harmful) Things You Need To Stop Telling Yourself


quotes about self love

Focus on the qualities you have that you would admire in someone else – and admire them in you!

Embrace the woman you are.  Your personality, strengths (and weaknesses), feelings, all of it!  Take note of how you feel in your own company and how you talk to yourself.  Maybe you don’t even know yourself well?  What do you love?  What makes you happy?  You get to decide these answers and write your stories, no one else, so honor the feelings and thoughts that bubble up and indulge in those things that you desire.  And have fun while doing it!  Sure, if that means going to get that pedicure, if that is really what lights you up, go for it.  But maybe it is putting pen to paper and seeing the magic that pours out of you.  Maybe it is putting on some music and dancing until you are brought to your knees.  There is no right or wrong, just honor you.

Honor your intuition.  Trust yourself.  You are amazing – you know exactly what you need, exactly what to do!

Remember that you don’t need to be the person that you are told you should be, or that you may ‘think’ you should be, as dictated by other people’s thoughts, expectations and opinions.  It is okay to be quirky.  It is okay to be a hot mess!  It is okay to not be okay.  It is okay to be bloody fabulous too!  Don’t shrink.  Don’t hide, change or conform.  Just be you.

Sure, there are plenty of tools you can utilise to cultivate self-love – positive affirmations, gratitude and meditation are just a few (which I recommend), but beyond those, love is a choice, just like everything else.  And the more you love by accepting and honouring yourself, the more you will receive – your life will flow.   Abundance, joy, compassion, it’s all there for the taking.  When life is bleak, love yourself, gently.  When life is amazing, love yourself, wildly. Regardless, self-love unconditionally.


Related: 6 Daily Practices For Self Love


What are some of the qualities you have that you would admire in someone else?

Last week I wrote about an upcoming nutrition challenge/reset hosted by my local crossfit gym that I decided to sign up and commit to, despite being an anti-diet type of gal.  You can read more about that here in my last post.  

There were 3 main reasons I decided to jump on board – (1.) I am all for improving my health, (2.) the occasional ice cream seems to have turned into a little more than the ‘occasional’ ice cream of late, and (3.) simply because I am always up for a challenge!

Before signing up I checked that the challenge did not involve calorie counting, following a set meal plan or a lot of restriction.  I also made sure that it was not a challenge to see who could lose the most weight (or even required weighing) – which it was not.

The Rules:

The challenge is to accumulate as many ‘points’ as you can, up to a maximum of 7 points per day including a bonus point for adequate movement, aka exercising!  Points are awarded for eating both an appropriate quantity, and even more importantly, high quality, whole foods. Each meal should contain protein, veg/salads, carbs/starches, and good fats.  30 Day Nutrition Challenge – Ready Set Go!  We were provided with an extensive list of recommended foods for each category, as well as a recipe book and sample meal plan for inspiration.

30 day fitness and nutrition challenge 1 - 30 Day Nutrition Challenge – Ready Set Go!

A few days ago we received the detailed information for the challenge and my first thought was ‘ohhhhhh, what am I doing?’.  As mentioned in my original post, I am actually going away on a cruise holiday during the challenge, from day 5 – 12, and after reading the ‘rules’ I wasn’t sure I wanted to participate while on holidays!  To be honest prior to receiving that info, I thought I may be able to indulge a little but still accumulate points if I was ‘mostly’ sticking to the challenge.

Unfortunately, it turns out that is not quite the case and a challenge is exactly that – challenging!

Although our trainers knew that we may have days where we would choose not to follow the guidelines, the aim was to do the very best we could during the 30 days!  The more we detract from the guidelines, the less points we would accumulate. For example, if we follow it 100% we would receive the full 6 food points per day.  If we perhaps mostly followed it but decided to have some chocolate as well, or a wine with our dinner, we would receive less points.  If we totally threw the guidelines out the window for more than one full meal, then we would not receive any points for that day (unless we worked out, in which case we could still get our bonus point).  Our trainers also made it clear that the guidelines provided were probably not sustainable long term, 100% of the time.

This challenge was created to allow our bodies to reset from processed foods, sugar, alcohol, and the endless list of chemical weirdness we tend to consume these days.

30 day food challenge - 30 Day Nutrition Challenge – Ready Set Go!

So, on one hand I was dreaming about the endless supply of indulgent food and cocktails on our upcoming cruise, and on the other I was considering the commitment I had just entered into!  What was a girl to do!?  Honour herself, that’s what.  Not only her body and health, but also her desires!  A big part of our holiday was about celebration, and in most cultures, celebration includes food!  We booked this time away to celebrate our 10-year anniversary, and it also not only coincides with the end of my studies, but also my husband’s birthday – so if I said I wasn’t going to celebrate and indulge to some degree, I would be lying!  And, I reminded myself that the cruise only accounts for 8 days of the 30-day challenge which leaves 22 days with no excuses!

My personal goals for this challenge are:

(1.)  Accumulate a minimum of 100 points.

(2.)  Aim for at least 1 point per day while on holidays, and even if not following the challenge guidelines as prescribed, still be mindful of my choices (whilst indulging a little) and have an amazing time while doing so!

(3.)  Listen to, and note, the feedback my wonderfully clever body gives me during this time.

(4.)  Try at least one new recipe per week.

(5.)  Drink plenty of H2O – especially while on holidays!

As I am writing this, the challenge actually starts tomorrow.

I spent a couple of hours tonight cooking for the next few days to ensure I am prepared and following the recommended guidelines until we head off on our holiday.  I have some yummy meals ready to go and am feeling excited.  I have no doubt that during the first couple of days my body may respond with headaches and tiredness when I stop feeding it sugar to stay awake! I also have no doubt that within a few more days, my current bloating will dissipate and I will start to feel more alert. Beyond that who knows, but I look forward to sharing the journey with you regardless!

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