Keep it simple, stupid.

img_0836

Many of you would have heard this statement here and there throughout life, applied to a whole variety of situations. But have you ever stopped for a second to think about what it actually means? Apparently the original ‘KISS’ acronym was used as a principal in the U.S. Army for reducing complicated systems to more simple designs. Makes sense right? So instead of getting bogged down in the pointless worries we face in our day to day lives – how about we start keeping it simple, stupid.

Yesterday I had what we like to refer to in the Western World as a ‘sickie’ (although I prefer to say ‘mental health day’). To be fair, I was actually hitting a wall with flu symptoms and complete exhaustion, and spent most of the day going between my bed and the couch for naps with my puppy. Sometimes a day off from all obligations and people is a complete saviour, not only for your physical health but just as importantly for your state of mind. Today I’m feeling a thousand times better, but I’ve still kept it simple. A short walk on the beach followed by a coffee while I watered the plants, and now I’m sitting here writing in a cool breeze. In hindsight though, letting myself get to that point of exhaustion where I needed to call in sick was not healthy, and that’s because I wasn’t keeping it simple at all.

Last week in between working a shift based roster, I was also house-sitting for 2 dogs, attended my first yoga class in a few years, had a pretty painful acupuncture session, was trying to cook healthy and keep up to date with the TV show I was hooked on, all while trying to be ‘present’ in my relationship for a boyfriend who is only home 2 weeks a month. To put it simply, I was wrecked. I was mentally drained, physically aching, and could have quite easily slept for a week. So is it any wonder that come Sunday night at work, I went through a box of tissues and no joke sneezed at least 200 times? Why do we continue to drive ourselves into the ground with over-commitments and an unhealthy obsession with technology, when we should be focused on lifestyle choices that keep us nourished and energised?

  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Family
  • Relationships
  • Healthy eating
  • Learning new things
  • Travel
  • Creativity

These are the things that matter to me, and I’m making a promise to myself to remember just one thing…

Keep it simple, stupid.

img_1278

Photo credits – theportraitpr0ject & ubudhood

Stop thinking that taking time for YOU is selfish!

img_0833

This year I’ve gotten off to those ‘New Year resolutions’ a little late in the piece, but as they say it’s better late than never. Typically you spend the first day or 2 hungover, followed by a day of regret and disappointment at yourself. Then work takes off again, obligations, this person needs to be dropped here and so on until you realise it’s already a week into the New Year and you haven’t stopped to take a moment to yourself! My moment of epiphany happened this morning, when I was walking around making breakfast and could literally feel myself getting more and more worked up. I was annoyed about things happening at work, wishing I could have a day off, annoyed at the sound of my Pop mowing the yard, wishing I could see my boyfriend. Blah blah blah… Then something inside of me snapped, and I said ‘Fuck it, I’m taking some time out’. And that’s what I did.

Fast forward 2 hours and I’m in a completely zen frame of mind. After meditating and stretching on a yoga mat with the scent of lavender oil softly wafting through my diffuser, I sprinkled eucalyptus oil through a hot shower and washed my hair (go on, give me something better than the feeling of a fresh shower and clean hair). I then made a coffee and pulled out a gratitude diary (gifted to me a Christmas by an aunt who knows me well), and proceeded to write down the things I was grateful for today. What a simple, easy exercise to pull you back into a good head space! There’s nothing quite like taking a minute to write down what it is you’re grateful for, to put things in perspective. Oh how ridiculous those things I was worrying about were!

So please, do yourself a favour and take some time out for yourself. It is absolutely not selfish, because you need to be your BEST self to your family, friends and colleagues. How can we expect to be good partners, siblings, children and parents if we can’t even look after ourselves? Make this year the year you stop running yourself into the ground with chores and responsibilities, before collapsing into bed at the end of the day completed exhausted. Take half an hour to walk your dog on the beach. Take 20 minutes to treat yourself to a candlelit shower, or stretching in a cool breeze. For heaven’s sake, take an hour to have a nap if that’s what you really need!

Just do you.

You won’t regret it.

img_0838

Photo credits – bohodestiny & spell_byronbay

 

 

Sometimes, a dose of normalcy is just what the doctor ordered.

img_0686

I’m sitting here smiling with contentment tonight, having had a very simple, non-eventful day. No appointments, nowhere to be, and nothing in particular to do. How extremely boring! How exceedingly ordinary! Damn straight, and you know what? I absolutely LOVED it. In fact, sometimes all we need in life to re-group and just breathe for a minute is a day off. 24 hours away from the routine of work, meetings, appointments and people you’d rather not be stranded on a desert island with… you get the picture. So what does a dose of normalcy involve? Well everyone’s idea of a normal day is obviously different, but for a lot of us I imagine it involves simple things like cooking, doing laundry, walking the dog and eating dinner at a reasonable hour. So as I sit here paying respect to my annual viewing of the wonderful Love Actually, I can’t help but smile.

Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t get that craving to go off somewhere exotic like Ibiza and spend my nights partying till dawn, fuelling my body with all sorts of chemicals and making one-night memories with perfect strangers. It’s like I’ve skipped that stage and gone straight to wanting a comfortable lifestyle that involves fresh sheets, cups of tea and long walks on the beach. Does this make me boring? Don’t get me wrong, I lived the quintessential University lifestyle in my early 20’s. I did the share-housing, the packets of cheap pasta and even cheaper wine. I did the binge TV watching, the shitty parties and nights that ended in kebabs in the gutter. But at some point I realised that I was living a complete lie. Everything that my friends and I were doing at the time seemed at complete odds with what I really wanted, and it was time to stop apologising for that. Perhaps it comes from growing up under the roof of my Nana and Pop’s, but needless to say – I’ve come to an age where doing what I want is a breathe of fresh air.

If only the beauty of hindsight could benefit us at the time where we most need it, a lot of us wouldn’t waste so much time trying to please others. I remember the nights where all I wanted to do was light a candle and listen to some music, but my friends would beg me to come out. Having said that though, I most definitely don’t regret a thing about coming to know myself. We have to go through those phases of young adulthood to understand ourselves, figure out our values in life and what actually makes us happy. I think the most important thing to take away from any experience or phase in life, is to simply treat it as a learning curve. It’s about the journey – not the destination, and finding that perfect balance can be the sweetest, most satisfying thing we ever realise.

img_0564

Why does nostalgia give us the warm and fuzzies?

img_0498

You hear it now and again, that funny saying ‘Everything old is new again’… So what does it actually mean? For tangible things like fashion, music and décor it obviously references the continuous cycle that we go through as a society, with ‘trends’ coming and going through the decades. A social media ‘influencer’ will wear a 70’s style outfit and low and behold, every 16-24 year old is suddenly dressing like Stevie Nicks and taking up smoking. For futuristic thinkers caught up in a tech bubble lifestyle, there’s no time for the past. For me personally, I think it’s a beautiful thing to look backwards – as long as you know when it’s time to come home.

I could easily spend my weekends wandering through Antique markets, imagining the lives of all the people who have parted ways with their little trinkets, velvet couches and wooden stools. How many cups of tea were shared amongst these porcelain sets? How many bedtime stories were told across these fading books? How many loved ones were lost? The feeling of nostalgia one gets while surrounded by memories, objects and things is hard to describe. It’s like a warm bath, a long awaited hug, or a roast meal. It’s a sense of comfort, contentment and appreciation. It’s a moment to be grateful for, and a moment to just BE in. No distractions, no emails to answer, and nobody waiting on you.

Every time my Nana has a garage sale I shed a silent tear for the things she’s giving away. For the Encyclopaedia’s I grew up looking at, now gathering dust on the shelves. For the bright orange containers, green vases and cane chairs. For everything that was my childhood, and hers, that will now be someone else’s. But I guess that’s the beauty of it – what’s old is new again. Objects are funny things – they go from family to family, house to house, all the while remaining the same (with a little wear and tear), while people change and move on. I look forward to the day where I can pass on items from my childhood to my own grandchildren, and explain the history behind them. While they might not completely understand, I hope I can transport them there for just a moment. For now though, I hope to live more presently in the now and appreciate what time I have.

“How could she feel nostalgia when he was right in front of her? How can you suffer from the absence of a person who is present?

You can suffer nostalgia in the presence of the beloved if you glimpse a future where the beloved is no more”
Milan Kundera

img_0733

Photo credits – bryanadamc & theseafiles

This Christmas, take a minute to appreciate just how lucky you are.

img_0678

As I sit here in the comfort of my air conditioned lounge room on a Friday night, having just shared a lovely meal with my Grandparents, I have to pinch myself and smile. I am so darn lucky. How can I justify complaining about silly things like feeling tired, or having to go to work, when every night I get to sleep under a roof, and every fortnight I get paid? How can I complain about being hot when at the flick of a switch I can be cool, or go and jump in a pool? (That was absolutely not meant to rhyme by the way). Point being – the little things that annoy the majority of us, are the things that some people wish they could complain about.

This Christmas I challenge you (and myself) to stop and think before you go to complain about something relatively insignificant. There are people on every street, on every block, who don’t know how they are going to afford the rent this month. Who don’t have anything to buy their children. Who don’t know what they’re going to eat on Christmas, let alone tomorrow or the next day. Yes, you’re tired. You’re probably exhausted from working hard to ensure everything is done by Christmas so you can enjoy a couple of days off. You’re probably feeling guilty about over-indulging in festive treats and after-office drinks. You’re worried that your Mum won’t like the gift you got her, or that you got the kids the wrong colour. You’re wondering when you’ll have time to walk the dog, or buy the groceries. But just STOP for a minute and appreciate how lucky you are, because you really, really are.

Every day I feel so incredibly blessed to have my grandparents still with me, to share simple moments with them and (hopefully) learn from them as well. Watching my Pop grow to love the new puppy in our life, after initially not being too interested, has been a beautiful transition to see. Every time she comes over she runs straight to Pop’s feet for a belly rub, and the love between them is hard to miss. Seeing Nana fret over her too really melts my heart. From making sure she has a little bowl of water and plate of warmed mince, to worrying over her head getting sore from the way she sleeps with it all tucked into her belly, just really makes me smile. I could complain about little things like our puppy still having accidents in the house, or barking at the postman, but in all honesty she’s been a light in my life this year. It’s the small moments that count, and seeing the magic in every day has been something that I’ve learnt to appreciate.

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”

Bob Hope. 

img_0734

Photo credits – stylemagazines & minimalliving

Why bottling things up hurts nobody but yourself.

img_0566

This last week I’ve felt a significant weight lift of my shoulders, and you know why? Because I’ve TALKED to people. I’ve opened up about how I’m feeling to a few trusted sources, and regarding a few different things in my life, and it feels GOOD. As someone who is most definitely an introvert, and who enjoys solitary activities like writing, reading and listening to ‘depressing’ music, opening up to people doesn’t really come naturally. Sure, I might come across as an open book sometimes because when I’m feeling nervous I tend to overshare – but usually about trivial things like how long I’ve let my leg hair get before shaving (or other bodily functions… you get the idea). But when it comes to those terrifying innermost thoughts, the ones that are always there simmering under the surface, opening up to people can seem a little daunting – but in the end, SO worth it.

Everybody needs to vent about things from time to time – it’s how we connect as humans and discuss events / people / behaviours, and come to understandings of situations in our mind. After the year I’ve been through, I strongly believe that having someone you can talk to whether that be a paid professional, family member or friend, is absolutely necessary to maintaining your mental health. As the past few years of stress started bogging me down (work related, relationship related and health related), I really began to ball up all my feelings and thoughts into this anxiety ridden state of fear. Fear of change, fear of things remaining how they were, fear of what people would think of me – you name it, I was scared about it. I was completely and utterly stuck. I had a friend who was constantly telling me to go talk to someone, that it would help me figure things out. Of course, I didn’t listen to her at the time (because when do people ever do what they’re told, even when they know it’s probably right)? Ironically enough, that person and I are no longer friends, but I did go and start talking to someone and that small step of courage catapulted me out of my fear and into the light.

What I can say is this; no good will ever come from you trying to get through tough times on your own, and there is no defeat in asking for help. We aren’t built to withstand the storm alone – we live in communities where everyone has a story, and everyone has the ability to open up to each other. If you can see someone is going through a rough patch, kindly let them know that your arms are open. Gently push them in the right direction but remember, the choice to start talking is ultimately up to them and they must come to that decision of their own accord.

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”
Herman Melville

img_0509

Photo credits – lauramakabresku & fihn

‘Tis the season to be merry… So what does it mean to you?

img_0485

Christmas means something entirely different to everyone on the planet, whether you’re well off or struggling, young or old, in love or heart broken. Depending on your current circumstances, your fading memories and your near and dearest, the ‘silly season’ is more than just a day in December. For two women in my life, one of them my boss and one of them a close friend, both of them have sadly lost their fathers this year. I imagine Christmas will take on a completely different meaning from here on in, with the sadness of them not being there a constant reminder of the fragility of life. For those of us with large extended families, half and step siblings, cousins, aunties and grandparents, it can be an overwhelming time to make sure you’ve got everyone something under the tree. There’s also the annual decision making of whose house is designated for roast pork festivities, and which parents won’t be seeing their children this year. Oh the drama!

But let’s just take a step back and appreciate Christmas for what it really is; a time to be grateful for everyone in your life, to show your love and support for those in need, and to live in the moment. Too many times we work like crazy until the big day, making sure everything is in order so that we can relax for a few days before jumping back into things come New Year. Too many times we run around the stores in a frenzy trying to tick everyone off the list, and end up regretting half the things we buy. Too many times we don’t even enjoy the day – it goes past us in a rush of people, gift wrapping and food leaving us completely exhausted by the end. When will we learn?

I can proudly say that as of today, December 3rd I’ve completed all my Christmas shopping and it’s sitting nicely wrapped under the tree. What the? I don’t even know how I managed this to be honest, I’ve been completely flat out with work and travel the past few weeks but somehow managed to find something unique and personal for all the loved ones in my life, which is a huge weight off my shoulders. Now that I’ve got that sorted, I’d actually like to look into ways in which I can donate or volunteer to those in need this Christmas, to make this time a little easier for them. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ”
Norman Vincent Peale

img_0095

Photo credits – threelittleblackbirds & ourmoodydays