Finding stillness in the chaos.

img_2740

Today I took a moment in time to just sit on a log at the beach, with my dog, and breathe. Soaking in the sunshine, listening to the waves, touching the soft sand with my toes and inhaling that fresh, salty air. I could only steal a moment in time to myself amongst what has been a chaotic few weeks, but that moment was a simple re-fresh for the soul. With our litter of puppies turning 5 weeks old today, it’s an understatement to say things have been absolutely exhausting. You think raising one puppy is enough? Try 5 times the amount of poo and wee to clean up, 5 times the mouths to feed, but I won’t deny it – 5 times the love. It has been tiring, smelly and sleepless, but overall – amazing – and I wouldn’t change a thing.

I’ve been wearing myself pretty thin lately and that strain has shown in my relationships with family, friends and colleagues. I would love to spend all day with my Nana and Pop like I used to, reading the paper, making endless cups of tea and chatting about the weather, but I simply don’t have the time. I would love to actually want to catch up with friends and feel that yearning for a get together, but as it happens now I’m always completely exhausted and running on fumes. I’d also love to be a more present girlfriend, but I’m on a constant cycle of cooking, washing clothes and doing the dishes. SIGH. Do I just sound like every normal person trying to fit their personal life around their work life while still getting enough sleep, exercise and healthy food in? I seriously don’t know how people do it… and I don’t even have children yet!

So from this day onward, I’m going to look at ways of reducing the clutter and chaos in my life so I can have more moments in time like today at the beach. I don’t want to be running around only offering an exhausted and less-than-enthusiastic version of myself to the world. I want to feel energised, excited, and present. I know the simple things often make us the happiest – a home cooked meal with fresh herbs, an afternoon walk through the park, or a good book. Yes, I know this, but am I taking the time to appreciate? I think we can all aim to do a little better and practise the mantra ‘less is more’. Who would agree?

img_2738

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

Australia, you untamed beauty.

image

We call ourselves the lucky country, and for very good reason. If you’ve had the fortune of visiting us Down Under, the first thing you might notice is how much space we have. Completely surrounded by ocean, Australia is dotted with coastal cities and beaches, rain forests, cane fields, cliff faces, natural water holes and stories of the Dreamtime. Wide open landscapes fill the country between our major cities, while smaller but charming towns fill our hearts with joy and glimpses of a simple existence. I love the fresh air here, the smell of sea salt on the wind and palm trees swaying in the breeze. Lara Bingle aptly put it, ‘Where the bloody hell are you?’ in this famous tourism advertisement, and she couldn’t have been more right:

I’m lucky enough to call Australia home and am currently living in North Queensland, the state based on the North/East Coast. I felt inspired to write this blog post after a beautiful morning connecting with nature at Cape Hillsborough National Park, about 40 minutes drive from the city of Mackay (my home). We arrived at the park just on dawn this morning where a small group of people were gathered on the beach, watching the majestic kangaroos dotted across the shoreline greeting a new day. This was truly an incredible sight. I’ve seen plenty of kangaroos in my life, but seeing them on this stunning beach at sunrise, hopping along with their babies without a care in the world was really quite breathtaking. As the sun slowly burst through a light cloud cover, my friend and I had a lovely little picnic completely at one with nature and more importantly – no WIFI signal! A truly spectacular morning that I won’t be forgetting.

I know the blogging community is stretched far and wide across the world, which is why I am encouraging those international readers to come visit us here in Australia. You won’t be disappointed 🙂

image

Photo credits – organictravel & theblondeabroad

The hardest part.

image

It’s weird how just a few moments in time can completely alter your course, rattle your world and take so long to recover from. For me this moment happened about 9 months ago. I was driving along a familiar stretch of road when I started losing all feeling in my hands, arms and face. Hyperventilating and not having a readily available area to pull over in, it took all my strength to focus on making it to the closest side street. By this point I had no idea what was happening to me, nothing seemed to be functioning and I was terrified. Little did I know that I was having a regular old panic attack, something that happens to hundreds of people every day. It wasn’t until I had calmed down that I realised what had happened, and then the tears started – embarrassed and scared would be an understatement.

While I understand this might be a regular occurrence in some people’s lives, or might not seem like that big of a deal – I can assure you it was traumatic enough for me. Having never experienced the severe symptoms of a panic attack, I was completely unprepared for what happened. It’s also hard for me to say what triggered it – I had never been scared of driving, but work was in an extremely stressful period and I think this was weighing heavily on me at the time. Needless to say those few minutes in time completely shattered my confidence. Simple tasks like driving to the next suburb become an ordeal, as every time I went past the spot where my attack had begun I recalled it in vivid detail. I avoided highways for 8 months, thinking that if I had a similar occurrence then I wouldn’t be able to pull over so easily.  I was so frustrated that I had lost my confidence in something I took for granted – simply getting from A to B had become a nightmare. When friends wanted to catch up, I would ask if we could meet in the city close to where I lived so that I could either walk or catch a train. These little sacrifices did nothing for my confidence, and I honestly couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

It wasn’t until I had moved home to be closer to my family that I truly started the process of healing. In a supportive and loving environment, I was able to slowly get my confidence back. I had no choice but to drive every day, whether it was going between my Mum and Nana’s homes (20 minutes apart with some 80km/hour sections), or picking my sister up from school, I slowly became familiar with my car again through repetition and positivity. On a recent road trip to visit family, I volunteered to drive the first 4 hours on the highway. For the first hour I felt sick – I had avoided anything like this for so many months. When we made it I was so proud of my simple achievement, something that was so monumental in my own little world.

I can now honestly say that 9 months later, I have 95% of my confidence back and will happily get in my car without worry or thought of the panic attack that had ruled my life for so long. I took to daily meditation and breathing exercises to stay calm, while also giving me the tools to manage daily stressors. I also head to the beach most afternoons for a walk, an activity that gives me so much peace and happiness. Wandering along the shore with your toes in the water is very therapeutic, not to mention just listening to the ever flowing ocean currents. Not to sound like a complete loony but I find that floating also really helps! Whenever I get the chance to head to the pool or beach, I’ll float as many times as I can – there’s just something about closing your eyes and letting the waves gently hold you.

I have written this blog post in the hope that people understand what I’ve been going through, but also to be a voice for those too afraid to speak up. It’s really, really scary to go through mental health issues, and even scarier thinking you are alone. But at the end of the day we need to remember that EVERYONE is going through something, and talking about it with those you trust is an important part of the healing process.

image

Photo credits – folkscenery & rusticbones