R U OK? – It’s OK To Say NO

Today is once again, R U OK day in Australia. This initiative started as a movement to raise awareness and open channels to help people struggling with life. According to the RUOK website www.RUOKDAY.com:

The R U OK? Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to encouraging all people to regularly and meaningfully ask ‘are you ok?’ to support those struggling with life.

R U OK?Day is our national day of action on the second Thursday of September (12 September 2013), and dedicated to reminding people to regularly check in with family and friends. We also have Resources for You to use throughout the year to help you ask ‘are you ok?’ regularly of family, friends and colleagues.    Stephen Fry

You might remember that last year I wrote a blog post about it, and at the time, I was NOT OK. You can read all about the reasons here: R U OK 2012.

Since then I have had many struggles, up and down, and I am still working through them, but for today, I can say, “I am OK”. Who knows what tomorrow brings. My anxiety peaks and waves, comes and goes. Some days I feel like I can conquer the world, and some days I feel like I want to hide out in my room all day and not talk to anyone.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because I want to ask YOU the question: ARE YOU OK? R U OK? ARE YOU ALRIGHT? Nothing is ever black, and white. I know nothing can ever be solved with a cup of tea, but it sure can ease a burden! Let me be your tea-maker. I am HERE for you. I will listen, I will not judge, and I will not set out to solve the worlds problems. Sometimes all you want is a friend to listen and acknowledge, not judge, not try to solve the issues, or tell you where you might be going wrong. I am your friend.

Not AloneIf you don’t want to talk to me, just know that You are NOT alone. With the progress in social media and the access we all have to the internet, I have found that you are open to a world of opportunity and hope. If you have anxiety about being in public situations, you can be comfortable in your own home and reach out. If you don’t like the way you look and it makes you depressed, you can be behind a computer screen asking for advice. You don’t have to put yourself in situations that may cause you to be even more “not OK”.

So, today, at this point in time, why am I feeling OK? I think it has something to do with finally seeing a psychologist. It took me a couple of goes, and it’s not always first one is the best choice, but the one I have been seeing was not trying to read my head, or solve the worlds problems of why I am the way I am. We were simply letting it be and working with how we can work with that. It’s hard work, and it’s not all roses and sunshine, but the one thing I have learned is, FriendsEveryone needs someone to talk to. By talking about my issues with someone who was non-judgmental, my whole attitude changed. I’m no longer holding onto feelings inside myself, and no longer taking it out on my loved ones. Again, not always having great days, and yes I regress, but I know that I’m getting better. You can too. All you need to do is ask the question.

I hope you are aware that you are not alone. You will be OK. There is help available. If you go to one doctor and they say they don’t believe in ‘depression/anxiety’ then go to a different doctor. Start doing Yoga (I know it sounds naff, but it did help me!). Start exercising, even just a 15 minute walk outside in the fresh air will clear your mind and help.  If you want to send me a private message, then please do. My email is: sydneygen04@yahoo.com .

I’ve listed some resources that you can go and check out and maybe gain a little further information and maybe some help?

Take-The-First-Step

RESOURCES:

Beyond Blue

R U OK Day

Dancing with the Black Dog – A blog

and just remember:

You__ve_got_a_friend_in_me__by_pocket_full_of_posy

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Why I quit Facebook and Booze ….and other random stuff

I’m not a Quitter, I am GREAT! The Great Facebook and Booze Dry Spell of the year!

Hello, my name is SydneyGen and I haven’t had a drink in 12 days…. Wait.. wrong forum!

Actually, it’s true though!! I am still going strong in Dry July and have to say… not missing it at all too much!!  I thought it would be harder to put down the wine and vodka (mmm….vodka…….) and not have a drink, but it truly has been easier than I anything I’ve ever done realised. It’s also made me aware of the fact I think I was drinking ‘just because’ before, and that kinda takes the enjoyment away!  I’ve replaced wine with water (There’s something awfully backwards about that statement!!) and know the health benefits are rockin. So far I’ve started exercising more *slowly first, but more than before* and I’ve started watching the scales decline… (hoorah, finally.. although I had a sneaky suspicion this would occur once I stopped) I am glad my minds at a place now where I can do this. I have ‘tried’ in the past, but absolutely didn’t pass because I wasn’t strong enough to give in to temptation. The Aussie culture is definitely one laced with booze, but that’s not a bad thing (in my opinion), it’s the responsibility of booze that needs to remembered and reenforced.  I am about to go off on a tangent here, because that my dear friends, is my brain!!! Anywho… the other night I was flicking through the tv channels (which is rare in itself, I barely get time to sit down at night, let alone watch tv…whoooops, there I go again!) and I came across a show on the ABC called

Shitsville Express with Joe Hildebrand. Shitsville Express

If you haven’t heard of it, it’s this:  Each week, Joe Hildebrand rubs the noses of our four bright young things in Shitsville’s darkest and grubbiest corners, examining issues including the explosion of alcohol fuelled violence, the gambling epidemic, Australia’s substandard transport system, the current housing crisis, and the pros and cons of coal seam gas mining. And at the end of it, all four will put their ideas to a former Prime Minister who’s been to Shitsville and back many a time, and who knows the difficulty of making change happen. 

So the reason I’m bringing this up is because the episode I caught just happened to be on alcohol fueled violence. I sat in astonishment at the awful scenes of women barely wearing anything, stumbling around drunk. Men beating each other up, and blood pouring everywhere. A boy who was only 16, drunk, showing gang signs and looking for a fight. And I was sad. So, So, So, sad. What has happened with our youth? What has happened to parents instilling values, decorum? I remember being a fresh-faced 18 year old in Tassie, and stumbling through the streets of Hobart at 2-3-4am and walking between bars, but there was never violence involved. It was usually a bit of hippy love to a passer-by, a hug and a squeal to a stranger, or a friend you hadn’t seen in a while, but never violence. There were no brawls, no beatings, and certainly nobody dying from being king-hit as they walked out of bar. The issue bought up on the tv show is, “what can we do about this”, and I seriously don’t have the answer. My mother taught me to drink responsibly, and if I’m going to get shitty drunk, still be a lady about it. OH, and WHAT EVEN is this ‘pre-loading’ these people are doing at home. Drinking a bottle of alcohol and THEN going out? (I of course blame the cost of alcohol for this! We used to go out for $50 and be able to shout rounds to people and still be happily drunk by the end of the night!)  If you’re going to drink at home, make a night of it!!! If you’re out to pick up, WHY do you need to be drunk?? You most likely won’t remember it!! Ugh, I think I’ve ranted, for far too long!! (I do that, too!) So … anyway.. my advice to the youth and drinkers of today…. drink, have fun, be merry, and keep your mitts to yourself. You’re giving booze (for the rest of us responsible people) a bad name, and making it cost FAR TOO MUCH! I’m not sure what I’ll do when August 1st comes around. I don’t even think I’ll notice it. I have 2 assessments due that time anyway, so booze will be the last thing on my mind!! We’ll just wait and see.

Right, now that I’m off that soapbox I’ll just briefly go into my hiatus from Facebook!

Two uni assessments due, lots of reading to do,  housework to be done, and what do I find myself doing? Glued to my Facebook feed. Clicking likes to win prizes I’ll NEVER win, playing awesome stupid addictive games, and being sucked in to a time vortex. Something had to be done, so I cut it. Cut it out. I have enjoyed Facebook for many benefits, but mostly for being able to share one image, one thought, a useless status update with many people. It has connected me with people from my past, and present, and has allowed me to stay in touch with friends who live far away. BUT… it’s a time waster. It really is. You think you can just check one thing, and the next thing you know it’s school pick up time, the tea is cold, and you’re rushing to get things done and be places on time. Since I’ deactivated my account I’ve managed to get a lot done. Uni is caught up, and I feel good. I do miss it, but not in a life is so much worse now I’m not on it way. The one thing I have realised is the amount of businesses, and bands, and people in general, who are using Facebook as their platform for promotion! I’m still on Twitter (and Instagram – I need SOMEWHERE to picspam my kids!), but Facebook is ‘The way’ to do business nowadays I guess? I even hear on the radio, ‘check us out on Facebook’ and I cringe and think UGH, why can’t they just have a good website that can be browsed and updated. What has the Zuckerburger done to us??? What’s next?? Who knows…. but yeah… a Facebook break has been good. I have a mobile phone, and anyone who’s important will know the number, so who needs an FB message to let me know if somethings happening, or someone’s pregnant!! I’ve disconnected, to reconnect!

So WOW… this post was epic and also about not much, basically, a common theme on this blog!! I hope you’re all well. I have almost survived School Holidays – which deserves it’s own blog post – maybe next time I have a spare five minutes!!

Take Care of Yourself.  Shine & Sparkle (and drink responsibly, and with class *in a glass)

Losses and Rewards

This is how I felt when I lost my polar watch

A few days ago I lost my Polar watch that goes with my heart rate monitor. Devastation doesn’t even begin to describe the emotions that I’ve experienced over these days. If ever there was a time that I thought I had a need for something, it would be now. I was extremely upset that I couldn’t find it anywhere. I usually take it off and put it in the same place, every time! Apparently I had neglected to do that the last time I used it (Friday) and it was misplaced. I remembered vaguely that my 15 month old had handed it to me and I’d thought that I better put that away in a safe place.

I slipped into a bit of a funk about it all and although I know I have deeper issues to be addressed, it was a lot to do with the watch missing. This watch is my motivator, my friend. It tells me how far I’ve gone and how far I need to go, it pushes me far more than I’ve been pushed before. I watch the numbers climb and I keep pushing on. So, to not have that really made me feel edgy and as though it wasn’t ‘worth it’ to work out, which I know is a terrible thing to say. I don’t need the heart rate monitor and in fact, for the first nine weeks of the last 12wbt challenge, I didn’t actually use one. I guesstimated, using the internet and websites that calculate. So now I wonder why I’m so reliant on this ‘tool’ that is assisting me. I mean, it’s not doing anything physically, it’s not weights, it’s not a piece of resistance equipment; it is simply a band around my torso and a watch that measures my heart rate and calorie burn.

I put the message on a Facebook support group that I was sad I’d lost it and immediately I was offered a ‘loaner’ watch. The people of the program are amazing and it’s one of the reasons I’m happy to go back for another round, but I digress. I happily accepted the loaner (Thanks Jackie!!) and was ready to go, although yesterday was a funky day (for completely different reasons – think house/kids/life stuff in general) so I pouted and didn’t work-out, although I did get roped into playing my sons wii star wars game he rented, which involved a lot of standing, jumping, and

throwing my arms about (a little incidental exercise, perhaps?!)

This morning my husband was up and out of the house for a run at 5.45am, he is amazing and is encouraging and makes me do things when I just don’t want to! He got up early, so that I could get out and go before he went to work! I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning, but I knew that he’d done that for me, so I trudged through and got dressed and strapped on the loaner polar watch and off I went. My heart wasn’t in a long, fast  run and I knew I had to get home for him to go to work, so I just managed 3.45km this morning, but it was enough to refresh the mind, wake-up and start the day. I got to the top of the hill and looked out at the sun shining and realised that it really was worth getting up and getting out. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a morning person, never have been, however, dragging myself out and actually seeing the world come to life has it’s own special rewards. I also think my iPod is in freaky tune with me. It must have known that I was on Struggle Street today, because I put all songs on random shuffle and everything that pumped out had a popping, fun, running beat!!!!

When I got home I knew I needed to do some more, I was in the zone and wanted to keep the momentum, so I popped on the Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30, it’s only ’20 minutes’ which then turns into 30 with warm-up and cool-down. I love doing it, because it seems to go so quickly, but it also feels like a good overall work-out for the body. I was on the ground and turned my head to the side, during one exercise and what do I see under the couch?!?! MY PINK POLAR WATCH!! I can’t believe it! I swear both my husband and I looked under that couch, twice, but we didn’t see it! I’m thinking it was a light situation?! Hah! I’m so excited to have my friend back, and will be forever diligent of where I put it after my work outs each day!!

So today has started off well. I’ve managed to burn 572 calories this morning, I got to see a lovely sun-rise,  I’ve found my polar watch and the day has only just begun!

Moral of the story…… When you just get out and do it….The rewards are worth it
(look at that view! What you can’t see in this pic, is the Sydney City skyline, but I could see it!)

The other moral to the story?!? …..

Kicking the Can’t Be F***ed Days Away

Last week I had a severe case of the can’t-be-fucked’s (probably not even a word, but it is in my vocab!)

On reflection, I’m thinking those feelings and the ones I have at the moment are a result of lack of sleep.  Who knew sleep was so vital?

For the first time in a long time I went out and enjoyed some mid-week socializing! I attended an EP Launch for a singer I have recently discovered, named Matt Corby. A lot of you may know him from his Australian Idol days, but I didn’t have any idea he was even on the show, up until a few months ago! Anyway, whilst there with friends I indulged in a couple of cocktails. (Thank goodness for the AM work-out!) The cocktails were so yummy! I remember why I love them so much, just not loving the sugar content!!!!! I ended up in bed at 2am and then the next morning was up just after 6 with the kids.  It was the beginning of my two days of falling off the wagon.

For the next two days I decided I just ‘couldn’t be bothered’ working out. I have no idea why after 11 weeks my mind was slipping into this, but again, I’m putting it down to lack of sleep. It had been a few days of late nights, early mornings.  Luckily, on Saturday I attended a run clinic and was able to learn some pretty valuable techniques on efficient running. Although we didn’t do a lot of practical work, it was enough to kick-start my brain and body into get-back-int0-it mode and I realized that while taking the two days off of training was okay, it wasn’t acceptable as a long-term action.  I’ve never ever been a morning person (right, Mum?!) but throughout this program I’ve felt really good about getting up early and getting my workouts over with. This stopped for a few days and I very much enjoyed staying in bed that little while longer!! Unacceptable!

After having the two days off my body was a bit slow to get off the pace. Amazing what happens when you’ve been doing something for so long and then you just stop. Yesterday I finally rid the CBF’s by heading down to the park for a “Pain in the Park” session. I thought it was going to be boxing, but was just as glad that it was an hour circuit workout. Seeing the numbers on the HRM encouraged me to keep going and I felt so much better after it (even if I did still feel really tired). I took off for a quick jog/run around the park and ended up sticking to just under 1km before I realised I probably shouldn’t push myself.

This morning I had to give myself a mental pep-talk and repeat JFDI over and over. It’s the end of the challenge and for some reason I seem to be sabotaging myself by not caring and not wanting to work out. A ridiculous sentiment, considering how far along I’ve come. In the next few weeks as we head into Christmas, we’ll be without the ‘official’ program. Whilst that scares me a little, I know that the mind-set lessons and the knowledge I have gained these last few months will help me to prepare and be organised.  The moral of the story is to JUST F***EN DO IT!! Right? Right? YES!!!! Because saying that you’ll just leave it and doing it ‘tomorrow’ will not get the results today…. 

When I realized I’ve had the CBF’s, I needed to find a way to get myself out of the funk. What was it that would keep me going? I’ve concluded, it’s music. I am loving my re-emergence into the music scene, and especially the folk type music, or any cute guy with a guitar (call me shallow, I say it’s appreciation of talent *nods lots and lots*) I’ve been able to get lost and let my brain shut down and click into go mode by listening to the sweet sounds…And just because you’re here reading this, I feel the need to share some wonderful music with you!

Matt is such a raw and brilliant voice. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in the haunting sounds…

and check out this new guy I also saw and met at the show. An awesome Aussie talent that needs loads of recognition. His songs are powerful and hold such strong messages: Jack Carty

Thanks for reading the mess of words. I thought it important that you know I’m far from perfect and I struggle a lot. The one thing that keeps me going is knowing that during the struggles and the times I just don’t want to go on, I’ve managed to lose over 13.5 kilos. I’m standing taller and I’m smiling more. To me, that alone is worth every struggle and challenge I set myself, both mentally and physically. Don’t forget: If I can do it, so can you!

P.S I felt it important to write this post out and not re-read over it. If I read over it, I would no doubt delete, change or modify what was written. These are my feelings in all their raw glory. For that, I apologise if it’s a bit muddled!!

Weigh-In Week 6 and Emotions-a loaded 8 letter word

Emotions—how one 8 letter word can mean so many things, or have such a huge impact on me is amazing. I feel that this week I’ve been emotionally fragile and on that ever riding non-stop rollercoaster of life, where the highs and lows never seem to fade.

I often go through and re-read my posts in the blog, to see how I’m going and where I’ve come from. I’m glad I do that, and I’m glad I have this to make it possible. I’ve found that some of the things I’ve written, I’ve actually forgotten I was feeling or experiencing.  I also noticed that at the beginning of the program and blog I was relying heavily on expressing emotions. You can see that from the little icons I would put at the bottom of the post.

Although I might say “I’m alright,” quite often it doesn’t mean internally I am. That was until this week. ((TMI warning)) It’s TTOTM (If you have to ask, you must be male!!?!?) and I’ve been feeling extremely flat and blah (refer to last post). I often get extremely lethargic and am in a lot of pain and do not feel enthusiastic about life at all. It’s one of those weeks of curling into a ball and sleeping and escaping. I’m happy to report that’s the old me! I did pout a little, feel a little sorry for myself and do a little scale hopping this week *slaps self on hand-we talked about this!* and I saw that the scales were moving in the up, up, up direction. Instead of pouting and getting shitty about it, I put on my tunnel vision and knew that lazing around, feeling sorry for my self would do nothing but make those numbers stay there, so I got off my arse and exercised. I kept it pretty light this week, but I still moved. I paid particular attention to the food I ate. I’m human; I’m normal. I had those terrible TTOTM cravings and wanted sugary, sweet, fatty useless food. My weekly confession: I tried 1/12th (yes, a tiny smidgen) of a piece of choc iced sprinkle donut that was bought over by a friend (who didn’t know any better). That one tiny bite was DISGUSTING! I couldn’t believe that I didn’t enjoy it at all. It was gross and the flavours sat on my tongue in a most unpleasant way. BOOM—at least we can tick that crappy food off my want list now! Last night I grabbed a handful of ‘hot chips’ that were in front of me (5 in total) and ate them, thinking they’d be yummy and delicious. Anyone who was around last night, when I did this, knows what happened. They were soooo gross. Even grosser than the donut! I felt oil in my mouth and I felt like I’d swallowed a cup full of oil and it sat in my stomach. I actually got nauseous and wanted to go and throw up. Lesson learned. My body is telling me I don’t need it and my mind has finally clicked.

You may “think” you want it, and the emotions that we all experience will convince as that we “want” it, but our body doesn’t “need” it and soon, you won’t even like it. How exciting, right? I think so!

Basically, what I’ve been rambling on about is the fact that Michelle says to “take the emotion out of it” — become disciplined and conscious of what you’re eating. Nowhere in the program does it say you can’t enjoy food. I enjoy food, quite a lot. I never thought I’d say I was looking forward to Lentil Spaghetti Bolognaise, but it’s one of my favourite menu items. Plan, be organised and you won’t be placed in a situation where you might make bad choices.

 The other most important thing I’ve learned from this week is to Never Give Up. It’s true to say that when things  seem ‘too hard,’ you just want to throw in the towel and give up, say screw it, why bother? It’s quite possible to  convince yourself that if the scales don’t move, then it’s not worth it and you’ve just worked out for  nothing…..Well there’s a reason to bother and it isn’t just that fact that you’ll feel such a difference in your life.  Your body, your attitude, everything will change—for the better. I’m not perfect and I’m not emotionless, but I know a journey worth going on is a journey full of experience and wonders and discovery.

Who wants to know about weigh-in?!?!?

YAY!!!!! Hard work and consistency DOES pay off. I am so excited about the results. I had set myself up to not be emotional if there was no loss, or a gain, because I knew that I was having my ‘off’ week. The results have just made me even more determined. I am 1.2kgs off of a 10kg loss. I’m writing this down to be accountable–I want that 1.2kgs gone next weigh-in!  I am also ‘officially’ down 1 pant size. I can fit into pants I haven’t worn in years and the current jeans I have keep falling down. Wooooo!! *throws sparkles in the air–the sprinkley kind, not my new phone!*

Thanks for all the support — I seriously love it and it helps to keep me in check and encourage me. I know that only I can do this and only I can decide what I eat and how I exercise, but I love knowing that there are people out there who might read this and think that if I can do it, they can do it, because quite frankly, it’s true — YOU CAN!!!!!!

And if you have one of those days where things seem like crap and you don’t think you can go on–do this: