Six ways to beat the blues

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There are some days when I can’t get out my funk.

Melancholy :: Moody :: Funky

{If you think that you have depression and you have not sought medical assistance then I cannot stress enough the importance of doing so. Read this page first and please, seek help to get yourself better.}

When depression strikes again I have a small arsenal of weapons to fight it. But, first and foremost, I am always, ALWAYS kind to myself. You cannot beat yourself up about being low. It will make you lower.

Here are six ways that I beat the blues:

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1. Cry Go on, let it all out. Crying is acknowledgement that you feel down. Once you can acknowledge that you are sad then you can work on getting happy again. Plus the action of crying means you have to stop for a bit, gather your thoughts and work out how to move forward. So, have a good cry and hug it out.

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2. Look after yourself : I have drummed this home time and time again but you must look after yourself. Sure, if you want to eat a whole block of chocolate whilst crying on the couch then by all means go for it. But the next day you need to look after yourself again. So eat well, exercise + get some sleep. {I am aware that these links are how I manage anxiety but they work equally well with managing depression.}

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3. Get your game face on : Even if you plan on staying indoors all day, get up, make your bed, have a shower and get your game face on. If you schlep around in your trackies with hair like a woolly mammoth then of course you are going to feel shite. Make an effort and it will translate to an improvement in your mood. I promise…and even if you just try, the distraction will be nice.

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4. Write a done list : This is the opposite of a to do list. This is where you write down all the things you have actually done from a load of washing to making your bed to getting dressed or making dinner. If we focus on all the things that we have done rather than the overwhelm of what we haven’t done then all of a sudden that glass is half full. It is all about perspective.

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5. Be grateful : I have a gratitude journal. It is great for perspective {again with that p word} and makes you really search for loveliness. Writing in a gratitude journal or practising the art of being grateful is even more important when you are feeling your worst. Recently, I came across the concept of a reverse bucket list where you write down all the awesome things you have done in your life instead of all the things you are lusting after. Again, great for perspective.

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6. Get outside and get social : The fresh air + vitamin D will do wonders for your headspace plus the connection with friends, family or your local community will also boost your happiness. Find a local charity to connect with. Have a coffee with a friend. Stay connected.

What do you do when you feel down in the dumps?

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Colour me content

I’ve always been a competitive person. I love the thrill, the excitement and the challenge. But I don’t love the emotional head fuck. So I’ve decided to try and let some of that shit go. Colour me content.

For me it has come down to the crux of why I do the things I do. I parent with genuine love, empathy and the desire to give my kids the best possible choices and outcomes. Yes I yell, yes I find it hard but mostly I am content. I blog because it helps me immensely and I adore that sometimes it helps others. It’s hard to maintain the rage but as long as I enjoy it then I’ll keep on keeping on.

I run to manage my head. You can run your five minute kilometres but I don’t care anymore. I ran 8km this weekend. It was super sloooooow but you know what? I did it and my ITB didn’t crack the shits so that’s winning in my book. Plus as my friend always says, “you’re lapping the guys on the couch!”

I got back to my regular exercise regime in a week of delightful normality. Well I was normal slash slightly loopy but I like slightly loopy. It’s normal to me. The kids are sick {boo} but it’s the end of term and I’m happy just to hobble over the finish line. We seem to be doing that every term these days. We spent the weekend running {yay, first in a little while}, hanging {without rushing}, washing the car {the one fanged monkey’s choice}, in salt therapy {we cancelled basketball}, coffeeing {that is so a word}, eating {hello greens}, sorting out a playroom for the awesome foursome {peace + quiet}, maintaining the technology ban {read: drawing, puzzles + dress ups}, pottering + rearranging {I do love moving bits around the house} and just generally drinking from the cup of content.So in my contentment I’ll keep my game face on. Life moves on whether or not I’m busting my gut to keep up with it, yo. I’m happy with a lippie + a big smile some days. Even though my competitive side gets me places, it can also take a lot from me. So I’m embracing content. And that sounds lovely and blue to me.  

     

Colour me loving simplicity

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Image from Pinterest

Some weeks are perfectly lovely because they are simple aren’t they? This has been one of those weeks.

There has been a bit more sickness in the house. Typical winter stuff. I think there has been a child home each week for the past month. As a friend pointed out, because there are four of them the chances of having one at home is high. We seem to have been hit hard so far this winter. That is okay as I am lucky to work from home and that affords me flexibility. Plus we started Salt Therapy so I’ll let you know how that goes over the next week or so.

There has been a bit of illness, a bit of stress, a bit of tiredness and a fair bit of normal. Isn’t normal lovely? This week I am loving:

1. Entourage : I have long been a big fan of this show so on Sunday night I went to see the movie with the Baker and some lovely friends.

Oh, Ari Gold you are hilarious. So rude. So funny. So wrong.

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Image from Elite Daily

And afterwards, because it was a school night, we visited Union Street Wine in G-Town. It had my little slice of Barcelona written all over it so it satisfied my insatiable wanderlust.

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2. Flowers : I have just started a subscription with Alice from She’s a Wildflower and these are this week’s bunch. Pretty winter whites + greens. Simple happy right there.

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3. Winners are grinners : Thank you to all you beautiful people who entered the Arbonne competition thanks to Piece of Cate. I adored every single entry and could have chosen multiple winners. But alas, there can only be one so congratulations to Nicola who wrote this entry. The Baker said she sounds like me!

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What about you? How simple + ordinary was your week?

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What to do when anxiety visits {again}

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From Pinterest

Any of you anxious peeps will know that when anxiety comes to visit it is very hard to get things done. Tasks that are normally super easy and short become complicated and drawn out. Decisions take longer to make and your head and your whole being becomes wobbly and noisy.

If this is the first time you have experienced anxiety then you most definitely need to read this. It is vital that you seek help for anxiety and that you learn to manage it as best you can. If you are not sure if you have anxiety then this post will help you.

So what do you do when that old friend is in town? Well, here are three things that I do when my anxiety comes back:

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1. Accept it : My goodness this one sucks the most doesn’t it? But it ain’t going to go away just because you are willing it to. Suck it up and accept it.

Two years after I was diagnosed, I spent several intense and exhausting months workshopping acceptance with my psychologist. I hated it because I had to really deal with some feelings and well, feelings. Plus I had to be comfortable with just sitting with the way my life was. Without changing it. Just accepting it as it is. But once I got through the shitty bits, I felt heaps better. So when anxiety comes back to visit I accept it quickly and acknowledge that yes, my unwanted bed fellow is indeed present.

Acceptance does not mean merely to tolerate but to embrace life. It literally means taking what is offered. 

So let it in. I don’t always want to let anxiety in but when I let go of the struggle with my life in this moment, then I am without a doubt calmer. This doesn’t mean that I like where I am right now {I’d love to be even more free from anxiety} nor does it mean that I intend to stay in this space but if I more freely accept the reality of my situation then I have more chance of being able to take action to change it. Acceptance of the here and now is key to this.

2. Empty your head : Start to write lists. Even if you are not a list maker or even you do not want to adhere to the list you need to get that noise out of your head and on to a piece of paper. Write it down. Somehow it seems less stressful when it is on paper because inside your head it gets messed up with so many other emotions and weird little thoughts that the enormity of what actually needs to get done becomes completely overwhelming. So write it down. Get it out. Let it out.

You can also meditate to help empty your head and this is especially powerful after list writing. Try the Smiling Mind app to guide you.

3. Give yourself time : Then move on. When I am having a particularly grey period then I have a little chat with myself. I highly recommend you do this somewhere private because people will look at you oddly if you are just chatting away to yourself over your latte. Once I kinda get an understanding of what is at the core of my worry and unrest then I give myself a set amount of time to deal with it. I may decide that I can have a day to wallow {it is a guide and is completely fluid depending on your own head space} and then two days to take action on it. After then, I try to move on and put it behind me.

My management of mental illness requires a great deal of resilience and just getting on with it. It is often shitty and always exhausting but if in the end you feel better than that is worth the discomfort of a bit of acceptance, list writing and time.

What do you do to banish the worries and, how are you?

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Colour me not ready

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Image from Pinterest

Lately my head and my heart have been really, really heavy. I feel a little like I am mourning but not in the traditional sense.

Right now, my appetite for wanderlust is ravenous and despite pinning beautiful images from all over the world it is still not satisfied. My head is swinging between get-the-kitchen-floor-swept and let’s-jump-on-a-plane-and-fly-away, baby. I am yearning for a life a long time ago. A life before the kids and mortgages and monotonous domesticity.

When I was living in London with the hedonism of Europe freely at my feet, I got up the duff with my eldest. Immediately my heart needed to be home so I dragged the Baker back to Australia and more importantly back to my G-Town. Life has been truly amazing. There have been some incredible ups and shattering lows but I really cannot complain. My bucket is full to the brim with gratitude, happiness, family, love and full on emotions.

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Image from Pinterest

Yet despite this grass is greener fire in my belly I am fiercely and acutely aware that my own little patch of lawn is more than fabulous. But I feel that I am not ready for the life that it brings. Yes, that is completely contradictory and ironical (thanks Robin Williams) but it is true…I am not ready.

I am not ready for the relentless monotony of child rearing.

I am not ready to answer the hard questions that my kids are starting to ask.

I am not ready to manage the joy and the pain of life’s highs and lows.

I am not ready for the incredible pull of responsibility and mortgages and life.

I am not ready for the reality of looking after ageing parents.

I am not ready to deal with looming teenagers and hormones and worse, my own tumultuous ride as I catapult towards pre-menopause and beyond.

I am not ready to accept that my life is school runs and swept floors and washing and bossing.

I am not ready to see greying hair and drooping body parts or to feel my aching joints.

I am not ready for life and death and well, just being a part of the terrifying reality of it all.

But it is here. I am living with it. We are all living with it. Living with the beauty and the fabulous and a whole lot of humdrum that is punching me squarely between the eyes.

Perhaps if I stop yearning for stamps in my passport and a life before children then my present will appear just as amazing. A daily itinerary of bed making and laundry and meal preparation with a long haul flight into sleep deprivation. I know deep down that it is exactly what I want but the speed at which life feels like it is moving? Well I just want to sail away, honey. {I do heart White Ladder by David Gray. So many angsty pre kid lyrics on that album right there.}

Where are we without our dreams?

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Image from Pinterest

Without my dreams I would never have imagined a life free from the ravages of anxiety; where managing my head becomes my every day instead of a heartbreaking and life interrupting chore. Without my dreams I would never have been gifted with four beautiful children and an amazing husband. Without my dreams I wouldn’t be right here, right now. I wouldn’t be dreaming of anything.

My wanderlust dreams aren’t all bad. They are blue – calm + mindful – and that is perfect to me. Present. Mindful. Dreamy.

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Colour me loving my life

Today I am having one of those moments where I am just sitting back and enjoying my life. A long weekend will do that to you because how fast does that short week go? Yay! But more importantly, I am loving my simple, happy {busy} life.

Earlier this week I mentioned my overwhelm. It has been very present but I am sitting with it :: processing it :: letting it work itself out :: getting comfortable with it :: working out how to manage it :: moving on from it. I haven’t got all the answers yet but I am feeling closer to finding them. Perhaps my resilience is strong or perhaps I am just doing a bit of this…

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Yep. Probably that.

But really, in the whole scheme of things I am doing well. I am feeling more in control…whatever that means. I am feeling something that is good and more importantly I am not feeling my anxiety. That makes for a good week in my book.

This week I am all about loving:

1. A long weekend : My long weekend was just delightful. I am so aware of how lucky we are to be able to do little expeditions like this one to the big smoke. Despite sharing a hotel with five other people in a small space, we were all good.

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Begging for a tram ride!

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An excellent Allpress long black at Jack Horner

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Game face ON at the Zoo. Anyone else have a parenting face?

2. Catching up with friends : My goodness gracious good friends are good for the soul aren’t they? So many goods. Muchas goodness.

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Here I am with the Style & Shenanigans posse trying desperately to stay stylish in amongst the shenanigans!

3. My topsy turvy frustrating, loving, little slice of crazy : my family drive me nuts on a daily basis but at the end of that busy chaotic messy day, they are who I want to hug.

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Yup. Yours too?

So tell me how your week was? And your long weekend? I hope it has been a great one x

 

 

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7 healthy cakes you will want to shove your face in

I have a massive doughnut craving going on right now. But because cake doesn’t always love me then I am sharing with you seven awesome cake recipes that will love you right back.

This post is a community service announcement : cake eating after reading is guaranteed.

So here are some of my healthy favourites that may just become yours too.

1. Wholefood Simply’s Jaffa Bread:

This is the number one requested cake in our house. The kids love it and I get to use up the oranges they don’t eat. {I iced this to make it look like a cake. It doesn’t need it but here is the icing recipe just in case.}

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2. Wholefood Simply’s Breakfast Bars:

I make them in muffin tins because, cute. And if you have your shit together then you can totes make these in the morning and eat them warm.

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3. Wholefood Simply’s Chocolate + Coconut Ice:

Like your old school coconut ice only healthified. One of my kids thinks coconut is the devil’s food so you’d be wanting to be getting your coconut on before you make this one.

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4. Wholefood Simply’s Raspberry Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust:

Look, a cute Australia made in coconut. This is sublime. I made it for an Australia Day BBQ and it was the dog’s bollocks.

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5. I Quit Sugar’s Lime + Coconut Cheesecake:

This is a fabulous cake and you don’t miss the sugar. It is heavy on cream cheese though and looks pretty impressive.

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6. I Quit Sugar’s Chocolate Crackles:

If the kids get these in their lunch boxes they cheer! They are super easy and if you put them in little patty cases they think it is party time. Winning. {Side note: I made these with Rice Bubbles which is technically not IQS but hey, they have a lot less sugar in them than the original version.}

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7. The Whole Daily’s Buckwheat and Blueberry Bread:

This is pretty hard core if you don’t like buckwheat. I don’t mind it so when I do make this bread, I warm up a slice and serve it with some greek yoghurt for breakfast.

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Do you love cake too? Share your favourite recipe with us!

 

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