Mind your words

Children, especially young ones, are walking sponges.  When you think they aren’t paying attention, they are taking in everything you say.  They don’t understand tone and sarcasm, instead taking you at your word.  They forget that you asked them to clean their room but you can be sure that they remember verbatim when you told them you’d buy an ice-cream at the shops.Your words have a strong impact on your children. Make sure they are positive.

As parents we have such an important job to ensure that the words we say to and around our children are loving, supportive and help them to grow.  Of course none of us are perfect.  Words can be said in the heat of the moment.  Conversations not meant for little ears overheard and exposure to people with different values to your family all have an impact on our children.

In our house I have banned negative body talk.  I know what it is like to grow up believing that your body is wrong, to lay in bed at night comparing parts of your body, trying to convince yourself that you aren’t abnormal.  I don’t want that for my son (yes boys can and do suffer from poor body image).

We don’t talk about good and bad food.  We talk about food.  Sure, I have boundaries when it comes to what Mr 5 eats because no boundaries can be just as damaging for a child as too many restrictions.  However we don’t have labels for food.  I don’t use ‘that food is bad for you’ as a reason why he cannot eat something.  I want him to have a positive relationship with food, I don’t want him to obsess about it.

I know that I make mistakes with the words that I say.  There are days when I go to sleep berating myself for the way that I parented.  I can feel myself trying to shove the words back in my mouth as I see the impact of them written on my son’s face.

I worry about the long term effect those words will have on him and the way that he feels about himself.  I am working on it.  I try to improve my self talk so that it doesn’t project onto him.  I’m working with my psychologist on my tolerance.  I am trying to make changes.  I’m not perfect, but I hope that he knows that I love him more than anything else.

Do you worry about your words and their impact on your kids?

Do you find yourself believing negative self talk from your childhood?

Linking up with Jess for IBOT!

Pristiq kicked my arse

At the beginning of the year my anxiety got worse.  It used to be something that would rear it’s head when faced with something I found intense and when I found my thoughts overwhelming.  It then turned into a constant low hum under the surface.  I felt a sense of dread at every moment, it was like I had a new baseline and I was stuck in flight mode.  I started a new medication called Pristiq.

When my psychiatrist suggested this medication I was a little hesitant.  I had heard the horror stories about it.  However I was also on a medication for sleep which had similar stories and I had been fine.  I told myself that this one would be no different.  All of the stories I had heard where about discontinuation syndrome…aka when you stopped the medication.

My psychiatrist had also warned me that these symptoms could rear their ugly head if I missed a dose.  Stupidly I thought that I would be fine.  About a month ago I missed my daily dose.  I have missed a days dose of different medications before and I thought I would be fine.  I wasn’t.  What I experienced was pretty mild in reality, but it was so different to anything I had felt before.  I felt out of sorts, and I vowed not to miss a single dose again.

Fast forward to last Friday night.  I was stupid, there is no other way to describe it.  I had not only missed 1 dose of my medication but I had managed to miss 3 days.  By Friday night I was well and truly into shitty territory.  I had been awake for 2 days, my eyes were burning and I could feel my grip on my own mind slipping.

A few years ago, I didn’t sleep for 5 days.  It was around day 2 that I remember there was a switch flicked.  I was floating and I didn’t know how to come back down.  On Friday I hit that point at around 11:30pm.  I was laying in bed, trying to sleep.  Every time I closed my eyes there was rain in my head.  I know that sounds strange but it’s the only way that I can describe it.  You know that sound when the rain is so loud that it feel like the roof is going to cave in?  That was my head.

By this stage I had already realised that I was 3 days behind in my medication.  I had taken a dose and was waiting for it to kick in.  I lay in bed staring at the ceiling, wanting to sleep but too afraid to close my eyes.  I started screaming and crying.  I scared Paul, I know that I did and by some miracle he managed to quieten me down before I woke Mr 5.

Maybe I should have done it earlier, into a pillow or maybe it was the medication kicking in but 5 minutes after this I promptly fell asleep.  On Saturday I felt hungover.  Today I feel back on an even keel.  I am embarrassed that I let it get to that point.  I have set an alarm in my phone to remind myself to take my medication.  Last week is not something that I wish to repeat.

*If you are considering stopping any kind of medication then I urge you to speak to your health care provider.  It is not something that should be taken lightly and is best done with the guidance of a health professional.  This post is my experience, and may be different to your own experiences.  Again if you are concerned about any side effects please speak to your GP or Psychiatrist.*

Linking up with Jess for IBOT!

Mindfulness and mental health

*The following post is brought to you by Health Insurance Comparison*

Mindfulness is a concept that has been around for a while but it’s only in recent years that it has really hit the mainstream. It has Buddhist origins but the benefits can definitely be accessed by anyone.

What is Mindfulness?

In a nutshell, mindfulness involves immersing yourself in the present moment, rather than dwelling on the past or projecting anxieties about the future. This includes a strong focus on your thoughts and feelings and with the world around you.

The Benefits of Mindfulness

Being “in the moment” is believed to have big benefits for mental health. Under normal circumstances, it’s very easy to lose focus with the world around you and be almost completely caught up in your thoughts -with no real connection to the effect that they have on behaviour and feelings. Mindfulness can counteract this by encouraging you to get a different perspective on the world and experience it afresh.

Mindfulness can also help you to get a better handle on your thoughts and how they feed into your emotions. You may then realise that some of your thought patterns are not helpful for your mental health. In the long run, you can train your mind to recognise when negative, unhelpful thoughts are taking hold so that you can deal with them more productively but this can take some time.

How to Engage in Mindfulness

If you’re wanting to start practicing mindfulness, here are some simple ways to introduce it to your everyday life:

# 1 – Becoming More Sensitive to Your Surroundings

In the early days, mindfulness can be as simple as taking some time to appreciate the feel, taste, sight and sound of everyday occurrences. It’s likely that you’ve been taking these kind of sensations for granted and that they therefore haven’t been triggering any degree of feeling as a result of this. This step might sound insignificant but it can work to break the ‘tunnel vision’ that many of us are currently stuck in.

#2 – Focusing on Your Thoughts

Taking a few moments to focus entirely on your thoughts is another top tip for mindfulness. The trick here is not fight your thoughts or judge them in any way. You may feel like doing this initially and that’s perfectly normal, but it should become easier with practice.

#3 – Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is an easy form of mindfulness and as an added bonus, it can be done pretty much anywhere. Focus on breathing from your abdomen (not from your chest) and through your nose (rather than through your mouth). This can be therapeutic, especially when you’re anxious, and is very useful for helping you to stay in the present.

Meditation, yoga and tai chi can all be very useful activities for this as they encourage you to pay close attention to your breathing.

# 4 – Listening to Music

Listening to music can be another tactic for mindfulness. Ideally, classical or new age music will work well.  However music that you feel a connection to will also work well.  The key here is to concentrate on feeling each note and the emotion(s) that it evokes.

Mindfulness, along with other important ‘drug free’ therapies like remedial massage, naturopathy, and acupuncture are important components of a holistic approach to getting and staying healthy. These alternative therapies can be accessed with a comprehensive health insurance policy.  To find out more check out Health Insurance Comparison.

Have you tried Mindfulness?

What music do you find the most helpful for relaxing?

5 More tips for better sleep

Sleep and the musings household has a bit of a love hate relationship.  We are very rarely in sync together but when we are, it’s magical.  A few weeks ago my sleep got completely turned on it’s head.  I was barely sleep at night, stealing a few hours during the day and starting the process all over again.  Nothing was getting done and something had to give.

I started doing things differently in the lead up to sleep and I changed my thoughts about sleep.  I have written before about getting better sleep.  I often find that I have the most issues with actually getting to sleep.  Once I am asleep I am generally fine.  Funnily enough that is also Mr 5’s issue.  Here are the things that have worked for me over the last couple of weeks.

Get over the idea that it’s too early to go to bed.

This was my biggest hurdle to getting to sleep at a decent hour.  It sounds strange but it was such a psychological hurdle for me.  I found myself watching ridiculous things on TV because it was too early to go to bed.  I started off small and told myself that I would go to bed to read, with the idea that if I went to bed earlier then I would have more time to read.  I was then finished reading earlier that usual.  It was a game changer.

If you really want to watch a show, record it or use catch up TV.

Are you finding yourself telling yourself that after your favourite show is finished that you will go to bed, only to find it’s been pushed back to 10:30pm?  I like TV, I like getting lost in fiction shows and falling in love with the characters.  So I was staying up later and later to watch shows that I loved, but the ratings didn’t.  Now I just record it or use catch up TV.  The best part about that is that I can fast forward through the ads too!

Write down those thoughts swirling around your head.

Another barrier for me getting to sleep is over thinking stuff.  I think about everything from what I am having for dinner tomorrow to that stupid thing I said in 9th grade.  When I write this stuff down then I am postponing the thought pattern.  It’s a psychological cue to my brain that I got your message, but I don’t have time for it right now.  More often than not it works.  It has the added bonus of creating blog post ideas too.

If it’s going to bother you, get those jobs done before bed.

If I had a dollar for every time I laid in bed at night and thought about the stuff I didn’t do today and need to do tomorrow instead…well I would have enough to employ a full time cleaner.  It’s ridiculous because I spend an hour in bed stressing about the stuff I have to do the next day, when in reality I could just have done them.

Set yourself an alarm for when you want to switch off the lights.

I don’t always stick to this one.  However I do notice the difference when I do.  If you are used to going to bed at 2am then start somewhere that is achievable.  If the alarm goes off at 10pm then chances are you are going to ignore it.  Set the alarm for 30 minutes before you normally switch off the lights.  Then move this time backwards by 30 minutes each week.  It doesn’t feel like such a shock to the system.

What are your tips for better sleep?

Do you struggle with getting to sleep or staying asleep?

Linking up with Jess for IBOT!


6 tips to make the school run easier

It’s term 2 of school and I think we’ve finally managed to ease ourselves into a sort of routine.  There seems to be less yelling, stress and we’ve managed to make it to the bus stop every day this week.

Of course Murphy’s Law says that it will all come crashing to the ground in the near future but for now I am basking in my organised glory.  I’m not selfish though and want to share the love around, so here are my tips for getting your kids ready for school, without tearing all of your hair out.school tips

Pack lunch boxes in advance.

I pack Mr 5’s lunch box the night before.  Some weeks I go one step further and make a weeks worth of sandwiches in one go.  I then put them in sandwich bags and freeze them.  I’ve only tried this with spreads though, so I am not sure how you would go with cold meat or cheese.

Have a designated spot where school shoes, hats and bags are placed.

There is nothing worse than running around like a headless chook in the morning because your kids can’t find their school shoes.  This has happened to us more times than I can count.  Having all of the school things in one place also helps to cut down the on the yelling and the stress thing I mentioned earlier.

Lay out uniforms the night before.

This one has two benefits.  Firstly it helps with keeping the getting ready for school streamlined.  Especially when for Mr 5 putting on his uniform means standing in the middle of the lounge room in his underwear.  Secondly it reduces the likelihood of only discovering that your child has no clean uniforms when you go to pull a clean one out of the drawer!

Set yourself and alarm 15 minutes before you have to actually get up.

I have only discovered this little beauty over the last fortnight.  I am not a morning person but any stretch of the imagination and I really struggle to wake up in the morning.  However I discovered that if I set an alarm earlier than when I need to wake up and play around on my phone for 15 minutes then I’m much more likely to be less of a zombie when the actual alarm goes off.

If you catch public transport make sure you have change or your transport card has credit.

If you have to catch a bus, some drivers won’t be able to accept large notes for a fare.  I make sure I always have enough change in my wallet for at least a couple of fares.  Transport cards are usually cheaper though so it’s better to ensure there’s enough credit on that.  Also if your child is only just starting school, do a test run before school starts to familiarise yourself with the route.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

In the grand scheme of things it’s all small stuff, especially when the things that you are stressing probably don’t even phase your kids.  Run out of fruit the day before shopping? No big deal.  Does your kid want to wear odd socks?  Pick your battles, this isn’t your hill to die on.  Seriously, your kids will be fine.

What are your tips for getting out the door on time?

Have you got yourself into a rhythm for school yet?

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