Follow-up: Today was better

Thank you to everyone who read my last post and liked, commented or messaged me about my day. It’s truely wonderful to feel the support from you all when my posts come from the heart.

I thought I would follow-up with an update on how my next day was. I haven’t historically posted back to back but I cannot personally benefited from sharing my experience when it wasn’t a great one so I’m sure this too will help.

I woke up at a reasonable time without the help of a cat, got ready for work then woke my family. Today was a “Daddy Day” for Finn so the pressure for all of us to be ready was not as great. I was dropped into work and soon after met a good friend for coffee. I continued my morning in a good mood and got through my work right up until lunch time.

On lunch, I jogged to the gym, trained some weights then jogged back to my office. A refreshing shower and some delicious lunch (leftovers from the hubby) left me feeling refreshed. My afternoon was productive, then in the early evening my boys picked me up from the office.

When we arrived home we had a quick dinner together and afterwards I bathed Finn. While he was in the bath we played together using his bath crayons. I would draw for him and he would wipe my drawings off then tell me what to draw next. Once he was ready for bed we read a book together, then I cuddled him for 45 mins before I tagged Dad in to get him to sleep.

The main difference about my two days is the way I looked at them. When reflecting on today I can only recall the positives. My whole mindset today was different. I feel grateful I have a job, my health and my wonderful family. That doesn’t mean all days are good, some days are tough but it can help knowing that tomorrow can always be a better day. I hope you all had a better day too xo

P.S. Extra special thanks to my fantastic husband for his never ending support xx

Today was not my day

As I went to bed last night I was looking forward to the new day ahead. I had the best intentions to make my day a good one.

At 4:30am the sound of my cat clawing at my bed woke me. She had dropped two toys beside my bed as a peace offering. What she wanted was more food in her bowl. I climbed out of bed, fed her, then locked her in the garage hoping I would get some more sleep. I lay in bed until just before 6am trying to sleep, I could feel my mood growing flatter every minute I lay there awake. Giving up on my failed sleeping attempt, I got up and got myself ready for work.

Once I was ready I woke my family and got Finn ready for daycare. Once he was fed, dressed, had sunscreen and shoes on, I decided to turn on Paw Patrol to allow me to prepare my breakfast uninterrupted. As my toast was cooking, I looked over at Finn and asked if he needed to go to the toilet (judging by the look on his face). Too late. The accident had happened. Nick and I switched to clean up mode, then got him ready all over again.

Soon enough I made it into work, I tackled challenges, problems and provided training to those who needed it. As lunch time approached, I started looking forward to my planned session at the gym. Yet every time I would reach for my things to leave, someone would call on me. 2 hours past my planned lunch time, I finally made it to the gym.

I completed my session, showered and returned to my desk. I worked away until Nick called me to tell me he was here to pick me up. We picked up Finn on the way home and once there, Nick cooked dinner while I hung out with Finn. We ate together as a family, then I bathed Finn, read him a book, and battled with him for over an hour and a half to go to sleep. By 9:45pm I’m feeling exhausted and defeated.

I decided to write down how my day went for two reasons. The first is because it helps me realise all the good that came out of today, like making it to the gym, having a delicious dinner cooked by my husband, playing with paints in the bath with Finn then reading Green Eggs and Ham together before bed.

The second reason is because I know that tomorrow is another chance to have an amazing day.

Mental Health: There is nothing to be embarrassed about and you shouldn’t feel ashamed about asking for help

This blog post is a little different. Rather than writing about my thoughts or experiences, I wanted to share something my husband posted. This post is about mental health, something we’re both very passionate about.

To provide a little background, my husband is currently completing his final year of a psychology degree. He also personally suffers from depression and anxiety. This is what he had to say today:

So today I did tough mudder classic, something I’ve never done before or sure whether I would definitely do or not. For those that don’t know, it’s a 16km cross country run with 25 obstacles. It took about 4.5 hours to complete and was undoubtedly one of the hardest physical challenges I’ve ever done in my life…

Today on the run, I had a lot of time to think and am grateful for the support and encouragement of my team mates – Aaron, Kim, Zac and Sam. Thanks so much guys… This post however, while involving tough mudder, isn’t entirely about tough mudder but something much larger and more important. Mental health.

Perhaps it was ignorant luck, coincidence or serendipity, but tough mudder was sponsored by Beyond Blue; a not for profit organisation advocating for mental health awareness and education. Recently I’ve been coming across a lot of content from various esports personalities (Redeye in particular for those who know him) and friends on Facebook promoting open discussion about mental health. Today before the run began, the race start announcer said something that resonated with me more than any Facebook post, reddit discussion or TV ad advocating for the open discussion of mental health…

He said ‘there is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about needing to ask for help or talk to someone when you’re having a bad time’ (with your mind).

A little under 4 years ago I had my first anxiety attack. At the time I had no idea what was happening to me though… I was at work and all of a sudden felt an absolutely all encompassing need to leave the building. I packed my stuff, told my boss I had to leave (without explanation) and headed for the lifts. By the time I was in the lift I had what felt like zero control over my breathing and by the time I made it to the (nearly) ground level and escalators, I was shaking and crying in public. I called an Uber and went home for the day…

I wasn’t happy with my life at that point and so I got in contact with the Beyondblue online support service and booked an appointment with my doctor for a referral to a psychologist…

Over the next 3 months or so, I saw her regularly to squelch my anxieties and eventually got back to normality and a feeling of capability to handle life once more. Just before I’d begun seeing her regularly, I was in the middle of university applications and intending to study education and become a high school teacher. During that time I’d made the decision to adjust my application and study psychology…

Over the last 3.5 years I’ve enjoyed my degree and learned a whole bunch. I really do love the mind and just how powerful it is. But, as one of my lecturers has frequently said, ‘knowledge isn’t sufficient’…

Over the past two months or so things have gotten bad again I’ve been dealing with fairly debilitating depression and anxiety again. So much so that some days (especially on days where I should be doing uni work or at uni itself) I would go catatonic and just lie in bed for 5+ hours and either sleep or lay and ruminate my thoughts churning over and over and OVER again. I frequently thought to myself, you’re depressed again. I knew this, because I’ve acquired the knowledge. But again ‘knowledge isn’t sufficient’ to fix the issue and make positive change…

Back to Tough Mudder and what the race announcer said today about ‘embarrassment and shame’. Over the last 3 weeks (maybe 4), on top of constantly feeling depressed and generally lacking any joy, I’ve been feeling constantly embarrassed and ashamed that I’d let myself get back to this point again. And even more so embarrassed and ashamed that I wasn’t able to ‘fix’ myself. I would say ‘I have a lot of the knowledge now right? I should be able to fix myself and pull myself out of the rut’.

Psychology and mental health is such a fascinating area of study because despite having the tools, knowledge and awareness of it all – it still got me. The chemicals still did their thing in my brain. My personality still managed to tick along and fuel the bad thoughts. Life still kept happening as usual and any little thing happening that felt remotely ‘bad’, something a mentally healthy person could move past, would absolutely floor me…

At the start of this week I got some bad news about a friend and it negatively affected me a lot more than I would have normally expected… It was the final trigger.

Two days ago, once again I saw my doctor and told him I hadn’t been feeling great lately and that I’d had 3-4 breakdowns in as many weeks. My wife, Kim, had been encouraging me to see someone again for at least the last two months and I’m really glad that things are in the works again to get myself back to being mentally well and healthy…

My doctor reminded me that sometimes people just have personality traits that makes them more prone and vulnerable to mental health issues throughout their lives. Sometimes these traits, high neuroticism and conscientiousness, can push me to do great things such as high achieving grades at uni, engaged parenting and supportive husbanding (not sure if that’s a word but you get the idea)… Those same traits however, can also be the catalyst to trigger bad mental health when left unchecked…

Those traits can draw you to set your self- expectations too high and poorly influence your own judgement on performance for whatever it is your role is, or whatever else it may be that you’re working on. For me it leads to exceedingly high self-expectations and to poor judgements on performance against these expectations as a student, father and husband…

My over arching point of this (long) post is this –

Sometimes in life it may feel like you should be able to handle everything yourself, especially your own health. That’s silly. Your mind, body and personality have much greater influence than most of us give any credit. Even with knowledge It is still possible to be susceptible and fall back into old issues. There is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about regarding your own mental health.

The main reason I made this post is this though… Today some random guy announcing the start of a gruelling cross country race said something that resonated with me. I don’t know him and he doesn’t know me. It’s likely we’ll never meet or that he’ll even see this post. I don’t want more internet points or anything like that, but to anyone that recognises the importance of mental health, please share. I might have said something, maybe, that will resonate with someone else and make them feel less embarrassed and ashamed about their own mental health issues the same way the race announcers words resonated with me. I hope this resonates so much so that they get their own help. I’m glad I am…

If you know someone this post may help, please share it. Thank you once again to Beyondblue and Tough Mudder for providing help and spreading awareness about mental health.

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/

Parenting: Embracing going “Full Mum Mode” this Mother’s Day

I recently took a break from social media and posting on my blog to focus on some assignments and big events. The down time gave me some space to think about where I want to take my blog. The honest truth is I still don’t know exactly, but I did decided that I enjoy blogging and sharing my experiences and I’m going to keep doing it.

During this period of reflection, I thought about the name of my blog and why I chose “full mum mode”. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, everything I did seemed to be in “mum mode”. All my behaviours and every one of my decisions was being made with my babies best interests in mind. This actually wasn’t a huge shift from my usual way of thinking. All my life I’ve aimed to be mindful of others, so what was it about my actions that made me feel like a mum?

I’ve always been geeky and nerdy so I’m fully prepared to embarrass my kids. I know I’ll be able to do this just by being myself, by going the extra mile to help with a project, make a costume or throw a party. I’ll embarrass them by being overly affectionate and demonstrating how much I love and care for them, even in public. I’m certain I’ll send them crazy trying to ensure they eat healthy, keep active and stay clean. I’ll drive them mental encouraging them when they do well, and help them when they need it, with education or anything they are passionate about.

Initially, I shied away from using the term “mum” at all. I didn’t want that label to define me or become just another mummy blogger. Almost two years into parenting and I fully understand how silly that is. Why wouldn’t I want to embrace this title? The mums I have met over these past two years are people I will cherish for the rest of my life. Each woman has taught me something, given me a piece of herself and been there for me in anyway they can. Mums are amazing! Now that I am one, I’m fortunate enough to experience a different side to this incredible role. This is not to take anything away from dad’s. They have been incredible too, but Mother’s Day is just around the corner (Sunday 12th May 2019).

With that subtle reminder inserted there, I’d like to add that this year I’ll be fully embracing and celebrating my Mother’s Day. It won’t just be a celebration of me or my amazing Mother and MIL, but a celebration of all mums. To all mums, I hope you feel like the Wonder Woman you are and be sure embrace the moments you are in “full mum mode”.

Date Nights: A Wonderful Tool for Parents to Communicate

For our anniversary this year we booked two nights away at a unit in Broadbeach. It was important we celebrated our anniversary but it was also a new milestone being my first night away from Finn. I can hardly believe where the last 21 months went and don’t know how I managed without a full night away from him.

Since my return to work last year I’ve adjusted to spending time away from Finn. Knowing he’s always well cared for and enjoys his time whether it be at daycare, with dad or other family and friends helps enormously. I increased to full time work after Finn’s first birthday which took some additional adjustments (for myself) to being away five consecutive weekdays. We’ve been on date nights or out having fun with friends while someone babysits him at home. No matter the situation, I’ve always come home and been there when he woke up. Reflecting on this, we decided it was well past time to have a night away and stopped putting it off.

Before we fell pregnant, Nick and I had a relationship that was incredibly strong. We felt that nothing could ever shake us. From the moment we met we were honest with each other and were effective communicators. Being with each other was easy. When faced with challenges, we always had each other to pull through and came out stronger than ever.

Once Finn arrived, something critical changed between Nick and I. Becoming parents shifted our focus and our priorities. The majority of our discussions were related to parenting. Most of the time this was essential, we were learning so much and needed to bounce ideas and thoughts off one another constantly. While navigating this new role and managing sleep deprivation, there was little time left for Nick and I to talk about anything else.

We are now both a lot more confident with being Finn’s parents and want to reinvest some time back into our relationship as a couple. As with most other aspects of our parenting journey, we’re finding this becomes easier over time. Finn is a lot more independent, communicates well and his sleep has improved a lot. This has given us much needed time to spend with each other.

We do our best to ensure we have regular date nights now. It helps us support each other better, reconnect and as a result we are better parents. Our date nights don’t have to be fancy or expensive. We’re all about that frugal life. We may go out for dinner, a movie or even just find somewhere to have a drink together. One of our favourite date nights was playing a board game at home once Finn was fast asleep. Anything outside the normal routine.

For a relationship, the benefits of spending quality time together are well know and wide spread. However, it can be challenging to achieve this with a little person in the mix. Considering this, I’m always looking for ideas for date nights. If you’ve had a wonderful date night experience, please share it. We all need a little bit of grown up time, so book in your next date night and communicate with your loved one.

Thank you to the Meriton @ Broadbeach for having us. We will be back!

Family Holiday: Camping

On the weekend we stayed at Numinbah Valley Adventure Trails Camp Grounds. Only an hour drive south of Brisbane in the beautiful Gold Coast Hinterland.

These camping grounds are wonderful for campers of all different experience levels. We stayed in our tent but there were others with camper vans and trailers on the site.

At the flying fox site, chemical toilets and a cold shower we’re provided which was perfect in the warm weather.

The flowing river was just a short walk from our campsite and was a great way to entertain ourselves and cool off.

This was only our second time camping as a family but we are all hooked. Watching our toddler explore nature and spending quality time together can’t be beat.

I highly recommend this spot for families and we will absolutely be back soon.

New year, new me? A guide to goal setting, planning and monitoring.

Who else started 2019 strong? With new goals, genuine intentions and renewed passion to succeed? Now that we are a month into the new year, How are you tracking with your goals? It’s time to check in on your own goals, track your progress and plan ahead to keep making progress so you don’t fall short by the end of the year.

When Finn was born in June 2017, I didn’t really plan to achieve anything other than survival. With six months of parenting under my belt I was ready to set some goals for 2018. I set goals that didn’t feel like too much of a stretch, goals that I thought were fairly specific and achievable. However, I made a couple of critical errors. I needed to invest more time into setting action items to help me achieve my goals, check-in regularly to track my progress.

I’m proud of all I achieved in 2018, yet imagine how I might feel today if I’d been able to confidently tick off all my goals. These two errors showed me how I can improve to ensure 2019 will be even better. Mistakes are wonderful lessons, as long as we learn from them. So, what am i doing differently to achieve my goals this year?

Firstly, I’ve set clear goals and established action items to help me achieve them. I’ve written them down in my organiser, to provide a place of perfect recall, what my goals are and what I need to be doing. For example, I have a fitness goal for the year. For me this is not a number on the scale or a dress size but a healthy and active lifestyle goal, I’ve signed up for Tough Mudder as a way to track how I’m doing. The tasks I have in place are; to complete four weights sessions a week and two cardio sessions. This is not always going to be possible so I’ve decided to have a mindset that will allow for and assist with flexibility.

Secondly, I have adopted the ‘No Zero Days’ approach for my Fitness, blogging and study goals. This means, if I am unable to accomplish what I have planned that I will do something towards these goals to make it a ‘No Zero Day’. For a fitness goal this could be something as simple as a brisk walk or a couple sets of body weight exercises like push ups. For my blogging, I will write at least one sentence everyday and before you know it I will have another post to share.

Finally, I’m keeping my goals in sight and at the front of my mind. I have a note in my phone and they are clearly written in my organiser for me to see daily. I’ve set periodic reminders to check on my progress and make any necessary adjustments throughout the year. Using these reminders I’m able to see what I have already achieved, chart my achievements against my initial goals and plan new tasks to achieve before my next check in.

Another tip for goal setting is to ensure you’re not over committing yourself. In my case, I’ve always loved exercising and being active. However, with a toddler to care for it is unrealistic for me to complete 4 to 5 one hour long gym sessions each week as a fitness goal. I have found the “no zero days” approach helpful in maintaining a positive mindset.

I’m definitely not perfect when it comes to goal setting and management. Towards the end of January, I’ve felt some of these good behaviours slipping. This is where checking in helps reset your mindset and adapt your approach. I hope my tips for goal setting are helpful to you. I would love to hear what goals you have set for yourself and how you’re progressing. Sharing these can assist with accountability and are a great way to check in. I wish you every success and I am always hear to listen.

I’m happy with how I look in both of these photos and I love that this shows how much work I’ve been putting in.