Being present

This week the blog is short and its about the value of healthy positive relationships and role models.  The reason it’s short, and I don’t apologise for, is that I have spent the weekend enjoying a mini-break with my three precious boys.

We explored, laughed, ate (and ate some more because that’s what you do on holidays isn’t it?!), kicked the footy, went for a run and had several nerf gun battles….

I think it’s safe to say I wasn’t the winner of any of the nerf battles, however, the boys got one of the things they want and deserve – our time.  I got to spend a little more time with our eldest son when he wanted to come for a run with me for the first time in ages while we were away too.

Whilst we had some great chats while we were running (and walking) it was the unspoken messages that became apparent.

Here are just a couple of my thoughts that I was reminded of on the weekend:

Children need to know what healthy relationships look like as well as what it means to be physically healthy.

Children are sponges – he will remember what we did, not what we said.

The endorphin release after exercising is just as potent for  children as adults – my boy was visibly on a high that was intoxicating to watch!

To top it off and almost as proof that kids are a product of their environment, when we got home I mentioned to my son that I was impressed that he could go as far as we did, I was quickly met with ‘mum, I just believed I could, so I did’ ….well I wonder where he has heard that before?? 😉

One of the most important acts we can carry out for our children is just to be with them – be completely present with them and notice all of the lessons they learn.

 

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Are you?

I don’t know about you but I cannot believe that it is now February!?  One month of 2016 is done already!!  I don’t know if its that I’m getting older or that we have been busy (as everyone is) or that my children have been so anxiously anticipating school and kindy to start.  But here we are, February is here.  When I consider how fast time goes, I really am reminded how we need to be present and mindful.  I can hear some of my friends, a few in particular saying, whatever (!), or what does that even mean?  It means closing down all of the tabs in your brain and absorbing where you really are.  You won’t get this time back, that is what I do know for sure.

Will you look back and be proud of how you spent your time?  Will you have regrets?  Will you think about times you have spent with family and friends and wish you didn’t spend the whole time talking or scrolling on your phone?  I’ve seen a lot #makingmemories lately, you know the ones.  What will your memories be?  Are they about the meme you saw on your newsfeed or the sound of your friend or child’s laughter?

Here’s my quick tips, for what they are worth, about being ‘present’:

  1. At least once every day, deliberately take 20 consecutive deep breaths – you know the type, in through your nose, where you feel your shoulders rise as your lungs fill with air and then out through your mouth, yes those.  Repeat more than once if you wish.
  2. Consciously listen to your self-talk – that is the way you speak to yourself – listen to whether it is positive or negative, make a real attempt to speak to yourself like you would a valued friend.
  3. Be grateful – Stop.  take a look around and make a note of three things you are grateful for.  Being thankful and grateful is about focusing on the positive things.  If you do this, there is no time to dwell on the other stuff, that has nothing to do with your goals, anyway!
Could you do these everyday for a week?

I’m going to try it, are you?
I look forward to hearing about all the nice things you said to yourself and noticed in this amazing life!

“Opportunistic”

Opportunistic

  1. exploiting immediate opportunities, especially regardless of planning or principle.

Source: Oxford dictionary

I believe that what I did yesterday fits this definition perfectly.  I exploited, or took advantage of the fact that my children’s Great Uncle wanted to take them to the motorbike shop and I went for a run.  No children were harmed in this opportunistic act, in fact, they had a fabulous time, so everyone had a win – got to love it when that happens!!

Anyhow, back to my run, it was an unexpected run – such a bonus!  For anyone who is time poor (which is probably most of us at some stage), this is comparative to winning on a scratch-it ticket – not anticipated, but you are grateful anyway!

When I was running I was thinking about both time and change.  They are the two things we have no control over and yet both make a huge difference in our lives. Its how we perceive them that makes all the difference.  For example, five years ago, running definitely wouldn’t have been my chosen opportunistic activity when someone offered to take my child (there was only one then) off my hands and honestly I would have cringed at the thought at all!!  But here we are, 5 years on, running is a chosen past time of mine – and on my opportunistic run it felt was so good it almost seemed a little naughty.  I almost felt like someone was going to tap me on the shoulder and tell me my time was up – now that is a massive change of perspective!

There was certainly nothing pretty about my run, it was slow and I sweated, a lot!  But it was my longest for the year this far and man, knowing I had just smashed out 9km, I can tell you, that felt pretty damn fine!  I also discovered a road I didn’t know existed, which links perfectly to my last blog post about new adventures being good for you!

So time has changed me and I’m proud of that.

I’m a runner now because I believe I am, (but just to set the record straight here and now, I will never be a race winner – but I sure feel like one especially when I walked in the gate and our dog was so pleased to see me, I imagine that’s how elite athletes feel when their fans surround them!

My perception of yesterday’s opportunity was as a way to get closer to my goals and I was ever so grateful for the time.

It is rather ironic, because, as a nurse, normally when I think of opportunistic I think of infection!  Since I’m writing about health, infection is obviously antagonistic to the cause!  However, perhaps just like sneaky infections, we all need to be a little opportunistic sometimes, especially if it meets our needs and gets us closer to our goals!

Disclaimer:  I tried to upload the photo I took just after I got back from said run, enter technical difficulties, hence the use of the happy emoji instead!  My apologies!

Will your tree grow in 2016?

What if something really disappointing happened?  What if, this time next year you looked back at 2016 and it had been just the same as 2015?  You hadn’t grown, or achieved any goals or gained any more knowledge – you were in exactly the same place as you were 12 months prior.   I don’t know about you but that scene 100% terrifies me, and I know this won’t be happening to me.  Can you think of someone who it could happen to?  What are they working towards? Or are they just getting through each day?  Do they have goals? or are they just happy to remain status quo?  Is that person you?

You see, growing as a person is a decision.  As simple as that, if you decide you don’t want to stay where you are then you are deciding to grow.  I like that.  I heard a quote recently that represented that decision and growth at the same time.  ‘People are like trees – they are either green and growing or ripe and rotting’.  The trees that are ripe and rotting aren’t learning or growing whereas the green and growing ones decide to continue learning and  add positively to their lives and those around them.  Just like trees, you can’t be both, so there lies a decision, are you green and growing or ripe and rotting??

Growing to me means you are able to recognise there is so much ‘out there’ you don’t know and that you are hungry for knowledge.  And this time, Google alone won’t cut it as a source of information!  Continuing with the tree analogy, water is necessary, the water is the resources that will help you grow.  Trees who are growing need water and lots of it.  What will your water be in 2016?  For wellness, the water is the knowledge and skills to make sustainable changes to your every day.  So if you buy lots of self-help books filled with this knowledge and skills or read lots of Instagram posts with motivational quotes, can you expect to grow? You might, but I’m guessing the odds are stacked against you, right?!

So what are the day to day skills you need to master to grow?  I don’t exactly know what will help you personally, as we know, everyone is different.  What I do know is that lots of work/time/research has been done around the world to find out what helps people grow.  In fact, a whole industry has emerged because people want to improve their health.  Yet, as a society, people want a quick fix.  At a guess, do you think the knowledge and skills to maintain sustainable lifestyle changes are acquired overnight?  Like the famous shampoo and conditioner, it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen, with learning and time, that is.  I don’t think you want to be in that disappointing predicament this time next year.

So herein lies the challenge, will you take the time to ‘water your tree’ and do some learning to grow in 2016? I sure hope so.