The Importance of Self-Care

The Importance of Self-Care

I know this is a little confronting but it’s only 92 days until summer hits us. That’s right, only 92 days….eeek!! That also means it’s only a little over 15 weeks until Christmas! I’m serious! And with term 3 school holidays just around the corner, it got me thinking about how there never seems to be enough hours in the day, especially when it comes to looking after our own needs.

Our days just seem to get busier, amiright? Between the kids, partners, part-time or full-time work, the shopping, the cooking and the cleaning a mum’s work is never truly done. We also seem to be the only ones doing it! Did you know that the recent 2016 Australian census showed that Aussie women on average do up to 14 hours of unpaid domestic work per week whereas men do less than 5 hours? That hardly seems right, does it – add a couple of kids to your happy home and suddenly, you’re not just caring for their needs but doing the majority of the domestic stuff as well!

It makes sense that in this time of our lives – when we are at our busiest – we should be more vigilant of taking care of ourselves and investing in our mental health and wellbeing. The sad truth is, though, that we don’t. Sometimes it’s just too hard to find the time (with the amount of washing I do each week, I swear there are people living in my house I haven’t met yet) and if you do find the time, it’s not as simple as just walking out the door with your keys and wallet anymore.

But here’s the thing so many mums struggle with – we are so busy focusing on everyone else’s needs we just don’t prioritise ourselves, or worse, we feel like we shouldn’t take that time out (oh, mummy guilt, you insidious creature). I don’t know how these feelings came to be such a common theme for women (I’m certainly not immune), but so many of us truly think that we can’t take the time for ourselves (there’s so much to do! I need to iron! I have to be there for bath time!) because our family’s needs come first. The simple truth is that making that time for yourself is not going to bring your family’s world crashing down around their ears and they will be able to carry on without you for a few hours. You, on the other hand, may not…well, at least your mental health may not.

Let me put it this way. In the safety presentation at the beginning of any flight, you will always be told that if an oxygen mask drops from the ceiling, you need to fit your own mask before helping others, even your children. It makes sense, right? Get yourself sorted so you can EFFECTIVELY help others. There’s no point helping everyone get their mask on if by the time you get to yours, you’re ready to pass out! And that’s the crux of it. If we don’t take time to look after ourselves, then it makes it harder for us to look after others. If you’re exhausted and stressed, it makes looking after your kids that much harder. Your temper is shorter, your attention is split and our bodies and minds become run down. Self-care gives us the opportunity to re-energise ourselves and treat ourselves as worthy and deserving of that care.

One great way to commit to self-care is to join a community, whether it be a book club, a fitness group or a regular scheduled catch up with your friends. This not only provides you with an activity to look forward to and participate in but you will be doing it with a bunch of people who will notice if you’re not quite OK and will listen if you need to talk or require support in other ways.

Other great ideas are taking some time out for yourself with a massage, a movie (kids movies don’t count) or going for a run. Just sitting in the park on your own enjoying the sun with a book is another great option. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but you do have to spend the time. It goes without saying that looking after your physical health will benefit your mental health which is where BounceBack Fitness comes to the party, but sometimes we also need to just look after ourselves with a good mani/pedi and a trashy mag. So please, make some time for yourself ASAP! Oh, and tell your hubby it’s his turn to cook dinner – there’s half an hour right there 😉

Nic x

What does your self care look like? Comment in the box below

Worth more than your productivity? By Joan Markwell

Worth more than your productivity? By Joan Markwell

Yes you are, but reading that how do you feel? I love this and it couldn’t have popped up at a more relevant time for me. Yesterday I took the ‘day off’ to accompany my daughter to her school swimming carnival. Of course, I had at least 48 other things I coulda, woulda, shoulda been doing but as she is 9, and explicitly asked me to go with her I figured my invites are going to be ever decreasing as she discovers the embaressment that parents seem to bring as they age.

Let me say I had a feeling too. My daughter is one of the most determined girls I know. Honestly I love this about her. She decides she will do something and there is no holds barred, she goes for it, all in. Anyway, she had been extremely excited for days and kept telling me she was going to win some ribbons at this carnival. She asked me to go but I had work plans and a training ride I wanted to do that day so originally thought I couldn’t attend.

The morning swung around and I heard her voice in the dark explain to her daddy that she had to go to the toilet but didn’t turn the light on as she didn’t want to the light to wake her up. She needed to get back to sleep so she had energy for her carnival tomorrow. No sooner had she left the room but my alarm went off signalling the beginning of my long list of what I wanted to do that day. But I considered her words, thought of her little face, her excitement and wondered how many more carnivals I would get begged to go to. How much longer would she want me around. So I got up, put the kettle on, tucked her in and hit some of the work I had planned for that day at 5.15am.

We went to the carnival and she loved having me there. I watched her come second in the heats of freestyle, back and breaststroke. I got to see her little face when she touched the wall and hug her when she got out. I talked her through some strategy for the finals and when the time came screamed her name till my voice was hoarse. My little determined girl claimed first place in the final. We were both absolutely thrilled. I was proud as punch, she set her sights on something and went for it – boom!

I fucking love that kid. She amazes me. My heart has a physical solid feeling when I write that. Its tangible.

Anyway, the point is my day was not ‘productive’ as per the definition so many of us define our lives by. I missed my training ride that I had planned for two weeks prior, I made no headway in my studies, there were no business updates or progress as planned. But my daughter and I had a solid day. We made wonderful memories and I am so grateful. I will never forget that little face when she realised she won. Her eyes when I was giving her some tips, taking it all in. Her overflowing joy and self-assuredness as she trotted off to the marshalling area. Giving the winner a high five before she even got out of the pool. Her rallying her friends, giving and receiving support and congratulations. Her nerves as she approached the finals. I’ll take that over productivity any day.

Productivity is great, especially if you have a goal in mind. Productivity gives direction and measures your performance which can provide a great sense of achievement. This is all positive and most people feel a productive life is a satisfying one I get that. If some of this productivity is balanced with some down time and “lets throw plans to the wind” time it’s all good. I wholeheartedly believe it’s the non-productive times in your life that will be your favourite memories. These times will be what makes you smile, laugh and feel loved when you reflect on your life.

The post final face!

Awesome sense of achievement

Awesome sense of achievement

On reflection of my recent trip to 2016 World Triathlon Championships in Mexico I have had a bit of time to process and reflect on my achievement there.

Getting to world championships was a three year dream for me. Making sure all the pieces were in the right place, kids, business, money, training, life. I had people telling me I wouldn’t make it, my own head doubting my ability, others seemingly doing much better than me, sickness close to the race, not quite enough money, guilt about spending the money on all that was required in the lead up as well as whilst there. And the training. Months of winter training well years really to lay the ground work to be in a place I felt confident and capable enough to go and do myself, my family and even my country proud. Most of my worlds campaign training was done on my own as winter is off season in Australia so my triathlon buddies weren’t keen to come out in the cold. Cold, early mornings riding or running on my own. Swim sessions at night when most normal people are at home in front of the heater. It was commitment 101 that’s for sure.

But there I was. Mexico. I could hardly believe it.

The morning of the race was quite a long one as my wave was second last starting at 8.10 after a 6.30 race start. I filled my time chatting to team mates, watching other waves swim and fare welling my friends one by one for their race. As my start approached and the waiting came to an end, I felt extremely emotional and suddenly quite overwhelmed.

Time was slow waiting for my start as I was second last wave staring just shy of two hours after the first wave. As my start crept closer I began to feel the emotion of what I had finally achieved. I didn’t have the words, just tears and a huge grin. Team mates were kindly checking I was ok, but I was more than ok. I was smiling and nodding and just taking it in (and hoping the tears would stop before the start so my goggles wouldn’t fog up!). I really tried to just go with the emotion, embrace it and enjoy it all.

Well those tears, the race experience, wearing the Australian Green and gold, my name on my uniform, pushing through the hottest most gruelling race I have ever competed in, finishing, the feeling of completion, elation, pride, amazement, achievement, exhaustion! The time of my life for sure. (so far!)

Three years – breaking down goals, ticking them off, just achieving one little thing at a time. But Mexico was always in my mind. Now obviously we all have different dreams, goals and motivations, and really if you don’t know me well or do but haven’t figured out yet, I am very strong willed. When I set my mind to something, well let’s just say it usually happens. So although World championships may have seemed like a big goal, especially to an old training buddy who laughed at me when I said I wanted to go. I set my sights, laid down a plan and I did it. I’m laughing now with happiness and an amazing sense of accomplishment and pride. That achievement is mine. I earnt it and I own it.

I really want you guys to start feeling that great sense of achievement. I want you to set your sights on something and tell me. I can help you reach it. The weather is better, easier to train, less excuses, more enjoyment, easier to do some homework and easier to enjoy the rewards of all your hard work.

Why do you train? What drives you to get out of bed, come to sessions and feel the burn. How do you feel after training? Are you still getting results? Is there something you have slow burning in the background that you “always thought you would like to do” but haven’t yet? What’ important to you?

Give it some thought, say it out loud. Make the dream small and achievable or big bold and bodacious. Nothing is too big or small. Anything is possible I promise. Just say it. Share it. Tell me and together let’s make it happen. Make it yours and make it now.

Making the time and reaping rewards

Making the time and reaping rewards

This mum.
She could have stayed home.
She could have found excuses.
She could have put her babies first for all the hours of her day.
She could have spent the money on countless baby classes available that have little to no flexibility to accommodate the ups and downs of a mums life.
She could have stopped after her second child was born, I mean it is hard to wrangle two kids out the door. They do have different sleep times. The babies sleep time is right on class time.
She could have stayed home.
But she didn’t.
Felicity decided she was worth it. Felicity decided the little bit of organisation required to get her and two kids to class on time was well worth the energy gained from completing the class. Felicity decided the friends she made at class weren’t judging if her or her kids had an ordinary day. She knew they would all go home happier for the effort. Especially Felicity. With a nice shot of endorphins she is armed for all the hiccups, speed humps and energy required for her to be the patient, caring mum and active healthy role model that she wants to be. She thinks money spent on her health is an investment. An investment in her future and her babies. She also loves the way she feels, the way she looks and that she is stronger than she has ever been. She loves the feeling of lifting weight she hasn’t lifted before, running further than she has before and the feeling of power that gives her. She loves that she can share this with her husband as well as stories about the kids and their day. I love this pic of this fabulous woman. I love what she has done for herself and her kids. Love your work Felicity.

The power of rest

The power of rest

Everyone knows its good to rest. In theory. How often though do you really apply this to yourself. Working with mums I hear it all the time. They come to my sessions tired, underslept, just basically worn out and I ask them if they sleep when they put bubs down. No, I get dinner on, I do the washing, I take the time to catch up on housework, or worst of all I check emails and facebook. Arrggghhh!

Your body just performs better when it is rested. As you may know I am in training for Lake Taupo 70.3. It’s a half ironman in New Zealand on the 13th December. I wont lie to you, I’m tired. Its quite normal to have ups and downs in your training and there are a couple of points in a 12 week program where your mind and body just don’t feel like they want to play anymore. This was me last week. I struggled through training. Slow, slow, slow. Swim was slow, runs were off and the ride, well lets just say I didn’t come close to my targets.

It was very discouraging especially looking down the barrel of a huge training weekend. Then something happened. I woke up Saturday morning, the weather was dodgy for riding up and down hills like I had on my program. I ummed and ahhed over what to do and next thing you know I was running to the loo with a tummy bug. So you know what I did? I went to bed. And stayed there all day. Literally all day. That night I had Florence and the machine tix which I wasn’t missing for love nor money so off I toddled in the rain to drink Vodka, sing, dance and feed my girl crush. Florence is a joy to behold.

Next day, you guessed it, I was pretty seedy from the Vodkas so had to rethink the swim and run session on my program. Instead I cooked up a storm for a bbq I had that evening for my sis who was in town and some old friends.

Yes I felt guilty and no I haven’t made up all the sessions yet but I’m halfway there. And guess what? I have hit my numbers, and performed very well this week so can only assume the rest has worked wonders.

We all get bitten by the busy bug. It’s sad that the art of resting has become so overlooked and under appreciated. People feel they have to fill every waking minute with ‘something’. I urge you all to have a rest. If you are feeling a bit run down, have a rest. When the baby sleeps, lie down, kick your feet up, read, sleep whatever just take some time out. When you hubby gets home, sit down together and chill for half an hour. If you are training hard to lose the baby weight and starting to feel a bit tired, have a day off and relax. Yes, relax. Don’t skip training to do the housework, that sucks and you wont feel rested.

Listen to your body. When it tries to tell you something, there is usually a reason. If you don’t listen or think you know better, it will end up demanding you listen by making you sick so you have no choice. Anyway I’m off for an athletes nap (you are allowed to call them that if you trained hard in the morning!).

Balance, Oreos and Unicycles.

Balance, Oreos and Unicycles.

I was scrolling through Facebook today and came across a post about making Oreo ice cream sandwiches.

I love cooking, I love desserts, I love ice cream and I love food in general but the convoluted process involved with making these ‘sandwiches’ was pretty full on. A sizeable chunk of time and commitment. It got me thinking. Thinking about priorities. Whether the author(?) of this recipe, or any person for that matter that goes to such great lengths for a quick treat that can be scoffed in a moment (think cake pops!?! Wtf?) is also as committed to their health and wellbeing. Do they go to the same level of effort to find a good workout on line or a good trainer, commit a nice 30-60 mins to that decision and follow through with a heart raising, blood pumping workout that will not only last longer, but raise their endorphins for a lot longer and without the sugar slump that follows.

I always say you can lose 5kgs in one workout simply because you like what you see in the mirror better after a session. Do you get that buzz when you look in the mirror after an Oreo sandwich or cake pop? Hmmm.

And before you say but its just a special occasion, its not like you make cake pops or oreo sandwiches everyday, I know that. I’m just questioning priorities. DO you value your health and wellbeing as much as having a stand out treat at a party for a kid who lets face it is too young to remember really. I’m not saying throw some food on a paper towel at the next party you host and go for a run, but I am saying if you can prioritise and make time for this kind of effort I really believe you can prioritise and make time for exercise or movement.

Crazy world we live in if we are all so busy we can’t make some time for our healthy future.

I would rather be an active healthy role model for my kids than too busy making cakes or something similar to spend quality time with them. I would rather run beside her as she learns how to rollerskate than sit on the sideline unable to share this achievement with her.

I am a baker, I love to bake. I love cooking a delicious cake and sharing it with friends and family. I love to cook, experimenting in the kitchen and eating with friends and family, its how I grew up and have many cherished memories of love and good times around a table.

I also love, value and need regular exercise to regulate my mood and energy. If I gave this up I could not enjoy myself no matter how many treats you gave me anyway.

There is a balance, which I continually strive to achieve. On my scale of balance a big party cake to share is far more practical, fun and representative of life than hours spent on individual mouthfuls that are gone in an instant. Movement makes you feel good. When you feel good you make better choices. About everything including what you put in your mouth. So by all means cook what you like, eat what you like, but please balance it with some good quality time dedicated to moving your body, cleansing your mind and recharging your soul.

Note: for a 65kg woman to burn the calories in one oreo-icecream sandwich you would need to so one of the following:

  • Jump rope for 30 mins,
  • Run for 30 mins ,
  • Swim steady laps for 40 mins or
  • Walk fast for 1 hour and 20 mins.
  • Ride a unicycle for an hour. 🙂Oreo-Cookie-Sandwich_v1_webready

Pin It on Pinterest