Recently I have experienced loss at the hands of depression and anxiety and sadly it is not the first time. Did you know that one in three people experiencing depression and/or anxiety at some point in their life?
For the month of February I will be partaking in a personal month long challenge to raise awareness and funds for beyondblue
beyondblue is an independent, not-for-profit organisation working to increase awareness and understanding of depression and anxiety in Australia and to reduce the associated stigma.
My challenge is to raise $2500over the month of February while performing my own personal challenge ofgoing to the gym twice a day every day. That is 56 gym sessions in 28 days! I chose a fitness challenge because exercise is one thing that can help alleviate depression and boost your happiness levels yet so many times when you are feeling down something like exercise, that can make you feel good, is the last thing you want to do. I must do at least a half hour session and I can only buy my way out of a workout by personally giving a $20 donation.
Unfortunately, depression and anxiety are the most prevalent mental health disorders in Australia, with one in three people experiencing depression and/or anxiety at some point in their life. A key contributing factor to the significant disability associated with depression and anxiety is the low levels of help seeking, with only 35% of people accessing professional services for their mental health problems.
I want people to talk about mental health as much as they talk about the gym and healthy eating. I want to see people reach out to loved ones. I want to do this for everyone I know who has battled or is battling depression and anxiety. I want to do this for those who seek help, for those that chose to leave early and for those who are left behind.
If you are anything like me and enjoy staying organised and on top of all aspects of your life, then there’s no doubt you keep lists. To do lists. You might write the lists out in your diary or notebook or you may use a certain app on your smart phone, or like me you may write it down on anything and everything you can get your hands on at the time from post-its to envelopes.
Not everything can go on the same list in life either. While everything is essentially a to-do or to-buy item on the lists; you wouldn’t really put your shopping lists on your work project list would you?
There is something profoundly satisfying about not only writing a list, but of crossing things off one. What I have compiled here is a list of useful lists. These lists will help you keep up with everything that needs to get done in your life. This list of lists may be overkill or it may just be the difference between you staying organised and on top of life – or in a big jumble not knowing what to do next…
♥ of yearly/monthly/weekly budget
♥ of things to buy for the house
♥ of things that need to get done around the house
♥ of clothing/fashion items to buy in order of which one you MUST have first
♥ of writing ideas to start and/or explore
♥ of things that need to get cleaned
♥ of life achievements
♥ of things you love about yourself
♥ of all your Extraordinary life goals
♥ of goals for the week/month/year
♥ of seven things you don’t know (and that you probably need to find out – seve is a manageable number for this type of list)
There is something profoundly satisfying about not only writing a list, but of crossing things off one.
♥ of things to learn/education to undertake
♥ of work projects
♥ of things to be grateful/thankful for
♥ of everyone’s birthdays (doesn’t technically need to be a traditional list but perhaps mapped out on a yearly calendar)
♥ of exciting things to do when you are bored
♥ of free things to do when cash flow is tight
♥ of books/blogs/articles/movies/podcasts/music/youtubes to read/watch/listen to (obviously this is several lists and can be broken down again into categories of business and pleasure)
Brooklyn Bridge, New York 2013, Photography Credit: Damien Samuel
Travelling is good for the soul – there is no denying this. It inspires us, breathes life, opens up our viewpoint and empowers us to lead more significant lives. The downside is that travelling costs money and sometimes we don’t always have the money. My last (and only) overseas trip was in April 2010 to Fiji. Ever since then I have been determined to put additional stamps in my passport but have lacked the excess funds. Very recently my boyfriend and I have pooled together our funds to book an incredible holiday to Vancouver, Canada and Seattle for next March. This overseas trip has been a long time coming and planning our daily must-do’s for the trip is very exciting.
There are times when I wish I had of spent my early twenties travelling instead of doing uni, working and building a career path. I dream of visiting the stormy coast of Cornwall in the UK where my ancestors originate from. I dream of driving a convertible across the desert from LA to Vegas. I dream of curling up in the lap of Alice with a good book at the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park New York. I even dream about trekking through rain forests in South America.
This post is inspired by all the years I spent dreaming without saving for an overseas holiday. Sometimes you don’t need to “leave” to get the same feelings. So here is my list of XX things to do when you can’t afford to travel.
♥ Visit your local library and sit down with a selection of highly visual books from the travel section – it will be a feast for your imagination.
♥ In addition to the travel section or your library, head to the memoir section and find first-person accounts of travel experiences. Lonely Planet guides can be really great for this.
♥ Visit the council or tourism website for a location you wish to visit and delve into the statistics, must-do’s and daily lives of a city or town.
♥ Get onto Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet and explore.
♥ Design a faux itinerary for a faux 6 week holiday on the basis of if money didn’t matter you would…
♥ Find an iconic image of a place you wish to visit and recreate it with in an art form of your choice: paints/crayons/watercolour/pencil/highlighter
♥ Write a short story of your first day in the new location. What it would feel like, the smells, the sounds, the emotions, the air around you, the environment – what it looks like.
♥ Follow on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter – any of your friends that are currently overseas or about to leave, follow them on social media and live vicariously through them as they document their adventures.
♥ Also get on social media to follow tourism companies for the region in which you wish to travel as there are bound to be an abundance of incredible images to satiate your travel bug and dream about.
♥ Hire documentaries for the country/region/type of holiday that you are interested in. Keen to go on a Safari? – check out African documentaries. Interested in trekking around South America? – perhaps a documentary on the Amazon and its inhabitants.
If you haven’t heard someone shout the word YOLO or read it as a hashtag on Twitter or Instagram then chances are you have being living under a rock. For those who have been living under a rock then YOLO is an acronym that pop culture has developed for the term “You Only Live Once”. For me there is a lot more to this term then the kids who casually throw it around completely comprehend.
The Urban Dictionary has probably the best definition of the term inferring that it is an excuse for something stupid that you did:
Abbreviation for: you only live once
The dumbass’s excuse for something stupid that they did
Also one of the most annoying abbreviations ever….
Guy 1: “Hey I heard u got that girl pregnant”
Dumbass 1: ” Ya man but hey YOLO”
Guy 2: “Hey I heard that you broke ur leg falling off the balcony at that party”
Dumbass 2: “Ya but hey YOLO”
Believing that you should do something at the detriment to something or someone else because you only live once is demoralising and frankly, sad. Cheating on your girlfriend while you are overseas because YOLO or taking drugs at the club because YOLO is not what this concept is intended for.
The idea that we only live once reaches into the importance of taking risks in our lives that we are too afraid to. It is the difference between letting something be too hard and deciding to achieve the seemingly impossible. It is making your own waves when someone told you it was impossible. It is the difference between living an ordinary life and an extraordinary life.
Recently I have begun to think about this concept more seriously with the idea that I don’t want to fall into the natural pattern I have seen happen around me which is get a job, get married, have babies, quit job, then only work when you have to maintain your families level of living even if you don’t want to. For me that screams mediocre life and resentment. For those who are happy and purposely chose that life then that is great. But although I do eventually want those things. I don’t want them as a standard go-to – I want to have really lived. Whatever that means. I am still learning.
This yearning to create the most amazing life I can because I only have one has had me search for the seemingly impossible things in my life that I need to start achieving – just in case, you know.
So far I have personally blackmailed myself in what I have being referring to as #3000dollarchallenge to kick start my fitness (read more on that here) and I have also taken the plunge and gone blonde (more on that soon).
Before you YOLO all the little things in your life, take a moment to actually stop and make considered choices about where you could really take your life. Maybe it is time to turn that cake decorating side hobby into a full time fully-fledged business. Maybe it is time you and your partner took a deep breath, packed your bags and took an international transfer with your current employer. Maybe it is simply time to stop putting off those things you really want to do and just do them.
Sift through the paperwork and pull out that bucket list. Calculate the risk. Take the risk. Live the extraordinary life you really believe you deserve because YOLO, so should really make it count.
I am a sassy blogger and recruiter on the South Coast of NSW and the only other country I have travelled to (so far) is Fiji. I dream of New York and decorate my house accordingly but this dream is sadly a few years off. I dream of being a blogger entrepreneur but am super happy with my current situation of blogger and intrapreneur. I am always looking to expand myself in new ways.
So when The Blogcademy class one in New York came and went I was disappointed I couldn’t just up and jump at this opportunity. Then Blogcademy jetsetted across the seas to London – again a location I couldn’t just up and jump to.
Blogcademy was going global and that included two stops at Melbourne and Brisbane!
Although initially disappointed that Sydney got skipped along the way I took a look at both destinations and thought – hmmm I haven’t been to Qld in a few years…Done!
Therefore I am excited to announce the countdown has begun for Brisbane Blogcademy where I will not only meet some star bloggers that I have followed online for years and years (Gala since her Melbourne days!) but I will get to learn tips and tricks from the best.
November? That’s 8 months away I hear you say. Yes. Yes it is.
But what this means is that I have 8 months to make my blog more fantastic so that when it gets scrutinised by these blogger babes that I get higher levels of advice not just basic tips. It means that I have 8 months to plan a wardrobe for the two days that is fitting of the online queens of sparkle and shimmer. It means I have 8 months to get used to the idea that I get to meet my blogging role model for the first time in the flesh so that I can make sure I don’t get star struck and say something dumb (like the multiple times I have met Wil Anderson). It means I have something to look forward to. And to me this is the kind of event and weekend that will be worth the wait.
It wasn’t until last year that I wanted to blog a bit more seriously and a bit more frequently while still giving myself permission to have it go a few weeks without a post if life gets in the way.
This weekend will not be about idolising some of my favourite bloggers. I don’t idolise anyone but God. But getting to learn and grow in such a promising environment. Giving myself a chance to expand my knowledge in an area that is for personal growth only – not for work or anyone else – is pretty cool.
For any Brisbane or fellow Aussie bloggers I look forward to seeing you there. For Gala, Shauna and Kat thanks in advance for the opportunity…I am already channelling the power of turquoise and deciding between sparkly bow or bunny ears.
And to my readers may I inspire you to step outside your comfort zone and normal routine and take a class or book an event that is for purely personal growth. Do something that is for you and you alone and not for your career or family or anything else.
The best investment you can make is the one you make in yourself.
When you make a decision and you feel so strongly that it is the right decision and you swear that you have considered every option as to why that decision is the best one, sometimes God can come along and blow down the house of carefully stacked cards you thought were glued together. It is then that we need to give ourselves permission to change our own minds.
Big, seemingly scary, life-changing decisions should never be made lightly. Whether it is about choosing the right degree, university/college, getting engaged, taking a new job or moving interstate/intercontinental these decisions can and will affect the rest or your life. Sometimes because these decisions are so huge it can be hard to change your mind once it has been agreed upon and announced to your social circle.
A few years back I was working at a number of niche craft publications (Homespun, Quilters Companion, Scrapbooking) and unfortunately although I loved working in magazines and the team and people I dealt with in the editorial role, I wasn’t happy. It was in no way challenging enough for my skill level at the time as I picked it up all too quickly and somehow you can only write about “delicious fabric” and describe stores as “Aladdin’s caves of treasures” before your creative mind gets bored. I was in need for a new opportunity and instead of waiting for one to present itself to me I decided to apply for retail management positions. I had worked for four years in retail before getting into magazines and was pretty savvy with selling and merchandising and thought it may be a stepping stone into more fashion-orientated magazine roles later down the track.
I got an interview with one of my most favourite shoe stores and a few days later I was told that I didn’t get the job I wanted but that they wanted me for one of their other stores!!! We had luck!!!
So here I was in my early twenties taking my career into my own hands. My eyes sparkled with shoe discounts and wardrobe ideas. I imagined the awesome team I would manage and how we would be the best store team in the history of shoe retail.
I had made the life changing decision. I had set the ball in motion. I was due to start in four weeks and had told the other editorial girl who worked on the same magazines as me. All I had to do was tell my boss and actually hand in my resignation letter.
Somewhat reluctantly I typed up the letter, swallowed the fear that had gathered in my throat and then hit send on the email (he worked in the building next to ours). That afternoon I stared at my email and the phone with fear waiting for the god awful reply accepting my resignation. It wasn’t so much that I was scared of what they would say to me but more that I knew I would have to explain my reasons for wanting to leave and being that honest was kind of frightening. I mean I had made my decision, explained it to my parents, and accepted the job offer. I should have been confident in my reasons. I was confident in my decision but it still had a big risk factor involved.
Then my boss called.
And requested a meeting at his office to discuss.
And then I preceded to have my early twenties mind slapped with career advice from a senior executive media publisher.
And yes I changed my mind.
In the end my mind was changed and I was offered another opportunity with the Home & Lifestyle magazines, which I stayed working with for almost two years before making my sea change to Kiama. The call I had to make back to the shoe store company was difficult but all in all they were pretty good about it.
The point is I made a decision that I was adamantly all for and then seemingly unmade the decision based on one conversation. This did not mean I was indecisive or unable to commit. When presented with my situation from a different perspective that I hadn’t considered I could see that I was possibly making the wrong choice. My circumstances still changed so that I got out of my unhappy rut but it was still in the area I had studied at university for, it was what came naturally to me and I had more room to move creatively.
When you make a decision it can take some guts to unmake it once you have told everyone what you have decided to do. Most importantly you need to trust that the decision is the best thing for you based on you and you alone. While there may be other things to consider – partners, kids, family, finance – but ultimately if it is right for you, you will know. Sometimes it can be the most irrational thing that makes us change our mind but it is better than continuing into a new job/move/partnership/etc. that you have come to believe isn’t quite right. Forget about what other people will think of you – that is none of your business anyway. Think only of what is best for you and the path you feel you should be on.
And remember life is never set in stone (yes even if you put it on Facebook) and there is always time to change something. If you do follow through with a decision you made and you are as unhappy as the naysayers said you would be – don’t feel you need to hang your head in shame on the way back undoing what you had done. Life is an adventure and designed to be explored.
There are a great number of things that you can do with your partner. Sometimes though we get stuck in a rut or pattern or habit and do the same thing with the same partner all the time. Eventually this gets boring and often boredom can be the root cause for many arguements with your partner. Last year a good friend of mine Benny and I came up with this list so when we each found “the one” we would have ample activities and dates to go on (Yes ladies he is still single and yes he is very handsome see!!).
My friend Benny and I, April 2010
The list was a combination of fun or adventurous activities, tried and tested ‘normal’ dates, sexually-driven or Sydney-based ideas but most of the things can be done and crossed off with some fantastic pictures to throw in a scrapbook.
I have since found my Man and him and I have done quite a few things off the list together in the year we have been together. This weekend is actually our one year anniversary and so I thought there could not be a better time to post this list that I mentioned in my post about 7 practical ways to spice up a longterm relationship! Without further adieu…100 legendary date ideas for you to do with your partner!
Wildlife Park – yes this is very different to just your average Zoo!
Go Karting – grass karts and/or Road Karts
Luna Park, Sydney and Melbourne
White Water Rafting
Sports Game such as major Baseball, Basketball, Cricket or Football game
Cook for your partner
Have your partner cook for you
Smoke pot together – just once and not often
Go on a road trip and spend the day driving together
Tubing – its a big donut shape tube on the back of a boat – way fun!
Go out on a boat together
Prank Calls – trust me this is hilarious to do with your partner
Clay modelling workshop
Pancakes at the Rocks, Sydney and North Mead
Build a sandcastle
Climbing adventure, The Entrance, NSW
Go to a strip club
Play video games together
Visit a video arcade and play
Go to the snow – and snowboard, ski, laugh and make snow angels
Go on a date specifically to get super large slurpees together
Hire Sumo suits and wrestle
Play Time Crisis 4
Host a party together
Sex (ofcourse this is on the list!!)
Watch fireworks (or light some bungers yourselves)
Visit one of those large telescopes and view the stars from it
Lay under the stars holding hands till you see a shooting star
Forget a night…this one should need no explaining we have all done it at least once!
Pretend to be foreigners with accents for a day in your home city
Plan an overseas dventure together – even if you don’t go
Go overseas together
Dual Massage at a Day Spa
Fish and Chips by the sea
Tattoo – and I don’t recommend matching ones
Watch Movies at home – may I suggest going through and watching as many trilogies/Series as you can get your hands on such as LOTR, Pirates of the Carribean, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Back to the Future, X-Men etc.
Board game night – Monopoly or Game of Life are always good ones to start with
Guitar Hero or Band Hero
Darts at the local club
Lawn or Barefoot Bowls
Casino dressed up James Bond style
Twister – as in the game not the windy tunnels of destruction
Putt putt Golf
Blowjobs while your partner is playing a video game and trying their best to ignore you
Golf or Driving Range if it’s not quite your thing
Pull an all nighter at a club
Couples Dancing – I would sugest latin or ballroom!
Watch a Porno and then re-enact it
Create a Jackson Pollock – ie. get a Giant canvas and splash bold colours of paint over it and each other - best done outside!
Do the Naked Man – go watch How I Met Your Mother if you need an explanation
Jamberoo Recreation Park or Dream World or Movie World or you State or country equivalent to a theme park
Play a sex boardgame such as Monogamy or Nookie
Skydiving - Sky Dive the Beach in Wollongong actually do Proposal packages with a Will You Marry Me Banner
My Man and I have done 31 of these things together and this weekend we will be crossing off two more – Imax and Aquarium, while staying at an awesome Sydney Hotel that we got really cheap yet aMAZing deal thanks to lastminute.com.au’s Shh…Secret Deals! So while my Man and I are off celebrating our one year anniversary why don’t you get out and about trying to see how many of these items you can cross of the list. I would love to hear about your adventures and remember no photo – no proof!! Now go get loved up <3
This year I have tried some adventurous things – to some they are regular activities and to others they wouldn’t try them in their wildest dreams! For me they have been things I have either wanted to do for quite some time or never really had much experience with doing it and it gets me so excited to think I have finally crossed them off the list of things to do! This year I have already learnt to ride a dirt bike by myself, went rockclimbing and nailed it and am preparing my nerves for skydiving on Monday and the snow (yay!) in two weeks time! It has inspired me to put together a list of exciting, different, adventurous, andrenelin-making, fun-having activities for you to try.
5. Body boarding
6. Swimming with the sharks
Abseiling at Jenolen Caves, NSW.
9. Bungy jumping
10. Ocean kayaking
11. Sydney Harbour Bridge Climbing
12. Caving – such as the adventure cave tours at Jenolan Caves.
Adventure Caving at Jenolen Caves, NSW
13. Scuba diving
14. Deep sea diving
15. Jet boating
Rockclimbing at Hangdog Wollongong, NSW.
17. Rally car racing
18. Dirtbike riding
19. 4 wheel driving
Bushwalking in the Blue Mountains, NSW.
21. White water rafting
22. Rollercoaster riding
23. Mountain biking
26. Horse riding
27. Cliff Diving
29. Hot air ballooning
Now go grab your girlfriends, loved ones, siblings or colleagues and get out and trial life. I mean how do you know you won’t like swimming with the sharks until you’ve tried it!!
Last Saturday was a big adventure for my little kitten Luna Lovegood. My Man and I decided that if we are loving living near the beach then our cat should like the beach too! Before we got there we were concerned about her running off on us but little did we bother to think that this curious kitten would be absolutely petrified!
The sun shone high in the sky, the waves crashed softly over the edge of the sand and my man and I soaked up some Vitamin D while relaxing on our beach towels. But poor little Luna Lovegood did not have quite as much fun as we did. We got her to come down towards the water but like a toddler and their mum Luna pulled at my leg as if to say “Mummy pick me up I’m scared!”
Luna Lovegood found some new places to hide! But she was also brave and stood on the sand exploring with her senses proudly showing off her pink studded collar! It was a wonderful morning and so much fun to give little Luna Lovegood such a different experience. It was an amazing way to start the weekend!