So many of the pains in our world can be traced back to one simple concept – perfectionism. The idea that everything has to be ‘perfect’ to be right. In this episode, author, TedX speaker, mental mental health advocate and mama Lisa Abramson talks about her own struggles with perfectionism, and how it led her to a psychiatric hospital… and back to herself. – Happy Mama with Amy Tayor-Kabbaz.
Become so unwell, I went from normal baby blues and mood swings, some normal adjustment, trouble coping with being a new mum, lack of sleep, the hormones, the stress of trying to breastfeed… it felt like the world was ending and I as soon as I become a mum I had failed at everything I was supposed to be doing.
I wanted to know why did this happen to me? How did I make it happen? Was it my fault? What did I do wrong? This was a challenging part of the recovery getting over that and letting go, and saying sometimes there’s things bigger than us.
The combination of the hormones, the stress of being a new mum and then not sleeping just proved to be a toxic combination for me.
[If] you find yourself facing a maternal mental health disorder it’s not your fault, you absolutely didn’t do anything wrong, there is nothing you could have done differently to prevent it, sometimes we just react differently to the situations at hand, and surrendering to that.
Say no to things that don’t align with your values and aren’t nurturing your wellbeing, getting more protective of your time.
Getting support is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength and self-assurance
For my fourth episode I sat down with my friend Amanda Taylor to discuss her journey through postpartum psychosis, depression and anxiety. Amanda shares her vulnerable story with such bravery and authenticity. Her goal in sharing her story is to bring awareness to postpartum illnesses and help other moms know that they aren’t alone if they are dealing with any of these illnesses. We also talk about how you can help someone you know who might be experiencing a postpartum illness. I hope you have a better understanding of these illnesses after this episode.
Pregnant with my fourth baby…felt like another routine pregnancy, my health was great, everything was good, there no reason for anything to go off track
All seemed normal, things just got progressively with worse just mentally with me. From my perspective everything was great, I thought life as so great, I was overly joyful, everything was amazing. My husband took me to the emergency room 12 days after birth because he knew things were just not right… I left with the diagnosis of postpartum psychosis.
Dealing with all of the postpartum, I was 100% not myself
Remember thinking everything made perfect sense. It’s a bizarre state of mind, it’s not healthy, rational or real.
It was the most painful moment as the police officer escorted me and then my husband walked the opposite direction to go home and I was all by myself.
I think of hard it was but how much good was in that
I was at the lowest point in my life when I could do nothing…we can’t do any of our struggles, it may not be postpartum psychosis but whatever the struggle is, we can’t do it alone and we got to have people around us, fighting with us and for us and alongside us
Coming up on the one year anniversary and I still didn’t feel like Amanda at all, I didn’t know who I was, I didn’t feel normal…I needed more help in where I was at the time
There’s a lot of times our counsellor said this is the perfect grounds for divorce, it’s too hard for anyone to walk through so its easy to say I’m done… and my husband never took that approach, what an opportunity I get to fight for my wife and kids
Podcasts have been my way of learning and discovering as I heal and recover and this episode has been no exception. I had never heard of TRE so had no idea of size the rabbit hole I was about to fall into when I tuned into Let trauma go with TRE and Sharon Mullan.
Here are my highlights from this discussion with Alexx and Sharon.
TRE is trauma releasing exercises that trigger the natural mechanism within out body to release tension through a shake, tremor or sometimes a stretch; connective tissue in our body releasing tension.
The tremor is natural to the body; always been there but has been socialised out. Dr David Berceli the founder noticed every culture does this natural physical response.
Tremor is coming into safety, coming out of fright, not going into threat, body is regulating as threat has passed.
Not enough psychologists, psychotherapists etc. in the world to deal with the number of people who are traumatised.
Created in communities with a tight-knit culture where people can continue to cry or continue the effects of the release had culture to look after each other, which is different to the Western culture
Creating safety, people don’t tremor unless they are safe, tremor comes when the body regulating back down to be able to be social engaged and calm. For people to truly heal it’s really important that people go home to a loving and safe environment.
Trauma is mostly physiological, only 10% cognitive, its in our body. Trauma creates an immobility and lessens their range of capability.
Our body chose TRE, our body is trying to guide us
Panic attacks are often the body releasing so fast that the mind can’t keep up so the mind blanks out, passes out
Our body has our true memory, not our mind
Polyvagal theory, based on safety, how do we make people safe. Introduced psychophysiology, that we don’t just have fight or flight, we don’t just have a sympathetic nervous system, we have parasympathetic nervous system where we are socially engaged or we are freezing or voluntarily being immobile e.g. meditation. When we are dissociative not have a choice, we have a traumatic reaction in our body, body has decided best for survival that we freeze, from full collapse to not saying anything, it is physiological response. Body decides it needs to go into fight or flight, it happens automatically, autonomic system. For us to survive, because we are designed to defend and survive, that it is best for fight or flight, when the threat is perceived to be too big to fight or too fast to run away then we go into the collapse, the freeze. After the traumatic experience, if did use flight or fight they are often not traumatised as they used up the energy, the freeze puts a lid on the energy. Tremor is releasing the lid, immobile to mobile, return to socially engaged.
Teach you to take care of yourself during the exercises, gentle, designed to make you tired
Trauma can be so severe that can go back into the freeze response if they talk about it. Why do I feel nothing? Because it is too scary, we are designed to not have to over-feel something again. Tremor is doing the physiological work of releasing tension, trauma and stress.
If we are traumatised, we are caught in the loop of our system is traumatised, through the vagus nerve we sending message to the brain and all is not well, stay on alert. Reducing the message, we are calming the system down. Calming the nervous down is for everyone.
Reducing tension in the body so the nervous system relaxes and the message to brain to rewire so don’t have to deal with level of constant hyper-arousal
All trauma has the capacity to be transformed into something more useful. It is not a disorder, it is you body doing what it does, a natural response.
Taking care of myself is within my control
Nurture the safe environments. It is ok to search for people and places where we feel it is ok to be ourselves
Trauma two biggies in childhood are neglect and parenting the parent. We are only as good as what we have been shown. Following the body, get to know ourselves, observation and kindness.
It is possible to free of your history
To find out more about TRE check out TRE Australia. Stay connected with me as I will be learning more in depth about TRE as part of my healing after my shaky start to becoming a mum.
Discover more about the Polyvagal Theory and all things stress on the upcoming Global Stress Summit with the creator of the Polyvagal Theory, Stephen Porges, discussing Developmental Stress and How to Re-Wire Neurological Safety. During The Global Stress Summit, researchers and thought leaders will teach you about the “new” science of stress, which shows that you can be in control of your experience! Don’t miss this event from April 24 – May 1, 2017, free and online!
Finally cracked it! 40kgs weight release!! I’ve been on a long plateau of almost 40 for months. So proud of myself for how I’ve come in the past 2 and half years. Remember it’s not all about the numbers; it’s about the quality of life you live and the state of your health. The numbers on the scale are not are reflection of who you truly are.
However, I did not set a goal to lose 40kgs. I didn’t even set a goal to lose 10 kgs. Goals have never sat right with me, I always feel like I am setting myself up to fail. For me goals are overwhelming. Instead, I started to ask deep questions of myself, what was I doing? What can I do better? I kept going with what felt right, finding things that I love, taking responsibility for my health.
Living a values based life is the crux of it – Brooke McAlary
I felt I needed to slow down. There is no one size fits all ideal of the slow life and I loved listening to this conversation Caring more and caring less. Slow living defines life based on what we don’t want it to look like. Standards trying to live up to, are they really that important? Are they really what we should be chasing? Slow living is about where our mindset is, taking time to answer your own questions, figure out what you want and forming your life from there.
Overcoming that urge to measure your life by any standard, and accepting what is and being mindful of that. – Erin Loechnar
Who says I should live life a certain way? I became more aware of the life I had been living before becoming a mum, trying to live up to societal expectations. I became aware of the life I was creating now with my family, defining my own expectations.
A big key in living a slower life is understanding and accepting that it is what is, you do what you can, you make the changes, you shift, you clarify and live according to your values. – Brooke McAlary
I began to let go of control, let go of trying to keep everything in order, let go of perfection, let go of the shoulds. I started to realign with my values.
We can try to shift every aspect to live the ideal balanced perfect life but still things happen, you have to loosen the reigns and let go and decide you can be with or be defined by the pace of my life or can define what I want from this instead and not let circumstances define who I am and how I react – Erin Loechnar
I started to figure out what is important for me. Stop worrying about things weren’t important and focused on things that were. I started to live according to what was important for me.
I care less and we care more, its the shift in what matters and what doesn’t – Erin Loechnar
This shift in awareness, this shift to a slow life has not been all rainbows and unicorns. There have been tears, fits of anger and frustration. Two steps forward, one step back. Listening to If not crying you are not trying, frustrations come with having a go no matter what you are doing made me realise that my tears are not a sign of failure. “Crying is a sign that going somewhere never been before, you are breaking through stuff, that you are actually trying”.
What I have been through, what I have experienced, and the adversity I have faced has led me to be the person I am today tears and all. “You set out to make a goal, to achieve goal yet when faced with adversity you ask why is it happening to me? Why because you ask for it, because can’t get stronger or smarter without it so how you did you expect to achieve your goal.”
Once you decide consciously to make a decision and accept or not accept certain things into your life, you can control that by putting intention to it and making it a part of who are – Lauren Heys
I may not have consciously made a goal to lose weight but I made a decision that things needed to change in my life. “Attaching meaning to something, you will learn it more. Space of adversity, when you go through your adversity, cause you will, that adversity is giving you an opportunity, don’t miss this opportunity because you are too busy being a victim, its something you need to face because facing that and coming out the other side will give you the level up that you need to be the person that you are trying to be. Even single time you look back at your adversity you have gone through in your life you are thankful for it happening. Adversity you go places you have never been before, you realise you are physically emotionally strong enough and to make it better. Pain is to move forward and use as reference point, you so much stronger than you believe you are. Most people are not aware of what they are capable of achieving until they are put into a situation. Not everyone will do it, but at that moment at that level of adversity it became possible.” – Dave Nixon
My pain led me to discover what is truly important to me. Letting go of control means I am in control of who I am. I have a choice.
What am I going to stand for that’s important to me and that my values and morals really dig deep and that are important to me? – Dave Nixon
So how did I get here? I went through adversity. I became a mum, I experienced postpartum psychosis. I had the opportunity to read the Changing Habits Changing Lives book by Cyndi O’Meara of Changing Habits and began to follow the Up For A Chat podcast. No protocols or programs, no quick fixes. Taking the time, slowing down. Self-Awareness. Deciding my impact. Releasing 40kgs, not losing 40kgs for I will not be finding this weight again. For me it was cracking myself open, changing my habits, just eat real food, daily self care rituals as well as moving towards a slow, simple way of life with a low tox approach. I have a story to tell…
Sometimes the adversity you are going through isn’t for you, sometimes the adversity you are going is to help someone through their adversity in years to come, all you need to do is tell the story, you just have to get through it “- Dave Nixon
The Wellness Couch thank you for a brilliant weekend filled with inspiring speakers and amazing exhibitors, bringing together so many like-minded people to create the change we wish to see in our world! There were even times with the conversations I had with friends over the weekend I thought some of the speakers had bugged our room. Such a powerful weekend!
Wellness Summit 2016 Day 1
Back to basics, getting the small things right, simplify. Wellness Summit 2016 Day 1. The Wellness Guys demonstrated poo to make us think about what sustains you, what goes into your body. Pick the keys moments to make the change. Kim Morrison – you are here now from all the choices you have made, stay in your authentic self moment by moment. Self-awareness leads to self-discipline leads to self-control leads to self-respect leads to self-love. Jo Whitton – steps to healing from mental illness, and make time to talk to your kids. Counselling/fighting fears, chiropractic/natural therapies, supplementation, detoxing home/body, practicing gratitude, sleep, nature therapy, exercise/movement, and hobbies & interests. Support each other. Take the time to heal. Support yourself with like minded people. Fouad – part of experience is trust in life. Who is the I behind the concept? Carren Smith – if we don’t use challenges for what its purpose was we won’t grow and expand. What came first you or your thoughts, emotions, experiences? We all have to stand up and take responsibility for the way we live our lives from the inside out.
An Unexamined Life is a Life Not Worth Living – Socrates
Tim Robards your body is reflection of the environment you put yourself in, look after yourself first.
Laurence Tham – Wellness Summit 2016
No one is coming to save us, it’s your life, take self-control, take self-responsibility, the world does not owe you a single thing.
There are times when you feel on a journey by yourself, others can’t identify, acknowledge the loneliness, don’t try to hide it.
Appreciate the process.
Don’t ignore the conversations with yourself.
Find your child within.
Swim your own race 🏊
Powerful words from Laurence Tham at The Wellness Summit 2016.
And in the words of LT’s gorgeous children Be brave, believe in yourself and never give up
Brett Hill – Wellness Summit 2016
It’s not about other people, it’s about you. It’s how you deal or struggle with stress, it’s not about the size, big or small it’s important to you.
How do you keep going? How do you do it? What’s the alternative? What’s my choice?
Focus first on loving yourself. You haven’t been doing things for yourself because of other people. Do things for yourself because you are worth it.
Make the change to get back on track and go be a better version of you with a clearer version of your why.
Learn about yourself.
Life is a choice. Choose to believe it happened for a reason.
Challenges faced are a good thing, I am exactly where I need to be.
Recovery from rock bottom happens with one choice, gradually you make more choices because you love yourself.
Life challenges, you don’t know why, it doesn’t make sense, you never know what life has got planned for you.
Something comes along and changes your life in an instant.
As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering
are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth.
Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”. – Charlie Chaplin
As tears trickled down my cheek, it was like Brett Hill was talking just to me, not the other 900 people at The Wellness Summit. Thank you Brett for your courage and compassion in sharing your rock bottom with us all
Wellness Summit 2016 Day 2
You have a choice! The Wellness Summit 2016 Day 2. Damian Kristof – make what we do by having a gentle approach, have fun, make connections. What is the best we can get? Cyndi O’Meara – we have a crisis. Unless you make a commitment to make a change you will be like the rest if people. It’s time for a paradigm shift
Paradigm Shift – A time when the usual and accepted way of doing or thing about something changes completely – Changing Habits
Hilbilby beer pong! Seeing the speakers have fun on stage and pull the fire tonic faces was such a laugh a minute!
Marcus Pearce – Wellness Summit 2016
We dampen our incredible life at the expense of others.
Put yourself first.
Use being selfish for positive.
Be mindful of your culture, love your culture, create your own culture, protect your culture.
Your peer group is your culture. Choose it wisely.
Your family is your greatest teacher.
Thank you Marcus Pearce for an incredible wrap up of The Wellness Summit 2016!
My girlfriend Katie (@John and Kate’s Plate) and I were recently chatting all things shampoo and it reminded me of my greenwash shampoo experience last year.
I have always had oily hair as long as I can remember. Every time I went to the hairdresser they would comment that my hair is oily, that I am using the wrong shampoo and that I should try this *insert sales pitch*. Personally I thought that my hair has improved since changing my lifestyle but still on the oily side.
Last year I went to the hairdresser and an older lady cut my hair (usually I get a one of the young ones). She looked at my hair and could tell how long it had been since I had hair cut just by the length, so I figured she knows what is talking about. I got the usual your hair is oily response and said that I washed my hair this morning (I don’t like getting my hair shampooed at the hairdresser with all those nasty products). Hairdresser wasn’t impressed.
Any way, she insisted on a complimentary shampoo to show me what my hair would be like with the right shampoo, that my hair would be ‘free-er’; in my head I kept thinking sales pitch. She was talking about a mint shampoo and that the mint stimulates the scalp to increase circulation and help with the production of oil, which I could understand from my understanding the properties of peppermint essential oil. Not knowing what the shampoo was until it was all finished I checked the shampoo. DNA Organics mintiscalp shampoo; I was totally green-washed.
Despite the organic ingredients and essential oils it contained top nasties like PEG and EDTA. On top of this she blow dried my hair which I dislike too (because of how it makes my hair feel dry) but I really didn’t want wet hair whilst shopping.
So how do I know what nasties are lurking in my shampoo? I refer to my Twenty8 Ingredients Card I keep in my wallet (Contact me if you would you like one for your wallet!). Other great resources are Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group SKIN DEEP online database allow us to search ingredients and products and make our home a safer place. This is one of the best places I trust to find out about the products you put on to your body and is designed to help fill the safety gaps left by the unregulated cosmetics industry. You can also listen to this The Wellness Guys podcast with Twenty8’s very own Kim Morrison talking about what is in our personal care products.
From Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
After my greenwash my hair went whispy, felt less oily like squeaky clean, and I was not convinced that I liked the change in my hair. Husband came home and noticed my hair straight away and laughed at the difference at first then wasn’t happy, so definitely a difference that isn’t just in my head. So was my hair feeling like this because of the
a) using a more appropriate shampoo that I am not used to
b) using a shampoo with nasties that have stripped the natural oils from my hair
c) drying out my hair from the heat of the blow drier
d) need to investigate further?
I chose d) investigate further, so I asked the Twenty8 Health and Lifestyle Educators brains trust. Questions swirled around – how often do you wash your hair, how hot is the water, to do tie your hair up and have you tried ‘no-poo‘? Fellow HLE Sparkler Alix suggested:
The less you wash your hair, the better for its natural oils. Warm water, rather than hot, is much better for natural oil production. Under the water, before you shampoo it, comb your hair really slowly to help disperse the oils from your scalp to nourish the rest of the length of you hair. If you try and wash your hair once a week, shampoo twice and then only apply conditioner to your mid-lengths and ends. Obviously the more products you use in your hair, or ‘generic’ shampoo/conditioner, the more it strips your naturals oils so your scalp over produces.
I tend to wash every 3 days or so and not overly hot showers. I only use shampoo and conditioner (which were not the greatest low-tox options at the time) and am not one for haircare styling products. I loved this tip from Alix of combing my hair before shampooing to disperse the oils, which worked for the next hair cut I had as no comments were made on how oily my hair was. I don’t think I am ready for no-poo yet.
Many of the HLE Brains Trust recommended trying Everescents, so I made the switch. With the Everescents Organic Rose shampoo my hair has never looked so good, I have never used a shampoo that smells so divine, I get ringlets without even trying and many people make lovely comments about my hair. I love the philosophy behind Everescents:
Australian owned & made (even the bottles & labels!).
Plant based ingredients.
Transparent about the ingredients they choose and avoid
Contains pure Certified Organic ingredients.
Contains no Palm oil.
No animal testing.
100% Renewable Energy.
Supports Camp Quality
What shampoo do you use? Do you know what is in your shampoo? Found a no nasties shampoo that works for you?
It’s that time of the month, that time of the year where we feel like we are haemorrhaging money. It’s a joke, particularly has it always occurs on 1 April. April Fools! I am not laughing. Strata, Internet, swimming lessons, shopping day and to top it off the car service: all in the one day. However, unlike last year where things were tight, too tight, this time it is manageable. Now who is laughing?
So how did we go from $0.05 to manageable?
Though I was monitoring our bank accounts daily I struggled to keep track of exactly how much I could spend. I had a budget and I knew what amounts corresponded to which category however working out how much I had left that I can spend versus what needed to stay untouched was a challenge. I had listened to Michelle House on a few podcasts of Carrens Couch and knew that she was a budgeting expert. After reading her blog on how to track your spending I downloaded ‘PocketBook’ app and have not looked back. This app has been a fantastic tool with its safety spend feature and bill tracker. It gives you notifications of when you have upcoming bills, warning when you are getting close to reaching your safety spend and summaries each week of how much you have spent and it is more/less than the previous week. It is great how I have an app that adds up ALL my spending and I can’t hide or overlook anything! The best thing is that this app is free, simple to use and syncs to your bank account so manual entering.
Working through the 52 week money challenge in the last 6 months of 2015 was certainly a challenge as the amount increased each week. Sticking through the money burn rewarded us with a credit card free Christmas with all our spending, including hosting Christmas at our place, paid by our Gifts savings account. It was a fantastic feeling in January to not have to worry about a Christmas spending hangover. This year we are putting aside a regular amount of money each week into our Gifts savings account. The bonus is that we have money put aside for gifts throughout the year for birthdays and other special occasions as well as Christmas which makes for a stress-free gift giving experience.
Credit card paid off
A side effect of tracking our spending was working out extra repayments to put towards the credit card. With the goal of paying off the card before the annual card fee kicked in in March, we paid off every little bit of spare cash we had. As the balance came down I reduced the card limit as a way to stop any chance of temptation or budget blow out. We made out final repayment on 26 February 2016, just in the nick of time!
While we still have some other debt hanging over our heads, moving towards a simple lifestyle and a slow home has given us the opportunity to reduce our spending and consumption. I make the majority of our food from scratch, I buy food and supplies in bulk where possible, I make home-made cleaners, I am working towards becoming self-reliant. I have also found a great way to track how much I have paid off our debt thanks to @beingdebtfree_1dollaratatime on Instagram (4 Jan 2016) . Draw up a table with 3 columns, column 1 is date, column 2 is percentages i.e. 5%, 10% etc and column 3 is the corresponding percentage amount of your total debt. The bottom row is starting debt (I flipped it around so starting debt is a the top). We are at 5% and this is not including paying off the credit card, onwards and upwards from here!
Buying from bulk from Honest to Goodness
Bargain buys from the supermarket
While paying off the credit card we were able to have $1000 put aside in our emergency savings account. I follow a few Aussie people on Instagram who work towards Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps and this motivated me to get stuck into step 1 and 2. This week the tyres on the car needed to be replaced so we dipped into this account where in the past we would have used the credit card. It was a huge relief knowing that we had the money for such a big and unexpected expense. Our goal is to save up 3 months for joint expenses after we smash our debt repayments.
Do you use apps to track your spending or are you a pen and paper kind of person? Are you working towards paying off debt? Share what is working (or not) for you.
I finally got my very own copy of Down to Earth by Rhonda Hetzel. This has been my go to guide for everything simple living from housework to life stages to savings to finding your rhythm. I am so grateful for the numerous times I have borrowed this book from the library. This week I was looking forward to meeting Rhonda this week on The Simple Home book tour! She has been such an inspiration in the changes I have made in my life.
Rhonda and I at the Library Talk
On Thursday I attended Rhonda’s library book talk at Kogarah Library talking about all things simple living. Rhonda chatted with us how she went from overwhelmed, stressed and burnt out to taking control of life, being self reliant, happy and content in her simple home. Rhonda stopped work and had to replace the income and reduce the cost of living so she started with her food budget. From trying different recipes, new ways of shopping, ways of storing food and not wanting to waste food, Rhonda made her food from scratch and found that it was easier, cheaper, tasted better and was fresher than store bought food. From her food Rhonda moved to reducing the chemicals that she was brining in her home. Rhonda was all about taking the good parts of the old ways and bringing them into the now, simple living with a focus on her home. We all have a busy life and we can pick and choose different possibilities of simple living, and once you are organised usually things are easy on a day to day level.
So many gems of wisdom
There are a wide range of things possible to a simple home
Being organised is important
Buying things we keep, like clothes, are assets and we should look after them
Money is a tool
Choose local over organic
Make your own laundry liquid
Many don’t look after themselves, be kind to you
Craft used to be part of housework
Check Down to Earth out in your local library or get a copy from Biome. You can also listen to Rhonda here at The Slow Home Podcast.
A big thank you to Rhonda for sharing her know-how and her new book The Simple Home with us. It was a pleasure to meet you and thank you for signing my copy of my book Down to Earth.
“Rescuing the next generation from the cult of speed means reinventing our whole philosophy of childhood”.
“In Praise of Slowness: How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed” by Carl Honoré. A compelling read that I can relate to in so many ways. How we are controlled by time and a fast paced society. From the slow food movement, meditation, health care, parenting, leisure time, work and schooling, slowing down can be positively beneficial.
“Perhaps the greatest challenge of the Slow movement will be to fix our neurotic relationship with time itself”.
Brooke at Slow your Home has interviewed Carl on her podcast The Slow Home Carl Honoré Talks Technology, Good Slow and Getting to Know Your Butcher – SHP009 . Its well worth the listen.
Yesterday, a Monday, I went to work to attend a work retreat day. Mondays are not my usual work day so I was out of my rhythm, particularly as I am still trying to find my groove again after being on holidays for 2 weeks. By the time I got on the train to work I reached into my bag to send hubby a text only to realise, shock horror, my phone was left at home.
However, I was not in a tizz about not having my phone connected to me for a day. I coped the whole day without worrying about if anyone had tried to call me (mum was the only missed call, nothing urgent), not having the urge to fill a spare moment by checking social media or even taking a photo to remember the moment (the view of the city from the work retreat was spectacular!). The my family coped without knowing the exact moment I was on my way home and didn’t even noticed that I had not sent a text to say I was ok.
I was not always this calm without being connected into technology. The difference was that I had just returned from my holiday which I had made into a 2 week digital sabbatical. I recently had listened to The Slow Home podcast with William Powers and not long before that had seen Brooke from Slow Your Home take a digital sabbatical in July for her family holiday. This had inspired me to disconnect and fully immerse myself to take time out for me and my family.
Do you feel the urge to constantly check your phone? Are you constantly glued to a screen? Do you feel anxious when you are not connected to technology? Just before my holiday I listened to a great conversation on One Minute Mindfulness Show about Digital Twitch. As a family we have the no technology at the dinner table with phones away and TV off, no phones to be gazed at whilst speaking with each other, no phone checking in the bedroom, and overall have slowed down our use of technology that is distracting us from living life. We are modelling to our son a better way to be mindful with technology.
We have had moments where we as parents have not been the best example, particularly when I was working heaps on the computer back in July and August on a couple of education courses. I got the reality check I needed when I was at the Twenty8 HLE graduation in Mooloolaba, watching my son wizz around Underwater World Aquarium pretending to use each of the display signs as a computer, typing away. When asked to stop and look at the fish around him my son remarked ‘I’m busy’. From this I made a conscious effort to be more mindful of how I was using technology around my son.
Underwater World, Mooloolaba
In preparation for my digital sabbatical I turned off all Facebook notifications on my phone and removed the short cuts to social media from my home screen. I have heard some people even go the length of deleting the app entirely off their phone; I didn’t go this far. The first day of my holiday I picked up my phone out of habit, remembered my promise to myself and consequently put the phone back in my hand bag. The phone suddenly had no purpose in my present moment. I spent the next 2 weeks hardly touching my phone. There were a couple of moments when I was on the in presence of a group on my retreat where the conversation turned to everyone checking their phones. While everyone’s heads were down I was enjoying sitting on the pool deck soaking in the morning sunshine on my back.
Being on holidays and being fully disconnected was bliss. I was enjoying the company of others with much laughter and conversation with new friends at the retreat. I was taking photos for me, not with a view to share them with the world on social media. Even husband found himself checking social media hardly ever. Our second week we stayed high up in the Byron hinterland which was an enforced disconnection as there was extremely limited mobile coverage, no WI-FI and patchy TV reception. I thoroughly enjoyed the simple pleasures of spending time with my family, reading a book and many a time gazing out over the valley enjoying the ever changing vista that surrounded us.
Vista from Toolond Plantation
Since our holiday I have chosen not to turn the notifications back on Facebook or to return social media back to my home screen. I have dramatically reduced my FOMO (fear of missing out) on social media. I have added a message on my lock screen “Be mindful”, which catches me when I find myself picking up my phone in a spare moment.
Have you thought about how connected you are to technology? Would you give a digital sabbatical a go?
See it first in the Shire!
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