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Balancing your hormones is the key to health and wellness you didn’t know you were missing.

When we feel tired, sleep poorly, struggle with weight gain, or have mood swings, it can be hard to identify why. It might be simply that you need to get back to basics and balance your hormones.

The key to happy hormones and a healthy body is about adopting a healthy lifestyle. Below we have six easy adjustments you can make to assist with healthy hormone production.

Hormones are chemical pathways in our bodies responsible for sending messages through our bodies about what we need. If hormones are out of whack, it can lead to dry skin, hair loss, sugar cravings, bloating and lethargy.

Hormonal health is essential for women, as it can affect your menstrual cycle and lead to period pain, blood clotting, and a decrease in libido.

1. Drink green tea

Green tea has a multitude of health benefits and is packed with antioxidants and is all-around delicious. Green tea also has caffeine, which helps to boost your metabolism and provides energy. In addition, the antioxidants in green tea are thought to stop your insulin from spiking, so drink up.

2. Exercise

Exercise such as aerobics and weight training are effective in decreasing insulin levels and boosting your metabolism. However, if you are struggling to get into a fitness regime, grab your headphones and go for a nice long walk. Or maybe 20 minutes of yoga is more your style. Any exercise is better than no exercise.

3. Eat Fatty Fish 

Start adding salmon, sardines and mackerel to your dinner and lunch rotation. These sources of omega-3 fatty acids are powerhouses for hormonal health, as research suggests that they lower cortisol and adrenaline.

4. Avoid refined sugars 

This one might seem obvious, but refined sugars can have negative consequences for hormonal health. Refined sugars in beverages especially should be avoided, as they spike insulin and encourage your body to store belly fat.

5. Sleep 

It is essential to get enough sleep in the evening. Sleep is your body’s way of resetting, and the more quality sleep you get, the better. Avoid harsh lighting and looking at your phone before bed. Instead, try switching to a book, magazine, or podcast at least an hour before bed.

6. Manage Stress

This one is easier said than done but learning to manage stress is beneficial for your hormonal and overall health. The stress hormone cortisol can cause hormonal imbalance, weight gain, mood swings, and even cardiovascular disease if experienced long term.

Feeling like you are struggling with your health can seem overwhelming or be concerning. However, it is possible to address some of these things with small, incremental changes.

Try incorporating a few of these into your daily life and work your way up to as many as possible.

 

 

 

When I was pregnant with my first baby, over twelve years ago, strangers would come up to me, pat my baby bump and say, ‘Oh, is it your first? How special!’. They had a misty far-away look in their eyes. No one told me the truth. The truth was that I was about to undergo a monumental change and I wouldn’t ever be the same again.

This transition happens to all mothers — biological, surrogate or adoptive — in a developmental stage is akin to adolescence known as ‘Matrescence’. This process affects biological, social and psychological development and can last for years, or even decades.

The term ‘Matrescence’ was first coined by anthropologist Dana Raphael, PhD, in 1973, but I didn’t hear about it until I chose to specialise in motherhood.

 

This is a problem because most mothers feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of parenting and uncomfortable with the changes it brings to almost every aspect of life. Not only does the female body undergo physical and hormonal changes which can feel like puberty all over again, but becoming a mother impacts relationships with partners and friends and maintaining a social life or even running errands suddenly becomes a lot more challenging.

 

 

Matrescence should not be confused with postnatal depression, but it is a significant emotional shift which many mothers are simply unprepared for. I’m sure all mums remember the endless first weeks of motherhood where you feel completely in love with your newborn and simultaneously completely awed that the world still continues although you’ve just experienced this monumental event.

I vividly remember feeling a huge sense of achievement at getting out the door when my youngest was just six- weeks old.

Timing feeds, nappy changes and making myself look vaguely presentable to be on time for a baby massage session required some next-level planning. The thought of going out for drinks with friends or for a meal with my husband just seemed completely at odds with my new life and how I felt about myself.  I just couldn’t rationalise the pre-baby me with this new post-baby me. Me as a mum. Over the years, the pre-baby me just seemed to dissolve as I assumed the identity of ‘mum’.  Now, I feel like the ‘real’ me is buried.

Mum of three, Sarah, says, ‘I just completely lost my sense of identity when I had children. I never really got any time to myself to just be ‘me’ anyway, so I didn’t really notice it until my kids started school’. Nicola chose to have children later in life and found the balance between her work-life and home-life almost impossible to reconcile,

 

‘I was either house-wife and mum, or corporate executive and those two parts of me felt completely disconnected. I do love both of those roles but I’m more than just that. The ‘real’ me just got lost in the noise’.

The truth is, we all evolve as time goes on. Being a mum will always be part of your identity, but it doesn’t have to be all of it.  Here’s what to do when you feel lost in motherhood:

1. Schedule time for yourself

And I do mean literally schedule in that time. Put it in your calendar like it’s an appointment or a class for your child. The amount of time and what you choose to do is up to you, but I suggest an hour every week where you can completely disconnect from motherhood. Go out of the house. Read a book, enjoy a coffee, go for a run — just do something entirely for yourself. You’ll feel better afterwards, I promise.

2. Set morning and evening routines

You probably have some sort of morning or bedtime routine for your children, but do you have one for yourself?

Small daily rituals can help you feel more in control of your life and help ease the pressure of a busy schedule. It might seem counterintuitive to ask you to introduce more into a packed lifestyle but a little bit of self-care can go a long way.Ideally, get up before the children are awake. Drink water, enjoy a cup of tea, read or meditate and you will find yourself more capable of tackling the morning rush.
In the evening, do something similar to wind down. Meditation and journaling are proven to be good for mental health and they are great tools to connect back in to ‘you’. Bonus points if you can look over your schedule for the following day and prepare.

3. Date night

Becoming parents inevitably changes the relationship you have with your partner. As children grow it’s easy to get stuck in a rut of being teammates rather than romantic partners. Get in touch with why you fell in love and plan a date for the two of you. The rule is, you are not allowed to talk about the kids! It’s harder than you think. Make an effort, get dressed up (if you like) and date each other again. You don’t even have to go out.

4. Do something you loved before becoming a mum

It’s easy to let hobbies go when you have a small person who’s depending on you. Life gets full and busy quickly and we often forget that we get to choose how we spend our free time. One quick way to remind yourself of who you are is to enjoy an activity or experience you loved before you were a mum. Maybe you adored dancing or painting or going to the movies. Find ways to introduce these into your life. It can be as simple as dancing around the lounge room!

5. Chat to your friends about your hopes and dreams

How often do you talk to your friends about your personal goals? Do you even know what they are?

It’s normal to focus on your children and their desires, but if we forget to think about what we want out of life it’s easy to wake up one day and realise that you don’t have a purpose without your children. That’s way too much pressure to put on them and not fair to the woman you are.

Make it a priority to talk to your friends about this. What do they want out of life? How can you support each other?

The trick is to integrate these activities with your identity as a mother. We aren’t trying to belittle or ignore your role since we all know that being a mum is as amazing as it is difficult. Instead, the aim is to reconnect to yourself and to discover who you are now — and remember that will change over time.

Change is normal during this time of transition, but you get to choose how you respond and what you choose to prioritise. When you choose to prioritise yourself, you’re choosing to prioritise your child’s mum. She’s worth it.

Having your child’s birthday in lockdown can feel daunting but there are plenty of amazing ways to make it just as special.

Celebrating your child’s birthday in lockdown can seem like your options are limited when it comes to making it special and memorable. But there are many ways you can celebrate with a bang all whilst in the comfort of your own home.

1. Ultimate movie night 

Family movie nights are a fan favourite but make it extra special with all the stops, by having a themed movie night including themed snacks, drinks, costumes and fairy lights! Let your child choose the movie and theme in advance so you can order ahead to make their birthday movie night extra special. Making your own personalised movie tickets is another great way to get them excited for the event and create that real cinema experience!

Photo by Somewhatsimple.com

2. Themed treasure hunt 

Think of this treasure hunt like pass the parcel! There are a fews ways to do this; you could hide the treasure and then play music to let them know if they’re hot or cold or you can create clues and hide the treasure all around the house. But make it fun with a theme, get everyone to dress up as pirates, detectives, robbers or whatever their heart desires! You can even make the treasure themed or it could be a fun way for them to find their birthday presents in the morning. 

Photo by The Spruce

3. Decorations galore throughout the house 

Surprise your child with a house full of decorations to give them a day to remember. You could fill their bedroom with balloons, hang streamers from their door, set up fairy lights around the house or even fill the entire house with balloons! Let your own imagination run wild and wake up your child with the coolest surprise ever. 

4. Birthday message video from friends 

Your child might be missing their school friends and family so organised in advance for everyone to record a special birthday message for them and then put it all together. If editing videos isn’t your thing there are many easy applications you can use, such as iMovie or apps like Splice and InShot. This is a great way to make your child feel loved by everyone they are missing. 

5. Living room disco with extra lights 

Children love a good disco party so why not make your own disco in the living room. All you need is music, costumes and lights! You can order disco lights, a disco ball, light projector or even LED lights from Kmart. It’s a good idea to pre-plan and order props and lights in advance to make sure they arrive in time. 

Image by Stuff Parents Need

6. Takeaway but make it fancy with a theme

Ordering your child’s favourite takeaway is a great way to give them a treat and avoid hours of cooking. There are so many easy ways to make it feel fancy with a theme by decorating the table, dressing up in your fanciest clothes and even creating menus for the table. You can do this with any kind of take away and let your child choose the theme in advance so you can order party hats, themed table decor or even a special costume. It also could be fun if you dress up as a waiter or chef to deliver the food to your at home restaurant. 

7. Indoor camping

If you don’t have access to a backyard or if the weather isn’t looking good, indoor camping is an easy way to create a new world in your living room. If you have the space you could set up a tent or make a fort to sleep in, then grab some sleeping bags and lots of cushions to create an indoor camping getaway. You could even sleep under the stars and buy a star projector from Kmart to create that starry night feeling. There are plenty of fun snack ideas too, like roasting marshmallows on the stove, making smores or hot chocolates and telling campfire stories (but without the fire). 

Image by Shutter-stock

8. Drive by party 

If you live in an area where it’s safe to do so you could organise a drive by party with school friends. This is a great idea where you can socially distance and say hi to friends your child might not have seen in a while. But if this isn’t possible, even setting up a zoom party with their classmates or family is a great way for them to have a chat and feel special.  

Image by Unique Industries

9. A personalised message from a celebrity 

This may seem a bit far fetched but you can order a personalised video from your child’s favorite celebrity using Cameo. You could choose a message from the original yellow Wiggle Greg, the new purple Wiggle John, there favourite sports player, musician or actor. 

10. Make an ultimate birthday cake together 

Having a birthday cake is one of the most exciting things for children and in their eyes the most important parts of their day. Making a cake as a family can be a great way to spend time together and get creative. To make sure you are prepared, get your child to draw their dream birthday cake beforehand and then come up with a concept together that is achievable. Order all the ingredients and extra toppings you might need to create their dream cake!

Image by My Food Book

 

 

 

Lockdown sucks.

My heart goes out to anyone who is on the frontline, is struggling for work, is struggling with work and learning from home or who is separated from family. These times are challenging for everyone. I appreciate that I cannot possibly know or completely understand your personal circumstances, but I do appreciate that it can be tough. Really tough. You are being asked to do the impossible.

At my house, my husband is working long hours from home, often starting at 8am and not finishing until after 6pm. Our three children are learning from home and I’m trying to supervise, whilst doing my own work and keeping the house in some semblance of order. My younger two, who are still at primary school, obviously need the most input from me, whilst my eldest is reasonably self-sufficient but gets distracted; I have to check in a lot to make sure she’s on task and that she is remembering to take breaks from her screen. I seem to get one child started on an activity before another child finishes or has a problem with the laptop, or zoom, or spelling, or just loses focus, or is bored or hungry or just wants to see what everyone else is up to. In short, it’s not easy. We’d never ask a teacher to teach three classes at once, would we? And I know a lot of you are in a similar position.

It is true that there’s so much beyond your control and so much uncertainty, however, there is also a lot you can control. A very wise person (my grandma) once told me,

‘You can’t control everything all the time,

but you can always control your response.

There is your power.’

So, with that in mind, let’s look at 10 ways to love lockdown—or at least hate it less. After all, numerous mums lamented their lack of time and overall busy schedules before lockdown and I know many of them would have been delighted to press ‘pause’ on life. Now we are in a somewhat ‘paused’ state, it’s far from perfect, but there are some things we can do to make this time a positive one.

1. Schedule downtime

Plan a walk with a friend, a nap, a meditation session, a bath…whatever makes you feel better. Make an effort to prioritise it. It’s important to care for yourself as you care for your children.

2. Zoom party

Craving a catch up with the girls? We may not be able to meet in person at present, but what’s stopping you from inviting your friends to a virtual cocktail hour this Saturday night?

3. Differentiate the weekends

It can get a bit like Groundhog Day in lockdown. So, make an effort to make your weekends different. Go out as a family and do a long bush walk or bike ride. Have some fun with a family games afternoon, baking session, or even hide and seek (kick it up a notch by playing in the dark with torches). Order takeaway, dessert delivery or a box of Lego — everyone deserves to relax and have fun.

4. Get outside

I promise you’ll feel better. Fresh air is good for your mood and your soul, especially if it’s nice and sunny. Let the kids run and burn some energy. Move your body and breathe in the day. Bonus points if you can sit outside to meditate.

5. Enjoy a good book (or movie)

We all need a little escapism sometimes and whilst we can’t travel at the moment, the whole world awaits inside books. Or if you need something uplifting, consider a book more geared towards personal growth or positivity: Untamed by Glennon Doyle and Phosphorescence by Julia Baird are both great options for this.

6. Change your clothes

I don’t just mean change into clean clothes, I mean change out of your active wear, joggers or loungewear. Wear something that makes you feel great. Even choose to get dressed up for an at home date night. Or if you’re working from home, consider differentiating the day with your outfit by changing into loungewear when you’ve finished work for the day (and not before!).

7. Flexible work

Many employers understand the struggle of managing children at home and trying to work. If it’s getting too much for you, speak to your employer about adjusting your hours. Maybe you could work earlier in the day and then take a break to help with schooling before finishing later on. Or is there an option to reduce your hours temporarily? Or even take a day’s leave here and there.

8. Tag team with a partner

If you live with someone make sure you are sharing the workload. It’s easy to fall into habits and usually that means the mum doing the majority of the childcare and housework. Split it between you wherever you can.

9. Get up early 

It can be tempting to sleep in when you don’t need to rush out the door. But resist the temptation, get up and enjoy some time to yourself before you start the day. This is a time you can control. I love to meditate, journal and squeeze in a quick yoga session before my children are up, but you do what feels good to you. Maybe that’s a walk or run, or a coffee and a book.

10. Let go

Screen-time guilt and impossible schooling expectations aren’t helping you. These are unprecedented times and we need to be realistic about what’s achievable. If not, who suffers? You! And quite probably your children. Just try your best to let it go. This situation is temporary.

Overall, just try to be kind to yourself. You are being asked to do the impossible.

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that nothing can be taken for granted.

Notice what you’re grateful for. Notice what you can control. It’s perfectly fine to be ok one day and then not the next. Just take it easy.  And remember, ‘You can’t control everything all the time, but you can always control your response. There is your power.’

The novel virus known as COVID-19 started as a collection of similar cases emerging from Wuhan, China-  a city with a population of over 11 million.  

Australia was in the process of healing from a devastating fire season when the Coronavirus (soon to be titled COVID-19) became national news, with the World Health Organization (WHO) having heard the first reports of COVID-19 on the 31st of December 2019.

In the months that have followed the pandemic has spread across the globe, encompassing Australia and leaving millions without work, or at the very least financially affected by the virus and the subsequent lockdowns it has caused.

These are uncertain times, and as many of us wait for news of government aid, job opportunities or when our old lives will get back to normal, many are left without an income.

Below are some practical ways to lessen the financial stress during the disaster movie scenario we have found ourselves in.

Monitor what comes in and out of your bank- and eliminate the non-essential items

For many of us, we have multiple cards and multiple entertainment platforms, programs and everyday expenses that are direct debited.

This is convenient usually, but if you are now left with no income, that outcome needs to be cut down. Have a look on your outgoings on your banking app and make a list of what you pay every month- do you really need to be spending $25 a month on a live sport platform when all sport is postponed? Or could you be using that $25 on food and utilities? Unfortunately, the time for luxuries is not right now, so cut your expenses accordingly.

Call and ask for extensions/account freezes/pause in payments

Do not be ashamed to ask for help, we are all in this together. Many corporations and businesses are being very understanding in this time and providing extensions and pauses for payments.

Afterpay for example can give extensions/pauses in payments if you contact them and discuss your situation, the same could go for various other payments you may have coming up, so don’t be scared to ask! The following link discusses electricity companies that will be providing extra help for their customers during this crisis. https://www.finder.com.au/financial-hardship-programs-utilities

Live that vegetarian lifestyle

Meat is expensive and perishable, and with supermarkets losing the battle against panic buying shoppers, meat and other basics are hard to find. Do not panic or bulk buy– it is unfair on everyone, especially the most vulnerable.

Buy beans, lentils, grains- these are cheap, filling and last a long time- check out this lentil dahl recipe that is perfect for meal prepping and super tasty! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4pDLh11nmA

Keep up to date with the government’s response to the pandemic and if you are eligible for Centrelink payments

There is a lot of information regarding the COVID-19 in the media that is constantly updated, and the same goes for details of government assistance and how to access Centrelink payments if you now find yourself out of work. The below article by ABC shows a step by step guide to applying for Centrelink if you’ve never used the system before and is updated regularly as the situation progresses. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-24/coronavirus-how-to-apply-for-centrelink-jobseeker-newstart/12083948

Think of others and act accordingly – stay inside! 

Stay inside and practise social distancing, this won’t last forever, but it is important we all do the right thing and act with everyone in mind. We will all get through this by acting as a community, spreading kindness and thinking of our most vulnerable.

How to cure a headache during pregnancy? 

We’ve compiled a list of the best natural, at-home remedies to relieve your headache as quickly as possible!

by Henna Clark

Headaches are common in the initial months of the pregnancy. It varies from mild to severe, depending upon your health and lifestyle. It is very important that you take foods rich in fibers, antioxidants, vitamin C, CoQ10, and magnesium. You need adequate sleep as well as need to be properly hydrated to counteract its initial development.

Causes

Your body undergoes various changes during the initial months of the pregnancy, such as:

  • Change in hormone levels and volume of blood during the initial months
  • Low blood sugar levels
  • High blood pressure

Apart from these some of the other causes involve:

  • Stress
  • Eyestrain
  • Caffeine withdrawal symptoms for regular coffee drinkers
  • Dehydration due to frequent vomits in initial periods of your pregnancy
  • Migraines
  • Sometimes sinus infections are developed due to common cold, which is common during initial months of pregnancy

 

 

How to cure a headache during pregnancy? This is the question the majority of women ask, and they start taking various medications to get rid of it, which must be avoided. 

Always take the advice of your doctor before taking any medication to treat it, as doctors advice to avoid them. The reason being the unborn baby might get affected by certain medications that might harm their growth.

Aspirin is one of the medications which must be avoided, as it carries the risk of miscarriage and cardiovascular complications on the unborn child. Ergotamines are used for treating migraine pains. However, doctors advise not to use it. It causes birth defects if taken during the initial months of pregnancy.

There are various natural cures for headaches during your pregnancy. Which provides quick relief with no harm to you and your unborn child. The various natural remedies are as follows:

Relieving migraine pains

For migraine-associated headaches, you must avoid noisy surroundings and turn off your lights. Migraine suffering women are sensitive to them. Apart from these, having a sound sleep is also effective in relieving the pain. Sometimes sleep deprivation, less food, and water intake also causes migraines. Make sure you sleep well, regularly drink water, and have adequate food.

Processed and junk foods trigger migraine pains, completely avoid intake of this food to prevent migraines.

Cold compress

Apply an ice pack or towel dipped in cold water in your head while you take a nap. The Cold environment narrows the blood vessels in your head, which helps in providing relief to your headaches.

Warm compress

Apply warm compress on your eyes as well as on your nose for sinus-related headaches.

Consume water

As per the study, drinking enough water and consuming foods rich in water relieves headaches and is a preventive measure for stress and migraine-related headaches. Dehydration alleviates the symptoms of your headache and is the primary cause of migraines and stress-induced headaches.

Magnesium-rich foods

Magnesium controls the blood sugar and improves the blood circulation of the body. It helps in curbing the occurrence of headaches. Consume less magnesium at the beginning as too much intake leads to digestive issues. Some magnesium-rich foods are avocados, dark chocolate, nuts, legumes, tofu, whole grains, etc.

No alcohol

Alcohol dehydrates your body and causes headaches if consumed in excess. Its a strict no for pregnant women.

Adequate sleep

As per the study, people sleeping less than six hours suffered frequent headaches ranging from mild to severe.

Sleeping for seven to nine hours is a must for better health. Lack of sleep not only causes headaches but also has severe health complications. Having an adequate sleep is a natural way to cure headaches.

Essential oils

Essential oils such as peppermint and lavender oil are proven to be effective for headache relief. Apply these oils in your forehead or on your temples for better results. Lavender oil is also better known for relieving migraine headaches.

CoQ10 supplements

CoQ10 or coenzyme 10 is a mitochondrial nutrient that is present in all our cells. It releases energy and provides antioxidant support to the body. As we age, its proportions get reduced, which results in numerous health complications headache being one of them. Taking C0Q10 supplements helps in regaining the lost energy of your body and gets relief in your headache.

Acupressure

Acupressure points in our body are the natural healing points that give us quick relief from headaches. In your feet, locate a gall bladder 41 point between the 4th and 5th finger of your toe. This point is very effective for headaches. Take a deep breath and gently push that point for two minutes. If you find it difficult, then your partner can assist in doing that. For headaches caused due to stress and anxiety, there is another point in your foot called liver three to kidney one. You can locate it in between the thumb and first finger of your foot.

Apart from all these remedies, you need to avoid strong odors and fragrances as it triggers a headache.

The Bottom line is that these remedies have no side effects, and these are safe and efficient ways to treat your headache.

Author Bio:

Henna is a wellness lifestyle writer. She loves sharing her thoughts and personal experiences related to natural remedies, Ayurvedic, yoga and fitness through her writing. She currently writes for How To Cure. She can connect with others experiencing health concerns and help them through their recovery journeys through natural remedies

Sources:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0072975210970127

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15985108

Does you child suffer from anxiety? Not quite sure how to help? Michael Grose and Dr Jodi Richardson give 6 easy tips on how to help your anxious child.

As much as we’d like to, we can’t rid our kids of their anxiety, but we can help them to manage it in ways that enable them to move it from centre stage and get on with living a vibrant, rich and meaningful life.

If you’re the parent of an anxious child you’re most certainly not alone. The number of children experiencing an anxiety disorder is currently estimated at 117 million worldwide. Here in Australia, there’s an average of two anxious kids in every classroom; and they’re the ones with a diagnosis. Many more anxious kids are yet to have their anxiety identified and understood.

Here are 6 tips to support you to parent your anxious child:

1.Explain anxiety

Anxious kids can struggle to explain how they feel and can worry that no one will understand what they’re going through. That’s why explaining anxiety is an important step in supporting an anxious child. The knowledge that anxiety is well understood, that other kids experience it and that it’s manageable brings them immediate relief.

Teach your anxious child that the part of their brain that protects them from danger is always on high alert. Called the amygdala, it’s meant to protect them from genuine danger but for anxious kids, it can be almost constantly activated.

Explain that when they feel anxious, their amygdala sends signals to their body to fight or flee from the threat, whether the threat is real or imagined.

Next, talk about the changes that happen in the body to power them up to fight or flee. They can experience an increased heart rate, rapid breathing and an upset stomach. They might even feel dizzy, hot, sweaty and panicked. Anxiety effects thinking and behaviour too.

Teach your anxious child that the part of their brain that protects them from danger is always on high alert.

2. Respond with empathy

In the midst of an anxious moment it’s natural to want to reassure anxious kids they’ve got nothing to worry about. Reassurance works in the short term but soon wears off and they’re coming back for more. This can become an unhelpful pattern. Instead, respond with empathy and validation. Use ahhh statements like “Ahhh, I see you’re feeling really anxious right now, I know how hard this is for you” or “I know you’re feeling really worried right now, it’s not much fun feeling like that is it?” Anxious kids need to know you understand what they’re going through.

3. Show the amygdala they’re safe

Once the amygdala senses danger, the cascade of events that follow can’t be stopped. The body and brain will respond as if the danger is immediate. The only way to help an anxious child to calm their anxious brain is to teach them to show their amygdala they’re safe. This can be done with breathing.

Deep and intentional breathing helps an anxious child to calm their amygdala and will begin to reduce their anxious symptoms. Practice intentional breathing regularly in between anxious times before applying this in the midst of an anxious moment.

4. The antidote to worrying

It’s often said that anxiety is distress now about a possible future which is why worrying is so common among anxious kids. When their minds fast-forward to an upcoming event or expectation, their amygdala can respond as if the ‘threat’ to their safety is immediate. The antidote to worrying is mindfulness. Put simply, mindfulness is paying attention to what’s happening in the present moment. It’s a skill that can be learned, it takes time but is a powerful anxiety management strategy.

The antidote to worrying is mindfulness.

5. Practice defusing sticky thoughts

Anxious thoughts can get stuck, refusing to budge no matter how much attention is payed to them. Defusion is a strategy that helps anxious kids look at their thoughts rather than from them. Let’s say your anxious child is worried about an upcoming test. They’re thinking “I’m going to fail the test”. The thought makes them feel awful.

Defusion helps kids (all of us) to look at our thoughts by reminding us that the words in our heads are indeed just words, thoughts that come and go, not our reality. Thoughts can be defused by putting a statement in front of the thought such as: “I notice I’m having the thought that I’m going to fail the test” or by saying the thought in a character voice like Darth Vader or Peppa Pig or singing it to the tune of happy birthday or a nursery rhyme. Defusion puts distance between anxious kids and their thoughts.

Defusion helps kids (all of us) to look at our thoughts by reminding us that the words in our heads are indeed just words, thoughts that come and go, not our reality.

6. Get the fundamentals right

Ample sleep, good nutrition and exercise are essential for anxious kids. Support your child to adhere to their optimal bedtime so they wake naturally around the time of their alarm, reduce their sugar intake to support their gut health and to exercise regularly for optimal mental health.

These are some of the many strategies that you can share with your child to support them to recognise their anxiety, understand how it impacts their body and brain, how they can manage their symptoms and, importantly, how they can turn down the volume on their anxiety and live life in full colour.

For more information on anxiety in children read

Anxious Kids, How children can turn their anxiety into resilience

By MICHAEL GROSE & DR JODI RICHARDSON

Published by Penguin Life

Feminism is a loaded word in today’s society yet it’s crucial to approach it as ‘gender equality’ to your kids before they hear it as anything else.

Below are 6 tips for raising little feminists who believe in the diverse representation of women and uniform rights for all.

1. Start a conversation

First of all, sit your kids down and open with the direct line, “Have you ever heard of feminism?” If they are young, chances are they haven’t and you can start with a clean canvas. But if they have, let them say what they think. Then direct them towards the ideals of gender equality, such as anybody’s right to voice an opinion regardless of sex or be open to the same job promotions if they are doing well at work. Ask, “But isn’t this a lot like what feminism aims to do?” And voilà. You have your starting point.

2. Give it a clear definition

Make sure your kids understand that feminism is not ‘man-hating’. It means the economic, social, political and personal equality between boys and girls. This means they will be paid the same for the identical job, possess the same opportunities to pursue different interests and share the same right for their bodies to be respected. It means freedom to discover and express personal identities without limitations like ‘boys don’t cry’ and ‘ladies don’t do that’.

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3. Show real-life examples of sexism

An inevitable part of parenting is heightening your child’s awareness of our society and its many problems. Try starting small with fictitious examples such as, “If Bob picks two apples and Jane picks two apples, don’t you think they should be paid the same?” Or, “Bob likes playing with toy trucks. Jane likes it too. Do you think they should play together?” Then expand these to real-life examples your child has experienced or possibly will in the future

4. Be a role model

Use your own home to teach real gender equality – nothing impacts your child more than their personal environment. Share household chores between different sexes of the family, like having dad cook and mum do the dishes. Let everybody have a fair say during discussions, such as whereabouts the family’s next vacation should take place. Practice empathy during situations of conflict to highlight how everyone’s opinion is valid and valuable.

5. Defy stereotypes

Choosing your own clothes, hairstyle or the colour of your bedroom is a kind of empowerment crucial for self-confidence. Defy stereotypes by letting your son have longer hair or your daughter wear shorts. Promote positive body image and show them to respect how other children choose to express themselves by only saying stuff they would want to hear themselves and not touching others without permission.

6. Monitor their entertainment

Finally, be aware of possible sexist values embedded in everything your child is watching or reading. Do not underestimate this! In Thomas the Tank Engine, depictions of female trains often fall along the lines of, “Wise and older Edward always had good advice for Emily, who really is a very nice engine but who can be a bit bossy.” Instead, choose books and family movies that have a healthy depiction of both male and female heroes such as Disney favourites Frozen and Moana or TV show The Legend of Korra.