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Kaylee Cranley

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In the age of excessive on-the-go anxiety, the science is evident, if you want your mind and body to last and thrive…you’ve got to prioritise them. Healing your nervous system is an unceasing  journey, and fulfilling these 10 steps, will work towards a healthier mind and body daily. 

Nearly one in six of the world’s population suffer from neurological disorders in direct relation to the nervous system. These neurological disorders range from Parkinson’s disease to stroke, Alzheimers, Multiple Sclerosis, epilepsy, migraine, brain injury and nueroinfections. The UN World Health Organisation studies exhibit people in all countries, irrespective of age, sex, income or education, are affected by triggers in direct relation to an overactive or neglected nervous system.

The nervous system is the bodies communication centre. Originating from the brain, it controls movements, memory, feelings, automatic responses and the bodies systems and processes, including digestion, breathing and sexual development (puberty).

A vast network of nerves send electrical signals to and from other cells, glands, and muscles throughout the body, receiving information from the environment and interpreting the information to control bodily responses.

Following these 10 guided tips to healing and regulating an overactive nervous system is the first step toward a healthier you today. 

1. Meditation and breath work

It is the repeated, as well as the tried and true, magic of meditation and breath work, that can heal a range of bodily stresses and ultimately tap into the healing process of your parasympathetic nervous system. Just five minutes a day of deep breathing through your nose is clinically proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Gentle yoga, breath work and meditation classes all work to move the body out of the fight or flight stress response, instead grounding and bringing the mind back to the present moment and in turn generating a healthier nervous system. 

2. Cold water 

Opting for a cold shower or an ocean swim, will kickstart repair and healing in your body and nervous system. Cold water stimulates the immune system and activates the vagus nerve, reducing stress response. The vagus nerve is apart of the autonomic nervous system, connecting the brain to our digestive tract and working as a highway between brain and gut. 

3. Sleep

We have all been ingrained with the ineradicable importance of sleep on both our mental and physical health, and there is nothing more essential when healing and protecting the nervous system. Building and supporting a strong immune and nervous system, is directly linked to our sleep cycle. Majority of people need between 7-9 hours a night, however with statistics presenting the average person is receiving less than 7. If you struggle to get a good nights rest,  lavender diffusers, eye masks and turning screens off an hour before bed, may help to set your sleep pattern and ultimately help to heal an overactive or weakened nervous system. 

4. Limit your caffeine and alcohol Intake

Alcohol is a sedative that slows down both the central nervous system and brain processing. This effect is why people who drink may feel calmer or more relaxed. Caffeine, conversely, is a stimulant, and high doses can cause side effects like anxiety and nervousness. Consuming caffeine stimulates your central nervous system and brain to feel awake, increasing alertness and boosting brain activity. However, caffeine blocks the brain chemical adenosine, which leads to feelings of tiredness. Consumption of both substances tend to dehydrate us, heighten anxiety as well as lead to sleep and digestive issues that work against the immune and nervous system. 

5. Fruit and vegetables

A healthy diet filled with fruit and root vegetables is both nourishing and repairing to the nervous system. Foods to heal both the adrenals* and nervous system include:

Foods to support the Adrenals:

*The adrenals produce hormones that regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, stress response and other essential functions.

  • Bananas                                                                         
  • Broccoli
  • Bone Broth 
  • Cauliflower
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Kiwi
  • Orange Juice
  • Papaya
  • Turkey
  • Red Bell Peppers
  • Liver

Foods to support the Nervous System:

  • Avocados
  • Bananas 
  • Bone Broth
  • Carrots
  • Cherries
  • Coconut Water
  • Collagen 
  • Leafy Greens 
  • Orange Juice
  • Oysters
  • Salmon
  • Organ Meats
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Tropical Fruits

6. Smarter exercise 

Often when we feel stressed or our mind is running wild, we opt for cardio or high-intensity workouts to burn off steam. While this can be an option, many may find it too stimulating, and in whole, taking a greater toll on their adrenals and nervous system. Grounding exercises , such as walking, yoga and pilates may be more beneficial for somebody stuck in their fight-or-flight stress response. Remember that, stress (cortisol) is addictive, so many crave to continue their imbalance. Weightlifting is also said to be beneficial for the nervous system, offering proprioceptive input. Fast running or high impact activities such as kick-boxing continue to stimulate an overactive nervous system rather then de-regulate it.

7. Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been utilised for millennia to regulate the nervous system and treat many diseases in relation. Acupuncture points stimulate the nervous system, creating chemicals and energy that encourage a parasympathetic response throughout the body, switching on the bodies natural healing abilities. 

8. Bodywork 

Massages, chakra balancing, rolling, craniosacral therapy and reflexology are all bodywork techniques utilised to turn off your stress hormones and allow your body to relax and heal. We often need to somatically release toxic stored emotions, and bodywork allows us to do in a graceful way. These therapies have been known to help release deep trauma and tension and by doing so, the body can start to heal and recover.

9. Dance or sing it out

Trying to constantly juggle being productive, staying physically and mentally active and social, on top of work or other related stresses can be draining on our nervous system. In turn our bodies look for ways to release this built up energy and tension. You don’t have to be the next Beyonce to enjoy the healing benefits of song and dance, your body and mind will love you back equally the same. Expressive dance works to calm and regulate the nervous system, releasing and reducing stress built up in the brain and body. So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed, belt out your favourite tune in the car or expressive dance moves as an alternative therapy.

10. Play on the senses

The five senses collect information about the surrounding environment that is then interpreted by the brain. However, sometimes information overload drives our nervous system into an overactive state. De-stressing through playing on the senses allows you to de-regulate your nervous system and calm the mind back into the present moment.

1. Listen: 

Listen to relaxing music or meditative music works to calm your nervous system. inc.com‘s study article,  explains how Neuroscience says listening to a particular song reduces anxiety by up to 65 percent.

Sound therapies have been around for centuries, including in indigenous cultures, where arranged harmonies, rhythms, and bass lines were utilised to slow a listener’s heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

A list of 10 tracks by Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson “Weightless,” resulted in a striking 65 percent reduction in participants’ overall anxiety, and a 35 percent reduction in their usual physiological resting rates.

Sound therapy using Tibetan singing bowls are another option to heal through listening. Utilising a type of bell that vibrates and produces a rich, deep tone when played, the healing bowls are used to strengthen meditation, healing and spirituality.

2. Smell: 

Aromatherapy is the use of  aromatic plant extracts and essential oils for healing and cosmetic purposes. The healing benefits of aromatherapy, work to promote health and well-being. Sometimes called essential oil therapy, aromatic essential oils are used to medicinally improve the health of the body, mind, and spirit. Enhances both physical and emotional health, this can be utilised through  candles and essential oils that also trigger memories and transform mood.

Aroma grounds us and make us feel more relaxed, working as a defence of healing for the nervous system. Common essential oils vary from eucalyptus, chamomile, frankincense, lemongrass, lavender and more.

3. Taste: 

A warm cup of herbal tea is the perfect taste sensation to help calm the sympathetic nervous system. Both the taste and warmth of tea as you’re holding it, and tasting the aromatic flavours, usher in feelings of comfort and relaxation.

4. Feel: 

The first sense that humans develop, also influences our decisions when we relate a texture to a believed concept. Patting animals, walking barefoot, enjoying an epsom salt bath or sitting in sunlight releases oxytocin through feeling safe and warm. Oxytocin is the brains direct antidote to the stress hormone cortisol.

5. Sight: 

Spending time in nature and focusing upon non-stimulating material help to heal and release added anxiety from the nervous system. Spend time away from any technology and instead give your eyes a break with examples of enjoying sunsets, beach time or opting for journaling or reading.

In an age inundated with supplemental stresses, the need to pay attention and care toward our nervous system is more prevalent than ever. Healing and de-regulating an overactive or impaired nervous system is an unremitting process, nevertheless, through repetition and consistency,  you can work to bring your body back to balance and help to heal an overstimulated nervous system.

 

 

Throughout the Christmas and New Year period, we are inundated with holiday romance movies, overwhelming social calendars and expectations to look and feel, “Merry and bright”. But for those who are struggling with their mental health, affected by the wrath of seasonal depression, it can feel like anything, but, “The most wonderful time of the year”.

Traditionally, a time for eating, drinking and being merry, the festive season can come with a foreboding presupposition for those struggling with a mental health concern or personal crisis.

When everyone around seems to be in the festive spirit, seasonal depression can make the holidays particularly overwhelming, feeling like a period that needs to be survived rather than thrived.

The holidays have long been associated with seasonal depression, reporting a 40% increase of suicide in the days following Christmas. In accordance with a survey from YouGov,  a quarter of people say that Christmas makes their mental health worse, with an additional survey from the Mental Health Foundation, sharing that 54% of people are worried about the mental health of someone they know at Christmas. 

Whether coping with mental illness, COVID separation, grief or holiday burnout, when seasonal depression creeps in, it’s consequential to recognise and prioritise combatting the symptoms this holiday period.

Some signs and symptoms of seasonal depression include:

  • Tiredness or low energy
  • Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Changes in appetite or sleeping patterns
  • Feelings of immense lows and depressive feeling throughout majority of the day

Estranged relationships, disappointment of the year that has passed, as well as a range of other personal battles, are just some reasons seasonal depression may present itself. This holiday season, prioritising your health is the key to combatting any form of personal exertion.

Let go of preconceived ideas of what you are “expected” to do, instead alter and simplify the season to best suit  your circumstance, regardless of what that may be.

COVID Christmas

The uncertainty of COVID-19 has protruded ripple effects, seeping into the festive period, with many Australians spending their second year in a row apart from their loved ones. With travel and border restrictions still in place, not to mention the trepidation of COVID crisis entirely, it would be ignorant to view this holiday period without the present ramifications for the majority of Australians still suffering from the pandemic. 

COVID has interrupted and ultimately reshaped this year’s festive period, leaving many feeling unstable in their habitual safety nets of workplace, financial, family or living situations. The first Christmas apart from family, can feel somewhat un-conventional in comparison to the years that have passed. Although it may not feel entirely the same, managing your expectations and mindset, as well as applying a little outside of the box thinking, will go a long way this holiday period.

No two families are the same, and that goes for no two celebrations.  If you are separated from loved ones due to restrictions, stay in touch via phone and video call, as well as inventing outside of the box ways to stay connected and show gratitude for the ones you love, even if that is from a far.

Grieving throughout the holiday season

Grieving throughout the holidays will never be easy, as many become unwontedly aware of the absence of a loved one. As the holidays are a time to come together, it can be bittersweet for those who are grieving, often feeling the missing piece of a loved one and burden of loss far greater over the December to January period.

The expectations of a “perfect” season, that come in the form of favourite Christmas movies and sitcoms, celebrations and traditions can bring about reminders for those grieving wherever they turn. When you have lost someone you love, it is normal to have feelings of painful isolation, as well as incompleteness, grief does not disappear overnight in account of it being the holidays.

Healing is not an overnight process and taking the festive period at your own pace and dynamic is essential.If you are grieving this festive season, recognise the feelings as they pass, and importantly stay present with all that you love. It’s essential to express your emotions as a healthy mechanism and substantial influence in the healing process, this includes talking and crying it out, with those you trust or an experienced psychologist.

Expression, as well as placing emphasis on feeling grateful for anything positive present in your life, will offer alleviation from the heavy emotions associated with grief and tragedy.

Another strategy when processing grief, is to focus and become aware of the time you do spend with other family members and ones you love. Utilise, as well as cherish those valuable moments, as grieving can help to reminded us how precious our time is.

Reminded of the fragility of life as whole, being  present, as well as see beauty in the small and rare moments spent with the ones we love can be utilised in time spent with family and friends throughout the holiday season.

Money and Financial Pressure during the Holidays

The festive season can come at the cost of your wallet and bank account. From presents, celebrations and a little too much cause for celebration, the December to January period can often feel like a year’s worth of spending. This financial whirlwind, however, can be combatted with a little strategic plan and preparation.

Identify what is causing your financial stresses, and begin to take necessary action to alleviate as much worry as possible this Christmas. Communicating your financial worries to family and friends, is also important throughout the holidays. Not to be mistaken for complaining,  suggesting alternatives for gifting such as secret Santa as well as free alternatives when spending time celebrating, will go a long way when budgeting this holidays.

Head to Christmas on a Budget if you’d like more tips and suggestions for financial planning throughout the festive period.

Mental Health throughout the Holidays

Depression is the leading mental health condition treated by general practitioners in Australia. With Beyond Blue reporting a staggering 3 million Australians are living with anxiety or depression. With stress and depression said to arise in approximately 1 in 5 Australians as a direct result of the festive season,  it is evident mental health is fragile, and needs to be protected even at the best of times. Seasonal depression or holiday depression can occur due to the added pressure, expectation, and stress of the festive period. Typically characterised by low mood, self-criticism and low self esteem. 

Feeling low around Christmas is especially common among people who are unemployed (38%), divorced (35%) or widowed (31%).  Anxiety and loneliness are most prevalent among people who are aged from 25 to 34, at between 31% and 40%. People who are out of work also struggle more than other groups: 47% say they’ve felt stressed, 42% depressed and 39% anxious.

Visit https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/symptom-checker/tool/basic-details on advice for when to seek professional help when these feelings arise.

Managing and aiding seasonal depression 

Seasonal Depression may leave sufferers wanting to retreat and isolate themselves throughout the whole of the holiday period. However, withdrawing from social activities and situations will often only lead to feelings of disconnection, loneliness and worsening of symptoms of depression.

Connection and belonging are the most important ways to regulate your mental health. Combatting seasonal depression includes reaching out to close friends and loved ones, volunteering, or even simply being kind to strangers. These small strategies are proven to strengthen positive mood and reprogram feeling grateful this holiday period.

Be aware of personal strategies to combat the season such as staying healthy through eating well, exercise and relaxing when possible. Although it is the season for over-indulging, many find that binge eating or drinking take a toll on their mental and physical health. Moderation is key for surviving the holiday period, when normal routines are interrupted.

Although labelled  “the most wonderful time of the year”, the festive season, like any other period is improbable to be problem-free. Coping with any form of seasonal depression is best to be approached with realistic expectations. Whatever you or your loved ones are facing or struggling with over the holidays, remember that it is just one season of your story. You can plan and re-coup for the new year, re-writing your narrative, beginning with a new chapter called 2022.

If you or someone
you know is in crisis and needs help now, call triple zero (000)

Lifeline:  Provides 24-hour crisis counselling, support groups and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14, text on 0477 13 11 14 (12pm to midnight AEST) or chat online.

Beyond Blue: Aims to increase awareness of depression and anxiety and reduce stigma. Call 1300 22 4636, 24 hours/7 days a week, chat online or email.

The festive season is well and underway, yet for many who are still recovering from the year that has passed, adapting to the economic climate is more necessary than ever.

These five simple tips and suggestions are assured to prioritise this year’s Christmas on a budget and offer alternatives for an affordable holiday season for all.

Pervading with job crisis and financial burdens, the continuous effects of the COVID pandemic  has left a topically unstable economic climate for the population worldwide. A few simple tips and suggestions can go a long way to support those on a tighter Christmas budget this year due to the economic shockwave of the year that has passed.

1. Start and Stick to a Christmas Spending Plan

As December begins it is important to map out the spending of the holiday season in advance. This may include gifting, travel, recreational activities, events and hidden costs. Planning a holiday budget offers you a blueprint to constantly refer back to throughout the spending season.

Money Smart states, “Budgeting helps you to feel in control of your money. Setting up a budget gives you a clear picture of your income and expenses. It can help you spend less and save more to achieve your money goals”.

You may like to write down your monthly income and establish you’re spending from there. Budgeting your monthly expenses from your income will be sure to keep you from being out of pocket with all of the added festive spending. 

Business News Australia has released expectations of $11 billion dollars Australian spending on Christmas gifts this year. On average people are expected to spend $726 on gifts per person.

A good way to cut down your budget this year is to plan how much you will spend on each relative and exactly what you are planning to buy for them. This will keep you from being easily swayed by all the extra Christmas advertising.

For more handy tips on How to start a budget, track your spending, follow a compound interest calculator and more head to https://moneysmart.gov.au/budgeting.

2. Shop Ahead and Smart Gifting

The rush of the festive season can leave many scrambling for gifts and food at the last minute. This is one of the major ways people tend to overspend.  Buying in advance helps you to stick to your holiday budget and avoid the extra stress and pressure of last minute additional costs, such as express shipping or paid wrapping. 

When shopping ahead and smart gifting, it is a good idea to opt for  joint-gifting. Putting in on gifts in groups or doubles saves costs and preparation time. 

Spending your money and budget wisely also includes gifting practical gifts. The financial impact of the pandemic has contrived many to re-think wants and needs, viewing practicality as the new luxury. Many people who are currently tight on their budget, would prefer gifts more on the practical side, than opulent. This may be in the form of gift cards, houseware, kitchen supplies, an online streaming subscription or even the traditional socks and underwear. Remember that anyone who is struggling financially would welcome the alternative of the traditional over the extravagant.

3. Food 

It’s essential to plan and budget your food costs over the Christmas period. Some key tips to lowering costs this year include cooking yourself, splitting the bill, and sharing the meal preparation between relatives and friends.

A savvy shopping tip when beginning food preparation includes buying frozen vegetables to cater across many recipes. Buying bulk for value, regardless of the ingredient, will allow you to successfully meal prep and save.

A final strategic shopping tip involves adding a couple of non-perishable items to your weekly shop in the lead up to Christmas. This will gently chip away at the “big shop” and also allow you to look out for value for money in the lead up period. 

4. Shop Online 

If you know you are prone to have a wandering eye and shopaholic tendencies, the added Christmas publicization and trading is not going to help your case. This holiday period, try shopping and accumulating all of your necessary gifts online.

Shopping online also allows you to price check and compare between sites. You can apply discount codes, follow up on sales, and opt for After-pay options, acquiring the correct gifts for all of your loved ones and sticking to your original budget plan.

For some price comparison websites include https://www.getprice.com.au, https://www.priceme.com.au,  https://www.frugl.com.au which allow you to compare the prices and resources to save the most in return. 

5. Alternatives to Buying Presents

There is truly nothing more sentimental then a gift that comes from the heart. This Christmas, if you are hoping to save on your budget,  there are many alternatives instead of commercialised gifting.

Communicate to your loved ones sentimental value beyond what any material possession would through the act of caregiving and quality time. If you have an elder or impaired loved one in particular, you may offer to help them with chores or running errands throughout the Christmas and holiday period. 

Sentimental ideas also come in the form of handmade gifting. Personalised presents such as photo albums or framed pictures, offer a longterm sentimental impression to your loved ones. If your budget is a little tighter than usual this year, you can also opt to handcraft gifts in the form of; knitting, crocheting, baking, crafting and more. You can also opt to hand-make Christmas decorations and cards to cut down on your budget this year.

Many online websites offer DIY inspiration. Head to https://www.blesserhouse.com/100-diy-christmas-gifts/ for a list of 100 DIY Gifts this Christmas.

Another alternative includes shopping secondhand. Saving on retail pricing by picking up second hand, offers the option of perfectly good quality items to save on your spending and still cross off the gifts on your loved ones wish-lists.

Offering a donation is another great way to give back this Christmas. Following the pandemic, more people than ever, need a helping hand.

The Salvation Army is just one charity you can give back to this Christmas. Stating , “All over Australia families are dealing with low wages, insecure jobs, a spiralling housing crisis, and the ongoing fallout from COVID-19. All at once. And with Christmas coming, they are also struggling with the shame and guilt of letting their children down on the day we are all supposed to celebrate hope and joy.”

You can also head to;  https://christmasinaustralia.com.au/christmas-charities-in-australia/ for a list of organisations that you can help this Christmas.

It’s important to remember that you are not alone, and to give yourself a little extra love
this holiday season. The American Psychological Association (APA) reminds us, “Small acts like a handwritten note or FaceTime with your friends and family will go further than you think. Expressing your love and care is what really matters this year”.

You can navigate the everyday challenges of motherhood with a little reassurance and advice from one mother to another. As celebrities share their secrets  behind closed doors, with advice on navigating everyday parenting struggles.

While celebrities may share the glamour and fortune of their Hollywood lifestyles, their parenting styles  differ vastly.  With more access than ever into the lives of celebs behind closed doors, we have gathered their best advice on how to tackle the everyday challenges, as well as the everyday rewards of motherhood. There’s no handbook for successful mothering, but from Chrissy Teigen‘s bath time hacks to Beyonce teaching by example, these mothers have a few tips and advice to make everyday a little easier for all.

Chrissy Teigen (35 yo)

Children: Luna Simone Stephens (5yo), Miles Theodore Stephens (3yo)

@chrissyteigen

Chrissy Teigen isn’t one to shy away from the spotlight. Her Twitter escapades in particular, have made her infamous for her controversial and unfiltered nature. However, it’s Chrissy’s relatable and transparent parenting, or as she likes to call it, “de-motivational” speaking that offers lasting impression and inspiration to mothers everywhere. 

A bath time trick shared by Chrissy offers help to eliminate the shock and trouble of cleaning up. Chrissy shared that gently wrapping your baby (swaddled to your chest) and lowering them into the water while you enter as well, will provide the comfort and eliminate the bath time struggle for both mum and bub.

Teigen also shared some of her everyday advice with  SheKnows stating,

It’s important for us to come together and understand that there’s no perfect way to do something, There’s a million different ways to raise a child, and that’s fine.”

 

Chrissy Twitter Share:

8:00 PM · Jun 27, 2018·Twitter for iPhone

“only I can understand my kid. she’s like “BDIDKDKODKDHJXUDHEJSLOSJDHDUSJMSOZUZUSJSIXOJ”  and I’m like “ok I will get you a piece of sausage in just a minute”

 

Reese Witherspoon (45 yo)

Children: Ava Elizabeth Philippe (22yo), Tennessee James Toth (9yo), Deacon Reese Philippe (17yo)

@reesewitherspoon

Reese Witherspoon knows there’s no such thing as perfection in motherhood, and all mothers can share in the reassurance that not even Hollywood’s leading ladies always know how to navigate the unknown.

She states, “No one’s really doing it perfectly. I think you love your kids with your whole heart, and you do the best you possibly can.”

Reese places emphasis on finding a strong support network stating, “I depend on the kindness and support of my mom friends…It’s really about your support system, your family structure.”

 

Beyonce (40 yo)

Children: Blue Ivy Carter (9yo), Rumi Carter (4yo), Sir Carter (4yo)

@beyonce

Fierce and bold, Beyonce utilises her distinctive persona in her everyday parenting practices. Offering some of the most powerful advice on parenting in the contemporary age she states,

I let my children know that they are never too young to contribute to changing the world. I never underestimate their thoughts and feelings, and I check in with them to understand how this is affecting them.”

Helping her children feel empowered to change the world and modelling that same behaviour herself.

 

Blake Lively (34 yo)

Children: James Reynolds (6yo), Inez Reynolds (5yo), Betty Reynolds (12 months)

@blakelively

One of Hollywood’s Golden Couples, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds are renowned for their reasonably confidential parenting style.  Lively however, took to instagram to share advice on the importance of CPR for parents stating, “All mamas and daddies out there—I can’t recommend this enough. I took a CPR class with a focus on babies and toddlers, for those of you who haven’t done it, you will love it. It’s so helpful by giving you knowledge, tools, and some peace of mind.”

However, even when prepared, Lively knows to expect the unexpected. She states in an interview with The Los Angeles Times,

Having a baby is just living in the constant unexpected. You never know when you’re gonna get crapped on or when you’re gonna get a big smile or when that smile immediately turns into hysterics.”

 

Angelina Jolie (46  yo)

Children: Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt (20yo) adopted in 2002, Pax Thien Jolie-Pitt (17yo) adopted 2007, Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt (16yo) adopted 2005, Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt (15yo), Knox Léon and Vivienne Marcheline Jolie-Pitt (13yo)

@angelinajolie

Although no longer married,  Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were one of the most iconic Hollywood couples of the past two decades. Pitt and Jolie have six kids, three biological children and three who are adopted.

Jolie shares tips about parenting throughout the pandemic stating, “Like most parents, I focus on staying calm so my children don’t feel anxiety from me on top of all the worrying about.”

Jolie shares her worldly wisdom and advice as a reminder to mothers that even in the chaos of life, it’s the simple moments and time spent with your children that matter most. Stating,

Sometimes, when I want to take on the world, I try to remember that it’s just as important to sit down and ask my son how he’s feeling or talk to him about life.”

 

Dianne Keaton (75 yo)

Children: Dexter Keaton (26yo) adopted in 1996,  Duke Keaton (21yo) adopted in 2001

@diane_keaton

Motherhood comes in all different shapes, sizes and ages.  Dianne Keaton is just one example, at the age of 50 adopting her daughter Dexter, and five years later adopting her son Duke.

The now 75 year old, is renowned for her matriarch roles on the big screen, and that ripples into her everyday lifestyle. She states, “I had a career and I came to motherhood late and am not married and have never had such a trusting relationship with a man – and trust is where the real power of love comes from. A sense of freedom is something that, happily, comes with age and life experience.”

Motherhood has completely changed me. It’s just about like the most completely humbling experience that I’ve ever had. I think that it puts you in your place because it really forces you to address the issues that you claim to believe in and if you can’t stand up to those principles when you’re raising a child, forget it.”

Jlo (52 yo)

Children: Emme Maribel Muñiz (13yo), Maximilian David Muñiz (13yo)

@jlo

Multi-talented and determined mother of two, Jennifer Lopez shares on her socials it was her mother that ingrained in her the power of believing in yourself.  She took to instagram on Mothers Day stating, “It was my mom who instilled in us at a very young age that we could do anything. This was something that has really stayed with me. Being a mom is my greatest joy, and today I think about my mommy and all the moms out there. This is your day, and I hope you are surrounded by love, gratitude and appreciation… enjoy it!”

Jlo also knows that it’s experience that drives wisdom stating,

You cannot imagine what it’s like to be a mom until you are a mom. I used to give my friends who have kids advice all the time, and they would look at me like I had three heads. And then, when I had you two, the minute I had you two, I literally apologized to all my friends.”

 

Nicole Kidman (54 yo)

Children: Isabella Jane Cruise (28yo), Connor Cruise (26yo), Suri Cruise (15yo), Sunday Rose Kidman Urban (13yo)

@nicolekidman

Australian golden girl, Nicole Kidman knows that motherhood can be a struggle of instinct and experience.

She states,

My instinct is to protect my children from pain. But adversity is often the thing that gives us character and backbone. It’s always been a struggle for me to back off and let my children go through difficult experiences.”

In an interview with Vanity Fair, the 54-year-old states a rule that has made her “unpopular” with Sunday Rose, 10  and Faith Margaret, eight, “They don’t have a phone and I don’t allow them to have an Instagram,” she told the magazine. “I try to keep some sort of boundaries.”  Kidman also states she raises her children in a very religious household.

 

Kate Hudson (42 yo)

Children: Ryder Robinson (17 yo),Bingham Hawn Bellamy (10 yo), Rani Rose Hudson Fujikawa (2 yo) 

@katehudson

Following in her mothers footsteps, Kate Hudson rose to the big screen acting predominantly in rom-coms.  However, raised by the free-spirited Goldie Hawn, many are surprised by Kate’s motherhood method of discipline. 

In an interview with PEOPLE, she states,“Where I am strict is that there are certain rules that I put down. I don’t negotiate with my kids about certain things.” 

She states, “What I realised about that is that when you set that standard in your home, you don’t end up in long-winded negotiations. When I say no, it’s done.” Adding that she is “very, very strict about manners”.  For Kate there is no tolerance whatsoever for untruths. “I have no tolerance for lying,” she shares. “The tiny lies or the big ones.” 

And while Kate’s no nonsense approach might seem tough, that it doesn’t mean she doesn’t let her kids make mistakes. “When it comes to your feelings or emotions … I’m very open, I give my children a lot of space to make mistakes.” 

“Parenting shifts as your kids shift. The best thing for me has been throwing any kind of parenting manual out of the window.”

 

Kim Kardashian (41 yo)

Children: North West (8yo), Saint West (5yo), Chicago West (3yo), Psalm West (2yo)

@kimkardashian

American personality, socialite, model and businesswoman Kim Kardashian is not shy of the public eye. Sharing her family life on screen and now her family through her socials Kim’s open lifestyle includes sharing her greatest attributions of motherhood.

Kim’s breastfeeding hack offers mums a solution to sibling rivalry. When her son Saint was born, Kim explains her daughter North was extremely jealous explaining on the Ellen Degeneres show she would slip a milk box with straw into her bra for North whilst breastfeeding Saint.

The Keeping Up with the Kardashians star shares she relies and recommends on leaning on your family, stating she often turns to her four sisters for support.

“I have such unconditional love for my kids. No matter what, I will always love them and support them in anything they choose to do in life. My family was so close growing up; now that I’m a mom, I understand the bond my mom and dad felt with us,”

Anxious Mums author, Dr Jodi Richardson, offers advice for mothers and children experiencing anxiety.

One in four people will experience anxiety within their lifetime, making it the most prevalent mental health condition in Australia. Statistics determine it is twice as common in women, with one in three, compared with one in five men, diagnosed on average.

Having lived and studied anxiety, Dr Jodi Richardson  is an expert in her field, with more than 25 years of practice. In addition to her professional background, it was ultimately her personal experiences and journey in becoming a mother that shaped the work she is passionate about. 

Jodi’s books, Anxious Kids; How Children Can Turn Their Anxiety Into Resilience,  co-written with Michael Grose (2019), and her latest release, Anxious Mums; How Mums Can Turn Their Anxiety Into Strength (2020), offer parents, in particular mothers, advice on how to manage and minimalise anxiety, so they can maximise their potential, elevate their health and maintain their wellbeing.

The more I learned about anxiety, the more important it was to share what I was learning.”

Jodi’s first-hand experiences have inspired her work today, stating, “The more I learned about anxiety, the more important it was to share what I was learning.”

Jodi’s first signs of experiencing anxiety appeared at the early age of four. Her first symptoms began in prep, experiencing an upset stomach each day. Her class of 52 students, managed by two teachers, was stressful enough, on top of her everyday battles. Jodi recalls, “There was a lot of yelling and it wasn’t a very relaxing or peaceful environment, it obviously triggered anxiety in me, I have a genetic predisposition towards it, as it runs in my family.”

Twenty years later, the death of a family member triggered a major clinical depression for Jodi. She began seeking treatment however, it was in finding an amazing psychologist, that helped her to identify she was battling an underlying anxiety disorder. Jodi discloses, “It was recognised that I had undiagnosed anxiety. I didn’t really know that what I had experienced all my life up until that point had been any sort of disorder, that was just my temperament and personality.” 

After many years of seeing her psychologist, Jodi eventually weaned off her medication and managed her anxiety with exercise and meditation. Offering advice on finding the right psychologist Jodi states, “For me it was my third that was the right fit. I really encourage anyone if the psychologist you were referred to doesn’t feel like the right fit, then they’re not and it’s time to go back to your GP. Having the right professional that you’re talking to and having a good relationship with is really important for the therapeutic relationship.”

Jodi highlights the importance of prioritising mental wellbeing, affirming, “The more we can open up and talk about our journeys, the more we encourage other people to do the same and normalise the experience.”

Anxious Mums came into fruition after a mum in the audience of one of Jodi’s speaking engagements emailed Jodi’s publisher stating, “Jodi has to write a book, all mums have to hear what she has to say.”

Everyday efforts new mothers face, consign extra pressure on wellbeing and showcase the need to counteract anxiety before it subordinates everyday lifestyles. While Jodi’s children are now early adolescents, she reflects upon the early stages of new motherhood, “Ultimately when I became a mum with all the extra uncertainty and responsibility, as well as lack of sleep, my mental health really declined to a point where I ended up deciding to take medication, which was ultimately life changing.”

When I became a mum with all the extra uncertainty and responsibility, as well as lack of sleep, my mental health really declined to a point where I ended up deciding to take medication, which was ultimately life changing.”

New mothers experience heightened anxiety as they approach multiple challenges of parenthood; from conceiving, through the journey of pregnancy, birth and perpetually, thereafter. Becoming a mother provided Jodi with insight into new challenges, in particular struggles with breastfeeding and lack of sleep. She shares, “It’s something that we don’t have much control over, particularly as new parents. We just kind of get used to operating on a lot less sleep and it doesn’t serve us well in terms of our mental health, particularly if there have been challenges in the past or a pre-existing disorder.

Research suggests women’s brains process stress differently to men, with testosterone also said to be somewhat protective against anxiety. This, along with different coping mechanisms of women, highlight statistic disparity between gender. For early mothers in particular, it is a time of immense change, as their everyday lives are turned upside down. New schedules, accountability and hormonal changes increase the likelihood of anxiety and depression, which are also commonly triggered in the postpartum period.

Jodi elaborates on important hormonal timeframes that shift women’s mental wellbeing stating, “Anxiety is heightened during times of hormonal changes as well as in the key points in our reproductive lives. Through having children and menopause and alike. It’s more disabling in that it impacts our lives in different ways to men, particularly I think, because we’re usually the main carers. There are stay at home dads, but predominantly that’s what women tend to do.”

Normal anxiety is infrequent and settles down, but when someone suffers a disorder, they can have incessant worry and avoidance. This can include anxiety around not wanting to participate, attend a function, for example, try something new or step up in a work role. Anxiety disorders can be crippling, leaving sufferers feeling as though they are unable to live their best life.

There’s no harm in going and asking the question because the gap between the first symptoms of anxiety and seeking help is still eight years in Australia.”

There are many telling physical signs and symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Some indicative signs to look out for include a racing heart, trembling, sick stomach, frequent perspiration and dizziness that accompanies shortness of breath. Jodi says, “If you think that your anxiety might be a problem, that’s absolutely the time to go and make an appointment to see your GP. There’s no harm in going and asking the question because the gap between the first symptoms of anxiety and seeking help is still eight years in Australia.”

“Half of all mental illness comes on by around the ages of fourteen. Most adults who have anxiety can track it back to when they were teenagers or children.”

Just as anxiety is common for mothers, it’s also important to observe and be aware of in children. Jodi reveals, “For parents it’s important to know that half of all mental illness comes on by around the age of fourteen. Most adults who have anxiety can track it back to when they were teenagers or children. 75 percent of all mental illness comes on by about the age of 25, with one in seven children [4-17 years old] being diagnosed with a mental illness, and half of those have anxiety.”

“75 percent of all mental illness comes on by about the age of 25, with one in seven children [4-17 years old] being diagnosed with a mental illness, and half of those have anxiety

These pre-covid statistics highlight significant numbers of anxiety in adolescents. However, with the current climate prevalent of immense loss of control, many are facing new heightened emotions and increased numbers of anxiety. Early research coming out of Monash University is showcasing significant growth of adults with depression and anxiety, including statistics of children in the early ages of one to five experiencing symptoms.

Similar research has given light to evidence portraying children mirroring stress responses of their parents. Jodi further explains, “They can pick up the changes in our own heart rate, in our stress response — we are told that as new mums aren’t we, that our babies can pick up on how we are feeling but the science proves that to be true as well.” Parenting is a consequential way in which children receive cognitive biases and behaviours, “Just the tone of our voice, the expressions on our face, the way that we speak, what we say, certainly can be picked up on by kids and mirrored back.”

Noticing these early signs in your children is essential to alleviating anxiety before it progresses, Jodi lists some signs to be aware of, “Avoidance is a hallmark sign of anxiety — I don’t want to go, I don’t want to participate, I don’t want to deliver that oral presentation in class, I don’t want to go to camp and so watching out for that sort of thing. Other signs and symptoms to look out for include big emotions. If your children seem more teary or angry than usual, are feeling worried or avoidant, can’t concentrate, having trouble remembering or difficulty sleeping.” It’s important to be aware and help counteract anxiety when you see it. 

Jodi offers parents, who are struggling coping with their children’s anxiety some advice stating, “It’s an age old question, how much do we push and when do we hold back; I think as parents we are constantly answering that question. We don’t always get it right, but the thing about avoidance is it only makes anxiety worse. So for the child who is anxious about going to school, the more they stay home, the harder it will be to front up on another day. Sometimes, we need to nudge them forward in small steps and that’s a technique called step-laddering. It’s about making a step in that direction.”

Jodi encourages parents to observe their children’s symptoms and to never feel ashamed to go see a GP.  She urges, “Sometimes we get that reassurance from a GP, it might just be developmental, but the sooner kids are getting the help they need, the better, and it’s the same for us as mums.”

There are simple everyday steps we can take to combat anxiety. When someone is anxious a threat has been detected within the brain, this part of the brain is called the amygdala, one of the most powerful strategies for managing this stress detection is regulant meditation. 

Jodi explains, “What meditation does is it brings our attention to the present, so we are paying attention to what’s happening in the moment.” Meditation recognises deliberate breathing with a focus equally on exhalation as inhalation, proven to be calming to the anxious brain, using the relaxation response. 

Commending the importance of the practice and its effect on functioning, Jodi describes, “Meditation is more that sort of seated and formal practice of focusing the breath. What we know this will do over time, is it reduces the size and sensitivity of the amygdala, so it’s less sensitive to threat which reduces long-term anxiety. For the average person, our minds wander around 50 percent of the time, when we can bring our attention back to the present we are much more likely to be able to settle our anxiety, and feel happier as well.”

Another everyday strategy for combatting anxiety is exercise. Jodi shares her experience and routine stating, “Exercise is something I’ve used my whole life to calm my anxiety. Even now, I do cross-fit, karate and walks every week. I think naturally I was managing my health and wellbeing without really understanding why, I just knew that it made me feel good.”

The fight or flight response tied to anxiety powers us up to fight physically to save our lives or to flee. So often, when someone is anxious, they are powered up in this way, but not doing anything about it. Jodi shares, “When we move, it’s the natural end to the fight or flight response. Not only that, when we exercise we release serotonin, which is a feel good neural transmitter, among with gamma aminobutyric acid, a neural transmitter that puts the breaks on our anxiety response helping to calm us down.” 

Jodi’s practice in physiology, working with clients using exercise to help them with their mental and physical health has led her to her understandings, “One of the things I can 100 percent tell you is that it’s best not to wait until you feel motivated — the motivation will come once you get into the routine of it.

Dr Jodi Richardson, anxiety & wellbeing speaker, bestselling author & consultant

I’d just like to say, anxiety isn’t something we need to get rid of to really be able to thrive, to do what we need to do and accomplish what’s important to us. But I really encourage to anyone, that there are lots of ways to dial it back. I think it’s very easy for us to wait until we feel 100 percent to do something, but doing anything meaningful is hard.

So don’t wait until your anxiety is gone because you might be waiting a long time.”

 

 

 

 

Anxious Kids Penguin Books Australia, Author: Michael Grose, Dr Jodi Richardson RRP: $34.99 Anxious Mums Penguin Books Australia , Author: Dr Jodi Richardson  RRP: $34.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help now, call triple zero (000)

Lifeline:  Provides 24-hour crisis counselling, support groups and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14, text on 0477 13 11 14 (12pm to midnight AEST) or chat online.

Beyond Blue: Aims to increase awareness of depression and anxiety and reduce stigma. Call 1300 22 4636, 24 hours/7 days a week, chat online or email.

Kids Helpline: : Is Australia’s only free 24/7 confidential and private counselling service specifically for children and young people aged 5 – 25. Call 1800 55 1800

To learn more about Dr Jodi Richardson’s work, watch the full interview below or on our YouTube channel.

 

 

Twelve simple and healthy dessert snacks that have minimal preparation, quick-step methods and nutritional benefits.

Summer is just around the corner, and for anyone who has been searching for a sweet treat that will hit the spot but remain guilt-free these twelve simple and healthy dessert snack recipes are ready for your everyday repertoire. From pancakes, to peanut butter oats to sorbet and homemade nice-cream there is something for the whole family to enjoy. 

1. Easy Watermelon Sorbet

For those who are searching for something fresh but also like to indulge in the sweeter side, watermelon sorbet is the way.

Ingredients

• 3-4 cups of frozen de-seeded watermelon • 3/4 cup of coconut cream
• Half a small lime

Method

Blend and Enjoy!

2. Two Ingredient Mango Sorbet

A two ingredient simple mango sorbet that cools your cravings throughout the summer months.

Ingredients

• 3 cups of frozen mango • 1 can of coconut milk

Method

Blend and Enjoy!

3. Creamy Coconut Nice-Cream

Summer calls for creamy coconut goodness, nice-cream can be eaten as made or poured into ice cream frozen moulds ready to enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 frozen bananas (depending on the desired serving size)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coconut cream

Method

Blend and Enjoy!

4. Chocolate Peanut Butter Nice-cream

Perfect for the chocolate lovers a creamy and fresh consistency through healthy and natural ingredients.

Ingredients

• 4 frozen bananas
• 3 tbsp natural peanut butter • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
• 1/4 cup almond milk

Method

Blend and Enjoy!

5. Very Berry Nice-Cream

An easy and fresh berry combination perfect for a summer afternoon by the pool.

Ingredients

• 2 Frozen bananas
• 1 cup frozen berries
• 2 tbsp almond milk
• 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Method

Blend and Enjoy!

6. Chia Pudding

If you’ve been searching for an overnight snack option for those who love to healthy meal prep a chia pudding is a simple recipe that you can change up toppings daily.

Ingredients

• 1/4 cup chia seeds
• 1/2 cup of almond or coconut milk

Toppings of choice eg. Banana, Honey, Greek yoghurt

Method

Combine and refrigerate overnight. In the morning the chia seeds will have expanded and softened, ready to top with topping of choice!


7. Overnight Chocolate Oats

A solution for all of the chocolate lovers big and small, chocolate oats are a satisfying overnight breakfast or a ready-to-eat chocolate snack conquering cravings.

Ingredients

• 1 tbsp cocoa powder
• 50-100 grams oats
• 150 ml almond milk
• 1 tbsp natural peanut butter

Toppings of choice eg. Banana, berries, yoghurt or peanut butter.

Method

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate overnight. Top with toppings of choice and enjoy!

8. Baked Snickers Oats

Offering warm baked goodness of oats, with a melt-in-your mouth sensation the kids (and parents) will love as an after school treat or dessert.

Ingredients

• 1 cup of oats
• 1 tbsp cocoa powder
• 1 cup almond milk
• 1 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
• Dark chocolate chips (optional)

Method

Combine ingredients and blend together.
Transfer the blended mixture to a small baking dish.
Top with dark chocolate chips (optional) and a small
tsp of natural peanut butter in the middle before baking for 15 mins. The peanut butter will melt into the chocolate oats and be ready to enjoy!

9.Banana and Egg Pancake

Sunday morning breakfast just got a whole lot healthier, nutritious and delicious these pancakes are a simple revision to your classic repertoire.

Ingredients

• 1-2 mashed banana
• 2 eggs
• 1 tbsp Chia seeds / LSA Mix (Optional)

Toppings of choice eg. Mixed Berries, Greek Yoghurt, Honey, Peanut Butter.

Method

Mash the banana and combine in a bowl with eggs. Optional to add chia seeds or LSA mix-ins. Whisk until fully combined. Cook in a saucepan for roughly 5 minutes each side [lipping like a regular pancake until cooked on both sides!

Top with toppings of choice. Enjoy!

10. Cookie Dough

For all those cookie loving kids (big kids included) this recipe is a simple way to satisfy your cravings.

Ingredients

• 1 cup oat [lour
• 1/3 cup coconut milk
• 1 cup dates
• 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips • 1 tsp vanilla

Method

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate!

11. Peanut Butter and Date Cookies

The cookies that will transform your baking, a gluten and guilt free alternative, these can also be a great Christmas cookie.

Ingredients

• 1/2 cup natural peanut butter • 1/4 cup maple syrup
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups almond meal

• 1/2 cup chopped dates • 1 tsp baking soda

Method

Mix wet ingredients; peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla in one bowl. Mix dry ingredients; almond meal and baking soda in a seperate bowl. Combine both mixes and fold in the dates to mixture.
Seperate and roll mixture into bowls, [latten and bake for 10 minutes. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

12. Vegan Museli Bars

The perfect lunchbox or after school snack, prepare and store for throughout the week!

Ingredients

• 1 mashed ripe banana
• 1/4 cup maple syrup
• 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
• 1/4 cup loosely chopped almonds • 1/4 cup loosely chopped walnuts • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
• 1/4 cup gogi berries

Method

Roast the nuts and oats in the oven for 15 minutes.
In a saucepan combine peanut butter, mashed banana and maple syrup and stir until a melted consistency.
When the oats and nuts are lightly toasted combine them to the saucepan mixture add gogi berries and mix together in a bowl.
Pour the mixture and press down with a spatula into a baking dish lined with paper. Put some more baking paper onto of mix and use the spatula to press down tightly.

Place in fridge for about 1 hour to set.
Take the paper off mixture and cut into bars and Enjoy!