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Kelsey Kropf

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Anxiety, anger and trepidation are all common feelings your children might face when going back to school. Here are some tips to help ease them back into the school routines.

Amidst lockdowns, work from home and isolation requirements the last two school years have been nothing but linear. With a new year emerging from the hopeful end of the tumultuous pandemic brings new precautions, routines and expectations for what school might look like. There are some things you can do to prepare for onsite learning and remember you have been ‘back to school’ before.

Talk to your child about what is happening and set goals

Open conversations will be important, as your children will probably have a lot of questions about the new procedures their school has in place, or why some of their friends or teachers are away. It might be difficult to get your children to like school again after the flexibility of at home learning. Set goals with them they can achieve over the school year, such as packing their bag each day, learning to tie their shoes or to get their pen licence.

Schedule normal family time as something to look forward to for after school. Ask them what they are excited for and what they have missed, whether this is school choir or playing in the playground.

children in classroom art

Be ready for a range of emotions

You might need to prepare for school refusal, your child being extremely upset about going back to school and not wanting to attend classes. Every child will be different, so assess the needs of yours individually.

It is normal for your child to come home from their first day back at school feeling overwhelmed, anxious or even disappointed that school feels different. It could be that their best friend hasn’t come back to school, or that their friendship groups have changed over the break. Talk candidly about friendships and how they evolve over time.

kid reading book

Use a planner and establish routines

Learning from home meant children could work at their own pace, so they might face fatigue and stress upon going back to a full school day. Start now by setting up playdates so that your child will be more prepared for a full classroom setting and the noises and sensory overload that comes with a busy playground.

There is no need to rush back into everything, and it may be hard to see great progress immediately. Ease your child back into extracurricular activities or seeing their friends outside of the classroom. Use lunchboxes for daytime meals at home, and go over drop-off and pick-up routines. Rehearse a normal school day in the week before its return to re-establish familiarity. Do the school shopping together and get a new item such as coloured pens to get your children excited about going back to school.

children and teacher in classroom

Reassure your child it is safe, and believe this yourself

Where you can, give your child stability in processes that you can control. This may be getting them in great hand-washing, mask and sanitisation routines or teaching them about air purification devices that may be present in the classroom to stop the spread of infectious particles.

Assure your child that decisions will be made if it were unsafe to go back to school, and acknowledge that their range of emotions such as excitement, relief, worry, anger and disappointment are all normal. Reinforce good hygiene practices – consider singing their favourite team song when washing their hands.

apple on stack of books

Reach out for support when necessary

Communication with teachers will be crucial to understand how your child is coping coming back into the classroom. After a hands-on home-schooling experience, your child might require more 1:1 support moving forward. Talk to your children about what they are learning, and engage with their curriculum to assist when you can. Parental stress might also be an issue, with fears of the changes to school and work life that come with challenging times.

If you or your child are struggling, visit your local GP, contact 1800 333 497, or visit findapsychologist.org.au.

children studying

Christmas is the most celebrated holiday of the year, but every country does it differently. Here’s a quick insight into the weird and wonderful Christmas traditions from around the globe.

According to the encyclopaedia Britannica, December 25th (‘mass on Christ’s day) was first recognised as the birth of Jesus in the year 221, but only began to be celebrated widely in the 9th century. Now it is one of the most popular holidays with over 2 billion people considering it to be the most important holiday of the year.

A typical Australian Christmas is hot, with BBQ’s and Carols by Candlelight a staple. Most Australians and Americans open gifts on Christmas day, whereas most places in Europe share presents on Christmas Eve. Here’s a look into other countries around the world and the quirky ways they celebrate Christmas.

Japan – Fried chicken

Japan is less than one percent Christian, but one tradition that has stuck is eating KFC or other fried chicken on Christmas, with more than 4 million people tucking into the finger lickin’ food on this day each year. This unusual tradition began after a successful marketing campaign by KFC in 1974 called Kurisumasi ni wa kentakkii! (Kentucky for Christmas!).

family and chicken

Ukraine – Spiderwebs on Christmas trees

In Ukraine, families decorate their Christmas tree with spiderwebs as a sign of good luck. It is based on old folklore about a family who couldn’t afford ornaments and decorations for their tree, and spiderwebs became a symbol of good fortune on Christmas. It is also tradition to have 12 course feasts, one for every apostle!

Slovakia – Carp catching

In one of the most interesting Christmas traditions, Slovakians catch carp and keep them in a bathtub of freshwater swimming until Christmas Eve and eaten for their dinner feast. The significance of the Carp is in its scales. They are said to bring good luck and fortune into the new year.

Iceland – 13 Yule Lads

Instead of Santa, Icelandic children are visited by the 13 Yule Lads in the 13 nights leading up to Christmas. Children leave their shoes by a window and the Yule trolls leave gifts and sweets for nice boys and girls and rotten potatoes for the misbehaved!

homemade advent calendar

Sweden – Saint Lucia and the giant goat

In Sweden the Christmas celebrations begin on December 13, marked by Saint Lucia’s Day and a festival to celebrate light. In the night parade, one girl is selected as ‘Lucia’, the Christian saint, and leads a procession of people wearing white robes and carrying candles above their head along with star-headed wands.

In the Swedish city of Gävle, a 13-metre-high straw goat is put up in the city centre to mark the start of Advent. The first Yule Goat was erected in 1966 and burnt down on New Year’s Eve. The tradition has lasted but is a big target for vandals, the most recent goat to be incinerated was the 2016 mascot.

Norway – Hiding brooms

The legend in Norway is that witches will arrive on Christmas Eve. Norwegians hide their brooms in the safest room in their house on this night in the hopes of fending off evil and dark spirits the witches might bring.

lights and people

Venezuela – Rollerblading Santas

In Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela, the streets are closed on Christmas morning so that citizens can roller skate to church services. They are guided along by fireworks and skaters dressed up as Santas and other Christmas related costumes!

Spain – Caga Tió

In the Spanish region of Catalonia, the Caga Tió (Pooping log) or Tió de Nadal (Christmas Log) arrives in early December to mark the Christmas season. This large log is decorated with Christmas hats and facial features and as far as the name goes, it ‘poops’ out presents when children hit it with a stick, singing the traditional Caga Tió song!

christmas lights woman in beanie

Whist Christmas is a time of joy it is also a time of excess. Wasteful habits can be minimised by being mindful of more sustainable practices to follow in this season.

Christmas is one of the most exciting times of the year, but unfortunately significantly contributes to overproduction and unnecessary waste. Australians receive over 20 million unwanted gifts at Christmas and more than 250,000 tonnes of food is wasted each year. Here are some ways to practice sustainability and be more environmentally conscious over this festive season.

Source sustainable wrapping paper and use e-cards

Australians use more than 150,000km of wrapping paper over Christmas. This is the equivalent of about 50,000 trees and enough to wrap around the equator four times. Most wrapping paper is recyclable but sticky tape, ribbons, bows and most glitters are not. To determine if your wrapping paper is recyclable, scrunch it. If it un-scrunches easily, it likely has elements in it that are not recyclable.

There are many alternatives that could be used, such as brown, eco-friendly recyclable paper and twine, newspaper or fabric wrapping paper. Cloths, sheets, scarfs and bandanas are all reusable and sustainable options to wrapping paper. Furoshiki is a Japanese method of using cloth to transport gifts, a great zero waste option that adds a unique twist to your gift.

gifts wrapped with twine

Around one billion Christmas cards end up in the bin each year. Consider giving your loved ones a call or emailing them an online card you’ve created. Reuse old cards or cut out tags with brown paper and twine as a better alternative to a card that will only be read once!

Go meat free or choose local products

The holidays are a time of sharing gifts and food with your loved ones but are also a season of waste. Around 9 out of 10 Australians discard over 25% of their food during this period. To reduce your waste, only buy what you need, use the food you have and be organised to plan out your meals. Approximately five million Christmas puddings are thrown away each year. Think about what food guests will actually enjoy rather than the traditional options that don’t get touched. Use reusable cutlery and napkins at events for nice decorations and better options for landfill.

Consider going meat free just for the holidays! However, if you like this season for this reason investigate where your produce is coming from. Buying seasonal produce and Australian farmed and sourced protein such as muscles and prawns are a more sustainable choice. Doing so reduces your food miles, the costs associated with transportation and refrigeration of goods.

siblings decorating christmas tree

Choose quality gifts over quantity

The average Australian spends $475 on gifts with less than half being appreciated. To ensure your gifts will be kept, look for unique presents and choose one or two quality gifts over four or five that may not be loved. By choosing something from a local market or a smaller retailer rather than sites like Amazon, you are more likely to find something one of a kind, of better quality and have the chance to boost a sustainable local economy. Alternatively, you could gift an experience rather than material things, or presents that aren’t easily disposable and care for the earth – like a Poinsettia, a Christmas plant!

woman sipping drink at christmas market

Source real trees and LED Christmas lights

If you are buying an artificial tree, ensure it is one that lasts. The environmental impact of these trees is 10 times greater than real trees as they are often not recyclable, ending up in landfill. Real trees are biodegradable or able to be replanted and are a great alternative if you will not keep your artificial tree for more than 10 years. If you are not a fan of bugs and twigs that come with real trees, consider putting some lights and baubles onto a plant, and repurposing your Devil’s Ivy or Fiddle Leaf Figs!

LED lights use about 80-90% less energy than incandescent lights you might usually find in your home. They are a safer, durable and longer-lasting option that don’t get hot to touch and will still give your tree and house the Christmas sparkle it needs. Set a timer to turn the LED lights off when they aren’t needed.

christmas tree flowchart
Source: House Beautiful

Along with being more sustainable this Christmas, consider the true meaning of the holiday season and ensure you spend time with your loved ones to be grateful for what you have.

family putting up christmas tree

It’s tropical season and coming into the summer months is the best time to look at new fruits to introduce into your diet. These are the most popular fruits of this season and their well-documented benefits for children.

PINEAPPLE

It’s November and pineapples are finally in season! To tell if they are ripe, sniff the stem and if it smells sweet, it is the one! Pineapples are rich in Vitamin C, B-6 and magnesium. Since they have a high content of Vitamin C, they are an essential tropical fruit that will help boost your baby’s immune health and help their body absorb iron from other foods.

If you are introducing pineapple to your child’s diet for the first time, try it in small doses to see how their system reacts. Pineapples can be introduced to your baby’s diet from six months old. They work well as a basic mash or even a puree, added to yoghurt or cereal.

Pineapple has been known to:

  • Improve hydration. Pineapples have 85 grams of water per 100 grams. This high level of water content not only makes pineapple a juicy fruit but helps to fight dehydration.
  • Regulate bowel movement. Pineapple also contains a good amount of fibre to help support healthy bowels and keep constipation at bay.
  • Help support a healthy heart. Pineapples contain bromelain, enzymes that have cardioprotective benefits when consumed regularly. Bromelain also has analgesic properties that can help relieve pain or control inflammation.

field of pineapples

MANGO

Talking tropical fruits that are in season, mangoes are one of the best fun fruits your child can consume! Named ‘king of fruits’, the mango is recognised as the most popular fruit in the world. When picking the best mango, squeeze them lightly to judge ripeness rather than looking by colour. If they give a little, they will be a good pick.

They are a good texture for babies. Good for babies who might be teething, as they can be frozen and soothe sore gums. As mangoes are full of fibre and digestive enzymes, they will help break down foods and prevent constipation.

There are various benefits for introducing mangoes into your child’s diet.  These include:

  • Promoting good health. Mangoes contain colourful phytonutrients, compounds that help maintain good health. Their high levels of fibre also promote a healthy gut.
  • Improving eyesight. Due to a high level of vitamin A, mangoes help foster good vision as this nutrient prevents multiple eye related issues.
  • Great skin. Vitamins A and C present in mangoes have been shown to improve complexion and moisturise the skin.
  • Improving memory. Glutamine acid is present in mangoes, an amino acid that assists in brain development and proper functioning.

mangoes and mango smoothie

PAPAYA

Papayas are often thought of as an exotic or rare fruit but have been used for centuries, particularly to treat worm infections. You will find them next to mangoes and pineapples when in season.  Papayas should be introduced in small amounts when your child is around seven to eight months old. Caution should be taken when introducing papaya if your child is prone to allergies, so ensure to watch for side effects such as irritations or stomach aches.

There are different benefits associated with papayas, including:

  • Healing properties. Due to a high content of vitamin A, papaya pulp offers medicinal properties that may reduce the visibility and burning sensation of skin sores and rashes.
  • Preventing macular degeneration. Papayas contain zeaxanthin, a carotenoid which helps protect the eyes from light-induced damage and oxidation. This can help to combat the harsh blue light rays that emanate from devices.
  • Preventing allergies. Papayas contain a high level of papain, a proteolytic enzyme which can help reduce pain and swelling, and boost overall health.

papayas and pomegranates

AVOCADO

Since smashed avo has become a trend, avocados have been at the forefront of the fruit and veg section. This is a trend you might want to buy into, because the nutritional value of the Hass is worth introducing to your child’s diet. Avocados are easy to prepare, making a good guacamole or addition to a salad and will ripen quickly in the fruit bowl.

woman with open avocado

There are various benefits for including avocado in your child’s diet, and it makes a great first food due to its texture and versatility.  Some other benefits of avocados include:

PASSIONFRUIT

Passionfruit is a healthy option for babies when ripe. It is a good alternative to unhealthier desserts as it is still sweet and tart and goes well in yoghurts or smoothies. They also hold a low GI value, meaning they will not cause a steep increase in blood sugar after eating.

There are several benefits of including this tropical fruit in your diet.  The most notable include:

  • Good bone health. Due to a high level of minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and phosphorus, eating passion fruits may improve bone strength and density. A high content of iron also helps prevent Anaemia.
  • Supporting the immune system. Passion fruits are rich in antioxidants such as carotenoids and cryptoxanthin and vitamins A and C. The seeds in particular contain lots of these antioxidants which can promote positive heart health.
  • Anti-carcinogenic properties. The antioxidants present in passion fruits help to eliminate free radicals, which mutate the DNA of healthy cells into cancerous cells.
  • Reducing anxiety and stress. High levels of magnesium present in passion fruits have been shown to minimise triggers of anxiety and stress.

passion fruits

Walking 10,000 steps a day has been linked to various health benefits and reducing the risk of disease, and a healthy focus for weight loss. However, the basis for this target being introduced was not scientific or medical.

10,000 steps is a well-known target, however this amount did not originate in medical or scientific studies as you might have thought. The Manpo-kei step meter was created by the Yamasa Clock and Instrument Company.  Its marketing campaign was created by a Japanese health science professor who believed that walking 10,000 steps a day would help Japanese people avoid obesity.

The advertisements for the pedometer said “Let’s walk 10,000 steps a day!”, with the number 10,000 being chosen for the fact that it looks like a person walking in Japanese characters.

Celebrities such as Will Smith and Simon Cowell have taken to the 10,000 step challenge, likely due to advice from celebrity trainers. Harley Pasternack gives this advice to his clients including Adam Levine and Amy Schumer as a daily goal to challenge and motivate them to stay active.

The more steps the better!

Whilst the campaign for 10,000 steps may not have originated from a medical background, the sentiment remains a recognised goal. Most experts agree with the approximation of 10,000, slating this as a target as well as 30 minutes of activity a day. This is in line with the Australian guidelines which recommend 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. Whilst there is no real rule, 5,000 steps a day is recognised as a minimum target, with anything less being considered sedentary.

Research has found that those who track their steps take an average of 2,500 more steps per day. Pedometers are mostly a thing of the past, with fitness watches such as the Apple Watch or Fitbit motivating walkers to reach step goals and activity rings. This can be a good way to stay motivated as you can compare counts and challenge friends and family.

legs walking up stairs with bright coloured shoes

Benefits of walking more

Walking is a low-impact workout available to almost everyone with good walking shoes, and a 2015 report found that Australians walked the most, with an average of 9,695 steps a day.

An Australian study found that the risk of prematurely dying was reduced by 6% with every 1,000 steps increase per day. This same study found that those who took 10,000 steps or more had a 46% lower chance of having an early death than those who didn’t.

There are several health benefits associated with walking more, including the following:

There are several social and emotional benefits to walking more each day, including:

  • Opportunities to engage with new people and friends, reducing anti-social behaviour
  • Improved self-esteem and confidence
  • A higher level of concentration
  • Better management of anxiety and stress

10,000 steps is often recommended as a target for weight loss. An average person will burn around 3,500 calories per week from walking this amount, roughly translating to half a kilo of fat. This should only be an indication however, as your speed and body weight will affect the amount of calories that you burn.

Recommended steps per age range

10,000 steps is regarded as a reasonable target for most healthy adults, who on average take 4,000 to 18,000 steps per day. Children however, already take around 10,000-16,000 steps per day.

The Australian guidelines to physical activity do not denote a specific number of recommended daily steps based on age, but instead base their recommendations around minutes of physical and vigorous activity. Young children aged 1-5 should be physically active every day for at least three hours in total. For children aged 5-12, this recommendation includes vigorous physical activity for at least one hour per day.

Adolescents aged 13-17 should also engage in at least 60 minutes of vigorous physical activity per day, focusing on activities that can help strengthen muscle and bone.

For adults aged 18-64, a minimum target of 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity is recommended per week, with a combination of at least 75 minutes of vigorous activity. This amounts to a rough estimation of 10,000 steps per day.

Older Australians aged 65 years and older should aim to accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day, and continue at a level they did throughout their earlier life. A Harvard Health study found that for older women, 10,000 steps is a large goal, and instead taking a modest 4,400 steps per day at minimum was associated with a 41% lower risk of dying compared to other women taking 2,500 or less.

table of step counts by age
Source: First Quote Health

Ways to increase your step count

If you are finding it difficult to spend time walking to increase your step count and don’t have access to a treadmill whilst watching TV, there are other simple ways to increase your step count. This may include:

  • Getting a dog. If you’re a regular walker, training and being kept accountable by pets is a great way to stay motivated to walk.
  • Using a standing desk and standing up during commercial breaks.
  • Breaking walks into multiple little ones per day.
  • Walking with friends to socialise.
  • Cleaning your house.
  • Taking the stairs wherever possible.
  • Walking in shopping centres when the weather is poor.
  • Parking your car further than usual from your destination.

The industry you work in will also impact the amount of steps you do per day. For example, hospitality workers do roughly 23,000 per day, retail workers 15,000 but clerical and office workers less than 7,000.

woman walking shoes

If you’re someone who walks an average of 7-8,000 steps a day, considering challenging yourself to 10,000 steps to see the well-documented benefits. Remember the more steps the better, so don’t try to take more than 20,000 steps a day if you are just beginning to increase your walking capabilities, as you may burn out. Too much walking can take a toll physically and mentally, so remember to only do what challenges you, not society’s expectations.

You might think gambling isn’t a kid’s problem, but most children have gambled in some way by the age of 15. Gambling is illegal for young people but is becoming increasingly common. This is why it should become a normal conversation to have early, like talks of drinking, drugs and sex.

The problem

A 2020 NSW survey found that 30% of young people aged 12-17 gambled over the last year, and their introduction to gambling began at age 11 or 12. Despite its illegality, a 2018 report by Growing Up In Australia found that one in six adolescents aged 16-17 reported some form of gambling.

1 in six 16-17 year olds gambled in the past year
Source: Growing up in Australia 2018

There are several risks linked with excessive gambling. These include:

classroom statistics
Source: Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation 2017

Types of gambling

Gambling may begin in childhood with games at home, buying lottery tickets or scratch cards, and in adolescence betting on races or sports. The use of video game gambling is increasing, with excessive video gaming recognised as a growing health concern.

With the options available in the online world, spending money on virtual goods is becoming more common. The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation found in 2017 that 34% of Australian young people made in-game purchases for online games.

Loot box features are becoming more common, where random rewards can be purchased with real money, a sort of lottery to increase playing incentives. Social casino games are often engaged with as an introduction to the world of gambling.  A 2016 study found that 54% of Facebook games had gambling content, and 22% alluded to slot machines, showing the need for education on the risks of gambling.

graph describing youth gambling activities
Source: Growing up in Australia 2018

Risk and protective factors

Children are more susceptible to gambling problems due to developmental and cognitive immaturities combined with peer pressure. Some common risk factors associated with higher likelihood of engaging in gambling include:

  • Alcohol use
  • Depression
  • Smoking
  • Drug use
  • Impulsivity
  • Violence
  • Temperaments
  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Poor academic performance
  • Mental health disorders

A 2018 report by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation recognised protective factors that could limit a child’s exposure to gambling problems.  These include:

  • No substance abuse
  • Low impulsivity
  • High self-esteem
  • Low risk-taking
  • Future-oriented thinking
  • The ability to regulate emotions

credit card and laptop shopping

Preventing the problem before it begins

Gambling should be a topic of conversations when children are young enough to understand the implications of betting and using real money. It can become a problem early in adolescence, carrying into adulthood. There are recognised ways to prevent gambling becoming a problem which mostly involve open communication and limiting screen activity.

gambling problems beginning
Source: Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation 2017

Explain how gambling works

Children in primary school will generally be ready to learn about gambling. Talk to them about the likelihood of winning compared to other chances. The likelihood of winning the jackpot for Powerball is around 1 in 290 million. However, the chance of finding a four-leaf clover is 1 in every 10,000! They should know that gambling your own money is something to be taken seriously, but having fun is also okay. Encourage sharing your betting activities, so habits that can get out of control are not hidden.

Ensure your family attitudes and activities are a reflection of your stance

Your family’s attitude to gambling can influence your child. The less they are exposed, the less likely they could develop a problem. If you gamble regularly, your child might see this as normal behaviour and want to copy. Gambling language, such as ‘I bet you can’t shoot three baskets in a row, if you do we can go for ice-cream’ can be used to encourage children. There is a fine line between healthy gambling messages and unhealthy habits.

Set limits for screen use and online gambling

Allowing your children to play online video games with gambling content can lead to addictive habits and make them want to play until they keep winning. Do not connect your credit card to gambling-type games, and ensure your children know life is not always about winning. Supporting positive mental health by promoting non-digital interests is important.

young person with mobile phone

Look out for warning signs

If your child is struggling at school or with friends, they might be more susceptible to develop a gambling problem as an escape. Be on the lookout for these problems, such as focusing on sports odds rather than the sport itself, or changes in the amount of money your child has. Encourage more positive extracurricular activities than betting or gambling games. Ask them what games they play and remember to talk to them about how real-life betting works.

teenagers and adults gambling

Compulsive gambling is a recognised addiction that is treatable, but easier to prevent. It is becoming increasingly common in children and adolescents, so it is important to recognise gambling behaviours to prevent betting from becoming a bigger problem. If you know or suspect anyone to be struggling with gambling behaviours, seek help at Gambler’s Help on 1800 858 858.

Spirits and signs, how do they shape your life? Psychic Helen Jacobs shares ways we can connect with our spirit guides, notice the signs and find our life’s purpose.

Helen Jacobs, psychic and author of You Already Know – a comprehensive guide to spiritualitychats with Wellspring editor, Kate Durack, discussing a framework for living more intuitively in order to see your path clearly.

Before she practised as a psychic medium, Helen was a successful PR executive. Upon the advice of her spirit guides, she was able to make this change. Helen suggests that everyone should connect with their own spirit guides to give direction to your life’s path.

A busy mum of two, Helen transformed her life’s outlook, staying grounded but believing that her spirit reaches beyond her roots. She knows the challenges life brings and taps into her psychic senses to let spirits guide her, inviting and urging others to do the same.

sunset and serenity

Spirit guides

Helen began her journey with guides in 2001 after a spirit visitation from her Aunty. After this, she began to really connect with her inner and higher guidance.

Helen has relied on spirit guides to help her through many life decisions. After studying business and journalism, Helen realised the importance of communication. However, only later and likely due to her self-proclaimed naturally curious manner, did she realise how important spirit communication is, and how it would change her life.

Helen suggests that guiding spirits are present to be called on at various times, whether that be a transitional period such as becoming a parent or other challenges in life. She knows that every life has a purpose and urges others to realise they are here for a reason, and you will be guided towards this if you use those around you.

Everyone has at least one spirit guide, who is assigned to them for the entirety of this particular lifetime.

Instead of just one spirit guide, Helen posits that everyone has access to a spiritual support team, likened to a board of advisors in a business where each spiritual guide plays a different role.  According to Helen, spirit guides do not possess a physical body and knowing they are present is not the same as sensing when someone is in the same room as you.

Their energy can be as close to us as we wish to invite it in.

girl in nature watching path

Use the ‘psychic senses’

Helen believes that everyone has psychic senses in the same way that we have the physical ones of taste, sight, smell, etc., but in a metaphysical sense.

The way that spirit is going to communicate with us is not necessarily through our physical senses, but the metaphysical.

Do the hairs on the back of your arms often stand up? Helen suggests events like this are signals that there is a lot of energy around. When you get dizzy, she likens this to a spirit being present as energy moves in circles, making you feel as though the world is spinning.

There are so many clues that our body is giving us that someone non-physical is trying to get our attention.

Colours, animals, numbers are also symbolic and can be relaying messages from the spirits around us, says Helen. Most of the time we are not even paying attention to the clues that indicate that spirits are trying to grasp our attention, she continues.

Through our intuition we can sense, we can feel that the energy in the room shifts, Helen says.

She believes in not hiding your truth and following these hunches.

tarot cards

Look backwards

Intuition plays a big role in how one expands and challenges themselves. Helen believes that everyone has a path, but this is not necessarily set in stone. Instead, listen and follow the signs around you to do what will ultimately benefit you. This intuition, she says, will help you navigate through your life’s journey.

Life will present us signposts with choices of directions and our job is to figure out, by using out intuition, which one of those directions we want to go in.

To determine what has shaped your life, Helen suggests looking at things that have shaped your life experience, as they will help inform you about how you have gotten where you are, and importantly what you will do next.

Looking backwards is one of the best ways to realise what your signposts look like.

Helen warns against getting caught up in fear-based thinking, as despite its intention to keep you safe, it might make you retreat or hide from what is presented in front of you. Instead, she encourages us to follow our intuition despite this not always being easy. In doing so, she hopes, you will be guided on your journey by the signs around you that you might be missing.

girl meditating at sunset

Ask for a sign

Once you start looking for signs, Helen says, you will find them.  Then, she believes, you will be able to see how much life is working for you. Don’t be so specific, Helen warns. For example, if you want to quit your job and ask for a yellow car to drive past as a sign, you might be waiting a while. Spirit guides can do a lot, she says, but “maybe not that.”

There is real magic in watching how the signs come to you, and what the signs are that come to us.

Helen suggests taking a step back and becoming an observer in your own life, so that you can notice what has shaped your life’s journey and start to see this “serendipitous, synchronistic life” that we are a part of.

man meditating in nature

Be present

Don’t spend too much time wondering what you purpose is, Helen urges. “Each and every moment is of purpose,” she claims, and “if there are millions of moments in a lifetime, you have already offered so much.”

Life purpose is a moot point because you don’t know what the purpose is until your life is almost is complete.

She ends the interview with an important message, reminding us to trust your intuition and its guidance.

You know more than you think you do, and when you trust yourself, your whole world can change.

Watch the full interview below or on our YouTube channel.