How to Feel 10/10 about Mental Health Day Now?

That dreaded phrase that we hear over and over again.  MENTAL HEALTH.  Why does that term make us cringe somewhat?  Lack of understanding perhaps?  Mental health is NOT mental illness

Mental health is where we want our minds to be… this is the good place to be.  So mental health is a positive phrase that we need to make part of our lives.

Today is declared World Mental Health Day… October 10th.  Today we need to feel 10/10 on this 10th day of the 10th month.  Let’s extend that… and learn all that we can about good mental health.  We can also be aware that sometimes life gets too tough… feelings of overwhelm can take over… leading us into depression or anxiety.

In Australia, 1 in every 5 people are affected by mental illness, yet so many people do not seek help because of the associated stigma attached.  We must all drop this perception and shed a more positive light on mental health.

If you had a broken leg, a gash that needed stitches, or an unknown rash… you would seek medical help without feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable.  If you need some help with your mind or thinking processes, seek help… there is no difference.  It is our responsibility to the people of our nation to drop this stigma and support everyone regardless of what medical help they need.  We can all make a huge difference by talking about it positively.

In the farming industry we are built pretty tough, sometimes show a lack of emotion and live by the “they’ll be right” or “no worries” attitude.  The mental health phrase is getting tossed about everywhere we turn at drought support events.  The Government is pumping finances in, to support farmers’ mental health.  Is that what farmers really need right now?  Perhaps… perhaps not.

As a farmer in drought, suffering the physical, emotional and financial strain… life did become too tough for me for a while last year.  Life changes and medical conditions piled on top of that, tipped me over the edge.  I did seek help starting with my local GP and I was diagnosed with depression/anxiety.

Everything around me proved that I was losing control.  This was when I found a way to take back control and to chose to develop a new mindset strategy.  I finally understood that we had NO CONTROL over the weather, the forecast… and relatively little control over our own business and finances during this drought.

But we do have control over how we react.  When we understand that we control our reactions to certain events, especially when things go wrong… life is easier to accept.  Concentrate on those things that you can change.

I chose this option.  Hitting rock bottom allowed me to find a new path… I found a new passion and developed a new business as a supplementary income to farming.  It keeps me going when I concentrate on good mental health and being proactive and positive… despite sometimes feeling that everything is against the odds.

It is important that we think about prevention rather than cure.  But deal with where you are at.  If you need help or support, ask for it.  Talk to your family… talk to your mate… just talk to someone.  Your health, and your family’s health and happiness depend on this.

Each of us deserves to feel 10 out of 10 about our mental health, so today is the day for you to make this happen:

  1. Take Care of Your Mental Health – Being healthy also means to have good emotional health.  We must be mentally healthy to be able to handle the challenges that are presented to us in our lives.  We must learn to be resilient and build strategies to move forward.
  2. Take Care of Your Body – Eat healthy foods to nourish your body, improve your mood and energy levels, making it stronger.  Exercise regularly to allow your mind more clarity and your body to become fitter.  Ensure you always speak positively about your body with your inner self-talk.  Get enough quality sleep to allow your mind and body to heal and refresh every night.  Sleeping well helps you to feel energised, allows you to focus and will protect your mental health.
  3. Embrace Your Emotions – As humans, we are designed to feel different emotions.  Sometimes we will feel sad, angry or frustrated.  Acknowledge how you feel and be aware of each emotion.  Talk about your emotions and then allow yourself to move on, letting new thoughts develop.   Don’t dwell in a state of negativity.  Learn how to manage all emotions… positive and negative.
  4. Think Positively – The way we think can have a powerful way of influencing how we feel.  Think positively every single day to teach yourself new mindset strategies.  When speaking to others, talk about the positive things in your life.  You will start to see the positive side a little more, when that is where you place your attention.
  5. Nurture Your Family and Friends – Form and maintain good relationships with others.  Nurture your family and teach your children how to manage through difficult times.  Foster your friendships and make a point to meet up regularly for social time.  Ensure your relationships are positive and meaningful.  Spending time with your pets is also great to help strengthen your mental health and wellbeing.
  6. Practice Gratitude Every Day – Write down or say something you are grateful for every single day.  Anxiety cannot be felt when gratitude is being expressed.  If you regularly practice gratitude, your mind will start looking for things to be grateful for daily.  This is great for children too.  At dinnertime, every family member can say 3 things that they were grateful for today.  This holds so much power to cope in challenging times.
  7. Focus on the Moment – Appreciate the small things in your life.  Allow yourself time to see the beauty around you.  Don’t get caught up worrying about what could have happened or what might happen.  Put strategies in place and keep making decisions.  Live in the present moment… not in the past or the future.
  8. Open Up to Someone – Find someone that you can trust to talk it through… a family member, a mate or your GP.  Talking about the tough times as well as the good times will enable you to become more resilient.  Attend social events and functions.  Share your load… and connect with others… you will probably find the load ‘magically’ becomes less heavy.  A mutual understanding becomes very supportive during tough times.
  9. Good Habits and Routine – It is important that we identify our own routine and be consistent.  We need to make an effort to structure our days and priortise our own time.  Good habits help us to learn and fuel our minds.  Find support if you need to be pointed in the right direction.  Keep doing the things that you love to do.
  10. Take a Break – We are all so time-poor… juggling work, business and family life.  Don’t forget about yourself.  You can’t be there for anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first.  Schedule some time out every week… every day… to focus on something you love.  Whether it is a walk in nature, meditation, read a book, listen to music, craft or journalling.  Find what it is for you… to be able to relax and re-fuel your mind and body.

Good mental health and well-being will give us a sense of fulfilment and connection with others.  It allows us to live our lives in a positive and meaningful way.  We become more resilient and can cope with life’s changes and challenges upon our paths.

Take care of yourself and your mates.  Accept that it is OK to not feel OK.  Seek the support you need and adopt strategies to manage stress and keep you physically and mentally healthy.

Take care, Karen.

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“Don’t believe everything you think.

Thoughts are just that – thoughts.”

~ Allan Lokos

 

Speaking to Inspire at Empowering Anxiety Event

Last night I had an opportunity to speak at Katie Godden’s Anxiety Solutions Workshop at Nemingha.  This empowering event, with 50 attendees, shared strategies to help women manage anxiety and stress.  Courage and confidence to find our own way by prioritising our own wellbeing was the key message delivered.

I shared my personal story when anxiety was crippling my life and when life changes revealed a future that scared me.  After raising my children and now needing a new life purpose, it was scary not knowing what the future will hold.  As women, we do question our position in life, our purpose and knowing who we really are.

When I started to lose that grip on my life, worry set in.  The WHAT IF cycle had hold of me.  As a renowned control freak, I love order and structure.  I was the organiser and the strength to get things done in my family and beyond.  This was proving to be a struggle.

Anxiety used to rule my life.  Anxiety used to control all of my decisions and lack of decisions.  Anxiety doesn’t discriminate and can affect anyone at any time.  We can experience anxiety at different levels, in different ways, sometimes more severe than others.

It is not about the anxiety… it is about… WHAT YOU DO ABOUT IT.

I made a choice to get help and put myself first.  I was determined to change my life around.  I put strategies in place.  I learned to say NO.  I set boundaries for my family to know what was important to me.

I realised that I cannot be there for anyone else unless I take care of myself first.  I set my own goals for my own future.  This formed part of my mission of personal growth and self-discovery.  Whatever it is that you want in life, you are all capable of achieving it.

I am now able to manage my anxiety and convert it into nervous energy that motivates me.  I listen to my body and mind to know what is best for me and the ones I love.

When you are back in control, the anxiety doesn’t control you.  There is so much self-satisfaction about taking on challenges and no longer worrying excessively.

If somebody told me 6 months ago that I would be public speaking, there is no way I would have believed it.  I feared public speaking all of my life.  Now, it is just another challenge and an opportunity to share my story to inspire others.

All we want in life is to be the best person we can be.  To be at our best, so we can take on life.  When we are at our best, we are happy, really happy.  Everyone deserves to be happy.  That happiness is contagious and will flow through to others.

It was a privilege to be able to speak and inspire other individuals last night on a topic that is rarely spoken about.  I am grateful that those 50 attendees walked away knowing their own worth and have started that inner process of taking back control.  50 beautiful normal everyday women, just wanting the best for themselves and the ones they love.

We all have the capability of being true to ourself, taking care of ourself and accepting that we deserve it.

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Thank you to Katie Godden for putting this empowering program together to help us all change our lives for the better.  And thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity to speak and connect with others.

Also thank you to Nemingha Public School P&C for applying for funding through the Primary Health Network (PHN) to bring awareness and assistance on a very important topic that needs to be spoken about. Anxiety is very common, yet very misunderstood.  This event brought clarity and useful strategies for moving forward.

Take care, Karen.

“You can’t stop the waves,

but you can learn to surf.”

~ John Kabat-Zinn

Rural Reflections #23

The light has been flickering as I have been juggling life, businesses and my own personal growth.  I have been neglecting to share my photos with you as part of my weekly feature Rural Reflections.  Guilty I am, but I am back with so much to share.  Thank you for waiting for me.

My passion to be more, and to do more, has led me to a new business and new skills to excel with.  My underlying desire for sustaining the agricultural industry still exists beneath it all, but my passion to expand and inspire people every day has become the driver in my life.  And I am loving life right now.

Remember back, only a year ago, I was suffering from depression and feeling sorry for myself.  Angry that I had to experience such heart-wrenching feelings and loss of all basic motivation in life.  Depression and anxiety had overwhelmed me… I had no idea what was going to happen and where life was guiding me.

So many of us, unfortunately, do go through these depressive numbing cycles and anxiety can consume us every day.  My gift was to experience this first-hand.  In hindsight, I now know that it had to happen.  How was I to understand if I didn’t feel it for myself?

This time in my life… was necessary to reveal my true passion and what I can do for the world around me.  I was determined and with the support around me, I made it through… with flying colours.

My new business provides freelance writing, administration services, hypnotherapy, speaking and life/business coaching.  Every day I feel so blessed and grateful to be able to share my skills with those in need.  Those that need guidance… those that need office management… and those that need the inspiration to believe in themselves.  My words are my gift and I am on a journey to share and to uplift each and every one of you.

Today marks the day, I have set up my new office.  My own room dedicated to me, my gifts, my valued clients and the changes that await all of us.  This office symbolises a separate part of my life… separate from the farming business.  This is my space, my personal inspiration and my business motivation.

I want to share with you, this photo today… taken only 2 months ago on my farm.  Still suffering from the effects of drought, yet the oats are growing despite the odds.  For me, this photo symbolises my personal journey.  I had the odds stacked against me, but I continued to grow.  I did what I needed to do.  The beautiful sunlight is captured in this photo, shining that healing light upon me.

Rural Reflection #23…

23 The Light Shining Within

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We all need to find that one thing that brings us happiness and pure joy… and share that gift with the world.  Recognise what is against you and make choices to move forward for the betterment of you, those you love and those that need you in the wider community.

The greatest joy in this world is when we can reach out and help someone else.  This gives us purpose and a vision on our horizon.  I am no different from you all.  You too have the capability to find yourself and chase your dreams.

Believe in yourself and believe you will do it.  And you will!

Take care, Karen.

“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.”

~ Maya Angelou

 

The Power of Positive Thinking Is Just a Facade

Why do we believe we need to be strong in all that we do and all that we face in life?  For some reason or another, we feel we must be OK, at the top of our game at all times and in total control.  Well, I am here to tell you ladies and gentlemen… it is OK… to not be OK.

I used to think that if I looked as if I had it all together and told people I was OK… that I would be… with the power of positive thinking.  But then I did crash and burn.  I was too strong for too long.  Something had to give.

My mental health declined with the pressure of drought, physical tiredness, financial challenges, changes in life, medical concerns and my focus to keep strong.  I thought I was weak if I could not function properly.  I thought I was weak if I was not in control of my usual daily life events.  I avoided this misguided “weakness” within my mind.

But then one day, my health was failing severely.  Physically I was losing control of my normal sleep functions, breathing became so much effort and I was terrified that I could not hold it all together any longer.  I fell in a heap… and felt so ashamed.  I had lost the grip on my usual control within my life.   A usual control that I was renowned for.  A strength that was the norm… now out of my reach.

Despite the love and support of my husband, I knew it was time to stop being so reluctant and frightened to seek medical advice.  For me, it was more about admitting to myself that I was not OK and letting my guard down.  Trusting my doctor was the first step… then laying it all out on the table was the next.  I was distraught that I needed help… as help is something I don’t like to receive.  I am very independent and like to think I can do it all… even though we all know that is just impossible.

Much to my surprise, my doctor was very understanding and had seen this many times before.  My diagnosis was depression/anxiety and I was treated with medication.  I was so embarrassed at first, that I never even told my mother for many months, despite our close connection.  Sadly I believed it was a taboo subject… something so personal and I felt humiliated to be viewed as “weak”.

It is now, one year later and still on anti-depressant medication.  I know now, that it is not about being “weak” at all.  Although I am feeling great and feel I am back, the drought is still taking its toll on me, so medication will be needed a little longer.

But I can honestly say, that I am proud of myself for having the strength to know that I was not OK.  I am proud that I reached out for help and I am not ashamed to admit I need medication as I keep depression at bay.  There is no need for any of us to feel like we have everything under control.  It is OK to not be OK.  We just need to know that we have options for help.  But your doctor is the first port of call.

I had received a lovely surprise phone call this morning from a dear old friend.  A friend I had not spoken to for far too long.  It has made my day entirely.  As we discussed my health, changes in life, family and CWA… I was reminded of how special this wonderful lady is.  I miss not seeing her and feel bad that I have not made more effort to keep in touch.  I promised myself now that I will phone her regularly for a friendly chat.

The power of caring people and friendships in our lives are so important, yet under-estimated.  The kindness, the ease of sharing personal experiences and her beautiful nature… has overwhelmed me this morning and made me smile.  She is truly a beautiful soul and I forgot how happy her words in conversation make me.  We all need more people like this in our lives.  Appreciate those beautiful people that care for you, care for your well-being and make you smile.

The stigma around depression is only within each of us personally.  If your loved one or your friend was not OK… this does not make you think any less of them.  Naturally you would advise them to seek some help and love them no less.  So when it is you personally, it does not change who you are… you just need a little guidance.

What I know now… I wish I knew back then.  Depression/anxiety is just another challenge in our life that some of us will experience… and it needs a little help.  Just another medical ailment that can be treated effectively.  There is no need to feel embarrassed at all.  It is OK to not be OK.  Find the strength to reach out to your loved ones and medical practitioner.

Avoiding depression is not about positive thinking at all.  Positive thinking does not control depressive feelings.  Admitting that you are not OK and seeking help or advice… will give you back the power to find those positive things in your life once again.

We all deserve happiness and we all have the power to control our own thoughts and actions.  Depression/anxiety is not a death sentence… it is another medical ailment that needs treating, no different to any other medical ailment.  The real strength you find in this process will amaze you… and the struggle will only be a temporary hurdle.  The power of positive thinking is not the answer to which you rely upon… rather the strength to reach out to seek help to get through it… and in no time the positive thinking will return.

Take care, Karen.

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“The struggle you’re in today

is developing the strength

you need for tomorrow.”

~ Author Unknown

 

Overcome The Fear & Embrace New Experiences

Is it that fear and anxiety is over-powering your being?  Are you simply shy or an introvert?  Maybe you could not be bothered or worry about stepping outside your comfort zone.  Connecting with new people awakens new experiences in your life.  We all need to take that small step to seek a wider view and CONNECT with a more diverse array of people.

That is exactly what I did this evening.  On a spur of the moment whim, I was informed of a local social group called CONNECT Tamworth Women’s Network.  Women supporting women… providing a social outlet, chatting and listening, having a laugh, enjoying a meal together and listening to inspiring guest speakers… what better way to spend an evening once a month.

A group of dynamic women with an array of business backgrounds and diverse industries… such as education, health, wellbeing, financial, writing and agriculture.  As guest speakers provide an interesting story, an uplifting experience or sharing their personal knowledge… a group of local women are being empowered and inspired.

“The aim of CONNECT Tamworth Women’s Network is to provide a creative, respectful and nurturing environment that brings together women of all ages, at all stages of their career, to network and help them grow personally and professionally.” 

This is exactly what I was part of this evening.  I was inspired and empowered once again… all because I took that step to try something new, controlled my anxiety and allowed myself to enjoy some time out.

Sometimes when we think about getting to know new people, anxiety kicks in and tries to overpower our rationality.  But if we overcome this urge and realise that the opportunities are out there and new people are great for our soul.  It allows us to open our mind and our heart… to share our passions, to share inspiration and to share our knowledge.

For over 30 years CONNECT Tamworth Women’s Network has been providing an evening of inspiration, empowerment and education for local women in the region.  This group is a not-for-profit organisation, improving the lives of women on a personal level and a professional level.

We enjoyed listening to guest speaker, Published Australian Author Chris Taylor who writes romantic suspense novels.  She also spoke of her heartfelt journey from childhood on a farm in north-west NSW, her passion for reading, her nursing career, her career as a criminal lawyer… to her passion for writing and becoming a published author.  She has published 30 books and sold over 150,000 copies.  She was a very interesting speaker and shared a uniquely inspiring story of her life journey.

Tonight we also enjoyed dinner at the venue Cascada Licensed Restaurant in Tamworth whilst enjoying the evening.  Over dinner, I was able to get to know some more dynamic women and thoroughly enjoyed the conversation and discussions.

Although I usually feel shy, socially awkward and uncomfortable in new groups… I actually felt welcomed and completely comfortable at the first evening event for 2019.  I am so glad that I have joined this new group and eagerly await to attend next month to listen to another interesting guest speaker.  Empowerment is what I strive for and inspiration is a beautiful process.

For more information on CONNECT Tamworth Women’s Network  email connecttamworth@gmail.com or visit their Facebook page.

Take care, Karen.

“When women support each other,

incredible things happen.”

~ Author Unknown

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Launching…My Journal ~ Inspiration for Inner Strength

It is now available.  My first heartfelt gift created for family or friends.  I created this unique Journal to inspire the holder to find their own inner strength.  I have used my own self-motivating quotes that inspire passion in life.  I encourage the holder to believe in themselves and give gentle guidance in finding the happiness that is contained within.  It allows a welcoming personal space for one to express their inner thoughts, during their own personal development journey.

I am really proud of this book “My Journal” and the purpose it has been created for.  Writing in a journal provides a means to express yourself, resulting in mental clarity and a personal connection to deep inner thoughts and feelings.

Journals are used worldwide for a variety of reasons.  Some people like to record their daily happenings, celebrate accomplishments, overcome frustrations, break down their goals into actionable events, capture brilliant ideas or divulge in words of wisdom.  For whatever reason one is able to express themselves in words… it becomes a self-healing, self-motivating or restoration of self-control.

For individuals to combat your struggles with daily stress, depression or anxiety… writing in a journal can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health and well-being.  There is no better place to start than right here, right now.

Stress… stress… stress… it is all around us, it is consuming us every day.  An overabundance of stress is damaging to our health… physically, mentally and emotionally.  It has been proven over many years, that journaling is the most widely used and most effective stress management tool.  Writing about stressful events can help you bring mental clarity and help manage stress in a more healthy way.   

Writing in a Journal will improve your mental clarity, can help you solve problems in your life and will improve your overall focus and goals.   Basically, it is a tool to clear our mental clutter.  By writing in a Journal, it gives the opportunity to transfer the problem from your head to the paper.  And it works!

So today I am excited to bring you “My Journal” with a powerhouse of my personal quotes to inspire you to make a difference in your world, give you focus and believe you are worth it.  For only AUD$14.00 you can share my passion and inspiration with a loved one, a friend or a gift just for yourself.  To preview “My Journal” or order a copy, please visit Blurb.

I do hope you or the receiver of this gift… enjoy “My Journal” and the inspiration it will bring.  I am so happy to be able to share my passion with you all and hope you all find that inner strength in your life and the happiness within… reigns upon you.

Take care, Karen.

My Journal

“Who you are

TOMORROW

begins with what you do

TODAY.”

~ Tim Fargo,

American Author & Keynote Speaker

It’s Not Worth The Anger or the Heartache

The year is nearly over and we are starting to think about New Year resolutions.  2019 can be the year for us to learn how to LET GO.  Let go of all the “crap”… the negative feelings… the anger building up… or the headache of our life spiraling out of control.

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How many of us get worked up over things we cannot change?  Most of us, I think.  We worry about everything… our children, our relationships, our friendships, our finances, our health.  The worry exists daily and is normal to a point, but we can control the extent to which we worry excessively.

Some form of worry is essential so we are aware of danger, giving us an understanding of others, allowing us to care, or building strategies for prevention.  It is the excess worry that I think we can shake.  If we come up with a plan by playing out any “what  if” scenario’s, the worry is challenged and can be somewhat relieved.  Challenge your own thinking and decide if the worry is affecting your health.  If it is, decide to be pro-active and let it go.

Anxiety is real and sometimes over-powering.  Sometimes we are able to manage our thoughts and feelings by shifting our mindset and focus differently.  Sometimes we need to ask our GP for help.  Take that step if it is needed.

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ANGER!  Has something happened in your life that has made you so angry that it continues to build up for many years?  Were there any incidents over Christmas with family members or friends that really annoyed you and now you feel angry?  It is not worth the anger at all.  Regardless of what has happened to you, or what someone said to you… it is not worth holding a grudge, battling feelings of contempt or a will to seek revenge.

It is just ridiculous, that we all allow differing opinions, perceptions and arguments to scar relationships.  It is only stubbornness, selfishness and a lack of empathy that causes the anger to fester within.  The anger may have started because of one single incident but as time passes and you play it over in your mind, the anger builds up for a variety of reasons that you create within your own mind.  We just need to LET IT GO.  Holding on to anger, serves no purpose whatsoever.

In fact, anger becomes debilitating over time.  It just eats away inside of you and makes you bitter.  Anger also affects your health long-term.  A build up of anger will affect your brain, your immune system and your stress hormones.  It will cause increased anxiety,  high blood pressure and headaches.  Anger has the most damaging effect on your cardiac health and it will increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.  Holding on to anger is not only needless… but necessary to let go of, for your health’s sake.

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Relationships are breaking every single day… loving relationships are ending, family break-ups and friendships destroyed.  Heartache is the end result.  We mask our heartache by staying angry… determined never to forgive.  This is so sad.  The anger serves no purpose and is harmful to your health.  When we allow ourself to forgive… a simple action within ourselves to stop feeling angry or resentful… we do feel hurt but relief.  Hurt can be dealt with, allowing closure or acceptance over time.  The constant heartache will subside when the anger is removed.

We get so worked up over little things… things we cannot change.  There are just some things we cannot control or change in our lives.   We must accept that.  People cannot be changed either.  We must learn to manage our own actions and our own reactions in our relationships and in our life in general.  This is what we do have control over.

Stop being angry with the world and holding on to the anger.  Whatever happened… just happened.  Let it go.  Apologise if you should… if you said or did something that you shouldn’t have.  Show forgiveness to others… to release yourself from the anger and resentment.  Control yourself and what you have control over.

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If you have a fractured relationship with a family member.  Repair the relationship if possible, as family is the most important part of our lives.  You can control your side of the relationship only… be nice… be respectful and be prepared to accept that you cannot control the other persons thoughts, feelings or actions.  And do not try to persuade or invite others to join you in the rampage of hateful anger against a family member… as this only reinforces anger to stay in your life.  Let go of the anger and resentment allowing relationships to be healed or accept the irrepairable outcome without contempt.

If you have friends that don’t seem to want to be friends with you.  So what!  You can control how you treat them… be nice… be respectful… but be prepared to let go and walk away if these friendships become toxic to your own health.  We all deserve real friendships yet some of these friends are not for life.  Some friends serve a purpose in our life and both parties need something from the friendship.  But sometimes things just change, we grow apart, our differences may become more prominent or we just don’t see “eye to eye” anymore.  It doesn’t matter.  Learn to accept that things do change.  Let go!

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Life just gets so busy… that sometimes we feel like we have been thrown under the bus.  Feeling restrained and not seeing a means of escape?  We are always busy, balancing work, children, routines, schedules, relationships, sport, health, voluntary activities, friendships, recreation and sleep.  Many of you will relate to this at some point in your lives, if not right now.

I used to feel like… and visualise myself being dragged by a rope called “life”… tied around my ankles, pulling me in and out of all my responsibilities in life.  It is exhausting and tiresome.  Recreation and “me” time became non-existent.  I am learning to treat myself as I would treat a friend or a loved one.  I am starting to get back that control in my life.  Now “I am pulling” that rope in my life… and I may have a few bumps here and there, but I choose how I manage the hurdles or challenges in my path.  I guarantee it is worth getting that control back.  It is worth kicking anger to the kerb and the heartaches will resolve.silhouette-3333895__340.png

Make a promise to yourself heading into the New Year.  “I deserve to be happy and feel whole.  I will live with purpose and let go of anger and heartaches.  I deserve to feel healthy without the stress of life getting in my way.  I control my life… my thoughts, my actions and my feelings.  I will love and cherish those important to me and treat everyone with respect.  I will accept others wanting to be a part of my life and I will accept those that choose to walk away, without resentment.  I will control only what I can and I will LET GO of everything else.  I deserve real happiness, health and contentment.”  2019 here we come!

Take care, Karen.

“Forgive others,

not because they deserve forgiveness,

but because you deserve peace.”

~ Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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The Exploitation of Women is Startling and Beyond Harmful

As a woman, wife and mother, I believe women have been exploited terribly over the years.  Why do we allow the media to put so much pressure on us making us feel inadequate against the “ideal” images portrayed?  The focus on a women’s appearance is very strong throughout our popular culture.  Women’s roles on television and in magazines & newspapers is often seen as a sexualised adornment.

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Despite the women’s movement over the years, it has not substantially changed society’s attitudes towards women, when they are still portrayed in a two-dimensional way.  It is a continuous struggle for the women of today to be seen as strong, important and valued members in our country.

Women have come so far and made significant changes over the years which has forged pathways for other women.  It wasn’t until 1902 that women were given the right to vote in Australia and stand for a federal election.  However women were not present for the first 20 years of Australian politics.  Since the 1970’s women have increased their representation in politics.

Women have made significant strides towards equality in workplaces, at universities, in boardrooms and in Government, taking on leadership roles.   It was 1974 before women were even granted a full adult wage.

Women and girls make up over 50% of the Australian population.  While women comprise of 47% of all employees in Australia, they still earn about $250 less than men each week.  The national gender “pay gap” is 15.3% and has remained between 15%-19% for the past 20 years.

FTF2018_gender_1200.jpg (1200×1440)It was not until 1984 that the Sex Discrimination Act came into force, making sex discrimination and sexual harassment against the law.  This has played an important role in changing community attitudes and helping advance gender equality in our country.

More than 50% of women, aged 18 or older, have experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime.  More than 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.  These figures are quite alarming.

Despite the progress, women and girls continue to experience inequality and discrimination, which can limit the choices and opportunities available to them.

There is a competition of ideas about what a women’s role is in our society.  Today, Australian women have many more choices about how to live their lives.  It should be what is right for each woman… as every woman has her own idea as to what fulfillment is for her.  A woman can be a mother, or she can be career-orientated, or both… she can be single or in a relationship of her choice… there is no right or wrong.  Women have the power to exercise their freedom, despite the limitations placed upon them.

Yet why are women still portrayed in the media in an inferior light?  Women are not objects, we are not weak and there is no need for the exploitation of our gender.  How would you men feel, if the roles were reversed?  It is unfair to both genders and is ridiculously accepted in our society.  The air-brushed models and actresses, are not what young women need to be comparing themselves to today.

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As a young girl, at an age where our culture started to define me… I remember the inadequacy I had felt, the inferior complex I developed and the limiting beliefs that I accepted.  Sadly, I never felt “good enough” to be able to be the girl that I thought I was supposed to be and what I perceived as normal in our society.  As young girls we want to be prettier, be slimmer, more curvy, to look different… thinking that would make us more acceptable to others.  Sadly we are never comfortable in our own skin.  To much emphasis is placed on our “looks” and not enough on what true beauty really is.

As a mother, I felt satisfied that I had sons, and not daughters to raise with the unfair burden of sexualised adornment within our society.  But as a woman who has experienced a lot of sadness, judgement and annoyance with an industry that takes advantage of women and their emotions… I have something to say.

After decades of allowing the exploitation of women to affect my own mindset, an inner fight refusing acceptance and the reliance on depression/anxiety medication… I want to educate others with what I have learned.  I now realise that I want to protect the esteem of girls and young women in our society.  I want my nieces and my son’s partners and all young females to not accept and under-value their self-worth because of a culture that is unfair to a women’s sense of self.  Every girl and woman is of value… we are all unique and on our own journey in this world.  We all need to like ourselves and learn to love the person you are.

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I ask you to think about how you would feel if it were your daughter or your sister, being exploited in that magazine or in the movie you are watching.  We need to band together, boosting up the girls and women in our lives, and protecting our loved ones, ensuring their self-esteem is not harmed and they are aware of their self-worth.

When I think about how far women have really come and the obstacles they have incurred, it really is a remarkable achievement in improving the lives of women today.  Don’t let our media culture affect the young women in our society.  They are the future of our country… our future mothers, our future leaders and we need to ensure they develop into confident women of value.  Women are worth no more or no less… we just balance life with our men.  Let the women in your life inspire you and raise your daughters to be those inspiring women.

Take care, Karen.

“A women should be two things:

who and what she wants.”

~ Coco Chanel

(French Fashion Designer & Business Woman)

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Found My Smile Again

I found it, the real smile that was misplaced for a while.  Thank you Katie for shifting my mindset to a better place today.  A place where contentment and inner peace reside.  With all of our emotional baggage, the stress of daily life and the burden of holding it all together, just somehow we do get overwhelmed.

To rewind…I for one, never like to ask for help or admit that just maybe my inner strength is not enough to handle it all.  After reaching out, I have finally realised… it is NOT a sign of weakness to need help with your mental health.  Depression and anxiety had crept up on me, not because I was weak, but because I tried to be too strong for too long.  Our personal perception is distorted and it just needs tweaking a little.

In hindsight I can now say that it was the best thing I have ever done.  I am feeling like I am at the top of my game.  I have accepted the help and got back on track.  If any of you are feeling like life is pulling you along and your passion has been muzzled, please take my advice and talk to your GP for options.

As my physical and mental health are both on the mend, I am passionate more than ever to discover my true potential.  Personal growth is what fascinates me, so today I took a big step.

A somewhat skeptical visit to a local Mindset Strategist to learn some mindset techniques and personal growth, proved to be a major epiphany.  The most positive experience of my entire life.  Today was the day… the day I take back control of my life and my emotions.  While working with Katie, I have felt the load lighten and feel free again.  Her ability to guide me to let go of those negative feelings from the past, learn the lesson and build strength to go forward, has completely amazed me.  Her techniques were non-invasive to my privacy yet powerful in the result… in only 2 hours.  I look forward to the follow-up next week.

I love this feeling of being on the road to recovery and I love the person within that I have found.

Take care, Karen

“A SMILE IS HAPPINESS YOU’LL FIND RIGHT UNDER YOUR NOSE”

~ Tom Wilson

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