Posts in Lifestyle

WELLBEING: Dealing with end-of-year busyness

The last term of school is often the busiest and most overwhelming. Leading up to the holidays, there are exams, end-of-year performances, Christmas carols, class parties – and that’s just for the kids! Add in your own work parties and family catch ups and getting organised for the holiday season into the mix and it can be a recipe for an overwhelmed and tired family.

Through experience, I have learned that dragging your children from one function to another is not healthy for them or you. When young children are mentally exhausted, as well as sleep deprived, they can become emotional and temperamental. Along with the lack of sleep, eating sugary foods from all the pre-Christmas treats can affect a child’s mood which makes everyone’s lives a challenge!

Here are some of the things you can do to get through the pre-holiday busyness:

  • Write down any school, work and social events and functions coming up on a calender. Write down everything the entire family has on leading up to Christmas. This way you can visually see everything and decide what works and what doesn’t. Deciding what to attend and what to say no to can put your mind at ease and take away the stress doing too much and trying to fit everything in.
  • Feel good about saying no. You don’t need to attend every event and function you are invited to. Only take on the things you can handle without you or your family suffering.
  • Pick a time to leave a function and stick to it. This way you can do the rounds and not feel bad about leaving. You don’t have to be the first to arrive and the last to leave a party.
  • If you have evening functions, make a point of giving yourself and your children some chill out time at home. Give the kids some free play time and let them relax.
  • Try to catch up in larger groups so you don’t have to go to so many smaller gatherings. I find this works out well for all involved.
  • Gatherings don’t always have to be in the evenings. If you have children, you can have a barbeque and swim at the beach or a picnic and play at the park with friends.
  • With everything going on around you, make a point to schedule some ‘nothing’ time. If you can’t do nothing, do something relaxing which lets your mind and body rest. Remember, physical and mental exhaustion causes overwhelm and stress. ‘Nothing’ time for children is a great way for them to center and ground themselves.
  • Attending lots of events and functions can mean your food routine can become irregular. Keep eating the healthy wholesome foods at home as it can become easy to eat take away and fast food when your time poor. Keep some healthy snacks for yourself and the children in your bag for when you are on the run.
  • Feeding your children a healthy snack or meal before a party means they won’t reach for too much junk food. A sugar hangover is just as bad as an alcohol hangover and more times than not a child will become overly emotional. Keep a bottle of water for your children in your bag and offer it to them if you see them reaching for a fizzy drink.
  • Make sure you’re not compromising your sleep for partying. Lack of sleep can cause stress and overwhelm. Lack of sleep can also affect our moods so we may lash out at others simply because we’re tired and aren’t functioning at 100%. Children definitely need a good night’s sleep every night. A young child can’t explain how they are feeling a lot of the time and can become over tired and irritated.
  • If you are planning on having a drink, make sure you work out how many you can safely have if you are driving you and your family home. Have a glass of water between drinks and if you are over the limit, order a taxi to take you and your children home.
  • Take advantage of the pre-Christmas sales and buy all of your gifts at once. Write down who you are buying for, get on line or go through the catalogues to see what is available and pick a day where you can get it all done. This will take a lot of pressure off leading up to Christmas and hopefully save you money! Ask if the store you are buying from gift wraps or take advantage of shopping centre wrapping services. It is usually a gold coin donation and can save you a lot of time.

Remember, too much busyness is not healthy for the mind or body and when you try and fit everything in, running from one thing to another, the fun becomes a chore. It is not your job to make everyone else happy, it is your job to enjoy the last part of the year with your family and friends.

Originally posted 05 November 2018 on Kids on the Coast magazine

LOCAL: The Kid of Burleigh Hill

The rain didn’t stop local Gold Coaster Zavier Basnett from racing down Burleigh Hill yesterday. Registered in the primary school category, eight-year-old Zavier was up for the challenge!

The Gold Coast 600 King of Burleigh Hill competition is in its third year and had 24 entrants competing for the title.

One of four kids, Zavier has always had a love of sport. His mum Tahnee says it’s a busy household with lots of extra-curricular activities to keep her children busy and active.

Zavier tried soccer for a season, but discovered it wasn’t for him, gave Nippers a go for two seasons, and soon discovered football which he has been playing for the last three seasons. Zavier loves trying new things and although he’s thriving in football, it looks like his new passion for Karting will keep him busy! As an added bonus Zavier enjoyed bonding with his Dad while they work on his custom built kart.

We sat down with Zavier to find out more about his new found love of Karting.

What made you enter the King of Burleigh Hill competition?

My dad told me about it and I really thought it sounded cool and like something I would be good at.

How long did it take you and your Dad to make your kart?

The kart took about five weeks to make. My dad built it from scratch using trolleys from Bunnings and a wheelbarrow. He spent a long time welding and cutting. I helped when I could and just kept reminding myself of my courage in case it was really scary on the day (we didn’t have any practice before the big day)

What did you learn?

I learnt that it doesn’t matter if you win, as long as you have fun and push yourself.

What was the best part of the day?

The best part of the day was the feeling in my tummy going down the hill and having everyone cheer me on.

Would you change anything for next time?

Next time we will change the wheels, they were a bit too slow so we are thinking of using bike wheels.

Great work Zavier! We look forward to seeing your love for Karting grow. We’ll be there watching and cheering you on next year!

HEALTH: Decision Fatigue

“What should I cook for dinner tonight?” “What should I pack the kids for lunch?” “Do I have time to go for a run?”

These are just some of the daily decisions parents need to make, not to mention answering the hundreds of questions kids ask every day.

With so many choices and decisions to be made every day, we can become mentally exhausted, also known as ‘decision fatigue’ and more often than not it can affect you more than physical exhaustion.

When we have too many decisions to make we can become overwhelmed and stressed and in doing so we can start to make poor choices for ourselves and our family, resulting in feelings of failure and guilt.

I had my three kids in four years and the daily decisions I had to make became so overwhelming I couldn’t focus and give my full attention to anything. I started to doubt my decisions and was constantly questioning myself. I knew my kids were being affected because at such a young age they felt and took on my nervous energy, which in turn made them nervous and unsettled. I decided I had to change the way I thought about going through my day. I didn’t want to just survive, I wanted to thrive.

We can cut down on decision fatigue, it just take some planning ahead and creating new routines for yourself and the family. Step by step I made life simpler until I was happy with the way life was flowing. Here are eight ways I have made decision fatigue a thing of the past.

  • Plan your weekly meals, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. This alone will cut out the bulk of decision making for the week.
  • Plan the days you do your laundry. My husband wakes up at 4.30am and I get up with his alarm and turn on the washing machine, having loaded it the night before. I often go back to sleep and by the time I wake up at 6am the washing is done and I hang it out before starting my day. I’m particular about how the washing is to be hung (without pegs and inside out) so this is one job I don’t give the kids.
  • Pick a day to do your grocery shopping. This is one of the jobs I don’t enjoy but I know I have to do it (my husband does the top ups during the week in case we run out of bread or milk) The local supermarkets open at 7am and I’m usually there waiting for the doors to open every Wednesday morning. Mornings are usually quiet so I can zip around the isles and get through the register within the hour. Once home, my kids and I put all the groceries away and that’s that for another week. I have to admit, it is satisfying once everything is put away.
  • Set up automatic banking for bills. I have most of my bills and payments set up in my bank account so the bills come out when they’re due. All the other bills I don’t have automated I make a date in my phone calender and I pay them when my reminder goes off. I set the reminder alarms just after 9am so I can pay them after I have dropped the kids off at school.
  • Some of you may be driving your kids around after school to their extra-curricular activities so you could spend that time ‘catching up’ with your kids. Car ride conversations are a great time to see how your child’s day was at school or find out if they have anything on their mind. Sometimes kids might feel more comfortable talking about an uncomfortable topic or concern if the focus is not entirely on them, eye to eye. I admit, I love the things my kids tell me during sport drop offs and pick ups.
  • Set a reasonable bedtime for your children and yourself. If the kids are in a good bedtime routine, it can be easier to create your own. When you sleep well you feel good and you make healthier choices and better decisions. Lack of sleep can make you overtired and that is when you can start to feel like nothing is working or going your way.
  • Make time to exercise. Not everyone is a gym junkie or an avid runner but try and make time in the day to ‘move’. I’m lucky I live near the beach so most mornings I take the kids to the beach so they burn all the excess energy they have from a good night’s sleep and I get to walk on the sand and breathe in that amazing sea air. If you don’t live near a beach, take the kids to the park or playground or even a brisk 20 minute walk around the block is great. Some evenings I will go for a bike ride with one of my kids. I make sure I do at least one thing a day. I used to do pilates three or four times a week but at this point in time I can’t do the classes due to family commitments and that is okay, because I know there will come a time when my kids are older that I can pick up the classes again. Some of you might like to exercise alone so make a point of fitting it in to your weekly schedule, without it affecting your diet or sleep.
  • Create some ‘nothing’ time. This might sound like a waste of time in world full of busyness and decisions, but I guarantee even 10 minutes of alone time will benefit you. What do you do in these 10 minutes you ask? Just breathe… grab a cuppa, flick through a magazine, stretch, stare out of the window – whatever you find relaxing.

For me personally, planning and having a solid routine for sleep, diet and exercise are non-negotiable. These are the three things that make my life easier and are good for my emotional and mental wellbeing. When I’m a calmer and happier mother and wife, my family are calmer and happier.

Reading this could be overwhelming but just remember, you don’t have to do it all at once, do one thing at a time. Get used to the routine and then add in another thing. The point is to make life simpler and not to have to make so many decisions every day.

Originally posted 21 October 2018 on Kids on the Coast

REVIEW: The Legend of Dunhuang, The Star Gold Coast

I took my 10 year old to her first stage show The Legend of Dunhuang . She was mesmerised from the moment she stepped foot in The Star. The place was buzzing, the atmosphere electric and all the staff are so welcoming and kind enough to point the way if you’re lost, which we were.

China’s classic dance sensation, The Legend of Dunhuang, made it’s Australian debut at The Star, Gold Coast on Friday 28 September.

We were taken on a journey back in time to experience the artistic and culturally significant piece of China’s history, carefully choreographed into a creative blend of Chinese classical and modern dance.

Exquisitely produced by the famous Gansu Dance Troupe, The Legend of Dunhuang is renowned for its detailed backdrops of breathtaking sceneries, Buddhist art and colourful costumes used to capture the memorable tale of friendship, humanity and harmony that will stay with viewers long after the final scene.

Set in Dunhuang, a city in north-west China’s Gansu Province during the Tang dynasty, the dance acts as a moving account of Dunhuang’s history as the viewer sashays between the ancient and modern worlds.

LOCAL LIFE: Nine-year-old student receives 2018 Sportsmanship Award

NOTICEBOARD: Nine-year-old local student receives 2018 Sportsmanship Award

 29 August 2018

Nine-year-old Callum Paget has received the 2018 Sportsmanship award for the Southport Yacht Club Dinghy Division.

After trying many different sports, nine year old Callum Paget joined the Funsail mornings at the Southport Yacht Club’s main club house, Main Beach in December 2017.

Right from the beginning, Callum knew he had found his ‘thing’. It came as no surprise to his parents Yvette and Logan that he loved it so much, sailing is in his genes!

He went on to complete Tackers 1, 2 and 3 at the Southport Yacht Club Hollywell arm. Tackers is a structured Learn­To­Sail programme overseen by multiple Olympic champion, Mathew Belcher. Each week Callum gained knowledge and confidence. He learned how to maneuver his single Opti (his little dinghy with a sail all by himself) out on the Broadwater. Lessons were given on tacking, jibing, wind speeds, currents, tides, markers and more. All under his incredible and passionate coach, Danah Clements.

The lessons don’t end on the beach. Callum is expected to take full responsibility of his Opti. He loads it onto a trailer, rigs it, checks it and wheels it down to the water. He then loads it back onto the trailer, wheels it back to the boat shed, washes it down and packs all the equipment away. Such a sense of ownership for such a young kid.

Callum completed the 3 races on his first regatta after capsizing numerous times. Cool as a cucumber, he rolled his Opti back over and continued the race, all unassisted and all while his peers were retiring from the race. Another regatta was a marathon, two and a half hours out on the water, last in, however stayed the course despite being the youngest and most inexperienced sailor of the fleet.

Skills learned in sport are transferrable to general life, winning, losing, dedication, persistence, determination, grit and so much more.

Callum will compete in the 2019 winter ‘Polar Bear Series’. We look forward to hearing about Callum growing in his chosen sport.