Don’t make your problems my problems.

Life is complex. There are the good things and then there are the bad things, or as we commonly call them, problems.

Some problems feel like they are huge, insurmountable ones and then again, others feel like they are little blips on the radar that are easily fixable. It is all relative.

For example, if the problem is that your car is running out of petrol, it’s really easy to go to the petrol station and fill it up with gas—if you have money. But if you don’t have money, it’s a real problem.

Sometimes the problem is not really a problem. For instance… Joe Bloggs has a fabulous sports car and you wish you had a car like that. But actually you have a perfectly fine car that gets you from A to B and you don’t need a sports car at all! That is more like envy and is not a real problem.

But often, the problem with real problems is that we tend to make them worse by ignoring them. There’s this thing hovering in the back of your mind that you know you have to deal with, but you squish it down and hope that it will just go away magically, all by itself.

Of course, this does not often happen.

The best thing when you have a problem is to try and tackle it immediately.

Look at it from all angles; sometimes it’s not as bad as you originally thought. Often you can narrow it down into smaller issues and deal with them one by one, slowly and thoroughly.

Sometimes it also helps to write down the problem, and the possible solution(s). Then look at it for a while and decide which works best for you. It’s amazing how, when you confront something head on, it is usually never is as bad as it first seems.

Often a problem is as simple as asking for help or brainstorming for a solution. The old saying of “a problem shared is a problem halved” is so true.

But sometimes, we only look at the problems in life, and we forget to be thankful for all the good things. When you’re grateful for all that is good and positive in your life, it’s easier to deal with the things that are not.

Look on the up side people!

Sibo

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Friends for Life

Many people suffer from anxiety problems these days. Anxiety is having an irrational fear of something or somebody (not to be confused with nervousness). If you don’t have this disorder, then it’s easy to brush it off and think that the person is being full of nonsense, but in actual fact it’s a very real thing. It can affect every aspect of life—from school, to work, to relationships.

What happens is that something upsets or affects the person and, in a very short period of time, they have an anxiety or panic attack.

These are symptoms of these attacks (normally the person won’t have all of them, but could have at least four):

  • Anxiety and panic
  • Sudden overwhelming fear
  • Trembling
  • Palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Sense of choking

It is quite scary watching a friend or relation have one of these attacks if you don’t know what to do.

There are ways that you can help. Obviously not to stop them having the panic attack in the first place—that is something that only the person themselves can do—but if you know how to behave around them when it happens, it makes it easier for both of you.

Let them know that it is okay if they leave the place that is causing anxiety. Sometimes being in a crowd can bring on an attack. Just quietly lead them away from all the people, but don’t pressure them in any way.

Let them know that they are safe. Even if it’s perfectly obvious to you that there’s nothing to worry about, it’s a very real fear for the person who is having the attack. Reassure them that there is no real reason to be panicking. Remind them that you are there to help them.

Reassure the person that the attack won’t last long. Panic attacks and anxiety attacks are only temporary, but sometimes the person forgets that and so it is good to remind them.

Gently remind them to breathe. People having attacks often gasp alarmingly and forget to breathe! Here’s a good way to do it… tell them to take a deep breath and count to four, exhale again to the count of four. Do this over and over. Breathe with them.

Please do stay with them. Do not leave them alone.

Things you SHOULD NOT DO…

  • Get irritated and yell at them.
  • Ask them why they are panicking.
  • Tell them to calm down.
  • Brush it off and say they are imagining things.
  • Talk rubbish and say “Oh look! There’s a flying tiger!” to try and distract them.

Be a good friend.

Sibo
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Sleep Tight

Last week’s blog was about being prepared for exams. One of the things mentioned was that you need to get enough sleep.

Often sleep is underrated and people tend to think that they can get by with fewer hours. Actually, this isn’t such a smart thing to do.

Between the ages of seven and twelve years old, it is recommended that one gets ten or eleven hours sleep a night. This is not just to stop kids from becoming cranky either—this is why you need enough sleep

  • Muscles repair themselves during the night. Not only arm and leg muscles, this includes the heart muscle too.
  • Sleep controls the signals that indicate when one is hungry or full – and this allows a person to maintain a good weight.
  • Whilst slumbering at night, brains store up all the stuff learnt during the day – so that it can be recalled later, when needed.
  • If one doesn’t sleep properly at night, it’s harder to pay attention at school during the day. Mistakes are made more easily if you’re tired.

If you don’t get enough sleep at night scientists recommend having a little nap during the day to make up the sleep time. Don’t take that nap during school time though—you’d been looking for trouble!

Apparently—it should take about fifteen to twenty minutes to fall asleep from when your head hits the pillow.

Most kids don’t have a problem falling asleep, but if you do there are a couple of things that can help – like having a warm glass of milk before bedtime, or having a bath. Reading a book before you go to sleep is also better than watching television. It’s important not to be too hot or too cold in bed—that can also disturb your sleep patterns.

Of course teenagers can get away with a little less sleep – like eight to nine hours a night. Although often they don’t get anywhere near this amount of sleep and so they really do need to sleep in over the weekends.

Seems like the older you get the less sleep you need. Most people need around eight hours a night to function properly though scientists recently found out that there are some people who have a rare mutated gene condition that allow them to sleep only six hours without any negative effects.

Sleep tight and sweet dreams.

Sibo
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Be prepared!

It is coming up to that time of year again when important exams will be written. If you are in matric and you’ve neglected to study… eish! But this might still be useful for you.

Everybody else… PLEASE do not leave studying until the last minute.

Cramming is definitely not the best way to try and get good results! Give yourself enough time to study.

Start with tidying up the area where you study. It’s incredibly hard to concentrate if there’s mess around you. Also, make sure you are comfortable, have enough space and that you have good light – especially if you are going to be working at night.

Make a list of how many exams you have and when you have to write them. Then make a timetable so you can see how much time you have to study for each exam.

 And people… do not waste lots of time making awesome timetables just so you don’t have to start studying. This is called PROCRASTINATION! It will get you nowhere.

Remember to schedule in breaks as well. After studying for 45-50 minutes you should enjoy a 10 minute break. Take some of those breaks in the sunshine too – Vitamin D is very good for your brain.

Use flow charts and diagrams to help you study. It has been proved over and over that visual aids really do work. Draw pictures, doodle.

Make flash cards and keep them handy. Get your parental agents to help you. Explaining things to other people is a great way to get everything organised in your head and help you to remember.

Consider organising study groups with friends. It’s good to bounce questions off other people. But don’t get side-tracked chatting and forget to study!

Try and avoid junk food when you are studying. Fish, nuts, seeds, yogurt and blueberries have been proven to aid concentration and memory. Snack on raw veggies and fruit rather than sweets and chips.

Have a good healthy meal before you go and write your exam too.

Drink plenty of water – your brain works best when it is well hydrated.

Get enough sleep! If you have been cramming all night and are tired when you go to write your exam… you won’t remember as much as you should.

Good luck everybody!

Sibo

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Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude!

The last in our series of Women’s Month blogs is one about attitude. (Circle of Life, Power posing, Health Tips for Women, With Compliments)

Often we simply look at things the wrong way. It’s so easy to be fed up and miffed with somebody or something and let it spoil our day. It’s also easy to brood and let things fester and before we know it, something relatively little has turned into a great huge monster that discolours life in general.

Not only our lives, but those around us!

Here are a couple of easy methods that will help kick those gloomy habits.

  • Start a gratitude journal.
    It does not have to be a fancy one; get an exercise book and decorate the cover. Write down five things that you’re grateful for every day. This way one starts thinking (and acting) positively, looking for the good in life. It’s a well-known fact that having a positive attitude increases one’s happiness. Let’s face it – it’s hard to be depressed or stressed if you’re a happy-chappy, right?
  • Replace the word ‘have’ with ‘get.
    Sounds crazy but it makes a person see things in a different light. Instead of having to go to school or work, we get to go to school or work. This means we are fortunate to do so – many people don’t have jobs or would love to be able to go to work. Saying “I get to go to school’ means I’m able to learn and get somewhere in life. Even saying I get to go grocery shopping, implies that you have the money to do it, which is great.
  • Walk away from whingy whiny people.
    Folk who complain all the time drag us down too. If you can’t walk away, then don’t agree with them and validate their feelings.
  • Breathe!
    This is an easy one, but requires us to focus on how we do it. Often we find that we tend to stop breathing when concentrating, or we breathe in a shallow manner. Take deep breathes people. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Start with breathing in to the count of five, and breathing out again to the count of five and gradually increase the count. Oxygenating our bodies properly relieves stress, helps with pain and just generally makes one feel better. Try it.

YOU have total control over YOUR thoughts and actions!

It’s a change of mind-set people. Have a happy day!

Sibo

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Circle of Life

Hah! You didn’t really think you were going to get away without a blog on exercise during women’s month… did you? (No! Power posing does not count as exercise.)

Whilst smiling and complimenting might exercise your soul (as well as those of other people) and laughing might be great for your belly and face, it is important to stay fit.

Exercising releases those endorphins that make you feel happy and lessen the perception of pain. Apparently it does not matter how long you exercise for to release those hormones – the effect is the same, whether you go for an hour long jog or jog on the spot for ten minutes.

If cycling, jogging or gym is your thing – then great – you don’t have to read any further. However, if you are one of those ladies who groan at the thought of doing some physical activity – then this is for you.

Hula hoop people!

It’s the most awesome activity that the whole family can do.

It strengthens core muscles and improves posture no end, in addition to shaving centimetres off the squidgy bits of body and defining leg muscles.

Kids can happily use the normal hula hoops that you find easily in shops.

But ladies… here’s the good part – you can make your own, extra-large hula hoop, very cheaply!

Toddle off to the local hardware store (or nursery) and buy five metres of 25mm black piping. Yup – the stuff that gets used in the garden or irrigation. At the same time, get a 25mm connector and some insulation tape.

Lay the piping down in the sun for an hour or so to soften it slightly. Then chop off approximately 50cm from either end.

Boil the kettle, pour some boiling water into a mug and quickly dip each end of the piping into the water, then plug them together with the connector whilst the plastic is still soft.

Voila! You have a huge hoop.

You are probably going to look at it and gasp… NO WAYS CAN I USE THAT THING!!

But try it. Go on. Try. You’ll see that hula hooping with an enormous hoop is much easier than one of those small ones.

Taping it up to look pretty is optional. It does make it a little heavier, which is even better for losing weight.

Whilst you are hooping, you can do arm exercises to further tone up.

Or mediate and plan your day.

Let’s all BE who we ARE ladies.

Sibo

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Posing for Power!

Still celebrating Women’s month this week and today we’re talking about posing for power, or maybe that should be power posing.

Did you know that the way you sit or stand, even for a short a period like two minutes, raises testosterone levels and lowers the stress hormone cortisol?

Long words… what do they mean… basically it boils down to the fact that research has shown it makes you feel different and therefore you’ll do your job better or interact with somebody in a more confident way—and better still, be perceived in a different way.

Like… as not such a pushover!  If that sounds good to you – read on!

Often when we are not sure of ourselves we tend to cringe into as small a space as possible… wrapping our arms around our bodies, curling into a little ball, trying to be invisible. Right?

Well, power posing is all about stretching and expanding your body to take up as much space as humanly possible.

It really has been proven that the way you stand can make you feel more confident.

Testosterone is your “dominance” hormone. Often one associates this with men, but women have those hormones too and it’s time we started using them more!  The amazing fact is that after just two minutes of standing in a power pose, those hormones can rise by as much as twenty per cent!

Even better, not only do your good hormones rise, but the meanie old cortisol (stress) hormones take a dive. It’s common knowledge that when a person is less stressed, they can think and act a whole lot clearer.

You don’t have to stand like that in public either, you can do it in private, before you have to go and talk to your boss, the head master or a parental agent – anybody who makes you feel anxious or nervous without good reason.

This works if you are being bullied too – own your space!

What exactly is a power stance? It’s not hard and there are different poses—but this is the most common:

  • Stand tall with your legs apart, shoulders down and back, head up.
  • Puff your chest out
  • Put your hands on your hips (yes – just like superwoman!)
  • Breathe deeply (in through your nose, out through your mouth—quality breaths people).

Researchers also say that power stances actually start with sleeping. No more curling up in foetal positions! You might wake up wondering why you feel out of sorts. Rather lie in an open position with your arms and legs outstretched!

Go for it ladies – own your power!

Sibo
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Health tips for women

 

Celebrating Women’s month I thought it would be nice to post some easy health-stroke-beauty tips that we can all make use of because we’ve all got mouths!

Yes—mouths!

What’s the easiest thing you can go with your mouth – smile – right?

I’m always going on at people to smile at random strangers, but every time you smile, the action of your face muscles smiling causes your brain to trip a little trigger and release chemicals called endorphins.

In a nutshell, endorphins are the things that make a person happy… this leads to less stress… and ooh, let’s think, when you are less stressed you stop scrunching up your face and pow! There go those lines on your forehead. (Of course, they’ll come back again when you stop smiling and start being stressed again, so just keep smiling.)

So… smiling at random strangers does not only make them feel better, but you are giving yourself a boost too. How cool is that?

It gets better…

Endorphins are sneaky little critters, because they are also the body’s natural pain killers. Next time you bash a bit of your body, instead of swearing, yelling and being miserable—LAUGH.

Laugh long and loud and all those endorphins will be released and that sore bit will feel a lot better, much sooner.

This works for chronic pain too, believe it or not… either way – try it – you’ve got nothing to lose.

We all know, from previous experience of having a good belly laugh that you end up gasping and breathing great lung-fulls of air. Well… that is the same as having exercise! Your lungs expand and the cells in your body get replenished with oxygen – it’s not rocket science people – makes perfect sense.

A smiley face is also sooooo much more attractive than a miserable looking one, right?

Start looking at the funny side of life – it’s not hard.

  • Read cartoons
  • Watch funny movies and You-tube clips
  • Spend time laughing with friends and family.

Here’s the really funny bit… our brains, whilst being very clever, don’t actually know the difference between whether a smile is a real one… or a fake one. So there’s no excuse – just smile anyway. You’ll still feel all the fabulous benefits.

We women don’t mind sharing this great tip with you men either… start smiling and stop snarling!

You’ll find once you start smiling—it becomes a habit.

Sibo

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With Compliments

My mum went to some or other women’s thing the other day. She came home and told us about how everybody had been encouraged to say something nice to a random stranger before they all settled down for the day.

I asked her what she meant by “random stranger”. Was she talking about going up to somebody in the street or what?

“Don’t be silly Sibo,” she replied tartly. “Why would I just go up to a person in the street and say something nice? They were talking about approaching somebody at the gathering that you didn’t know. It was a safe space. The person was not going to think you were a demented lunatic for arbitrarily accosting them.”

“Aww rats!” I replied, “So I can’t just go up to anybody on the street and say ‘Hey! I love your skirt.’”

“Don’t be ridiculous!” Mom spluttered in outrage. “That would not be safe!”

Hmmm… I wasn’t so sure I agreed with her, but she had a point about safety and kids approaching strangers.

So I started thinking and came up with a good idea for Women’s month—August!

So! Here’s the plan people… every morning, pick a lady / girl at school or work—or even on the bus, train or taxi if you see them regularly, and say something nice.

Here are some examples to get you started:

  • “You look nice today.”
  • “Oohh – I love your nails!”
  • “That’s a gorgeous dress/skirt/bag.”
  • “Your hair looks fabulous!”

But it has to be genuine. You can’t say “Love that hairstyle” and then go snigger because you actually think it looks weird.  That’s not being kind. That’s being horrible. Horrible is nasty—don’t do it.

If you really can’t think of something lovely to say – just smile. Smiles work too.

All the bitchiness that goes on is so tiring. People (females especially) are always judging instead of supporting each other. Enough! The world is messed up enough without us making it worse.

Be nice people. Be kinder to one another. One really doesn’t know what the impact is of a few kind words on another person. It could totally brighten their day and make them feel good. How many times has it happened to you? Somebody says something nice and you think… Oh wow. That’s so great to hear.

Pay it forward people – in nice words!

Sibo

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Spiked

I know I’m only a little kid and I’m not supposed to worry, or even know about stuff like this, but it seems as though it happens often, or certainly a lot more than people realise.

My friend Ginny and her husband were privileged to go to funeral in a township last week. That probably does not sound very good – the fact that it was a funeral was terrible, but the type of funeral was completely different to any they had ever attended before. Everybody really celebrated the life that had been lost to the fullest, on a very different level to what goes on in traditional Anglican, Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist or NG Churches—where everything is usually very restrained and goes by the book. There are no unexpected incidents. The longest a service will ever last is around an hour.

This funeral started at 08h00 and carried on until 13h00. After all the speakers had had their say, then it was the preachers’ turn and he was totally marvellous, in a scary kind of very loud way. The temperature was approximately six degrees in the school hall, and one of the other congregants said that they could go outside and warm themselves up in the sun if they were cold (which they were – freezing in fact, despite being bundled up in numerous layers of clothing) but they were unwilling to miss a single thing. After the funeral, which included going to the grave site, everybody was saying ‘that was a really good send-off’ and they mostly seemed to be at peace.

But Ginny wasn’t. She was really unhappy that the guy had died in the first place, because it was so unnecessary and sad. He was young and had not even hit a quarter of a century yet. Both he and his friend had been coerced into having drinks that were spiked with something nasty. His friend luckily survived, but tragically, he didn’t. Worse, the callous floozies who forced the drinks on them stole their cell phones, wallets and other personal possessions while they were in a deeply drugged state.

You always hear about this happening to girls and ladies, but not often to men. But here it happened, with heart-breaking consequences. Bottom line is, don’t leave your drink unattended at a party or a bar – and never, ever let yourself be forced into drinking something against your will. There are unscrupulous people out there who will do anything for money.

Please take care people!

Sibo

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