mental health, Mindfulness, wellness

Growing Pains in Self Awareness

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I wish I could tell you my path to self-discovery has been easy but that would be a huge lie! I’ve found parts of myself that I never knew existed which had me wondering, ‘Wow did I really used to be that much of an a*sehole?’ Especially through the teenage years where I probably resembled a mix between The Exorcist and a Gremlin (sorry mum).

I’m still learning every day and I hope I continue to do so as the years go by. The truth is we are all constantly evolving and growing, hopefully trying to become better people before we sign out of this lifetime.

My path to seek a higher awareness of who I really was, kicked off when I was 21. I had just thrown a stiletto at one of my ex boyfriend’s heads in response to rumors of infidelity and wound up weeks later in conversation with his mother, about how it might be time to get my anger issues under control. Look, it was an age thing but also? I come from a hot blooded Italian family! We will give you the shirt off our back but if you screw us over, we lose it and I MEAN lose it.

The self-discovery was on and off for the first few years; a meditation class here, a herbal remedy there and even a few psychics to help me understand WTF was happening to me in my 20’s where it just felt like every decision I made was the wrong one, and I kept gravitating towards people and situations that were completely the opposite of who I wanted to be. The problem was I actually had no concept of the real ME, Melissa.

Fast forward to present day in my 30’s after a thousand sessions with some of the best coaches, healers, and natural therapy practitioners in Australia and I’m here. I definitely have a much stronger sense of who I am and what I stand for, but that hasn’t been without a lot of physical and emotional pain when you dig deep. The payoff? An amazing sense of lightness that comes after shedding each layer of life that no longer serves you. Sometimes those layers come in the form of a job, a relationship or even a friendship. Sometimes you legitimately feel like you can’t peel yourself off the floor after having a self-awareness ‘growth spurt’ and other days you feel like the happiest and most enlightened person to walk the Earth.

So how do we get through the growing pains when we commit to getting to know ourselves? You stick with it. You find your people. You get really good at spotting the bullsh*t and refusing to stand for it. You expand. You become happier than you ever thought you could be and you start seeing life in colour, not greyscale.

If you want to dig a little deeper and are ready to get onboard with self discovery, drop me an email – mel@timetoexhale.com.au. Clearly after reading this you’ll realise I’ve not always had it together, but it’s what brought me here so that I can help and understand others. I can’t promise it will be easy at times but I guarantee I’ll be there standing beside you the whole way!

 

 

mental health, Mindfulness, stress, anxiety, depression, help, support, wellness

Mind Empty or Mind Full?

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Over the years people have asked me what I’m into, what I want from my career and what I like to do in my spare time. Sometimes I’m referred to as a ‘hippie’ a ‘tree hugger’ or I get asked; “Are you into those crystals and oily things?”

My answer – I’m into anything that makes me happy! Which includes practicing mindfulness, something we can all fit into our lives even (especially) if you spend a lot of time in the corporate environment. Mindfulness simply means giving your undivided attention to the present moment, something we can all do and have probably done before.

Have a think about the times in your life when you have been so immersed in something that everything else just slips into the background. Cast your mind back to a movie you were so engrossed in that you just couldn’t take your eyes off the screen, playing in the park with your kids and pushing them on the swing, or maybe just sitting down after dinner is done and enjoying some chocolate or a glass of wine!

All these moments in time help us understand that life is to be enjoyed. The moments where we stop multitasking and really start to see everything in front of us for what it is. This allows us to slow down, relieve stress and keep life in perspective. We can be in flow with the present instead of getting caught up in our minds asking ‘what if?’

Are you struggling to find time to be in the present? Simply stop where you are right now and pay attention. Notice the smells and sounds around you… what can you see?… slow down your breathing and listen to it. Following simple steps like these can help you feel ‘in the moment’ no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Being self-aware is the first step to mindfulness. Time to Exhale is all about making it possible for people to reconnect with themselves and find balance in their lives. Mindfulness training is just one of the things I would love to help you with.

To raise awareness for Mindful in May, I will be offering 2 for 1 sessions to anyone who books with me across the month, so if you refer a friend your session is free! For more details email me at – mel@timetoexhale.com.au

 

mental health, stress, anxiety, depression, help, support, wellness

5 Signs It’s Time to Talk

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There is so much pressure in our society today, for people to keep it together and just “get on with it”. But what if you keep trying day in and day out, only to feel completely lost, exhausted, stressed and teary at the drop of a hat.

Social media can make us feel even more depressed when there are countless images of people’s highlight reels of life, always happy and posting messages to stay positive and motivated. (Hey I get it, it’s my job to motivate people) but even I have to take a step back sometimes and realise when I’m not having an “Instagram worthy” day, week or month and that it’s ok. In fact; it’s MORE than ok, it’s completely NORMAL.

Recognising and admitting when it’s time to reach out and talk to someone is the hardest step, but the most crucial to ensure you stay on track and look after your mental health. Here are just a few signs that it might be time to seek out support:

Food choices:

Having the occasional cheeky burger or pizza meal is ok, I’m all about moderation. However, when these choices become the norm, it’s your body having a reaction to an emotional void that needs to be filled. Next time you hit the vending machine at 3pm, check in with the emotion you are feeling before reaching for your wallet.

Withdrawing socially:

Bingeing on the latest Netflix series for 7 hours straight can be amazing when it’s called for, and some days you just need time out from the real world. Same deal with junk food though, if this is your go to activity every weekend or weeknight, it may be time to phone a friend and have a coffee, to talk about what’s really happening in your life.

Can’t sleep:

Waking up in the middle of the night to visit the bathroom is standard, but if you regularly find yourself unable to get straight back to sleep for hours, ticking over all the things you need to do tomorrow, then your mind is working overtime and may need to offload the information to get a decent night’s rest.

Mood swings:

Feeling like you can take on the world, but then wanting to hide from it all in one day is a sign that your adrenals are out of whack. You could be in constant fight or flight mode. This is great for when a tiger is chasing you in the African jungle, but not when you are on a deadline, or rushing around taking the kids to 25 different after school activities. Take a breath and pick up the phone, it’s ok to put your hand up and say “I’m not coping”.

Anxiety and panic attacks:

These can often happen in the moments of nothingness, like driving, doing the dishes or making a cup of tea. You feel your chest tighten and you become short of breath. You then start to hyperventilate and panic while bursting into tears. This is a clear, if not THE clearest sign that something is not right and hasn’t been for a while. Get help. You are worth it. Your boss, your kids, your partner can all wait. Book yourself in for a professional appointment with someone and talk.

If you are feeling any, or all of these signs then please reach out – mel@timetoexhale.com.au.

If not to myself, at least a friend or a loved one. If you know someone who is going through a tough time, please share this article – it might be what they need right now.

mental health, wellness

Never Too Old

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I sometimes feel like our lives can get too serious. We spend most of our waking hours working, trying to follow process and procedures, organising ourselves and our families, then passing out each day only to do it all again tomorrow.

We spent the last few days in Bali as many Australians do each year. Whilst enjoying a cocktail by the pool, one thing my husband and I realised is that our lives have become very serious and ‘adult’. It’s great when you are setting goals and achieving them but we had to ask ourselves; “When was the last time we laughed so hard that we cried?” or “Felt so excited about something we could burst?”

If you already have kids, I can imagine they make you stop and smell the roses, get out of your head and into your heart and have fun. We’re not at that point yet so we have to pull ourselves out of it. How did we do it? Yesterday we decided to try Asia’s biggest water slides at Waterbom Park!

I have to admit I woke up feeling a bit nervous and didn’t know what to expect. I’ve always loved rides as a kid, climbed a mountain, jumped out of a plane, swung 30 feet in the air (okay now I’m showing off) but as I get older there is more hesitation before I do things. However when I feel that nervous energy usually something really awesome is about to happen.

We had the best day out; sliding around, running up and down the stairs with donut rings, laughing, screaming and reviving our inner child. It was so good to see each other like that and it reminds you how fun life is. The best part was seeing older parents taking on the mammoth slides that were too scary for us!

Moral of my story? You are never too old to get out there and have some fun when life gets too serious. If we don’t push ourselves to step out of the daily grind and experience joy, then what on earth are we here for? Do something this week that brings out your inner child and tell me about it, I’d love to know what you get up to!

mental health, wellness

Check in with YOU

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Recently I’ve been spending all my waking hours on the business and looking at ways to learn more, do more, see more etc; but the most important thing that I forgot to do was check in with myself.

On the weekend I battled through a nasty head cold with the realisation that I was physically and mentally depleted. Now you’re probably thinking – “Mel aren’t you a Life Coach? You should know what to do with this kind of thing”. The truth is, even people who help others need people to nudge them in the right direction sometimes. I have great mentors in my life who keep me on track and remind me, that in order to be of service to others, I need to be ok with myself first. This applies to everyone in all aspects of life. Whether you’re a CEO, a working or stay at home parent, a student, or all of those things; check in with YOU each day, even if it’s for 5 minutes. Ask yourself things like; How do I feel today? Am I in the right frame of mind to have this conversation? Is there anything I could be doing differently to result in a better outcome? What haven’t I done today that I know I should do, to feel good?

The goal isn’t to be this perfect person who always has their stuff under control, let’s be real here. All you are trying to do by asking these questions, is make life easier for yourself and those around you. Unfortunately, the people who get hit the hardest when we aren’t being the best version of ourselves, are our loved ones. We hold it together in the workplace and for our friends, then unleash the beast when we get home, while we unload the dishwasher and decide that someone is going to cop it for not stacking it properly! Sound familiar?

So how do you find those 5 minutes a day to check in? My first answer is meditation, but not in the traditional sense. Sure, it’s great to have the luxury of sitting in a quiet room with candles and incense while you sit on a magic carpet and try to leave your body for an hour, but a lot of people tune out when the words “mindfulness” and “being present” are mentioned. My simple answer for those in the thick of it? Talk to yourself in the car, in the shower, at a café, at the gym, in the garden, wherever that place is by yourself; because that my friends, IS meditation and so crucial for your happiness and being the best version of you.