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FIFO Workers: Healthy Eating On-Site

The mining industry was number one on the list, at 78.2%, when Chris Jager from Lifehacker asked, “Are these the ten fattest professions in Australia?”

Source: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A snapshot study of 35 men at a mine site in WA’s northwest found 83 percent were overweight or obese. Edith Cowan University lecturer, Gemma Quayle, documented the sample groups eating habits, and found they consumed excessive levels of sodium and saturated fat in their diet and had higher rates of obesity than the national average. Furthermore, over 80 percent had an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes or heart disease. Quayle reported the workers ate less fruit, vegetables, dairy and grain foods than recommended while consuming lots of meat and unhealthy discretionary foods.

Source: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australasian Mine Safety Journal suggests poor health outcomes for on-site workers could be due to, “Work stress, fatigue and having easy access to high fat and high sugar foods when at camp can lead to poor eating habits.” Numerous factors within a mining site environment affect weight gain including shift work, camp food, high alcohol consumption, and lack of exercise. Subsequently, the strain put on the body from these factors become mental stress and can contribute to illness.

Source: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I understand It is challenging to begin a complete revamp of your eating and lifestyle habits. Therefore, I suggest two areas you can act on today:

Get off junk food

Junk food has no nutritional value, other than satisfying an energy slump or covering up feelings of loneliness. Junk food decays teeth, lowers self-image and impacts heart health. The sugar in junk food does terrible things to the brain, such as impairing memory and learning skills and contributing to anxiety and depression.

Source: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drink more water.

Staying hydrated is a useful habit to improve your inner and skin health, energy and mood regulation.

A nutritionist explained what happens when you don’t drink enough water. “When dehydrated, your cells become more like sultanas than plump, healthy grapes and consequently that’s how you think and feel. Blood flow to your brain is reduced, which limits the amount of oxygen reaching your brain cells and slows it down. Therefore, you feel tired and lack energy. When our cells are like shrivelled-up sultanas, the process of nutrients flowing in and out of the cells is hugely decreased, and this has ramifications throughout our entire body – our health, our moods, our thoughts, our appearance, our vitality are all below par.”

Source: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drinking enough water each day is easier when it’s readily on hand, so a must-have is a refillable environmentally-friendly water bottle, that many sites and workplaces provide in abundance.

A 2016 study found that mining employees are open to health-promoting programs and weight management assistance on-site. In my book Separated by Work I share various strategies to help FIFO workers and their families. I believe that with employer and family support, combined with the worker’s eating and exercise plan, the mining profession can be removed from the number one spot of ‘The ten fattest professions in Australian’ list.

Source: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you think about the on-site health of workers? Please share your tips on how you and your family member stay healthy on-site and at home.

 

Posted in: Mindfulness, Resilience, Separated by Work

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Work-life balance reduces stress

Are you rushing from commitment to commitment? Are you searching for more hours in the day? Well, you are not alone.  Health Direct suggest that Australia is behind the rest of the developed world in creating work-life balance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lack of work-life balance will lead to stress because there is an imbalance between your daily demands, responsibilities and commitments and the time, capabilities and energy you have to complete the workload and obligations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What can you do to manage the stress and create a more balanced life? I concur with D J Lee’s article, 6 Tips For Better Work-Life Balance, and have found my success in being aware of the suggested areas for many years. The six tips are:

  1. Let go of perfectionism – strive for excellence instead. Ask yourself, “have I done my best today with the resources I have available to me right now.”
  2. Unplug – Work screen free time into your day, every day.
  3. Exercise and meditate – There are so many recorded benefits to these activities. Move your body and practise deep breathing exercises every day, your muscles and mind will thank you for it.
  4. Limit time-wasting activities and people – Practise the 3 D’s: Do, Delegate, Dump. Stress will reduce, and results will increase.
  5. Change the structure of your life – Revisit your weekly timetable or planner and change a few things around and delegate some tasks to others. You may find that doing things the way you have always done it isn’t working anymore.
  6. Start small. Build from there – Change something every day, not everything all at once.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What work-life balance means and looks like is different for each person and family. Sit down and define it for you first. Once you know that, decide what you want to stop, minimise, keep doing and do more of, then consistently implement new ways of doing and being in your day.

Please share your work-life balance suggestions.

Images: Pixabay

Posted in: Business, Mindfulness, Parenting, Resilience, Separated by Work

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Have our brains become desensitised?

Source: Pixabay Computer chat

My family heavily relies on technology to feel close and communicate as we are a FIFO family – Separated by Work. I often joke with others that I might get T-Shirts made with the slogan—“Even though we’re miles apart, a computer screen connects our hearts.”

So, I have an intimate understanding of the negatives and positives involved in ‘screen time’.

For many, life demands we use phones, mobile devices, and computers more than we would have a few years ago. We all have instantaneous methods at our fingertips to communicate, which I am personally grateful for, yet there is more to consider when navigating online communication and social media.

Technology itself is not a bad thing, however for people who spend too much time interacting with a screen, the neural pathways in your brain change, and different ones created.

Kaiser Family Foundation reported 8- to 18-year-olds on average spend 11½ hours a day using their technology, and a sample group of adolescents struggled with the ability to recognise another person’s emotions. Dr Gary Small posed the questions, “Have our brains become so desensitised by a 24/7, all-you-can-eat diet of lurid flickering images that we’ve lost all perspective on appropriateness and compassion when another human being apparently suffers a medical emergency? Have we become a society of detached voyeurs?”

Source: Pixabay Social media

Communicating via a screen can decrease empathy and negatively impact concentration and self-esteem, leading people to say things electronically they’d never speak directly to someone.

At times when speaking to others electronically, I have realised by their response the message wasn’t received as intended. When I take the time to discuss it further, they grasp that they had misread what I was saying due to us not being face to face. Has this happened to you too?

From my experience, here are my top eight tips for staying and feeling connected:

  1. Don’t type anything via a screen that you wouldn’t say in person.
  2. Use your words well, whether you are texting or messaging. Re-read it and attempt to avoid any misinterpretation before sending.
  3. Listen for tone of text/type/voice cues as to how the person is feeling and always check for understanding.
  4. Don’t delay responding to messages you would rather avoid. If you think you don’t completely understand, ask for more information rather than disregard, or ignore it.
  5. Remember emojis are not a real expression of feelings, nothing is better than hearing a laugh and seeing a smile on someone’s face – a gentle smile or a heartfelt hug has far more power than the cleverest emoticon.
  6. Aim for a balance of online and in-person contact.
  7. Think about what you are posting and how it affects others – double check that what you are writing represents you and your family in the best light.
  8. Be aware of the other person’s situation or needs if you are tagging or mentioning someone, or a company, or a site on social media groups. If in doubt, get their permission first, or wait 24 hours and see if you still want to type and send that message.

Mobile devices and computers are not just connecting tools for family and friends. The screen world expands to include a global network of people who have access to each letter you type and the technological footprint you are creating.

Source: Pixabay Skype

I enjoy the benefit of instantly sharing photos, quotes, memories, and activities on social media with my friends and family. I like that I can help others if they are struggling and respond to them in an online support group. However, in online groups,  some people use a screen and keyboard to confront others, and some share painful emotions that they would not do face-to-face. Therefore, I suggest that you use online communication and social media carefully and mindfully.

The Internet is a fantastic tool, and it is here to stay. To make technology serve you well requires sound judgment and educating yourself on how it works.

What are your top tips for screen time success?

Until next time, Kirsty 🙂

Images: Pixabay

Posted in: Mindfulness, Parenting, Resilience, Separated by Work

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Are you pushing your ambitions onto your children?

The idea that parents try to live out their dreams through their children goes back at least as far as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, both of whom theorised about the phenomenon.

The psychologist Tanya Byron stated that when parents put too much pressure on children to succeed at a young age it will lead to a rise in levels of teenage stress and anxiety.

I was interviewed in 2012 by The Sydney Morning Herald for an article headlined, ‘Clone complex damages children, experts warn’. Unfortunately the dangers are just as real and happening today.

I believe, parents must recognise their children as individuals in their own right. Our children are not moulded in our image, they are not driven by our desires or fears, our likes and dislikes, and they do not necessarily have the same natural talents or interests we do. There may be similarities, however, our children are unencumbered by our experiences, life rules and limitations. This is to be embraced and explored – not exploited.

Susan Newman Ph.D said, “Parents work exceedingly hard to point their children in one direction or another to help them excel. In doing so, we have taken much of the fun out of being a parent and lost sight of what might make our children truly joyful.”

I suggest you can begin talking to your child today and find out what they like to do best. Once you know what is meaningful to your child arrange activities, conversations and tasks around this.

By listening, by being interested in their point of view, by taking time to understand their developmental needs – whilst keeping our feet firmly in the now – we are more able to achieve exactly what we are aiming for. And, what is it most parents aim for? The moment when we proudly reflect on being a part of the life of a happy, healthy, caring and satisfied adult. A person who has found success and comfort that is meaningful for them, that child you helped raise and nurture.

What are your thoughts? How do you support your child’s dreams?

Kirsty 🙂

Images: Pixabay

Posted in: Mindfulness, Parenting, Resilience, Separated by Work

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Book review – Finn and Puss

Exisle Publishing recently asked me review a delightful children’s story, Finn and Puss, featuring a young boy, Finn, who is feeling lonely and a cat called Puss who is lost.

They meet in town one day and loneliness and fear seems to be forgotten as they become friends, for a short time anyway.

Finn must make a tough choice.

The illustrations are soft and gentle which compliment a relatable story, that can be read independently by young readers.

What I liked most about this book was that it provided opportunities for discussion around situations where children may be feeling alone, what ethical behaviour is and different types of friendship.

RRP $19.99 – For more information or to buy CLICK HERE

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How heavy is this glass of water?

I have been on an upward trajectory of achievements and success in the last couple of years.  All my dreams coming true –  going back to study at University, a published book, online membership site, successful business, financial ease, awesome friends and a close family. One would imagine that with all this success all my burdens, stress and worries would get less, or even be non-existant. A huge misperception!

People even often say to me I don’t know how you do it all with Uni, business, family and a husband that works away. They say, you are so strong, and so lucky to have it all! Then they ask me to share with them my secret, or want to know how can I do it all and find peace with some of the horrible things that have happened in my past. They want the magic solution that will change their life in an instant.  I can tell you, that there isn’t a magic solution; unless you call hard work, determination and never giving up in the face of numerous challenges a magic solution.

I usually explain by first assuring them I am neither lucky or completely calm all the time.  I let them know that it is a constant conscious choice to get up, step up, choose the emotional state I want to be in and smile.  And I then share with them one of my favourite parables to illustrate how to honour, recognise, acknowledge, let go of the ‘stuff’ and keep achieving; even in the face of adversity.

Imagine I am holding a glass of water and I ask you – “How heavy is this glass of water I’m holding?”

From my perspective, the absolute weight of this glass doesn’t matter.  It all depends on how long I hold it.  If I hold it for a minute or two, it’s fairly light.  If I hold it for an hour straight, its weight might make my arm ache a little.  If I hold it for a day straight, my arm will likely cramp up and feel completely numb and paralyzed, forcing me to drop the glass to the floor.  In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it feels to me.

Your stresses and worries in life are very much like this glass of water.  Think about them for a while and nothing happens.  Think about them a bit longer and you begin to ache a little.  Think about them all day long, and you will feel completely numb and paralysed – incapable of doing anything else until you drop them.

My message to you today:  It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses and worries.  No matter what happens during the day. As early in the evening as you can put all your burdens down.  Don’t carry them through the night and into the next day with you.  If you still feel the weight of yesterday’s stress, it’s a strong sign that it’s time to put the glass down.

And that is exactly the way I live my live and teach others to do the same. Work hard, be clear and focused on what you want, don’t get caught up in others dramas, don’t get caught up in your own regrets or what if’s, and always remember that the longer you hold on to the glass the heavier it gets until you are paralysed. Just for today – put it down and let it go – or ask someone to help you ease the burden.

Kirsty 🙂

Posted in: Business, Mindfulness, Parenting, Resilience, Separated by Work

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Not Home for Birthdays

We have two big birthday months in our home, June and September. My husband has been a FIFO (fly in fly out) worker for the last eight years and he is rarely home for any of the actual days. The first couple of years were the hardest for us all, but as the years went by our family became accustomed to his absence, and we developed ways that everyone’s presence is still felt, and the birthday boy or girl feels special and celebrated.

After talking to many families in similar situations, who ask me for ideas to keep connected when apart on a family member’s special day, I felt moved to share how we celebrate and create birthday memories.

My top six tips for families separated by work on birthdays are:

  1. Overthinking it is the number one enemy! I strongly advise you to not become completely immersed in the fact that you are away or your loved one isn’t there for the special day. This will fuel negative and destructive feelings of missing out, loneliness, isolation and seclusion. This type of thinking will put a dark cloud over all celebrations, which you will regret later.  Instead, attempt to keep as upbeat and prepared as possible, stay focused on a day of festivities and activities, and have a good time.
  2. Just because you are apart, no one is forgotten! Even though one family member is away from home, the day is not less important or forgotten by anyone. It certainly doesn’t even have to be downplayed.  We have instantaneous ways to communicate at our fingertips, we can pop up on screens to join in on the party and we can pre-plan activities to be involved in on the day.  At times, being separated by work on a birthday can make the day seem much more special because of the effort involved.
  3. Let your friends step up and help you celebrate! Instead of downplaying the day, hiding it, or telling people it is no big deal – let others make it a big deal. Even if you must arrange it, (I have found though that friends usually love being a part of the planning) have a group of people around you to make a fuss and celebrate the special occasion.
  4. Always celebrate when together as well! It may not be on the actual date, but pre or post parties and gatherings are always fun. In the future, no one will remember what date it was you celebrated, but everyone will remember how they felt every year being the centre of attention and spoiled for their day. So, look at the roster and plan ahead so that it doesn’t become overwhelming and too hard as the date rapidly arrives.
  5. Be a positive force of festivities for your children! Your children may feel it the most – Mum or Dad isn’t here for their birthday. This is a time when we as parents need to excel in role modelling that their day is still a super special one; that everyone is involved in some way, they may even get two celebrations out of this, and that even though this isn’t everyone’s normal it is our families normal.
  6. Pre-plan, prepare and pre-book! As mentioned above, planning is key whether it is your child’s birthday or yours. Sitting down together and planning the surprises and activities for the day keeps everyone involved and excited. Planting hidden presents and notes around the house or in luggage to be found on the day certainly warms the soul for the receiver, and booking venues and events in advance avoids disappointment.

To finish off, I would like to leave you with some of my favourite activities for celebrating and to inspire you to plan yours and your family’s special moments, whether you are together or apart:

  • Finding hidden notes and presents/scavenger hunt.
  • Spending time with friends.
  • Eating out.
  • Going to the movies.
  • Having a picnic at the beach.
  • Ordering pizza and having movie night at home.
  • Cooking (and cleaning up afterwards) done for me.
  • Treat myself pamper day.
  • Doing something I love doing.
  • Checking something off my ‘bucket’ list.
  • Getting flowers and eating cake.
  • Having lots of good food, laughter and fun.
  • Outdoor activities and hiking.
  • Going to a concert.
  • A weekend getaway.
  • Taking a cooking class.
  • Winery tour.
  • Having a tea party.
  • Painting party.
  • Themed party or get together.
  • Feeling loved, spoilt and special!

I would love to hear your ideas on how you do birthdays when separated by work or when you are apart from your family – and what are your favourite ways to celebrate?

Kirsty 🙂

 

 

 

 

Posted in: Mindfulness, Parenting, Resilience, Separated by Work

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A strong support network is vital

Research suggests a strong peer network in the workplace, and having close and supportive relationships personally and intimately, helps individuals live longer and can increase happiness and health by 80%.

Researchers from Flinders University, found that people with the highest number of close friends outlived those with the least friends by 22 % – on average, living to the age of 79, compared to 65. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data on death rates shows people living in intimate relationships (including those in married and de facto relationships); – both men and women – have lower death rates than single people in almost all age groups. A 2009 study from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends’ women had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and the more likely they were to lead joyful lives.

In a world that seems to be more isolating than ever, and with each emerging online social networking tool introduced, people are growing further estranged – so the above points and statistics are more important than ever to take in and take action on. If you don’t feel inspired by those figures, then include the recent studies that are showing there is a link between the increase in depression, social isolation, stress and hostility, and the lack of supportive relationships people have.

When some of my clients first come to me and report feeling isolated, and have a limited professional and social support network, I find they can also be suffering from stress, emotional issues, and possibly even physical illness. Most of them are finding difficulty creating healthy relationships with others. They admit to having a lack of confidence and self esteem, because they have been let down or rejected in the past, and therefore bounce around the wrong people and relationships – and the cycle continues. This is having a dramatic impact on their health, happiness and success.

A fantastic resource is Blue Zones by writer and explorer Dan Buettner. He spent his life traveling the world in search of answers to longevity and living a fulfilling life. Buettner argues that relationships are really the key to lifelong happiness, saying, “the happiest people socialize about seven hours a day,” and that “you’re three times more likely to be happy if you are married … and each new friend will boost your happiness about 10 percent.” He also explains that good relationships in the workplace are so important; adding that, “the biggest determinant of whether or not you’ll like your job is if you have a best friend there, more so than how much you’re paid.”

Having a hand to hold as you go through life makes the difficulties and challenging times easier to deal with. When things don’t turn out as expected, knowing that your friends, partner, family members and co-workers have your back allows you to go through the storms and come out the other side, feeling okay instead of broken.

I think we are in a social and relationship crisis period. I decided that I want to do my bit to end the isolation, stress and loneliness for as many people as I could, so I spend many of my days helping people to be able to create excellent relationships, friendships and networks that support them to excel personally and professionally.

Look around you now, think about your last week, think about the plans you have for the coming week. Are you surrounding yourself with people who uplift you and inspire you? If not, search for those people, connect in person, make plans for catch ups, have conversations where you are really interested in what others are saying, and get out there and support your community. If you know someone who is experiencing loneliness or doesn’t quite know how to build networks and friendships, help them and reach out to them. Your health and happiness is determined by these connections, so make it a priority.

Kirsty 🙂

Posted in: Business, Resilience, Separated by Work

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The Year of The Rooster – Chinese New Year

Gung hay fat choy! Happy new year!

Chinese New Year, often called the Spring Festival, is the most important holiday in China and Chinese communities around the world.

Gung hay fat choy is how Cantonese speakers wish you a happy new year—literally “wishing you great happiness and prosperity.” In China, the official language is Mandarin. Gong xi fa cai is how Mandarin-speakers wish you a happy new year—literally “wishing you to be prosperous in the coming year.”

For more than 3,000 years, Chinese New Year is the beginning of a new year in the Chinese calendar. The historic Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar, meaning dates are determined by both the moon (lunar) and the sun (solar). Months begin with every new moon, when the moon is not visible in the night sky. The new year starts on the new moon nearest the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, sometime between January 21 and February 20.

The Chinese New Year 2017 begins on January 28. The festivities end two weeks later, on what is known as the Lantern Festival.

During the Chinese New Year’s celebrations, there are many traditional activities, some local and others celebrated universally. The Chinese believe that as they enter a new year, they should start a new beginning. They clean their houses, pay off all their debts, purchase new clothes, paint their doors, and even get new haircuts to have a fresh start for the new year. Homes throughout China are decorated with special banners, many of which are red and gold; the traditional representations of happiness and prosperity.¹

One very fun tradition is exchanging gifts. A traditional present that is given is small red envelopes filled with “lucky money”. These envelopes are given to children by their family and friends. Every year since my children were little I give them a red envelope with $5 in it and a message to wish them well through the next year.

The Year of the Fire Rooster I have read will be a powerful one, with no middle of the road when it comes to moving forward. It is a year themed with much success, triumphs and great new beginnings.  Impressions will count, and you’ll want to be clear on your intentions concerning love, money, and business. In a Rooster Year, all the Chinese animals can reap great rewards by tapping into Rooster traits – loyalty, commitment, hard work, family values, and outstanding appearances are just some of the characteristics that will be rewarded this year.

Why would I celebrate Chinese New Year?  I find the colour, the energy, the meaning and the celebrations hard to dismiss.  I enjoy another focused opportunity to begin again with purpose. My favourite colour is red, which in Chinese culture symbolises good fortune and joy, so I can dress for the occasion!  And, who doesn’t love a good Dragon dance?

If you are celebrating, enjoy your festivities – if you are not, you could take advantage of the new moon energy of the beginning of a new lunar cycle and focus on what you want and plan out your actions to achieve it.

Why not celebrate more and worry less?  Why not feel that good fortune is afoot?  Why not take every opportunity to refocus and make plans?  I know in my home this weekend you will see lots of red and hear many wishes of Gung hay fat choy!

Kirsty 🙂

¹Ref. and for more information – http://www.nationalgeographic.org/media/gung-hay-fat-choy/

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Here Be Dragons – Book Review

I was asked recently by Exisle Publishing to review Here Be Dragons.  It says on the cover, “A parent’s guide to discovering purpose, adventure, and the unfathomable joy of the journey.” I did think to myself, “not another parenting book!”

I got to about page three and, to my delight, couldn’t put it down.

It wasn’t like any other parenting book I had read or reviewed.  I loved what was different. It is written by Annmarie Kelly-Harbaugh and Ken Harbaugh – from how they met, how they developed as people together and apart, and how they met each challenge once they became parents.  I found it to be an honest and personal insight into both parent’s experience and how they felt about it and dealt with it – and is full of humour only parent’s would appreciate!

I felt a part of Annmarie’s and Ken’s lives as I turned the pages and could relate to their many experiences; as well as how they had overcome the tough times.

What stood out for me though was how they described real issues faced by all of us once we become parents –

  • How mothers are judged differently to fathers.
  • Working through career goals and meeting the needs of your children.
  • Who does what, when.
  • How imbalanced it can be – and that is perfect.
  • Getting the right people around you.
  • Weathering each storm, knowing it will pass.

Then it is all tied nicely together at the end with a section of topics and questions for discussion as you examine your own ‘story’.

I highly recommend Here be Dragons for parents of any age children.  Whether it is for reflection, guidance or amusement – this book has it all.

Kirsty 🙂

Posted in: Parenting, Resilience, Separated by Work

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