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Let’s talk about Mental Health, Moms

March 6, 2017

Moms are superheroes, no doubt. We are the masters in homemaking, we have thriving careers and work long hours, while also making time for our families and friends. Although sadly the latter are more often neglected than not. It is true we can do just about anything we set our minds to; however, we cannot do it alone, because I have learned that it takes a village.

The most bad-ass superheroes have sidekicks and not all wear capes, just so do all moms need a strong support team of family and friends to step in when we not only need to see to our physical health but our mental health too. I always say, a fabulous mom knows when to ask for help.

Whenever our kids fall ill, who do they seek out first for comfort? MOM. When they’re feeling hurt, whose reassurance do they depend on? MOM. And when they’re uncertain, at least they can be sure of mom’s unfailing love and care for them. But how are you going to do all that when you’re battling depression or alcoholism. I believe it is in these tender moments when our kids are leaning on us for support and guidance,  that the foundation of their mentality towards the world is laid.

A healthy outlook on life starts at home and often with us. Therefore, if for none other than the well-being of our children, we need to unite in the battle against mental illness attacking our women and in so doing raise a healthier generation.

The more we speak about mental illness in our society, the more we will learn about its symptoms and treatments. Only then can we start to heal and remove its ugly stigma.

Only after my mother had a stroke while alone at home one night, tragically resulting in the loss of too much oxygen to the brain, causing severe brain damage and her ultimate passing, did I realise she’d been suffering from a mental illness for possibly my whole life. Mom was an alcoholic. 

Did you know alcoholism is a mental illness? Well, it is, and it is curable. For mom it was too late, but it doesn’t have to be too late for anyone else. Which is why this post means so much to me. Many of the most common mental illnesses are curable if treated correctly.

Gita Harie, executive director of the Durban and Coastal Mental Health Association, said: “Mental health is the nation’s wealth. We take it for granted and we forget that there is an interrelationship between our physical and mental well-being.

If you know someone with a mental illness or someone you think may possibly be suffering from a mental disorder, remember to be understanding, compassionate and supportive.

Sources: Women’s Mental Health In South Africa by Alison Moultrie research psychologist & Dr. Sharon Kleinjes Senior lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at the University of Cape Town; South African Depression and Anxiety Group Sadag;  Health Systems Trust

Love,

Health, Health/Fitness, Lifestyle

Do you know your health status?

August 6, 2016

You may or may not have wondered where I disappeared to and why I’ve been so quiet for so long.

Unfortunately this year, Winter decided he was going to be a big old mean bully. So far, I’ve been temporarily half blind for almost two weeks when a huge abscess decided to manifest itself on my eyelid. It was so painful I lived on nine pain killers a day, which in the process gave me the tummy ache from hell, I literally felt I OD’d myself and was going to die. For a week I could only see through one eye and was unfit to drive which led to major frustration. During the healing process things got a little worse before it finally got better. I am happy to report that I have now fully regained my binocular vision

According to my general practitioner, the abscess was brought on by my hey-fever which had been acting up pretty bad at the time. Who knew a simple case of hey-fever have the potential to cause so much agony.

Winter was however nowhere near finished beating me up and just two weeks later, after a case of extreme nausea and thinking I might be pregnant, which couldn’t possibly be since hubby had been snipped for almost three years, I was diagnosed with a severe bladder infection. My second round of antibiotics in one month. Fabulous!

As the saying goes, they always come in threes and one week after recovering from the bladder I am now stuck with the flu. It’s safe to assume that I am overjoyed Winter is getting ready to leave.

Although it has been a nightmare experience, I am thankful for my health. It did however make me think a little longer about just how important regular health checks are for us women, and moms especially. We so naturally and diligently care about the well-being of our loved ones, yet just as easily forget about our own. It’s time we realise that although we are super-human, we are human.

I’ve always been a little, even secretly proud of my “I  never fall ill” status. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I saw the inside of a doctor’s waiting room, much less a hospital, while growing up. My first real memory of seeing the inside of a hospital was when our neighbours’ stray dog decided I’m no longer welcome there and bit a hole in my 7 year old arm. My best friend at the time cried her eyes out when she saw me, I was just way too chuffed with my new arm brace. That was the end of hospitals for me.

Until I had kids and lost count. Now a trip to the doctor and the ER with them is as routine as the seasons. Winter with its colds and flu’s and so many other viruses and infections, Summer with its heat-related breakouts and fevers and Spring with the ol’ faithful sinusses and hey-fever.

The best way to take care of our family and to continue taking care of them, is to take care of ourselves also. It’s a medical fact that every woman, at least over the age of 20, should make time for healthy habits like regular exercise, stress management and routine health screenings. The hard truth of the matter is that regular doctors’ visits can literally mean the difference between life and death.

Here’s where you can get started:

Breast self-exam: Check your girls for unusual lumps or bumps monthly so you can stay on top of any changes. The best time to do it is a few days after your period ends.

Skin self-exam: The Skin Cancer Foundation strongly recommends that you check out your body once a month for any new or unusual spots or marks. Just remember your ABCDEs: asymmetry, border irregularity, uneven color, diameter bigger than 6 mm, and evolving shape and size.

Dental check-up: Make sure to hit up the dentist’s chair twice a year for cleanings and other preventative maintenance.

Full physical exam: This annual check-up should include a height and weight check, a blood pressure screening, a clinical breast exam, and any blood tests your doctor deems necessary, says Moore. These may include tests for blood sugar, blood count, hormone levels, and other crucial markers.

Pap smear: If you’ve had three consecutive normal pap smears, are in a mutually monogamous relationship, and have no other risk factors, you could technically go three years between screenings. However, most doctors still suggest women see their gynecologist once a year and get a pap smear while they’re there. Your pap tests for any changes or abnormalities in the cells in your cervix, which is a way to screen for cervical cancer.

Other regular screenings include eye exams, cholesterol and blood count, diabetes and mammograms to name but a few. Read more on Women’s Health

According to the South African Medical Journal; “The Discovery Health screening programme offers a paid screening benefit to its members for mammograms, Pap smears, HIV tests, glaucoma screening, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) for prostate cancer screening, random glucose and cholesterol tests, ’flu vaccines and pneumococcal vaccines, irrespective of the type of medical plan members belong to.”

So, in the spirit of Women’s Month, let’s make sure we know our health status!

 

HAPPY WOMEN’S MONTH FABMOMS!!

Health, Health/Fitness, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Fabulous moms raise fit kids (with yoga)

June 21, 2016

Every day, four-year-old Yasmina Seyfaie rolls out her mini yoga mat and folds her body into animal shapes alongside her mom.

Yasmina’s mom, Eliane Bejjani, says “Any time she’s having a tantrum or is upset or crying, I tell her to take deep breaths in and out, just like she does in yoga.”

The above excerpt was taken from an article in Today’s Patents and certainly inspired the fabmom in me.

I have a 6 year old daughter myself and I realize that our children deal with many distractions, temptations, overstimulation and peer pressure every single day. Unfortunately we cannot always be there fending off the bad guys when trying situations present themselves to our kids. We are busy and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

We have demanding jobs and many of us are also students or working two jobs. As moms, whether married or not, we are also the homemakers and to make sure we are always on top of things and stay looking and feeling fabulous, we also try to find some time in between for a little body and mind rejuvenation. It’s hard!

Yoga has been known for centuries to provide the ultimate mind and body rejuvention and in this day and age, it’s not just us suffering from stress, but our kids too. So, why not include your younguns in your daily yoga routine?

The ancient practice has been proven time and time again to support children in their classrooms, homes, sports, and relationships.

Surely if we need rejuvenation, they do too! And what better way to do this than over a 15 minute ‘bonding’ workout. The chores will still be there, the chatting on our phones can wait, and everything else can be put on hold to carve out this 15 minutes of unbelievably special time with our kids.

Animal themed poses might just do the trick in holding on to their attention long enough. Kids love routine as much as we do, so try to stick to the same poses and sequence until you know your child or children are ready to move onto more intense ones. Pretty soon you’ll have yourself a little yogi on hand.

Start slow, keep it short and make it fun!

Cobra

This pose stretches the chest while strengthening the spine and shoulders. It also helps to open the lungs, which is therapeutic for asthma. Lie on your belly, with the chin on the floor, palms flat on the floor under the shoulders and legs together. Pull up the knee caps, squeeze the thighs and buttocks, and press the pubic bone down into the floor. Without using the arms, inhale and lift the head and chest off of the floor, keeping the neck in line with the spine. With the elbows close to your sides, press down into the palms and use the arms to lift you up even higher. Drop the shoulders down and back and press the chest forward. Keep the legs, buttocks, and keep the pubic bone pressing down into the floor. Breathe and hold for 2-6 breaths.

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 Cat-Cow

Cat cow pose massages the organs and spinal cord gently, and helps in stretching the neck and the torso. Kneel down. Remember, your knees should be underneath your hips and hands should be underneath your shoulders. Your hands should be straight and elbows shouldn’t be bent. Let your tummy slightly sink towards the floor while inhaling. Look towards the ceiling. (Cow pose). Now, exhale and slightly raise your tummy towards the ceiling. Look towards your belly. (Cat pose). Repeat this pose 2-3 times.

catcow

Downward Dog

This yoga posture helps to calm your mind and provides energy to your body. It stretches the upper body area, which helps to relieve headaches and back pain. Take a deep breath and stand erect. Now, bend your body from waist to head, downwards. Place your palms on the floor. Push your butt upwards. Your elbows shouldn’t be bent.  Pull your soles upwards. Breathe normally and stay in this pose for a few seconds. Return to the original posture while exhaling.

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Rocking Horse

This yoga posture helps the kids in improving their body posture, stretching out their whole body and helps in strengthening the back muscles. Lie down prone on the ground. Bend your knees while exhaling. Keep your hands backwards. Hold your toes with your palms. Stretch your body and look forward. Stay in this position for 5-7 seconds. hen, release your toes and lie comfortably.

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 Frog

This yoga posture maintains your health by improving the functioning of your heart. It also helps to tone your legs.  Bend your knees and sit down. Place your palms on the ground, but make sure your knees don’t touch the floor. Breathe normally and shift your body weight on your hands by leaning forward. Slowly and gently raise your soles upwards and put a little pressure on your toes. Slowly, put your soles on the floor and stand up.

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Tree

This pose will help you improve your balance and mental focus. Stand tall and straight, breath in and out while you feel your legs reaching towards the ground and your head reaching toward the sky. Focus your eyes on one spot in front of you. Lift your right leg first and place your foot flat on your left leg above the knee. Breath steadily and lift your arms up high.

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Butterfly

This pose is great for opening the hips and a good stretch for the ankles. Sit on the floor and place the soles of your feet together. Hold onto your feet or ankles, and let your knees drop to the floor. Keep your spine straight and tall.

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Why we should do yoga with our kids:

1. Maintains Flexibility and Strengthens Growing Bodie
2. Enhances Concentration
3. Increases Self-Esteem
4. Teaches Present Moment Awareness
5. Cultivates a Peaceful, Relaxed State of Body and Min
6. Gives Tools for Stress Management
7. Sparks Creativity in Ripe Imaginations
8. Encourages Kind Peer and Social Interactions
9. Enhances Body Awareness
10. Teaches Discipline and Responsibility

Sources: parents magazine, popsugar fitness, yoga buddies, Pinterest, homeremedyshop, yogabasics

Health, Health/Fitness, Inspiration

Living a stress-free life, stress free.

April 8, 2014

As a mom, whether full time or working, it’s nearly impossible to find the shortest few moments in any day, to spend on ourselves. The result is that most of us simply stop trying and ends up giving in to the “more pressing” demands of the day. I completely get the reasoning behind why your own well-being always takes a backseat to that of your immediate family, and I would leave it at that and not bother writing this post if I thought you don’t want to be around for your family for a very long time to come, but I believe you do. Stress had become such a dominant part of our lives. It’s seeped its way through every aspect of our lives – family, work, finances, our relationship with our dogs, to figuring out what we are having for dinner tonight. Stress had become a pandemic and the only way we are going to survive (by survive I mean, stay alive), is to fight back. One way in which this is possible is to start taking care of our physical and mental health. If life begins at 40 and you only really start enjoying the fruit of your many years of labour after 50, then wouldn’t you at least want to stick around to enjoy them? There is no harm in wanting a physically, mentally and even spiritually rich life and rest assured that nothing bad is going to happen to your family or career while you take a few minutes of the day and spend it all on yourself. In fact, it proves to be majorly beneficial to everyone, but most importantly to you, as a woman.

Here are five quick and easy ways to claim back your life and minimise stress substantially.
Yoga:

I cannot think of a better way to stay both physically and mentally fit, other than Yoga. I have only recently come to hear of the sun salutation (because I’ve been living under a rock all this time), and it looks fairly easy a sequence to follow. It’s quick and great for us busy moms. You don’t necessarily have to do the sun salutation (That’s just my preference), there are so many. Find a sequence that works for you then take no more than 15 minutes of your day to spend on yourself. Similar forms of meditative exercises are Pilates and tai chi.

Aromatherapy:

Aromatherapy and essential oils are well-known to be effective stress relievers. It’s been for centuries. Change the Essential Oil to match your mood, common examples are; Lavender for relaxation or Rosemary or Peppermint if you need to wake up and concentrate. Essential oils can now also be applied through various types of diffusers – either by diluting it into a spray bottle, a roll on bottle or sticks. My favourite is the oil burner where the oil is diluted into a little ceramic burner with a tea candle burning underneath. The flame causes the aroma to be transported throughout the area. This is great for bath time, but suitable for any area in the house you spend the most time in, and at your office desk too. Aromas and smells have a direct influence on our moods. The oils can be purchased at Dischem or The body shop. The key is to get to best quality.

Music: Music is so potent a stress reliever that there now is something called “music therapy”. However, if you, like me, do not have time to schedule hour-long therapy sessions then I suggest you get yourself a selection of slow, soft, soothing music. Mozart or any classical and instrumental music has always been known to work wonders on one’s mood, but if you are not the classical type than any soothing music of your choice will do (ideally slower than your heart-rate). Create a library of your fave slow songs. Once you have your selection, keep them handy and listen to them after a long, hard day at work. It’s one of the best forms of therapy there is.Music-Notes

Mini-relaxations:

This is your quick fix for when you’re basically faced with people causing you irritation or any other form of stress. It can be while sitting at your desk at work, in a meeting, at the kitchen counter at home, while talking over the phone or driving in your car (In traffic!)

When you have Three minutes
Relax your facial muscles and allow your jaw to open slightly. Let your shoulders drop. Let your arms fall to your sides. Allow your hands to loosen so there are spaces between your fingers. Uncross your legs or ankles. Feel your thighs sink into your chair, letting your legs fall comfortably apart. Feel your shins and calves become heavier and your feet grow roots into the floor. Now breathe in slowly and breathe out slowly.

When you’ve got 2 minutes
Count down slowly from 10 to zero. With each number, take one complete breath, inhaling and exhaling. For example, breathe in deeply saying “10″ to yourself. Breathe out slowly. On your next breath, say “nine,” and so on. If you feel lightheaded, count down more slowly to space your breaths further apart. When you reach zero, you should feel more relaxed. If not, go through the exercise again.

When you’ve got 1 minute
Place your hand just beneath your navel so you can feel the gentle rise and fall of your belly as you breathe. Breathe in slowly. Pause for a count of three. Breathe out. Pause for a count of three. Continue to breathe deeply for one minute, pausing for a count of three after each inhalation and exhalation.
Another one-minute relaxation technique is to sit comfortably and take slow, deep breaths. Each time you breathe in, say to yourself “I am.” As you breathe out, say “At peace.” Repeat this several times. Feel your entire body relax into the support of the chair.

 

Quiet time:

Meaning no cell phones, ipads or facebook. Ask hubby or grandma to take the kids to the park or a movie or even while they are away at school, and spend a few minutes on absolutely nothing but relishing in the silence. Lie flat on your back if you must, close your eyes and let your thoughts take you to your happy place. The trick is to NOT DO ANYTHING. To see how hard this is try this 90 second relaxation exercise I stumbled upon[highlight] http://thequietplaceproject.com/[/highlight] no matter how much I wanted to fast forward the process, I stuck it out and surprisingly felt much calmer. I go back there whenever I need a few seconds to myself.


Let’s combat stress together!

Entertainment, Health, Health/Fitness, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Slider

Why time with our Girlfriends are so important for our mental health!

February 20, 2014
I know, I know! There’s hardly enough time to finish a cup of coffee, and planning a date with your BFF’s seems like an impossible task. This is especially true for working moms. By the time you get home at night and caught up with the kids,  your husband and cooking, you’d much rather prefer spending any free time you get thereafter, doing absolutely nothing at all!
And that’s okay! but time spent away from hubby and the kids might actually be just the boost you need to get back onto the domestic bandwagon, feeling more refreshed and a much happier you! In fact, it’s vital that we make time to connect with our girlfriends, even in, no, especially in the midst of our chaotic lifestyle as Supermoms. Besides, only girlfriends really understand our nagging concerns about looking and feeling good and only girlfriends truly understand and share our reasoning behind why it’s just SO important to get a wardrobe make-over, as in yesterday! It’s also been said that spending time with your girlfriends, improves your physical and emotional well-being. So many times we are left angered and shattered because our better-halves simply don’t “get us” when truth be told, they will never really get us the way our girlfriends do.
1 – they are not women and
2 – men really are from Mars!

With that cleared up, I hope you are ready to have some serious fun hanging out with your besties. If simply going for a coffee at a bookstore every now and then is more your thing, by all means, go for it. I love a cozy catch-up session at a tiny coffee shop or restaurant, but while preparing this post for all you fabulous moms, I realised just how much more there is to enjoy together as girlfriends. Now all you have to do is convince hubby (or grandma) to see to the kids for just a couple of hours while you go out and recharge you sanity batteries.

Here are just a few GDO (or Girls Day Out) ideas every fab mom and her girlfriends should try:

 

1. Active Mom

Charity runs happens throughout the year and it’s just so much fun! with the added bonus of getting fit and helping others in need. Enter yourself and a group of girls into one of these and put on some silly costume (if permitted). Whether running or walking, prepare yourselves for some serious laughter. If you hate running as much as I do, try cycling, hiking or helping out at a shelter.

2.Creative Mom

For the more creative group, there’s just so much to do! Join a mosaic class and create fabulous artwork for each other and your homes. If working with glue is not for you, maybe paint is. Join an art class together. If paint doesn’t tickle your fancy, try clay and sign up for pottery. for the bookworms there’s literary festivals and literary group meetings. Enjoy exploring your creative skills! Here’s a comprehensive list of creative classes .

3.Shopaholic Mom

Here’s a GORGEOUS way to get the girls together, dress up and do what you do best. Shop! Find out whether there are new boutiques opening in your area or which fashion stores have red carpet events coming up, and attend. If you are not there to spend money, just browse. Living the fab life (on a budget)…shh, no one needs to know!

4. Fine dining mom
 

High tea to me, is so….sex and the city!  It’s one of the few occasions you get to dress up glamorously in the middle of the day, to have tea, with friends. What better way to catch up on some long overdue gossip and eat cake till it comes out your ears. If on the other hand, high tea is not for you, then surely drinks at Camps Bay or wine tasting in Stellies are.

We are so lucky to live in the most beautiful city and country in the world. There seriously are so much to do, to put them all down here will be impossible. Find what works for you and your girls and have fun!

FabMom Tip: Make sure you meet up with the girls at least once every season. If you can more often, great! But always keep the contact.

Girl Power!!