I believe that we are all in charge of our own happiness. Happiness doesn’t come easily; it is something you have to continually work at, adjusting aspects of your life you can change, and accepting the parts you cannot. But it is also okay not to feel completely happy all the time and accept that everyone must experience challenges, and ultimately, pain, because without challenge and pain, you cannot grow, or learn. Parenthood is a very strange cocktail of both. Pure, unlimited happiness and joy that fills you up like nothing else, and many, many life lessons and challenges that push you well past your limits. But that’s the point isn’t it. To push you. To make you stronger.
If you had of asked me a month ago if I was enjoying Motherhood I would have said ‘No’. Actually I would have yelled ‘HELL NO’. As a brand-new Mother-of-two with an eighteen month old and newborn, I felt like I was running an endurance race everyday, testing me emotionally, physically and mentally, stretching and pushing me far beyond my existing limits. Each day I would get up, still exhausted from the day before after having no more than four hours sleep and tell myself that today was going to be a good day, and by the end of the day I was once again, crying in frustration that I just couldn’t achieve what I had set out to do. It’s stressful, exhausting, emotionally charged hard, hard work, with just enough moments of such beauty and love to keep you going. And as I have mentioned before, we have an amazing supportive family and I have an incredible partner! But by the time I had reached week eight - I was at breaking point. I could feel it building. And I had let myself get into a pretty sorry state. I wasn’t looking after myself physically, nor was I eating the right foods, rather surviving on coffee during the day, red wine at night and reaching for anything sugary to get me through the day. Mentally, I was even worse. My mental dialogue was sickly, basically I just kept telling myself I couldn’t handle it. And I couldn’t. I was resentful, anxious, negative and scared that this was my new reality as a Mother. I didn’t like it at all. Surely it doesn’t have to be this hard? It terrified me how quickly I went from a very happy and content Mother to a negative, complaining, resentful one.
Then I remembered that I am actually in charge of my own experience as a Mother. I am in charge of my own happiness.
It began with one small decision. After ‘not having any time’ to exercise – I made time. I went to Bikrim Yoga at 4pm on a Sunday, leaving the boys with my partner. It was the absolute last thing I wanted to do on a Sunday but I’m telling you, I walked into that class exhausted & negative and basically floated out. And, because I was feeling energized after the class – I picked up Miranda Kerr’s ‘Treasure Yourself’ book that had been sitting on my bedside table for the past month and read two pages. A little light bulb went off in my head. I had been completely neglecting myself. I had been ABUSING myself with bad food, no exercise, and I had allowed my mental dialogue to become so negative, when I knew damn well how to control my thoughts. I was basically raised with vision boards and positive affirmations. I couldn't believe I had let myself get so low.
The very next morning I felt different, this knowledge and lesson gave me the tools to change my experience. I went back to eating good food, I went for walks with the boys even if it took me three bloody hours to actually get out of the house, and I kept telling myself how lucky I was to have this time with my babies. Ever since that day, I am having great days with my boys. Sure, there are still meltdowns and tantrums, sometimes I check the clock every 15 seconds until my partner comes home and things can go monumentally wrong very quickly with two babies but it was all about how I reacted to them. My attitude has literally done a backflip and so has my experience as a result – and it all started from one small decision on a Sunday Afternoon.
So it got me thinking, what if I actually put in some effort to my diet & exercise goals AS WELL AS effort into my mental health? What if I incorporated all those activities & ideas that we have all done in the past when our lives run off on us sometimes, into a structured plan AND with a support group of young, ambitious, fun woman all proactive about their health who want to help themselves and help you.
So, I created an 8 week project. On me. On You. To get ourselves happy, healthy and the very best person we can be. And it's all simple stuff! I am so excited to share this with you.
WHAT IS IT?
Let’s get one thing straight. It is not a ‘Bikini Body Challenge’, fad diet, detox program, or an overload of positive affirmations. It is also not restricted to Mothers! Inspired by Miranda Kerr’s Treasure Yourself Book – 'The Treasure Yourself Project' is purely focused on YOU - a compilation of ideas and tried-and-tested methods to help you get healthy, take charge of your life and STAY FOCUSED over an 8 week period. It's simple stuff, its not meant to be hard (minus the exercise!) - just small changes to your life towards being happier & healthier - you will probably surprise yourself at the end of the 8 weeks how much you have changed. Each week, you will be given a different project to complete – focusing on your goals, mental well-being and physical health. Think of it like pressing the refresh button on your life. A fresh start. Out with the old and in with the new. Being the very best you can be. We all need to detox our lives from time to time so why not do it with a bunch of friends to gain support, knowledge and strength? If you are anything like me, you have vowed to do this many, many times before & lasted a few weeks before you gave up, got busy or something came up. My theory is if we all do it together, supporting each other, sharing knowledge and our own stories – we could not only achieve some amazing things, we might even change our lives. This is not a superficial attempt to look like a supermodel but hey, if you’re looking the best you have ever looked as a result? Well that’s an excellent by-product. I am also thinking that if you are having a really bad day but catch a glimpse of your hot ass in the mirror it might make you feel a bit better? Am I right?
WHY AM I DOING IT?
After back-to-back pregnancies dealing with almost constant exhaustion, pregnancy hormones that make me slightly crazy, fairly limited sleep over the past two years, and falling on and off the healthy bandwagon - I am well overdue for a health overhaul. I just want to feel good, for myself and for my family. I want endless, positive energy and I want glow from the inside out with happiness and health; I don’t want to struggle through these very precious few years with my babies exhausted and unable to completely enjoy it because my health is holding me back. I eat quite healthily and already follow the Blood Type Eating Plan which has helped me so much (read about that here), but I know that I could be much, much healthier and happier if I just put in more effort.
WHY SHOULD YOU DO IT?
We all have our own personal set of reasons and experiences that push us to take a look at the current state of our lives and make a change. I can't tell you why you should do it, only that I am giving you an invitation to join a group of woman who want to improve their lives and we would love you to do it with us. Open your mind to some new ideas, what have you got to lose? And if you are a Mother, not trying to sound like a Martyr but it is so easy to stop looking after yourself and just focus on your family. My own Mother always said if you give to yourself you can give to others all day long so that's what this is all about - giving to yourself, in order to give back.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
I have created a Facebook group TREASURE YOURSELF PROJECT (here) - please join the group now! Any members can post photos/links/updates of inspiring photos, healthy food blog links, recipes, or how they accidently drank a whole bottle of wine on a Wednesday night (uh, me). I am not an expert on health & nutrition, however I figure between all of us and the knowledge we have picked up over the years we might learn something new, change our attitude, our health and ultimately, our lives. How bloody exciting! We already have about twenty woman involved (we are not all Mothers!), my partner is doing it as well. It is open to everyone!
I will be posting tips and ideas everyday on the group page, as well as weekly updates of my progress on the blog. I would love you to also share whatever information or banter that you like on the page, it is open to anyone and everyone so please share it with your friends. Especially someone you can exercise with and get you out of bed in the morning!
I will be following my own diet & exercise goals and regime which I will share will you via the blog & the facebook page. I think it is important for everyone to create their own diet & exercise goals that suits their lifestyle, levels and goals to make it work. However I would love to hear what you are doing, if it is working and to document your progress on the facebook group.
WEEK 1: GOAL WEEK
WRITE ONE FULL PAGE (OR MORE) OF HOW YOU ARE FEELING MENTALLY. You don’t need to ever show anyone this! Just write down exactly how you are feeling today. It is cathartic and sometimes, confronting.
WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS FOR THIS CHALLENGE. What do you want to achieve?
TAKE A ‘BEFORE’ SHOT OF YOUR BODY (FRONT & BACK). Keep them to yourself so you can see how far you have come at the end of the 8 weeks. I would love you to share them if you are comfortable at the end of the project – however it is completely up to you.
INSTAGRAM PHOTO: A PHOTO THAT REPRESENTS YOUR GOAL. It could be the body you want, your definition of happiness, travel goals…whatever. Hashtag #treasureyourself81010
WEEK 2: VISION BOARD
COMPLETE A VISION BOARD. You can fill a corkboard, your fridge or be over-the-top as I plan too and dedicate a whole wall to it. Preferably one you stare at a lot. I am sure you have all heard of vision boards but in case you haven’t - put anything and everything you want to achieve on your wall – photos that represent happiness & health, your dream house/body/holiday/lover. My vision board will most definitely contain a few images of Miranda Kerr, dream homes out of the pages of Real Living, dream holiday destination we want to take the boys, pages from magazines I want to feature in one day and of course – lots of happy photos of our family.
INSTAGRAM PHOTO: A PHOTO OF YOUR VISION BOARD. Hashtag #treasureyourself81010
WEEK 3: GRATITUDE WEEK
WRITE A GRATITUDE LIST. PUT IT ON YOUR FRIDGE. OR TAP IT TO YOUR FACE. BE GRATEFUL.
READ IT EVERY SINGLE MORNING BEFORE YOU GET OUT OF BED. SIMPLE!
This is so powerful. It completely changes your attitude and puts you in a great state of mind at the start of the day. It reminds you to be grateful and search for elements in your life that you are grateful for. And there is so very much to be grateful for we just don’t see it most of the time.
INSTAGRAM PHOTO: PHOTO OF SOMETHING YOU ARE GRATEFUL OF: Your kids, your house, your coffee machine, the ocean, the sun…anything. Be creative! Hashtag #treasureyourself81010
WEEK 4: YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT WEEK
Obviously, you should be following your own eating plan or eating goals from week 1 - however this week is the opportunity to learn some new ideas, share what you know and expand your food horizons!
The focus is on eating good food and lots of it! No diets, no fasting, just learning about new foods, recipes or eating plans that may work for you.
I follow the blood type eating plan (read about it here) – and it has honestly changed my life. A friend of mine put me onto Sara Wilson's 'I quit sugar' program - so we have decided to follow that program during this project as well. Please have a read of it - it is so interesting and if you have been wanting to cut out sugar for a while then please, do it with us! Check out her website here
Download her e-book 'I Quit Sugar' here
I will be sharing recipe ideas to try, food blogs that I love – and I would LOVE everyone else to also share their ideas and what works for them. Between us all we have a wealth of knowledge.
To make it fun, my girlfriends and I are going to have a dinner party and cook some of this amazing, healthy food and probably have a few too many wines. Hey, we deserve it.
WEEK 5: PHYSICAL WELL-BEING WEEK
As with the eating plan hopefully you have been following your own exercise plan & goals over these past few weeks. This week, your project is too try a new exercise, one you have always wanted too but haven’t got around to doing. I am going to try meditation with isn’t specifically physical exercise but it is something I have wanted to try for years! What have you always wanted to try? If I could just suggest one thing – TRY BIKRIM YOGA. It will change your life! I promise! If you are interested please read more about it here, otherwise I am going to do a post on Bikrim in the next few weeks because I am a die-hard JUNKIE and I want to preach about it.
WEEK 6: BALANCE WEEK
‘Living is not about ‘doing’ and more about ‘being’. (Treasure yourself)
Life Balance eludes most of us. We are all unbalanced in someway. We work too hard, never have time to ourselves, forget to relax, to stop & smell the roses. Everyone has SOMETHING to do all the time. This week, define what part of your life is unbalanced and make small (or big!) changes everyday for the entire week. I get very limited personal time (who doesn’t) so this week I will be giving myself some ‘me time’ every single day. It might be for ten minutes one day,another day Bikrim Yoga - I might even go to Gold Class on my own for old times sake (a favourite pregnancy past time) and eat a fishbowl of ice cream. It's calling my name.
WEEK 7: KINDNESS WEEK
'It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself'. Ralph Waldo Emerson
This week – be kind, be generous. Make someone’s day. Buy or make your best friend/mother/partner a present or a card, tell the girl at the coffee shop she has beautiful eyes or just be there for someone when they need it. Try to do something for someone else at least once a day (other than your children if you are a Mother). It really does make you feel wonderful when you help someone and it will put you in such a positive state of mind, releasing your positive endorphins we need!
WEEK 8: VALUES WEEK
One of my incredibly smart, wise and drop-dead gorgeous friends (yeah she’s annoying to be friends with sometimes) enjoys reading Psychology books in her spare time (really) and once told me over a coffee about something they discussed in these books called ‘The Values Test’. Basically, as morbid as it sounds – patients were instructed to write their own desired eulogy, describing what they would want their family & friends to say about them, should they pass away. I found this very powerful. Obviously, you are not going to want people to say ‘she always had the best clothes’ or ‘her house was always clean’ – you want them to say ‘she was a giving person, a beautiful friend, a loving Mother/partner/daughter’. Write down your eulogy – put it up somewhere you can see it to remind you of what is really important and start training yourself to let go of those thoughts that clog up your mind and really don’t matter at all.
GRATITUDE INSTAGRAM CHALLENGE: EVERYDAY, POST A PHOTO OF SOMETHING YOU ARE GRATEFUL FOR. #treasureyourself81010