How useful Yin Yoga is to calm your mind and body

Women sitting in yoga pose | yin-yoga-benefits | yin-yoga-online

Adjusting to social distancing and home isolation may feel overwhelming, but there are plenty of positive changes you can make to maintain your health and wellbeing through the coming weeks and months. I have always loved the calming practice of Yin Yoga. It’s easy to try and can be a great coping strategy for your mind and body. During these stressful and uncertain times, Yin Yoga is a great tool to have in your toolbox. You can try it all in the comfort of your own home and stay motivated with the support of other mums. All it takes is a bit of guidance to start. Are you ready?

What is Yin Yoga?

Yoga is known to be a relaxing, healthy and spiritual practice that can improve flexibility and strength. Some forms of yoga that you may be familiar with can be active and physical, or ‘yang’. While these types of yoga have great benefits, they are missing the ‘yin’. Yin Yoga is a quiet practice that slows down movement and focuses on a spiritual connection with your mind and body. Instead of flowing through active movements, Yin Yoga involves holding deep poses for longer periods of time. A pose may last a minute or two, or even up to 5 minutes.

Women laying in yin yoga pose | yin-yoga-benefits | yin-yoga-postures

Photo credit My Sore Yoga

What are the benefits?

Benefits for your mind

By slowing down your mind and body during Yin Yoga, you are gifting your body with gratitude and relaxation. Yin Yoga releases stress, worry and unease. The slow movements encourage you to sit with your emotions and learn to accept them. This can have lasting benefits with your mental wellbeing, well beyond the end of the practice. Overtime your resilience may become stronger, making it easier to overcome life’s challenges. The stillness in Yin Yoga is meditative and restorative. It offers a chance to connect to your mind, body and spirit. 

Candle for yoga session | yin-yoga | mindfulness

Photo by Hans Vivek on Unsplash

Benefits for your body

Yin Yoga is also physical. By holding deep strengths, your body’s tissues lengthen and release, leaving your muscles feeling as though they have been relaxed or massaged. This practice can improve your range of motion and help strengthen and heal reoccurring injuries. Yin Yoga can correct habitual posture problems, leaving you balanced and in control. The deep breathing you’ll learn during the practice is also a powerful trigger for the parasympathetic nervous system. This is connected to a number of benefits including improved blood pressure, digestion, sleep and immune function. What better tool to have during a public health crisis?

It’s so easy to get started!

Yin Yoga is one of the easiest home activities to do. It requires very little equipment and can be done anytime, anywhere. All you need is:

  • A yoga mat
  • Blanket
  • Bolster (or rolled blankets) 
  • Yoga block (optional)
  • A quiet place
  • Online class 

Create a comfortable place for your Yin Yoga practice at home, and use my guiding Yin Yoga videos to get started. Together, we can not only get through this difficult isolating time, but we can develop new skills and improve our health and wellbeing!

Women exercising using online yoga | yin-yoga | yin-yoga-pose

Photo credit Henry Ford Health System

With the closure of gyms and yoga studios, it’s time to look online for your health and exercise needs. Join me on the mat next Monday for ‘Calm Your Mind & Body in 5 days’ at home. You just need a mat and blankets. I’ll be sharing Yin Yoga shapes and Nidra Yoga. Just 10 minutes each day, no yoga experience needed, it’s perfect for all ages.

Which benefit do you most want from practicing Yin Yoga?

How to organise your life: from an organised mum

Organizing may not be everyone’s favourite thing… Lucky for you, I love it, and I’ve got some easy tips to share! 

I’ve always been a really organized person. Even when I was a child sharing a room with two sisters, I loved to find a way to organise. Throughout my school and university life, I discovered my organised habits helped reduced anxiety. By being organised, I’ve been able to maximise my productivity and achieve more with my time at work and at home with family. 
Sound like a distant dream? Even if being organized isn’t your natural way of being, everyone is able to adopt a habit to be more organised. You just have to be willing to learn and practice! 
Try some of these easy organisation habits to:

Organise your life

1. Write things down 

Don’t just leave it up to your brain to remember! Allow your brain to create ideas, not store them all your to-do-lists. Writing down shopping lists, birthdays, holidays, events, appointments etc and keeping them in a convenient place means they won’t be forgotten. Organisation also eliminates decision making, making planning your week a whole lot easier. 

Saint Belford planner | organise-your-life | organised-mum
Photo by Saint Belford

2. Create family routines

Routines simplify your weekly routines and help you share the load. Like writing things down, creating a routine reduces the stress and fatigue of decision making. Work commitments, school drop-offs and after school activities are obvious examples of weekly family routines. Try thinking about other areas of your week you could develop into a routine- like chores, errands, fitness or socializing. You’ll save time and energy while increasing productivity. Check out 9 common mistakes people make when trying to create a new routine.

House cleaning routines | organise-your-life | organised-mum
Photo by The Honest Company on Unsplash

3. Everything has a home

It’s easy to get lost if you don’t have a home. Same goes for all your things! Every single thing in your home or office belongs somewhere. Organising a system for your belongings eliminates the stress of losing important things and the discomfort of living in a messy place. Try decluttering and simplifying your home to get the organising process started.

Organised pantry | organise-your-life | organised-mum
Photo credit Popsugar

4. Weekly planning

Organising isn’t a one-time event. It takes maintenance to live an organised lifestyle. Find a time every week to organise and plan- even add it to your weekly routine! Every week I organise my calendar into our Lifesorted app and the family command centre so we are all on the same page at the beginning of the week. Stuff does not stay organised on its own; it needs to be reorganized consistently.

Life sorted app | organise-your-life | organised-mum
Photo credit LifeSorted App

5. Keep only what I need

There’s nothing organised about clutter. By having fewer things, you can enjoy those things more. Isn’t it better to feel good about the things you own and use, rather than let things just sit and gather dust? It can be a long and overwhelming task to declutter your whole home. Instead, practising decluttering regularly makes it more manageable. 

Try a little experiment: before buying one thing, throw out something old or something you don’t use. Need something more drastic? Throw out one old thing a day until you can’t find any more items to throw. Do that for a month and I guarantee you’ll have less clutter in your life!

6. Share the load

Organizing your life is a whole lot easier when you’re around other organised people! Don’t just take on your families organizing on your own, work together to have a more organised home. By teaching your kids to be more organised, you’ll save yourself from picking up after them every day. Practice delegating tasks from your to-do-list to your spouse and kids, or create a list of responsibilities for each member of the family. Stick with it and review the list with them every week to make sure everything gets done.

Remember, a new habit takes time! Keep at it and you’ll notice results. Which habit do you think would most benefit your life? Let me know in the comments below.

If you’ve enjoyed these tips and are looking for more then grab 7 secrets to Manage the Juggle with EASE now. With 7 Secrets to ‘Better Manage the Juggle’ you’ll be more productive so you can enjoy time with your family … no more nights of you falling on the couch exhausted from doing it ALL.

Why a retreat can meet your needs as a mum

Women with cup of tea relaxing | why-a-retreat | mums-retreat
You’re not just a mum; we’re all human being with varying personal wants and needs. We all have certain needs to be met in order to function happily and healthily. Everyone has 6 human needs that have a huge impact on the way we live our lives. Knowing these needs can help us understand our own motivations, and how to drive change in order to feel fulfilled. Tony Robbins explains the 6 humans needs:
  1. Certainty and comfort: Assurance of safety is important for basic survival. Comfort can be found through feelings of control, familiarity and pleasure.
  2. Uncertainty and variety: Unpredictability can be fun and exciting, adding new thoughts and feelings to your life.
  3. Significance: We all love feeling important, special, valued or unique. It’s also, about having a purpose and being recognised for your worth.
  4. Love and connection: Love is the oxygen of the soul. Feeling a sense of closeness and unity to someone or something is a fundamental part of life.
  5. Growth: It’s all about the journey! Personal and spiritual growth happens when we challenge and expand our comfort and capabilities.
  6. Contribution: Life is about creating meaning. Giving to others and the world around you is not only a great thing to do, but it also enhances your personal experiences too.
Every behavior we do can be explained due to these needs. At times, people will sacrifice their personal values in order to meet a need. Examples of this include self-sabotaging behavior and addiction. Understanding why those behaviors can occur can make it easier to intercept them and replace them with positive behavior.

How can a Mums’ Revive Retreat help?

The Mums’ Revive Retreat is packed with rewarding interactions that help to meet all those unmet needs! The retreat gives you a place to leave behind any unmet needs or negative behaviors, and go back to your core values. All 6 needs will be met in different ways:

1. Certainty and comfort: Gain pleasure through pampering, relaxation, good food and time for yourself.

Women having a back massage| why-a-retreat | human-needs2. Uncertainty: New faces and places add variety to your regular routine and give you an exciting and fun experience.

3. Significance: Show yourself and your family how much you value yourself when you say yes and invest in a retreat! 

4. Connection: The inviting environment and shared activities create the ideal place for connections to flow.Women connecting over dinner | why-a-retreat | mums-retreat5. Personal growth: Retreat coaching sessions and mindfulness activities like Yoga Nidra help you look after your health and manage stress and provide you with new strategies to add to your toolbox when you return home. This break will leave you feeling energised and more focused on what is really important in your life!

Taking notes during a wellness coaching session | why-a-retreat | human-needs6. Contribution: By listening to others on the retreat you’re giving them the space to share things, contributing to better well-being for others (and you!).

5 Women talking on a couch | why-a-retreat | human-needs

The Mums’ Revive Retreat is there for you to get in control over your unmet needs! If you feel ready to do something for yourself and connect with like-minded mums, now’s your chance to book your place.

If you’re interested in driving your behaviour change then let’s have a chat I’ll help you to identify the activities that swallow up your time and how simple tweaks can help meet your needs. Book a free call HERE.

Which human need is not being met for you? Let me know in the comments!

Tips to maintain simple routines over the summer holiday

Photo credit Link Hoang on Unsplash

Summer holidays are a time to enjoy the break from the regular school routine with your family. We all need some downtime, especially after the Christmas rush and the manic end to the school year! While holidays can be fantastic, they’re not always as easy as they may sound. 

Let’s be honest, holidays can be hard when your kids need structure and routine like school. Routines can be extremely useful for children with Autism, ADD, ADHD and other developmental delays. These children thrive with structure and predictability. 
Even as a teacher with heaps of activity ideas for my kids, I know there’s only so much activity co-ordinating any mum can take before she reaches her breaking point. On top of this, holidays can bring out extra sibling fights and strained relationships from spending too much time together. Take it from me, adding a bit of system and structure to holiday activities can really reduce your stress.
I’ve got a few holiday routines to help you stay sane these summer holidays…

Reduce the Clutter

Trying to remain calm won’t be possible if your home is a mess. A clutter-free home runs smoothly because every member knows where to find the things they need each day. If you’re wanting tips to reduce clutter and simplify things this summer then consider setting up a lost property box, designated ‘drop zone’ and an essentials ‘go-to drawer’. Just think of all the things that could go into those zones instead of on the floor or in the wrong place!

For more information to help set them up in your home check out my earlier blog HERE

Organised drawer | holiday-routines | morning-ritual

Maintain a Night Ritual

Over the Christmas holidays, it’s normal to indulge and stay up a bit later. Even if you’re going to bed later, it’s important not to forget the value of a sleep ritual. 
  • Start by dimming lights and turning off your phone and TV at least an hour before you plan to go to bed. Electronics such as computers and televisions emit a blue light that tricks the body into thinking it’s still daytime, inhibiting the release of melatonin and making it harder to sleep. 
  • Take a relaxing bath using bath products with essential oils that encourage sleep like lavender and chamomile. Try making your own simple bath salts using an Inspired Little Pot recipe this holidays!

bath salts | holiday-routines | morning-ritual

Create a Morning Routine

You can’t remain calm when you’re cup is empty. The morning is a great time to do one thing for yourself and start the day with your cup full. Don’t forget yourself — if you’re stressed out, your family will pick up on that energy. Here are some great ways to create your morning ritual:
  • Enjoy your favorite cup of tea or coffee by yourself outside. After eight hours asleep, your body needs fresh water to function properly. Connecting with nature helps to ground you so that you can deal with situations calmly throughout the day.

morning cup of tea | holiday-routines | morning-ritualPhoto credit  David Mao on Unsplash

  • Spending five minutes writing down 3 things you’re grateful for. Being grateful helps to deepen your connection with those around you so that you can enjoy time with your family.
  • Go for a walk or do some gentle stretches. When you move your body you get your blood moving and your body releases endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin that make you feel good so that you start the day on a positive note.  

Life doesn’t stop over the holidays. You’re probably juggling work, finding care for your kids and keeping them entertained as well. 

If you want to better manage the juggle and feel more energised so that you can enjoy time with your family without worrying about your to-do list then download a free audio now.

Which routine will help you these holidays? Let me know in the comments below.

How to End Your Year on a High?

Photo credit Saint Belford

As another year comes to an end, there’s a great sense of energy and excitement to make a fresh and organised start to the new year! I’m one of those organised people that loves buying a brand new diary and calendar to start the new year off with a clean slate. Can you relate to that new-diary feeling? I’ve chosen a Saint Belford diary this year.

The end of the year is a great time to channel your energy into creating a solid foundation for the year to come. My secret to making the next year just as successful as this one is to celebrate everything I’ve achieved.

Reflecting and celebrating your achievements allows you to gain clarity about what creates success in your life. It can help you see why certain events and achievements were important to you, and how those values can be built upon in the next year. Reflecting also gives you the opportunity to feel proud of yourself and increase your happiness. There’s nothing selfish about taking the time to acknowledge and enjoy your hard work. 

When reflecting on your successes, it’s also important to reflect on things that didn’t go to plan. You can see these things as lessons to learn from for next time. Celebrating achievements and reflecting on mistakes is something I use when coaching clients. It’s all about taking action and learning from our actions.  

A little exercise to reflect on the ups and downs of your year is to write down:

~What you’d like to continue achieving?

~Is there anything you’d like to stop doing?

~What are you going to start doing?

Take the time to think about why you’ve selected what you have, and what the intention is behind your reflections.

You can also grab a simple checklist with a few other prompts to help you.

Year Highs for 2019

I’m now going to take the time to celebrate and share my 2019 with you all!

I’ve enjoyed many highs in my business and home life this year. A highlight for my professional life was spending two lovely nights in the beautiful beach-side town of Anglesea with eight women who all said yes to taking some time-out to reconnect with themselves on my 2019 Mums’ Revive Retreat. It was a time to relax, laugh and enjoy the company of like-minded mums. I really enjoyed collaborating with local businesses for the food, pampering, yoga and art therapy. 

Mums connecting on a retreat | year-highs

Two years ago I started to practice Yoga Nidra, a form of sleep mediation I was drawn to Yoga Nigra to help re-balance my busy-life with a health rest-activity cycle. It was important for me to start to prioritise rest so I could better support my family after my son’s autism diagnosis last year. I love that a simple 30 minute practice gives my body the equivalent of an extra 2 hours of sleep. It also helps to slow down my nervous system and reduce my anxiety. 

At the beginning of the year, I did my teaching training in Yoga Nidra and restorative Yoga. In the middle of the year, I came across the beautiful Yoga Casa ran by the girls from Divine Journey. I’m so grateful for being able to teach from this beautiful space and so thankful for the support from everyone who has come along to Yoga Nidra class this year. I’m looking forward to teaching a combination class of Yin Yoga & Yoga Nidra next year. I’m also excited about sharing these classes with workplaces next year. It’s such a simple tool they can be implemented on a daily basis to support your body and mind.

yoga nidra class | year-highs

Lessons Learned

My business – Simply Happy

I’ve loved teaching and inspiring kids about natural ingredients at the Bath Bliss Workshops over the past twelve months. While I’ve enjoyed these workshops, I’m now reflecting it’s one of those things that I need to let go. By letting go of something, I’m able to create space for more retreats, to be able to build my Yin & Nidra classes and take on more clients who need help putting routines and structures in place in their home so that they feel more organised. I’m grateful for everything the workshops taught me, but I’m excited about this new chapter.

My family-life

In my family-life, I’ve been proactive in learning so much more about Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to better support my son. We now understand his problems with social situations and social behaviours better. We’re also able to provide him with so much more understanding and support, especially around his sensory needs. I’m so thankful for all his specialists that have shared such valuable knowledge with us. This is an area I will continue to focus on and learn more about in the coming year.

My wellness

I love that I have been able to find time for hobbies and activities that benefit my wellbeing this year. Taking part in the Surfcoast 40km trek was a highlight that I enjoyed so much that I’ve signed up to do again in 2020. I’m also back to practising yoga on a regular basis. While I love the gym and hiking, I felt both my body and mind needed some yin rather than any more yang.  Focusing on yoga has benefited my mind and body and I’m excited to share more of this with you in the coming year!

surf coast trek finish line | year-highs

If you have FOMO from this year’s Mums’ Revive Retreat, jump on the waitlist or join the Mums’ Mini-Retreat in February 2020. There are only a couple of spots left!

If you’re

Contact me if you’re interested in helping your workplace to prioritise rest and sleep through yoga nidra session. Like to know more about the benefits of Yoga Nidra then you can check out my earlier blog posts here.

What are you celebrating this year? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

How you can simplify your Christmas

Christmas tree decoration | simplify-christmas

Is it that time of year again? That’s right, Christmas is coming. I bet your calendar is already jam-packed with events, functions and family commitments. Not to mention all those presents to buy! It’s a busy time of year and it takes planning and organizing to keep it all under control. So let’s break it down and take it one step at a time. Here are some ways to get on top of the Christmas rush, simplify your Christmas and feel prepared:

1. Stock up EARLY

November is a great time to find your decorations, non-perishable foods and presents. The shops are well stocked, crowds are smaller and the stress isn’t out-of-control. Take to the shops with a level-head and get ready for December. Starting early is not only an easier and more enjoyable shopping experience but also spreads the costs over two months so it doesn’t all hit at once. Your bank account will thank-you. 

mums stocking up food for Christmas | simplify-christmas

2. Think practical-presents 

No one wants to give a gift that goes to waste. Simple every-day items like books, pyjamas, and socks are great stocking fillers. You know they’ll be appreciated AND it will save you buying them later when your kids run out. Simple presents are easy to find and easy to personalise too. If your son needs new socks, why not get them in his favourite fun colour? Practical and personal.

3. Gift an experience

Don’t know what to buy someone? Give them a gift of an experience they’ll remember forever. The best thing about giving an experience is you don’t have to hit the busy shops! It can all be done online thanks to the wonders of the internet and helpful online reviews. Experiences are a thoughtful gift, without the time and energy of present shopping. Not all experiences are expensive either. Some great ideas are zoo passes, museum, theatre or movie tickets, craft, surf or dance lessons. My kids have received Adventure Park and Trees Adventure passes to experience the high ropes course. They loved both experiences and they’ll treasure the memories forever.

4. Fill that freezer

Family meals don’t stop just because you’re on-the-go in December! You might not have the time to cook a fresh meal every night, but if you make the most of meal-prep you can keep you and your family well-nourished. Preparing bulk meals ahead of time will save you energy, and save some money for all the Christmas shopping too. Try a slow-cooked chickpea curry or spinach lasagne for easy, low-cost meal prep. 

5. Delegate or outsource on Christmas Day

Are you planning on cooking for a large group on Christmas Day? Don’t do it all on your own! Get your guests to bring some food or drinks along and share the experience together. Delegate elements like salads, desserts and nibbles to different people so nothing is forgotten. Another favourite of mine is to outsource. Why not find a ready cut vegies supplier in your town? Take the stress out of hosting and let them do all the hard work for you. 

6. Don’t forget self-care

In all the craziness of the silly season, it’s easy to let self-care slide. Whatever it is you do to wind down, keep doing it. Even if you don’t have time to do all your favourite activities, it’s important to take some time for yourself. Slowing down and taking care of yourself will make Christmas preparation that little bit less stressful. It can be something as short as a 15-minute meditation. Do it for yourself!

savasana meditation  | simplify-christmas

Good luck busy mum! If you need a hand to with your Christmas preparation to simplify your Christmas, I’m here for you. 

Grab my ‘Unbusy Yourself Checklist’ and in just a few minutes, you can map out your family’s entire routines so that you know exactly who needs to do what and when… no more nights of you falling on the couch exhausted from doing it ALL.

Which tip will simplify your Christmas? Let me know in the comments below.

7 Simple tips for a blissful nights sleep

women sleeping | sleep-tips
I’m sure you’ve heard it before: sleep is incredibly important for your health. But when you’re a busy mum, getting your 7-9 hours of sleep a night can feel totally impossible! There are 1000 things to do before you go to bed, nightly interruptions from the kids, early morning jobs and endless stress running through your mind. The good news is that better sleep may be easier than you think. Little changes may be all you need to get those all-important hours of sleep. 

Why is sleep so important? 

We all know that amazing feeling after you’ve had a good night’s sleep and you wake up feeling energized and ready to take on the world. There are so many reasons why sleep is good for you. There are obvious reasons, like giving you energy, improving your concentration and generally making you feel good. 

Also, there are many things you might not think of, like helping with weight control, immunity function, inflammation, socialization, mental health and chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. The average adult should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night. 

Imagine if you could have that amazing energized feeling every day? When you’re a busy mum, chances are you’ll need a solid sleep routine or schedule to get your recommended hours. 

Sleep tips

There are some tried-and-tested tips that can make those 7-9 hours of daily sleep a lot more attainable. Take a look at my top-tips and think about which one will be easiest to start with:

  • Set a sleep routine schedule. Know what time you’re setting your alarm each day and make sure that 8 hours before that time, you’re ready for bed.
  • Watch your sugar intake. If you tend to rely on sugar hits to get you through the day, start replacing your sugary snacks with more energy-efficient snacks like nuts, yoghurt and whole foods. This is particularly important in the afternoon and evening. You don’t want a sugar-high stopping you from getting to sleep!

reduce sugar with nuts | sleep-tips

  • Stop having caffeine after 12. Caffeine can make your mind more active when it’s time to switch off. When the productive part of your day is over, give your body a rest and leave the caffeine for another time.
  • Create your own sleep ritual. One or two hours before you plan to go to bed, start by turning off your phone and TV and dimming the lights. Do relaxing activities away from screens like having a bath, reading a book or listening to calming music.
  • Use the power of essential oils to create a relaxing atmosphere. It’s also a way to begin to associate the relaxing scent with bedtime. When you smell lavender, your body will subconsciously begin to wind down. You’ll be off to sleep in no time!

reading right routine | sleep-tips

  • Try yoga nidra (sleep-based guided meditation) or another type of meditation. Yoga nidra guides your mind though simple awareness practices, while your body is in a state of utter relaxation. What better way to get your mind and body ready for sleep?

yoga nidra | sleep-tips

  • Ditch your phone alarm and use an actual alarm clock. Keeping your bright phone and charging lights out of your sleeping space will make a much more relaxing sleeping environment. Phones have their benefits, but better sleep is not one of them!

Building a bedtime routine

Trying these tips every once and a while won’t help to build better sleep long term. Like any activity, blissful sleep takes practice. Creating a routine is the easiest way to build this practice. Start by trying just one or two activities daily. You don’t want to try and change too much at once, or you’ll feel overwhelmed and stop altogether. Your mind will begin to associate the activities with relaxation, rest and sleep. Routine and practice is the key to better sleep habits. 

Waking up fresh and energized will make your life as a mum a whole lot more manageable. Doing little things to make sleep easier can be all the change you need to increase your hours of quality sleep. You’ll have more energy, be in a better mood and get more done with your day. Long term you’ll be preventing major health problems and teaching your kids a thing or two about self-care. 
Looking for support, connection and conversation? Join my Simply Happy Mums Facebook group.

If you feel like you can never stay on top of things and are always frantically trying to keep up with that never-ending to-do list, my “Unbusy Checklist” will be a lifesaver. In just a few minutes, you can map out your family’s entire routines so that you know exactly who needs to do what and when… no more nights of you falling on the couch exhausted from doing it ALL. You’ll have more time to set a bedtime routine.

Which tip do you think could work for you? Let me know in the comments!

Three Easy Steps to Help When Your Feeling Overwhelmed as a Mum

circles of wellness | feeling-overwhelmed
Rewind to five years ago and I was constantly snapping at my kids, yelling at the top of my voice for some peace and quiet, turning up to appointments on a wrong day and falling on the couch at the end of the day completely exhausted.
I was an overwhelmed mum who was unhappy and felt stuck. I’d managed to get into a cycle of measuring my self-worth and value from how much I could get done. I knew I needed to make some changes.
I started by making small and simple changes around three areas of my life so I’d feel more focused, organised and have more energy. Now I feel less overwhelmed, more productive and more present with my family. I value myself through who I’m BEING rather than what I’m DOING. There’s always space to review, tweak and improve, but improving your energy, time and attention is a good base to build from.

More Time

When my daughter was at kinder, my son was a toddler and I was teaching Physical Education part-time. I was also (somehow) on the kinder fundraising committee, secretary of the local toy library and wedding planning for our own wedding. At that time in my life, I had zero boundaries and said ‘yes’ to everything. Guess what? I took on too much. I had NO TIME. I was running myself into the ground and I felt like I was doing so much but achieving very little. After our wedding, our son was diagnosed with Perthes Disease (when the blood is temporarily disrupted to the femur and bone cells die). I started to unpack what I had on my plate, and how it was making me feel. I dropped the extra commitments and made some simple meal preparation tweaks, started to follow a washing routine and began using a shared calendar for our families activities. Through sharing the load and simplifying how we do things, I’ve created more ease for myself and our family.

command centre | feeling-overwhelmed

Feel Energised

When my son started kinder I decided to study Wellness Coaching (as well as teaching). The strenuous workload resulted in skipping lunch or just grabbing something on the go. But, guess what turned up at 3 pm? Sugar cravings. Internally, my immune system shut down and I was getting sick often. I knew it was time to change, so I started to meal prep my lunches and snacks on the weekend. I now eat a more fulfilling breakfast, healthy prepared lunch and snack on high-energy nutritious food like nuts, chia pudding and smoothies so I’m not running on empty or grabbing a sweet treat all the time.

berry smoothie | feeling-overwhelmed

Photo credit - flickr

Exercise has always been an important part of my life (I suppose that’s why I become a Physical Education teacher)! I love the boost of energy and how much easier it is to concentrate after doing exercise in the morning. Fueling up on healthy, sustaining food makes keeping up with my exercise routine so much easier and enjoyable. 

Fueling up isn’t just about good food, it’s also about that all-important sleep. Sleep has been something I’d often sacrifice for more time since I became a mum, until recently. I used to do jobs or be on the computer till late in the night. I now have a bedtime ritual that includes reading, journaling and listening to a Yoga Nidra meditation. I look forward to bedtime and sleep since starting my ritual. It makes falling asleep easier and I wake up feeling more energised.

Attention Mum!

Over a year ago our son was diagnosed with Autism. To better support him I needed to switch off and give my brain a break, so I could be more patient when holding space for him. I started to practice Yoga Nidra, a form of sleep meditation where your body rests and your mind benefits from meditation. I’m now more focused on the present moment and less anxious. I can take time off thinking about my ever-growing ‘to-do’ list and just live in the moment. 

yoga nidra class | feeling-overwhelmed

Gratitude is something we started to practice several years ago as a family. At dinner time we share our favorite parts of our day and something we’re thankful for. I’ve also started to do this in a journal either before going to sleep or first thing in the morning for myself. These simple gratitude practices have helped our children feel more connected at dinner time. There’s plenty of research that suggests this is increasing our happiness too. 

These three easy steps are designed to help you when you’re feeling overwhelmed as a mum. They’ve helped me a long way in my journey! Making small and simple tweaks to the area that you feel is out of balance will help you feel more energised, organised or focused. You’re only a few simple steps away from being a calmer, happier and more productive mum!

To be able to start a bedtime ritual or plan nutritious weekly meals or start a regular exercise routine you need space and time out from the daily juggle. The Mums’ Coaching Circle group will give you that space, support and motivation to start the things you’ve been talking about. Click HERE to learn more about the next Mums’ Coaching Circle.

Looking for support, connection and conversation? Join my Simply Happy Mums Facebook group.

Which small and simple tweak would you like to try? I’d love to hear your thoughts, or help you on your own journey like mine! 

Simple steps to organize your family with easy routines

bucket of cleaning equipment | family-routines

Being a mum is like taking on multiple demanding careers… You’re a chef, cleaner, Uber driver, events coordinator, teacher and basically anything else your family needs. It’s no wonder that your to-do list feels never-ending and you fall on the couch exhausted at the end of each day!

I used to feel just like this too… until I learnt how to unbusy myself. Unbusying yourself isn’t about giving up important things, it’s about prioritizing, delegating and looking after your own needs. 
You’ll need to evaluate and develop your family routine so you aren’t left doing all the work. Routines can take some effort to create. But once you’ve set them up, they have lots of benefits like:
    • Feeling organised and in control
    • Reduced stress
    • Sharing the workload
    • No more exhaustion
  • Extra time for yourself and the things you love
Convinced it’s time to create or review your family routines? Let’s break it down…

What are your families routines?

Routines are how families organize themselves to get things done, spend time together and have fun. Every family has its own unique routines. Your family might have daily routines for work and school mornings, bath time, bedtime and mealtimes. You might also have weekly routines for washing, cleaning, meal preparation and calendar organisation. A well-run routine helps family members know who needs to do what, when, and how often.  Daily, weekly and even monthly routines develop with repetition and practice.

mum doing chores | family-routines

Why are routines so important for children?

Routines let your children know what’s important to your family. These can help strengthen your shared beliefs and values and build a sense of belonging and togetherness. 

An organised and predictable home environment helps children and teenagers feel safe, secure and looked after- particularly in stressful times or during difficult stages of development, like puberty. Routines can be extremely useful for children with Autism, ADD, ADHD and other developmental delays. These children thrive with structure and predictability. 

Routines can be really fun! They help strengthen family relationships and increase quality time spent together. Routines have created special memories in my family. Both my children still love a story being read to them at bedtime and my son also enjoys going for a hot chocolate and lemon tart after playing football on a Saturday morning. 

It can be tricky to get your kids to keep up with household chore routines, but it’s hugely beneficial. It helps children and teenagers develop a sense of responsibility, independence, and time management skills. They’ll continue to use these skills throughout their life. My children select a new age-appropriate chore at the beginning of each year to add to their routine. My son’s new chore this year is to put up a new affirmation card on a Friday, whereas my daughter cooks something over the weekend to have in their lunchboxes. 

boy selecting affirmation | family-routines

Family Routines to start with…

Meal planning: Getting ahead of weekly meals saves you time, energy and money. Having routines around meals allows you to simplify the shopping process, food preparation and dinner time.

House maintenance: There are lots of small household routines that can be shared with the whole family. These routines help to reduce clutter and keep our homes organised so that everyone is more productive and less stressed.

Clothing: How else will you have clean clothes to wear each day? A clothes routine means less running around trying to get school/work clothes dry at the last minute! 

Activities: Caring for children involves routines like school lunches, helping with homework, after school activities, driving, and waiting and helping at activities. Following a routine makes all these extra activities feel like second nature!

children’s lunchbox | family-routines
Photo credit -www.therootcause.com.au

Errands: It can sometimes feel like there are hundreds of little errands every week like shopping, appointments and projects. Creating and sharing an errand routine makes it much more manageable.

Caring: There’s caring for pets, keeping up the families hygiene/washing, providing support for everyone and all that self-care like exercise, grooming and downtime. Sound like a lot? Not when it’s developed into a routine.

Ready to get started?

I suggest you select one area of routines to start with. Review how they are going after a fortnight and make minor tweaks before moving onto the next.

If you feel like you can never stay on top of things and are always frantically trying to keep up with that never-ending to-do list, my “Unbusy Checklist” will be a lifesaver. In just a few minutes, you can map out your family’s entire routines so that you know exactly who needs to do what and when… no more nights of you falling on the couch exhausted from doing it ALL.

Missed a post? You can check out my other Simply Happy blog posts like ‘Get your family organised with a command centre’ HERE.

Which family routine do you want to work on? Let me know in the comments!

Simple tips to make family meal planning easy

Meal planner | meal-planning-tips | meal - planning |

How often do you find yourself last-minute scrambling to find something good for your family’s dinner? 

Finding a healthy and manageable family dinner routine can seem impossible at times. However, with just a little bit of organisation and variety, dinner time can be a whole lot easier. My simple tips for family meal planning will save you money, time and energy; leaving the dinner time scramble a thing of the past.

Fresh is best

Planning your meals in advance gives you the time to provide healthy, fresh and delicious food! Your growing kids need a variety of healthy foods to get all the essential nutrients that help them grow up healthy and happy. Last minute dinners usually end up being ‘convenience foods’ of basic carbs, minimal fresh veggies or unhealthy take-away. The more time you spend meal planning, the more time you have to make a great dinner.

Food preparation | meal-planning Photo credit www.tastesofhome.com

Saves money

All this healthy and fresh food sounds expensive doesn’t it? Nope! Planned meals are so much cheaper than take-away, eating out or last-minute meals. My favorite money saving trick is to batch cook healthy meals and freeze extra portions. This means I only have to shop once a week for staples and fresh food, and once a month for meat. When I go to the shops with a mission, I don’t add extra items to my trolley. I end up saving so much money!

More time

Time is one of the biggest benefits of meal planning. Batch cooking means you get to have nights off. No supermarket trips. No cooking. No dishes. With all the other hundreds of errands mums have to run every week, it feels great to know dinner is sorted. You might even get to have a little time left for yourself. 

Decrease mental load

Without realizing it, if you haven’t planned dinner, you’ll spend a lot of your day with the stress of dinner in the back of your mind. Having a plan decreases your mental overload, and gives you one less thing to think about during a busy day.

Healthy habits 

Creating a meal plan gives you and your family consistency and routine. Over time this will cement healthy habits for you and your kids. Your family will be more likely to eat together, and the kids will be encouraged to be involved in the meal process. Meal time = family time!

How to meal plan

It doesn’t have to be complicated. There are a number of different strategies, but I like to plan over a whole month. I’d recommend you start with a week and grow from there. These are the 5 steps I recommend:

    1. Have each family member select four favorite meals for a month. This allows them to be involved and excited for dinners.
    2. Select a theme for each day of the week, like Italian, Asian, one pot meal or BBQ. This reduces decision fatigue while creating variety.
    3. Add all events to the calendar, including extra curricular activities, sports, appointments and anything that might change meal requirements or cooking time.
    4. Put your families favourite meal selections under the appropriate themes. 
  1. Finally, fill in other meals for the rest of the month, making sure to have variety in nutrition.

Writing meal plan | meal-planning Photo credit – https://blog.adventisthealthcare.com

Tricks to save time

Recipes in one spot

In addition to following a meal plan, start by keeping your recipes organised. It doesn’t matter if you prefer books, online or family recipes; keeping all your favorite recipes in the one spot will make meal prep easier. I’ve started to use the app Paprika to organize my favorite recipes. It’s great!

On line groceries

Using the wonders of internet and apps are great tricks. Why not try doing your grocery shopping online? This saves time, and stops you spending money on eye-catching food in store. You only buy what you need. You don’t even have to pay delivery as Click n Collect is free to pick up. You can even save lists on your account for next time, make ordering really easy each week. 

Love your freezer

The best trick is to love your freezer! Freezers allow you to keep food fresh and save big batch cooks for weeks to come. I make time every weekend to do a big batch of cooking. This helps me get ahead with meal preparation so on the nights we’re home late, a healthy dinner is already organised, ready and waiting. Batch cooking sure beats making a big mess in the kitchen every night (dishes, argh!). It also saves time so I can be more present with my kids.

Batch cooking | meal-planningPhoto credit – http://www.denisegaylord.com/batch-cooking/

See, cooking isn’t so overwhelming when you’re prepared with meal ideas! A little extra time preparing will save you SO much time in the long run.

If you enjoyed these meal planning tips, but feel like there’s never enough hours in the day to implement them then download 8 Simple Steps to UNBUSY Yourself and share the load WITHOUT letting anyone down.

Missed a post? You can check out my other Simply Happy blog posts like ‘Get your family organised with a command centre’ HERE.

Which meal planning trick do you think could work for you? Let me know in the comments!