Luxury

Holidaying in a caravan is definitely not my idea of luxury, however having
the ability to head off to a location different to our home, with other people,
enjoying free time to wander, sit and talk, play on the water, cook and eat
outside really does feel like a luxury this year!

Other little reminders of luxury
to me that I get to enjoy every day is my perfume (Co Co Chanel
Madamoselle), which I just adore

Surprise trip turns into a great weekend

Last weekend just I went ‘camping’ in a 1970’s pop to caravan my husband
bought a few years ago-without telling me! So that was definitely a WTF
moment!

However moving to present day, I went camping in it with the family with the
weather forecast as thunderstorms, wind and rain. Again I was thinking
WTF!

So I nearly pulled the pin, but as I said that my youngest daughter began to
sob because she’d already packed her bag. So, I rethought that move and decided I’d best just suck it up and stick to my word and take them. And as
it turned out, the staying in the caravan was great and so was the entire
weekend. It had enough space for us, it withstood the rain and the wind and
everyone including enjoyed the experience.

So sometimes rolling with things that make you (or me) initially shake your
head and swear under your breath, is actually the way to go!

What does BLUE mean to you?

Blue is my favourite colour and the blue of the Coral Sea is one of my most
favourite blue’s. It is a symbol of freedom, expanse, and invigoration where
anything is possible.

This year we did not get to travel up north to Queensland, like we’ve been
able to before, so I’m missing the shade of the Coral Sea blue, missing the
expanse of the ocean and the way it makes everything seem small by
comparison. So thinking about not seeing this blue, actually makes me feel
a little ‘blue’. Conversely when I’m surrounded by blue, I feel as sense of joy
and peacefulness.


So I will focus on my goal of being able to look at this ocean again, I will look
at pictures of past trips and dream locations and places I’ll go to in the
future. I’m imagining how much I’ll enjoy it, how wonderful it will feel when
we go there again.


So for now I’ll enjoy the blue of my children’s eyes and the blue colours I can
create with my art.


What does blue mean for you?

Chillout

#contentology

#chillout

Chilling out is important for our bodies and brains. We need to have a
balance of working our minds and bodies enough to feel like we have
achieved and enough relaxation time to allow us to recharge and to feel like
we have pleasure and fun in our lives. This year for many may have been
challenging to find ways of doing this, with some of the common ways that
people chill out having been impinged upon by restrictions on socialising and
travel. But chilling out at home by doing things that you find relaxing is
especially important when we are under extra stress. I know in our house
that watching a movie together as a family is seen as a lovely way to chill
out. I know that for a few of us at home, getting into drawing or art is a
wonderful way to just chill. I can also see my kids often head outside just to
sit on the monkey bars, or get into the yoga hammock we have, talk quietly
to a dog or cat and just chill outside in nature. When I was younger I
certainly took opportunity to chill by reading a book (or two or three). And
doing that is still something that I would choose to do as my own quiet chill
out time. I also love time watching a movie with my children, even if I’ve seen
it, as I love the cuddles and watching their faces as they enjoy the excitement and emotion. I think for lots of people, and I certainly know it for
me, that changing our environment will often help with chilling out. I know
that going somewhere different, whether down the river or to someone else’s
home, that I find it easier to chill out. At home there can be many
distractions (think work, housework!) that might call you away from just
chilling. But if we are out and enjoying nature, it can be much easier.

llo

Three Steps

#contentology

#threesteps

The first three steps to helping your child with behaviour and emotions so
that you know how to get started and how to keep going!
Step 1.Know that you are not alone, although you may feel it, and that help is
there to be found.
Trust your instincts that you can help your child when armed with the right
information and right support. It’s easy to feel that other parents have their
shit together and know what they are doing. It’s a lie, most are making it up
as they go along, most have days they are totally overwhelmed and feel like
they are not doing a good enough job, as the demands of parenting and life
are high. It’s it’s the brave insightful parents that admit they need help and actually go
out in search of it. So reach out, ask around to others to see if they can
recommend someone to you, or just book that appointment with an attitude
of ‘it’s just an initial appointment to see if they are a good fit’.
Like all things in life, not every therapist will suit every individual, so if the first
professional you come across does not make you feel at ease and that you
are in a safe place, trust that instinct too and find another. Because when
you have that person, you can really start to get the support you and your
family deserve.
Step 2 is be prepared to put yourself under the microscope as well as your
child when you attend therapy. Which just means be prepared to look at
your own mindset. As parents are the biggest and most important influence
for our children, exploring our relationships with them, our reactions to them
and our beliefs about their behaviour, their capacity and your expectations
will come up. This is usually anxiety provoking for everyone, so expect it and
think about how you will manage it!
There is also temptation that once you get to therapy and feel that sense of
relief that you’ve gotten to the ‘professionals’ to believe that the
responsibility for change is now in their hands.
Unfortunately nothing so complex as learning skills to better our thinking and
feeling is changed by just one influence that quickly and easily. The interplay
and relationship between parents and children is quite vital to good mental
health and wellbeing. Regardless of regular therapy, children will continue to
need parents to be their guide, their support and their model for the skills
they are looking to acquire.
Even with regular input, there is a huge chunk of time between sessions that
needs to be seen as moments and opportunity for practicing the skills.
So resist the temptation to hand over control to others completely and if you
notice yourself feeling that way, it might mean that you are still overwhelmed
and likely need more support, just for you. Sometimes your child’s therapist
might be able to provide this and sometimes they may not and you may
need your own parent coach and support person for the journey.
The third step towards helping your child with their wellbeing is to set small
goals and celebrate the small wins and achievements along the way.
There will always been new challenges in parenting, there are likely to be
new stages, new demands and certainly new developmental periods that ask
more of us. The big picture is that parenting can feel relentless at times and that the goal of harmonious family life or ‘mental health and wellbeing’ can
sometimes feel like it stays just out of reach.
So set small goals for you and your child and celebrate these in a big way.
For example if you have a child that is a reluctant school attender and you
have a goal to get them to attend most days during a week, make sure you
make a big deal when they attend one day more easily, then have a bigger
reward for you both when you achieve this-make it a special outing or family
time or acknowledging how proud of them you are and what it feels like to
seem them achieve something difficult. When we do this, it creates joy,
enthusiasm and this creates energy to keep moving forwards onto more
goals.
The families that I have seen do this along the way, are actually enjoying the
process of therapy, can enjoy time with each other even during challenging
times and it’s like I’m watching the the bonds between parents and children
grow stronger before my eyes!
So no matter where you are in your parenting journey with your family, I’m
hopeful that one of these steps may help you towards the future that you all
deserve.


Kate x

Mission

#contentology

#mission

Being on a mission is when the desire to help others overcomes all other
barriers. It helps you get super focused for your goals, where you don’t take
notice of what’s out to the sides or even whether there might be obstacles in
front of you-because of course there will be!

My mission is to show the world that difference is a strength, that being
neurodiverse does not have to equal poor mental health, that autism is not
synonymous with disability. That educating others on awareness,
acceptance and support can go a long way to be an ally to members of the
community that need it most.

I’m driven to use my knowledge of mental health, wellbeing and psychology,
to help as many adults, parents, children and teens to help accomplish their goals. Whether it’s to be less anxious, to have more confidence, to have
good relationships or to find contentment.

I know how important specific skills can be to help with these goals, whilst
understanding that as society, as we learn and understand more about
autism spectrum disorders, the better this will be for those on the Spectrum.
It’s my mission to make a positive difference to as many people as I can
across the globe by sharing my knowledge and support. And in doing so I
will feel that I’ve made a significant impact in my life and in others’.

But at the same time, the nature of how I usually work as a psychologist is
often one to one. So I am used to encouraging change in one moment, one
conversation with one human. And it is no doubt a privilege to be able to
have these kinds of moments with different individuals.

I am confident that I can continue this mission, whether I am with people
individually or whether it is when they are with me as part of a group or
whether they are with me as they read my written word. I know that the
more people I can reach, the wider the ripple effect of understanding and
positivity will be.

Top Tips

#contentology

#toptips

The best tip I could give to those amazing souls that are looking for some ideas or guidance with regard to their child or teenagers behaviour or mental health is firstly to trust your instincts.⁣

Most parents have very good instincts about whether they should be asking further questions and getting help for their child from professionals, but often don’t listen to this as quickly as they might otherwise do. Often this is because they seek advice from a partner, family or friends and get advice from people who’s area of expertise is not necessarily child development. ⁣

That is not to say that when you get to the said professional they are always going to give the right advice, however, taking that step if your instincts are telling you to get answers, you should, as it is is usually the right thing to do. ⁣

My other top tip, would be for when you are trying to create change in your children. If you are thinking about the skills that we want our children to develop make sure that we can model these as well. Hold a mirror up to yourself and determine whether this is something that you are able to do (or are at least working on). ⁣

Often when we are modelling these skills, making this skill development explicit to our children, it’s a great first step to encouraging them to also build these into their repertoire. ⁣

So if you want your child to learn how to do mindfulness, begin practicing it yourself. If you’d love your child to understand emotions and emotion regulation, demonstrate how you do this in your daily life as well. ⁣

Children learn best by seeing and experiencing and parents are their best teachers!⁣

Kate x⁣

Dreams to a Kid

#contentology

#dreamstofasakid

I dreamt of visiting the top of the Far Away Tree
I dreamt of having my very own Wishing Chair
I dreamt of being able to fly
I dreamt of being a ballet dancer
I dreamt of being a netballer
I dreamt of being a writer
I dreamt of being an artist
I dreamt of being a singer
I dreamt of being tall!
But to really know what I dreamed of, I’d have to find the diaries I kept as a
kid, as my memories of what my childhood dreams were, are a little hazy!
Because I love the way kids dream big and don’t know any limits, I made
sure that I wrote down all the things my children use to say about their
dreams and wishes for the future, so when they are older we will be able to
reminisce together!
Can you recall your childhood dreams and did any of them come true?!

Health

#contentology

#health

What does Health mean for you?⁣How much do you priorities this and where does your mental health fit in with your physical health. Are they seperate for you or in intertwinned?

⁣⁣For me they go hand in hand. I like the feeling of being healthy and fit and this makes me feel mentally strong and more in control. I like the feeling of having a strong body and my exercise is also very enjoyable so that I get lots of positive emotions from this as well as social connections (when group fitness is allowed!).

⁣⁣I love being able to do things with my kids without hurting myself, or even encouraging my kids to try new things they are less familiar with. This is especially true as I age as I was always an active kid and teenager, so I actually want to continue this well into my ‘old age’.⁣I’ve recently gotten back into regular bike riding, which I’m really enjoying. I’ve also made sure that I continue my yoga practice as often as I can as it protects me from injury and keeps my aches and pain free.

⁣Like all things in life, there are aspects of our health that are outside of our control, so understanding that means I try to focus on the aspects that I can control. ⁣⁣So ensuring that we care for the body that takes us through this life is giving it the respect that it deserves. There are some simple things we can do to nurture our bodies and health, not matter where we are in the journey. ⁣⁣

It could be making sure we take time to nourish it with enough water through our day, eating fresh food that agrees with us, or taking a few mindful breaths and moments of stillness that allow us to connect with our breathing and taking a moment to be grateful for what our bodies are like and what our health is like right now.⁣⁣

Kate⁣

Self-care

Self-care can sometimes feel like another thing on the ‘to do’ list.⁣

But it really is just time out and space for yourself a moment to let yourself feel calm and to switch off for a bit.⁣

Finding time to nurture my creativity, to find a space where I’m not going to be working and not attending to the needs of others, can be a challenge.⁣

I find it difficult to prioritise this at times, but when I look at doing things that I enjoy and keeping me healthy, such as yoga, listening to music, art, spending time with family or friends, then self-care is easier to achieve. ⁣

I think it’s the idea that I have to ‘rest’ or ‘relax’ that I find hard, because I tend to be a bit of a ‘doer’ and can find it hard to only do one thing at a time.⁣

However this is where my practice of mindfulness meditation becomes important, because it forces me to do just that. Not to do anything but be in the moment and let all the plans and activity just stop for a minute or two. And when I do it, I feel really good and refreshed.⁣

Self-care is such a unique thing for each individual, but an important thing to consider in amongst the pressures of work, school and family. And particularly this year, when stress has been an ongoing presence for many of us, but more-so in Victoria. ⁣

Ability to attend to self-care may have been affected by the restrictions of the usual activities that may have formed your self-care routine. So it does mean we need to think about it a bit more and make sure we find ways that help our body and brain to reset.⁣

So what does self-care look like for you? Do you have to schedule it in, or have you found ways to attend to it as part of your usual life routine, without too much effort? ⁣

Whatever it is, we know that it’s important to ensure stress levels do not get so high that we end up in a very bad place mentally, emotionally and physically. ⁣

So choose one little way to give your body and mind some love today.⁣

Kate x⁣

(Photo: Henley Beach early 2020, how much I miss the ocean, but looking back at favourite pictures, brings happy memories to mind!)