Can you smell that?
The sense of smell is very important. Did you know that this sense often gets affected due to depression? Many observe during pregnancy that their sense of smell heightens often making nausea worse so why is it that many suffer a loss of smell in the postanatal stage due to postnatal depression or other mental illness post baby?
"Personally, my husband did not believe me that my sense of smell had gotten so bad due to my postnatal depression and anxiety. Unfortunately now many smells go unnoticed or the degree of the smell needs to be greater in order to sense it..."
So here is why?
Depression, schizophrenia and seasonal affective disorder all suppress the sense of smell. The olfactory bulbs is the part of the brain that gives us our sense of smell. Researchers have found that the more severely depressed a person was, the smaller their olfactory bulb. Therefore this suggests that depression may cloud, but not damage, a person's sense of smell. The reduced brain response to odours found in depressed persons may be tied to problems in two closely connected parts of the brain that play an important role in processing emotional information and smell, known as the orbitofrontal cortex and amygdala.
The effects were present whether or not an individual was taking antidepressant drugs.
It has also been noted that once the depression has been successfully treated the sense of smell/response to smells returned back to their normal levels.
Refresh the Mindset
As we head into the New Year of school, work and general Mum life balance we need to take count of our mindset. When we have a negative mindset we will notice that everything is a struggle and everything is just so much harder.
It is easy to set goals or New Years resolutions but it is so much harder to enact change. If we go into the year with half hearted thoughts and we are not truely feeling the vibe then the rest will become history and we will find ourselves back in the same situation. With goals or resolutions you also have to attach a belief and positivity. If you go into a situation with a negative attitude do you think the outcome will be positive or negative?
No mother can be positive all the time- we all have a daily moments as we are sleep deprived, running off the kids leftovers and spend the day serving other people's needs but it is important to turn the thinking around...
Let me put this to you:
Sharon wants to become more active and as a result wants to up her walks to 4 mornings a week. Sharon says "oh i will start in two weeks time as I am so tired"..."I dont think I can get up 4 times a week"
Already Sharon, without even knowing about it, has put road blocks in the way- and has pushed her goals/resolutions off the plate..Do you think Sharon will achieve her goals/resolutions??
If you really want to change your outlook on life and achieve the 2020 goals or resolutions, try using these top 10 techniques (which we chose) to change how you deal with problems and see the world:
- Realize that your thoughts do not own you. Stop your negative thoughts in their tracks by realizing that you’re in charge of what you think, not the other way around.
- Take time to figure out what you really want. When you feel yourself feeling negative about things that you haven’t accomplished, take time to think if you really want those things. Finding out what is really important to you can help eliminate bad feelings over things that you don’t truly want.
- Accept the good things. Sometimes we get so caught up in the bad stuff coming our way that we forget to appreciate the good things. Take a minute to sit down and think of all the positive things that happened in your day, no matter how small.
- Get excited about all the possibilities that lay ahead. Even in the midst of the biggest disasters there are a multitude of possibilities that await you to make changes or take on the world tomorrow.
- Believe the world is a good place. If you look at the world and only seem doom and gloom laid out in front of you you’re not doing yourself any favours. Believe the world is a good place and you’re likely to find many more ways good things can come your way.
- Stop making excuses. There are always a million excuses for any person not to do something even if that something can make them feel happier. Stop putting up obstacles to your happiness and ditch those lame excuses when you hear yourself making them.
- Don’t play the victim. Bad things happen to everyone from time to time. Pitying yourself and wanting others to feel sorry for you isn’t going to make things better. Pick yourself up and start working towards a happier future.
- Don’t place your future in someone else’s hands. Your future is yours alone to shape. Remember this and take control of where your're going in life.
- Create realistic goals. Of course you’re going to feel frustrated if you make your goals so unattainable that you can’t reach them no matter how hard you work. Create smaller or more realistic goals so you can feel accomplished instead of defeated each day.
- Decide why you want what you want. If you’re feeling upset because you feel like you aren’t achieving the things you want in life, take a moment to sit back and figure out the reasons you actually want those things. You may find you’re not as attached to them as you think.
Remember anything is possible you just have to REALLY WANT IT and go with THE RIGHT ATTITUDE.
Mindfulness Helping In The Fight Against Anxiety
Mindfulness is a process that leads to a mental state characterized by nonjudgmental awareness of the present experiences, such as sensations, thoughts, bodily states, and the environment. It enables us to distance ourselves from our thoughts and feelings without labeling them as good or bad.
Anxiety is the mind and body's reaction to stressful, dangerous, or unfamiliar situations. It's the sense of uneasiness, distress, or dread you feel before a significant event. A certain level of anxiety helps us stay alert and aware, but for those suffering from an anxiety disorder, it feels far from normal - it can be completely debilitating.
An anxious person will report an unreasonable exaggeration of threats, repetitive negative thinking, hyper-arousal, and a strong identification with fear. The fight-or-flight response kicks into overdrive.
By focusing our attention on the present moment, mindfulness counteracts rumination and worrying. Worrying about the future (e.g. I better remember to pay those bills and clean my house this weekend) and ruminating about the past (e.g., I should have done this rather than that) are generally maladaptive thinking processes. Mindfulness can be an important tool for helping us to better focus on the present moment.
Mindfulness helps us reduce anxiety and depression. Mindfulness teaches us how to respond to stress with awareness of what is happening in the present moment, rather than simply acting instinctively, unaware of what emotions or motives may be driving that decision. By teaching awareness for one's physical and mental state in the moment, mindfulness allows for more adaptive reactions to difficult situations.
Beyond Blue states:
“The research tells us that practising mindfulness does have some benefits for mental health wellbeing and for managing depression and anxiety. It is also helpful when it comes to managing some long-term physical conditions, helping the patient to better deal with pain or discomfort.
Many people who practise mindfulness report a number of tangible benefits, such as:
- Improved memory
- Better concentration
- More flexibility in their thinking
- Greater ability to focus
- Less rumination (when the mind gets over chatty!)
- Better stress management
- Higher satisfaction with relationships and quality of life
There has also been some research conducted linking the benefits of turmeric supplements by influencing the neurotransmitter balance in the brain and can be complimentary treatment.
What is this PANDA you speak of?
Did you know:
PANDA - Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia supports women, men and families across Australia affected by anxiety and depression during pregnancy and in the first year of parenthood. PANDA operates Australia’s only National Helpline for individuals and their families to recover from perinatal anxiety and depression, a serious illness that affects up to one in five expecting or new mums and one in ten expecting or new dads.
PANDA operates Australia’s only National Helpline that supports families affected by perinatal anxiety and depression and postnatal psychosis. Our daily contact with women, men and families affected by these illnesses gives us extraordinary insight into the complex rollercoaster journey experienced by many expecting and new many parents. We have developed a unique understanding of perinatal mental illness across the country and are committed to sharing this expertise to improve emotional and mental health outcomes for expecting and new parents and their children.
They offer a number of different supports including:
Providing the only National Helpline dedicated to perinatal mental health, PANDA is driven by the lived experience of people affected by perinatal anxiety and depression. PANDA responds to the needs of families across Australia who are expecting a baby or in the first year after the baby’s birth, from major cities to rural and remote areas. The Helpline offers support, information, counselling and referral to expecting and new mothers and fathers and their families and friends. Our team also provides health professionals.
Community Champions Program
PANDA’s Community Champions program is a national network of volunteers who champion PANDA’s mission to support families in a positive transition to early parenthood. Along with raising community awareness about perinatal anxiety and depression, our Community Champions also promote PANDA’s specialist perinatal services and support PANDA’s community fundraising activities.
PANDA National Helpline
(Mon to Fri, 9am - 7.30pm AEST/AEDT)
Call 1300 726 306
How Can You Make The Most Of Your Time?
Mindfulness. Being present in the immediate. Slowing thoughts, breath and body to feel into all that is right now. This blissful, calm state is one that we’d all love in our classrooms a little more often, right? Incorporating mindfulness activities into your daily routine. Itis one way to incite this kind of calm.
Really read story time – unlike a sitting meditation, mindfulness can be done whilst you are doing anything, it’s just about being totally focussed on the task at hand. Reading the bedtime story is a great one. So many of us are reading the story on autopilot with our minds in our inbox, or planning dinner. Next time you read The Gruffalo, try totally focussing on the words, the images, the story. You might even get into it.
Don’t forget the endless benefits of mindfulness for Mums. Mindfulness training can help reduce symptoms of postpartum depression. According to Gannon, meditation can also help new mothers navigate feelings of uncertainty, cope with the stress of parenting, and even increase lactogenesis (a fancy word for “produce milk”) in mothers who are breastfeeding.
So why not stop and READ a book to your kids tonight!
To Hug Or Not To Hug? That Is The Question.....
Hugging meditation, made famous by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, is rooted in the belief that a good hug can have transformative effects.
Thich Nhah Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist who now lives in France. His graceful and simple way of conveying his teachings has helped made Buddhism and meditation appealing throughout the world.
"When we hug, our hearts connect and we know that we are not separate beings," Hanh writes. "Hugging with mindfulness and concentration can bring reconciliation, healing, understanding, and much happiness."
How the to do the ‘three hug’ practice:
1. Begin by recognizing the other person.
Start by bowing toward the other person as a way of acknowledging their presence. Then bring yourself fully into the moment by taking three conscious breaths.
2. Go in for the hug (and keep your breathing in mind).
A quick pat on the back won’t really do the trick here. Instead, hold the other person in your arms for three deep breaths. Hanh writes that the first breath should be devoted to you honoring your presence in the moment. The second should honor the other person, while the final breath should be focused on feeling happy and grateful for your togetherness.
3. End with gratitude.
After you release each other, finish the experience by bowing again to express thankfulness for the other person.
According to the practice, you have to really hug the person you are holding. You have to make him or her very real in your arms, not just for the sake of appearances, patting him on the back to pretend you are there, but breathing consciously and hugging with all your body, spirit, and heart. Hugging meditation is a practice of mindfulness. “Breathing in, I know my dear one is in my arms, alive. Breathing out, she is so precious to me.” If you breathe deeply like that, holding the person you love, the energy of your care and appreciation will penetrate into that person and she will be nourished and bloom like a flower.
“When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love.”
— Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh
We have previously shared the benefits of mindfulness in motherhood and why it can be helpful to anyone. Each post shares a different strategy to use to bring you in to the present to calm your thoughts and engage you conscious being.
Connect with Nature- MINDFULNESS IN MOTHERHOOD
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
This captures the essence of mindfulness: bringing our attention to the present moment – the only moment we can ever be sure of.
Plus, at least one study has shown that mindfulness training can help reduce symptoms of postpartum depression. According to Gannon, meditation can also help new mothers navigate feelings of uncertainty, cope with the stress of parenting, and even increase lactogenesis (a fancy word for “produce milk”) in mothers who are breastfeeding.
Both mindfulness and nature help bring a sense of calm to you when you need it most.
“Nature meditation can help you cultivate a loving connection with yourself, the earth, and the entire web of life,” according to Buddhist meditation teacher Mark Coleman of Awake in the Wild. Through techniques like sights, sounds, and stories, we can help our children harness the calming aspects of nature during bedtime, dinnertime, car rides, and other moments throughout their day.
The best part is that nature meditation does not always have to be performed outdoors; from visualizations to nature sound apps, there are so many ways to experience mindfulness using nature even from inside the comfort of your home.
A simple activity combines meditation, breathing techniques and paying attention to the present moment to help you notice the way you think, feel and act.- though it has so many benefits.
Walking through nature with the family can get you all to explore the beauty of nature. Your could collect and examine autumn leaves, or feel the sand beneath the toes during a walk on the beach- really taking note of the trees shape, type, size etc forces your brain to stop and be present rather than drifting off into 1000 thoughts. After taking the walk and truly being present with the energy in nature brings you back lighter/freer and less anxious/stressed.
3 other ideas from soul and spirit magazine:
Find your ‘nature sit spot’
Find a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed for 20-30 minutes. Remain still. What can you see in front of you? What can you see in your peripheral vision? What can you hear? What can you feel on your skin? What can you smell? Bring your awareness to each of your senses in turn. What do you notice over 20-30 minutes? How did things change? Come back and repeat the exercise at different times, on different days, at different times of year. Did you notice any changes? Any regular animals visiting?
Bring your attention to your breathing. Where do you feel the air coming in and out of your body? Rest your awareness there. Is your mind wandering? Just kindly bring it back to your breathing. Remind yourself that trees release the oxygen we inhale and absorb the carbon dioxide we exhale. As we breathe, we are borrowing air before returning it to nature.
Touch the earth
Stand, sit or lie in your garden, in a forest, in the park, by the sea or up a mountain. Bring your awareness to the parts of your body which are in contact with the ground. What do they feel like? Can you feel the ground supporting you? How does it make you feel?
Using Essential Oils to Support your Mindfulness Practice.
I have been using essential oils daily to support my family for over two years now. It’s funny really, I cannot imagine my live without them. Then have supported each and every one of us in so many ways and I am so grateful to have these amber bottles of mother nature in our life.
If you google the word “mindfulness” then the word “mediation” is usually featured in the same paragraph or post. However, personally I think there are other ways to practice mindfulness too. According to Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap, “mindfulness involves bringing consciously awareness to you’re here and now experience with openness, curiosity and flexibility…”
I love using essential oils to connect with myself on a deeper level. They are the gift from mother nature, that can help support our emotions and we love to use them in a way to support us in how we want to feel and let go off in that moment.
Here are some examples of how you can use essential oils to support your mindfulness practice. Please note I am only talking on behalf of my practise:
Diffuse Essential Oils – When I first wake, I love to diffuse citrus oils like Wild Orange or Lemon or Lime with Peppermint. It allows me to focus on what needs to be done to start my day. I love writing a list of the days tasks I need to get done and then putting it aside to later time in the day. I feel my mind is fresh when I first wake. I continue to diffuse essential oils throughout the day depending on what I want to feel. I love using the resource EMOTIONS & ESSENTIAL OILS – A Reference Guide for Emotional Healing to help find oils that are suitable for my mood and both positive and negative emotional support.
Drinking Water – Whenever I have or make a glass of water, I take time to be practice gratitude and mindfulness. I tune into the moment. I listen and focus on the water trickling into the glass, I pick my favourite essential oil from my shelf, inhale some from the amber bottle first and then add the drop to the glass. I try take my mind off whatever I am focusing on at the time and bring it to that moment. It calms my mind so much, it’s so simple to do. Plus, so many people in the world are without this luxury, so practicing this daily helps you to feel gratitude for it. You can also do a similar practice when washing your hands too.
Taking a few deep breathes in and out –Sounds simple right? It is, but most of us don’t do it enough. I love to apply 1-2 drops of essential oil on my finger-tips, rub my hands together and cup my nose. Then take a few deep breathes in and out. I love the dōTERRA Balance and Lavender Peace blend for this practice. Wild Orange and Peppermint are great for a focus reset and gives you uplifting vibes.
Moving your body – Getting outside in mother nature or out of the house to the gym can support all those good endorphins. When working out, practicing yoga, Pilates or just walking, most of the time our mind is focusing on being present in that moment due to the fact you have to focus on what you are doing, eg lifting up weights, walking to your destination, pushing a little harder on your run. I love using essential oils to motivate me to work out. Peppermint, pink pepper, ginger, lemon, black pepper and cinnamon bark are all essential oils I call “mother natures preworkout.” Place a drop under your tongue or in a veggie cap or on your inner ankles to give you an energy boost.
Gratitude Journal – I place a drop of Frankincense over my heart and write in this book daily. I write 5 things I am grateful for, some days its little things and others in big things.
Create a roller bottle filled with your favourite essential oils – apply to your pulse points and over your heart.
Want more from Alice – www.instagram.com/aliceinessentialoilland
Join her tribe - https://www.mydoterra.com/aliceinhealthyland/#/
Mindfulness and Mental Health
Perinatal (During pregnancy) and Postnatal (New baby) stress has been found to have associations with adverse maternal and infant outcomes.
Mindfulness training may offer a safe and acceptable strategy to support perinatal and postnatal mental health. Mental health is a serious illness that affects up to one in five expecting or new Mums and one in ten expecting or new Dads...It is never a failure or a weakness to ask/seek help. Sometimes post or prenatal mental illness can hit you like a tonne of bricks- out of the blue and for no reason.
“Mindfulness exercises are ways of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing, and yoga. Training helps people to become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and body sensations so that instead of being overwhelmed by them, theyâre better able to manage them. Practising mindfulness can give more insight into emotions, boost attention and concentration, and improve relationships.”
“Mindfulness meditation has been shown to affect how the brain works and even its structure. People undertaking mindfulness training have shown increased activity in the area of the brain associated with positive emotion – the pre-frontal cortex – which is generally less active in people who are depressed.
Many studies have shown changes in brain wave activity during meditation and researchers have found that areas of the brain linked to emotional regulation are larger in people who have meditated regularly for five years or more. The evidence for different types of mindfulness is promising and research has grown in recent years.
Mindfulness is a strategy and there are many resources out there for men or woman who might be struggling with their Mental health. PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Association) is one such organisation who can help: PANDA’s National Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Helpline
1300 726 306 9am – 7.30pm Mon – Fri (AEST/AEDT)
Or ask us a question via email at email@example.com and one of the Helpline team members will get back to you during Helpline hours. Their website www.panda.org.au also has a wealth of information.
The Way It Was Is Not The Way It Has To Be
Having my second child, presented many challenges. Ones that would later define my mental health and put me into a mother and babies unit. Admitting defeat and being placed there was the last thing that I ever wanted but it was the way it happened.
Rewind the clock to the walk out of the hospital doors when reality hit me like a tonne of bricks. Then when my little one was 4 months old things hit rock bottom the sleep deprivation was getting worse with feeding every two hours for an hour, a screaming baby 24/7 due to coelic/reflux and undiagnosed tongue tie, which resulted in my nipples being cracked and cringe worthy pain every feed. My need for perfection and having a house where everything was in its place plus trying to keep up with the newborn demands eventually lead to me being admitted to the mother and baby unit. At the time I told very few people as part of me was ashamed that I ended up in this state.
I spent three weeks there receiving the treatment and being armed with the tools to be able to cope with my postnatal anxiety and depression. It was from this moment that I wanted to do something about my mental health and to try to do what I could to not be in this situation again. My mindset was changing and my resilience and determination was returning little bit by little bit. Yes I was now medicated, against my will at first, but I now also was armed with some great strategies to cope- one of them was using exercise.
With postnatal mental illness people can not see it like a broken arm or leg and it is something that will always stay with you. Unfortunately a label is now attached.
Fast forward to being pregnant with my third -who came into the world 10 weeks ago. During the pregnancy my obstetrician, GP, husband and myself were all on the front foot with keeping tabs on how I was faring. I was also more mindful of my feelings and emotions and tried to keep things in check as best as I could. Couple this with my strong determination to help Mums in a similar position by the platform of MUMMACTIV - and being a PANDA champion.
I coped through the whole pregnancy with working, a business and exercise as my leveller and did not have a lot of continual down moments. After delivering my little girl I was in the right zone and was nourishing my soul in the newborn bubble. I set the bar low with daily goals being coffee, shower and walk everyday. This was achievable even on those crappy days and having a sense of achievement is good for the soul. Even though bubba has reflux she is so much more content than my last which I think has a huge impact on how I have coped so far. Ive also taken the pressure off myself to get back to my level of training 6 days a week and to have the house spotless and in order-overall being kinda to myself.
So if you are a Mum struggling know that you are not alone and the WAY IT IS IS NOT THE WAY IT HAS TO BE….Take time out for you and set the bar lower.
Hopefully through time we will break down the stigmas attached to Postnatal Mental Illness and PANDA is a great resource if you or your loved one needs the help/support. (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Helpline: 1300 726 306)
Bladder Leakage Postpartum
Why was it so important for MUMMACTIV to bring out a piece, in their collection, that had bladder leakage functionality? Did you know that women who have given birth are 2.5 times more likely to have urinary incontinence than women who have not? A vaginal delivery is linked to a high rate of urinary incontinence in the period directly after birth with:
– 21% of women experience urinary incontinence after their first vaginal delivery with spontaneous birth
– 36% of women experience urinary incontinence after their first vaginal delivery with forceps delivery
"Even a seemingly uneventful pregnancy and delivery can change urinary control for up to 50 percent of women," says Roger Goldberg, M.D., director of urogynecology research at the University of Chicago NorthShore University HealthSystem and author of Ever Since I Had My Baby (Random House).
In addition, in a study by Brown and Lumley (2000), urinary incontinence was one of the three major health factors associated with poor emotional well-being post-partum.
Woman feel too embarrassed to say anything let alone do any physical movement that might put them in a jeopardised position (leak urine mid movement).
Why is this so?
Pelvic-perineal dysfunctions (Urinary incontinence and genital prolapsed) are the most important consequences of childbirth and are determined by specific alterations in the structure of neurological and musculo-fascial pelvic support.
Fit Pregnancy defines it as if you leak when you forcefully laugh, sneeze, cough, run, jump or lift weights, you have stress incontinence. "It's really common in the third trimester because of the pressure of the uterus on the bladder," says Sangeeta Mahajan, M.D., division chief of female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery at University Hospital's Case Medical Center Department of OB-GYN in Cleveland. Compounding the problem are the hormones that make your tissues and joints more elastic for delivery: They also reduce bladder support, allowing urine to leak.
About two-thirds of women with stress incontinence also experience urge incontinence, which is caused by an overactive bladder. You get the sudden urge to go, even though your bladder may be nearly empty, and leak before you can get to the bathroom.
PELVIC FLOOR TRAUMA is the main cause of urinary leakage. The best thing that you can do is go and see a WOMEN'S HEALTH PHYSIO to get some advice, exercises or an action plan to tackle the 'spritz'. In the meantime buying our PREGNANCY/POSTPARTUM SHORTS W/WASHABLE BLADDER LEAKAGE PAD and doing your pelvic floor exercises will help to take part of the immediate concern away.
Why Exercise Is A BALANCED MEDICINE
Over the last two weeks I have been further reminded of what a great medicine 'exercise' is. There have been two different instances where the woman, with whom i was speaking to, shared their positive message towards how exercise is helping them heal.
The first, is a lady currently going through chemotherapy after being diagnosed with cancer. She said to me 'I love coming to the gym it makes me feel so good and I feel normal'. This particular lady comes no matter what-sometimes carrying her vomit bag with her as she has just had treatment. She turns up does some weights and cardio(bike) and has the huggest grin on her face the whole time.
The second lady unfortunately had a traumatic experience having her partner murdered about 8 months ago. Despite the trauma and post associated experiences she still gets out of bed every morning trying to make the most of everyday. She swims a number of kilometres and then walks about 6-7 km just to keep fit and healthy. Her physical activities provide her with routine and structure in her day and the benefits from getting moving are helping her to heal from the inside out.
For me exercise is my equaliser. If I do not feel right or balanced I chuck on the running shoes and hit the track or the gym. For me it is my BALANCING MEDICINE.....So what makes it such a great medicine?
1. Exercise has been proven to boost mood and strengthen mental wellbeing. According to Stephen Buckley of mental health charity Mind: ‘Research shows outdoor exercise such as running can be as effective as antidepressants in treating mild to moderate anxiety and depression.’ The brain releases serotonin, dopamine and norepineephrine when you move your body so even going for a stroll can lift your mood.
*Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-4091592/HEALTH-exercise-miracle-cure.html#ixzz4jm0Nxhgk
2. Low to moderate intensity exercise has been proven to reduce stress. Runners World recently wrote an article on how it can even affect post traumatic stress disorder.
3. Creates a greater mental resilience as when you complete harder exercises you get mentally tougher, therefore being able to handle more stress...eventually being able to handle more of anything.
4. Improved Immune System as exercise helps to flush bacteria from lungs and flush out carcinogens by increasing the activity of the lymphatic system. (Therefore becoming better at being able to drain more waste away). When exercising the circulation runs faster resulting in white blood cells and antibodies running faster through the systems.
So these are just a few reasons as to why EXERCISE IS A BALANCED MEDICINE. To me it is a win win situation and has so many positives.