How to Boost Your Mood With Beautiful Scented Products
Scented products like candles, perfume and body lotions can boost your mood. This article will explain the connection between your sense of smell and your emotions. You can boost your mood with scent using essential oils and other beautifully scented products. Keep reading to the end because there is an exciting special offer for you. Note: This post may contain affiliate links which mean I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure.
How Our Sense of Smell Influences Our Emotions
We can improve our well-being using our five senses. Read more in this recent post. The sense of smell is linked to the brain’s limbic system. It is responsible for our emotions, behaviours, sense of smell and long-term memory. That is why smells bring back memories of happy events. The smell of coconut body butter takes me instantly to holidays in the Pacific Islands where the scent of coconut oil and tropical flowers permeates the air.
Essential oils are used in Aromatherapy to stimulate the limbic system. That is how they can trigger memories and emotions. The limbic system plays a role in several unconscious physiological functions like breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. Hence the reason aromatherapy affects our bodies in such positive ways like reducing anxiety and stress, enhancing sleep and relieving headaches among many. Source: Healthline
Boost your Mood with HideAWAY Products – They Smell Divine.
I have been accepted as an affiliate of HideAWAY, an Australian company. HideAWAY produces a signature range of whipped soaps, soap bars, buddy custards, scrubs and bath time treats. These products come in the most divine fragrances like tropical punch, frangipani dream, vanilla caramel and pineapple coconut. So you can create your own day spa at home using bundles containing a variety of their products like whipped soap, body custard and bath salt.
Layering Scents for a Stronger Aroma
Using 2 or 3 products with the same fragrance layers the scent on your skin, which boosts how strong the scent is. For example, use the body wash, body mist and body custard from the same range and you will smell amazing. Likewise, using the room spray, wax melts and scented candles will give your home a beautiful aroma.
About HideAWAY Products
Ingredients used in their products are all natural, locally sourced and sustainable. HideAWAY products are beautifully packaged and made here in Australia. Their tropical colours on the packaging suit our aesthetic. All HideAWAY products are handmade using organic oils and butters that are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients that are essential to healthy, radiant skin.
The best news of all is that HideAWAY is having a massive Spring Sale from Thursday 24 – Sunday 27th September. During this store-wide event prices have been slashed. There will be different promotions each day. Please see their website for terms and conditions. I’ll be stocking up on some bubble bath and body custard.
This year I’ve noticed many more people talking about how they’re feeling demotivated, distressed, fed-up and down in the dumps. Many people have begun to let their healthy diet and exercise routines slide, and their waistline expand. The affects of the global pandemic on our well-being are really starting to become apparent as it drags on with no end in sight. The uncertainty, isolation and risks to our health and lifestyle are all factors in causing this decrease in our state of well-being.
Our well-being won’t just miraculously improve if we don’t make an effort to change our routines. We have to work at it because it’s all too easy to be lazy and get into bad habits. Frequently people get into a rut and can’t see any end to their current situation. It’s as if a black cloud is over their head. A few down days can lead to depression.
Clinical depression needs to be treated by health care professionals such as psychologists and medical doctors. (I am not a trained professional in these fields. Please refer to my disclaimer. This article should be used for informational purposes only). I’m not talking about depression in this article, rather the low mood that many of us are experiencing due to the current pandemic. If your mood has not improved after a few weeks, please seek professional help.
I’ve had to be proactive and work at maintaining my mental health. My tendency to shut down and go into a shell, wallowing in misery, didn’t work for me in the past. Over time I’ve found there are activities I can do to improve my mood.
How to Use All 5 Senses to Improve Your Well-being When Life Is Getting You Down
You can use all five senses to improve your mood and your well-being. For example, who can deny that the fresh whiff of coffee in the morning doesn’t immediately heighten your sense of smell? Or that a warm hug from someone you love doesn’t make you feel calmer and happier? I am a very sensory person, and I’ve found the following have helped:
TOUCH: I had a massage. I normally have a remedial full body massage but I still can’t lie on my front so I had a sitting massage instead. To make the most of it I used deep breathing techniques to relax my muscles. These tiny Thai masseurs are so strong, you feel like you’ve done 3 rounds with a sumo wrestler! But it works.
SOUND: Listening to uplifting music. I was born in the 60s so I love 70s and 80s music. I can sing as loud as I like to my favourite hits and it’s always a mood booster.
SMELL: A splash of my favourite perfume lifts my spirits. I don’t save my scent for special occasions. I use it daily because it makes me feel better to smell nice. Using scented candles and reed diffusers has also helped.
SIGHT: Taking time to watch the sunset, or admire a beautiful scene is uplifting. While I’m out walking my dog every day I take time to look at my surroundings. I’m lucky to live where I have lovely parks and waterways nearby. My dog’s a social butterfly so we end up meeting lots of dogs and their owners. It’s nice to say hello or stop and chat if they’re up for it.
TASTE: I’ve done lots of cooking. It’s starting to show as the weight’s starting to creep up. Only 1kg but since I lost 17kg last year I’m very wary of gaining any weight. So I’ve gone back to basics and getting back on a healthy diet. It’s easy to grab convenience food when you’re feeling low, but taking the effort to prepare fresh food will boost your mood. Eating lots of fruit and vegetables, quality protein and healthy fats will make you feel more energised.
Other Ways I’m Boosting My Mood
Sometimes we have to push ourselves to be proactive in improving our well-being. I know what depression is like and it’s easy for me to slide into that state of mind. Rather than just allowing myself to stay in a rut, I push myself to do activities that I know will boost my mood.
I credit my improved sense of well-being to the following:
Putting a bit of make-up on every day. Then I don’t feel so daggy.
I’ve had a couple of phone sessions with a counsellor. Getting the perspective of an impartial person about my long recovery time has really helped. My takeaway from the sessions – I’ve been looking after everyone else for the last 30 plus years so it’s time to look after myself. And let others look after me (which I find hard to do).
I’ve been spending time socialising. My nature is an introverted homebody so I tend to stay home where I’m in my comfort zone. I know that the most uplifting activity for me is having meaningful conversations with people. So I make an effort to meet someone to talk over coffee or a meal. Phoning them is the next best thing. It improves my well-being so much.
I’ve been de-cluttering and tidying. Just one area of the house at a time. There’s nothing better than a good cleanout! I can’t do too much housework because it increases the pain and swelling, so I just do a little bit every day.
I’ve been spending time in my garden every day. Spring is upon us in Australia and the spring growth has begun. It’s been a very long winter because time has dragged by for me and I’m really looking forward to warmer weather. We’re lucky to have a pond with fountains in our garden. The sound of cascading water is music to my soul.
What ways do you use to improve your well-being? Share them here so others can benefit.
Just a head’s up, I saw my surgeon a couple of days ago, and because my swelling and pain are ongoing he’s going to operate again on Monday. I’ll be in hospital for a few days and have a drain for a few weeks. While I’m in hospital I won’t be allowed visitors which will be horrible. Not having the support of my family will be really hard but I know this is necessary to assist my healing and prevent further complications.
Because of this, I may be a bit inconsistent with my blog for the next few weeks.
Our self identity is what defines us. Self identity is formed in childhood, largely by our parents. It develops over time, much of it stemming from the roles we take on. These roles may be chosen by ourselves, or inflicted on us by chance. The roles we identify with most strongly are what makes us who we are, and form our self identity. My roles as a nurse, mother and wife are the ones I identify with the most.
One of my roles – My 30 years as a Registered Nurse
This month marks 30 years since I graduated as a Registered Nurse. I was one of the last hospital trained nurses to graduate from the Mater Misericordiae Public Hospital in Brisbane. Nursing has been an incredibly rewarding career, and it forms a large part of my self identity.
My nursing career has taken me to the Northern Territory where I spent a year in a tiny 10 bed remote hospital. We did everything there – Accident and Emergency, Theatre, and nursing paediatrics and adults. I even assisted the midwives deliver babies which was amazing. We had our own plane and pilot so we did retrievals to remote outback areas, and down to Alice Springs.
Most of my career has been in surgical nursing in hospitals. I did a stint in palliative care but got really burnt out – I’m not cut out for that kind of nursing and really admire those that are. It’s a rewarding job but incredibly taxing on your body, especially the type of nursing I do.
What happens when a role that we identify with, disappears one day?
I’ve been unable to return to work for over three months, since my bilateral mastectomies. Because of the demanding nature of my job, I can’t return to work until I’m able to perform CPR and all the requirements of working as a nurse. While I’m glad I’m not pushed back to work before I’m ready, I’m finding it incredibly hard to wait patiently while my body heals.
Because I haemorrhaged the day after my mastectomies, I still have residual swelling and pain on the left side. Even a small amount of activity like light housework and shopping, causes more pain and swelling. There’s no way to tell how long it will be like this.
Missing my role as a nurse
I was expecting to be able to return to week six weeks after my surgery. It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t know I’d be off this long as I would have seriously considered delaying the surgery. That delay could have been detrimental to my well-being as my chances of getting breast cancer were so high.
I’m able to fill my days with other activities like writing (thank God for my blog!), and cooking, but I miss working. Nursing is so much a part of me – a strong aspect of my identity – it feels like part of me is missing. Nursing is such a fulfilling career. There’s nothing better than being able to make someone more comfortable, and assist them to heal.
I miss my colleagues too. Nurses have a real camaraderie. We can laugh and cry together, knowing that our job will make us feel so many emotions, usually all in one shift. I know there are many healthcare workers working incredibly hard under stressful conditions at the moment because of all the extra precautions we have to take due to Covid-19. To be stuck on the sidelines while my colleagues are struggling is frustrating. I just want to help out!
Over the last few years my health has taken several blows and I’ve struggled with the workload and shiftwork. Physically I’m struggling to cope with the demands of my job, but I still feel I have a lot left to give. I really don’t know what the future holds but I know if I can’t return to work as a nurse in some capacity I will really miss it.
The roles we identify with may be learned from our parents
I’ve written about identity in the past, and I feel my strongest roles that I identify with are being a mother and a nurse. This month also marks 28 years since I became a mother. Being a mother has been incredibly rewarding. I had a strong role model in my own mum, and I have tried to emulate her. There is no way anyone could come up to her standard! Our mothering styles differed somewhat – she was a stay at home mum for one thing. I don’t know if she would have approved of me working throughout my kids’ lives (apart from 4 months’ maternity leave for each of them). She passed away before she became a grandmother.
My husband and I will soon be empty nesters because my son is finally moving out! I loved having them live at home but they’re well and truly old enough to spread their wings. Because I left home for good at 19 so it’s extraordinary that my sons lived at home till they were 24 and 28. I must have made it too easy for them!
Merging two families can cause conflict
My husband came into our lives when my sons were in their late teens. He doesn’t have kids of his own. He took the right approach and didn’t try to be their father, which wouldn’t have gone down well at all. We’ve all lived together for about 6 ½ years so it’ll be nice for the two of us to finally have the house to ourselves. We’re looking forward to it.
Merging two families didn’t go smoothly all the time. My parenting style was different to my in-laws’ parenting style. I was used to being independent and not having family around to help out. My kids were very independent as well. Phil’s family live 5 minutes from each other and spend a lot of time together. I can go months without seeing my family (especially with the border closures at the moment) but Phil sees or speaks to his family nearly every day.
There have been rocky patches, particularly between his mother and I. She couldn’t understand what I was going through when I was grieving my dad. My husband was working away for days at a time, week after week and it was very hard. I had a fall out with her that lasted a couple of years.
I sensed real concern for me this year when I was going through my surgeries, and that has helped smooth things over between us. I’m so glad we’ve been able to patch things up because it put a strain on the whole family. We’re having them over for Father’s Day brunch which will be the first time in a few years that they all come here.
My relationship with the rest of his family has been much better. I gained his parents, brother, sister-in-law, two nieces and a nephew when I married my husband. I’m so happy to have a close bond with them because I no longer have my parents and sister, and I don’t see my brothers and nephews much (especially since the border closed between my state and theirs).
When one of our roles disappears, our self identity suffers
Mother, daughter, nurse, wife, sister, auntie, friend – many of my roles in life, and a strong part of my identity. These roles have shaped who I am and when one of the roles is absent, I feel lost. I’m able to compensate by spending more time in the other roles. It’s been lovely having more time to spend with my loved ones, and not be constantly tired from shift work. The challenge now is to accept that I am still me, even though I’m not working at the moment. I can channel my desire to help people into this blog, and still feel like I’m doing something worthwhile.
My role as a mother is changing with my sons leaving home. I’m still their mother though! That will never change. I’ve done my part – they’re fully functioning adults. Now I can enjoy my role as a wife more. We’ll have more quality time to spend together without the distraction of young people around. It’s something I look forward to, as I want to grow old together with my husband.
The roles we have help form our identity. When one of those roles disappears or changes, it can affect our self identity. We can compensate by spending more time on our other roles, and adjusting the way we think of ourselves.
What roles do you identify with? If one role disappeared, would you feel like part of you wasmissing?
Many people have remarked on how well I’m coping with all the setbacks I’ve faced in my life, especially this year. Developing resilience doesn’t come naturally, it needs to be learned and nurtured. I thought I’d share some of the ways I incorporate self care into my daily routine, and hopefully inspire others to develop their own resilience.
Until I prioritised my own self care needs, I was a bundle of nerves to the point of social anxiety. I had difficulty enforcing my boundaries so that I was a punching bag for others’ abuse. My self esteem was so low that I had absolutely no confidence. If I did speak up I was knocked back down so I built up barriers and sunk into my shell.
I went to therapists and they helped to some extent but I still lacked confidence. Getting really fit helped with my self image but I was still lacking in self esteem. Even though my external appearance was the best it had been for years, my inner self was struggling with self doubt and negativity. I was rushing around trying to fit all my responsibilities into my daily routine, which left little time for myself.
Prioritising Self Care Builds Self Esteem
The real change came last year, when I finally lost a lot of weight. I had a coach for my weight loss program who rang me every three weeks, not only to set goals with me, but also to give me positive feedback about my progress. Having that regular contact helped me lose over 17kg and graduate early from the program.
That success gave me so much confidence. The changes I had made included regular exercise, a new healthy diet with lots more vegetables and the joy of cooking and gardening. With it came the realisation that I had to prioritise self care.
My top tips for self care are:
Get outdoors daily. Natural light is better for you
Ladies wear makeup (even just tinted moisturiser and mascara) even when you’re not going out, and men shave. You feel better about yourself when you’re groomed. It goes without saying, but shower and brush your teeth too. You’d be surprised how many people don’t, as a nurse you see it all. Wear clothes that make you feel good, and that make you look good too.
Exercise daily, even just a walk. You will get natural endorphins.
Eat healthy food and drink plenty of water. Eating junk food depletes your energy and will have long-term repercussions if you base your diet around it.
Listen to your body. If you’re tired, rest.
Have regular massages, beautician visits or manicures purely for the enjoyment of it. If this is outside your budget, you can do at-home spa sessions . My favourite routine is a soak in a bubble bath with a face mask on, and lovely soft music playing, followed by beautiful scented body lotion. I definitely make time and room in my budget for regular professional massages though because it helps me manage my chronic back pain.
Listen to the sound of water. We have a pond with a fountain and the sound is so relaxing. You can get the same effect from white noise apps or a small water feature. Bubble baths, swims in the ocean and looking at waves lap on the shore are also calming.
Practice gratitude. Regularly write down a list of all the things you’re grateful for. Thank other people too, it goes a long way.
Spend time with your pets and loved ones. If you have young children or grandchildren play with them. Being around pets and children allows you to see things from a different perspective. Play games with them and their laughter will cheer you up.
Hug someone! Social distancing laws made this impossible and a lot of people struggled with not being able to have physical contact with their loved ones. I really missed not being able to hug my best friend and relatives that didn’t live with us.
Do something creative for example drawing, painting, baking, music or writing. I found a great colour-by-numbers App, very similar to the paint-by-numbers paintings we did as children. It’s so relaxing. Jigsaws are also calming.
Use your brain – do crosswords, puzzles or Sudoko. Learn something new like a language or skill.
Read books written by people who are inspiring in some way. I’ve read a lot of books by people who have faced the worst adversities and come through them. That gives me confidence to tackle anything that comes my way.
Have less screen time. Avoid reality TV especially – it’s just trash. Only watch news from trustworthy sources – don’t get all your knowledge from Facebook and Instagram. Knowledge is power, so don’t get sucked into believing everything you read or hear.
If you’re sick stay home. I know we’ve heard that constantly this year but I’m shocked by how many people go to work and school when they are sick. By resting and recuperating your body has a chance to heal. If you’re working and mixing with other people, it takes a lot longer to fully recover and you’re passing it on to other people. Those people may have compromised immunity or other health issues which would lead them to develop much worse illnesses than you.
Most important – reach out to someone if you are not coping. There are resources there to help you. Avoid people who suck your energy from you or make you feel worse. These are some help lines available in Australia:
Once you start prioritising self care, it will become part of your daily routine. It will be easier for you to assert your boundaries and say no to people. Your confidence will grow, and you’ll feel so much better within yourself. You will be more resilient when life throws unexpected stresses and crises your way.
Go on, you deserve it.
Please share if you enjoyed my article. I would love to hear what your tips for self care are in the comments below.
Please note: I am not a registered mental health practitioner. The information provided in this article is for general informational and educational purposes only and should not replace information provided by your own mental health practitioner. Please refer to my Disclaimer
It’s five weeks since my bilateral mastectomies and in that time there have been triumphs and setbacks. I’ve been trying to stay positive even though things have not gone as planned, and my recovery has been slow. I’ve been filling my time to help deal with my recovery time at home.
First the triumphs:
Midlifestylist is now officially a business! I registered the business name on the Australian Business Register and applied for an ABN (Australian Business Number). It’s exciting to see my business name on official documents. I first thought of the name seven years ago and bought a domain name but didn’t officially start my blog until October 2019. If I start earning money through my website I’ll need to pay tax so I thought it would be worth registering the name officially.
My husband and I baked bread for the first time. He did all the mixing and kneading because I’m still not able to do anything strenuous. We ate 3/4 of the loaf with some homemade vegetable soup because it was so moreish. We have a bread-maker on order but it won’t come until July. It looks like everyone else had the same idea when there were shortages of everything in the shops.
Our vegetable garden is thriving and we’re already eating produce from it. Every year it improves because with trial and error we’re finding the best ways to do things. The weather has been perfect for growing too with lovely sunny days and plenty of rain. Winter really is the perfect time of the year in Queensland.
I’ve been collaborating with other bloggers on some projects which are new and exciting. One of the best things about blogging is the community of like-minded individuals that you meet online. Reading their blogs gives you another perspective as well.
Now the setbacks:
I still have a lot of swelling and the wound is taking a long time to heal because of the massive post-op bleed I had on the left side. I had to have another course of antibiotics and I’ve been very restricted in what I’m allowed to do. I’m supposed to start back at work on Monday but I’m not up to that because nursing is a very active job and I’m not allowed to lift anything or do strenuous work yet. I was referred to a haematologist to try to get to the bottom of why I bled so much. It may be genetic because I’ve had a few other instances in my life of unexplained bleeding. There have been days when it all gets too much and I’ll be very down in the dumps and cry, but I’m able to bounce back and am in a positive frame of mind most of the time. I’ve had a lot of support so that definitely helps.
Because my mobility has been restricted I’ve been very tired at times. The worst week was when my husband went back to work after looking after me for 3 weeks. I wasn’t allowed to drive so was catching the bus and tram which meant catching 2 buses to get to my doctors’ appointments and 2 home, plus walking. I can drive short distances now and that’s been a huge improvement. We hired dog walkers so that my dog didn’t miss out on his walk and now that I can drive I can take him to a dog park where I can park so close that he can jump out of the car and go straight onto the off-leash area so I don’t have to hold his lead. He’s a big boy and at the moment I’m not up to him pulling on his lead.
The Pandemic and Social Distancing
The social distancing laws are gradually easing in Australia which is a big relief. The border between Queensland and New South Wales will open in a couple of weeks so I’ll finally be able to visit my brother who lives an hour away. We have a camping trip planned for the last weekend in August which has been delayed twice before. We’re really hoping we’ll be able to go this time. My sister-in-law’s 50th birthday party can finally go ahead as well – she was waiting for restrictions to ease. It has an Alice in Wonderland theme so I’ve been making a costume – watch this space as I may be brave enough to publish photos!
I hope all my readers are staying well and coping with whatever restrictions are on in your part of the world. This year has certainly put a lot of stress on to people and we’re all having to cope with current events. There’s still a lot of unrest from the Black Lives Matter movement, which I wrote about in my last post. I hope that this year’s events bring about lasting change for the better. The world has now woken up and it would be awesome if we all learnt the lessons that are available to us.
While recovering from surgery there are triumphs and setbacks. It’s important to stay positive and look to the future as this period in my life won’t last forever. I don’t regret making the decision to do risk-reducing surgery as it means my chances of getting cancer are reduced almost to zero. No matter how hard things seem right now, it is important to focus on the bigger picture. I’ve been through much worse than this in the past and I know I have the inner strength to get through this as well.
The news coming out of the US after George Floyd’s death in custody was incredibly disturbing. What followed was shocking to witness. I heard again and again “It’s disgusting what’s happening in America”. The reality is, however, Australia is no better than America. We have our own shameful statistics of black deaths in custody. I’m writing this because I don’t want to stay silent. As Meghan Markle said “the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing.” If we want change, we have to speak up.
Some Background on my own Situation
I grew up in New Zealand, where my life was stable and lacking in exposure to prejudice and racism. We grew up very close to our Maori and Pacific Islander friends and relatives. I honestly never thought about race in context of who to make friends with when I was a child. We learnt Maori language at school and learning New Zealand history included learning Maori history and folklore which was an integral aspect of our culture. We all learned Maori songs, crafts and art – it was as part of our education as maths and English were. I don’t remember ever witnessing racism during my childhood. That’s not to say it wasn’t there, but it was not something I ever thought about.
It wasn’t until I moved to Australia in the 80’s as a 19 year old that I ever had prejudism focused on me. Australia in the ’80s was very different to today. Kiwis were allowed to emigrate to Australia without any barriers and we had a bad name for coming here and going straight on the dole. We were allowed immediate access to Australia’s welfare system and it was very easy to become a permanent resident and citizen. Consequently we were not always welcome here. I had a very hard time applying for jobs and frequently had the phone slammed in my ear as soon as they heard my Kiwi accent. We were regarded as bludgers and probably deserved it due to many of my fellow Kiwis taking advantage of the system.
I eventually did get a job, but not until I applied for a Government department that advertised their policy of equal opportunity no matter what race, sex, religion or sexuality you were. I pointed out the policy in my interview, and I like to think that my cheekiness had something to do with why I got that job. These days it is much easier to be accepted by employers but equal opportunity in those days was a new concept. Now it is in legislature, and rightly so. While I did experience some discrimination because of being a New Zealander, this was in no way comparable to the level of racism and discrimination that is facing by people of colour here and throughout the world.
I had a bit of a naivity in those days. My nursing career began in 1987 in a public hospital in Brisbane. It opened my eyes to the health issues facing new migrants and Aboriginals. Seeing how their health outcomes were so much worse than the general population was disturbing. I wanted to do something to help – I thought that I could make a difference if I worked in a small community with a large Aboriginal population. Feeling driven to do something to help, I took a job in a small outback hospital in the Northern Territory.
I was in for a major culture shock. I soon realised that the problems facing Aboriginal communities were way more complex and ingrained than what I had anticipated. This naive 30 year old nurse was pretty useless, especially when trying to assess Aboriginals who were living very traditionally. My questions were met by amusement many times because of the cultural divide between myself and them. My ignorance was the problem. They are beautiful people who are proud and self sufficient – even when they are extremely sick they will still make their own way to the bathroom rather than have someone help them. Even though I’m disappointed that I really didn’t do much to change their health outcomes, I learnt more from my year in the Northern Territory than I did in 10 years in the city.
At the time of the Royal Commission, as now, non-Indigenous people died in greater numbers, and at a greater rate, in custody than Indigenous people. But then, as now, Indigenous people made up just 3% of the total population. That means more Aboriginal people are imprisoned and dying as a proportion of their total population.
“The conclusions are clear,” royal commissioner Elliott Johnston QC wrote in 1991. “Aboriginal people die in custody at a rate relative to the proportion of the whole population which is totally unacceptable and which would not be tolerated if it occurred in the non-Aboriginal community. But this occurs … because the Aboriginal population is grossly over-represented in custody. Too many Aboriginal people are in custody too often.”
What is the Solution to the statistics on black deaths in custody?
There’s no easy solution, and it would be easy to put blame on the Government and politicians for these appalling figures. Prosecuting law enforcers as in the US in the case of George Floyd is definitely a step in the right direction. Police brutality in America has been in the headlines lately, but unfortunately Australian police have been guilty of excessive force as well, with a record including fatal shootings, excessive taser use and overly rough treatment during arrests. Despite evidence in some cases of excessive force or neglect by police or prison officers, there has never been a criminal conviction for a death in custody in Australia. Chris Hurley, the police officer accused of killing an Aboriginal man on Palm Island in 2004, was acquitted of manslaughter. Two police officers are currently facing murder charges for the deaths of Kumanjayi Walker in the Northern Territory and Joyce Clarke in Western Australia, and both have indicated they will plead not guilty. The police have the power to use force, but only within the conditions set out in the legislation of their state. Stronger guidelines around what constitutes excessive force by law enforcement, and more awareness of citizens’ rights needs to be in place. Source: Shine Lawyers
How can we help the Black Lives Matter movement?
How can we help empower black people within our communities? Ask them what they need. Listen to their concerns. They have been dealing with inequalities and injustices for centuries. It’s clear that in 2020 they’re frustrated – they shouldn’t have to fight to be heard, or criticised for attending the Black Lives Matter protests. We need to be woken up! Wotna Moris, a Papua New Guinean lawyer and political analyst, wrote a very inspiring piece on how the collective voices of black people around the world combine in this one voice that is the Black Lives Matter protests.
Systemic racial discrimination is a worldwide problem that black people have combated since slavery and colonisation. And in that battle, every step taken by one of us, towards equality, is a step taken by all of us and has always been.
Educate yourselves with regards to their culture. This is what I noticed with the difference between my education in NZ and my Australian counterparts. We were immersed in the Maori culture. We didn’t regard it as separate from ourselves. It was part of us. My Australian friends knew very little about Aboriginal culture, whereas we knew a lot. Education brings tolerance. If I had done my nursing training in New Zealand there would have been a requirement to learn so much of the language and have cultural understanding before I was registered. That goes a long way towards tolerance and respect of their cultural differences.
Children aren’t born with cultural biases – it is learned. Education needs to start very young.
In Respect of the Traditional Aboriginal Owners of my own City
In saying this, I realised I do not know anything about the traditional owners of the city in which I live. I need to educate myself so that I can show appropriate respect for the land on which I live. Aboriginal culture is very much entwined with the land. They were the original environmentalists who knew how to respect their land, and receive nourishment from it without stripping it of resources. Australian landscapes can be harsh but they found enough food to sustain them during drought, often traveling vast distances to achieve it. They know how to regenerate the land after bushfire and other natural disasters, all too common in Australia.
I live in the Gold Coast, a very glitzy city which caters for tourists – it is well known for Surfers Paradise, the theme parks and beaches. What isn’t as well known is that it is the traditional home of the Yugambeh people. The Yugambeh language people are the traditional custodians of the land located in south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales, now within the Logan City, Gold Coast, Scenic Rim, and Tweed City regions whose ancestors all spoke one or more dialects of the Yugambeh Language.
We acknowledge and pay respect to the land and the traditional families of the Yugambeh region of South East Queensland, including the Kombumerri, Mununjali, Wangerriburra and others, and their Elders past present and emerging.
One of the most popular beaches in the Gold Coast is Burleigh. Burleigh was the ancestral home of the Kombumerri Tribe known as “The Salt Water People”. It is believed they lived in the area for thousands of years until around 1936 when they ceased holding their ceremonies there but many of the people remained at Burleigh Heads. The Aboriginal name for Big Burleigh is Jellurgul; Little Burleigh is Jebbribillum or the Waddy of Jebreen. Jellurgul meaning sugar bag or bee’s nest. Other reports from later say Big Burleigh was Jayling (black) and Gumbelmoy (rock), named after the volcanic black basalt rock of the headland. There is a cultural centre in Burleigh called Jellurgal where it is possible to learn more about Aboriginal culture. Source: https://www.burleigh.com.au/history.html
Moving forwards …
As a final note, I urge you to stand up to racism and prejudism when you see it. Be aware of your own biases, as we all have them. Speak up if you see someone being intolerant of anyone else. We must stand up for those who do not have a voice, those who have been pushed down their whole lives. I do not know what it is like to live in fear every time I step out my door because of the colour of my skin. I acknowledge my own white privilege. It’s only by standing together that we can overcome this problem in our society.
This post will tell you how to start a garden from scratch. Even if you are a beginner to gardening, you will be able to learn enough to start a garden. My husband and I have learned from experimenting with different crops, and techniques, what grows best in our garden. It may take a few years of trial and error before you learn how to grow healthy crops, but it is worth the effort.
There’s nothing better than eating fresh produce that you have grown yourself. Knowing that it’s been grown without the use of pesticides or other dubious additives and has only been handled by yourself adds to the pleasure of eating fruit and vegetables that haven’t been transported many kilometers or stored for months.
My husband and I usually grow our crops between Autumn and Spring because the Summers in Queensland are far too hot. Temperatures are mild here, rarely dropping to frosty levels, and there are fewer bugs around to eat everything before we do. Be sure to check locally to find out when the best time to grow is. If you’re lucky, you may live in an area where you can grow crops all year around.
What You Need to Start a Garden from Scratch
Start With The Basics – the requirements for a healthy garden:
Your new garden will require the following to grow well:
Soil that is well drained, full of nutrients and has loose texture
Few weeds and bugs
At least a few hours of sunlight
If you live in an area without ideal conditions like us, you need to create it. That is why we use raised garden beds. Our soil is very sandy and of poor quality so we fill the raised garden bed with the following:
Step 1 – mix the correct ingredients – cow manure, organic soil mix and compost (see photos below)
Step 2 – These ingredients are added to the garden bed and stirred and turned over with a garden fork.
My husband does all the heavy work because I suffer from arthritis in my back, but once the plants have started to produce, I can look after them.
Step 3 – Plant seeds or seedlings
We generally plant seedlings to save time. You can also raise seeds yourself and then plant them out when they’re mature. Instructions are on the seed package or seedling tags as to what favourable conditions to grow them in. Our beans grow from last year’s crop – we save some of the last beans to dry out then just plant the seeds straight in the ground.
We have also grown cherry tomatoes using seeds taken from the previous crop. Our pumpkins grew wild from the compost. It’s interesting to see what crops up each year from our compost!
Daily Garden Tasks
After you start your garden, you will need to attend to it at least every second day, especially at the start. Daily watering is a must except if you have really rainy days. A daily routine would include picking out weeds and squashing bugs before they get out of hand. Remove plants that have died or gone to seed because they attract bugs and disease.
Regularly fertilise your garden. We use our own liquid fertiliser that we make from our worm farm. Read about it in this post. Alternatively choose a commercial product that uses organic ingredients only.
Pick plants as soon as they are ready to eat. Living them to die in the garden only attracts bugs and weeds to take over. You will find that fresh vegetables will keep much longer than store bought ones because they haven’t been stored and transported for weeks or months.
What if you don’t own a garden?
Two garden beds is enough for our needs. If you don’t have a backyard, you can grow most vegetables and fruit in containers. My brother lives on a houseboat and has an impressive array of vegetables and herbs in containers. Another alternative is to grow sprouts in jars. I have easy directions here.
What to Grow
Your choice of what to grow should be based on what crops grow best in your area. Your local landscape supplier or garden supplier should stock a good range of seedlings. Have a conversation with the staff – they are usually very willing to give you local know-how on what the best plants to grow are. Other than that it’s trial and error. In general, don’t grow anything that you don’t enjoy eating!
This year we are growing beans, snow peas, bok choy, baby spinach, parsley, onions, Kent pumpkin, beetroot and cos lettuce. My husband made trellises for the beans and snowpeas and you may need stakes for some of the taller plants. We also have a chilli plant and cherry tomatoes and a range of herbs.
Times vary from when you start the garden to harvest, but generally we’re eating our produce within a few weeks. One of my favourite pass-times is picking the ripe vegetables and making them into beautiful fresh meals.
Meet Morgan Fitchett, Vegan Life and Wellness Coach. She is the second guest for my Inspiring a Healthy Lifestyle Series. I felt inspired just by reading her story and I hope my readers are inspired as well.
Tell me about yourself.
Hi, I’m Morgan Fitchett. I’m a Vegan Life & Wellness Coach. I help women adopt a vegan lifestyle with confidence. People often worry about what they are giving up or leaving behind. They can’t imagine fitting veganism into their social, home, family or work life. So I work with women to find ways to fit veganism in without losing or compromising what is important to them.
What is your background and how does that impact what you do now?
I have a background in law, administrative and clerking work. After the birth of my son (he is now 2), I decided that I didn’t want to return to that life.
I’ve been vegan for nearly 7 years, and I wanted to reach others and help them connect and make the swap. I started blogging as a way to reach more people. That then evolved into mentoring for Challenge 22(a free Facebook support group for those looking to transition).
I found that I wanted to be more involved and get one-on-one with people. I had considered mentoring, and through exploring that idea, I discovered coaching!
I then dove in and took some certification programs on both life and wellness coaching. I added in a vegan nutritionist diploma program for good measure!
Honestly, I am always learning. I am currently taking even more programs on coaching methods to further expand my knowledge and help others more effectively!
What drives you? Where do you get your passion?
Well, veganism transformed my life in a lot of ways. It helped me take control of my health and weight and find a cause that was bigger than myself. I see a lot of people struggling in life with things a plant-based diet could help better or even eliminate.
Plus, there are all the environmental, ethical and personal benefits to veganism. I think spreading the word and showing veganism is practical, fulfilling, and affordable is important!
What is the defining moment that set you on this course of interest?
I knew that I wanted to be my own boss and work at something I loved. I took the first plunge with my blog, and then I joined Challenge 22. I enjoyed interacting with the Facebook group and the environment they created, but I felt like it wasn’t enough for me or others.
I kept thinking I would move into something more “one day,” and then I realized there is no such thing as “one day” – I needed to take action now. That shift in mindset really propelled me. Once I discovered the benefits of coaching, I knew I wanted to apply this to veganism. There are so many people that can benefit from working with someone one-on-one.
Who or what inspired you?
Seeing other strong women being visible and confident in themselves and their veganism has been very inspiring. I started following more women online and really loved the way they used their platform to shatter stereotypes and myths.
I also joined a plant-based dragon boat team last year, and being a part of a bigger cause and connecting with so many like-minded people was really inspiring. It was a combination of both those things that pushed me to get outside of my comfort zone and start something!
What are your goals in life?
Wow, big question! I think my goals are always changing and evolving. They shift and become more clear with time.
But right now, my main goals are:
To support women who are interested in starting a vegan lifestyle but just don’t know-how or have beliefs they are holding back
To help others no matter where they are in life or their financial constraints. I’ve been trying to make sure that help is available in my blog posts and other free content in addition to my paid coaching.
Create a successful business, so I can stay at home with the kids and be my own boss!
Continue learning, evolving and exploring new things!
What message would you like the world to hear?
Eat more plants! Your body will thank you, the earth will thank you, and the animals will thank you. It’s easier than you think.
In your opinion, what does the world need now that would improve it?
More plant-based eaters! So many of the world’s problems could be improved or solved with the adoption of a plant-based diet.
You won’t need fad diets to stay thin, or pills to control your blood pressure (though, don’t stop taking them unless you get an okay from your doctor!). Our environmental impact on the planet will be slashed, and the animals will no longer have to live in the worst conditions for food that’s making you sick.
You don’t have to give up anything, you just have to make a shift. All your favourite items and comfort foods are available in plant form.
Morgan can be followed on her website The Veg Query, and social media:
I was featured on the Empowered Beauties With Brains website. This is a community organisation that aims to help, support, motivate, inspire, uplift and empower women. The website showcases women from all works of life. It was an honour to be interviewed by Tiya Gorain, the founder, who is an entrepreneur and a wellness & empowerment coach based in Sydney, Australia.
“My goals in life were to bring up my children to be the people they’re meant to be, to make a positive impact on others’ lives, and to create a life of peace and joy for myself and my family… Your health is your most important asset. Don’t neglect it. Find some way to fit it into your schedule”.
You can follow the organisation on the following social media accounts:
Originally Published on April 24, 2020 by empoweredbeautieswithbrains
“We are a women empowerment community organisation. We believe that every woman has beauty, brains & power within. She just needs to recognise it within herself. Our intention is to help, support, motivate, inspire, uplift & empower women. We implement various programs, workshops, events, training and coaching sessions for the benefit of women in Australia, Singapore and India.”
This guide will give you enough knowledge to start your own compost and worm farm. You will learn what equipment to buy, what you can and can’t compost, how to start a compost or worm farm, and where to go for further information.
This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure
Start with the Basics
Your garden needs soil that is rich in nutrients in order to thrive. The best way to provide those nutrients is to use compost as the basis of your soil. Compost is organic material that can be added to soil. It enriches the soil and improves it, providing a strong basis for plants to grow. Compost can be purchased from landscape suppliers, but the best compost is one that you make at home.
The Benefits of Composting and Worm Farms
In addition to improving your soil, composting has other benefits as well:
Reducing waste – composting reduces the amount of household waste that goes to landfill. Composting reduces the methane emissions from landfills and lowers your carbon footprint.
Growing your own food with compost gives you the ability to grow organic, healthy food without fertilisers
Your plants are healthier and can withstand pest infestations and disease easier
You will need less water because the soil is healthier. The soil where I live is very sandy and poor quality. Adding compost to it gives it the nutrients and texture needed to retain moisture, enrich the soil and improve the health of the plants we grow.
Ingredients for a Compost
Your compost needs three main ingredients:
Brown: Twigs, branches and dead leaves. Cardboard and newspaper
Egg containers and similar containers made out of recycled paper
You can’t compost:
Eucalyptus and gum leaves, black walnut leaves, branches
Glossy paper and cardboard
Cooked food especially meat and fish
Diseased plants and weeds
Pet faeces and litter tray contents
Plants treated with pesticides
Making your Compost
The easiest way to make a compost is to buy a bin from a garden supplies store such as Bunnings or you can buy one online here. There are a few different types available commercially, for example the traditional plastic bin or a compost tumbler. Alternatively, you could build one from scratch using wood for the frame and sacks or a tarpaulin to cover it. The bin should be situated in a shady part of your yard. We use two commercial bins made of plastic with lids. We use one continually until it is full, then the other one.
It takes time for the compost to break down the material into suitable matter for your garden. Our climate is hot and humid so it takes less time to break down than in a cold climate.
Add green and brown material to the compost in equal amounts, and add water each time. Use a compost stirrer or hay pitching fork to rotate the material regularly – this add oxygen to it and helps it to break down. You can also add lime or a commercial compost conditioner to aid in breaking the material down. When the material in the compost bin is dark and rich in colour it is ready to use on the garden.
Alternatives to Composting – Worm Farms and Bokashis
If you don’t have a garden or produce much green waste, there are alternatives to composting: worm farms and bokashis. We have a worm farm, which takes up a small amount of room on our verandah. Bokashis can fit on your kitchen bench and ferment the food waste into decompostable form that can be buried in the garden or used to enrich the garden. I have never used a Bokashi so I can’t vouch for it, but I love our worm farm – the worm juice that it produces makes the plants in our garden thrive. You can buy one online here.
Starting a Worm Farm
We set up our worm farm over a year ago with the basic kit and a starter kit of 1000 worms. The worms were tiny when we bought them and now are the size of earthworms and are thriving. I feed them once or twice a week with kitchen scraps – you can give them any vegetable or fruit scraps apart from onions, garlic and citrus. Once a week we water them with a watering can full of water. There is a tap at the bottom of the worm farm that you turn on, and out flows worm juice – the byproduct of the worms’ digestive process. This is then diluted and used on the garden and pot plants. The plants visibly thrive with this fertiliser, which is natural and non toxic.
The benefits of Worm Farms
I really enjoy looking after my worm farm and recommend using one when you don’t have space for other types of composting. It feels great to be able to use food scraps in this way to improve our plants – a complete recycling of our waste, and economical as well because the only costs are the initial set-up. It’s much cheaper than buying commercial fertiliser and isn’t harmful to use in any way.
Even in the heat of our Australian summer my worms survived. We put a worm blanket on top of the worms and water them more often. You can also add frozen blocks of water if it’s particularly hot, but we’ve had temperatures in the high 30’s (Celsius) and they survived. They’re more active in cooler, damp weather of course.
How to Care for Your Worm Farm
Feed your worms with enough food scraps from your kitchen to cover 1/3 of the surface of the worm farm. Use vegetable and fruit scraps, cut up or mashed when the worms are small. I use a combination of large and small pieces of food so that the worms can eat the smaller pieces first and still have larger pieces for later in the week. Some take quite a while to break down like potato peels and cabbage leaves.
This photo shows a close-up of the worms with some of the more fibrous food – corn husks and egg shells. The worms need this grittier material to aid in digestion.
Take a handful of commercial compost (if you have some of your own garden compost you can use that as well), and sprinkle it over the food.
Lay a worm farm mat over the top (purchase at a garden supplies store such as Bunnings, or online where-ever you buy your worm farm from). Once a week water with approximately 5 liters water, preferably rain water. After an hour or so open the tap at the bottom of the worm farm.
After the worm juice is drained out, close the tap again. Dilute the worm juice 1 part worm juice to 10 parts water. This creates a nutritious tonic that can be added directly to your garden and pot plants. Use on any plants over two weeks old, and as a fertiliser at any time. The benefits are that it improves your garden without chemicals, and is non-toxic to your pets, children or yourselves.
Further Resources for Composting and Worm Farms
Our worm farm is a Tumbleweed product – their website is a great resource for starting and maintaining your worm farm and compost. There are some great video tutorials as well.
I recommend learning about the different types of composting in Compost Revolution’s Compost Tutorial. There is a guide to help you select which composting method suits you, and if you live in Australia, you can buy their products at a discount. Some city councils also give you a discount for composting because it helps them to reduce the waste going to landfills.
I hope you enjoyed this complete guide to composting and worm farms. I hope I have inspired you to try this eco-friendly way to reduce household waste and create healthy organic fertiliser and compost for your garden. You may also enjoy this post on starting a garden from scratch.