Hi from Sophie Scott.
I'm not sure about you but this time of year, my inbox is already starting to fill up with emails about setting and sticking to resolutions for 2016. Already!
But I'm not going to write a blog about how you should already be setting intentions for 2016.
Instead, I think it's good to take a moment and give thanks for everything that happened in 2015.
I hope the year has been a good one for you. :)
It's been an amazing year in many ways for me, both professionally and personally.
(Not the least starting this blog and hearing from you, my readers.)
At ABC, we reported on some important investigations including concerns about cosmetic surgery. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-20/breast-implant-clinic-probed-over-alleged-anaesthetic-use/6712978
And we continued our focus on crucial issues such as mental health.
I learned a lot from some very talented journalists and producers who I work with, and I continue to learn from them all the time.
I really wanted to develop new skills this year (like this blog).
While it might be difficult, stepping out of your comfort zone helps you to challenge yourself.
This year, I did that by accepting more invitations as a speaker, MC and facilitator.
It was nerve wracking at times I admit!
But it was very rewarding.
In the process, I met some amazing people, patients, health professionals and people who are passionate about health and well being.
Being able to find out more about important issues like rare cancers, suicide prevention and heart failure, just to name a few, made the events I hosted a very special experience.
So before you start drawing up a to-do list and making plans for everything you want to achieve in 2016, I would love for you to take a moment to give thanks for everything good that happened in 2015.
If it's been a tough year for you, take a breath and say to yourself, yes, thanks I got through it and am resilient, even in the face of everything.
So over the holiday break, think about the best things that happened this year, how you grew as a person, learned some lessons, found and lost things along the way and hopefully came out stronger the other side.
Leave your comments about what you have learned about yourself.
Thanks for being part of this blog and let's catch up early next year.
Talk to you then.
Hi from Sophie Scott
How are you going? In the run up to the holiday season, it can feel like life is out of balance.
We tend to want more of everything at this time of year, more food, more alcohol, more socialising, without really thinking about how much that really 'fills you up'.
I re-read the first blog I wrote this year about feeling overwhelmed.
So I thought I would share some of it as we lurch towards the holiday season.
What does 'overwhelmed' feel like? Its something I've thought a lot about since reading "overwhelmed " by Washington post journalist Brigid Schulte.
It's that feeling that there is never enough time in the day, and that your to-do list is not getting any shorter.
When people ask you, how you are going, are you like me and automatically answer "really busy", as if being busy is a sign that what we are doing is important and matters.
With four teenage boys (two sons and two stepsons), a full time job as a TV journalist and public speaker, I am busy, researching, writing and presenting medical news on TV and radio, hosting events, coaching my son for his HSC, developing recipes for my husband's cafe and writing a health blog (even writing this list sounds like bragging.)
But science shows that trying to do it all is not doing us any good. Research shows that while a little stress to the system is a good thing, being constantly switched on and feeling overwhelmed actually causes the brain to shrink. Emily Ansell from the Yale Stress Centre scanned the brains of people with high levels of daily stress.
She found when stress becomes constant .. the part of the brain that governs how we think and reason and control ourselves, the prefrontal cortex, actually begins to shut down.
So while we might think we are trying to do the right thing by being all things to all people, we are actually doing ourselves damage.
So much of feeling overwhelmed comes from unrealistic expectations we put on ourselves.
Many of us fall into the trap of having to be perfect, the great co-worker, the perfect employee, the immaculate housekeeper, the super-involved mother, good friend, gourmet cook, having a sexy body, engaged mind, (You get the picture.)
What I learned from reading books like "overwhelmed" and "thrive" by media mogul Arriana Huffington, is that we are setting ourselves up for failure :)
You can't manage time. What you can manage is the activities you choose to do with your time.
So I took on board the practical solutions that both authors suggest to overcome that feeling of being overwhelmed.
Most important .. Schedule what you really want to achieve.
Even though I told myself I wanted to revamp my website and start writing a new blog, I realised it was always on the bottom of my to-do list (though somehow I had found time to watch every episode of the latest series of House of Cards)
I was putting off exercising because I knew I didn't have a spare hour during the day.
But I found something I could achieve and that even 30 minutes of walking and weights at the gym would clear my head and even give me new ideas for how to tackle the afternoon deadlines.
Set clear boundaries and enlist help. Delegate those tasks at the office that you really dislike and focus on what you love doing.
At home, I took on board the advice of a group Schulte writes about called "working mothers with big jobs" (though you could argue any working mother has a big job).
They are women who love working and love being a mother but they set realistic expectations and importantly, they ensure that their partners and kids share the load.
They decide what is is important to them and schedule that first on their calendars.
What I learnt is that there isn't one magic answer to stop feeling overwhelmed but reframing how you think about time and how you react to your responsibilities can help you forge a new way forward. That, and drawing up a list of household chores to distribute to teenagers as well.
So this Christmas, think about what you can do to set some time aside for the things that really matter.
Your family, your friends, that quiet time in your mind before you fall asleep,
the permission to just 'be'.
What can you do to 'thrive' in the next few weeks?
Speak to you again soon,
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