Posted in For You, Uncategorized

7 Ways to Deal With Failure

At any point of our lives we may feel like downright failures, whether it be financially, mentally, socially, or in any other sphere. Pretty much a big loser. Not excelling at this “adulting life” thing.

Recently, I was feeling very overwhelmed with my life as a mother of three small children, part-time income-maker and with all of life’s other demands. I wasn’t meeting goals that I had set for myself and I felt very frustrated that I couldn’t fix things the way they should be. In short, I began feeling like a failure and soon I became very sad and despondent.

One evening, I decided to type in my journal on my phone about all my worries and let all my thoughts and emotions run free. I heard before that it is helpful to use journal-writing as a healthy way to deal with your problems.

Admittedly, what I was writing about myself wasn’t kind. I was listing all of my failures and why I was failing and why I wasn’t good enough and that sort of stuff. What I was writing I thought was true, although very harsh.

When I had completed the journal entry, I looked over it and felt very satisfied in my justified self-pity.

Then, with my phone in my hand, not even moving a muscle – the app suddenly experienced a “glitch”.

My journal entry disappeared before my eyes.

I could not believe it. I can tell you for certain that I hadn’t even touched a button to delete my entry, nor has this type of glitch ever happened to me before. This even made me want to cry some more.

Of all the times this could have happened, why now? That entry took me a good 15 minutes to type up, plus a lot of emotion went into it.

As I processed what had happened, I began to question the truthfulness of what I had just written. Was there a reason that it disappeared? Some people may say it could have been just a coincidence, but the odds were incredibly small of that specific journal entry getting erased by itself. The things I was saying about myself were ugly, harsh and irrational. I was expecting impossible things of myself and comparing myself to others.

I then began to realize that there may have been a higher power at play.

I do believe that God organised some how the removal of that hurtful journal entry. It was almost as if He was telling me, It’s not true!

The feeling of His love and comfort was soothing and soon I didn’t feel like such a failure anymore. I felt that Heavenly Father was showing that He was mindful of me because He loves me. I resolved then to be more kind to myself and find proactive ways to cope with my feelings of failure.

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Although feeling like a failure is normal, it really stinks. You feel alone and like a waste of space. What’s more is that the black hole of self-pity and depression may suck you in, like it did with me.

My advice to you is to do all you can to build yourself up again. The scar of failure may remain, but it can be the source of strength you need to resurface to try again.

Here are some life-saving methods you can start doing today that will help you to regain perspective and to keep trying:

  1. Daily Words of Affirmation to Yourself

    Affirmations are power statements that you say with confidence to help you make changes in your life. Examples are, “I am the architect of my life”, “I am superior to negative thoughts and low actions”, “Happiness is a choice”, and “Today, I abandon my old habits and take up new, more positive ones”. There are many, many different affirmations you can say to yourself every day. Think carefully about the kind of person you want to become and draw up a list of affirmations that you love. Here is a list that may give you some good ideas. It is best to try to smile as you say your affirmations and perhaps even look at yourself in the eye in front of the mirror.

  2. Count Your Successes, Not Your Failures

    As adults, we seem to never give ourselves enough credit for all that we achieve, especially the small things. Count your successes (big or small) instead of your failures and you may surprise yourself how many you do have. If you are currently carrying the burden and stress of failure, mentally dump those failures into an incinerator in your thoughts. They’re only holding you back and making you feel bad about yourself. Get rid of them. As you practice these kinds of thought processes,  you will be able to move forward in your life.

  3. Failure is Part of Success

    We tend to think that failure is the opposite of success. Actually, in the grand scheme of things it is part of success. When you think of Thomas Edison in his pursuit to invent the light bulb and how often he failed, who isn’t so inspired by his determination? In his famous quote he said, “I haven’t failed. I just found 10 000 ways that won’t work”.  And in the wise words of Yoda, “The greatest teacher failure is”.light-bulb-1081844_1920

  4. Speak to Somebody

    This is a really effective way to help you feel better about your failures. Somehow, other people’s perspective puts your failures into, well, perspective. Speak to someone who you trust and love and they will show their love and wisdom with you about your challenge. Maybe you just need a listening ear, that’s okay too, but then let the person know that you just want them to listen and not try to solve your problems. If you need more professional help, schedule an appointment with a counselor or psychologist. They know a lot about people’s problems and they know how to help, maybe even with medication if necessary. The best “somebody” to also speak to is God, even if He feels distant in your life.

  5. Write in a Journal

    My sister told me that if you keep your unhappy emotions bottled inside of you, they becomes toxic to you and you become emotionally sick. They need to be expressed in some constructive way, and that can be done through writing and even drawing about your problems and emotions in a journal. Make sure what you write is true, kind and constructive (unlike what I did!) You can have a special journal just for this. But whatever you do, make sure that those unhappy feelings come out and deal with them properly. If they don’t, your relationships will suffer and everything else in your life. Don’t let that happen.

  6. Regain Perspective

    Think critically about your failure. Analyse the extent of the effect of your failure and how this failure happened. As you think carefully about it, you may realize (1) the failure wasn’t really a failure, or (2) the failure occurred due to circumstances completely out of your control, (3) the valuable lessons you needed to learn, or (4) the things you can do differently next time to be successful. As we think carefully, we will regain perspective and wisdom we need to press forward in our efforts next time.

  7. All That Matters is that You Keep Trying

    After all is said and done, we are really only failures if we totally stop trying. If you give up in a worthy and wise cause, then that is true failure. After all, mistakes are proof that you are trying.


Life does carry on, tomorrow is always a new day, and life can be joyful just as it has been sorrowful. It is up to you to never stop trying, one small step at a time.

I love the song Through Heaven’s Eyes from the movie, “Prince of Egypt”. I have thought of the words frequently and it has helped me feel better about my life at many times. (I have paraphrased some of the song):

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“A single thread in a tapestry
Though its color brightly shines
Can never see its purpose
In the pattern of the grand design.
So how can you see what your life is worth?
Or where your value lies?
You can never see through the eyes of man
You must look at your life through heaven’s eyes.
Should a man lose everything he owns
Has he truly lost his worth?
Or is it the beginning
Of a new and brighter birth?
So how do you measure the worth of a man?
In wealth or strength or size?
In how much he gained or how much he gave
The answer will come to you
To look at his life through heaven’s eyes.
No life can escape being blown about
By the winds of change and chance
And though you never know all the steps
You must learn to join the dance…”

Daily words of affirmation, counting your successes, viewing your failures as hidden blessings, speaking to someone you can trust, keeping proper perspective and never giving up are all ways that will help to bear you up in times of failure.

Just as I had felt God’s love and mindfulness of me when I felt like a complete failure, I also know that He really is aware of you and loves you. I hope you will come to know that.

And remember – life does carry on, tomorrow is always a new day, and life can be joyful just as it has been sorrowful. It is up to you to never stop trying, one small step at a time.

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Posted in For Family, For You

Is a Drug-Free Natural Delivery Worth It?

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When I was pregnant with my first child, I was pretty naive. When it’s your first time giving birth, I guess most of us are. After all my research with child-birth, I was determined to have a drug-free natural delivery because of all its amazing natural benefits.

But – it didn’t turn out exactly how I planned. I know that things don’t always go as you plan but this is especially true when it comes to giving birth.

Fortunately, everything went well and my doctor was happy for me to have a natural delivery. When I went into labour, I started off strong and I bore each contraction as well as I could. As the labour progressed, I just wasn’t quite prepared for how intense the pain became!

I was still absolutely determined to get through the labour au naturel, but when I couldn’t take the excruciating pain anymore, I gave in and asked for an epidural. Having a little help isn’t a bad thing – that’s why the option is there. I was still having a natural delivery anyway.

Bring on Them Drugs!

The epidural felt wonderful, and I had some calming relief from the pain – at first.  For some reason, it soon became evident that the epidural wasn’t working properly. With each contraction I could still feel most of the pain all around my tummy and back. And it just got worse as the labour progressed. Except for my legs – I couldn’t feel my legs – that was the only part of my body where the epidural was actually working properly. The anaesthetist tried to up the dosage, but there wasn’t anything more he could do to help ease my pain from contractions.

So there I was, legs numb but I was writhing in pain with every contraction on the delivery bed. Pretty ironic, right? There was nothing I could do! I couldn’t walk around to help me get dilated faster or have a warm bath to help me relax or anything. My sweet husband was doing what he could to massage me, stroke my head and cheer me on. I was listening to calming Mormon Tabernacle Choir music, although for some strange reason I still had the music from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang replaying in my head a million times.

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Yep, the situation was terribly agonizing (as much as I love Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). Plus, it was the most painful experience I ever knew.

I am embarrassed when I think back that I did start screaming in pain, and I am sure the rest of the maternity ward probably got quite annoyed. But at least I did finally dilate and the doctor delivered our healthy baby boy. I did need some help from the forceps, because I was so completely exhausted from 24 hours of labour.

I am grateful that I was able to dilate and things didn’t go wrong to warrant an emergency cesarean. Although the pain from the contractions was brutal (it surely made a saint out of me!) it was still a wonderful delivery experience as we welcomed our first child into the world.

After this first experience of labour with failed pain management, I knew that my game plan had to change for the subsequent deliveries I would have. Though I do know that I could try have an epidural again and it might work, I didn’t want to risk having my first experience again!

Forget Them Drugs!

Knowing that there was a chance that an epidural was probably going to do nothing for me, I decided to find other ways to cope with labour with my next two babies. I didn’t want to have another birth experience that would drive me mad with the pain.

Pregnancy – I have learned – is the time to prepare yourself for D-Day (Delivery Day). If you find ways to prepare yourself more and make your choices now, you will be better for it and very grateful when that happy day comes.

I prepared myself in a variety of ways that would help me go drug-free:

  • Getting fit during pregnancy so that I would be strong enough to cope with natural labour and have good muscles to push the baby out
  • Daily perineal massage with evening primrose oil during pregnancy from 30 weeks (it helps prevent tearing or needing an episiotomy)
  • Using HypnoBirthing techniques to help me have a positive and calm state of mind during pregnancy and during labour
  • During labour, I was active by walking, bouncing on the yoga ball, squatting, and climbing stairs
  • Getting my husband and my mother/doula to massage my back and tummy like crazy during contractions (this was probably my favourite)
  • Having a nice relaxing, warm bath during labour
  • Listening to relaxing or fun music during labour

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As I used a combination of these ways to cope, I was able to go drug-free for my next two births. They were shorter labours, too, and I was able to handle them much better than my first.

I do admit that the pain during these drug-free labours became so crazy intense for me towards the end, it totally pushed my pain threshold to the max. It was incredibly difficult, but thankfully when it was over, I was very grateful that I did it!

By no means am I saying it is a lesser experience to have drugs in your delivery or to have a caesarean. What I would like to convey from my story is that for those of you pregnant ladies who can have a natural delivery, that you consider these amazing benefits…

Let me tell you there are a whole bunch of advantages of having a drug-free natural birth:

  1. You Can Move Around Freely to Help Labour Progress

    It was so awesome to be able to move around as I pleased during labour. Besides the few minutes that I had to be on the delivery bed to be monitored and to have internals done, I was free to move around as I felt comfortable. I would go for walks, have a bath, and be in whatever position I felt was most bearable for me during contractions. As opposed to being bed-ridden and just waiting to become fully dilated (and lying down doesn’t really help dilation either) I thought it was so great to be active during labour.

  2. You Can Have a Water Birth

    It is SO NICE to have a water birth! I am so in love with the fact that I can jump into this huge warm bath to deliver my baby. Plus, the baby and I come out fairly clean and all that blood gets washed away. With my third child, I was so ready for pushing the baby out straight after the midwife did her final internal, I literally hopped off the bed, ran and jumped into the bath and with two pushes she was out! I am sorry to say it was so quick, my husband didn’t see her head being born!

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  3. Recovery Time is Quick

     

    With my first child, I obviously couldn’t walk for a couple of hours after the epidural and it was a bit frustrating. With my third child, I went drug-free and I shared a hospital room with another lady who had a cesarean. Cesareans are wonderful and very necessary in cases, but the difference in recovery between her and I was like day and night. She had to have lots of medication afterwards and had to make sure her wound and stitches were kept clean and so on. I was just so incredibly grateful that I could be up and about so soon after labour with hardly any post-delivery complaints. I didn’t even need pain medication, luckily. I did need pain meds after my first delivery, because I had an episiotomy. (Now that was so super sore and it took weeks to heal).

  4. It Keeps Things Interesting

    As I mentioned, being able to actively labour is way more interesting than sitting in a boring hospital bed. Just saying. My husband, mother, doula and I made memories with the long walks around the hospital, bouncing on the yoga ball and doing weird and wonderful things to help the labour progress. All in all, it was more fun and memorable for us.

  5. The Less Drugs, The Better

    It goes without saying, the more you are able to go without taking chemicals and foreign substances into your body, the better. You also don’t have to deal with potential side-effects. I have heard that epidurals may have long-term repercussions.

  6. Very Fulfilling Achievement

    Okay, so this reason isn’t really all that important, and shouldn’t be the only reason you choose to go drug-free, but it is a cool by-product. How amazingly awesome would it be to know you gave birth au naturel? To be able to tell people that you didn’t need the pain-meds? It’s something Wonder Woman would be do if she gave birth.

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I am aware that not every pregnant woman has the choice to have a natural birth, let alone a drug-free one! Every birth has a different story (I guess that’s why everyone loves to share theirs). By no means am I saying it is a lesser experience to have drugs in your delivery or to have a caesarean. I have heard many experiences from women that epidurals are the best thing ever. (I wish it worked for me!)

What I would like to convey from my story is that for those of you pregnant ladies who can have a natural delivery, that you consider these amazing benefits of going drug-free.

Pregnancy – I have learned – is the time to prepare yourself for D-Day (Delivery Day). If you find ways to prepare yourself more and make your choices now, you will be better for it and very grateful when that happy day comes. I hope that my story has helped you in your decision.

I wish the very best to all you lovely soon-to-be mommies!

Posted in For You

11 Simple Ways to Passively Lose Weight

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This is not another diet article that tells you to cut out all foods that taste better than rice cakes, ice chips or the air in your mouth. Neither I am an amazing health fanatic who claims to eat kale at every meal and have a perfect calorie-intake.

As a young teenager, I cared squat about how I ate and so eventually I did put on the pounds. I remember often eating half a box of cinnamon wafers with a large glass of milk, or eating a rich mini swiss-roll way too late at night, or eating microwave meals every day after school (you know those ones with the mac ‘n’ cheese and brownies?).

So I looked at myself in the mirror, and I didn’t like what I saw. I saw a pale, pudgy teenager and it was pretty frustrating for me – because I loved food so much!

If you have been trying to lose weight, let me share with you a couple of the things I learned in my teen years to shed 20 pounds in small, easy lifestyle changes so that I could still enjoy all foods. I call it passive ways to lose weight, but it doesn’t mean that it requires zero effort at all. These are simple lifestyle changes you can make as an alternative to a depressing hard-core diet.

*Disclaimer: Please always first speak to your doctor or dietician before implementing any changes to your lifestyle and diet. 

  1. Eat What You Like Until 8pm

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Yes! Eat that donut! Well, you obviously shouldn’t eat donuts or the like every day, but whatever you choose to eat, make sure you stop eating latest by 8pm. Earlier is even better, say 7 or 6pm. Then eat your breakfast 12 hours later, so if you ate supper at 6pm, have breakfast at 6am.  This will give your weight-loss a boost for sure. You’ll sleep better, too. It was so exciting for me to see what the bathroom scale said the morning after I had had an early dinner. It really works!

  1. Drink Only Water

Yes, I get that some people cannot stand plain old boring water, but people, it’s what your engine needs. Develop the skill of gulping down a solid glass of water like those crazy water-drinking competitions and your body will thank you. If you forget about water, try downloading an app like WaterMinder that reminds you to drink every 1 or 2 hours to reach your water goal for the day.

Regarding diet soda, the fake sugars in them upsets your gastrointestinal bacteria and these little guys play a huge role in your weight loss and overall health. Plus, research has found that carbonated drinks actually make you feel hungrier. If you do want a nice drink, dilute some fruit juice or flavour your water with infusions of strawberries or mint.

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  1. Drink A Glass of Water Before Meals

This will help you to understand how hungry you actually are. Too often do we feel hungry but it is more our thirst that is the culprit. Our body sometimes cannot distinguish between the two demands, thirst or hunger.

  1. Please Do Not Skip Meals

People, eat your breakfast! Not at 10am, but ideally 12 hours after you had dinner the night before. If you aren’t hungry or feel nauseas to eat early, just eat something small and nutritious. Breakfast literally kick-starts your metabolism for the day.  If you are not hungry for lunch, have something small to keep your metabolism going. If there is any meal that you could skip, it’s dinner. Remember the old saying, “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and supper like a pauper.”

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If you don’t have time to eat or you forget to eat, get into the habit of always having nutritious snacks that keep for a while in your office or bag. If you eat nothing, your body’s poor metabolism will decrease in order to try conserve its limited energy resource.

  1. No Second Helpings

Yes, no second helpings of the divine stuff you just ate. This is going to take a bit of discipline, but after a while it will become a habit. Plus, you will save money on groceries because you won’t be eating so much. So if you really are desperate for a second helping, just wait a little, drink a glass of water and you may find yourself realizing you’re not actually hungry anymore. Calories and money saved!

  1. Take Your Multivitamins

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I believe that supplements give us a little boost in our metabolisms because so many of the B-vitamins are responsible for digestion that our diets may lack. In addition, stress hormones need certain supplements to be broken down. If we have all of these nutrients, we may not feel so stressed anymore and won’t resort to food cravings. This brings me to my next point.

  1. Replace Your Emotional/Boredom Eating

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If you are feeling depressed or bored, rather ask yourself what else you could do that would help you feel better instead of stuffing your face. If you struggle with depression, get help. If you don’t deal with the core of your problems  correctly, those emotions will fester inside of you and you may resort to unhealthy ways to cope, one of which may be over-eating.

  1. Add Variety to Your Diet

Eating the same foods day after day, month after month, year after year could leave your body deficient in some nutrients (not to mention bored). Come on, live a little! Try recipes that use different vegetables or fruits that you don’t usually eat and you may discover some new favourite dishes. Your body needs a varied diet to acquire all of its nutrient demands.

  1. A Little Cardio Goes A Long Way

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What I loved as a teen and even now as an adult is riding my bike. When I was pudgy, I didn’t go on long rides, maybe they were only a couple of minutes going around the block. But the point is that it got my heart rate way up.  You may not like to cycle, but maybe you like to run, or skip rope or jump on the trampoline. There’s really nifty 5-minute workout apps that you can use too. What it does is it increases your basal metabolic rate as you get fit as well as decreases your cravings for unhealthy food. Just a few minutes of good, hard cardio a few times a week is enough to help start weight loss.

  1. Get Your Zz’s

Getting good sleep every night is crucial to weight loss. If you get a bad night’s rest, you will feel lethargic and you will want to eat junk to make you feel better. You will also lack the willpower to make healthy choices. Getting good sleep at night involves going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Try not to have day naps, but if very necessary only a 15-minute power-nap.

  1. Remember Not All Calories Are Equal

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Lastly, there is a big different between the 100 calories you get in a brownie versus the 100 calories in a chicken salad. The very refined ingredients in the brownie get digested very quickly in comparison to the nutritious chicken salad. Opt for foods that are high in fibre and more nutrient-dense because these get digested slowly – keeping you fuller for longer.

 

It’s funny how so many people only start trying to live healthier lives when disaster strikes, like when they have serious health issues. Do you want to put yourself and your family through that? I know I don’t.

I truly believe that every one of us can glow with health and happiness if  we took better care of our health more. And it doesn’t have to be hard! We just have to start trying. Take the challenge to implement these small changes one day at a time. It may be a bit difficult at first, but try starting just one of them, and then add more when you feel ready.

So take care of yourself and invest in your future! You can do it! I will also try harder to do so.

Have any experiences about what worked for your weight-loss? Comment below!

 

Posted in For Family, For You

Using Hydrogen Peroxide in your Ears : Good or Bad Idea?

To all you Pinterest life-hackers out there, I am sure you have come across this hack for beating colds and ear infections: administering a few drops of a 3% solution of Hydrogen Peroxide in your ears. The result is most satisfying and dramatic – a bubbling chemical reaction that creates a froth in your ear as a result of the bacteria actually being killed by this powerful solution.

It’s fantastic actually, and it can help stop a cold in its tracks when you try it. You feel so much better afterwards and it has also helped our kids when their ears have bothered them too.

However, it does not cure middle ear infections, obviously, because it cannot get into the middle ear. But it certainly helps to relieve the infection. This handy solution has been our favorite go-to medication and I swear by it, as well as many others on Pinterest.

Like I mentioned, using hydrogen peroxide in the ear canal will not cure a middle ear infection. Which was why I eventually did take my toddler to the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist. I decided to cautiously ask the ENT about using hydrogen peroxide in ears for ear infections and colds.

With a lot of adamance, he replied, “Never again!”.

Oops! I thought, thinking back on all those times I so casually used the stuff. So I asked, “Why not?”

He explained that we do not know at all if there is a perforation or a hole leading into the middle ear that would allow fluids to enter the middle ear. Sometimes a person may be completely oblivious to the fact. Because hydrogen peroxide is corrosive, it could potentially destroy the nerve-endings present in the middle ear and lead to some degree of deafness. He concluded that hydrogen peroxide should pretty much be left to sterilizing wounds.

Okay, you gotta listen to the doc, don’t you?

I had previously thought I would be cured of colds for the rest of my life, using this awesome hydrogen peroxide hack. Although, I do value my hearing too much to risk it all for a little cold-cure, but I still feel disappointed that I have not cracked the code of curing colds!

If Not Hydrogen Peroxide, What Else?

If not hydrogen peroxide, what else helps to fight infection happening in our sinuses and ears? Here’s a list of what you can do to relieve the aches and pains:

*Disclaimer: The following ideas are only motherly advice – I am not a doctor!*

  1. Try making and using a Magic Salt Sock – this is something invented by a chiropractor and somehow it works. She also suggests making an appointment with a chiropractor in order to help re-align the upper neck bones. Misalignments in the upper neck area have been related to ear infections in children.
  2. I found a pretty cool hands-on technique that The Motivational Doc shows in a video that you can do to help drain your Eustachian tube, thus helping to relieve the middle-ear a little. The Eustachian tube is pretty much responsible for draining all the gunk from our ears into the nasopharynx (where we can swallow it, great!). The technique looks pretty ridiculous and I was laughing while I tried it, but it helped me to clear the gunk when I tried it! Have a look at the video here.
  3. Home-made herbal ear oil with mullein & garlic ear-drops. Herbal ear drops may be mild enough to administer in the ear. But first get a green-light from your doctor or homeopath.
  4. An obvious alternative is plain-old pain medication and the prescribed medicated ear drops from your doctor. Some pain medication may lower fever which may or may not be a good idea. A fever is the body’s way of fighting the infection, however, if the fever is too high, it may need to be brought down. Again, ask your doctor!
  5. Antibiotics may be necessary if the situation has gotten really bad. Antibiotics are not ideal, and should be a last resort, but they have their time and place in our health.
  6. If pain and infection persists, you need to go see an ENT. If left too long untreated, it may result in long-term middle-ear damage, plus hampering speech development in young children.

Lessons Learned

Why are there so many people then, who, like I used to, swear by using hydrogen peroxide in your ears when it is potentially quite harmful?

It boils down to the principle that advice-givers and advice-takers should verify facts from expert sources before giving or taking advice. Hey, you should even verify what I am telling you in this article! What we can learn is that we all have a responsibility to exercise caution with the self-treatment ideas we get on the Internet. Scrutinize the logic, learn the facts and science behind things, and ask the experts.

What if I had a perforation in my middle ear unbeknown to me? Which, by the way, is a possibility and it is not always painful. I could have suffered with damage to my hearing for the rest of my life! No way!

Perhaps you should also ask your doctor or ENT for their thoughts on using hydrogen peroxide. Or, if you have any wonderful ways to banish ear-aches and infections, feel free to comment below!

You may also want to check out my other post, What To Do When You Are Sick (But Still Trying to Function), it has some great tips for trying to recover while keeping your life going, plus a free cute Whatsapp profile picture you can use to let people know when you are unwell.

For all of you who are struggling with ear infections – you or your little ones – Good Luck!

Posted in For You

What To Do When You’re Sick (But Still Trying To Function)

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I have been sick for the past month with 3 entirely different ailments and illnesses. It’s been awful, because when you have an adult life full of responsibilities, it’s not like everything can just stop and wait for you to get better. Or you could just hibernate for a couple of days and everything will just take care of itself. Plus, when you have 3 little bodies who call you mommy (in varying whining tones) a gazillion times a day… well, life becomes very exhausting. It takes every ounce of self-control to then have to clean up potty-training accidents with a throbbing headache as a result of some serious sinus congestion. (But hey! At least I couldn’t smell anything, which was great!)

It has been humbling for me of course, because I have had to slow down, ask for help, live a little simpler (and messier too) just to cope.

Because I know if I do not – I will not get better!

We are limited by our physical bodies. Although we want to get a ton of things done, we just can’t. That physical limit needs to be respected, because when we start losing sleep, eating badly and not taking time to manage our stress, soon our body will take the reins and demand the recuperation it yearns for.

In other words: if you do not give what your body needs, it will take revenge on you.

But we all have lives that go on and on, and slowing down a little feels like we are falling behind a marathon running race. Then we feel even more stressed about our illness. And we don’t get any better. Where’s the logic in that?

Here’s some advice on dealing with illness when you have a lot else to deal with…*

*Disclaimer: I am not a qualified healthcare practitioner, so please do seek the advice of your doctor or nurse regarding your illness. These tips are only based upon my experience as a mother to help you in your recovery process.

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Forget The “Sweeties”

If you are suffering with congestion, do you really think it’s a good idea to drink a glass of milk? Or eat a candy bar? Bacteria loves dairy products, processed foods and refined foods. Whatever the illness is, opt for healing foods, which are fresh foods like vegetables, fruits, moderate amounts of complex carbohydrates, and non-processed proteins. Your body’s nutrient requirements increase when it is trying to fight off illnesses and repair cells. If you really cannot ignore the craving, have just a taste or half the amount you normally eat. If you don’t care about what you eat, well, you unfortunately won’t be getting better as soon as you could have. With the growing to-do list looming in my mind, boy, I know that I will do everything I can to get better as soon as possible!

 

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Take a Day’s Leave: Make it Count

I know that this sounds like the most boring, generic advice for illness. I’m sorry to say this, but yes, you need to take your day’s leave from work. For at least a day to fully rest. If the doctor has booked you off for a week, but there’s too much work weighing upon your mind, make the leave you are able to take, count! And that means that you should not be thinking about work when you do take your day’s leave. (Easier said than done, I know). If you don’t feel better after a good solid day’s rest, well you may need to take 2 days off. Or even more. Everyone is different in their recovery time, whatever illness it may be. But tell yourself that the earth is not going to explode if you are away from work or your house is a war-zone for a day or two. You are not a robot that can work continuously and perfectly. You are a human being with physical limitations and YOU HAVE TO REST!

My experience of this was when I had a cold but I was still determined to clean my house. I vacuumed and washed floors and was very proud of myself. My house sparkled! Although – my body was not impressed. The day after, I became extremely ill with a bad case of flu. For the following week I had to fight my illness even harder with medication and plenty of rest. Moral of the story? Just get the rest you need when your body first asks for it. You cannot ignore your body’s requests. I know that when my husband gets little sleep, sure as eggs, he wakes up feeling congested in the morning. It’s so weird, I know, but it gives an indication of how sleep affects immunity.

Exercise is also not a good idea at this time. Perhaps doing simple stretches, easy yoga poses and gentle walks are good for now. Your sick body is trying to repair itself so also trying to cope with an intense workout is asking too much. Getting out into the sunshine is a must when you are sick, as it will help you to feel not so groggy. Don’t stay in bed the whole day either, dependant upon the severity of your illness.

 

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Delegate & Get Help

With your job, whether it be business-based or being a parent, you really need to get extra help when you are ill. Start thinking realistically and realise that you will actually be able to recover sooner if you get help. Ask a trusted colleague or relative to help out a little (of course not to do your entire job) to get one or two urgent tasks done. Just for things to hang in there so everything doesn’t fall apart while you are on sick-leave.

And regarding your parental duties, hire a cleaner or call a baby-sitter. If you cannot afford a cleaner, just do the bare minimum of household chores by washing the dishes, making beds and taking out the garbage. Don’t do what I did and suddenly decide it’s a good time to scrub the floors. Because it is not. Get your kids involved (dependant upon their age) to tidy the house or you should arrange playdates for them so you can rest. Ask a relative for help in whatever way they are able to, such as baby-sitting or meal preparation. Or give Mr Delivery a call. Seriously, your main motto is going to be getting the bare minimum done in the easiest and simplest way.

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Get The Right Medication

This is pretty obvious, but it is worth mentioning that although Dr Google is helpful, be careful with self-diagnosis. Don’t try to think you that know exactly what your illness is and have the equivalent of a 5-year medicine degree just because you read up on Google for 30 minutes. Dr Google is helpful for sure, don’t get me wrong, because we have access to knowledge of what symptoms and signs to look out for and the ones you should worry about. But doctors generally have years’ experience over and above completing their studies of the human body and medicine. If your illness is quite bad and uncomfortable, be it an infection or a virus, you need to get to a doctor. I am a believer of alternatives like homeopathy and kinesiology too, but sometimes antibiotics are really very necessary should the illness be advanced and aggressive, in my experience. Once you have your medication, make sure you store them properly and take them as prescribed.

 

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SIMPLIFY

Like the two stones in the picture above, your priorities become very simplified when you are ill. The stone at the bottom may represent you and the stone on top your family. Because your family depends on you. If you are ill, your family will also suffer from your limitations. Although in the same way, your family needs to make compromises in order to help you balance your family life.

Your main motto is going to be getting the bare minimum done in the easiest and simplest way. Live minimally and simplify your life. Say no to the  fluff in your life and you will recover faster. Not sure about what you should or shouldn’t keep in your life? Ask yourself this question: Is the item that I need to do absolutely necessary and will it help me to get better? Simplicity will really help you to get back on track with life and on your feet after your illness.

Below is a free image to download for your convenience to post as a pretty Whatsapp profile picture while you are sick. Just so your contacts will know why you aren’t super fast at replying to messages and also so people know your current situation. I know that many of you may not want to broadcast your “sick status”, but it just may come in handy!

Look after yourself, have patience with the healing process that your body is working so hard at doing. You need some extra slack at this time. The body is an amazing thing; given the right foods and rest it can sort itself out fine. I wish you all who are ill at this time a speedy recovery!

Have any strange or wonderful sickness stories about how you coped (or didn’t) when you were sick? Or have any great tips about what worked for you? Feel free to comment below!

Posted in For You, Music Teaching

See The Potential

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I came across this touching video that tells the story of a piano. I won’t tell the whole story in detail in this post, because I really would like my readers to watch it. As a piano teacher, this video did tug at my heart-strings, because playing music and life is inseperable for me. For anyone, actually, this video is enjoyable to watch and may hopefully inspire those who watch it to start learning an instrument (I am not just referring to the piano) or find time to practice a little more. Because with music in our lives, we find a new kind of freedom of expression as we play music, be it on whichever instrument you have an affinity for.

The story begins with a piano being played by a woman, who grows old and then passes away. The piano then is transported to different places until it finally is bought by someone younger. The piano obviously has aged and has been neglected and so the new owner embarks on a DIY project to refurbish the piano. But that is not the end – you will have to watch it to see it.

The purpose of the video however, was not necessarily to encourage people to play the piano. Although that was a by-product for sure. The purpose was to illustrate that we need to see the potential in things. In this example, the new owner saw potential in an old, worn piano. The piano underwent a transformation and much more music came from the piano thereafter. . . just because someone saw the potential.

In this same way, we need to see the potential in others. Sure, a person may seem too old or rough around the edges. Perhaps they just need a smile? Perhaps they need to be seen in a different light to be transformed into someone with new hope in life?

Whatever or whoever it may be, let’s try to see the potenital. “All it takes is one person to see the music that still lives inside”.