Where I've Been, Where I am, Where I'm Going

Thanks to guest blogger Michelle Saleeba we have another fantastic piece for you to get in touch with your creative side.

Gather your supplies:

  • Journal or single sheet of paper/card
  • Selection of acrylic paints
  • Brushes, foam rollers & sponges for spreading paint
  • Plate or palette to spread paint on
  • Selection of magazines or collage source material that have meaning to you
  • Water soluble pastels and/or pencils or markers for adding detail over dry paint
  • Craft glue 
  • Lead pencil and ruler
  • Decorative paper or tape for segmenting pages (I’ve used a plain black electrical tape from a hardware store)

Introduction

With Therapeutic art activities it is the process, the reflection, the visualisation, the emotional experience that are important NOT the final outcome.  We aren’t aiming for a product here.  

You don’t have to have any art training, you don’t need to be able to make realistic drawings.  If you really feel your piece needs a person in it – stick figures work!

There is no right way to do this only your way.  Take ownership of the process.  And remember no-one need see your work unless you choose to share it. 

Often people feel a little overwhelmed at having to use art materials they’ve never previously worked with.  Or the idea of sitting quietly and reflecting can seem weird and awkward.  That’s completely OK most of us feel slightly anxious when we try something new…..don’t fight it, this is play time and the more you make space in your life for creative and emotional play the easier it becomes.

Reflecting

For this creative therapy exercise it is helpful to spend some time quietly centring yourself and gathering your thoughts.  Leaving behind the stress and carry on from our day to day lives and allowing our self to be really present and engaged with the creative process.  

So get comfy with all your stuff spread in front of you and close your eyes for a moment, focussing at first on your breathing.  Gently aiming for an evenness of breath, in and out.  

Bring your attention to your past – which ever aspect of your past that jumps out at you.  All of it, a specific significant event there’s no right focus here.  Do you have a particular colour that you associate with this time in your life?  With your childhood say or all of the time leading to now?  This is the colour or combination of colours that are going to be the background to the first part of your page.

As you are visualising the colour/s of where you’ve been you will likely have images, words, faces perhaps even sounds, smells and tastes that come to the front of your conscious mind.  Gently acknowledge these – they will guide you in your choice of collage materials.

When reflecting on your present what are the aspects that you are most grateful for?  Those that you would like to change?  Is there a colour that defines your present situation?  A symbol, taste or sensation?

Looking to the Future is a visioning exercise and here we have the opportunity to place our desires, hopes and dreams on the page.  It’s an opportunity to think about the aspects of our life we want to work on or change and how that might look

Engage with the process

Please read through the whole process before you start 

Step 1- Segmenting

Divide your page into 3 sections using your lead pencil.  

If you want straight lines and structured segments use the ruler – if you prefer fluid and loose go freehand!  

Step 2-Laying down the colours

It’s time to use the sponges or foam rollers to colour the Where I’ve Been segment.

We are creating a background here with the intent to place elements on top so it works best to apply the paint sparingly.

Spreading the paint too thickly or using loads of water will increase the drying time.  You can always use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process if you need too.  

Step 4-Rip Tear Cut

Turn to your collection of collage materials and recalling the images etc from your reflection start selecting anything that really speaks to you and fits with what you visualised.  Rip or cut whatever works for you.

*TIP-you want to keep yourself moving quite quickly here – don’t get sucked into reading articles!  It can help to give yourself a time limit!

 (In the example at the top of the document I asked participants to aim for 8 -12 images and/or words per segment.)

Step 5- Collage

You want your painted segment to be dry for this bit.  

Start to arrange the collage elements representing your past on the painted segment.  

Glue them down using your craft glue.

Step 6- and repeat x2

You need to follow the above process through again for Where I Am and Where I’m Going starting with a reflection for each aspect.

Step 7 – Pushing apart pulling together

Now define the three segments of the piece, you can use your tape here or another medium that you prefer such as permanent marker.   

The phases of our life are both separate and dependent on each other.  There are lessons and experiences we choose to leave behind and others to carry forward.  To demonstrate this using your pastels or markers add text and illustration that symbolically links the aspects that you choose to carry through from one part of your life to the next.

For example you may draw arrows or ladders leading from one section to the next. Or perhaps an arrow points from one aspect of your past to the future but the destination is unclear.  

Michelle Saleeba is a single mum to two independent teenagers and perhaps more simply a gorgeous German Shorthaired Pointer called Otis who still likes going with her for walks at the beach!   

She writes, paints and journals and tries to get on the yoga mat as often as possible.   

Michelle facilitates creative therapy support groups for women that incorporate meditation as well as visual art and writing usually in the safe container of a journal.  

Michelle is also an accredited personal trainer and offers exercise programs and training sessions for wellbeing as well as anxiety and depression management.

Connect on Facebook

For more information about creative support groups or personal training with Michelle contact the Henry Street Centre in Fremantle on 9433 6957 or email michellesaleeba@msn.com or visit her website www.michellesaleeba.com


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19 natural ways to boost energy levels

Written by guest blogger Nikki Ranshaw. Nikki is the founder of Peak Pregnancy and specialises in working with women to stay active and healthy throughout their pregnancy journey.  Nikki is an experienced Personal Trainer with over 11 years experience working within the fitness industry specialising in women’s health and fitness. Nikki has been a Registered Midwife for over 6 years and a Clinical Nurse for over 8 years and has over 4 years experience specialising in Fertility and Reproductive Medicine. Nikki has spent over 7 years working at King Edward Memorial Hospital and has practiced in nearly every area of midwifery, from Labour and Birth Suite, Adult Special Care Unit, Obstetric Wards, Antenatal Clinics, Adolescent Clinic, Home Visiting Midwife, Parent Education, Breastfeeding Clinic and over 4 years experience within KEMH Fertility Clinic assisting women who are having difficulty becoming pregnant to conceive. Nikki has also worked in many other areas of Nursing including Neonatal Nursery, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Diabetes and more.

Article previously blogged by Peak Pregnancy.

19 natural ways to boost energy levels

1. Temperature control

If you’re too hot your body slows down and if you’re too cold your body temperature drops and slows you down so find that happy medium. Throw on a jumper or crank up the heater if you’re chilly, alternatively if you’re a hot person carry around a body spray mist, stand in front of a fan, go for a swim or cold shower or crack up the aircon, anything to try and keep you cool.

2. Get some fresh air

As little as 10-20 mins outdoors in the fresh air is enough to help you feel alive and energised. You don’t need a park, beach, forest or woods, just pounding the pavement will do.

3. Eat Small amounts regularly

Without food to fuel your body your engine will conk out. Small and healthy meals can boost cognitive function and keep your energy levels topped up

4. Steer clear of sugar

When I say this I mean everything in moderation…. Treat yourself once in a while, but don’t make sugary drinks or sugary food a daily habit. Sugar boosts your energy levels quickly but just a quickly leave you crashing and burning when that sugar high plummets.

5. Laugh

That’s right, laughter can lift your mood and lower stress levels, so however you choose to go about laughing that is up to you. Catch up with friends, go to a comedy night, watch a few YouTube clips, put on a comedy movie…… as long as you’re having a giggle, and feel relaxed

6.  Get moving

Exercise will get those feel good hormones pumping through your system and give you a natural buzz! Even as little as 10 minutes can do the trick

7. Stretch

Getting off the couch and stretching can fight depression and help with anxiety. Yoga and Pilates classes are also a great idea to give you some ideas about stretching and flexing.

8. Natural light

Open the curtains, open your doors, walk outside. Ever heard of seasonal depression, I’m a sucker for this…. I’m well aware that in the winter I tend to shy away from the world and hibernate more than usual and in summer I’m full of energy and life. So if it’s one of those gloomy days or if you’re just feeling down add some sunlight to your day

9. Makes friends with complex carbs

Even if you are on a low carb diet you still need carbs to function throughout the day, so don’t cut out carbs altogether. Complex carbs are brain food and slowly release glucose to keep you energised and thinking straight. Cutting out carbs altogether can leave you feeling grumpy, moody and forgetful, I’m sure you can relate with that! Remember if you are breastfeeding or pregnant you need to up your daily carb intake.

10. Work out in the morning

Hitting the gym in the morning can increase your days productivity and give you a good morning energy boost to start your day with a natural high

11. Get in a power nap

Just 10-20 minutes is plenty, this is just enough to give you a second wind to help you get through the day, any more than this can do the opposite effect and may also throw off a good nights sleep.

12. Chew or suck on something

By this I don’t mean over eat! At times where you need to be concentrating or at work on a Monday morning with Mondayitis, try chewing on a piece of chewing gum or munching on veggie sticks, something to keep your mind occupied to increase alertness and lift your mood

13. Take a shower

A cold shower!!! Nothing like a good bout of cold water to wake you up, brrrrr, works every time. A cold swimming pool, lake or ocean will do the trick as well.

14. Breathe in and Out

Yep, taking big deep breaths can up your blood oxygen level which can increase your alertness and energy levels

15. Drink water

Aim for 2-3 litres a day, don’t let yourself get thirsty as this means you’re already dehydrated! It’s amazing how good you feel after downing a pint of water when you’re feeling tired. Dehydration causes you to feel tired and robs you of energy. Every morning before you get up drink a big glass of water even if you don’t feel thirsty, you have been fasting for hopefully 7-8 hours you will be in a mild dehydrated state when you wake up.

16. Sing

Singing requires you to take big breaths, which oxygenates the blood. If you’re a nervous singer then adrenalin will start pumping around your body which will act as a natural high. While on this note why not fully get into the moment and turn up the tunes to even further boost your alertness

17. Socialise

Even if you don’t feel like getting out the house or having anyone over, pick up the phone and organise a catch up with a friend or family member. Studies show that people who socialise are generally happier than those who don’t

18. Do something fun

If you’re feeling bored you get sleepy so go do something you enjoy for a few minute to keep you awake! Walk away from the computer or get up off the couch and find that something you enjoy to do for a few minutes.

19. Colours

Wear bright clothes, buy flowers for your home, decorate your house with bright objects, instead of buying the popular black staple items try choosing things with bright colours. Surrounding yourself and your home or office with bright colours can lift your mood and positive outlook on life. Let’s just say my car is bright yellow, I love sunflowers, my house is decorated in bright yellow and blues and most of the clothes have colour in them, this one definitely works for me!


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Workshop - Getting back to health after high risk pregnancy or giving birth to a premature or sick baby

Enduring a high risk pregnancy and/or spending hours/days/months beside your baby in the NICU/SCN is without a doubt an exhausting time both emotionally and physically. You should be caring for your own health to ensure you can care for others. Mothers being mothers usually don't follow this advice. They often put their own health at the bottom of the priority list.

Nikki Ranshaw from Peak Pregnancy is both a midwife and a personal trainer. With extensive knowledge of what happens behind those sliding NICU doors, and having cared for many high-risk pregnant mothers, she will provide you realistic, achievable advice that allows you to take the first step in focusing your attention on you.  By doing so, you will be healthier both mentally and physically.

The workshop will be help in Subiaco on Wednesday the 22nd of October at 7pm.  It is open to all families affected by high-risk pregnancy, premature birth or having a sick newborn.  To register for this workshop please visit the registration page.


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