My purpose…is in the here and now.

What is your purpose…?

In many people including myself, this evokes thoughts and images of this big, significant “thing” that you are working towards and someday will reach (hopefully).

This is the thing you were born to do, and only when you figure out what it is and DO it, will you find real life fulfillment by what you do and will reach your full potential…

We are told by pastors and motivational speakers alike, that we all have a very specific purpose that we were born for. That we need to maximize our potential. And that it will be just a terrible shame if you do not reach your full potential or end up following your destined purpose. We are told that we just need to follow certain steps or do a vision board or read a book etc, to find out what it is (which in itself is a mystery for so many) and then to pursue IT.

We are told to not live a mediocre life – no because we were created for SO MUCH MORE! We are told to be proactive, live life to the full, pursue our dreams…

I have in the past felt very motivated and inspired after hearing or reading messages such as these. I would buy the book or buy a new journal – filled with fresh inspiration and drive to figure out what my purpose is and how I can go about reaching it.

But in the past couple of years it has just left me feeling miserable, burdened, confused and slightly disillusioned and disappointed at times. I don’t think its unusual to feel this way when you find yourself somewhere in your 30’s (or 40’s…any age really) in a career that you are not crazy about but it pays the bills…perhaps realise that your career choice wasnt the best….that you perhaps wasted some time along the way….missed some opportunities…. the list is endless. Some call this a quarter or midlife crises.

These messages left me feeling like the life I have lived and am living doesn’t measure up because I haven’t FOUND my big purpose in life. This often also goes hand in hand with comparison with certain people in your peer group who you perceive to have reached their potential and living their PURPOSE.

I started thinking about this…. especially after being a stay at home mom for a year and struggling to figure out some questions around this issue. I found myself during the past year fighting my current role as stay at home mom, feeling insignificant on some days, struggling with low self-esteem because I felt I could only talk about baby stuff…

I became sick of feeling like this…

But then…what does this all make of where I am – RIGHT NOW. I am a recent stay at home mom for the past 13 months. I resigned my job because my baby was of such a demanding nature that I couldn’t get to a point of leaving him in full-time care while I work. I have to add that I had the privilege of having the choice at the time which I know is not at all possible for all moms.

So back to where I am right now and this BIG PURPOSE/DESTINY people are bombarding us with.

My thoughts are this…I think you have several purposes throughout your lifetime. I have come to believe that your purpose is in the here and now.

Where I am right now is my purpose.

Although in the eyes of society being a stay at home mom is not a PURPOSE, this is my purpose now. It is not a second-rate waiting for my bigger purpose kind of thing. No – I have purpose and “in” my purpose for this season. I am not “missing out” or constantly wondering what my big purpose is that I will reach one day. I am not fighting my season that I am in by worrying and feeling miserable about unanswered questions about my next step, my career in years to come, what I am “working towards” etc. In this season, my life is smaller.

I will still try to make time to pursue things that I like doing like exercising, painting or reading. I might still consider furthering my studies in psychology, because I enjoy studying and am interested in psychology. But I choose to not be burdened anymore by trying to figure out what my big SINGLE purpose is in this life and feeling that I just seem to not be able to reach it.

I know many will disagree with me – but these are my thoughts and what has helped me live a more positive satisfying life in the now.

I hope this encourages you…

Lots of love

Helene xxx

Sugar, anxiety and insomnia…and other tips to get you to sleep better tonight!

I have always been able to switch off my bedside light and fall asleep within minutes. Even on my travels, often sleeping in youth hostels sharing rooms, it wasnt an issue for me. Ever.

When my son turned one a year ago, it changed. For his 1st year I slept well in between multiple night waking and breastfeeding sessions. Now he was starting to sleep better and all of a sudden this mommy couldnt fall asleep anymore…shock horror!

Is this a joke – no – it’s very real.  Some even call it “momsomnia” or postnatal insomnia.

When you suffer from insomnia, you either struggle to fall asleep or you wake up and then struggle to fall back to sleep again.

It’s one of those things that can quickly consume you as you start struggling night after night and experiencing the repercussions of not so much optimal functioning during the day.  You start almost dreading going to bed even though you are tired.  The “Tired but Wired” saying became quite real to me…

It’s a vicious cycle… Insomnia creates anxiety and this creates more insomnia. I experienced over the past year that if I have a better night, the anxiety almost immediately starts to decrease dramatically helping me to go into the better direction of sleep again.

So what can you do – the standard advice that you’ll get…

  1. Sleep hygiene
  2. Herbal aids
  3. Melatonin
  4. Sleeping tablets
  5. Antidepressants (more to treat the anxiety)

These are the things that has worked for me to a certain extent recently and over the past year:

  1.  You absolutely have to do the sleep hygiene thing i.e. NO screen time for at least an hour before bed time and keep lights fairly dimmed in the house if you can.  I also started to have a bed time routine – for me this was drinking either camomile tea / hot water with apple cider vinegar and a bit of honey / milk with quarter teaspoons of nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger.  And also reading a book until I feel I can’t keep my eyes open any longer.
  2. Consider cutting your caffeine.  I decreased it to one – two cups of coffee max all before 11am.
  3. Be careful of sugar as this can worsen anxiety symptoms and for me any form of sugar and even cocoa (dark chocolate) I found could increase my alertness and keep me awake.
  4. Alcohol – yes it helps to relax you – but I am not sure what it is – but I found this also didn’t help my sleep, so bye-bye drinks for now! (Insomnia is so tormenting that you will do ANYTHING to alleviate it).
  5. Melatonin didn’t work for me unfortunately, the herbal stuff also not, I wish it did as it’s not habit-forming.
  6. An anti-anxiety tablet and/or a sleeping tablet helped me at certain times to calm down at night and just re-set and get a night of good sleep – but it’s not for long-term use…
  7. Watch your mind… I found that the more I panicked when I couldn’t fall asleep the worse it all became.  I started meditating on Bible Scriptures about sleep, anxiety and fear which helped me a lot.  I also pray as part of my bed time routine.  And I watch out like a hawk for those evil thoughts that try to make me go into panic and fear mode.  I replace it with TRUE thoughts – Renewing my mind with God’s TRUTH.
  8. I have had to almost become quite relaxed about the whole thing – knowing through the grace of God that I WILL be ok the next day even if I didn’t sleep.  I had to make a point of tapping into the peace, joy and gratitude inside of me despite my lack of sleep and not feeling great the next day. Worshipping Him throughout became my Spiritual Weapon of choice.

This thing has become a lifestyle, spiritual and emotional journey for me.  Not something with a quick fix (believe me I tried all of that, spent a couple of R1000’s on doctors who couldnt really help although I am sure they wish they could.)

I really hope this helps someone out there…

Love Helene x x x

 

Thinking of you dad, on your 81st birthday.

Dear Dad,

Today is your 81st birthday. You left this earth – our dad, husband, brother, son, brilliant doctor, world traveller… on 8 July 2014 – 4 years ago.

Today on your birthday, I think about you. I think about life. And some of it scares me, but mostly I am grateful and I realise that I have to surrender. Surrender to the Bigger Power Who is ultimately in control of our lives, of the universe. Otherwise I will have too many unanswered questions. Sometimes everything about life is too overwhelming for me to grasp or make sense of. And therein lies the power and beauty of SURRENDERING.

Dad, I knew you as my father for 36 years. I realise now though… that I barely knew you… Really knew you. Yes, you were my dad. But I knew nothing of your HEART, your inner struggles, the delights of your heart, your dreams, your disappointments, your fears… And this brings a tear to my eye as I write this letter to you.

How well do we really know our loved ones?

20180521_1441065187925244426657396.jpgI look at pictures of you when you were a young boy, about 12 years old. You look serious in the picture, with big brown eyes (I got those eyes from you). You’ve kept that serious, intense look throughout your life. It seems there’s so much behind those eyes, hidden to the world. I would have loved to know more about what was behind those eyes of yours.  I realise that you never found it easy to speak about your emotions, and that that’s also ok…

I loved the way you could laugh at a stupid joke, and how you appreciated it if someone greeted you by the hand (old-fashioned style) and really listened to you with genuine interest.

You truly lived your life well. And I will always remember you knowing this for sure. You decided early in your life what you wanted to achieve academically… And you achieved ALL of it. With hard work and an intense passion and dedication to medicine you became one of the top specialists in your field. You loved to travel – and did you travel! Later in your life you became a self-tought successful investor – no one could tell you anything 😉 You provided well for your family, you took the role of faithful husband, provider and reliable dad very seriously. Thank you for that daddy. Now that I am a married woman and a mom, I really do appreciate all of these things so much more…

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So… on your 81st birthday, I want to thank you for your dedication…your love…your sincere heart. I see you in heaven, happy and healthy – and that gives me hope and joy.

Love, your youngest – Helene (Lienksie) xxx

Mommies…let’s be real?

The other day as I was driving, an interview came up on the radio. The woman being interviewed has an incredible CV. She has a top post at a university, an online business and she is a mom of a 1 and 3-year-old…

At the start of the interview when she casually mentioned that yes she wears many hats and obviously wears them well…I switched off the radio.

I didn’t want to expose myself to another mommy claiming to the world that she indeed is a super woman…juggling many balls with grace…wearing all those hats with style.

I knew it would make me evaluate my own life as mommy again and end up making me feel somewhat like a underachiever of a mommy/juggler of life.

I am NOT criticizing her. All I am saying is this. Moms, let’s be honest, let’s be real? If you are one in a million and truly by some magic is able to be 100% mom, 100% entrepreneur, 100% full-time job mom…then wow you are truly gifted.

But if like me, you have realised that all your important decisions like for example whether to work or be a stay at home mom, comes at a cost.

The stay at home mom might feel the cost for her is giving up her career and her sanity on some days 😉

The working mom might feel the cost for her is not being able to spend as much time with her little one as she would like to.

Point is…lets be real about our choices we have to make, the consequences we have to individually deal with, the challenges and the joys we each face in our unique situations. That there is not a right or a wrong. Lets not judge one another for tough choices we have to make.

And lets not pretend. Why pretend? Do you feel to show vulnerability will make you come across as weak? Being vulnerable takes COURAGE and STRENGTH. And showing realness, honesty and being vulnerable is the only way that you can help another mom feel better.

Love Helene x x x

My sugar detox journal…hidden sugars to watch out for!

I finished my 21 days of trying my best to go off sugar.

HiddenSugarInfographicAlthough I am happy with my progress,  I am not entirely happy with how the 21 days went.

Why?

  1.  I had about 4 “cheat” days
  2. I didn’t cut out ALL sugar (for example: Honey, fruit and certain refined carbs)
  3. I don’t think I experienced the FULL BENEFIT of really detoxing from sugar… And this is what I am after – really getting to that point of moving beyond the withdrawal and cravings and starting to experience all the benefits.  Like…. better and a more stable mood, better sleep, clarity of mind, more energy and some weight loss.

So… What I am going to try to do over the next 21 days is to:

  1. Consistently cut out all forms of sugar (Including honey, fruit and hidden sugar in snacks – see this cool picture to the left…)
  2. Lower my overall carb intake (Mostly for me:  Bread; rusks; wraps; rice; potatoes; pasta; pizza)
  3. Decrease my caffeine intake to 2 cups max per day – mostly to help with the anxiety and insomnia.
  4. Trying not to get too ravenous (this is when I make my poorest food choices) – so filling my tummy with good stuff whenever I am hungry.

Here is a great list of all those other names under which sugar hides in foods:

According to the USDA and other sources, alternative sugar ingredients or names to watch out for when reading labels include:

There also “healthier” sugars, including coconut palm sugar, honey and blackstrap molasses. Generally since these are far less processed (especially real, raw honey), they are OK in moderation but still a source of sugar to keep to small amounts.

So today is another day 1 for me… wish me luck!

Love Helene x x x

What the sugar?? My sugar detox journal…

I am doing a sugar detox for 21 days. I am currently on day 6.

Why I decided to do a sugar detox? I feel that I have become addicted to sugar and that it was starting to affect my mood in a negative way. It is a personal mission of mine to achieve mental wellness, and I know its up to me to make it happen. About 6 months ago I started suffering from insomnia and this has seriously spurred me on to do everything I possibly can to start sleeping better again… Sugar potentially being one of the aspects that can affect your sleep negatively.

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So the insomnia and mood issues are my main reasons for going on this sugar detox. (To be perfectly honest, other reasons for me include potential weight loss and the prevention of diseases.)
What a sugar detox looks like for me? A book that has helped me a lot is “I quit sugar” from Sarah Wilson. But there are many many books. So for me it basically means cutting out ALL sugar. A quick list would be : Actual sugar (brown, white) ; honey; any foods or sauces with lots of sugar added (check labels)and fruit (actual fruit, juices, dried). I am not cutting out all carbs – I have decided to make this about SUGAR.
How am I feeling? I felt perfectly fine for the 1st 2 days. On day 3 I started really craving and missing my sugar fix (usually cake/chocolate/sweets). On day 4 I started struggling emotionally and day 5 I felt completely depressed and tearful. I wondered whether this could be a detox symptom and found out that it absolutely can be…(have a look at this link.)

The start is always the HARDEST. But I have found that once you get started it gets easier.

It’s almost like you need to learn how to trust yourself again too. Trusting yourself that you will honour a decision that you make to commit to something. Even if no one else is checking up on you.

Day 6: Yesterday we celebrated my bother’s 46th birthday and since his wife always bakes with zero sugar I thought the birthday cake was a gluten and sugar-free version. After this 1st couple of bites I realised that it wasnt this time 😉

For a moment I felt like I was a failure and had to start all over again.

Then I decided to be kind to myself. So I am adding an extra day to my 21 days and today I am continuing as normal despite my little “glitch”.

People trying to eat healthier can often be so hard on themselves for having a weak moment – that weak moment then becomes a weak month of year… These type of negative emotions and guilt just never serve you.

So currently I am still on day 6 and so far so good. I had a scone this morning with butter and cream (no jam) and coffee without sugar. Also had a seed cracker with sugar-free peanut butter. And I am feeling a lot better today in terms of my mood…

I will do another post in 1 week!!! I will write about which sugar alternatives are BAD and which ones are OK. I personally like Xylitol… And of course an update of how it’s going with my detox…

Why not join me?

Love Helene xxx

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