What’s hot and what’s not about long distance relationships

So you’ve met your person. Things are going great. Hey, they may actually be ‘the one’ but there’s one issue. You live in vastly different postcodes! Living apart from your significant other can actually be really tough. You can find yourself wondering if it’s worth it and how will this work?

Let’s look at what’s hot and what’s not about long distance relationships.

First things first, what’s not.

Where are they?

You’ve just received great news. You want nothing more than to celebrate with your guy or gal, then with a quick reality slap you realise you can’t be with them to toast that celebratory glass of bubbles. You go to events alone, you feel part time single, and you find you miss them like hell. Being apart from your other can be really hard, especially when you experience important life events.

You’re alone

You get home from work and walk through the door wishing they were there to ask, “how was your day?”. Instead you put down your bag, pour a wine and make a meal for one telling your cat about today’s events and how you finally got that promotion.

You feel close but far

Your bond is tight but you haven’t the everyday contact like ‘normal’ couples do. When you see them you have to squeeze in everything you’ve missed into a couple of hours, trying to play catch up.

You live a double life

Your lives feel disconnected. You each have a separate life with your work, family and friends. You rarely can combine the two and it can feel like you have two lives. One with them and another living your everyday life. One you wish they could be a part of.

But there are some pros to long distance relationships and sure fire ways to make it work.

Your own time

Both a blessing and a curse, living apart from your other can force you to be by yourself. You have time to pursue your own activities, goals and wants. This can be extremely liberating as it gives you the time to live the life you want and a chance to look after yourself and be the best person you can be for you and your partner.

Moments become magical

When you do see each other it’s a special experience. You make every moment count and don’t take each other for granted. You catch up on all that you have missed and are positively thrilled to be with each other, even just for a moment.

The special bond

Being away from each other forces you to connect in other ways. Provided you make time to talk, you are forced to communicate on a regular, open and deep level. You find yourself knowing so much about each other so when you do get together, it’s as if you haven’t been apart.

Can long distance relationships work? Yes. But it involves committed communication, sharing everyday experiences, compromise, honesty, trusting the other and knowing that this is just one chapter to what could be a very happy life together.

As they say, distance can make the heart grow fonder. Enjoy both your freedom and the moments you share.

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Be your own best friend

There are times we can feel a little broken and can be incredibly hard on ourselves. Sometimes we feel we aren’t good enough or can’t seem to do anything right and we spiral thinking we are alone in this feeling. Everyone else seems so together right? What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get myself together?

There is a concept that some of us know but don’t apply enough and the truth is it can be incredibly effective. That is, be your own best friend. But how do we do this when we feel low. How can we love ourselves just like we love our besties?

You said what?

How are you speaking to yourself? Would you say these things to your best mate? I’m certain some of your self talk i.e I’m not worthy, I’m too fat/skinny or I am not good enough, would not fly if you were saying it to your best friend. Think kindness, non judgement, and be loving in the way you speak to yourself. Tell yourself ‘it’s going to be okay’, ‘I’m here for you’ and ‘you’re not alone’. No more hate talk. You wouldn’t say it to someone else so don’t put yourself down.

Self care baby!

What would you do if you were with your best friend? What makes you feel good? Self care is all about doing things just for you. And no, it’s not selfish! Take yourself for brunch, have a bath, go to that movie, get a massage, walk the beach, go to the gym, cook a healthy meal. Do anything you know is good for your body, mind and soul. It is a sure guarantee to lift your mood and a much better alternative to sitting home stewing over how much you feel like you are failing.

What’s my good qualities?

Now this can be a hard one but try and acknowledge your good qualities. What would your best friend say about you. Try saying it to yourself. List five, maybe, ‘I’m caring, intuitive, determined, funny and resilient’. It’s also important to realise sometimes what we see as our bad qualities can actually be our best. Okay maybe you feel you’re too shy, too reactive, too sensitive but try and reframe these positively. Perhaps you are instead independent, passionate and empathetic. Feeling fat? Hey, curves are sexy. Talk to your body and acknowledge what an amazing vessel it actually is!

Being your own best friend can be one of the best skills you can learn. At the end of the day we are all living with ourselves and our own thoughts about who we are. Wouldn’t it be cool to just love hanging out with yourself, completely content knowing you were never alone, as long as you had your fabulous self to rely on.

Be you’re own best friend and you will shine.

Life Interrupted | Life in a psychiatric facility #3

If I were to pick a time when my worst nightmare had become reality, it would have been on the 29 January 2017, around 2130 hours. Week three, confined in the facility.

I had been changing medications from one week to the next. The pills were taking a toll and I was a shadow of my former self; a zombie, the undead. I slowly shuffled around the facility, drugged and breathless. I felt nothing but exhaustion. I turned up my headphones and played Rue de Cascades for the fourth time but it was no longer energising me. I walked towards the medication counter and slouched lifelessly into the hard, torn, brown pleather chair.

Then it hit.

Like a thunderbolt striking a live wire, I was paralysed; my vision became dazed and distorted. What was happening? Had my brain finally snapped? Was it the pills? I was shaking uncontrollably.

I blacked out.

I woke on the floor. How long had I been out? I gasped, overwhelmed by confusion and exhaustion. I then realised I’d had a seizure. And yes, damn, I had wet my pants.

I lay on the ground, managing to shout “Help!”

Nurses quickly ran to my side. I continued to shake. I was convinced that this was it. I was going to die here. I was going to die in this hell. But worse, I was going to die in a pool of my own pee.

Nurse Blou stuck a little white pill under my tongue.

“This will help in about thirty minutes” she said.

Valium.

I glared up at the medication window. There was a sign plastered on the door. I could just make out what it said. ‘Pease wait for assistance patiently’. I cringed at the spelling error, whilst perplexed at the concept of patience when one feels like they are in the midst of dying.

Then, overwhelmed, I zoned out. I remembered an earlier visit from my father. He had given the type of hug that pumped love through my left heart ventricle, filling my body, then pumping love out of the right.

I wasn’t going to die.

The nurses helped me to my feet and then sat me back down on the chair. They searched for a wheelchair. No luck.

Defeated, I was wheeled to my room on a toilet commode, wee dripping down my left leg, just like bread crumbs onto the stark vinyl floor.

I am currently working on a book regarding this topic. Any comments on this piece would be greatly appreciated. I’d love to hear from you.

Thoughts are not reality

Are you an over thinker? Do you analyse every scenario? Do you sometimes find yourself in a vicious intrusive thought trap? You may have thought things about yourself such as, “I’m ugly”,  “I’m not good enough” or “This WILL go wrong” but did you know that often these thoughts, belief systems and stories we tell ourselves, are actually not real?

When discovering the book The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris, I was astounded at the concept that more often than not, our thoughts are a conjuring of our own mind and are often not facts, but stories we tell ourselves.

If you break down what thoughts actually are, you will realise that our thoughts are just words. We have a never ending commentary in our minds, a radio station that sometimes gets stuck on the same channel, and we become hooked on stories we tell ourselves, believing them to be true.

Russ Harris challenges the reality of our thinking. He looks at how our happiness depends on a habit of mind WE actually cultivate. We drown in the stories we tell ourselves, and can become a crazy thought factory that often causes us emotional harm.

How do we stop this? It’s not easy, but we must start noticing our thoughts. Especially when we find ourself in a negative state of mind. We must create space and look at our ‘thinking mind’ as an observer and we must challenge if our thoughts are actually true. Am I not good enough? Who says. What are the facts behind this belief. Often you will find there are none and this is when the thought will become fiction and you will detach from it.

This way of living requires practice. The human mind is constantly thinking. It can be difficult to stop and observe and it’s almost impossible to turn the radio station of our mind off but, it is possible to change the channel. All we can do is step back, listen to the ‘words’ we are telling ourselves and try and choose or diffuse them.

Learning this tool can be astoundingly liberating. Rather than being a slave to your mind, you can become the master and choose what thoughts are healthy for you.

So remember, when you are experiencing intrusive thoughts; thoughts are not reality. They are just thoughts created by you.

Beyond death, Life

When I first heard the concept Beyond death, Life, I struggled to understand its meaning. It is only now, after going through my own hardship and struggles, that this concept makes profound sense.

We may find ourselves experiencing intense hardship now or have at some period in our life, perhaps hitting rock bottom, wondering if we will ever see light again. But what we don’t realise at the time is that these struggles can actually be the making of us. Through adversity and challenges, we actually become a higher version of ourselves.

It may be that death has come to you through a physical loss that takes you into the depths of despair. It may be a loss of a financial or professional situation you once relied on. It may be grieving a relationship with your partner, family or friend. It could be a sense that you don’t know who you are anymore, and that you feel you have lost yourself.

If we reach the bottom, you must be willing to face death; releasing the situation, the old ego, casting aside its layer’s. This is not easy, especially during a significant time of loss. But with release of the old self, we enable ourselves to live a new self.

When experiencing a period of struggle you are actually at a cusp of an ending and a beginning. The moment is happening so you can experience an intense, transformative period of growth as hard as this is to understand at the time. You may be thinking why has this happened? That it is unfair and that no good can possibly come out of the situation. Either way, there is an imminent ending and a new life is coming to you.

Personally, I struggle with this concept when it comes to death of a loved one. There is a part of you that does not want to release the grief in fear you may actually let them go. I feel this is an exception.

Ultimately believing in the concept Beyond death, Life, I now know is a statement of hope. It’s an opportunity for you to focus on what is becoming, whilst honoring what is no longer to be.

Life Interrupted | Life in a psychiatric facility #2

I noticed by week five in the facility I started to do odd things. I was moulding into the beige, peeling walls. Everyone knew me and I was forming some attachments. I longed for progress but honestly felt like I was drifting more into insanity.

I would circle the hospital, pace and critique every artwork and ensure it was straight. There were endless prints of Monet. Those damn water lilies. Sometimes I would make each piece crooked and straighten them again on my next lap, just for something to do. I was bored. I’d wave at the cameras. I knew I must look insane. Was I?

Life in the facility had become monotonous. Wake, eat, medication, eat, group therapy, eat, pace, eat and then again after more medication, eat. I was getting fat. I would wobble more as I paced. And, every day was the same. Every day was vanilla.

I would sort through the health brochures and chuck those that were out of date, just to be helpful. I would change signs that were spelt wrong, just to be helpful. I would take my blood pressure and that of other patients, just to be helpful. I sorted through DVD collections, and placed them all in genre and alphabetical order. I was aware I was losing my mind. My mask was dropping. I started not to care.

One night I watched a couple of patients play Chess in the dining room. I had no idea what was happening, I didn’t know the rules but just sat and stared. It was something to do. One of the men looked rough, upkept, dangerous. He smelt of stale whiskey and smoke. He carried a tin, I didn’t know what was in it. I asked him where he learnt to play.

“In jail”, he replied.

I didn’t bat an eye lid. I picked up my ham and cheese sandwich and waddled to my room.

What was in his tin? It didn’t matter. I realised I had reached the point. I was desensitised.

I am currently working on a book regarding this topic. Any comments on this piece would be greatly appreciated. I’d love to hear from you.

THE ADELAIDE STYLIST: The Ultimate Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is just under two weeks away, and if you haven’t bought your gift, Anthea Cluse, The Adelaide Stylist, is here to help! And, unlike the catalogues flooding our letterboxes, these gifts are certainly going to be much more well received than another home or kitchen appliance (A vacuum for Mother’s Day…don’t think so!)

Personal Styling Experience Gift Voucher

Wardrobe

Does your mum have trouble deciding what to wear? Does she have a closet full of clothes that she never wears and/or needs organizing?  If your mum is short on time to shop for herself contact Anthea, The Adelaide Stylist (anthea@theadelaidestylist.com.au) and she will arrange a gift voucher and package that will give your Mum an experience like no other!

Flowers

This may seem like an obvious choice, but to help you decide where to go, here are some of Adelaide’s best florists to spoil your mum this Mother’s Day.

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Chocolates

Only the best for your mum. We’re talking Haighs (obviously!) and Koko Black. Reliable favourites and a guaranteed winner.

Day Spa Gift Vouchers

Every mum deserves a little pampering. Why not buy a voucher to one of Adelaide’s best Day Spa’s.

Pyjamas 

Everyone loves new pyjama’s and with winter coming, here’s some of the best sleepwear to treat your mum this Mother’s Day (daggy flannelettes not included!).

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Slippers

Time to treat your mum’s feet with some luxurious slippers this Mother’s Day.

A bit of bling…

What better day to spoil mum with something special. Check out these fabulous pieces, sure to impress.

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Perfume

Thinking perfume, but can’t make a choice? Here are some of the latest perfumes, sure to WOW your mum this Mother’s Day.

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Gift Packs

Still undecided? Let’s look at some of the amazing gift packs available in Adelaide and online.

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Need some style/gift advice? Contact Anthea on anthea@theadelaidestylist.com.au or follow on Instagram: @theadelaidestylist / Facebook: @theadelaidestylist