Wellbeing is a blue rinse away

A couple of days ago I started writing a blog post about butter.

Yep. Butter.

It’s probably not a huge surprise – given my lengthy absence from this blog – that I’ve been suffering from a severe case of writers block. I couldn’t even muster a witty email until very recently (some may comment that I still can’t….).

Now I still plan to post that riveting analysis of the second best part of a cow. So you still get to look forward to that with unjustified enthusiasm.

But it’s going to have to wait.

A couple of hours ago I got a hair cut.

I’m one of those lucky people whose hairdresser also doubles as both counsellor and very dear friend. This is not a deal that Matthew really had much of a say in, but he’s been a very good sport and has kindly refrained from changing his number on me.

Anyway, he cuts a damn good head of hair. So much so that I feel a little like Don King hustling his talent (currently sporting the same haircut… coincidence?…).

Damn I'm good looking

Damn I’m good looking

So I’m sitting in the chair with my newly bleached, then blue rinsed, then shorn, then mohawked hair and I started to feel a feeling I’ve been missing in recent weeks… Enthusiasm.

It’s no big secret that I am Gollum’s grumpy cousin in Winter. Some demon takes over me that turns me into a giant pain in the ass. No amount of dairy-free, sugar-free, 85% cocoa mocklate can get me out of my slump (it seriously calls for the good stuff).

As Matthew has known me for quite sometime, and being the well adjusted human man that he is, he has developed a coping mechanism for my visits – wine.

So I’m sitting there with my grumpy cat face on and as my haircut is taking shape, my face is transforming into something I haven’t seen for a while. I think people call it a smile.

Lilac is the new blue rinse

Lilac is the new blue rinse

It dawned of me all of a sudden that wellbeing for me, is getting my creative groove on. I didn’t need those 30 hours of therapy after all! All I needed was a haircut and a blue rinse!

Creativity and in turn wellbeing comes in many, many different forms – baking, painting, singing, working, gardening, running, writing, speaking, a bit of pampering – whatever. For me, it’s doing something out of the ordinary.

And a good, colorful haircut was just what I needed to move my slump. 

Consider this a public service announcement. This is my list of ten things to get your creative juices flowing and increase your wellbeing:

  1. Get a haircut. You don’t have to go all out. Get a trim. Spruce yourself up. 
  2. Eat chocolate. The REAL stuff. As good as healthy chocolate can be. There is no substitute for cocoa and sugar. Strike me down. I said it.
  3. Write. Something. Anything. It could be your name over and over again if that’s what it takes (not judging), but writing helps.
  4. Be nice to people. I have a theory – Work hard, have fun, be nice to people. Genius!
  5. Pet a dog. If you have a crippling fear of dogs, you can substitute ‘dog’ for parakeet, kitten or miniature pony. It’s really not important.
  6. Donate to charity. Time or money, it doesn’t matter. Nothing is as good for your wellbeing as positively contributing to the wellbeing of someone else.
  7. Hug someone. Science tells us that babies benefit from close human contact. If it works for babies than chances are it works for big people.
  8. Breathe in fresh air. Even though it’s cold, and even though the couch is tempting, crisp oxygen will rejuvenate you whether you realise it or not.
  9. Finish something. This is vague. And that’s intentional. I am the grand starter of many things, finisher of none. But finishing stuff gives you immense satisfaction. Don’t judge me for quitting the crochet blanket/onesie.
  10. Be kind… to yourself. Your grump will pass and you’ll run out of recorded programmes on MySky and life will resume as normal. Breathe in. Now breathe out. And chill out.

If you want a number 11. I would highly recommend giving Hot Bikram Yoga a try. It’s not for everyone, but nothing says “get over yourself” like sweating profusely in a room that smells like mince meat with a bunch of half naked contortionists.

That’s all folks. Until next time. Enjoy the ride x

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What a bunch of losers

I am not a person who wins things.

When I was four years old, I won an Easter egg painting competition. That’s been it for almost 27 years.

Don’t feel sorry for me. I mean, I’m totally ok with it. Who really wants to win a years supply of red onions anyway? No thanks.

It’s gotten to the point where I enter competitions for the thrill of knowing I’m not going to win. Win six months supply of adult nappies? I’m in! The chance to win a free Eiffel tower tattoo on your back? Hold me back!

My luck is just not great when it comes to competitions.

I do have very good luck at being the person at a restaurant who will have their meal forgotten though. Or, the person most likely to be on the flight where the pilot will have to slam on the brakes at the end of the runway. But near death experiences aside, actually cool competitions where you want to win and feel a sense of success, pride and accomplishment? Nope.

Over the last six weeks I’ve been participating in the HR Biggest Loser with my amazing workmates. We each put in $10 a week and were subjected to weekly weigh-ins (“For the last time – Leave the scales where they are!!!”), substitutions (“I’ll have a glass of red thanks, there are too many calories in white wine”), and weird food experiments (“Chickpeas in cookies are a crime against nature”).

Early on it became less about the money to be won and more about how we were going to celebrate at the end – mostly this involved a lot of talk about a bucket of KFC chicken skin or two litres of ice-cream.

As we continued through the six weeks, we formed something of a support group for each other. It wouldn’t be unusual to hear a conversation in the lunch room go something like this:

Workmate #1: I am going to do terribly in this weeks weigh in. I completely lost it and ate a bunch of curly fries on Saturday (said with head in hands).

Workmate #2: You’re going to do absolutely fine! One little blowout won’t ruin all your hard work. And if anyone is going to do terribly, it’s me. I demolished a cream donut in front of the TV on Sunday. I didn’t even regret it at the time. That’s me out of the competition.

Workmate #1: No way! You’re doing so well! You’re totally going to win.

Workmate #2: No YOU’RE going to win. You’re the best.

Workmate #1: No YOU’RE the best.

For an outsider watching with a bag of popcorn, I’m sure it was just as entertaining as the show, but we actually lost weight the healthy way – check out this depressing article about the show – and without the psychotic, soul destroying personal trainers.

Now six weeks on, since we began in January, the eight of us collectively have lost about 30 kilograms (about 66 pounds or almost five stone). Everyone worked incredibly hard and it’s paid off.

The most amazing thing is… I won! I’m still shocked. I lost 8.17% of my body weight and I can hand on heart say that the chickpea chocolate chip cookies are delicious.

Post competition, I’m continuing with my healthy lifestyle. It was always so much more than about the weight. The removal of processed food and refined sugars has actually changed my life (cue – Oprah moment). Without trying to be cheesy – it just comes naturally – I win everyday when I have more energy, can run faster, sleep better and get a thrill out of making delicious treats like beetroot brownie! I’m not going to lie though, it felt amazing to win.

Sometimes it’s great to win. It’s absolutely ok when you don’t. It just means that when you do, it will mean so much more.

To B-Lal, BooBoo, Flick, Miss M, Sneilson, Flossey, and Miss Page – I totally dig you guys. Thanks for the fierce competition. You’re all losers in my book.

I didn’t eat my two litres of ice-cream, just the two scoops for me. Enjoy the ride x

Inaugral HR Biggest Loser - Winner 2014