Gratitude Day 2 – Health

Gratitude Day 2 – Health

I guess that ultimately, given it is meant to be an essay on gratitude, this should be positive things about my health, so here goes.

I am alive and for all intents and purposes, I am healthy. I am able to get around day to day, I have no physical diseases etc., I have overcome several health issues, have gone under the knife many times and struggle with shoulders and knees and my spine – but in your thirties, who isn’t struggling?

I am thankful for my hearing, music and conversation are my main loves.

I am thankful for my eyesight. Nature and all of the things around me I love to look at. Always. Photography, reading and looking at those I love, I have my eyes to thank for all of these.

I am thankful for my height. I wasn’t always, I was gangly and tall and weird, sort of just standing out like a long, white-limbed, red-headed weirdo. I love being tall it taught me to stand up for myself, my posture is strong, I don’t need a little set of stairs or a stool to reach anything. I see more people. I observe others. I do not get lost in a crowd.

I love that I have the physical ability and more importantly, I am thankful for my physical ability. To be able to explore, to feel the grass under my feet, to wrap my arms around those I love. To feel the sensation of rain on my skin, wind at my back and sun on my face. How could we not be thankful for these gifts?

I am thankful for having a sense of taste, for a multitude of reasons. The sense of smell, possibly more than the sense of taste for me. The sense of smell is so unique to each of us. Memories which come rushing to the surface when we smell something we love. The ability to smell danger is also so important.

I am thankful for my heart and my soul for always being strong. For being determined. For marching forward despite their setbacks.

I am thankful for my brain for although she brings me trouble daily, she is doing her best to improve. I overthink, but I have the ability to think. I am sensitive, I overthink things and I am intuitive beyond a fault, but at thirty-three, my ability to sense absolutely BS and run the other direction is a wonderful thing to have. I although distressed, am as equally thankful for my brain’s ability to recognise distress as it is and try to pry its own hands out of its own clutch. To fight for normality. To fight for peace. To always fight to be better. Oh, dear brain of mine, you bring me so much confusion and yet I know that after thirty-three years you are doing your absolute best to grow with me, to support me and to love me.

We aren’t there yet, but we will never stop trying.

x Courtney x

Thank you to everyone who read and responded to my essay yesterday! I had no idea that a little reflection on my awesome-foursome family would get such a strong reaction! To be honest, I also had no clue that my essay would automatically share to my Facebook page, so it was quite raw and honest!

 

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30 Day Gratitude Challenge

Life happens. Life gets in the way.

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Work.

Family.

Friends.

Bills.

Relationships.

Mental Health.

Physical Health.

Self-Worth.

The world.

Life happens, and life gets in the way.

How blessed we are to live it, to wake up each day and know that we get another chance, another 24 hours.

I have been having some pretty shocking struggles in the last six or so months. So rather than sitting here struggling to think of topics to write about, working out what rabbit hole to send my mind down instead of circling the drain – where to go intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Instead of uncertainty, confusion and the back and forth nonsense, I am going to focus on a 30 Day Gratitude Challenge.

Wish me luck, and please tag me in your comments or share my posts and let me know what you think.

x Courtney Gaye x

Christmas + mental health

Not another mental health post, some of you may be thinking. Where are the pretty travel pictures and travel stories, others of you may ask.

They’re here. I’ve got them. I cannot wait to share them, but with only nine days to go until Christmas I have something else on my mind.

Mental health. Not mental illness, not mental disorder, and certainly not mental problems. Mental health.

Christmas to my family is incredibly important, we love Christmas. We love being together and cooking and sharing thoughtful gifts, blasting Christmas music and wearing silly hats and telling terrible jokes from our Christmas crackers. My favourite memory of many of my christmases will always be that moment when I simply could not continue, I was full and exhausted, I’d had a day of fun and it was finally time for bed. I will always hear my mum and dad saying Merry Christmas darlin’ as I headed to bed each year. That is my favourite Christmas memory.

The holiday season is not always a happy time for some, for some people it brings with it memories of loss, a time of grieving, feelings of sadness and confusion. For some it means nothing but anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts.

Christmas is hectic. The holidays can be a real trigger for many people out there and we have a responsibility to check in on others.

For one of my friends, she lost her Mother on Christmas Eve. Another lost her best friend to depression on Christmas Day. Some people no longer have anyone to put their tree up with them. There are families who cannot afford to eat. Families without homes. Families doing their best to keep everything together, even though it seems impossible.

My favourite Big Issue vendor in Brisbane, Nathan is someone who stands outside of the 7/11 on Adelaide Street and wishes a Merry Christmas to ever single person who walks past him. I always make the time to stop and ask him how he is and have a chat. December brings with it a lot of hurt and sadness to his life. Not only is he homeless, but he lost his Mother, Step-Dad and his brother in various December’s. Still he wishes you a Merry Christmas. When I see people ignore him or even scowl at him I feel nothing but disgrace for the human race.

Last year, the week before Christmas, Nathan was telling everyone it would be his last week in Brisbane, he was moving to Hervey Bay to be with his son. His happiness was contagious, he hadn’t been that genuinely happy in months. I was silently rooting for him.

When I saw him on that same corner in January, my heart broke for him.

Missing out on the Portman’s dress you wanted for Christmas is not a tragedy. Working Christmas Eve instead of partying with your friends is not sad. Spending Christmas with your family-in-law or annoying Uncle / Cousin / Sibling is not depressing. They are all circumstantial situations.

I want you to enjoy your Christmas, be kind to everyone. Forget misgivings, remove toxic people from your life. Remember the reason for the season and practice kindness. Smile at your Big Issue vendor, if you have $7, buy a magazine. Chat with them. Ask how are you and be ready to listen and to mean it. Be socially aware.

Christmas is not shopping. Christmas is not presents. Christmas is not enduring Christmas with family, it’s an honour.

Christmas is love.

Practice love, always.

My go-to movies to make my heart happy <3

I absolutely LOVE throwing myself into a movie, tv series, book, music – you name it, if it offers me some form of escapism, or if I am hungover, or if I just do not want to leave the house – then I am in! I have 100’s of favourite movies, but here are ten which, without fail, are the movie version of chicken-soup-for-my-soul.

In no particular order, here is my list of my favourites – enjoy! P.S These are normally enjoyed with tea and or wine ;).

Overboard (1987)

This is a movie which I watched with my sister and my mother so many times, we have lost count. It’s hilarious. Goldie Hawn a snooty heiress who ends up with amnesia and becomes the ‘Wife’ of the Carpenter (Kurt Russell) she mocked? Amazing. If you re-watch it now, I guess you could say ‘kidnapping’ and ‘criminal’ and ‘immoral’ but I just think it is 1987 at its finest. Also seeing as I am constantly being asked when I am having a baby I like to quote this exact movie ‘if I have a baby, I won’t be the baby’ ;).

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

Steve Martin’s epic journey to get home to his family for Thanksgiving, trailing along with the ever-annoying, but loveable John Candy. It is another movie that reminds you that kindness costs nothing. It is a comedy, and I remember laughing with my entire family watching this one, but it also gives me all the feels. Despite its age, the core of the story remains ever-relevant.

Mrs Doubtfire (1993)

Hellooooo! I watched this movie probably 4 or 5 times every year when I was a kid. It was my first exposure to divorce, Robin Wiliams’ extraordinary talent, San Francisco, cross-dressing and Pierce Brosnan playing a skeazy d*ckwad. I love this movie, I still watch this movie and I cry every time I think about poor Robin and the pain such an amazing man experienced throughout his life. Also the sentence ‘the whole time!?’ is a staple in our household.

Practical Magic (1998)

I definitely seem to love the movies with lost love, not sure why! Is that morbid? I don’t know. I love Practical Magic, it came out when I was about 15 and excuse the pun, but it was completely bewitching. It was also scary when I first watched it – it did however remind me that love is real and one day I would have it <3. I love Sandra Bullock and I cannot help but love ‘our’ Nic. It also reminds you to stand up for yourself, not to give into bullying and to have your families back x

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

Heath Ledger. Kat’s Teen angst. A powerful female character who was not the most popular chick in school and who was well-read. Heath Ledger. That scene with Joey doing the exact same pose for underwear and swimsuits at Bogey Lowenstein’s party. Oh my god. The poem, the end scene, the kiss at the paintball. Just stop. 14 year old me could barely handle the excitement of this movie (and 31 year old me is still the same level of excited). This movie always makes me feeling ‘just whelmed’ :).

Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)

This movie has won no particular accolades, many people have not even seen it. I remember borrowing it from Video Ezy in one of my manic Friday afternoon 10 for $10. However, from the first time I saw it – I loved it and I still love it to this day. Diane Lane is Frances, a writer who goes through a marriage break-down and impulsively buys and restores a tuscan villa on a holiday. Uplifting, inspiring, girl-power, you can do it on your own. I absolutely Love it. If anything, this movie taught me that I had to love myself before I could love someone else.

Love Actually (2003)

Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Bill Nighy, Colin Firth? A little boy finding love and chasing after it with conviction even just after his Mum has died? Billy-Bob Thornton playing a sleazy American President? An entire village in Portugal thinking Jamie is there to kill Aurelia? What isn’t to love? It is a staple Christmas-time movie and to be honest, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love Love Actually, because, love, actually is all around ❤

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)

Who doesn’t love Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey as Benjamin Barry and Andie Anderson in this movie? All of the feelings! Special mention to Kathryn Hahn for being her usual hilarious self in this one as love-clueless Michelle. I like this movie because it embarrasses men and women – shows us how ridiculous we both can be! Also, Princess Sophia, making men curl their toes in embarrassment for years! Which couple hasn’t had the love-fern fight?

The Upside of Anger (2005)

Joan Allen is a woman whom I absolutely adore, and in this movie my love affair with her only grew. When Terry’s husband leaves her and her four daughters, her life is flipped on its head. Terry needs to draw strength to support her family and each one of their unique lives. It is gritty, it has some dark moments but it is feel-good. I do think its an adequate portrayal of a family filled with head-strong and very different women. Kevin Costner is brilliant in this as well and even though the movie is hardly all sparkles and sunflowers, it is a feel-good movie that I just keeping come back to.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Again – empowering! Also Meryl Streep (there is no Meryl Streep I do not love!) Emily Blunt (the most adorable English rose in Hollywood if you ask me). Stanley Tucci, the thought of being exposed to all of that fashion! Ruthless behaviour, demanding Boss. Sign me up! It’s glossy and not a true portrayal of probably any real-life situation but I don’t care. I love it and it makes me happy.

P.S I Love You (2007)

Ireland, Gerard Butler, the ultimate acts of love – even beyond the grave, a family rallying together to support a woman who has lost the love of her life. I love this movie. It makes me bawl my eyes out, it makes me remember why I love who I love and to let them know. Every, damned, time. The book is amazing and although I am not the biggest fan of Ms Swank’s, I absolutely adored the movie.

Tell me, what is your go-to movie, to perk yourself back up?

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see!

Please note, I am not paid any sponsorships at all, I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

x C x

Finding my Zen – Part 4 (tea, candles and colouring-in)…

I woke up nice and early this morning, I have been sleeping with the blinds open and waking with the sun, which is quite nice. Mum’s dog has become my new best friend since I got here on Saturday, our family dog passed away last year and it has left a gigantic hole in all of our hearts, so it is nice to bond with Greta. Typically our dogs have always slept in our laundry, so Greta was beyond excited to be sleeping in my room with me.

When I did get up, I found myself automatically reaching for my phone – to (as per usual), start my day by looking through my social media account son my phone. This is toxic, I am convinced that this habit is one of the worst ones our generation has. So I deleted FaceBook and Instagram from my phone. I haven’t deleted my accounts but I have taken them off of my phone. I don’t want to be obsessed with my phone and this is not the first time I have had to do it. At first it builds out of habit, then boredom and then before you know it, it is as automatic as breathing and that is not healthy.

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Guess how many times I automatically went to my phone throughout the morning to check? I lost count, how sad is that? Once lunch had passed, I knew not to check and I felt good – felt as though I was not a slave to my phone. Which is always nice! I also turned off all of the notifications which were coming through to my phone, so I could actually enjoy a proper break.

I spent the morning out in the garden, playing with my camera and trying to work out all of the new settings, I had no idea how markedly different my 80D was going to be to the 550D and I really want to be able to master it, before our big trip this year!

I also managed to force myself to go to the gym and get my blood moving, try to get some movement. It just felt like the same old routine though, so was not at all relaxing. I really need to learn yoga or pilates or something.

I have started reading more about where we are traveling this year, looking up fun activities we can do while we are away. It is the equivalent of daydreaming and I love every second of it. I am really glad I have taken some time just to relax, to stand on the grass and be in the sun and have cuddles wth a tiny sweet dog. As well as be able to say goodnight to my Mum in person and go to sleep in our home together. It is definitely the thing you miss the most when you move out!

IMG_9316Mum and I had dinner together, we watched some t.v and then I decided to finally have a go at the therapy colouring-in book. I have tried to do this in the past but have become bored within 5 minutes, so never finished one. Last night however, with my relaxation music playing in the background, I spent around an hour on one picture and it worked, I felt relaxed. It calmed me, I could almost feel myself taking deeper breaths. Amazing!

As much as I am loving being here, I am also really missing my Husband. I am going to try to do something lovely tomorrow, before I head back up to Brisbane. Not too sure what that is just yet, but sure I can put something together.

Happy Tuesday!

x C x

 

Finding my Zen – Part 3 (storms and sprinkles)

Day 3, of my initial 5-day ‘reset’ plan moved much slower and more peacefully than day 2 and that gives me hope! I woke up relatively early and decided to do a jail-break with my Niece and head out of a look at the beach and get a coffee. My Niece has just turned four and she is one of my favourite humans.

 

It has been raining pretty intensely here in Queensland, so the weather was not the best heading out, but in saying that – have you ever seen the coastline after there has been a storm? It is absolutely beautiful!

There is something so calming about watching the surf roll in, especially when there is such power behind the waves, we took our picnic blanket and an umbrella and sat by the water and just enjoyed the view for a while.

IMG_9676On our way back my Niece ‘shouted’ us a drink (Mum had given her some money, adorable) – we stopped into the local coffee shop near Mum’s house and I watched little L ask the server ‘Hello, can I please have a baby-chino with one white marshmallow and one pink marshmallow….and a toffee for my Bunty’  (toffee = coffee & Bunty = Aunty). It was so sweet and when she found sprinkles on her baby-chino there was a perfectly delivered ‘I didn’t see that coming!’. So cute.

My Niece also held me hostage into the ‘when are you having a baby’ conversation. We don’t really discuss that in our family, we get that it just is not anyone else’s business to pry or harass each other. My Husband and I have been together for nearly five years now and I would say people have been asking us for four of those (people outside of my family). In saying that though, a four year old asking is cute, not invasive. I feel like at the end of the chat she was semi-satisfied with my vague responses.

I had a really nice and calm dinner with my parents, watched some lazy t.v with them and also just listened to music and did…nothing. It was nice.

IMG_9686Then I realised I had not really challenged myself for the day, I had been comfortable and had a real sense of peace after such a nice day, but I had not done anything to challenge myself or push my limits. So (and don’t laugh because this was big for me),  jumped on AirTasker, decided to push myself – tried to get a couple of jobs. Came close but ultimately no cigar. The extra cash would have been nice, as well as doing something outside of my comfort circle, but it was not meant to be. Which was okay.

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I was a tradie for the evening when all the power went out, it was raining and everyone was asleep. I would like to say I did it all on my own, but really I had to ring my sister and asked her where the fuse box was. Anyway, somehow I managed to solve that at midnight and I was pleased as punch in myself. My Husband has asked me to refrain from calling myself a tradie for this one heroic act though.

I guess the best part of Sunday evening, was knowing I was not working on Monday and realising that taking some time off just to relax and spend some time with my family was the best choice I could have made.\

x C x

 

Finding my Zen – Part 2 (a five day turnaround is not looking good…)

Day one. Okay, so there were no earth-shattering revelations or learnings in terms of self-help, no defining Eat, Pray, Love moment and I am far from centred. I did do a few things out of order though, to shake things up.

pexels-photo-904616.jpegI slept in. Until 9am. This was super weird, I felt lazy and all in all a bit strange.
I did not go to the gym. On a Saturday. Which is normally habit for me.

I drove in sh*tty peak-hour traffic down the coast on a Saturday, in the rain. Again, something I passionately avoid. I did NOT lose my mind doing it. Made it to mums, discovered my step-father had AGAIN left the wrong keys out. Could not get into the house. Again did not lose my mind, just tried every one of the 73,467 locks/doors around the house until I had success with the screen door and got inside.

I decided to explore the bush out the back of my mums house. I was overly ambitious and thought a toy poodle and i would go for a casual stroll down to the creek. It turned into a mild rescue mission, with a historical poodle losing her mind and me billy-goating my way back up the hill. Followed by intense sweating and all in all, a dismal physical display. There are likely bush turkeys laughing somewhere.

 

My sister and niece showed up at mum’s not that long after and then my mum, step-dad and nephew showed up. Cue mass excitement and noise. Again, this is not something challenging, in fact it is one of my favourite things in the world – loud noises, and mass family excitement is something which will always make my heart happy.

IMG_9267I went swimming in the rain (in the pool, not the ocean – I’m not quite that brave). It doesn’t sound that crazy, but I had already washed my hair and I threw caution (stop laughing) to the wind and leapt into the pool, in the rain – without even checking the temperature (stunt-woman?). Then my four year old niece and one year old nephew also came barrelling into the pool on top of me. We had an amazing time and swam until our lips were blue. To top this day off with another ridiculous thing I did, I slept without closing the blinds, and stared out at the moon and the stars as I drifted away.

I am out of control. Seriusly, somebody stop me! Okay. So I did a few things differently. I would give myself probably a 1/5 in stretching myself beyond my comfort zone. I will try harder on Sunday.

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How do you challenge yourself? Do you have any tips for me? I would love to hear them!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see!

Please note, I am not paid any sponsorships at all, I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

x C

 

Finding my Zen – Part 1 (P.S – I have no zen, I am zen-less)

woman-hand-desk-office.jpgAs of 2016 there were 7.442 billion people in the world, 24.13 million in Australia, 4.691 million of these in Queensland and of that, there are 2.4 million are in Brisbane. As one of these 2.4 million people, I am very happily married, have a decent social life, work full-time in the Brisbane CBD (which I do love). I live in a set of 6 units, in a busy area and also take public transport to work. I go to the gym (also quite busy), try to run my social media / blogging accounts, message/call and FaceTime my friends and of course shop/clean/cook and immerse myself in books and tv where I can. So taking all of this into consideration and admitting that I am not living in Betoota, how can someone with such constant exposure to human contact and people feel so…alone?

pexels-photo-867453.jpegFor the last month I have gradually (and then very rapidly) felt my mind disconnecting itself from my body. I feel as though I have been observing myself, rather than living my day to day practices. Gym + work + routine +sleep – repeat. I get it, this is life, it is how every other functioning adult segways from Monday to Tuesday to Wednesday and so on. I have worked full-time since I left high school, without a break. My reward for working hard has always been travel every 1-2 years, normally for 4-5 weeks, sometimes for less and just once for more.

pexels-photo-287240.jpegOur next big trip (the trip of a lifetime if you will) is in September this year, we have been talking about, planning and dreaming about this trip for five years. It is coming up on us fast. yet six months is still you know, SIX months away. I think the constant routine, saving money and the same day in, day out repeat has finally weighed on me. What a bizarre situation to find yourself in – no real acute event or clear source to pin where things changed, where you lost your spark. It has happened though. On a humorous note, I commenced a 12 week no-drinking challenge as of New Years Eve and it has been brought to my attention that my attitude is 100% worse than what it was when I was drinking. So pro-tip, quitting drinking does not make you feel better, it has in fact, made me feel bloody dreadful.

pexels-photo-372281.jpegSo seeing it is only March and I feel like I have been dragged through a hedge backwards, I clearly need to do something about this. This is not a normal or appropriate amount (or lack thereof) energy to have at 31 (I will not say 32 until my birthday looks me in the face). I normally save my annual leave days the way a butcherbird stockpiles snacks, but given the state of mind and intense feeling of fatigue (and an unwelcome reoccurrence of high cortisol and hypertension), it is time to take a few days off and re-set the clock.

I have come down to one of my favourite places on earth, my mum’s house. I am armed with x2 books – which I plan to read.I have my togs for swimming. Will try to get some swimming in, will have a crack at meditation and will also try to take some photos. I actually have zero clue on how to relax. Can you be rejuvenated after only a week? What are your tips?

I would love to hear them!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see!

Please note, I am not paid any sponsorships at all, I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

The Dangers of Distorted Thinking

a9896298605b6d3eebd418fe51c62fe7It has been a long while since I posted on here – I must admit, I went to ground for a while and I have to say, I certainly took the time to reflect and work on my own perception not only of myself, but of others.

I hope you all enjoyed the remainder of 2017 and had a lovely Christmas and New Years period. I avoided making new year resolutions and instead have settled on a few agreements – no strict cut-off dates to achieve, but rather rolling commitments.

My first being to avoid alcohol and processed foods (bar one cheat meal per week – booze free) for at least six weeks. We are now into week three and I am feeling strong in this choice. I certainly am feeling better for it. Things got a little out of hand before/over Christmas and not only was alcohol being used in celebration, but also if I had a hard day, if I was bored, if it was there. Terrible behaviour! I am not unruly or aggressive but I just felt rubbish. Particularly for the next few days afterwards!

My next commitment to myself is to treat my body more respectfully. I want to exercise, not because I am ashamed or hate my body, but because at the wise-old age of (nearly) 32, I have realised that this is my body. These are my organs. This skeleton and brain and muscle and every hair, fiber and pore have gotten me where I am today. Every morning I wake up, get up and get moving. How amazing is that?

So – in the spirit of this – I am now going to be mindful of any ‘distorted thinking’ which I am prone to. Which, we are all prone to but may not be conscious of. As last year was a big year, and physical health issues aside – there were some pretty prevalent mental health struggles as well.

Filtering – this is when you take the negative details – make mountains out of molehills and ignore any positive aspects.

Overgeneralisation – this is when you come to a general (and often incorrect) conclusion based on one or no piece of evidence. You think ‘hey this bad thing happened, and it will happen again. Vicious cycle.

Personalisation – when you suspect that everything people say or do is a reaction to you, personally. You also get stuck in the awful habit of comparing yourself to others.

Emotional Reasoning – believing that what you believe must be automatically true. If you feel bored and uneducated then you must BE boring and uneducated. You cannot have this – this is toxic and terrible for you!

There are many other styles of thinking and associated actions which I would like to tackle, but for now – these are the ones I am going to be working on.

What are you working on? Have you any personal agreements with yourself?

Lucy

x