Craven The City

Body & Soul

A trip to Youth Lab | hydrafacial perth

If you’re a regular Craven the City reader, you’d know that I don’t usually write about beauty, let alone my own beauty experiences, but I wanted to share this experience with you.

A couple of weeks ago, I walked into what felt like a beautiful, classy, and sophisticated home.

Only it wasn’t a home, it was Perth’s newest cosmetic clinic, Youth Lab and I was there for some facial treatments.   Not being one to get treatments like this often, I was excited!

Upon arriving, I was greeted by a friendly receptionist and treated to a delicious peach iced tea – yum! I had to complete a form (standard), but much to my delight, the form was on an Ipad (I hate handwriting with a passion).  Not only do I not like my handwriting, I don’t hold my pen properly, which gives me cramps, (never quite got my pen licence at school) and like my big personality, my handwriting is big too, so there is never enough space on those forms! Why do they always make the spaces so damn small?  Does this annoy anyone else?

Anyway, I’ve gone off on a tangent now.  Where was I? Oh yes, at Youth Lab in Perth!

 

Skin Analysis

 

All consultations include a skin analysis.  This is done by using a VISIA Complexion Analysis machine, wherein cross-polarised and UV lighting are used to record and measure surface and subsurface skin conditions. In layman’s terms, the machine takes photographs of your face to analyse your skin.

The machine looks at spots, wrinkles, texture, pores, UV spots, brown spots, red areas, and porphyrins (bacteria lodged in pores).

The photography process is quick, easy and pain free… until you see the photos!

Upon viewing initially, I felt as if I was watching a horror film, one I never thought I’d see – I was the lead actress and my characters ranged from some sort of green slime victim, someone with a serious acne problem, dead, an extremely old woman from cave man times, a zombie and a character from Avatar.

Pretty good descriptions for what you see below, don’t you think?

skin analysis

Much to my relief though, on top of all that scary viewing, I was told that I have very good skin and reminded that I look a lot younger than I am – what a relief!

I was also told, that there are affordable products and treatments at Youth Lab, which will effectively clear my pigmentation and broken capillaries (which I absolutely hate), so this got me pretty excited!

A happy ending, to what could have been a very scary story!

 

Hydrafacial

 

My first treatment was the Hydrafacial and it was amazing – almost like a scale and clean for my face – minus the pain and discomfort of course!

The thirty-minute facial is similar to a microdermabrasion, yet far safer and advanced.  The Hydrafacial works to exfoliate, deep cleanse, extract impurities, hydrate and infuse antioxidants and active ingredients for a full facial rejuvenation. The results are instant and with no down time – awesome!

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Although it may look like Alison is putting some weird, alien like contraption on my face, I can assure you it was comfortable, pain free and relaxing.

When the lovely Alison was finished, she showed me the container which had captured the residue from my skin.  Although a little gross to see, it was great to see the amount of crap which was on/in my skin and the amount she was able to remove – what a clean and fresh feeling!

 

Healite II LED

 

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Next up was the Healite II LED treatment, which I will be honest with you… Made me feel anxious to begin with.  Why?  Because it involves light LED photography, wherein you’re required to lie under an overhead light. This concerned me because, not only am I a little claustrophobic, I once had a negative experience with a red-light treatment at a Bali spa.  My anxiety didn’t last long though, because Alison stayed in the room with me the whole time, to help me feel at ease.

This treatment is proven to improve the levels of collagen and elastin in the skin, resulting in visibly younger and healthier skin. The process smooths fine lines and wrinkles, improves tone, texture and elasticity.

I laid under the LED light, with a mask covering my eyes for around twenty minutes, whilst Alison comforted me with her sweet voice and witty banter.

Being in the home of Dr Kate Jameson, an expert in aesthetic medicine, of course assisted with the relief of my anxiety too!

 

The Verdict

 

As promised, not only did my skin felt fresh, hydrated and softer, it looked brighter and my skin texture looked smoother too.

Even a few days later, my skin was still looking and feeling bright! I EVEN had a friend compliment me on my fabulous looking complexion.

I will definitely be going back to Youth Lab and am already thinking about trying out their latest BBL treatment, to help reduce my pigmentation and redness.

But let’s face it, I’d probably go back just for the stunning rooms, décor, beautiful Dr Kate and her staff!  Oh, and I can’t forget that delicious iced tea!

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Sit still & be

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Recently, rather than just walking straight home after my morning walk , I decided to sit on a park bench for a while.

Upon sitting still, I realised that I so rarely do this. I so rarely just sit still and just BE! Sound familiar?

As well as the sounds of the many beautiful birds chirping and whistling away, I heard the gentle humming of energy emitting through the power lines above me. I realised that I have never heard this sound before, because I have never stopped to listen!

I also stopped to notice that the bench I was sitting on, was dedicated to the loving memory of a couple, who lived in the suburb together for over sixty years until they died –  this made me smile and reminded me that a love like that is possible.

How often do you do this? How often do you just sit still, listen and just be? Perhaps you never do. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

 

Society

 

Technology, social media and our ever so busy lives have taken over our ability to simply sit still and ‘be’. Society too, has impacted our sense of self.

Far too many of us focus on what we think society wants us to be, spending hours scrolling through social media, comparing ourselves and our lives to others, that we don’t stop and ‘be’ long enough to get to know who we truly are as unique individuals, accepting and embracing this and striving instead, to be the best that we can be.  We are all guilty of this at times, with the exception perhaps of monks!

In allowing society to dictate who we should be, I believe we lose a little bit of ourselves in the process.  Sometimes we even forget who we are, because we are too focused on who we feel we should be.

I know myself that some of my worst days are ones in which have started with me scrolling Facebook and Instagram, looking at everyone else’s lives and wondering why I don’t have this or that, why this person does and envying the perfection that is one woman’s Instagram account!

I know deep down that this is all for show, that no one’s life is perfect, that there are an array of filters and special apps available. I am also aware that some people might possibly envy me as they scroll through my Instagram account. But even so, I know it’s not a healthy way to start my day, or anyone’s for that matter.

So, how about getting up before looking at our phones and starting our days with some ‘still time’?

 

Still Time

 

How can we ensure we get this ‘still time’? We need to make time!

If we don’t, I can guarantee it will never happen.  As silly as it may sound, I think I’ll start putting some ‘still time’ in my day planner, every day.

Even just ten minutes a day and this can be incorporated into your mediation time (if that’s your thing).  It is meditation really, but you don’t have to call it that, neither do you have to be sitting on a pillow or a yoga matt and listening to bells chiming, whilst humming at the top of your lungs.

It doesn’t matter if your ‘still time’ is at the park, in your kitchen, in your bedroom, or on the beach, it matters that you’re doing it.  It matters that you’re being still and being aware of your feelings and surroundings while you’re at it.

I don’t know about you, but on the rare occasion I do have ‘still time’, I feel better for it.  There is some sort of inexplicable spiritual peace which comes over you during it.  Peace that can’t come from anything else.

Here’s to stopping, sitting, listening and just being, for at least a few minutes each day – it feels amazing!

Your ‘self’ – What is it really worth?

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Recently, I was told I had ‘low self-worth’ and as well as making me feel pretty average, it really got me thinking!

What is self-worth? What does it mean? Does it mean something to one person and something else to the next? How is it defined? And how do we know whether our self-worth is low or high?  Is it okay for it to fluctuate?  Or should it stay the same?  Is there some sort of quiz we can take and should be taking to see if our self-worth is in check?

 

My own self-worth

 

I reflected upon my own self-worth and these are some of the things which came to mind:

  • I regularly take ‘Sami days’ to rest, relax and recharge
  • I cook myself beautiful and healthy meals (just for me) on a regular basis
  • I recently left a job because I was unhappy and it wasn’t the right ‘fit’
  • I’ve put myself out there by starting my own business
  • I try my best to ensure I get a minimum of 8 hours sleep per night
  • I end relationships which aren’t good for me
  • I live on my own and I love it
  • I buy myself gifts
  • I read personal development books
  • I meditate and exercise
  • I listen to and read positive affirmations
  • I look after myself when I’m run down or unwell
  • I’ve taken myself on holidays, all on my own

You get the idea…

To me, self-worth means that you feel you are worth looking after and caring for.  To me, self-worth is treating yourself with love and respect, whilst believing that you deserve the same treatment from others.

To me, all of the statements above, would only be made and actioned by someone who deems themselves worthy of them and has a pretty good level of self-worth!

 

Perfection?

 

Am I perfect? No.

Do I have perfect self-worth? No.

Am I completely happy with myself all the time? No.

Do I look outside of myself for validation at times? Yes.

Do I sometimes doubt myself and who I am? Absolutely!

No one is perfect, no one’s self-worth is perfect and no one feels completely happy within themselves all of the time (even if they say they do) – That, I can assure you!

Did you know that we actually have an inbuilt negativity bias in our brains?  Put simply, this means that we have a greater sensitivity to negative thoughts or comments and that our brain is more likely to jump to a negative thought, rather than a positive one – This explains the whole ‘positive thinking’ movement, right?! And no wonder it can be so difficult, we are basically trying to re-wire our brains!

Thus, our attitudes are more heavily influenced by the negative than the positive and this is one of the many reasons why our own self-worth is impacted.

 

What does the dictionary say?

 

The dictionary defines self-worth as ‘the sense of one’s own value or worth as a person’. However, there are many ways for a person to value themselves and assess their worth as a human being, and not only can this differ from individual, but some are of course more psychologically beneficial than others.

My conclusion:  It is not up to anyone else to tell you how low or high your own self-worth is. Not only may your self-assessment be completely different to theirs, but how do they know how you really feel?

I checked online and of course, there are many self-worth quizzes – Or self-esteem ones rather.  Curious to see if your self-worth is in check?  Check it out here.  Just don’t take it too seriously, because deep down, YOU know yourself what your own self is worth!

Have any thoughts on this topic you’d like to share or have a story about your own self-worth?

Don’t be shy! Please comment on the blog page, on the blog Facebook post or get in touch with me! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Touched by Suicide

SuicideSuicide.  It’s not a nice topic by any means.  But, it’s something I’ve been touched by.  Twice in twelve months I’m afraid.

I myself have never contemplated suicide, but sadly, two of my friends have and succeeded.

One of them was my first love and long-time friend.

It has been just over 12 months since his death and I still think of him almost every day.  Losing him was a shock.  It was a shock for everyone, as no-one, as far as I know, was aware of his battle with depression.

I cannot tell you how many times I have pondered; “What was going on in his head?”, “Why did he do it?”, “What was wrong?”, “Did he tell anyone?”, “Would he have told me about his troubles if I had asked?”, “Why didn’t I ask him if he was okay?”, “Should I have known?” and “If I had known could I have helped, and would it have made a difference?”  There are so many questions that still haunt me, too many to list.  Sadly, my questions will never be answered, and this is something I have to live with.

The scenario was different for my other friend.  His battle with depression was apparent to his close friends and family for many years.  He was vocal about it, he shared his feelings and thoughts with his loved ones, which is so important.  So for that, I am proud – good on him for speaking out when he could!  Heartbreakingly though, he lost his battle with depression and made the choice that he obviously felt he had to make.  He is finally at peace now.

I wasn’t anywhere near as close to him as my other friend, but he was someone I knew all the same.  Someone I spent time with, someone I danced with, laughed with, chilled out with and partied with.

These two friends of mine had one thing in common.  They were both male.

Beyond Blue and The Australian Bureau of Statistics state that in Australia, men account for 75 per cent of deaths by suicide.  In 2010, the male suicide rate was 16.4 deaths per 100,000 males compared to the female rate of 4.8 deaths per 100,000 females.

Why is the gender gap so large? Obviously every case is different and I’m certainly not going to sit here and tell you that I know exactly why.  But what I do know, is that on average, men are much less likely to speak out than women, and men are just not wired the way that we are. This is often the case with going to the Doctor too.  Men are far less likely to admit there is something wrong, mentally or physically, and therefore are often reluctant to talk to a Doctor either.  Interestingly enough, Income Protection premiums are actually cheaper for men, for this very reason!

Recently, a group of men took to Social Media, with a new awareness campaign marked by the words “It’s okay to talk”.  A selfie of men doing the ‘okay’ or ‘perfect’ symbol (as some would describe it), was accompanied with words similar to:

The single biggest killer of men under the age 45 is suicide. In 2014, 4,623 Australian men took their own life. That’s 12 men every day, 1 man every two hours.  41% of men who contemplated suicide felt they could not talk about their feelings.  And only 20% of people know that suicide is the most likely cause of death for men under the age of 45 in Australia.  

Let’s show men across the world that #‎IT’SOKAYTOTALK take a selfie tag your friends and let’s get the message out.”

I thought this was such an awesome initiative, and it made me really happy to see so many of my Facebook friends taking part in it.  You may be thinking; “What difference does something like this make to the issue?”  Simply telling men that it is okay to talk can make a difference! Simply spreading awareness lets people know that this is a serious issue, which needs to be addressed.  Any form of awareness campaign is sure to make some difference.  Even if it is just a little.

Men need to know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with speaking out.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling inadequate, insecure, sad, lonely, depressed, anxious, or whatever else they may be feeling, it’s okay! We all go through negative emotions at some point in our lives that I can promise you. It’s okay to talk!

On top of all this, there is still a stigma surrounding mental health, which is a huge barrier for anybody to seek help.  People are scared that they may be judged or ridiculed for this, which is so very sad.

I want to help spread awareness.  I want to encourage not just men to speak out, but everyone.

Please, I urge you; do not be afraid to talk. Talk to anyone! Whether it be to your parents, another family member, a friend, a colleague, your boss, a neighbour, a Psychologist or someone on the other end of a help line.  It doesn’t really matter who it is, just tell someone.  Recognising you’re not okay and voicing that to somebody is the first step, and a very important one at that.

I also want to remind you to be kind!

You don’t know what other people are going through or how they may be feeling about themselves.  So think before you say something to someone. Think before you send a nasty text message. Think before you blast a complete stranger on social media as you hide behind your computer.  Whether you know that person or not, have a think about it.  How is this going to affect them? Could they be going through something that you don’t know about?  Treat other people how you would like to be treated, it really isn’t that difficult!

When it comes to my personal experience, the biggest lesson I have learnt in all this is; not being afraid to tell people how you feel about them, no matter how often, and no matter how strong those feelings may be.

You never know when it’s going to be the last time you see someone.  So tell them how much you love them, share your thoughts and feelings, be kind, be true, and most of all be you!

If I had known then what I know now, I would have told my first love how much he meant to me.  I would have told him how much I valued our friendship, that his smile lit up the world, his laugh made me happy (I can still hear it now), that he was a beautiful person and most of all, an incredible father.

I will now spend the rest of my life, wishing I had.

So, I will close with this final message:  Don’t take anyone for granted and love the people close to you like it’s their last day on earth, because you never know when it will be.

 


 

If you’re going through a difficult time, are having or have had any suicidal thoughts, or just need to talk.  Please find some one to talk to right away, or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Why so restless?

restless leg

For the past three years (on and off), I have been restless.  I don’t mean unable to rest or relax due to boredom or anxiety, I mean my legs have been restless. I suffer from a condition called Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). It is characterised by a compelling urge to move the legs, particularly when in bed and trying to sleep. The cause is unknown, but it is thought to involve a malfunctioning of the nervous system.

If you have never experienced RLS, you can’t begin to imagine what it feels like. I’ve tried to paint a picture for you below to give you a better understanding of this little known disease.

This is a typical ‘restless leg’ night for me:

I’m really tired, so naturally I decide to go to bed to sleep.  I get to bed and after about 10 minutes of lying there and starting to slowly drift off to sleep… ”Shit! It’s started!” I begin to get a crawling/tingling sensation throughout my calves (some people ask me if it’s similar to a leg cramp – no it’s nothing like a leg cramp, I’ve had a leg cramp and it’s definitely not that!). It is almost like someone has poured caffeine into only your calves and there’s a party inside them. I like parties sure, but right now I want to go to sleep and I don’t feel like dancing! But no matter how hard you try, you cannot stop moving them.  Keeping them still and trying to relax is so unbelievably uncomfortable that you cannot possibly do it.  It’s like your brain knows it’s time for sleep and it just wants to mess with you!

So, next thing I do is get out of bed and go for my muscle relaxant tissue salts.  The recommended dose is to chew 1-2 tablets. I’m tired and desperate, so I chew 6. I go for a walk around my house, stomp on the floor, do some calf stretches and give them a massage, then I go back to bed.  An hour later, I’m still kicking and moving around in bed.  The muscle relaxants haven’t worked. I get up again and I drink double the dose of my Magnesium powder (maybe that will work), go for a walk around and jump up and down again, hoping my legs will begin to tire – no such luck.  Nevertheless, I go back to bed, as I have to get up early for work tomorrow!

Another couple of hours go by, I still haven’t slept because my legs are still having a party and it’s a late one.  My legs seem to be enjoying it, but I’m sure not! At this point I’m in tears, tears of exhaustion and frustration. I just want to sleep!  I kick my blankets off, bang my legs on the bed and scream, because I just don’t know what else to do.  At this point I would happily cut my legs off if I could ever bring myself to do so!  But I can’t do that…. so what else can I try?  “I know! A bath!” I run myself a bath with some Epsom salts (this has helped before). Whilst the bath is running, I walk around the house and chew on some more tissue salts (they’re all natural so they won’t kill me).  By this point it’s 2am, I can’t take a sleeping pill because then I won’t wake up at 6am when I need to (crap!).

The bath is relaxing and the salts seem to be doing a little bit of good, I begin to fall asleep in the bath. I jump out of the bath and quickly run to my bed barely dry, because I feel really sleepy again, so I must get to bed before this feeling goes away! Quick! The race is real. I’m worried that as soon as I go to bed the feeling may come back again (it usually does).  I feel nervous and I feel scared.  I get to bed and the feeling is back.  I begin to cry again.  Not knowing what else I can possibly do, I put on my mediation playlist and try to relax as best I can.  I toss and turn, kick and bang my legs around for a while longer, but eventually I am so tired and exhausted that I fall asleep, and thank God I manage to sleep until my alarm goes off at 6am.

I am exhausted.  I have to go to work on approximately 3.5 hours sleep, when my body is used to 7-9.  How am I going to do this? I have previously called in sick due to this very reason and my bosses never believe me.  They obviously think this ‘RLS thing’ is something I have made up.  So knowing this and not wanting to disappoint my boss nor feel guilty, I get up, push on, and go to work.  Work is difficult today, I get work done, but not as much as I usually would and not to the same standard.  How can I on half the amount of sleep I am used to?

Recently, after a lot of research late one sleepless night, I found a drug called Sifrol.  This drug is usually prescribed to people with Parkinson’s disease but can also be used for RLS because they are both types of Neurological Disorders, which are caused by faulty or lack of dopamine signals in certain areas of the brain. I went to my Doctor and asked for this medication.  He didn’t even know what it was and had to look it up! But I knew I wanted it and I wasn’t leaving without it! I got it of course, and have been taking it for a month now. I take it every evening, a couple of hours prior to going to bed.  I don’t like the thought of taking a regular medication, but I have to sleep right? It works sometimes, but unfortunately, there are still some nights when it doesn’t seem to.  Therefore, the struggle continues….

I am currently doing more research and am keeping a ‘leg diary’ of my symptoms, what I ate, drank and did that day to try and see if there is a pattern, so I can possibly find the cause!

I hope sharing my struggle may help people who have never experienced it understand, and help the other sufferers out there realise that they’re not alone.

If you have suffered from Restless Leg Syndrome, know someone who has, or would just like to ask me about it, I would love to hear from you.

 

 

The Power of Now

Here and now

Staying in the present, ‘the now’, being mindful, living in the moment – whichever way you choose to describe it, it is something I really struggle with.  My mind is often worrying and wondering; What if this awful thing happens tomorrow? What if this doesn’t work out? What if the meeting doesn’t go well at work tomorrow? What if I fail? And so on…

No matter how often I worry about the future or how often I dwell on the past, it doesn’t make any difference and it never will.  It doesn’t change the past and life never hands me a crystal ball to foresee my future with (as much as I would like it to).

So why do I do it? In fact, why do we all do it?  Maybe it’s because our minds don’t know the difference, or perhaps it’s our anxiety talking, who knows. All I know is, it definitely doesn’t help my life or anyone else’s for that matter.

Eckhart Tole spends a lot of his book, ‘The Power of Now’, talking about the fact that time is an illusion.  This was a lot to get my head around.  How can time be an illusion?  It’s 11.30am right now.  It is! I swear! My clock is telling me so! How can my clock be an illusion?  Perhaps Tole uses this theory to force our minds to forget about time altogether, as sort of an attempt to enable us to remain in the present moment.  However, I’m not sure how we would live without the concept of time? Did we not invent the concept for a reason? Or should we have never invented it in the first place? Or are we to simply pretend it’s not there until we’re in the next moment? I’m thinking too much again…

I suppose nothing does exist outside of the present moment and we should learn to remain within it.  I still can’t help but wonder…where do we draw the line? Does always remaining in the present mean that we can never discuss the future? Does it mean that we can never reminisce on past events? Does it mean that we should avoid making plans and be more spontaneous?

Why do we worry? What does this achieve? Absolutely nothing! Why do we dwell on the past, when we will never be able to go back and change it? And why do we worry about the future, when we will never have complete control over it?

The answer: It’s all in our minds and we are not our minds.  We do however, have the power to control our minds and one of the first and most powerful steps to doing so is to just be in the moment.

I am still not an expert at being in the moment by any means! But here are a few of the little things I’ve started to do, which seem to be helping me get there:

Turn your phone off at work

Of late, when I get to work in the morning I turn my phone off and put it in my handbag and then I don’t turn it on again until my lunch break. Then I can respond to text messages, check my Facebook, Instagram, whatever during my break time.  Then after lunch, I turn it off again until the end of the working day.  That way, the entire morning and afternoon I spend working, is actually spent working! Not working, then glancing at your phone every few minutes to see if you have a message is something we tend to do… and if we don’t have a message, we may feel disappointed, or if we do have a message we will respond to it. Next thing we know, we’ve just sent our best friend 10 text messages and just lost 15 minutes of valuable work time.  And most of important of all…we weren’t completely in the moment!

I know what you’re thinking.  Turn my phone off? What if there is an emergency?  Well, if you’re like me, your parents and close friends will know your direct line at work, so if it’s something urgent they can call you there.  So, unless you require your mobile for work purposes, then there is absolutely no reason why your phone needs to be on at work.

Cut down your Social Media time

I don’t know about you, but I was (and still am at times) a Facebook addict! I went through a stage where I checked Facebook every hour.  Every hour! I know – how sad was I?

I am gradually cutting down. I’m not cutting it out completely and I have my reasons for that.  However, I have cut down to checking it only once a day and I actually log out of the app once I’ve finished, so I don’t get any notifications popping up on my phone.  That way, when I’m doing something else with my time, I can be completely in the moment.

As weird as it may sound, I even recommend you have allocated social media days, or days where you just don’t check it at all.  Because when you’re not on social media you have a chance to just focus on yourself and what you are doing and nobody or nothing else matters during that time!  It really is freeing!

Yoga

I have only recently started the practice of Yoga, but I can already see the changes, not only in my body, but in my mind too.

If you have never tried yoga or don’t know much about it, the reason it’s such a wonderful tool for learning to be in the moment is because as well as being about stretching and toning your body, it’s also about your breath. Listening to, following and being in complete control of your breath.  So the whole session, you’re only focusing on your movements and your breath and once you get a lot of practice, you learn to completely shut off your mind.  Not only during the practice of yoga, but at other times to.

So whether you keep reading ‘The Power of Now’ over and over, turn your phone off at work, cut down on social media, practice Yoga, or all of the above, I ask you to join me in doing your best to live in the present moment, here and now.

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