A Personal Bloggers Are Us Challenge – What Is The Post We Are Most Proud Of?


The blogging challenge we set for the Personal Bloggers Are Us (#PBAU on Twitter) group this week was this:

Share with the group the post you are most proud of / the post you have written that is your favourite?

Easier said then done. Does one go with the most meaningful post, the well-written one, the most popular one, or the hardest one to write and share with the blogosphere?

Since we are sharing 2 of our favourite posts this week, I though I’d firstly go with my most popular all time post with 754 hits – which surprised me incredibly! Aside from the popularity, the subject is extremely close to my heart. I do hope you can get something from it again.

How Do You Maintain Your Mental Health?

I’ve battled with depression for over half of my life, therefore maintaining my mental health is incredibly important to me.

Statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that:

  • Depression is common, affecting about 121 million people worldwide.
  • Depression is among the leading causes of disability worldwide.
  • Fewer than 25 % of those affected have access to effective treatments.

These numbers are disturbing, so with the increasing prevalence of depression in society, how one deals with their mental health is becoming integral to daily living. I’ve tried a whole load of things to help me get through, some previously tried and tested, some things that worked, some that failed dismally.

Here are some things I’ve done, or presently do, to help maintain a balance:

  • Burn incense and natural oils when at home. I find certain fragrances such as Sandalwood, Musk and Lavender are relaxing.
  • Listen to music. Late last year I started listening to jazz and chants. I also started to rediscover some of the music I used to listen to – but had stopped through sheer laziness. I find it helps to take the edge off.
  • Don’t take drugs. Most are a depressant – after the initial buzz and high are followed by the lowest of the low. I learn’t this – not by choice – one night after my drink was spiked whilst out with friends at a club. I have never felt so low before in my life then I did after that night. The memory loss did not help things. It took me over a week to start feeling normal again.
  • Get a pet. Before doing so though, you need to realise it is a commitment, and they do require love and care. My dog was given to me as a present, and at times dragging myself out of the house to take her for a walk has been hard, but without her I would have been lost.
  • Write lists. This helps to get stuff out of your head and onto paper. I have many journals with copious amounts of lists on all kinds of things from what makes me happy, to what I want to do in life, to why I hated my job or felt so sad. This is also good to look back on years later – to see how far you have progressed, or to really ‘see’ your patterns of thinking throughout the years.
  • Allow yourself to rest. I have moved between the extremes. I have either rested too much, or I have gone like a bull at a gate, and ended up exhausted, sick and depressed. Allow yourself time to recoup, but try not to just sleep your life away. It’s a very easy habit to slip into.
  • Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga is the more relaxed, slower paced yoga style focussing on relaxation and breathing. I didn’t actually expect to be able to relax, as I had tried other types of yoga such as Ashtanga, and ended up stressed! But alas! The effects from Hatha Yoga were instantaneous, and I really must take it up again.
  • Say no. I still struggle with this, but you must learn to say no, and realise that it is okay to do so. Dealing with the guilt you feel from doing it is not easy, but you must remember that if you are exhausted, you are really no good to anyone (Note to self).
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol. I should be saying ‘don’t drink alcohol’, but I can’t do that as a few drinks relax me. You just need to remember to not let it become a habit, and to avoid binge drinking, as like drugs, the high is followed by a real low.
  • Exercise. Easier said than done when you are sad, tired and frustrated. I struggle with this as I’m either all of nothing. I become obsessed with something, such as weight training at the gym, but then I become so reliant on it for the way it makes me feel, that it turns into a type of addiction. And then I force myself to stop. And then I just don’t exercise.
  • Get out and spend time with friends and family. Sometimes it takes a lot to get out, but when you do it’s worth it. Even if you just sit in silence with someone. Knowing they are just there really helps.
  • Read. There is a wealth of literature on depression, on self-help, on writing and art therapy to help with depression, and of course comedic fiction, or really whatever you fancy reading. It takes your mind off of the seemingly never-ending internal battle within your mind.
  • Talk to a professional. You may need to try a few first – councillors, psychologists, your GP, and so on, but once you find the right person, major breakthroughs can be made. Most countries have organisations or initiatives that can help with the cost these days also – so hit google and don’t let money, or the lack of, be an excuse.
  • Take anti-depressants. From experience you are either pro or con anti-depressants. I have moved between the two, but as someone explained to me once, it’s like taking medication for diabetes, or cholesterol. Sometimes you just need to do it to have a better quality of life. It’s important to note here that not all types will agree with you. I tookZoloft many years ago, and weened myself off of it as the side-effects freaked me out. I managed okay for a few years, but then ended up in the lowest of the low of my depressive states, and after trying everything – diet, counseling, exercise, mediation, Pilates, yoga, and so on, I realised I could not do it myself anymore. After being open and honest with my doctor of years, we decided to try Luvox (Movox) and thankfully it has helped dramatically. The thought of possibly being on them for the rest of my life terrifies me when I think about it, but I would rather take a pill every day, then not live.

The important thing to note is that these may not work for you. Just because it works for someone, does not mean it will translate to others easily. It’s a matter of trying, and then watching yourself closely to see what the effects are.

It is also important to stress that there is nothing wrong with seeking help from medical practitioners, or in taking medication to ease things. From personal experience I have gone through this. I have avoided speaking to my doctor or seeing a psychologist, and battled with the thoughts of taking anti-depressants. But, sometimes that added assistance helps. It doesn’t mean you are a lesser human being. It just means that you are human.

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Starting Out Blogging


#PBAU

A good blogging buddy (and partner in crime) – Hajra Khatoon – and I recently started a 3 month blogging challenge. The aim of our challenge was to gather together an intimate group of personal bloggers to help shine the focus on the awesome-ness of personal bloggers for we felt that they weren’t getting the attention they deserved. We decided to call the group ‘Personal Bloggers Are Us (#PBAU)’ after struggling to come up with a name for it (finding a Twitter hash tag that hasn’t been used is really hard!). Just 2 weeks into the challenge, our expectations have already been exceeded.

This week we posed a challenge to the 24 participants:

‘Share with the PBAU group your FIRST EVER blog post’. 

We thought it would be interesting for every one to see how they started out blogging and how everyone had ‘developed’ in their blogging life – be it a short or long one.

In light of that, here is the first ever blog post of mine on this blog – Beginnings, published on 26 September 2010.

And here is my first EVER blog post, of which I wrote for an online community called Emergen (of which I’m now the Blogging Coordinator for), published 9 June 2010:

Learning From Past Mistakes

We can all learn from the ‘leaders’ we happen to come across throughout our lives, be it in politics, our families, work, university, church, etc.

Whether it be from the good they do, or the mistakes they make, some valuable insights can be picked up by merely observing and taking note. These things we observe can then be used to help ourselves grow as future leaders, and succeed in being the best we can be.

I’ve pondered my own experiences lately, and here are some tips that I’ve picked up over the years which may be useful to you are:

  1. Listen…and acknowledge that you have heard. Clear up any misinterpretations right then and there. It also makes people take note that you understood (you were listening!);
  2. Lack of communication can destroy a team and derail a project. It’s not brain science. Communication is key – and it needs to be clear! Less room for those pesky rumours and conspiracy theories then, or the good old ‘he said, she said’ scenario. In a day an age with phones, email, and all the gadgets, there really is no excuse (although face to face is best!);
  3. Pushing people till they break can get the best out of people, but take heed – it can also run people into the ground, and lead to stress, burn out, sick leave and resignations. When I started out in the workforce I didn’t know what I had in me until I was pushed, and when I discovered what I could do I was amazed! But I’ve also seen the other side of the scenario with too many colleagues, myself included, suffering from exhaustion. A sense of balance is good…
  4. A little bit of praise goes a long way. Even if it’s for a small accomplishment – everyone has to start somewhere, and sometimes a kind word and boost to the confidence is all someone needs;
  5. Don’t reallocate tasks without first communicating to the relevant parties about ‘why’. Did you know that taking work off of someone and giving it to someone else with no explanation can be considered as bullying – situation specific of course. If you ever need to re-delegate, just take a second and think ‘How would I feel if I was in X persons shoes.’ Sometimes there are time constraints, but there is email, there are phones…how you manage this situation could save a whole lot of heartache, gossip and dissatisfaction in the long run;
  6. Pitting people against each other does not work. Seen it time and time again, and in the end it always ends badly;
  7. Stay true to yourself…(now that’s not a quote from Marcia from Australian Idol ok!). We all encounter this at some stage in our lives – faced with being told to do something that just doesn’t feel right. Go with your gut. If you don’t agree with something, challenge it! Don’t just go with the pack. In the end you need to live with yourself. Sometimes you might feel that it backfires…but any good friend, colleague or organisation should be open to suggestions. If they aren’t, then you really need to consider whether their values match your own – and whether you belong in that situation;
  8. Don’t always provide the answers…a bit of guidance and encouragement to think outside the box and come up with a solution goes a long way;
  9. You aren’t always right. There’s nothing wrong with that – no one is infallible;
  10. Delegation is important. Don’t do everything yourself, even though at times you think you are the only one who can do it. How often I have been in this place!. Others need to learn what you do, and you need learn to let go. It also helps as a backup plan (leaders need to take time out and go on leave every now and then too!);
  11. Say thankyou.

And remember –

The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humour, but without folly.

 Jim Rohn

Note: To check out the amazing posts from the Personal Bloggers Are Us crew, search #PBAU on Twitter, and enjoy : )

Blogging ‘Etiquette’


I’ve been blogging for about 10 months – how the time flies! I think back to when I started and I had no clue whatsoever. I thought blogging was as simple as stringing some words together and clicking ‘publish’. Little did I know that there is such a thing as ‘blogging etiquette’.

Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way:

1. Proofread your post before publishing – not once but twice (at least)! 

2. Check your spelling, grammar and punctuation;

3. Check your formatting, especially when pasting contents from somewhere else: line spacing, font type and size, letter spacing, etc, can go array;

4. Reconsider the length of your sentences, and the post: at times so much more can be said using less words;

5. Watch your language;

6. Don’t copy someone else’s content – acknowledge your sources;

7. Think about your subject matter and the relevance to the forum;

8. Show some TLC – Tweet, Like and Comment other bloggers posts!

9. Remember that your posts AND comments contribute to your personal brand;

10. Be respectful to other bloggers and commenters;

11. Remain truthful to yourself and your integrity;

12. Engage your readers;

13. If you are going to ‘have a rant’ about something, try breathing before publishing your post by saving and revisiting it when you have cooled down – it’s amazing what a difference it makes.

Do you have any other tips on ‘blogging etiquette’?

Remember that blogging is a journey on which we all learn from each other.

And the final 5 are – A follow up from yesterday


As you may know, the wonderful MuMuGB (Muriel Jacques) bestowed me with the Kreativ Blogger award a few days ago (do check out her brilliant blog called ‘40BlogSpot‘, about a French Mummy living in London).

Of course, there were conditions that came with the award:

  • I needed to pass on the Kreativ Blog Award to 10 bloggers and notify them; and
  • I needed to tell you all 10 things about me that you don’t already know.
I posted my 1st 5 yesterday in order to pace myself (and a lot of thought was required!!). So, as promised, here are the remaining 5 who I bless with the Kreativ Blogger award:
  • Penelope – Dont Hang Up. I love reading the snippets from the reinvention of her life to her upcoming book ‘Don’t Hang Up’ (to be published in 2011).
  • Marisa Wikramanayake – freelance journalist, editor and writer. Marisa, aka My Mentor, covers photography, writing books, science and more on her site! I must pay credit to Marisa as she is the instigator of this blog, and the catalyst for me starting to write again.
  • I can’t not nominate my dear blogging friend Hajra – Hajra Kvetches. I feel like we have embarked on this blogging journey together, although we have never met.  Hajra’s posts are quirky, colourful, comical, insightful AND she has just joined me on the exploration of photography via our blogs (pressures on now Hajra!!).
  • Jin – Jin Jin’s Adventures. Okay, I’m no girly girl, but I met Jin a few months back and was gobsmacked by her art which is on finger nails! Yes – nail art! Seriously – check out her blog for some awesome displays of creativity.

And now for the next 5 things you might not know about moi:

  1. Apparently my lap top has become an extension of my arms. Good thing Denis just got an x-box…that seems to have become an extension of his! Touche Denis!
  2. My favourite genre of book: suspense/mystery. This stretches back to when I used to read my Mum’s Agatha Christie novels when I was a young-un.
  3. I love ‘sparkling wine‘ way too much (it’s not Champagne as it can only be called Champagne when it is from Champagne). Here in Oz we call it ‘Champers’. Us Aussies really know how to make something sound classy…not.
  4. My favourite all time rock concert is a toss up between Metallica and Pearl Jam. I’m a rock chick at heart, although I it has softened in my old age.
  5. I’ve had to start dyeing my hair as I can no longer hide the white hairs due to my super-fast growing hair. It’s still red – just a bit darker to try and hide the whites for longer…