Tag Archives: life choices

Week 3 No Buy Review: Christmas is coming

22 Dec 15
Megan
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In regards to my health, I’ve struggled a lot again this last week thanks to the continued changes in weather. Pain and fatigue have been constant and the few days I’ve been a little better (and some of the bad days) have been busy thanks to appointments/social events. Given all of this it hasn’t been too difficult to stick with the no buy challenge but I was tempted by a couple of dresses that appeared on the Facebook page of my favourite vintage shop…

2015-12-16 07.04.132015-12-17 07.00.24

Why was I tempted by these dresses?

Earlier this year, as part of my decluttering I decided to give away any clothes that were no longer comfortable for me to wear. I’m still working on this but I did donate my ‘Christmas dress’ (the dress I’ve worn for Christmas for the last 4 years) because the zip was just not comfortable for me any more.

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013

Having a nap during Christmas 2013…

I loved that dress, it looked great and even had pockets, but I had got to the point that every time I wore it the zip felt like it was cutting my back open so it went… At least I know it went to a wonderful lady who will get great use out of it.

Now that Christmas is coming closer I realised I didn’t have my Christmas dress. The dresses from Push Pin look amazing and, apart from colour, they look like they fit my new guidelines for purchases (when the No Buy Challenge ends – I’ll explain these in a different post later).

How did I avoid the temptation?

Well, as I’ve already stated my health hasn’t been the best so even if I had been tempted enough I didn’t really have the energy or strength to head into the shop and try them on.

I also decided that my Christmas dress doesn’t have to be red…

One of my favourite dresses that I already own is a beautiful teal green colour that could be dressed up Christmassy.

The top of the dress...

The top of the dress…

During an interview earlier this year...

During an interview earlier this year…

The photos don’t really show me the colour properly…

I still have my Christmas earrings and wear the same Christmas hat (see photos above) each year at Christmas Eve dinner with the in-laws.

Do you have a specific outfit you wear for Christmas?

If you’ve joined in the challenge, how are you going?


A social weekend – Week 2 No Buy Review

15 Dec 15
Megan
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Another week has past and the No Buy challenge is going well. You can check out Rach’s week in review here.

Thanks to my energy being so low the majority of my week was spent at home either listening to audio books or reading. During the week, my only outings were dinner with my husband’s parents and an acupuncture appointment.

From Friday to Sunday were pretty full of social activities (at least for me). Even though my energy was still very low and pain higher than ‘normal’, I try and make an effort to have at least one or two social outings a week (usually visiting my mum and one other event).

I had visitors at our house on Friday. Morning tea with one of my friends who I enjoy spending time with but don’t get to see often enough. Lunch with my dad and his girlfriend. Generally I aim for only one catch up in a day but occasionally life gets in the way (it happened twice this weekend).

Saturday we went to a friends place for a bbq dinner. Again this was someone I hadn’t seen in a long time and it was great to catch up with everyone there. We stayed a few hours and then went home so I could rest.

Sunday we again had friends over for morning tea and then went to a friends house for lunch and a swim (they have a pool).

Over all, it was a very VERY busy weekend for me but every now and then I feel it’s important to go with the flow and deal with the effects afterwards.

This close to Christmas there are usually a few Christmas get togethers. This year there aren’t as many but I still want to spend time with family and friends.

In the next week we’re going to the movies (tickets pre-bought by my husband before the challenge started), I have an exercise physio appointment and I get to pick up my new glasses.

How was your week? How are you feeling in the lead up to the Christmas Crazy period?

ps sorry no pictures this week…

Week 1 No Buy Review… Hot and Foggy

08 Dec 15
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It’s been a week since Rach and I started our 20 Week no buy challenge and I may have already gone against my lists….

Let’s have a quick overview of the last week.

The weather here has been very hot and variable. Because of these weather changes my health has also been all over the place with the brain fog, fatigue and pain all higher than my normal levels. I’ve also been feeling mentally vulnerable at the moment due to a whole range of things happening around us so I’ve been very emotional.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t had some good times over the last week. On Friday night our local Council hosted one of their Moonlight Markets in the local park. My husband and I went along. We had dinner together and I bought a pair of earrings…

Now I’m still tossing up whether these earrings will be for me or a gift for someone else, but I feel that I’ve broken one of my ‘will not buy’ items…

They came packed nicely (see below) so at the moment they’re sitting under our christmas tree. They’ll either be a present for someone else or I’ll open them for christmas.

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There were several times when, thanks to my emotional vulnerability, I was tempted to buy junk food or have lunch out by myself during the week but I didn’t!

Most of the week was spent resting, although I did manage a bit of work and also had a few appointments and social activities.

On the weekend (when the weather was at it’s worst) my husband and I went to the local shops to buy a lego set that we’d been looking at for a while that was cheaper than we’d seen it before. While in the shops we found the last book in the Obernewtyn series, a series that I have been reading for many years. Because I already owned all the other books we bought this one as well and I’ve spent a lot of time since then reading (started the series from the beginning again because it’s been 4 years since the last book came out).

Other than those two purchases (the book and the earrings) I believe I’ve stuck to my guidelines pretty well…

  • We went and watched a friend playing ice hockey on Sunday morning. A nice way to spend such a hot morning!
  • We had takeaway for dinner last night after a workshop I was running. This fits with my guidelines as it was a shared meal with my husband.
  • We’ve done grocery shopping and purchased fresh local cherries, apricots and handpicked beans.
  • I’ve purchased a set of stainless steel straws that I’ve been looking at for a long time. I often need to use straws but feel guilty about the waste they cause. Having a stainless steel straw in my bag at all times will mean I can say no to the plastic ones.
My zero waste eating out kit that lives in my handbag consists of a spoon, chopsticks, straw and napkin.

My zero waste eating out kit that lives in my handbag consists of a spoon, chopsticks, straw and napkin.

So there have been both positives and negatives this week. Let’s see how I fair in the next few weeks leading up to Christmas!

Check out how Rach did in the first week in her post here.

Have you been joining us on this challenge? If so, how have you been going?

A 20 Week No Buy Challenge

01 Dec 15
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Wow, I can’t believe it’s December already! I’m so happy that I managed to make it through the last month of daily posts for National Blog Posting Month. It was a struggle but I made it thanks to being able to schedule a few posts in advance each week to cover days that I would be busy or my energy was too low.

Now that NaBloPoMo is over for 2015, I’m going to cut back a bit on my posting and aim for 2 – 3 posts a week.

My friend Rach, from Around the World with Rachael, has invited me to join her in a 20 Week No Buy Challenge starting today, December 1. She will also be posting about this today so I’ll let her share her rules and reasons for participating in this challenge.

My reasons for participating in this 20 week challenge is not only to support Rachael as she does it but to continue my journey towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life now that the A-Z Guide has been completed.

I have previously stated on social media that I was going to attempt a full year of ‘No Buy’ in relation to clothing, however I didn’t succeed in that. When my leggings died a few months ago I held off but did end up buying a new pair of leggings, a top and a dress. I did make sure I removed at least one item (sometimes up to 3) from my wardrobe for each new thing I brought in.

I’m happy with my wardrobe as it is at the moment, so not buying clothes and jewellery should be easy for me; especially for 20 weeks. Given that, I’m expanding my rules (or modifying them) slightly from what Rachael is going to focus on (clothing, shoes, accessories).

Megan’s 20 Week No Buy Challenge Rules

Things I will not be buying:
  • Clothing – exceptions will be made if something I have only one of (e.g. leggings) completely die. Otherwise, make do with what I have.
  • Shoes and accessories (this should be easy, I haven’t bought anything new in this category for quite a while and have only just received a new pair of earrings from my husband as an anniversary gift).
  • Junk food (this will be a struggle for me, although not often I do find when I’m feeling at my worse I do tend to grab some apricot slices or chocolate).
  • Eating out or takeaway alone. I will still eat out with family and friends but try to make each outing meaningful and when I’m eating alone I will make my own food or eat leftovers from home.
  • Other Non-essentials – toys, games, fancy new gadgets… (I’m sure I’ll be tempted by some things but can’t think of them right now, so that’s what this category is meant to be covering).
Things I will still be buying:
  • Necessities – groceries, house related bills, etc.
  • Gifts for others – my focus will be on making sure gifts fit with Elena’s 5H Code of Holiday Giving. Where possible I will make gifts at home, if this isn’t possible I will aim for gifts to be at least 2 of the following – Handmade, Healthy, Helpful and from Here (local) – and will focus on experiences.
  • Experiences and events that fit with my values.
  • Work related expenses.

Rachael is planning to post a weekly update, so I will too. In her posts Rachael will be sharing an outfit from her own wardrobe (given her focus is on fashion related shopping). I might do the same thing to show you how my (almost) minimal wardrobe works for me.

The photos will be simple shots taken on my phone so won’t be the best quality but will share what I have in my wardrobe.

I’ll start with what I’m wearing today…

 

Maxi dress - crash day

It’s a crash day for me today with pain and fatigue quite high so I’m wearing my maxi dress (maternity dress from Target a few years ago). I may add a jumper later on if it cools down any more than it is right now.

So, what can you expect from me over the next few months?

I’m cutting back my posts from daily to something more sustainable (2-3 posts a week). One of those weekly posts will be (for the next 20 weeks at least) an update on how I’m going with our #nobuychallenge. The other posts will be either health or lifestyle related posts that I hope will continue to provide support and inspiration for you, my readers.

You can join in with our challenge by commenting on our posts (or writing your own) letting us all know about what you’re doing. Modify the rules to suit yourself. If you do share your challenge on social media, let’s use the hashtag #nobuychallenge so we can find posts easily.

A-Z Guide to a simple, sustainable, meaningful life

01 Dec 15
Megan
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Thank you for joining us on this journey towards more simple, sustainable and meaningful lives.

This guide has been written from the point of view of someone living with chronic illness but the topics and concepts discussed are relevant to everyone and anyone.

For more information on each point of the A-Z Guide, please click on the links below.

A-Z Guide

is for Acceptance

is for Budget

is for Community

is for Delegate

is for Enough

is for Faith

G is for Give

is for Health

is for Inspire

is for Joy

is for Know

is for Learn

is for Mindful

is for Needs

is for Outdoors

is for Pace

Q is for Quality

is for Reflection

is for Space

is for Transform

U is for Unplug

is for Values

is for Wonder

is for eXperiment

is for Yes

is for Zero

Have you taken steps towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life?

Z is for Zero

30 Nov 15
Megan
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Join me on a journey towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Throughout November we have been exploring each category of the A-Z guide to a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Thank you for joining us on this journey towards more simple, sustainable and meaningful lives. Over the last month we’ve talked about a lot that we need to continue to work on over time if we’re to succeed. Today we finish up by looking at Z… Zero.

This guide has been written from the point of view of someone living with chronic illness but the topics and concepts discussed are relevant to everyone and anyone.

Z is for Zero

A simple life is one in which we’re aiming for ZERO (or as close to zero as we can get).

We’re aiming for zero stress, disappointment and waste (time, money, things).

If we’re realistic we know that this isn’t doable but it’s good to set our goals high. Each and everything we’ve talked about over the last month are small steps towards achieving this goal.

My ZERO includes reducing the negative impact I have on both those around me and the environment. That’s because this fits with my values, it may not fit with yours.

My ZERO means trying to live by Bea’s 5 R’s – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot.

My ZERO also means learning to compromise. My husband’s values may not be exactly the same as mine. At times I compromise on waste coming into our home to meet his values as well.

My ZERO means spending as much time as possible with my family and friends, helping others as much as I can through my work and what I do in my spare time, and spending time by myself to focus on healing my body.

My ZERO is a life in which I feel needed, loved, supported and cared for.

What is your ZERO?

Y is for Yes

29 Nov 15
Megan
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Join me on a journey towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Throughout November we will be exploring each category of the A-Z guide to a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Today we’re looking at Y… Yes.

This guide has been written from the point of view of someone living with chronic illness but the topics and concepts discussed are relevant to everyone and anyone.

Y is for Yes

Say YES!

To looking after yourself.

Photo (c) E. S. January, 2014

Photo (c) E. S. January, 2014

To living by your values.

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To being the best YOU you can be!

Over the last few months I’ve made an effort to say YES to opportunities that have come my way. I’m being careful to try and keep pacing while I do this and I’m also giving myself permission to say YES to my health by saying NO to others when I need to.

By saying YES over the last few years I’ve taken up some exciting opportunities, including:

  • Creating the Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang picture book
  • Developing a 3-year Environmental Management Plan which will guide community sustainable actions within one of the Local Councils I work with
  • Developing educational biodiversity trails for local schools in another Local Council
  • Joining the executive committee for the South Australian Chapter of the Australian Association for Environmental Education through which I’m helping with organising and running a national conference later next year.

Without saying YES, I wouldn’t be doing any of these things but to be able to do them I also need to say YES to the following:

  • Pacing myself and resting every day
  • Eating as healthy as possible
  • Listening to my body

What do you say YES to?

Don’t forget that the Ultimate Spoonie Giveaway is now open. Sign up here for your opportunity to win! This giveaway has ended.

 

X is for eXperiment

27 Nov 15
Megan
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Join me on a journey towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Throughout November we will be exploring each category of the A-Z guide to a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Today we’re looking at X… eXperiment.

This guide has been written from the point of view of someone living with chronic illness but the topics and concepts discussed are relevant to everyone and anyone.

X is for eXperiment

One non-formal way of learning is to experiment. Experimentation is essential for those of us living with chronic illnesses. For many of us there are no known cures (or even causes) for what we are dealing with. That means we need to constantly experiment with treatment options until we find ones that work for us.

Throughout my journey with chronic illness I’ve experimented with various drugs (antidepressants, lyrica, sleeping tablets, other pain relief). I’ve experimented with natural alternatives like the TENS machine, accupuncture, yoga, massage, meditation and visiting a naturopath.

I’m constantly experimenting with different routines, sustainable lifestyle options (like cloth toilet paper and napkins), and new healthy recipes.

homemade cloth toilet paper

homemade cloth toilet paper

Finding what brings you joy and wonder, and what you’re good at is only possible by experimenting with different ideas.

What experimenting do you do in your life?

 

W is for Wonder

26 Nov 15
Megan
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Join me on a journey towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Throughout November we will be exploring each category of the A-Z guide to a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Today we’re looking at W… Wonder.

This guide has been written from the point of view of someone living with chronic illness but the topics and concepts discussed are relevant to everyone and anyone.

W is for Wonder

Like Joy, Wonder is an important feeling to have in life. It’s also a feeling that is surprisingly hard to find, especially when things aren’t going right in your life. Think of some times when you have felt it, or when you can focus on finding it.

Take the time when being mindful to find wonder in the world around you. Wonder can be found in the smallest things…

The feeling of the sun on your skin as you sit in the garden…

The smell of the flowers…

The taste of a fresh cup of tea…

Without wonder, I wouldn’t learn so much. It is what encourages me to keep researching and learning. It helps me through the tough times by giving me something to focus on.

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V is for Values

25 Nov 15
Megan
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Join me on a journey towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Throughout November we will be exploring each category of the A-Z guide to a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Today we’re looking at V… Values.

This guide has been written from the point of view of someone living with chronic illness but the topics and concepts discussed are relevant to everyone and anyone.

I’m also going to cheat a bit with this post and use information from a previous post…

V is for Values

Everyone has values. Throughout this journey I’ve talked about how a simple, sustainable and meaningful life is different for each and every person and that because for it to be meaningful it has to be aligned with your values.

I’m going to suggest you do an activity to determine what your values are. This could be something like the 100 Goals Challenge I undertook last year. It could also be a discussion with your family to work out your shared values.

We’ve done this at LiveKen and, in no particular order, our values are:

  • With the Community for the Community
  • Make a positive impact (be sustainable and aware)
  • Respect yourself and each other
  • Be genuine and transparent
  • Love what you do and do what you love
  • Never stop learning

Let’s take a closer look at each of these and see what they mean to us, why we do it and how it is important for you.

With the Community for the Community

Every thing we do here at LiveKen is done with the Community’s best interest in mind. We also include the community in the development of everything we deliver to make sure that what we’re developing and delivering actually meets the needs of the Community.

Who is the Community?

When we’re talking about working with the Community for the Community, who do we mean by the Community? The simple answer to that is that we mean you, the complete answer is a bit more complicated than that.

Our Community are those who:

  • are feeling overwhelmed by life and looking for a way to simplify it
  • suffer from a chronic illness, such as Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, MS or any other lifelong illness that interferes with their ability to live a ‘normal’ life
  • Have multiple symptoms that interfere with life, such as constant pain, fatigue, and brain fog, but no diagnosis
  • are simply struggling with life and unsure where you are heading
  • are looking for guidance on living a more sustainable, fulfilling life

If you recognise yourself in even one of the statements above then you are part of our community and we welcome you to join us in identifying the issues and finding the solutions to solve them.

Our initial services are focusing specifically on those with health concerns and chronic illness but other services are on their way shortly, so please join us for the ride. Sign up to our newsletter to get monthly updates on what we’re doing, useful links, and special offers.

Make a positive impact (be sustainable and aware)

With every decision we make we consider the impact of that decision on our lives, the lives of others and the planet around us. We aim to make our impact on the world a positive one. Creating a legacy that helps others to live fulfilling and sustainable lives that have a positive impact on those around them.

By joining us at LiveKen, you are making the first step in the direction of a positive life change. You are making the decision to consider your health, those around you and the environment you live in when you make decisions.

We know that at times all of us will make decisions that don’t have a positive impact, but when this occurs we will learn from these experiences and make better decisions the next time.

Respect Yourself and Others

In the past we have lived our lives by pushing ourselves to the limits and trying to do as much as we can. For some of us, this has led to chronic illness and an inforced need to respect our own bodies. Because of this, and the negative experiences many of us have had since being ill, we are hyper-aware of the need to respect ourselves and each other.

You never know what other people are going through so try not to judge them. By trying to empathise with, and respect, each other and our own bodies we are able to listen to understand and not just to respond.

Be Genuine and Transparent

We only talk about things that we have experience with and an understanding of. We approach our products and services with open hearts and open minds. That means we are open to constructive criticism and will consider others’ thoughts and opinions on what we are delivering.

Through this blog we aim to be transparent about how we are working, what we are hoping to do, and what we’re able to do for you.

In many ways we are learning as we go. We do not claim to be experts in our field, instead we claim to know enough to help you and to find ways to discover what we don’t know so that we can help the best we can.

We will be honest when we don’t know the answer and, when ever possible, will direct you to the appropriate people if we know someone who is better able to help you.

Love what you do and do what you love

All of us here at LiveKen are starting out volunteering our time to get these projects of the ground because we believe in them and believe they are important to get out in the world. If you don’t actually enjoy what you’re doing then we will be asking you to stop doing it, if that means leaving us then so be it!

Because we actually believe in these projects, our aim is to provide as much as we can for free. However, we can’t live off air alone so we’ll be offering fee for service offerings to cover business expenses.

Never Stop Learning

To be able to Understand, Inspire and Empower we need to have that first step in place; we need to understand. A big part of understanding is actually knowing what is going on, as such continual learning through courses, conferences, interviews, reading and experimenting is key to LiveKen philosophy. We will be sharing what we learn through our blog, our courses and our other products and services.

So, there you have it! These are LiveKen’s values. We believe that these values fit well not only with staff and volunteers but also with our clients. If you believe in working with the community to develop services to assist the community, respecting yourself, others and the planet we live on, and continually learning to improve your own life and the lives of those around you then you have come to the right place!

What are your values?