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6 Fantastic Tips To Successfully Complete Your First Fun Run

CSC Fun Run Blog

About the Author

Not only is Dr. Nicholas Tripodi a fun run enthusiast, he is also a Co-director and Osteopath at the Competitive Sports Clinic located in the Essendon District. Nicholas has particular interests in sports injuries, exercise rehabilitation and running and cycling analysis. He regularly competes in triathlon events, and is a keen runner and cyclist. If you’d like to know more you can visit the CSC website here, or if you’re in the Melbourne area you can visit them at their practice on Keilor Rd, Essendon.

Completing Your First Fun Run

Getting into running can be quite daunting for some people, and it may not come naturally. As an osteopath, I regularly work with people who are preparing for their first fun run. And, having also completed a few myself, I’ve compiled a list of important points to consider in order to get through your first fun run successfully, and  injury-free (hopefully). So, here are my easy-to-follow steps to get you off the couch and onto the track as smooth as possible!

1. Set Your Goal

It seems obvious, but is often an oversight for too many people. The first thing you should do is set out the goals you want to achieve. Set both short-term and long-term goals. For instance, your short-term goal may be to run 3 times in a given week, and your long-term goal may be to complete a 5k run in less than 30 minutes. You may also like to share your goals, whether it be with friends, work colleagues or, dare I say, on social media. This can help you be accountable to your plans and stay on track.

2. Get a Program

If you’re doing your first fun run, you probably don’t have an extensive history of running. Therefore, you probably don’t know how to best structure your training. This is where a good running coach or therapist can tailor a running program for you. They will take into account your goals, sporting and exercise history and current level of fitness, amongst other things, to work out a program that is perfect for your needs. They will also typically oversee and assess the effectiveness of the program and adjust certain elements as required. If you are not keen on guidance from a coach, check out Couch to 5K (link: http:// www.c25k.com/) or most fun run websites will have a basic program for you to follow too.

3. Track Your Progress

This is now super easy to do with modern smart watches. Most come with an in-house or 3rd party app where you can upload all of your training data to see how you are progressing. The problem is that smart watches are so good at giving data it can be confusing to work out what you should actually pay attention to! Some key points you should be looking at are: distance, time, speed and heart rate. If you are getting fitter your heart rate should start to become lower when you’re training at the same speed and terrain. Just don’t get into the trap of trying to beat your time every session – this is unsustainable and can lead to injury. Save your best effort for race day!

4. Do Some Cross-Training

If you’re new to running it can be very unwise to run every day. You should only be running 3 or 4 times a week to avoid injury and burnout. To build up some extra cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength try some alternative exercise to running. Some great options include swimming, cycling, rowing and resistance training. There are a range of strength training resources online, and programs to follow along with on Youtube.

5. Aches and Stiffness is Normal, Pain is Not

The body is amazing in its ability to adapt and change to the stresses placed on it, and running adaptations are no different. Some minor aches and stiffness is your body’s way of adapting to increased load – this for the most part is OK, as long as it only lasts a day or two and doesn’t get progressively worse. If some general aches and stiffness start becoming persistently painful it’s a sign that you’re over-doing it. It’s at this point you should probably see a therapist for some information and guidance.

6. Congratulate Yourself

Once you reach your goal make sure you take stock and enjoy your achievement. Reflect on where you started from, how you got there and what you want to do next. If you didn’t achieve your goal, think about why that was case and what you will do differently next time. The road to success is a long one, it may take more than one fun run to achieve your goals.

Final Note

There you go! Six tips to help get you to, and through, your first fun run. If you plan it out, take it slow, track your progress and celebrate your achievements, you can’t go wrong. But first, make sure you see a certified health professional before commencing any training program. Happy running!

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The Winter Blues: 5 Ways To Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Simply put, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder brought on by the changing of seasons. In the colder months, it’s commonly referred to as the Winter Blues. Whatever you call it, both terms refer to feelings of depression and a lack of energy. So, is this really a disorder? Or are we again trying to diagnose ordinary life? You be the judge. Regardless of your stance, it can be agreed that what we are talking about are patterns of behaviour, and emotional states which are affected by our environment. Fortunately, there are a number of natural remedies to help counter these feelings. Below, we’ve listed our 5 strategies to beat Seasonal Affective Disorder for good!

1. Exercise Goals

Should we hibernate throughout the Winter, like big brown bears? It seems to be how many people choose to deal with the cold… However, it doesn’t seem to be contributing to our health and happiness a great deal. So instead, try setting yourself an exercise goal to improve your wellbeing. This study suggests that goals relating to personal development and improvement can create sustainable happiness. Set a specific exercise goal, give yourself a time-frame to reach it, put the required systems in place to achieve it, and get SMART.

2. Sunshine

If seasonal affective disorder in the Winter can be attributed to a lack of sunshine, then it only makes sense to seek it out when you can! Get outside during your lunch break and soak up some rays whenever the opportunity presents. According to studies, it’s all about our body’s ability to produce serotonin, the ‘happy‘ chemical. It seems our brain can produce more serotonin on bright, sunny days. So don’t hide indoors all Winter, get outside and give yourself the best chance at producing mood-lifting serotonin by seeking out the sunshine!

3. Find Your Winter Activity

Winter isn’t all bad everybody! There are lots of great Winter activities that you can find to keep you motivated. Like snow sports – so much fun! Or winter hiking, considerably less-expensive. There’s also nothing wrong with enjoying the sound of rain pouring outside while you stay in and watch movies all night long. You could even take up a new hobby, like woodworking! Point is, whatever you’re into, try to look at the positive aspects of Winter, even if you consider yourself more of a Summer person. You’ll find it far easier to enjoy yourself during the colder months if you choose to make it work.

4. Can the Comfort Food

Don’t over do it this Winter. It’s pretty easy to throw a few chocolate blocks back while you’re indoors doing a whole lot of nothing. So, make a conscious effort to maintain a sustainable, healthy diet all year round. You don’t have to be so unbelievably strict that the chocolate in your pantry turns a bit cloudy. Just be a little more in tune with your food choices. It really depends on your health and fitness goals of course. So perhaps consider these next time you’re tasked with a recon mission to the fridge on movie night.

5. Respect the Balance

Unfortunately, the universe is not here to serve you. And the weather doesn’t particularly care how you feel about it either. It’s going to turn whether you like it or not. So, respect the balance. There is no happy without sad, no light without dark, no Summer without Winter. Each positive’s seemingly negative counter-part presents opportunities to build and earn your own little piece of sustainable happiness. This is also the birth place of resilience and mental toughness. Don’t drop your head, embrace the changes and turn them into positives by implementing the strategies mentioned above. The good times are just around the corner…

Final Note

Don’t let seasonal affective disorder wreak havoc on your mental and physical wellbeing this Winter. Take an active role to ensure the sustainability of your happiness year-round, and combat these environmental factors by putting a plan in place. Don’t hit the pause button on your life just because the Winter Blues are knocking at your door. Get outside, get active, eat properly, find something fun to do, and respect the opportunities you’ve been given! A simple and drug-free method is never a bad place to start… As always, thanks for reading, and we’d love to hear what Winter activity you partake in to combat the Winter Blues! Let us know in the comments section below. Good luck!

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5 Great Songs You’ve Never Heard With Powerful Words

Powerful Words Guitars The Short Advice

Powerful Words in Music

If you listen carefully, some of your favourite tunes might also have important messages to share with you. Music can teach us about life, history, society, philosophy etc… But unfortunately, being a fantastic song with powerful words is not the prerequisite for mainstream radio-play. So, below we’ve listed 5 songs of vastly different genres (and eras) that you’ve probably never heard before. Each song has some brilliant life-advice to take-away, which we’ve broken down for you in some detail. We’ve also included links to each song in our headings, so be sure to listen with an open mind…

End of the Movie by CAKE

Powerful Words: “… But you still don’t like to leave before the end of the movie.”

CAKE lyrics are often quite cryptic, and include wacky metaphors that can sometimes make it difficult to understand the underlying meaning. Which is always a lot of fun! But this track however, gives it to you pretty straight… The song is about a person who never gives up. Someone that is resilient and mentally tough. Regardless of how bad the circumstances, they are always willing to see things through to the end, no matter how bitter it may be. If you haven’t already done so, check out the linked video on YouTube and read some of the comments… This song may have genuinely helped save a life.

Man of the World by Fleetwood Mac

Powerful Words: “… And how I wish I was in love.”

The story of fame and fortune. The life of a travelling rockstar that so many long for. And yet still, the individual described in this song is lacking… In this case, the love of a good woman is what he truly desires. Perhaps the pressure of finding a relationship has begun to mount. It’s a classic case of ‘the grass is always greener’. The lesson? Value your relationships with the people you care about. They are more important, and more rewarding than any level of fame and fortune could ever be. Appreciate what you have, instead of wishing for what you don’t have.

What it’s Like by Everlast

Powerful Words: “… God forbid you ever have to walk a mile in his shoes, ’cause then you really might know what it’s like to sing the blues.”

This track has some very powerful and confronting lyrics. It explores some quite extreme hardships, in order to make the listener consider how they might feel if they had to face those difficult situations. The moral of the story here, is to not condemn another person until you’ve walked in their shoes. A valuable lesson that should be remembered every single day. You might pass judgement, and make assumptions based on the information you have, and the things that you see. But the reason behind it all is something you’ll never know unless you’ve been there.

Tremendous Damage by Big Boi

Powerful Words: “… But like the Wright brothers, you gotta crash and burn before you take flight…”

Big Boi gives us an insight into his life, and the trials and tribulations he’s faced. Through it all, he’s come out the other end strong and confident. The lyrics encourage the development of resilience and mental toughness, reinforced with the line “I suffered tremendous damage, got me tougher than a (use your imagination)”. The powerful words listed below the track title above encourage the listener not to fear failure, but rather view it as a necessary step towards success. Great advice Big Boi.

Who’s Gonna Save My Soul by Gnarls Barkley

Powerful Words: “This is a shame that someone else’s song, was totally and completely depended on.”

A brilliant look into the mind of the heartbroken. This track demonstrates how somebody who is extremely emotional can be so overwhelmed that they have an inability to consider feelings other than their own. The sort of emotional whirlwind in which we’ve all been caught before. It encourages the listener to reflect on their own emotional experiences, and consider how their emotions affected their ability to rationalise a situation. The other powerful message in this track, is ‘don’t rely solely on others for your happiness‘. A relationship should be a source of happiness, not the source of happiness. ***Definitely checkout the film clip WARNING: Graphic Content.

Final Note

Music can help us to understand and interpret our emotions and thoughts. Artists share their experiences with listeners, so that they might relate. Even the darkest of songs can be a source of motivation, just knowing that someone else has felt the way you’ve felt. That negative emotions are normal, and that they can be overcome. We hope the above list of songs will help you to find the powerful words hidden in your favourite tracks, so that they may motivate you to continue earning happiness. As always, thanks very much for reading, and we’d love to hear about some of your favourite lyrics in the comments section below.

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How To Be A Good Friend: 5 Friendship Tips

Friendship The Short Advice

Great Minds Think Alike

First, we are drawn to people with similar interests. Maybe music, or sport, or work. But the roots of a true friendship are the values and principles that are shared between friends. These are things that you can’t fake, and they’re unwavering. The development of a friendship like this will last for decades. And time will inevitably create opportunities to solidify friendships, and to test them too. But before any of that, the best way to find like-minded and loyal friends is to be yourself. This is our first and perhaps most important tip…

The 5 Friendship Tips

Make, and keep, great friends with these five friendship tips:

1. Be Yourself

Exhibit the behaviours that you look for in a friend, but only if they are natural to you. If you find it tiresome being a great friend, then you might also find it difficult keeping a great friend. Consider what values and principles are important to you, and what you believe constitutes a ‘good person’. If you can be all of those things, you might also be able to find them in a friendship. If you feel as though your friends have let you down in the past, it’s not necessarily your poor judgement. But it could be. So, critical-self reflection is never a bad idea. If the person you are hasn’t produced good results in the past, change might be needed.

2. Effectively Manage Conflict

Like any relationship, the ability to deal with conflict is very important. It can end a friendship, or strengthen one. Either way, conflict has an important role to play. Too often, friends are worried that voicing their concerns might adversely affect their friendship. But if you are afraid that a difference in opinion might see you go your seperate ways, then you’re probably not compatible as friends in the first place. So, talk it out. Listen. Agree. Disagree. Agree to disagree. AND never be too stubborn to admit when you’re wrong. A good friendship is more important than your pride.

3. Make Time

As mentioned above, it’s a two-way street. If you’re someone that is always there for your friends, you’re likely to attract people that will always be there for you too. Selflessness and thoughtfulness are two very important ingredients of a life-long bond, so do not underestimate them. It’s in the little things that friends do for one-another, but also the times when friends are most in need of support. Prioritise your friends during their hour of need, and they’ll remember. It’s not an insurance policy just incase you need the same level of support one day. It’s because you care.

4. Reflect on Your Friendship Skills

Critical self-reflection is something that cannot be overlooked. It’s an important part of the happiness puzzle, as it allows us to evolve into better versions of ourselves (sort of like Pokémon). If you’re someone that tends to go missing for weeks on-end and still expect to keep great friendships, you’ll need to be aware of it. You can’t just be a good friend when you feel like it, so what can you do to counter that absence? This is why awareness is key. Without it, you can’t fix the problem. On the other hand, what things make you a great friend? Do more of it!

5. Be Honest

The answer to the question “do I look fat in this?” isn’t always “no”. Bad example? Well, the point is that good friendships require honesty on all fronts. Friends are often the first point of call for advice on careers, relationships, investments, family and other important life-topics. Trying to protect your friends’ feelings now, will only hurt them later. So tell them straight. Be tactful when you need to be, but don’t paint the picture that they want to see, over the top of the one they need to see. People respect and appreciate honesty. So, don’t be afraid to say the hard things that need to be said. You’ll be doing your friend a disservice if you do anything else.

Final Note

The fantastic thing about friendships is that every single one is unique. Because every single one of us is unique. But that fact also presents challenges… There is no one-size fits all solution to every problem that a friendship might experience. However, our five friendship tips are a good place to start! If you’ve got anything you’d like to add please feel free to do so in the comments section below. Or perhaps you’re experiencing a difficult situation and would like to bounce an idea off of a friendly stranger? Head over to our homepage and give us the short story, and we’ll give you the short advice ;). As always, thanks for reading.

 

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4 Ways To Successfully Achieve Your Wellness Goals

Sasha Wellness The Short Advice

About the Author

Sasha Layton is the founder of Sasha Yoga & Health, an experienced yoga & mindfulness meditation facilitator, and a certified Holistic Wellness Coach. She works with private and corporate clients all over Australia, and specialises in mindset and mindfulness. She believes that through education & knowledge, self awareness, and understanding the power of mindset, anybody can live a happy healthy life.

Steps to Achieving Your Wellness Goals

In a society where we are time poor, yet have more resources than we care to shake a stick at, being in a state of overwhelm is extremely common. Does this sound familiar? Reaching for that chocolate bar or fifth coffee by 3pm? Missing your third gym session this week because you got held back at work? Too tired to catch-up with that friend you haven’t seen in months? Or worse still, too tired to play with your children after work? I get it, there always seems to be so much to do yet so little time…and our health & wellness seem to take a backburner. Yet what if I told you that it has a great deal with what you VALUE and your attitude to wellness, that is key to whether you will achieve your goals or not? Read on…

1. Eat Healthier

It can be very tempting to eat crap when it’s surrounding you, so an overhaul of your cupboard and fridge to get rid of all the processed nutrient-lacking foods is the first step to eating healthier. Stocking up on fresh fruit & veggies, REAL food (i.e. not from a can, plastic packet or box), getting back into the kitchen, and learning how to cook, are the 2nd and 3rd steps. Not sure where to start? Booking some sessions with a certified Wellness Coach can help put you in the right direction. They can guide you on where and what to shop for, simple and quick nutritious recipes, and how to make it work for your lifestyle.

2. Move More

If you’re struggling to get to the gym or make that class you keep booking into, it’s time to ask yourself a couple of questions…and answer them honestly: 1) when am I most likely to exercise? 2) do I really enjoy this form of movement I’m currently doing?

If you answered no to the second question, ask yourself “what do I really enjoy?” There is no right or wrong time to exercise, because we’re all bio-individuals. Sure your best mate might enjoy getting up at 5am to attend their favourite yoga or HIIT class, but be honest with yourself on whether that’s really for you too? Finding the right time of day, what you really enjoy, and also what fits in with your schedule, is key to sustaining your daily movement habits.

3. Journal Your Thoughts

This could be via a food diary to keep track of your eating habits (particularly great if you get a lot of cravings), a movement log to track how much (or little) you’re exercising and at what times, or just a simple notebook where you write down thoughts, feelings and happenings that come up on a daily basis. By doing this, it will not only be helping you to brain dump, but also gives you greater insight into habits and patterns that may be holding you back. I personally love a pretty notebook and pen to physically write, but if you’re more an ‘online’ kind of person, check out this cool site http://750words.com where you can journal PLUS it tracks and gives you stats on your state of mind. It’s also password approved so completely private and no chance of anyone finding out your deepest darkest thoughts.

4. Get Accountability

Whether it be a friend, family member, partner, your FitBit app, or a Wellness Coach, using one (or many!) of these avenues is a sure fire way to keep you accountable to the goals you set. If it’s with a friend or loved one, you could even hold a monthly competition with each other so you have something to work towards and keep you inspired. If an exercise app, you can set daily or weekly goals which will remind you with notifications.

Final Note…

Being healthier doesn’t need to be difficult, it’s just about finding what works best for YOU, what inspires you, and understanding what it is in life that you really value. When you get to know yourself in this way, it really gives you the power to make the right choices.

Thanks you for taking the time to read my guest post for The Short Advice. If you have any questions or would like to find out more about my Wellness Coaching services, please get in touch or write in the comments section below, where I’ll be more than happy to reply.

Don’t forget to check out Sasha Yoga & Health here.

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4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Compare Yourself To Others

Don't Compare Yourself to Others The Short Advice

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

… Especially on social media! There are a number of obvious reasons why you shouldn’t compare yourself to others, and these are just a few. Well, four, if you want to get technical. The big message to take away from this article however, is not how many reasons there are… It’s do not gauge your happiness on the perceived happiness of others. Happiness is something to be earned. So, the next time you find yourself setting unrealistic expectations after marvelling at the magical lives of Instagrammers, remember these four reasons:

1. Success isn’t a Conversation

We’re not saying you can’t share your success stories and achievements with others, but there is a right way and a wrong way. Some people will even tell you all about how successful they are, even when they’re not successful at all. But don’t get upset at them. This is a success strategy that they’ve been taught by our society’s most influential people, like reality tv stars. Shameless self-promotion might help these people sometimes, but it’s not how true success is bred. It also doesn’t tend to help the people who have to put up with it. Promoting something of value rather, is a much better strategy. If you explore how you can enrich lives, rather than enrich your pocket, you’re probably a better chance of achieving both goals. So, don’t get down on yourself if your best friend tells you that they’re earning X, and you’re still earning Y. Because it’s not a competition, and they’re probably not earning X anyway!

2. Social Media Professional Liars

Don’t compare yourself to others that don’t even exist in the real world! If everyone on Instagram were a successful entrepreneur, then there would be more Ferraris on the road than Toyotas. This is simply not the case. There are however more liars on social media than there are Toyotas on the road. We’re not sure what it all means, but one thing is for certain… Don’t believe everything you read, see or hear, especially on social media. Lying has proved a viable business model for many social media ‘influencers’. It might even be a way to make some money, but it certainly won’t earn you respect. If you measure your value in the world based on all of the brilliant things these people are doing on social media than you are setting yourself up for disappointment. The reality that we live in is very different to the reality that we see on social media. Learn how to make the distinction between the two, and you’ll live happily ever after…

3. Helpful Internet Bloggers Are Wrong

This is a very negative outlook. There are an abundance of brilliant and helpful blogs out there, of course. But, many blog websites would have you believe that achieving success in just about any field is fast and easy. Nothing worth attaining is fast and easy. Understand this. There are lots of successful people who make it look easy. But generally, that’s because of how hard they work when nobody is looking at all. Lets look at blogging, for example. Hours, and hours of work must be put in before you can expect anybody to take you seriously. You need to build credibility, and trust. Build a network and a community. This quite often takes years to do. And yet, every pop-up ad you’ve ever seen is offering you a 6-figure income working online from anywhere in the world. Even though we know it’s too good to be true, part of us wants to believe it’s that easy. It’s not, there are no shortcuts. So whatever you do, enjoy it now, and keep working towards achieving your goals.

4. Unsuccessful People Can Look Successful

So many people are brilliant at looking successful. They drive nice cars, live in nice places, and holiday at exotic destinations. But when they’re not doing the work required behind the scenes, sometimes they file for bankruptcy too. This would definitely have to be on the list of ‘less-enjoyable’ activities in which these flamboyant self-proclaimed success stories partake… Now, we’ve all heard the saying ‘perception is reality’. And yes, if you want the part, you do need to look the part. But once you’ve got the part, there is work that must be done. If you’re not willing to put in, and you opt to live outside of your means, you will lose the part. So, don’t envy what others have, be grateful for the things you’ve earned, and continue to earn more (if it pleases you).

Final Note

You can research what works for successful people in your field, but don’t compare yourself to others. You are what you do, not what you say. So, stop listening to what everyone else has to say about themselves, and start doing the things that will put you back on the road to success. As always, thanks for reading and we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

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5 Simple Ways To Increase Your Energy Levels

Energy levels The Short Advice

Why is Energy Important?

An oversight for many people, energy is something that needs to be generated. We often expect that our mind/body will give us a particular amount of output, but neglect the process of energising ourselves to perform. Consider the work that goes into an F1 race car. In order to perform at staggering speeds, it needs constant maintenance. It performs best on a bitumen track, and in low humidity. It doesn’t take regular unleaded petrol… It needs the right fuel. Just as a race car has particular needs in order to perform at it’s best, so too do our minds and bodies. Below, we’ve outlined five considerations for getting the most out of yourself, by energising yourself. It might take a bit of trial and error to get systems in place that work for you, so be patient. Now that you’ve set your goals, and you’re on the ‘Road to Success‘, you need to implement strategies that allow you to perform at your best and increase your energy levels.

1. Location

Never work where you relax, and vice versa. A great tip that cartoonist and author Scott Adams, shares in his book How to Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big. The reason for this, is that people tend to associate particular places, with particular activities. Your couch, for example, might be a place for relaxing, or even sleeping. So, working on the couch may not be the best way to motivate you, and increase your energy levels. Instead, you should find a place that is conducive to hard work, and encourages you to focus on the task that you’ve set for yourself.

2. Energising Tasks

Identify which tasks drain your energy, and which tasks energise you. If reading helps you to regain focus and gives you the motivation to continue being creative, do more of it. Maybe hangovers sap your energy and are particularly challenging for you to manage… Drink less, and less frequently. Basically, do more of the things that give you energy, and less of the things that drain your energy. This will help to optimise your output when it comes to putting in work.

3. Give and Receive Energy

We’ve all heard instapreneurs bang on about ‘finding your tribe’, and ‘surrounding yourself with positivity’. Well, it’s sort of true. But it doesn’t mean burn everyone you’ve ever cared about in order to reach your goals, as too many people do. It’s not solely about absorbing the energy of others either. It’s about giving, too. Maybe you’ve got a friend who loves hearing your new ideas, and contributing to them. Call them! Tell them all about it. Your excitement might also inspire them to start working harder.

4. Sustenance

It almost seems cruel that cake is not considered to be healthy. But, at the end of the day, most of us have a fair idea of what we need to fuel our mind and body. Whilst there are many delicious options these days, whole foods like fruit and vegetables are what we really need. And water is probably the only liquid that our bodies actually want. So, be smart about your choices. Sugar highs and lows are very real, and much of your daily energy is reliant on what you put into your body. Don’t diet, just find a healthy eating plan that is sustainable for you.

5. Exercise

Regular exercise, teamed with a sustainable healthy diet, is a tried and tested way to increase your energy levels. Sometimes, just taking a walk can be a more effective strategy to reenergise your drowsy-self than having a nap. Exercise releases endorphins that give you energy, and it sort of makes sense right? “Hey Brain, I’m engaging in some exercise here, can you give me a little something extra?”, “Sure Body, here are some endorphins that will make you a bit happier, and give you the energy to sustain that activity for a bit longer.”… True story.

Final Note

When it comes to developing systems and strategies for improvement, one size doesn’t fit all. You’ll need to do some field research to find out what works best for you, and makes you feel more energised. The good news however, is that it does work. If you are willing to put in the effort, you will get more out of your mind and body, and give yourself a better chance at achieving your goals. If you’ve already found some strategies that have worked for you, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

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How To Overcome Bullying: 4 Sensible Strategies

Bullying The Short Advice

Bullying Doesn’t End When School Does

School, workplace, sporting clubs, online communities… Bullying exists everywhere. And it always will. You can remove yourself from a situation of bullying, but it won’t change the fact that you are a victim. Wherever you go, you will still be susceptible to the same tactics. Running away is simply not good practice if you want to avoid this type of attention in the future. So rather than simply allowing ourselves to be forced out of our environment because of somebody else’s insecurities, we need to stand up and take action. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Some forms of harassment can be more intense, and some personalities are more vulnerable than others. Like anything that we need to overcome, it’s difficult. You’ll need to develop some resilience, and mental toughness. Below, we’ve listed four different approaches that can be used in conjunction with one another to overcome bullying.

1. Respond

How you respond initially to a situation of bullying will have a big impact on repeat offending. Generally speaking, an emotionally-charged response would be a satisfying result for a bully, as would a meek and timid one. The term bullying itself implies that one individual is asserting dominance over another. If you’re not comfortable being the individual that is made to feel lesser, it’s best to express this sooner rather than later. Calmly, and controlled, where the situation allows for it. But always directly. Directly addressing the issue, directly addressing the individual. Stick to the specifics of what is upsetting you, and leave any personal attacks aside. By demonstrating your sophisticated conflict resolution skills, you might be able to change the game altogether. This person may not show you the same courtesy, but they might actually understand. They’ll possibly even gain respect for you, because you aren’t the weak individual they’d once thought you were.

2. Reflect

What cause is there, if any? Did the bullying stem from a misunderstanding? Regardless of what actions may have brought upon this poor behaviour, it’s never justified. Having said that, finding a reason could be the beginning of uncovering the root of the poor behaviour. You can’t change a person’s very being, or the way they react to certain things. But you can encourage them to consider your point of view. For most people however, that will require you to tell them some things that they want to hear first. You may have done something unknowingly to upset them, that you’ve now come to realise. Perhaps you could offer an apology? It’s not a sign of weakness, nor is it a justification of their behaviour. Although, many people do mistake it to mean these things. So, it’s also a good idea to mention that despite your apology, you feel that person’s behaviour was unwarranted, and you’re happy that you both have a new way to communicate more effectively.

3. Interpret

Try to understand why that person is the way that person is. Put yourself in their shoes. It’s not easy when you’re harbouring such negative emotions towards somebody, so lets put that aside. Bullying is the result of unchecked insecurities, and a poor environment as a young person. What has this person been through, and what fears were they unable to overcome for them to behave so poorly? Simply by trying to understand, you’re showing a level of compassion that this individual might not have ever experienced. Next time they are looking to upset somebody, perhaps you can ask them if they’re okay. The other side to this point, is how you interpret the situation itself. Don’t give power to this person in your mind, because then they will have power over you. The offender is just a human being, like the rest of us. If you perceive them to be a big, scary, horrible beast, then that is exactly what they’ll be. If you can humanise that beast by sympathising with their insecurities, then you’ll have a better shot at understanding them, helping them, and in turn, helping yourself.

4. Support

Support goes two ways… Are you supporting others who are being bullied? If you support them, they might support you too. Helping other people to deal with their problems is a great way to strengthen your knowledge of conflict resolution skills. It also creates a network of people that care about one another, and can share ideas and similar experiences. You can look to friends and family for support, but it’s always you who should resolve your own issues (or at least try). Sometimes, a person’s behaviour is so irrational that we do need to seek the help of others. If it’s a matter of health and safety, then it’s certainly a good idea. But, for the most part, difficult situations present brilliant opportunities to learn. They help us to develop resilience and confidence and can build self-esteem too. Whatever the issue, there is always a solution, you just need to look for it.

Final Note

Bullying presents in many different forms, so there can be no one solution to overcome it. The strategies mentioned above encourage us to exercise control where we can, and use understanding and critical reflection to overcome situations of bullying and harassment. Just remember, that bullying is led by fear. And those being bullied, are allowing themselves to be bullied because of their fear. Overcoming our fear is no simple task, but doing nothing certainly won’t get us anywhere at all. So if it’s not working, try something different. There is always a solution that can improve your circumstances.

As always thanks for reading, and we’d love to hear if you’ve ever used any of these strategies in the comments section below.

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Top 10 Time Management Tips

Time Management The Short Advice

Time Management Tips

In the spirit of effective time management, we’ve created a top ten list to save you time researching. So, if there had to be an eleventh tip it would probably be ‘Make The Short Advice Your Homepage’… Time management goes hand in hand with productivity and efficiency, and in our article on SMART goals, we stress the importance of being time-based. So if your goals are to be completed within a particular time frame, then you’ll need to be able to manage your time effectively. Give these ten tips a try and find out what works for you!

1. Don’t Worry, Be Happy.

The overwhelming pressure of a fast-approaching deadline can kill productivity. But, the less time you spend worrying about all of the things you’ll never get done, the more time you leave yourself to get those things done. Time management 101. Of course, it’s not always as simple as it sounds – some tasks are harder than others. But the big message here, is to utilise the time that you do have. Even if it seems impossible, negativity won’t get the job done.

2. Set Goals

Goal-setting is an important consideration on the ‘Road to Success‘. It allows you to create pathways towards achieving your desired outcome, and prompts you to develop systems in which to get there. Goals also help to motivate you. And, when it comes to time management, motivation can be the difference between productivity and procrastination. So, ask yourself the questions – “Why am I doing all of this? Where do I want it to lead?”

3. Plan

For each goal you set, there will be a series of actions that you must take in order to achieve that goal. Consider each of these actions/tasks, and schedule them into your calendar. You don’t need to be too regimented, unless you’re in a highly regimented role. For each task that you identify, consider whether they could be broken down further. In doing this, you’ll be able to create smaller, more achievable tasks. All of a sudden, your goals will become less daunting.

4. Prioritise

Not all tasks are created equal… Identify the most important tasks at the beginning of each week/day. In doing this, you will allow yourself some extra time just incase you need to bump some of the ‘less-important’ tasks. You might even consider using a ‘traffic lights’ rating system when you are creating your schedule. Your ‘red’ high-priority tasks should be scheduled for completion first, and your ‘green’ low-priority tasks can be completed towards the end of the day/week. Managing for the best outcome, with the time you have been allocated = good time management.

5. Be Realistic

Planning is important. But an unrealistic plan is useless. Well, not completely… It would provide the basis for a few hard lessons, thats for sure. When you’re setting goals, you need to consider whether your goals are achievable. Now, anything is possible of course. But difficulty, time-allowance, discipline, motivation… These things are all variable factors that must be considered. So, what is it that you want? What do you need to do to get there? What are you willing to do to get there? When do you expect to get there? These are just a few important questions to ponder before settling on a plan.

6. Focus on the Present

Similar to the first point, this tip simply means to operate in the ‘now’. You are no good to anybody when you’re stressing about the future. Instead, focus on creating the future that you want to live in. Time management is all about being where you are, and utilising whatever time you do have. So, be grateful that you do have the power to impact your future, and put your skills to work now. This will ensure that you’ve given yourself the best chance at achieving your outcomes in the time-frame allowed.

7. Set Timings

For each task that you undertake, give yourself a time-frame in which to complete it. It doesn’t have to be a strict deadline a such, but it’s a great way to manage your expectations. You’ll start to learn more about the duration of particular tasks, and your set-times will become more realistic and achievable. It can also help to improve your efficiency. If a task that you expect to have completed has not been completed in the time you’ve set, re-think and refine your process.

8. Don’t Procrastinate

Procrastination is the enemy of productivity and good time management. It’s super fun though! Who doesn’t want to practice their signature on the back of a scrap piece of paper for hours, or scan instagram until their eyeballs turn red!? On that note, turn off your social media notifications right now. Or at least when you’re working. For more strategies to avoid procrastination, checkout our article ‘Procrastination vs Productivity‘.

9. Eliminate Distractions

It’s easy to become distracted. Thats why you need to remove yourself from distraction as best you can. Firstly, consider the location of your work space. Is it a place that is conducive to hard work and productivity? If you’re trying to get work done in your bed, and you keep falling asleep… well, need we say anymore? Secondly, consider your work space itself. Clean and minimal is generally a good strategy, free from anti-time management gadgets and gizmos. Of course, everyone is different, so find what works best for you.

10. Re-Focus

Perhaps you’ve tried all of our tips to stay on task, and have still found yourself distracted and wasting time. Well… go away. That’s right! Give yourself a 5 minute break to do something that energises you, and helps you to regain your focus. Maybe reading, maybe crosswords, maybe a quick bit of exercise. Whatever it is, go and do it for a short, timed period. Hopefully, you’ll return to work task-focused and motivated to achieve success.

Final Note

Everyone is different, and there is no one solution to help you become an efficient time manager. In fact, there isn’t ten solutions! The only way these tips will be effective is if you have the discipline and desire to improve… As always, thanks for reading and we’d love to hear what you’ve got to add in the comments section below.

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DIY Woodworking: 6 Essential Tips To Get You Started

Melbourne Timberworks The Short Advice

About the Author

Melbourne Timberworks was founded by Tristan as a result of his many successful DIY woodworking projects. Entirely self-taught, Tristan sources his timber from local suppliers and has built just about every piece of furniture you can think of, for both commercial and domestic clients (you can check some out some of his work here). Today, he is here to share his advice on ‘starting your own workshop’, and some considerations and challenges of the DIY woodworking environment. So, please give it up for Melbourne Timberworks and woodworking guru, Tristan!

Starting a DIY Woodworking Venture

Aside from the mental health benefits of pursuing a hobby, woodworking is just great fun! But, when you’ve got a new and exciting idea in your head, it can often infect your bank account too… It’s tempting to want to spend every last cent in your wallet on the best and fanciest new tool or piece of equipment. That new tool feel is great, don’t get me wrong, but what you really need is the right balance of value and reliability (without living out of a cardboard box). So, aim for mid-range priced equipment for your humble DIY woodworking beginnings. Generally, you do get what you pay for, so whilst you can’t yet afford the best, don’t cheap out and get the worst either! Either way you’re bound to make mistakes, and there will be a few breakages along the way. But slowly, as you get better, you can update your tools to match your capabilities. You never know, you might even be able to start selling your work… But before we get too far along, here are my ‘6 Essential DIY Woodworking Tips’.

1. Gumtree is Your Best Friend.

You’ll probably need a work table for your garage or home workshop. But there’s just no need for a brand new, polished bench. Check the likes of Gumtree and eBay before you take the trip to a department store. Theres a heap of perfectly good used tables that you can use for your projects here. You might also be able to pick up a few tools. However, be wary of buying second-hand power-tools. For a beginner, it can be difficult to know the condition they’re in, and if they’ve been cared for correctly.

2. Test Things First.

Don’t rush. Trust me, there’s time for some testing before you rip into the ‘good copy’. Whether you love to paint, or building furniture is your passion, never try something new on the actual project itself. You wouldn’t serve your cooking before you’ve tasted it, right? So, take the time to develop your skills first. This way, you’ll avoid making mistakes with expensive materials, and possibly destroying hours of your hard work. Yes, practice can be a bit tedious… But remember, ‘if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly’.

3. It’s Your Space.

Set up a space dedicated to your DIY interests. It’s a good idea to have all the equipment in one area and in the same room. Everything within a few steps will work, especially if you need to get things in a hurry. Setting up a space also allows you to “close a door” on your work. It’s important to switch off for a moment and to be away from your projects so you don’t over exhaust yourself, and lose motivation. In doing this, you’ll train yourself to be productive as soon as you step into your DIY woodworking space.

4. Be Safe.

There’s nothing worse than starting a DIY project only to end up injuring yourself. Those ads on TV are not for your comedic relief. Be smart. Make sure you have the required safety equipment. Gloves, glasses, proper footwear and clothing can be the difference between coming out unscathed or making a trip to the hospital!

5. Youtube is Your Second Best Friend.

A very close second I might add… Your DIY woodworking doesn’t have to be an entirely solo project. You can invite the help of professionals from all around the globe to be your personal instructor, on your mobile phone! You can pause them, rewind them and fast forward through all the boring parts! It’s like school, except you only have to turn up for the bits you need, and only when you need them.

6. Have Fun.

This is probably the most important tip of them all. Sometimes projects start off really fun, but then as you progress through them you start to feel frustrated and tired. You start to rush to finish your masterpiece, and it doesn’t always turn out as you’d hoped. Take a step back and remember that you started because of your passion for woodworking, and that frustration is because you care. If you’re not having fun, then it’s probably time to put the tools and equipment down for a while.

Final Note…

Trying new things can be challenging! But that doesn’t mean you should quit… I’m grateful that I persisted through the early stages of the DIY woodworking process. The skills that I have developed now give me the freedom to create whatever I want.

Thanks very much for taking the time to read my guest post for The Short Advice. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to respond to them in the comments section below. Don’t forget to check out Melbourne Timberworks here.