Ballooning…..High on life

Coming to work this morning I saw a hot air balloon way off in the distance.   You only get to see these great machines if you are up early enough as they generally land no later than around 8am.  The heat can do funny things to all that gas in the silk sack.

I see the balloons very often around our way in the mornings, I even saw one land in the backyard of the little country gift shop on the highway, Meaning to Stop, is what the shop is called.  It actually landed in amongst the machinery next door if you are familiar with the area.

Every time I see a hot air balloon I remember a time when we lived in Nowra when my boss was given an opportunity to share some rides in a hot air balloon.  I jumped at the chance as it is very expensive if you are paying.  I also got to take my two eldest boys with me.  I have to paint the picture of the basket for you, it is a huge woven cane basket and the steps to get in are woven holes in the side of the basket.  My sons at that time were sitting in the bottom of the basket looking out through these holes.  They loved it but they were a bit short and one of them asked me if they could look over the side as we were crossing the Shoalhaven River.  I said of course, thinking he was just going to stand on the step and peek over the edge.  When he pulled himself up to the top of the basket my heart came up my throat as I felt he was about to launch himself over the side.   The scariest part of the whole ride!

Anyway that is not what I wanted to write about.  The feeling of being in the basket up high in the sky is extremely peaceful.  You see the balloon travels with the wind currents, so you don’t feel much wind, the only time is when you are going up or down and travel through currents going the other way, even then I don’t think I noticed any.  This feeling is very similar to the feeling I have been experiencing lately with my friends and family.

After a fairly long time battling depression I am becoming very clear in my head, only giving headspace to those things that matter.  Over Christmas I was only off work for a very short time, a week and a half.  In that time our family caught up with so many good friends and family and the time really flew by.   We had loads of fun and the fun has continued on, although I suspect it is more a feeling in me than the fun continuing, I have been making sure I have fun no matter what I am doing.

In short I guess the balloon this morning reminded me of how high I am feeling at the moment and how much there is to look forward to when you open your eyes wide to see everything that is happening around you and accepting it and enjoying it.  The key I keep in my mind all the time is that if I start to feel down, then there is something I need to do, talk to someone about something getting to me, stop doing something that is not sitting right with me, start doing something I keep meaning to do….much like the balloon pilot has to turn the burner on to keep his altitude we have to turn the burner on to realise what it is we need to do to keep our own altitude.

Have Fun and Keep In Touch people!

Matt

Managing Holiday Stress

I received this in a work newsletter and thought it to be relevant to share so here it is…

Understanding what may cause you stress during the holidays is the first step to managing it.    Setting high expectations and doing too much can leave us feeling overwhelmed.     Spending time with relatives or, conversely, missing our relatives, can stir up emotions.

The weather can contribute to our holiday mood as it gets hotter or colder (depending where you live in the world) and daylight increases/decreases.
Suggestions for making this holiday season less stressful:
  • Limit your schedule by selecting only the activities, parties, events, and traditions that have the most meaning and give the most joy to you.
  • Make healthy food and drink choices that will leave you feeling good and with no regrets come 2010.
  • Set a reasonable budget for the season and stick to it.
  • Exercise can be a wonderful mood elevator.
  • Spending time in well lit environments can be helpful.
Most important, seek help if your holiday stress becomes too great or you are feeling overly sad and/or disinterested in things you once enjoyed.
Have a safe, stressless, enjoyable Christmas.
Cheers,
Matt

Movember Raising Awareness

Here is a blurb I found at the Movember site that explains really well why I grow a Mo every year in the month now known as Movember.  This cause has special ties to me and my family and my belief is that it has a link to pretty much every family, once you look deep enough.  So have a read on what Movember is trying to achieve and what they have achieved and either donate by sponsoring me, or talk to your family and doctor about your health, especially you men.
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Movember’s first campaign objective is to raise the awareness and understanding of men’s health issues, specifically prostate cancer and depression.

We want everyone to know that men over the age of 50, and those over 40 with a family history, are at risk of prostate cancer and encourage them to be tested annually.  Prostate cancer is curable if detected and treated early, however, there are normally no early symptoms underpinning the necessity of regular screening.

1 in 8 men in Australia will experience depression in their lifetime. Depression is an illness, not a weakness and there is no shame in seeking help – just the same as you would for a physical health problem. Effective treatments are available and with the right treatment, most people recover from depression.

We also want to remove the stigma associated with men experiencing depression and have everyone understand that it is an illness that they can talk about, and for which they should seek help.

Movember’s awareness campaign aims to increase the understanding of the health issues faced by men, facilitate early detection and diagnosis which then allows for effective treatment. This will ultimately reduce the number of deaths from prostate cancer and suicide.

Over the past couple of years Movember has carried out research with our registered Mo Bros, Sistas and donors. The research is conducted by Deakin University and is one of the key ways in which we track the efficacy of our awareness campaign. It is our intention to continue with this research going forward in order to assess and report back on the progress being made from one year to the next.

The 2008 findings revealed the extent to which participants are listening and acting on the men’s health messages they receive.

The latest research produced some extremely encouraging statistics concerning the changing behaviour of Mo Bros. As the statistics below highlight, as a result of Movember, men are beginning to change their attitudes and habits relating to their health.

– 82% of Mo Bros (or approx 102,188) talked about men’s health with friends, family or work colleagues
– 55% of Mo Bros  (or approx 68,541) did some of their own research into the causes Movember supports
– 13%  (or approx 16,200) sought medical advice
– 38%  (or approx 47,355) encouraged someone else to seek medical advice

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Matt with Super Scot John Dillon
Matt with Super Scot John Dillon

Cheers,
Matt

Movember 2009

Movember logo
Citizen of Movember - click on the image to donate

I am at it again, growing a moustache this year for Movember.  I have decided to put down my razor for one month (November) and help raise awareness and funds for men’s health – specifically prostate cancer and depression in men.

What many people don’t appreciate is that close to 3,000 men die of prostate cancer each year in Australia and one in eight men will experience depression in their lifetimemany of whom don’t seek help.  Facts like these convince me every year to get involved and I am hoping that you will support me.

To sponsor my Mo, you can either:

  • Click this link http://au.movember.com/mospace/109083/ and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account
  • Write a cheque payable to ‘Movember Foundation’, referencing my Registration Number 109083 and mailing it to: Movember Foundation, PO Box 292, Prahran, VIC, 3181
  • See me in person to check out my MO and pay cash (I have donation forms and receipts)

Remember, all donations over $2 are tax deductible.

Movember is now in its sixth year and, to date, has achieved some pretty amazing results by working alongside The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCFA) and beyondblue: the national depression initiative. Check out further details at: http://au.movemberfoundation.com/research-and-programs.

If you are interested in following the progress of my Mo, click here http://au.movember.com/mospace/109083/. Also, http://au.movember.com has heaps of useful information.

So on the second morning of the Laser Skirmish Battle Weekend I will be clean shaving before we get underway.  I will update this blog as often as possible with pictures and I encourage you to get involved and either sponsor me or join up yourself as either a Mo Bro or Mo Sista.

Then on to growing the MO, now just to choose a style.  Take a look at this style guide and let me know which one I should go for.  Lachlan and I have already had a think and I am leaning towards the Wispy or Abrakadabra.  Let me know your thoughts.

Thank you,

Matt Struthers