Stop the Excuses – a Surprisingly Simple Way to Reduce Overwhelm


How many times do we make excuses to put yourself last on that list of daily tasks? How many times do you fall in to bed at night thinking about how non-stop your day was doing ‘stuff’ for everyone else and there was no FUN in your day.

After reading the results of a survey by the fabulous Kelly Exeter over at ‘A Life Less Frantic‘ on ‘overwhelm’, I was surprised by how many people are feeling OVERWHELMED! Check out the results of Kelly’s 2015 Survey on Overwhelm here.

Kelly sums it up beautifully. One of the BIG  questions was ‘Finish this sentence: when I’m not feeling stressed out and overwhelmed I have more time for …’. Over 1700 people responded with

I’d have more time for …

  • My family
  • Hobbies/creativity
  • Myself

Now I know I can feel overwhelm and I know many others that do too, so I don’t know why I was so surprised by the results. But I was. Overwhelmed by the number of people that feel overwhelmed EVERY day! Hence this post.

How can I help YOU reduce the overwhelm in your life?

A surprisingly simple way to reduce overwhelm is to start a hobby, a new one or one you started and then found excuses not to do. You can read about how engaging in a hobby can expand your mind here.

The definition of a hobby is ‘An activity or interest pursued outside one’s regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.’

One reader from my last post commented ‘But how do you choose WHICH hobby to take on?’. If you are lucky enough to have a long list of hobbies you might like to try this.

  1. Write down all the hobbies you want to do, listing them from 1-10 (no more than 10, even if you have a longer list and if you don’t have 10, it’s ok).
  2. Narrow it down again and pick your top 3. Yep, just 3.
  3. Close your eyes take a deep breath in and a deep breath out and think about how these hobbies will make you feel.
  4. Pick your favourite feeling.
  5. Start with that hobby

Woohoo! You now have a hobby to start. How do you get started? Your new hobby won’t just magic it’s way into you life.

Like everything else you have to make it happen. You CAN do it. And doing it will make you feel like magic.

Be realistic. How many times a week can you manage (realistically) at the moment? Check out your weekly schedule and if you don’t have one you need to have one! Lock it in and treat it as if it’s a job. I don’t mean something that’s mundane, I mean something that you won’t say no to. How many times do you create white space in your schedule and fill it with something you have said ‘yes’ to when you really meant no.

For me, mountain biking is a hobby. It’s also my regular exercise but the amount of time I spend doing can go beyond what is a ‘normal’ amount of exercise. I also share the running of regular ladies mountain bike skills sessions. Up until about a year ago I used to put everything else first. If I was going on holiday, my mountain biking would take a back seat in the lead up to going away. I was saying ‘yes’ to too many other things and not making time for my mountain biking, ‘an activity engaged in primarily for pleasure’.

Since I have made mountain biking a priority in my life, it’s easier to say no to the stuff I don’t want to do and the rewards are many!

Sometimes I don’t feel like it. I might have had a late night or a busy day ahead. Then I think about how time spent doing my hobby will make me feel. I get started. I figure if I do it for 5 minutes and don’t feel like it, I can stop at any time. Guess what? That has happened, but only 2 times in 4 years. And even then I was happy that I started.

If your new hobby is walking every day, just start with the aim of taking a few minutes to get ready and walk out the door. No commitment to walking, just to getting out the door. Thanks for this tip, James Clear. If it’s painting, get all your stuff together ready to start. Just start!

By engaging in a hobby you are expanding your mind. You are making time to ENJOY yourself on a regular basis. Make it a priority to make it a habit. Don’t wait until tomorrow or the next day! If you need help to get you started you’ll find a list of some hobby ideas (they don’t have to take up copious amounts of time) at the end of the post on ‘Engaging in a Hobby’ here.

Reduce the overwhelm in your life by making time for yourself. Schedule it in your diary and make it happen.

In Kelly’s words at ‘A Life Less Frantic‘, ‘Imagine a world full of people who have the time and space each day to be their best selves’.

I’d love to hear what hobby you are going to start or re-start. You can post in the comments below.


Engage in a New Hobby and Expand Your Mind


If ‘I don’t have time’ was the first thing you heard yourself say when you read the title of this blog post then you need a new hobby! We have time for what we make time for.

Life is meant to be lived joyously. Sure we will suffer downs as well as ups. Without the downs we wouldn’t know the true meaning of happiness. Joy won’t just appear in our lives unless we make it a focal point. This starts by finding ways to fit the things in to our lives that bring us joy.

As kids we had so much time to play. A hobby is really about playing. About having FUN. Doing more things that make you smile to bring more happiness into your life, without even trying.

I started dabbling in Mountain Biking (yep, it deserves capital letters) over 3 years ago. I’d always done a bit of riding for fitness but not on a really cool bike on really cool trails with really cool people. I can say emphatically that Mountain Biking has expanded my mind, in an awesome way. It has taken me to places I never thought I’d go, not just physical places.

When I started Mountain Biking I said I would never race. Way too scary and way too much testosterone (women who mountain bike are a minority, but I’m working on changing that). Not quite sure what got me to the start line of my first race but it wasn’t my last! There are a few people who influenced me to start racing but ultimately I made the decision to step up and face my fears. I’m now in my 3rd season of racing and have entered the Cape to Cape Mountain Bike race, coming up soon, for the 3rd time. I’ve been in a ladies trio team for a 12 hour race from dusk ’till dawn, a duo in a 6 hour race and my most recent achievement, a 6 hour solo race. Now I know that’s not for everyone but I want to share how my mind has grown, from engaging in a new hobby. It really doesn’t matter what the hobby is.

Ways my mind has been expanded.

  1. I had a fixed mindset that I wasn’t a morning person. I used to freak out if I had to set my alarm with a 5 o’clock in it. Not any more. Of course I needed to change a few things, you can read about becoming a morning person here. The number one thing I did was change my thinking. And if I can do it, you can too.
  2. Racing isn’t as scary as it seems. Sure there will always be nerves leading up to the race and on the start line but once the race starts you get into the groove and it is SO MUCH FUN. The feeling of accomplishment at the end is a whole lot of awesome. It’s not all about being in a race, it’s about moving outside your comfort zone.
  3. My physical body is way more capable than I ever thought it was. This has expanded my mind to give me more belief that we really are capable of anything we put our minds to. Our bodies are very clever things once we believe it to be true and surrender to it.
  4. I have learnt that our minds are incredible. We just need to believe (as with our body) and that comes with practice. Doing the things we think we cannot do. I committed to a 6 hour mountain bike race. 6 hours. Riding a bike non-stop. Well, a sort of stop for 10 seconds every 30 minutes to put some food in my pocket to eat on the go. I did the training, had faith in that and won the race.
  5. Really experiencing the beauty of nature has expanded my mind. On a mountain bike it is just me (and sometimes my riding buddy’s) and nature. Kangaroo’s galore, wildflowers, rocks, dirt, sand. Uphills, down hills. My mindfulness has developed. Feeling the air on my skin, noticing the way the flora moves and changes. Observing the fauna. Kangaroos, snakes, lizards, spiders, small birds, birds of prey.
  6. I am more organised. Riding regularly and early in the morning means I have to be prepared. To think about everything I need and get it ready. Otherwise it would be too easy to roll over and go back to sleep. It helps with commitment!
  7. How I start my day is how I live my day. By engaging in my hobby most days (I do have rest days) my days are so much more fun. I sleep better at night. I eat better. I smile more.
  8. Making something I love a priority has a positive outcome. I used to put other things first and I didn’t prioritise doing something that made me happy.
  9. I have learnt that I am capable of leading. Something I didn’t believe before mountain biking entered my life. When the leader of the Ladies Mountain Biking community left town, I took on the role (with some assistance) and was initially super challenged. I faced the fear and more ladies are taking up a new hobby and sharing in their delight is fabulous.
  10. New friendships have been formed and this is what life is about. Relationships and connection.

This list is not exhaustive. I have other hobbies that I am learning to make time for. Some that take only 10 minutes a day. Every one of them expand my mind and engaging in a new hobby will expand yours too.

Some examples of new hobbies to try (or old hobbies can re-enter your life);

  • reading 20 pages a day
  • drawing
  • colouring
  • gardening
  • writing (blogs are great fun)
  • creating – Canva  is a cool online App
  • meditation (more on that, here and here)
  • being in nature

You may be still saying ‘I don’t have time for a hobby’. Now is the perfect moment to schedule some time. Even if it’s once a week. Create a new habit. Schedule, schedule, schedule. If you don’t put it in your diary (if you don’t have a diary it’s time to get a diary or find what works for you, online calendars are a great tool) chance are it won’t happen. Not regularly anyway.

When you do schedule your new hobby into your week AND make it happen, you’ll be amazed at how your mind expands.

‘Change your thoughts and you change your world’ ~ PEALE

Try it for yourself. I’d love you to share your hobby in the comments, below. The ripple effect is an amazing phenomenon; that effect you have on others that you don’t even know about. 

When Enough is Enough


The first thing that jumped out at me in my Inbox this morning was an article by Kate James from Total Balance; Nurture Your Health without the Guilt , about how much pressure we can put ourselves under to do everything ‘just right’.

Kate talks about how guilty you can feel if you think you’re not doing it right and I agree wholeheartedly. A book I’ve just read, ‘Dying to Be Me’ by Anita Moorjani highlighted that until you can be comfortable and accepting within and really nurture and nourish yourself, you will be always searching for external ways to make you feel better. It seems we need continual reminders!

‘Love yourself first and everything else falls into place’ ~ LUCILLE BALL

There are 15 great tips offered by Kate in Nurture Your Health without the Guilt. I’d like to add to these after I share a little bit of my story.

As a perfectionist I had always tried to do the right thing, even if I felt it was against what I truly wanted. In my twenties I went on the ‘low fat everything’ band wagon and even remember freaking out when my Mum was cooking with olive oil. There was no 80/20 rule in my mind! My poor Mum. I can still recall trying to tell her that she should be using non-stick pans and no fat at all. How wrong I was! It wasn’t only myself I was putting under stress, but also those around me as I was trying to instill in them what I believed to be the ‘right’ thing.

The stress of trying to do the right thing was possibly worse than the stress I put my body under by being ‘fat free’ for so long. It’s little wonder I needed to have my gallbladder removed after my 2nd baby came along. My body hadn’t had fat to digest for way too long and my gallbladder gave up! This wasn’t the only instance of my ‘trying to be healthy no matter what’ journey.

I was stressed because (I now realise) I was living in a place of fear instead of a place of love. It wasn’t just the ‘low fat’ phase. Then there was the chemicals, the gluten, the dairy, the processed food, alcohol not to mention worrying if I was doing enough exercise or the right kind of exercise and was it for the right amount of time. Letting my body guide me wasn’t something I’d ever heard of, doing what was right for ME.

‘A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love’ ~ MARIANNE WILLIAMSON

Fear was a big driver in my desire to ‘do the right thing’, whatever that was at the time. This fear places us under so much stress and guilt comes along for the journey.

My own journey has been a big learning curve and it wasn’t until I read Kate’s blog post that I thought, FAR OUT, that was ME! And still is if I let fear get in the way. My motto is now ‘Done is better than perfect’ and being gentle on myself, loving and forgiving is a great way to live.

So here are some more tips on how to how to nurture yourself when enough is enough

1. ‘Give yourself permission to be imperfect’ Kate suggests. Say this to yourself every morning, seriously!

2. Rick Kausman’s ‘If Not Dieting, Then What’ book is great (as Kate mentions) and there’s also instant stuff you can glean from his website here.

3. Every evening before bed write down 3 things you loved about yourself that day. Keep a journal just for this.

4. Put the scales away. Scales are for fish. They are no measure of your health. Check out the Merry Maker sisters here for an inspirational story on weight and health.

5. Make health and happiness a priority over your weight and repeat number 1 OFTEN.

6. Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle

7. Connect with nature and really feel your presence in that space. The air on your skin, the sound of the earth under your feet, the movement of the plants in the breeze.

8. Schedule time every day to do the fun stuff. If you don’t put it in your calendar it probably won’t happen.

9. Is your use of Social Media making you feel good or not so good? Do more of the good and less of the not so good.

10. Turn your lips up at the edges. Lots of times. Every day. Even when you are feeling blerk.

11.Write down everything you have going on in your life and think about (then action) what you can let go of to make more time for you, to nurture you.

12.Talk about this stuff openly. To your friends, male and female. The more we share the more we can change the world and make it a more awesome place.Loving and nurturing yourself is the key.

Putting yourself first is not selfish. If in doubt,check out ‘5 Reason’s Self Love is Not Selfish‘, by Dani DiPirro.

Kate had 15 tips and on how to nurture yourself without the guilt and I’ve added 12. Pick one thing to do today to create new habits in your life and let go of the toxic emotion that guilt is. I’d love to know which one you choose, which one jumps out at you and says ‘pick me’? If you can think of more tips, please let me know.

Thanks Kate @ Total Balance for an insightful article, Nurture Your Health without the Guilt. It gave me lots of reminders and I’d love to share these tips with as many people as I can.

How to conquer climbs (on and off a bike)

How to conquer anything in life requires us to face our fears. Whether it’s climbing a hill on a bike when you’ve never done it before. Or you’ve done it and didn’t make it the first time. Conquering stuff will only happen if we make an effort to try it in the first place. And if it doesn’t work the first time to get back up and try it again.

‘What would life be like if we had no courage to attempt anything?’ ~ VINCENT VAN GOGH

A hill climbing challenge is happening at my local Mountain Bike Club. I live where it’s fairly flat. There’s one big hill, ‘College Hill’, and it’s a challenge. Eroded and rocky, smooth in parts. Super steep in parts. A little downhill section on the way up. It takes around 5 -6 minutes to climb on a mountain bike if your’e pedalling constantly.

It hurts. Your legs scream. Your lungs scream.

Your front wheel wants to lift off the ground. Your back wheel sometimes loses traction. You have to pick a line, because of the erosion. You don’t always make it up in one hit.

Why bother conquering this hill? Because the downhill run is awesome. Because the adrenalin stays with you for days – making it to the top (even if you can’t keep pedalling all the way). Because the view is deluxe, especially at dawn and dusk. And because if you can conquer climbs like this, it can teach you how to conquer any curveball life throws at you.

Grab your smartphone or a pen and paper and type/write down your excuses.

Invalid reasons that are purely excuses and won’t get you places; I’m not fit enough. I hate climbing. I won’t make it. I’ll embarrass myself. I’m scared of downhills. I need a better bike. It will hurt.
Valid reasons; I’m in Sydney. I have 7 kids to look after. I have broken ribs/neck/back.

hill climbing pic






The only way to get better at something you don’t think you’re good at is to keep doing it. The only way to conquer something you’ve never tried before is to show up.

I’ve chatted to lots of people at the top of College Hill and not one person has said they wished they stayed at home. The smiles on their faces speak volumes!

My first attempt was amusing (in hindsight). I hadn’t been mountain biking long. I cried. I swore. I pushed my bike most of the way. I went back for more. It wasn’t easy but it was fun and with persistence you can achieve anything. The only way to overcome your fears is to face them, head on.

It’s a whole lot of awesome.

‘It will hurt. But it won’t kill you’ ~ MARCUS SPEED








Climbing hurdles to find the magic

‘Do what you love, love what you do’. Such a simple motto, not so simple to put into practice. Life gets busy. We find ourselves on autopilot and before we know it another Christmas is looming. Another Birthday. Another year of not loving what we do.

I’m passionate about self-nourishment and have always loved sharing my passion with others. I’ve just never known how to turn it into a business, how to take that next step.

Last year I took the plunge and booked myself a ‘Discovery Session’ with Kate James, whilst I was in Melbourne for a conference. In this 3 hour session delving deep within my soul, Kate asked me to come up with one thing I could do to kick start ‘The Lilac Lounge’, having already started (and then stopped) blogging. A workshop, was my response and we set a timeframe. Four months (with Christmas in the middle). It seemed super exciting at the time, four months was ages away.

Back home, I mentioned my goal over a cuppa with my awesome friend, mentor (and prior business coach) Kylah Morrison from Zest e-Biz.

‘Let’s do it’ Kylah said, ‘Together’.

And so the journey began. We set a date. We found a location. We climbed hurdles, questioned our sanity and moved outside our comfort zone. At the end of February 2015 we held our first one day Retreat, ‘Manifesting Wellness and Direction in 2015’. The Retreat was a huge success; it was a sell out and we had a wait list.


Numerous times along the way we thought of not doing it. Trying to fit in the extra work to make it happen, in our already busy lives was tough going. We held each other accountable and jumped each hurdle as it came up, some bigger than others.

‘What’s the worst thing that can happen?’ became our mantra.

Together, Kylah and I created a beautiful workbook and visual presentation. I created food to nourish the wonderful souls that attended the retreat, food full of deliciousness. Kylah organised the tech stuff and creative activities for the day. We turned up with everything we needed and with the help of fabulous friends and family, set the scene for a day of fun, laughter and self discovery.

I can’t put into words the feeling of euphoria we both had at the end of our first retreat. The feedback was fantastic.

The whole experience was liberating and a perfect reminder that following our passions will bring us joy, in bundles.

Because it was such a wonderful experience we’re about to do it all again, ‘Manifesting Wellness and Direction for the rest of 2015’ on June 27th. No doubt there’ll be more hurdles and we will question our sanity as we prepare for the day. But I know for a fact that moving outside our comfort zone really is where the magic happens. Try it for yourself, what’s the worst thing that can happen?!

To be a part of the June retreat email amanda@thelilaclounge.com saying ‘yes please’ and we’ll send you an invoice via Paypal to register.

Join us and find your awesome!