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How do I find more time?

So many things to do, so little time.  
So how do we make more time?

1. Make a list, whether for work or home life, two columns:
"Things to do today" & "Things to do someday". 
This will allow you to prioritize doing what really needs to be done and not slip into procrastination mode and doing things because they're easier or more enjoyable. Update this list regularly.

2. Time audit your day. Review how much time you are spending on each task. What did you do between 10 and 11am for example? Once you've audited your day or better yet, your week - figure out how much time you spent on non essential tasks or as 'dead time'. And start to plan your days, the night or afternoon before. If you don't plan each hour, it's too easy to waste time and achieve nothing constructive. We're all experts at procrastinating. This goes for personal time too. If Saturday morning is family time for example, this means no social media, business related e-mails/calls or texts. 

time management psychologist bayside counselling

3. Do not multi taskDo not multi task. Do not multi task! 
Multitasking gives us the impression that we're being productive and being time efficient, but the opposite is actually true. When we multitask, we have to spend time mentally switching between tasks (dead time). We can never truly focus on one task, which means the quality of work on each task drops off considerably. Instead, plan to spend 1-2 hours on one task and one task only.

4. Identify & eliminate distractions. Similar to not multi-tasking; e-mails, texts, instant messaging and phone calls all interrupt our train of thought and take us away from what we're working on. This then takes further time to get back in the 'zone'. If you're working on a task (home or work), put the phone on do not disturb, close the e-mails and don't answer calls.
Pick 1-2 times per day when you check e-mails, outside of these times, close e-mails and turn notifications off.
Some distractions (e.g kids, partners etc.) are still inevitable but if you apply the above tips, you've eliminated the majority of interruptions.  

5. Work time vs personal time. Make a clear distinction between work time and personal/family time. Don't be that parent who is replying to business emails on the couch whilst spending time with the kids or taking business calls when out with your partner. Learn to completely switch off from work/study and be fully present for your loved ones.
You'll all start to experience the benefits!

#Screentime

 

A recent Australian study found that most adults spend more time in front of screens than they do sleeping each day.
This is pretty concerning given most Aussies aren't sleeping enough, getting enough physical exercise or adequate nutrition.
Often, a large chuck of screen time is spent mindlessly scrolling through social media (facebook, twitter, instagram, snapchat etc). Research has also found that the more social networks an adult uses, the more likely they are to experience depression and anxiety symptoms.

So why are we so hooked on screen time?
Put simply - it's convenient and for many of us, part of our routine. If we want to look up a recipe, ask a friend about their weekend plans or read the news etc, we reach for our phone or device. If we're waiting for a friend or sitting in a waiting room, we reach for our phone. If we need directions - you get the idea..
Instead of going to the cinemas or drive in, we can easily watch a movie online from our couch. Instead of going to a shop to look at furniture or clothes, this too can be done online. 

The online world has infiltrated our everyday life.
Modern life demands that we are surrounded by screens.

How often do you find yourself pulling out your phone and just 'checking' your e-mail, messenger or news feed?

How often do you find yourself doing this in the company of others?

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Every time you 'check' your phone, you receive a dopamine hit in the same area of the brain that is activated when people gamble or take drugs.
We're essentially becoming addicted to our devices.

So what can you do about it?
When was the last time you went somewhere without your phone?
Start by being more aware of your screen time. Notice when you feel that 'urge' to check your phone.
Is it because you're bored, nervous, stressed or perhaps procrastinating ? 

  • Turn off notifications for apps - this way your phone isn't buzzing every few minutes.
  • Put your phone away when you're spending time with family or friends.
  • Instead of coming home and vegging out on the couch binge watching netflix, set yourself a limit and stick to it. If you have time for hours of netflix, you have time to get some exercise and connect with loved ones - no excuses.
  • Excessive screen time can have a range of negative impacts on children.
    Don't just tell the kids to get off their devices and play outside. 
    Instead get out and about with them - lead by example.
    Start to explore and enjoy nature again (and leave the phones at home or in the car!)
  • If you're really game, download the iphone app 'Moment'. It logs how much time you spend on your phone each day, how may times you picked it up and which app takes up most of your time.
    It can be quite confronting but could motivate you to take control of your time.

Don't allow yourself to be a slave to screens.
Use them to enhance your life, not control it.

 

Older men

10-15% of older men experience depression & anxiety.
But why? Aren't these supposed to be the golden years? 

As men enter their 60's and beyond, life begins to change. The body slows down, retirement eventually becomes a reality and men are left with a lot more time on their hands. This can sound appealing as there's more time to enjoy hobbies, travel and socialise. Yet sadly, many men become more isolated as they age and come to realise they have few hobbies or social connections left post work life.
A man's personal identity is too often tied to his job and occupation - which come retirement time, means an identity crisis is inevitable. He loses his sense of purpose and meaning. Combine this with increased loneliness, isolation and a lack of routine in retirement and it's easy to see how depression and anxiety can begin to set in.

If men aren't proactive, they become more and more isolated as they continue to age. Increasing physical health issues, losing family members, friends or partners as they pass away and the stigma surrounding mental health and seeking support, which is especially strong in the older generation, all paints a pretty bleak picture for older men.   

psychologist counselling men bayside hampton

But it doesn't have to be this way!

Plan your transition to retirement
If you're still in the workforce and retirement is on the horizon, start planning now.
What will you do with your time? Is it possible to semi-retire and work part time to ease the transition? What hobbies do you have now that you can spend more time doing? 
If you need to start developing hobbies or become involved in community groups etc, start doing this before you fully retire!
Plan your retirement transition with a partner or friend. Speak to those who have retired.

Get involved
Regardless of whether you've retired or not, start to be come more involved in the community. Maybe you can coach or volunteer at the local sporting club or school? Mentor new graduates in your profession? Help out with the grandkids more often? Head down to the local men's shed and see if it's for you. Start that short course you've always wanted to try? Dust off the golf clubs or give lawn bowls a go.
There are plenty of community groups, events, hobbies and initiatives now for older men (and women) - you just need to get step outside of your comfort zone and give things a try and find out what is going to work for you!

Mates = protection
Too many men rely on their partners for social connections. Many man have any friends of their own. If you don't currently have any mates or don't see enough of them, do something about it. Start making an effort to re-connect with old friends. If this isn't possible, start doing things where you can meet more people.
"Ah but I'm not one of those blokes who enjoy community groups or mens sheds and that kinda stuff" I hear you say.
You don't know that and you've got nothing to lose by giving it a go.
Social connection will go a long way in protecting you against depression and anxiety.
No excuses - find a way to connect with other men.

Have a routine
Routine is essential, even if you have little on during the week. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Get daily exercise and have an idea of what you plan to achieve each day - even if these things seem minimal, it gives structure and a sense of purpose to your day. A dog makes a great companion in retirement, as they require routine and regular exercise - as do retirees! 

And if you are struggling - do not suffer in silence.
Speak to a mate, your GP, a psychologist OR your neighbour. 
just speak to someone.

See Brian in the video below, speaking about his personal challenges with retirement and mental health.

Video from Beyond Blue

Happy wife happy life?

Start improving your relationship today!

There seems to be some truth to old mantra - 'Happy life happy wife'.
So this post is dedicated to improving your relationship with that significant other!

Whether your relationship is going really well or you’re on the brink of separation
(in which case we’d suggest you seek some support!), we can all do some things to improve our relationships.

1.       Connect
Life can be extremely hectic and sometimes couple’s feel as though they’ve become mere housemates; simply coming and going, with little time or effort for each other.
Most relationships, especially those with kids, go through these phases. What’s important though, is you find time to connect. We can all find at least 5-10 minutes a day (spend less time watching tv or on your phone). Agree to make some time each day (maybe it’s in the morning before you get up or perhaps just after the kids have gone to bed at night) to simply be with each other, where neither of you are doing anything else.
No devices, no tv’s, no cooking, nothing.
Just sit with each other on the couch perhaps, ask your partner how their day was or just have a casual conversation.
It’s essential that busy couples find this time, even if only 5-10 minutes, to connect and check in with each other.
If your relationship is important to you, think of this as the glue that can hold you together through the tough times; make this a priority.

2.       Listen
Don’t roll your eyes, we’ll break this down for you. As much as men like to come home and sit in silence after a long day, women often enjoy discussing their day. The biggest mistake men make when trying to ‘listen’, is whilst their partner is talking, they’re either waiting so they can say something to help their partner ‘solve’ things or to change the topic.
Listen to understand, not to respond”. Ask some questions, try to understand what your partner is saying from their point of view. Even a few questions can leave your partner feeling heard, and validated and before you know it - you’ve listened!
Give it a try!

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3.       The little things
They say the key to a great relationship is to treat your partner like you did when you first met. There’s a lot of truth to this! Once the ‘honeymoon’ period ends, we can get comfortable and too busy to do the ‘little things’.
The beauty of these little things is they’re simple but have a huge impact on how your partner feels. An occasional out of the blue text message telling them how much you appreciate them, an ‘I love you note’ in their lunch, a surprise dinner date or night away or even making their favourite dinner when you know they’ve had a stressful day.
Don’t wait until valentine’s day or anniversaries to do these things – ensure your partner feels loved and appreciated by doing a few little things each week! 

 

Commit to doing these 3 things and your relationship will reap the rewards!

Dear dad, from your kids

Dear Dad,

Stop what you're doing - I need to tell you something.

1. Make time for me
I know both you and mum are super busy working to pay all of our bills and ensure we have a good life as a family, and for that I am super thankful.
BUT - in 10/20 years, it won't be the brand name clothes, the expensive toys or video games that will be important to me. It won't be the nice family home or private school you sent me to.
Sure these things are great but what is most important to me and what I will remember is the relationship we have. The lessons and values I've learnt from you by the time we spent together. 
I'll remember if you came to watch me play sport or in school performances.
Did I feel comfortable coming to you or were you always too busy for me?
Were you there at significant events in my childhood or were you absent?
Please make time for me.

2. Take care of yourself & get your shit together
Will I look back and see a father who was always stressed, depressed, drinking or fighting with mum ? (your mental health has a big impact on us growing up).
I need a dad who is healthy, both physically and mentally. I need you to mentor me, to lead by example, to encourage & support me and to be proud of me.
To be a grandfather to my kids someday.
I need a dad who can be fully present when spending time with me, not always stressing about things. I need a dad who can have fun with me but can also set the boundaries for me in life.
I need you in my life long term - so please take care of yourself, so you can be there for me! 

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3. Monkey see monkey do
I am going to adopt many of your habits & traits (good & bad). If you treat mum or others with disrespect, I'm likely to do the same. If you bottle up your emotions and don't role model getting support when something is wrong - I'm likely to do the same. If there's things you need to change or work on - do it.
I'll be in my teens and on my P's before you know it and then it's too late.

Ask yourself - In 20 years, would you be happy/proud if I were a similar person to you now ?
If you have a daughter, how would you feel about her marrying someone like you?

I know you want the best for the family and for me but just remember what truly matters!

Being a young man today

Whether you've just hit your teenage years or you're in your early 20's wondering what to do with life; being young is an extremely exciting, yet equally challenging, time of your life.
Suicide is still the number one killer of young Aussie men - which highlights just how tough this time of life can be.

Physical & mental changes, dealing with parents, first experiences, finding out who you are and how to deal with life in general, means many young people can develop a range of mental health issues. This can have a huge impact on your social, school and home life.

The new generation of men are caught in-between their fathers era, when men were told to be 'tough' and didn't show emotion, and more recent times, where the male stereotype is slowly changing.

teenage counselling bayside

Most young men now know they should speak up when they're struggling and to look out for their mates.

We all know we SHOULD do this but how many of us actually DO IT?
It's a lot easier said than done. We're not taught how to deal with emotions, let alone talk about them and often many of our fathers didn't do a great job of role modelling this.

Maybe you've been feeling down, stressed or you're not sure how to deal with your emotions?
Perhaps you're arguing with your parents more often or you're concerned about your substance use?
Not sure how to deal with relationship issues or who to talk to about it? Or maybe you're concerned about a mate or family member?

If you've tried to manage things on your own and it isn't working - speak to someone.
This can be a mate, an uncle, a teacher, a family member, a coach, a doctor, a psychologist etc. If you're worried about a mate, speak up.

Just start the conversation.

It might seem overwhelming but the conversation can start with a simple:
"I'm struggling a bit and I just wanna have a chat" or "How have things been for you lately? Are you okay?".
Even a brief chat can help you or someone in your life feel supported.   

If you have any further queries or want more information there are plenty of useful resources online (see below links).
You can also contact us or message us on facebook.


Take that first step today.
Start the conversation. 

Headspace

Lifeline

MensLine

ManUp

Blokes Psychology Facebook Page

 

Why men have no friends

Men - we are extremely bad at friendships.

25% of Aussie men have no-one outside of their immediate family they feel they can call or rely on.

Even for men who do have some friends, 97% agree that making time for mates is essential, yet 85% of Aussie males struggle to find enough time to catch up with mates.
In our teens and 20's, it's often a lot easier. School, uni/tafe, work and sporting teams keep us connected. Yet this quickly starts to drop off. The communal events dry up, many stop playing sport and slowly but surely - 'real life' kicks in (full time jobs, partners, kids, financial responsibilities etc.).

All of those times where we would see mates, suddenly don't happen unless you make an effort and plan - something most guys suck at.

psychologist hampton bayside

Why do we need our mates?
Study after study shows that it's the quality of genuine human connections that predict our 'happiness'. Not the size or postcode of your house, brand of your car or money in the bank. 'Social connectedness' decreases the chances of mental health deterioration (depression, anxiety & developing addictions etc.).

Having a great relationship with your partner is fantastic, as is having healthy relationships with the kids but men also need a life, outside of family life.
Women are great at this, they can actually call each other just to chat, and regularly make plans to see each other!
Men: "Good to see you mate, we need to catch up soon" "Yeah for sure mate, that'd be good, chat soon". - But it simply never happens. Sound familiar?
Even the best of friendships soon fade if they're not maintained.

We need to make our mates a priority.

It's too acceptable in 'man culture' to cancel on plans at the last minute, citing some half assed excuse. "I'm pretty wrecked after work or nah mate sorry don't want to upset the partner".
We prioritise paying the bills, family time and work.
We need to make time for mates a non-negotiable.

Think of who, outside of the family, you could call if life threw you a curve ball. Who would be there for you?
What is holding you back from seeing your mates more often or planning to catch up?

 

Think about what friendships you value and which one's you've been neglecting.
Give a good mate a call and tell him you want to catch up. 
Make this a regular priority.

Good mental health

4 ways to improve your mental health today

Just like with our physical health, most of us struggle with our mental health at some stage in life. Even if you’re not struggling currently, you can do some simple things that can improve your overall mental health and well-being.

1.       Get outside
Most of us are so busy working long hours and trying to be there for our families, we often neglect our own self-care. Sport, exercise & gym are all great outlets whereby you can take some time out and improve your physical and mental health. Yet many people either don’t enjoy these or 'don't have the time'. The good news is even a
10-20 minute walk a day can alter your brain chemistry and put you in a different mindset. Think of something realistic that can get you out of the house, at least 3-4 times per week; maybe you can walk the dog more often, take the kids to the park or even dust off those jogging shoes.

Challenge: Find something you can do to break up your daily routine, commit to doing it 3-4 times in the next week and see how you go! 

2.       Review your sleep routine
Two in five Aussies don’t get enough sleep; yet many of us spend the last 1-2 hours before bed watching tv and/or scrolling through social media. Good sleep is an essential foundation to good mental health. Set a challenge for yourself and go to bed 30 minutes earlier for the next week. Make it a rule not to use your phone in bed and don’t have any screen time (tv or devices) an hour before bed. Use the time to read a book or just connect with your partner.
Chances are your mornings will be less stressful and you’ll be better prepared to face the day ahead!

Challenge: No screen time in bed & go to bed 30 minutes earlier for the next week.

Up to 45 per cent of Aussies have poor sleep patterns that lead to fatigue and irritability which puts them at risk of low productivity, damage to their mental health and unsafe behaviours.

Up to 45 per cent of Aussies have poor sleep patterns that lead to fatigue and irritability which puts them at risk of low productivity, damage to their mental health and unsafe behaviours.

3.  Food & Drink
Emerging research is showing that what we consume, impacts our mental health. Try not to drink caffeine after 2pm, limit your sugar intake (if it’s in the cupboard, you’re going to eat it), don’t drink more than 1-2 alcoholic drinks on weeknights and make sure you’re hydrated -  a lot of the time when we feel hungry or are craving a snack, we’re often dehydrated.
How much water are you drinking each day?

Challenge: No caffeine after 2pm and ensure you’re drinking at least 2L of water each day (more if you’re exercising).

4.  Make a list
We’re all extremely busy and can often struggle to switch our minds off. Yet we need to prioritise our time to ensure we’re not neglecting those important things in our lives. Write a list and amend it each morning, two columns: ‘Things to do today’ & ‘Things to do someday’. Whether it’s work or domestic tasks, this will help you better prioritise your time, enable you to become more efficient and ensure that the ‘things to do someday’ tasks don’t keep you awake at night or take you away from your precious family time.  

Challenge: Write a ‘things to do today’ & ‘things to do someday’ list and update it daily.

See if you can commit to at least one of the above challenges for a week and notice the results!

Silence is deadly.

8 people suicide every day in Australia - 6 of these are men.

You might have heard it in the media - 'a mental health crisis, an epidemic' - yet sadly this is no exaggeration or media hype. Suicide is the biggest killer of boys and men aged 15-44 in Australia. It claims more lives than the national road toll, yet it's something we hear or talk little about. The first question is why? Why do so many males resort to ending their own lives? We live in the lucky country, 'the worlds most liveable city'. 
Yet more men each year are taking their lives.     

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Men suicide for a range of different reasons including:

  • Stressful life events
  • Trauma
  • Mental illness
  • Physical illness
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Poor living circumstances
  • Relationship breakdown

Few men reach out for support when they need it. Men are told from a young age that 'boys don't cry' and to 'man up'. This ingrained Aussie male culture does men no favours when they start to experience emotional or mental health challenges. This stigma prevents many from reaching out or even telling their loved one's they're struggling. They often don't want to burden those around them and suffer in silence instead.

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We need to change the conversation about what it means to be a 'man'.
We need to start talking about seeking support as a courageous thing to do.
We need to know the warning signs to look out for.

Aside from the usual signs of depression (low mood, agitation, lack of interest in usual activities, feelings of hopelessness/sadness etc), 'male specific warning signs' also often include increased aggression, avoidance and substance abuse.

If you're concerned that someone in your life may be struggling, let them know they're not alone and that you're there for them. Encourage them to seek support, seek support for yourself and provide them with resources.

If you're reading this and think you may be experiencing mental health issues, don't suffer in silence. Speak to a loved one, book in to see a psychologist or tell your doctor. 
Do something, don't just leave it and try to fix things yourself.

"It’s okay to not have your shit together. It’s okay to feel depressed. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be anxious. It’s okay to be scared. These are perfectly normal feelings that every man experiences. And it’s okay to talk about it.
What’s not okay is suffering in silence. " - Mens Health

Video from the ‘Man Up’ ad campaign.