Dragon Boating: The Importance of Stretching.

Stretching before and after a training session or race keeps muscles flexible, strong and healthy, which is very important – especially when using muscles in a repetitive way, such as constant paddling.

Dragon Boating is a physically demanding sport, guaranteed to increase your overall fitness with a combination of strength and endurance training.

But also requires an element of aerobic fitness, and a certain amount of power.

And for power, you need muscles.

While there is obviously an emphasis on upper-body strength, it does well to note that the sport actually comprises of a full-body workout.

When it comes to any kind of exercise, it is important to look after your muscles. And you’ll quickly realise that Dragon Boating works a lot of different muscles.

Besides the obvious muscles groups involved, such as the arms and shoulders, there are a lot of other muscle-groups utilised.

The most worked muscles in Dragon Boating are the following:

  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Back
  • Legs
  • Core
  • Chest

So how do we look after all these muscles, so they’re kept in powerful, working order?

Stretch!

Stretching is vital when it comes to Dragon Boating in any capacity, whether it be social, competitive or at an elite level.

And while stretching has obvious benefits in warming up your muscles before heading out on the water (sometimes in cold conditions), stretching is also a great way to decrease stress, enhance your range of motion, and improve circulation.

Stretching before and after a training session or race keeps muscles flexible, strong and healthy, which is very important – especially when using muscles in a repetitive way, such as constant paddling.

Remember, Dragon Boating is a full-body workout, so it’s really important to check with your coach and devise a warm-up and warm-down plan.

There’s nothing worse than sustaining an injury and being out for part, or all, of the season.

How?

So what stretches can we do to keep our muscles healthy, and reduce the risk of injury?

See the image below for some basic stretches you and your team can try together, to help get your muscles warmed up before jumping in the boat!

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330995083_Popsugar-fullbody-stretch

Related Posts:

Quote Of The Day 04/09/2019

WEDNESDAY, 04/09/2019:

Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/320740804712902104/

‘Fear doesn’t shut you down; it wakes you up.’

– Veronica Roth

Top Talks (#1): The Anatomy of Trust – Brené Brown

Discover a new ‘Top Talk’ weekly with The Art of Overthinking!

Hello there!

I’ve been listening to (and watching) a lot of Ted Talks, Podcasts and Lectures recently… And the one thing I realized was that I really wanted to share some of the key points some of these incredible people have to say!

So I decided to start a weekly section on my blog titled ‘Top Talks’, where I can share with you some of the great things I’ve heard and learned from an array of fascinating, intelligent and diverse people.

It is truly mind-boggling to me how incredibly talented our world is, so I thought doing a ‘show-and-tell’ of the speeches I come across would be a fun way to get more people thinking about issues they may not have thought about before, or see things from another’s perspective.

So without further ado:

WHO IS BRENE BROWN?

Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston, with a PhD in Social Work.

Brené has spent her career studying courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy, as well as being an author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers and giving multiple talks on her research.

Today, I’m writing about Brené’s talk on ‘The Anatomy of Trust’.

source: https://www.google.com/search?q=brene+brown&rlz=1C1GCEA_enAU846AU847&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjHmMqTtMzjAhWCfysKHZ_BDM8Q_AUIEigC&biw=1745&bih=807#imgrc=-al8YnXqDvf_1M:

The Anatomy of Trust – Brené Brown

What I got out of this ‘Top Talk’:

This ‘Top Talk’ was all about trust. How it is gained, how it is lost, and what it is. The main ideas I got from listening to this talk were the ‘B.R.A.V.I.N.G’ acronym and her analogy that likened trust to a marble jar. I loved this talk and how true the concepts were to me!

THE MARBLE JAR:

Brené explained trust by comparing it to a marble jar from her daughter’s school. When the class is good, marbles go in the jar. When the class is bad, marbles come out.

In the same way, when people do little things to affirm their trustworthiness, marbles go into our ‘jar’. When they betray our trust, marbles come out.

Our ‘Marble Jar Friends’ are those that have filled our jar over time: people we know we can trust.

So how does Brené define trust?

THE B.R.A.V.I.N.G ACRONYM:

Below are the seven ‘elements’ of trust that Brené goes through (these are on her website, too!):

BOUNDARIES:

You respect my boundaries, and when you’re not clear about what’s okay and not okay, you ask. You’re willing to say no.

Green Grass
Photo of Four Persons Uniting Hands

RELIABILITY:

You do what you say you’ll do.

At work, this means staying aware of your competencies and limitations so you don’t over promise and are able to deliver on commitments and balance competing priorities.

ACCOUNTABILITY:

You own your mistakes, apologize, and make amends.

Close-up Photo of Tied Blue Box
Gold Padlock Locking Door

VAULT:

You don’t share information or experiences that are not yours to share.

I need to know that my confidences are kept, and that you’re not sharing with me any information about other people that should be confidential.

INTEGRITY:

You choose courage over comfort.

You choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. And you choose to practice your values rather than simply professing them.

Person Holding Hands
Red Corded Telephone on White Suraface

NON-JUDGMENT:

I can ask for what I need, and you can ask for what you need. We can talk about how we feel without judgment.

GENEROSITY:

You extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others.

Man's Hand in Shallow Focus and Grayscale Photography

And finally

Dr. Brown shares these ideas not only for trusting others, but for cultivating self-trust. Below are some questions she came up with to assess our level of self-trust:

B:

Did I respect my own boundaries?

Was I clear about what’s okay and what’s not okay?

R:

Was I reliable?

Did I do what I said I was going to do?

A:

Did I hold myself accountable?

V:

Did I respect the vault and share accordingly?

I:

Did I act from my integrity?

N:

Did I ask for what I needed?

Was I non-judgmental about needing help?

G:

Was I generous towards myself?

Quote Of The Day 05/06/2019

WEDNESDAY, 05/06/2019:

Source: https://weheartit.com/entry/330260697?context_page=15&context_query=pastel+photography&context_type=search

‘God knows we’re all drawn toward what’s beautiful and broken; I have been, but some people cannot be fixed. Or if they can be, it’s only by love and sacrifice so great it destroys the giver.’

– Cassandra Clare

Anti-Depressants (What The Doctors Don’t Tell You).

What (the Doctors don’t tell you) to expect when you decide to take Anti-Depressants.

 

FIRSTLY:

The decisions to start taking any kind of anti-depressant medication can be very daunting, especially when you may not know much about the drug your GP is prescribing or recommending. Most of the time, in my experience, you don’t even really make the decision at all – your GP does.

And although Doctors/ GP’s are intelligent and educated people, they don’t always gets it right – much the same as us. Sometimes they forget that there is a human being attached to their diagnosis and treatment plan. It’s for this reason that I recommend always double checking a few things, and even perhaps getting a second or third opinion, before blindly beginning a long-term medication.

 

 

MY PRESCRIPTION STORY:

Visiting The GP.

When I decided to visit my GP on the suspicion that my depression and anxiety was getting worse, this is (step-by-step) what happened:

  • I was asked how long I had felt the way that I did
  • I was asked to explain why or what was making me so sad and stressed
  • I was asked to fill out a generic questionnaire/ mental health assessment survey
  • I was told by my GP that I was most likely suffering from the effects of depression and anxiety
  • A Mental Health Care Plan was organised for me
  • I was prescribed an Anti-Depressant medication and told to take one daily

 

Is that all?

All of these questions, and diagnoses, were completed by my GP within 20 minutes. And a lot of people have the same sorts of stories. So for starters, let me just note a few things here:

  • I was 18 at the time
  • I wasn’t asked about my Mental Health history by this GP at all
  • I wasn’t referred to a Psychiatrist for any kind of evaluation or diagnosis
  • I wasn’t offered a choice of who I wanted to see or asked if I had anyone in mind
  • I wasn’t told I had a choice about whether to take the medication I was prescribed
  • I wasn’t told of any side-effects that I might experience if I did take them

 

But wait! There’s more!

Every GP you see will be different, but just remember that if you have any questions, or doubt what your GP might be saying or prescribing, remember you have every right to ask questions. It is your body, your mind and your life.

You do not have to go into any details with your GP about why you’re feeling the way that you are – they are not a Psychiatrist. You have the right to ask to be referred to a preferred psychologist, or be referred to a psychiatrist.

You are within your rights to not take any medication without seeking a second opinion – this type of medication can sometimes be very hard to come off of, so it’s important you know what you’re getting yourself into. And you should always ask what the side-effects may be.

 

 

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT:

Within an hour of leaving the GP’s office, I had been to a chemist, had my prescription filled, and had taken my first pill, and that was that. Or so I thought.

 

Immediate side-effects…

When I hopped in my car to head home after visiting the chemist and doing a bit of shopping, I realised something was really wrong. I drove halfway up the street before I had to pull over. My head was spinning, my vision was blurry and I felt lethargic, like every muscle in my body was working in slow motion.

I rang my GP straight away and explained my symptoms. I was told this was completely normal, and that I would be okay in a day or so. I managed to get home safely, thank goodness.

But that information may have been better received before I tried to drive home.

 

Research, research, research!

I can not stress the importance of researching your medication enough.

The first night, I went to sleep very early. I woke myself up about 10 times that night grinding my teeth. By the morning, I was exhausted, my head hurt and I felt terrible. So I decided to look up the product information for my new medication, to see what else I might be in for.

It was hard to tell which possible side-effects I might experience, because there were quite literally hundreds of them.

And the GP never told me about a single one of them.

 

Why wasn’t I told?

Beginning a new medication without being warned of the things I might experience, like common side-effects, was really upsetting and confusing.

Not only was I dealing with the issues I had before I began taking the medication, I now had a plethora of other sub-issues to contend with.

At one point, I was even prescribed a higher dosage of the same medication, when I explicitly explained the side-effects I was suffering from to a completely different GP.

 

 

THESE DAYS:

It’s been over seven years since I was first prescribed my Anti-Depressants. I am still taking them, and I do still suffer from a lot of side-effects. I’ve learned to manage most of them, but more importantly, I’ve learned how important it is to question your GP’s opinion if something (no matter how small or how silly you think it seems) doesn’t feel quite right.

Anti-Depressants can be very dangerous medications, so it’s important you ask questions. For me, this medication rules my entire life. When I first started taking my medication, I wasn’t told much, so I thought I’d compile a list of a few things my GP didn’t tell me about:

 

Numbness

My GP didn’t tell me much about the side-effects of my Anti-Depressant. The way they described it, I would take the medication, and I would feel better.

But I didn’t feel better, necessarily. I came to realise that the medication simply numbed my emotions. On the one hand, I wouldn’t feel very depressed. But on the other, I wouldn’t feel very happy, either.

It’s taken a long time to adjust to feeling very… well, bleak. Not too sad, but not too happy. Just existing, some days. Yes, not having overwhelming sadness is good. But not being able to feel joy and excitement can sometimes be hard.

 

Dry Mouth

A very common side-effect of Anti-Depressants is having a constantly dry mouth. And one definitely not worth overlooking. Dry mouth can lead to infections, soreness and a bunch of other oral-related nasties, including bad-breath.

 

Weight Gain

While there are other factors involved in gaining weight – lifestyle, work, levels of activity – since beginning my Anti-Depressants, I’ve gained around 15kg. That might not seem like a lot to some, but weight gain can cause serious self-esteem issues and can make you feel even worse about yourself.

 

Sex-Drive

I would say that I was about average when it came to being sexually active, but as time has gone on, I’ve noticed my disinterest in sex. Which is another thing my GP failed to clue me in on. Sometimes I really have to force myself to have sex, and it’s not a nice feeling.

On the occasions where I do feel like sex, I also have to battle with the fact that it doesn’t feel as good as what it probably does without medication. It can really drop yours (and your partner’s) confidence, and it can be difficult to connect without that intimacy.

The right person will understand, of course, but it can be an incredibly difficult thing to bring up.

 

Withdrawals

This is the biggest challenge I have with my medication these days.

If I go even six hours without taking my medication on time, the withdrawals start. And they’re not pretty. I wind up feeling like a full-blown drug-addict coming down, and I’m not over-exaggerating.

I get headaches, lose concentration, feel dizzy and nauseous and sweat so much people notice the marks under my arms and on my back.

If I go twelve hours without it, my anxiety kicks back in with a vengeance, my heart races and everything around me is suddenly overwhelming  – too loud, too big, too close. The fine balancing act my brain plays on a daily basis is derailed and I become a nervous wreck. Every noise is terrifying.

Twenty-four hours without my medication is agony. The only reason this usually happens is if I forget to get a prescription filled and the chemist is closed for a public holiday, or I forget to pack it if I go somewhere.

It’s horrendous. I get brain-zaps, which are basically described as a feeling as if your head, brain or both have experienced a sudden jolt, shake, vibration, tremor, zap or electric-shock. You can find out more about them here.

Along with the brain-zaps, I start to get so wound up I can’t sleep, can’t talk properly and every muscle in my body is tensed. I don’t eat and I become paranoid. I can’t even begin to explain to you how much pain you experience, having to go through this.

And my GP never told me about any of it.

 

Memory

Even though my GP knew I was studying at university, they still failed to mention that a possible side-effect of my medication would be that my memory could be affected.

I became forgetful, unfocused, lethargic and wasn’t able to remember basic things, like what I did the night before. I couldn’t describe certain things – my mind would go blank. It was an awful feeling, realising my memory was becoming hazy. Even now, I struggle with words, remembering small things and even people’s names.

 

Suicidal Thoughts

Again, you would think that the GP may have mentioned to me that I might get sudden urges to swerve my car into a tree, purposely do dangerous or risky things (like drugs) or think about how utterly pointless existing is on a daily basis. Nope!

Suicidal thoughts are a common side-effect of Anti-Depressant medication, and it’s hard work, reminding your brain every day that you don’t, in fact, want to kill yourself. Especially when you’re getting urges to do just that. Not to mention, it’s pretty disturbing and can feel incredibly invasive.

There have been loads of times where my medication has made me question my own sanity.

 

 

WHAT NEXT?

Every person will experience the effects of their medications slightly differently. You may find that you experience things I haven’t noted here, or perhaps there are things you don’t experience, that I have noted. There’s no right or wrong answer.

Deciding to take Anti-Depressants is a personal journey, and that’s why it’s so important to listen to your body, and ask questions.

Remember to keep an open mind, ask questions, don’t overlook your concerns, and remember that Anti-Depressants aren’t going to fix you. You need to use them in conjunction with therapy, healthy lifestyle habits and in a responsible way.

If you, or someone you know, wants to find out more information, there are plenty of places that you can reach out:

 

Websites:

Headspace

Black Dog Institute

Kids Helpline

MensLine Australia

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation

Q Life (LGBTI+ Specific)

 

Phone:

Headspace: 1800 650 890

Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800

MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978

QLife: 1800 184 527

 

Related Articles:

Why Mental Health & The Workplace Go Hand-In-Hand.

5 Signs You’re in an Abusive Relationship; My Experience & What I Learned.

Mental Illness: Surviving & Thriving

A Beginner’s Guide To Self Love

You Are A Miraculous Work Of Art.

 

 

 

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If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out more at: www.theartofoverthinking,com

How To Find Your Purpose.

How do we combat the feeling that something is missing from our lives?

 

Some people seem to have it all.

Have you ever looked at someone, and thought to yourself:

‘Wow, they really have their life together.’

Chances are, you answered yes. Me too. I have friends that just seem to get it. They knew what they wanted to do before the High School teachers even started asking.

They applied for University, got in, smashed out their degree, and now they’re doing what they always wanted – and posting about it all over Facebook and Instagram, almost as if to rub it in. They’ve got it all together.

Or so we think, from the outside looking in. But in reality, they probably don’t. In fact, most of us don’t really have a clue what we’re doing or where we’re headed. Some of the people we think have it all together are just as discontent as us – you see it all the time:

Person who has seemingly perfect life throws it all in for a life of travel‘ or;

Guy with Engineering Degree decides to open a cake shop’.

It’s like a light-bulb switched on in their brains and they suddenly saw the light. The thing is, everyone is on a journey to find their true purpose in life, and sometimes it takes some of us a little longer to figure it out.

So how do we combat the feeling that something is missing in our lives? How can we find something worth throwing it all in for? Something worth waking up in the morning? Something bigger than the mediocre-at-best life we’re sold in High School?

 

Motivations vs Inspirations & Head vs Heart.

The real reason so many people struggle with the concept of ‘purpose’ and accept their lives as they are, is that they spend all their time in the corner, thinking about themselves, what they want, what they need and where they want to go. But finding your true purpose starts with a change in perspective.

You need to stop using your head, and start using your heart. Motivation is not the same as inspiration. Most people are motivated in one way or another – usually by money. Because we need to be. We need money to live our lives – pay our bills, buy a house and car, travel, have children and pets, go out with friends… The logical, level-headed thing to be motivated by, is money.

The frustrating part is that your motivations can sometimes get in the way of our inspirations. 

Our purpose gets left on the side-lines while we chase a way to pay for life. The one day, we stop and realise there’s something missing – sometimes known as an existential crisis.

This is where the idea of using our heart rather than our head comes in. Because in this world, there’s nothing logical when it comes to love and passion and inspiration. Consider this scenario:

You are financially stable. In fact, consider yourself as part of the top 1% of the world. You have absolutely no need for money – you are infinitely rich.

What would you do with your time?

If you had everything you could possibly dream of, how would you spend your days?

When I first considered this question, dreams of living in a huge mansion, being by a poolside with a cocktail and reading a book was the first thing to come to mind.  But when I really thought about it, I realised that no-one in their right mind could do that forever – they’d get bored.

So what would I do? I thought long and hard about what made me sad and what made me happy. I thought about my experiences, and I thought about other people going through the same thing. And I realised I wanted to help them. All the kids from broken families, experiencing homelessness, witnessing addiction or had nowhere and no-one to go to.

 

So what next?

So let’s snap back to reality.

I’m not infinitely rich. I didn’t have endless amounts of time or money. But what I did suddenly have, was inspiration. 

The same inspiration that lead me to research, apply and eventually become a mentor for at-risk young people. And it has helped me see the difference between motivation and inspiration, and want and need. 

I wasn’t just someone who went to work and paid bills anymore – I was someone these kids looked forward to seeing. Someone who gave advice, listened, laughed and was present.

I had suddenly figured out what it was that I needed to do to help fill the void I was feeling in my life. In order to find my true purpose, I had to think about something other than my situation.

Because once we strip back the want for money and the responsibilities of life, we suddenly stare at what’s left of us.

Maybe we don’t all have unlimited time and money, but we all have a person hiding under all the baggage of life. We shouldn’t let that baggage limit the difference we can make in the world.

And every single one of us is different. Some of us join the RSPCA, start a wildlife sanctuary or foster cats. Others play cards with veterans at the retirement village or work on cars or coach a sports team. But one thing they all have in common is they aren’t motivated by money. They’re inspired by a cause.

And every single one of us is capable of being more than their surroundings dictate. It’s just a matter of choice.

An Open Flame.

A poem.

 

where there’s fire

it will burn

and we all grow up

to learn that the prettiest things

are often those

that hurt us the most.

 

and some of us

learn the hard way

flaying our skin on

an open flame

and others never know –

they’re just told to stay away.

 

and that’s the difference

between us

a simple, red hot burn

but it’s enough

to be all the difference

you and i are from different worlds.

 

you sat by the fire

watching the flames dance

and seeing beauty.

and there in the background,

i sat from a distance

and saw the danger instead.

 

our lives are shaped

around our burns

and some have more than others,

i wonder what it would be like

if my burns

weren’t all that mattered.

 

Hopeless Musing #9

Versions.

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VERSIONS.

Everyone has a different version of us in their eyes and their hearts.

To your boss at work, perhaps you are smart calculated and well-dressed. To your friends, maybe you have a nice car, a nice house and your kids go to a nice school. To you partner, perhaps you are too quiet, you work too much, you’re always tired…

We have multiple versions of ourselves floating around in the minds of others, but at the end of the day, we need to decide what we want to look like.

Do we want to be the person who cared more about their clothes, than clothing the poor?

Do you want to be the person who had a nice car, or the person who helped someone who’s car broke down on the side of the road when everyone else just drove past?

Do you want to go to a church that preaches about ‘loving thy neighbour’, but not a single person in the pews would look twice at a homeless person on the street?

Who we want to be is a direct reflection of what we will be, in the minds of the people around us.

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Quote Of The Day 11/04/2019

THURSDAY, 11/04/2019:

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‘Because what’s worse than knowing you want something, besides knowing you can never have it?’

– James Patterson