The She Hive Ladies Shed with Glenda Riley


Transcript from the podcast “Speak Out Loud: Stories of Strength from the Southern Downs”


GUEST: Glenda Riley, She Hive Ladies Shed; Photographer

PUBLISHED: 14th February 2022

Storm King Dam

[00:00:00] Glenda: We were watching traffic and there was just this constant stream of traffic coming out to have a look at the dam, which mostly, oh yeah well, it’s just a dam full of water, but it was a reassurance I think, from a lot of local people, they were coming out. Oh, thank goodness the dam’s full. And they were just coming out to be reassured that that difficult part of our lives is, was behind them.

[00:00:31] Kathryn: Today’s guest on the podcast is Glenda Riley who joined me to share information about the She Hive which is based in Stanthorpe. The She Hive is a solution focused, inclusive social group for women that empowers its members to share their skills, knowledge, and their presence with each other. Glenda believes that the powerful energy that’s brought to the group each week comes from the group’s philosophy: I believe you. I see you. I have a voice. And Glenda also spoke to me about the need to not assume that we know what somebody else needs, but to always ask them “What can I do to help? What would be most helpful?”

Hello, Glenda. Welcome to the podcast.

[00:01:17] Glenda: Hi Kathryn. It’s lovely to be with you today.

[00:01:20] Kathryn: Glenda, I’d love to hear from you. What’s your connection with the Southern Downs?

[00:01:25] Glenda: Well, I’ve been a resident here for eight years, a regular visitor for over 20 years. But what drew me to the region is that it’s very similar in climate, agriculture, tourism where I grew up in Victoria. So it’s been a bit like coming home.

[00:01:40] Kathryn: And we’re here today at the She Hive.

[00:01:43] Glenda: Yes, you are. Welcome to the She Hive and all that it is.

[00:01:47] Kathryn: It’s wonderful to finally come here and be in the She Hive and see where you and the other women come and gather together. Can you share with our listeners the story of how the She Hive began and what inspired the name She Hive?

[00:02:03] Glenda: Wonderful questions, Kathryn. This came out of the bushfire and drought response of 2019 and 2020. We all know what happened here in Stanthorpe in September 2019. But before that we’d been dealing with drought for a couple of years and it was starting to really take its toll. There were job losses, there were families being split because dad was going away for holidays, for work and things like that. And we just decided, we were doing water. We were offered to distribute water. It was just a group of us doing it to start with. We were all country girls that wanted to do something, and this is how it started. But then of course the fires came through, and it just changed to a water crisis response. So for nine months we actually distributed millions and millions of litres of drinking water. And then we got a contract with Carlton United Breweries at Yatala to bring non-potable water at 40,000 litres at a time up into the Southern Downs out to different graziers, orchardists and local nurseries just to help them keep their doors open, keep food on the table and give them a little bit of hope. But we had rain in February 2020, and that sort of seemed to fill the dams and fill the water tanks. So the pressure was off a little bit, but we were still distributing water and other food and clothing and things like that cause we were getting the overflow from the bushfire response down in New South Wales. So it came to June in 2020 and we said I think we’ve done enough with that. We weren’t needing that, people weren’t needing that response, needing that support as such, but right through it, what we found with our volunteers were telling me and others that we were identifying the women, at home, be that in town or on the farm or wherever, they were the ones that was making the sacrifice.
They were looking after hubby. They were looking after the kids. They were looking after the farm. Like if hubby had gone away for work, just to get money onto the, into the home. And they were suffering. It was really, really tough. They’d come in to get their water and they’d often stand and talk for another 20 minutes, half an hour. So with the research I’d been doing and listening and observing what was going on, and with a couple of the other ladies that were volunteers, we decided to push ahead and research a women’s shed because mental health was becoming a very strong focus on what to underpin, how we were going to rebuild the community and you know, just make us, to heal us, I suppose, is another way of putting it. So with research and then with the help with Southern Downs Regional Council we managed to get a lease here at Storm King Dam, the Fred Rogers Recreation Camp. So we’ve got eight acres here that we have to play with. So it’s been an amazing 12 months so we opened our doors just 12 months ago to the women’s shed concept here.
Because I’m a great believer in community, a great believer in people taking ownership of what they’re doing, we ran a competition for a name. I mean, I had my ideas, but, one of our members our current secretary, in fact, she came up with the idea of the She Hive and we just loved that idea because it’s so symbolic and the fact that it’s about bees, you know, they’re a colony, they look after themselves, they’re a collective, they work to create and to survive. And I thought, well, then, that’s really like us. And then of course, the honeycomb is, of course, that connection to each other and to the community. So this is how it came about. But 12 months down the track, yes, we’re doing well.

[00:05:34] Kathryn: That’s a fabulous story. And, one that I hadn’t heard before, so I’m really thrilled to hear about that.

[00:05:40] Glenda: It’s just been supporting, you know, like it’s open to anybody.

[00:05:44] Kathryn: And that’s what I was going to ask you. Who is the She Hive for?

[00:05:48] Glenda: Anyone of the female gender that comes around you know, that either lives here, or bringing the visitors here, they’re more than welcome to come along. So anyone in the Southern Downs, Granite Belt, anywhere. I mean, we’re happy to see people from over the border, now that that situation has calmed down a bit. So you know, we’re looking at that when we have open days or a big workshop, we’ll be expanding that out to other things, but, you know, it’s small steps still.

[00:06:13] Kathryn: Absolutely. What sorts of activities are being offered with the She Hive?

[00:06:19] Glenda: Well, on a weekly basis, there’s always, as you can see we’ve got our tea room and that here, there’s always coffee and a chat, always. Regardless. And then to that we’re adding things like doing a bit of craft while we’re here. We don’t believe in sitting in the room, just doing craft. We’ve expanded our things. We might have a discussion about what’s going on. We might have a book discussion or some of us would go to a movie and we’ll talk about the movie. Things like that. So there’s always something. So we’re looking at different things. Looking at different art techniques. Education wise and sort of, as part of our philosophy is knowledge. So that’s things like fire safety coming up this year. Things of interest. I sit and listen to what the girls are saying, and I observe how they’re reacting to what we’re doing, and then we bend and we adapt to what their needs are because we’re listening to what they need and want.

[00:07:10] Kathryn: How often are the women meeting together?

[00:07:13] Glenda: Currently we’re meeting weekly on a Thursday. It was only for a couple of hours, but so that’s extended out for about four hours now, four or five hours for those.

[00:07:22] Kathryn: It’s a popular place to be.

[00:07:24] Glenda: Yeah, it is. And they can come along and they’re safe here and they can then be themselves. So it’s really important. We are looking at with the amount of planning we’ve got going on, what we’ve got planned. We may end up going to two days a week at some point during the year and with weekend workshops now, and again as well, just depending on what’s happening.

[00:07:42] Kathryn: What kind of financial costs are involved for the women who are involved or would like to get involved?

[00:07:49] Glenda: Well, as a charity, we’ve kept our costs right down because that was one of the things we identified in the early days was that not everyone can afford to go out and spend 10, $15 on a cup of coffee and a sandwich, which is what it is the average these days. So they couldn’t afford that. They were missing out on that social interaction with their friends. Our weekly cost is a dollar and annual membership fees, $10. And this year we’re doing a Christmas Club, which will be about $4 a week and that is going towards an end of year outing. And because a few of us have said “Oh, we’d love to do the steam train to Wallangarra.” So that’s what we’ve elected to do at the end of the year. So for a weekly contribution of $5 such if you want to join that Christmas club, so at the minimum it’s a dollar. You’ll have the benefit of new friends, catching up, learning something new, and being with other women and going on outings. So we think that’s pretty good value.

[00:08:48] Kathryn: What a fabulous thing to do. And that’s connecting with one of the other wonderful resources in the local community, the steam train.

[00:08:56] Glenda: Yeah we’re looking forward to that.

[00:08:57] Kathryn: How is the She Hive organised as a group? Is there a leadership team or a committee?

[00:09:03] Glenda: Well, because we were doing water, we incorporated as a not-for-profit charity and we’re also registered with the Australian charities, not-for-profit commission. We’re fully compliant in that regard legally and that sort of thing. Our official name, our legal name is Granite Belt Community Assist Group. So we have the She Hive as one section, and then we have water oddly enough. We still have our water.

[00:09:28] Kathryn: You never know when you might need that again.

[00:09:30] Glenda: No we don’t. You don’t. And benevolence on there. So we do a certain amount of benevolence each year. Only a small amount, just enough to keep things going and keep us registered as a charity. So we support, I think last year we supported the local cancer support group and this year we’re going to be doing the same so, that’ll be a big thing in October. So we’re looking forward to a bit of fun. So we’re going to expand what we were doing on that.

[00:09:54] Kathryn: How many women are coming along to the She Hive meetings Glenda, or are involved? I’m sure there are some involved on the fringes as well.

[00:10:04] Glenda: We’ve got a core group, probably between 10 and 12 that are regular members, and then we’ve got another probably 10 to 15 that come when they can. And that’s the other thing we don’t expect people to come every week.

[00:10:15] Kathryn: Why do you think the She Hive has been so successful? What needs do you think are being met there?

[00:10:21] Glenda: There’s no one thing that I can really pin down for that but I think offering solutions to mental wellbeing in a non-confrontational, safe and inclusive environment. I think that’s probably the main thing. However, we offer a variety of activities and outings. We don’t sit in a room doing craft every week. We’re out and about doing things where we get involved with each other. We get involved with the community. We’re getting involved with other local businesses by supporting them, you know, with our outings and things like that. But we hear about mental health programs that always ask about “Are you okay? Feeling depressed, tired, stressed?” I see them all as negative questions. I much prefer to ask the positive question of our team, of our members. “Are you going home invigorated and happy? Are you coping with what’s happening at home? Are you getting out and about and meeting your new friends outside She Hive activities? Are you feeling better in your life itself?” And to me if they’re answering yes, to that same question, to me, that’s a win. That is an absolute win.

[00:11:26] Kathryn: And framing it in that positive way, also gives people a little bit of a beacon to work towards. Rather than “Am I stressed?”, the focus then is on the stress. By flipping it around and reframing it, it’s on the, “What makes me feel good? What makes me feel invigorated?” And there’s that action towards that.

[00:11:48] Glenda: Yes. And even my own experience with mental health. And that was the one lesson I learned out of that. But the other thing that I really learned out of my own experiences, and it really underpins what we do and that is “We believe in you. We support you. We see you. And everyone has a voice.” And that to me is the core, absolute core foundation of what it is we do.

[00:12:10] Kathryn: That’s fabulous. I love that.

[00:12:12] Glenda: So no one is different. No one is treated any differently. We’re all the same. We all come together on a level playing field. But, you know, we’re sensitive to people’s needs and we work around that as much as we can.

[00:12:24] Kathryn: That sounds beautiful. Using one of your positive frames, Glenda, what are your hopes for She Hive into the future?

[00:12:32] Glenda: Continuing what we’re doing, building on our business model and making sure that the women of the region and our visitors are getting the best experience possible they can with what we’re doing. We try to keep things simple. We don’t over-complicate things. And I think sometimes if you’re struggling a little bit mentally, or your physical health is not as good, you don’t need anything complicated. You just need to come along, sit and even just sitting, listening to the others talking. I mean, quite often we can have five, or six conversations going at once and just being with others can be very healing.

[00:13:05] Kathryn: Where can people find out more about the She Hive and what’s the next step if someone’s listening and they’re thinking that they might like to get involved with the She Hive?

[00:13:18] Glenda: Well we’ve got our social media presence. We’ve got a website. And my phone number is there for everyone to pick up the phone and send a message or have a call. But we also encourage anyone that wants to they’re welcome to come along to one or two sessions. The way things are, at the moment, we’re having coffee in the park on a weekly basis.
That’s a little bit more laid back, not as structured. You can just roll up with a cup of coffee in your hand, sit and have a yarn for a while, especially if you don’t know the people, you can just stop and chat and have a few minutes and just eases people into meeting others and, and getting to know people, because I think we can all be a little bit intimidated by walking into an environment where you don’t know anyone. So we offer that.

[00:14:01] Kathryn: That sounds really terrific. And we’ll be sure to include those contact details and the web link in show notes. And it sounds like you’re really aware how important it is to be connected to other people in your community, whatever feels right for you. And that could mean being connected by being really involved in the structure of a club or a group like She Hive, but it can also mean those informal connections. You know, if you happen to see someone at the park, who’s having a picnic there that, you know, being able to stop and say good day and stop for a cuppa with them.

[00:14:38] Glenda: It’s just trying to find that balance between what everyone wants, like it was last week, someone new to the region and wanted to catch up and I thought, well, you know, how nice. It’s just the way things are at the moment I thought the weather’s nice. Let’s just have a coffee in the park. So I said, well, we’re doing it next week. Okay.

[00:14:55] Kathryn: We’ve talked a little bit about the She Hive. I’m aware that you also have some other roles in the community though. Glenda in late 2021, the community hosted a photo exhibition called Hope and Growth. And that was a collaboration with the Southern Downs, Regional Council and federal and state funding as part of the bushfire recovery journey for the region. And that’s when I first met you, was at one of the exhibition openings in Stanthorpe. And I got to see some of your photos and there were other people had exhibited their photos and poetry there as well. I’m wondering, how did you come to be involved with that photo exhibition?

[00:15:39] Glenda: I’m a little bit like a magpie when it comes to taking photos. So I guess I’ll take anything and everything, but I happened to be in town that day of the fires came through cause I was, we were setting up to distribute water the next day. And of course, I always travel with my camera but when I realised this fire was not going to be insignificant, it was going to cause a great deal of issues, I stepped into my photo journalism role that I’ve done in the past and just got a few photos and that sort of thing. When I was contacted to share them, I thought “Yes, I think this story needs to be told just how it was.” Even just so I think I said to you at the time, I said, just looking at it now in print, it’s just reminded me of just how hard that was and how difficult that was for people at that time and how scary it was watching the fire go up Mount Banca there, just on sunset and coming down, trying to jump the creek. That was pretty scary.

[00:16:34] Kathryn: So looking back, reflecting back on those times that were quite scary at the time, how was it helpful to take the photos, and to look back at the photos when it came time for the photo exhibition?

[00:16:52] Glenda: It didn’t disturb me as such but it was a chance to reflect. It gave me a chance to reflect on what I was doing then, to what I’m doing now and how that’s changed me. I’m not sure whether that’s for the best yet, but, yeah, no it’s how it’s changed. And I think it’s important that as a photographer, where as anyone or as a writer or a photographer that we record our history. And when I was putting them, collating them to pass them on for printing, I’ve realised that this is part of history here. This is part of this region’s history that is being recorded.

[00:17:30] Kathryn: Part of the community identity and the recovery is also part of the identity of the community isn’t it? And when you look outside today, and it’s not that long ago, that Storm King Dam was empty and water was being trucked to Stanthorpe and to see it full now and to look out and see a paddock of grass and the seedy grass heads waving in the breeze is, it’s an incredible contrast from drought to bush fire to the more lush times that we’re having this season.

[00:18:03] Glenda: Well, it is, well, when we first started coming out here, and we first set up, we’d sit in the office and we’d look down across the dam and there were two fence posts there and I kept thinking “Why don’t they just pull them out?” They became like our yard stick every time it rained. “Ooh, it’s come up a bit more. Oh no, it’s gone down again.” So it became a bit of a yard stick there for a couple of months until we had the good rains in March 23 last year when it filled overnight. It was amazing. And I kept a promise to myself too, and then that next day I said I would go swimming right at the beginning. I said “When that dam fills, I am going swimming.”

[00:18:37] Kathryn: And did you?

[00:18:38] Glenda: Did how I certainly did.

[00:18:39] Kathryn: What a wonderful way to celebrate having water!

[00:18:42] Glenda: Yeah. So I was right in.

[00:18:44] Kathryn: Did you take any photos of the full dam?

[00:18:47] Glenda: Yes I did. I was there that day. I was on under contract with the Courier Mail to take a photo of the full dam so that’s why I was out there. And they said their journalists had been out and they’d taken a photo and they asked me could I get to that same place. So I went yeah, I’ll do my best, but I was out in the water up to my neck.

[00:19:04] Kathryn: Oh, wow. You had to go for a swim for the job.

[00:19:07] Glenda: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. So it was a pleasure to do it too. And it was just lovely.

[00:19:13] Kathryn: Recording those images after the dam filled or as it was filling, that’s an important part of history as well. Isn’t it? And in beautiful contrast to a couple of years ago with the fires?

[00:19:26] Glenda: Well, it is, and I mean, it was interesting when we were here, we were watching traffic and there was just this constant stream of traffic coming out to have a look at the dam, which mostly, oh yeah well, it’s just a dam full of water, but it was a reassurance I think, from a lot of local people, they were coming out. “Oh, thank goodness the dam’s full.” And they were just coming out to be reassured that that difficult part of our lives is, was behind them.

[00:19:51] Kathryn: And there’s always change. And when you’re in that place of that difficult time, it can feel like there’s no hope, that it’s not going to get better. And so reminding ourselves, even if it’s to go back and look at those images that you’ve looked at in the past and seeing how far we’ve come, I imagine can be really useful for a lot of people.

[00:20:13] Glenda: It is and it’s quite healing. It’s a very positive way of looking back. And, you know, we build, we talk about resilience and strength and things like that. But at the end of the day, we all, we all do our bit. I had someone ask me some time ago. I can’t recall who that was now, but they said “Do you consider yourself a hero?” And I went “No, I don’t.” I said who I would call the heroes is every person in this community who has survived, changed, survived, and adapted to our changing needs and wants over the last year. I said] they’re the heroes, not me.

[00:20:53] Kathryn: I think the key word there is being able to adapt.

[00:20:57] Glenda: Yeah, it’s accepting the fact you can’t there’s certain things you can’t change. You can only work with what you’ve got in front of you and to me that’s where the real heroes are.

[00:21:05] Kathryn: That’s fabulous. Thank you, Glenda. It’s been a wonderful privilege to come out and see the She Hive and see the dam that’s so full and to spend a little bit of time with you.

[00:21:17] Glenda: You’re welcome, Kathryn. And it’s an absolute pleasure.

[00:21:20] Kathryn: Thanks for listening to the Speak Out Loud: Stories of Strength podcast with me, Kathryn Walton. I hope this episode inspires you to get involved and get connected with your community. You can find the transcript and any links mentioned in this episode in the show notes, and please share the podcast with your friends.
We acknowledge and pay respect to the past, present and future Traditional Custodians and Elders of this nation and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Series 2 of this podcast has been jointly funded under the Commonwealth and State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements 2018.

How to get motivated to exercise

How do YOU get motivated to exercise? It’s cold, blustery and misty outside today. I spent most of summer yearning for the cool Arctic breeze to greet me so I can go walking or riding any time of the day without feeling like I’m going to pass out from the heat. After our long, hot, drought-ridden summer, winter has finally arrived. And here I am, huddled in my flannelette pyjamas, fluffy dressing gown and hand-knitted knee rug dreading the thought of going outside.

It’s a tricky head space to be in – knowing that I advocate for an outdoor adventurous lifestyle, and yet here I am, cocooned in my layers, inside my house, and trying desperately to find another thing to delay me before I go outside.

Being very conscious that my actions and values are simply not in alignment, I’ve given myself a stern talking to this week. Motivation is a pretty fickle thing. You can never rely on it. It’s a feeling that comes and goes and is affected by many different things – both positively and negatively. Sitting around waiting for motivation to arrive is fruitless. You need to take ACTION, and motivation will follow in its own good time.

motivation is fickle

I figured I’m probably not the only one who’s struggling at the moment (tell me that is so!!), so I’ve put together a list of tried and true strategies to get us exercising, no matter the weather, and no matter our motivation levels!

18 ways to get motivated to exercise

  1. Be accountable! To someone else, like a friend that you’ve agreed to meet for a walk. Or simply write your planned exercise activity in your diary and let others know ahead of time about your commitment.
  2. Something is better than nothing! Don’t get caught in the all-or-nothing type of thinking. If you’re running short on time, do what you can – 10 minutes is better than nothing.
  3. Make exercise part of your daily routine so there is little room for debate about what you’re going to do and when.
  4. Choose your reward! External rewards work well for some people – think of stickers for your exercise chart, or buying that new piece of gear when you’ve kept to your commitment. Or do you prefer to acknowledge that you feel great on the inside, knowing you’ve chosen well despite it being difficult, or noticing that you feel better?
  5. Celebrate your achievements! Be joyful for the hard work you’ve put in. But be careful you don’t self-sabotage your efforts by spending the rest of the day on the sofa or munching on a box of doughnuts.
  6. Change it up! Any activity that you repeat over and again can lose its gloss. Change your activity, route, place or even the time of day you’ve been exercising.
  7. Change how you see yourself! When you identify with a “healthy me, happy me” mentality, you’ll focus on healthy choices. Conversely if you see yourself as lazy and unfit, your actions are likely to reinforce that attitude.
  8. Break it down! If an hour of exercise seems like an eternity, then you’re going to dread it again tomorrow. Break it down into time portions, or ‘sets’. When I swim laps, I work on 10 minute sets each of kick board, freestyle, backstroke and so on. You can break your walk or ride up into sets too, aiming for a certain number of minutes, steps, mileage or landmarks in each set.
  9. Set goals! Register for an event and use it to keep you on track with your ‘training’ exercise. Or set a new goal each week, for example to walk 25 kilometres or to go to 3 classes by the end of the week.
  10. Do what works for YOU! Get a routine going that works FOR YOU. It’s your life. Your family. Your work situation. Your community. Whatever exercise routine you choose, make it do-able for you.
  11. Focus on something enjoyable! It could be the way the grass is blowing in the breeze, the smell of the wattles flowering, how awesome your new t-shirt feels, the increasing strength in your legs as you pound the pavement.
  12. Sign up! Check out what programs, challenges and memberships are available in your area or online.
  13. Pay your way! Does financial investment motivate you? Some people feel an extra commitment to get out the door after purchasing a membership, training program, new shoes or other equipment.
  14. Get expert support! Exercise physiologists and personal trainers can customise exercises and training plans that gradually build up as you do.
  15. Do what you love to do! If dancing around the lounge room to loud music is your thing, then do it! If digging holes in the paddock to put new fence posts in is your thing, then do it! If running marathons is your thing, then do it! You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.
  16. Be realistic! Know what is do-able for you and set your expectations and goals accordingly to boost your confidence, sense of achievement, and motivation.
  17. Do it for yourself! You’ll feel better, you know you will!
  18. Do it for those around you! Exercise and nature has incredible benefits for the way our brains work, the way we feel, and the behavioural choices we make. Generally, we’re nicer people to be around when we’ve looked after ourselves.

You owe it to yourself as well as others!

And if that’s not enough reason to motivate me to get outside on a blustery day, then I remind myself that I’m accountable to the community of women around me. The women who get involved with my projects, counselling and mentoring programs. I constantly encourage these women to get outside and get active, yet I also know how challenging it can be at times. I owe it to my family, friends and the community of women I work with to shut up, show up and practise what I preach.

Women exercising outdoors

In the end, a little bit of discomfort to get going will reap amazing benefits for the rest of the day. It doesn’t sound that hard, but, man oh man, that gusty wind sure is blowing away some of my motivation!

How will you manage your motivation today?

Let me know:

What are your biggest challenges when it comes to motivation to exercise?

And what strategies work for you?

Daisy Spoke

Discovering mountain biking as life’s ultimate parallel universe in her middle age, Kathryn Walton shares information and reflections in ‘Daisy Spoke’ that inform, inspire and empower women to a healthy and active lifestyle.

What does self-care mean for women?

Daisy Spoke Banner

Do you feel pressure from the fast-paced world, juggling your responsibilities and striving to fit self-care into your already busy life? If so, you’re not alone! Women often report that the biggest obstacles to self-care are lack of time and competing priorities. The consequences are far-reaching. This article brings new light to these obstacles, offers you some practical self-care ideas to incorporate into your day without adding any more pressure, and invites you to a delightful morning of retreat!

What is self-care?

“Self-care” has become a trendy cliché in recent years, but it’s so much more than simply another activity to fit in your day, or a luxurious treat you might have occasionally. We’re bombarded with images and advertisements that suggest self-care is all about pampering, looking good, and spending money on yourself. These experiences and products may be an important part of your personal routine, but genuine self-care runs much deeper.

Love is CaringSelf-care is literally all about caring for yourself, possibly in similar ways that you care for other people in your life. This includes caring for your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Sometimes this includes doing things that feel good such as a relaxing bath or an outing with friends. It also means making choices for ourselves that might feel uncomfortable in the short-term, because we know this is what’s best for our longer-term wellbeing.

Sometimes self-care is uncomfortable

We barely think twice when we take firm action with others we care about. For example, as parents we know it’s in the best interests of our children to place limits on the TV they watch. Our children might not like it but we know how important it is for their overall wellbeing, and so we stand firm. When it comes to standing firm on our own self-care, it can be easy to give in to our feelings in that moment. It’s easy to ignore the long-term health benefits of daily exercise when it’s so much cosier sleeping-in instead. Where is our internal parent when we need them?!

What’s getting in the way of self-care?

There are infinite obstacles to self-care but most of them fall under one of these headings:

External Pressures

Women in our society have unconsciously been conditioned to take on multiple Wise words from my future selfroles, and to perform them with excellence, and with a smile on their face. More often than not women carry the bulk of the emotional load in both family and work life – organising, planning, predicting, comforting, parenting, caring, pleasing, time-managing, problem-solving, rescuing and so on. The many competing priorities present dilemmas on a daily basis. Who’s got time or energy to stack self-care into a life that’s built around serving other people’s needs?

Internally Generated Excuses

These issues focus on the way women think about themselves and their roles.  I am a friend to myselfThe way we think is closely related to the way we have been socialised when were younger, with the added layer of personality thrown in. So it’s no surprise that women often share certain beliefs, assumptions and thinking patterns related to self-care – it’s selfish to do something for myself; people will think I’m selfish / not coping; time and money should be spent on something or someone else who needs it more than me; I don’t have enough time or energy; I should just soldier on like everyone else does …..

What’s the big deal with self-care anyway?

Self-care is not selfish. Think about what values are most important to you – perhaps compassion, kindness, generosity? Many of us readily live out these values towards other people yet struggle when it comes to ourselves. How can we truly be compassionate, kind and generous beings when we select who we are compassionate, kind and generous towards? Are you being consistent with your values? How does this affect your self-care?

Consequences of poor self-care

The consequences of poor self-care include reduced physical and mental health, strained relationships, under-performance and increased of risk of compassion fatigue and burnout. Consider also how you are modelling self-care practices (or lack of them) for the next generation. Unwittingly we often enable unhealthy and unsustainable practices to continue to the next generation, reinforcing gender inequity along the way.

Self-care without the pressure

Here are some self-care actions that don’t add extra pressure into your day:

  • say ‘no’ to something so you can say ‘yes’ to something more important

  • set boundaries in your relationships

  • mute your phone at meal times

  • take time to enjoy preparing a nutritious meal

  • delegate some responsibilities

  • have some ‘go-slow’ time each day

  • change your morning routine so you feel less rushed

Saying no

What does self-care look like for you?
What are some actions you could take every day that show compassion, kindness and caring towards yourself?

Women Empowered Morning of Retreat

Discover the possibilities that arise when you prioritise your own health and self-care!

Women Empowered Morning of Retreat

Come along to my next Women Empowered Morning of Retreat in Warwick on Tuesday 4th September 2018. This will be a gentle-paced morning of reflection, discussion and creative activities.


Read about my last retreat “Women Empowered: Framing My Future with Financial Confidence”

….. and some of the insights gained by the women who participated.

Discovering mountain biking as life’s ultimate parallel universe in her middle age, Daisy Spoke aka Kathryn Walton logoKathryn Walton shares information and reflections in Daisy Spoke that connect, inspire and self-empower women to make healthy choices for themselves. She integrates her love of physical exercise, family, nature, gardening and creative arts with her professional background in mental health social work to facilitate change with individuals, groups and communities of women who are committed to living life to the full.


5 Hacks to Save Time for Busy Women

Stress management skills are invaluable, and for busy women juggling lots of hats at once, they are a necessity. So what does stress management actually look like? As with many things, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to managing stress. It’s different for everyone and everyone is different. But we can dig through the layers of stress that many busy women carry around with them and focus on a few strategies that prevent stress becoming a problem in the first place. Time is one of the most common elements that contribute to stress. Read on to learn about 5 hacks that will save you both time and stress.

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Hack #1 Be self-disciplined

Busy people are constantly on the go, moving from one task to another, often in a reactionary way. Distractions can side-line us into all sorts of things that are neither urgent nor important. Learn to discipline yourself to stay on task (unless there’s an emergency of course!) and to say ‘no’ more often. Whenever you say ‘no’ to someone, something, or yourself, it opens the space for you to say ‘yes’ to the most important things in your life. Ultimately, by avoiding time wasters you’ll save your time for the most important things in your life and feel much less stressed!

Say no so I can say yes

Hack #2 Batch your tasks

I LOVE this hack! Batching can be done in just about every area of life. Here we’re thinking about mostly routine tasks that can save you time when you use a ‘mass production’ or ‘assembly line’ approach. My favourite batching hacks include:

  • Get the ironing done and dusted all at once instead of one item at a time (and usually in the hectic rush of getting ready for the work / school day).
  • Bake multiple batches of muffins at once and freeze heaps of them for next week
  • Cook double quantity meals and either freeze or refrigerate the leftovers for another night (think savoury mince, risotto, lasagne – all delicious and can be reheated, re-purposed or dressed up for another night).
  • Work tasks can often be batched too. For myself this includes blog writing, administration tasks, making videos, and creating social media postings.

In what other ways can you save time and reduce stress by using the batching hack?

Fresh baked pie

Hack #3 Be selective

Time is a commodity that we trade for something else like money, leisure, work, travel, sleep and so on. Is there room for you to be more selective about how you trade your time? Are you unnecessarily busy? Are you trading your time for something of inferior value? If so, you can begin saving time by taking up the habit of asking yourself “Is MY time worth trading for THIS?”

time management clock

Hack #4 Delegate, let go of full control

Ouch, easier said than done! Yes I KNOW! The struggle is real when I want things done ‘the proper way’ and it seems I’m the only one who CAN or WILL do it that way. Sigh ….. let’s get real here though. When you delegate tasks you’re also giving the other person the chance to learn a skill and develop confidence in themselves. Think of the underlying message of competence vs incompetence that you send out when you’re always the one taking charge. We need our children and employees to grow skills, to become independent, responsible, competent and confident. That won’t happen if we hold onto control all the time. Think of it as an investment. The time you spend teaching them now, will have amazing payoffs in the future and definitely save you time and stress in the long term. Keep in mind the famous saying Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Letting go

Hack #5 Set your priorities

Busy people can easily get their priorities all mixed up in the hectic chaos that is life. And it becomes a vicious cycle. Set your priorities for the day and let everything else fit in around it – if it can! Stress builds up when we fight to fit things into our day (or our life) when we simply don’t have enough time for it all. And once time has gone, we can’t get it back. Be sure to fit the most important things into your day first, and anything else that stacks in is simply an added bonus!

Let's sum up!

Time management is a proactive way of managing stress. The 5 hacks outlined here will save you precious time and reduce your stress when practised regularly and habitually. Here they are again!

  1. Be self-disciplined
  2. Batch your tasks
  3. Be selective
  4. Delegate, let go of full control
  5. Set your priorities

What are your biggest time wasters and your best time saving hacks?

Take a Minute for Your Mind

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Discovering mountain biking as life’s ultimate parallel universe in her middle age, Daisy Spoke aka Kathryn Walton logoKathryn Walton shares information and reflections in Daisy Spoke that connect, inspire and self-empower women to make healthy choices for themselves. She integrates her love of physical exercise, family, nature, gardening and creative arts with her professional background in mental health social work to facilitate change with individuals, groups and communities of women who are committed to living life to the full. 

Time Management: Stay sane when time is your enemy

Juggling the many roles and responsibilities we have can be a constant source of both satisfaction and despair. I talk to women every week about challenges like time management, and wanted to share some of the ideas that I’ve collected on how to stay sane when time seems to be your enemy.

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TIME! We never seem to have enough of it, we’re always fighting it, and it’s invisible! It seems to slip through our fingers without care. It’s like an elusive double agent, tempting us with tantalising pleasures, and then it’s gone, leaving us with nothing but a pile of to-do’s and deadlines in its wake. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll always find something to fill in a space that’s left when we are more efficient with our time – there’ll never be enough of it!

Time Management is a real thing!

Managing the time we have available to us is a learned skill and one that we can continually refine as our needs, activities and priorities change. There are a lot of self-help books on this topic, but honestly, who has the time to read them! Assuming you’re in the same boat as me, I’ve short-listed some key time management strategies and helpful mindsets that I’ve collected over the years.

time management clock

Time management strategies to stay sane when it feels like time is your enemy

1. Time is a commodity we exchange for something else

Time is a precious commodity that I give in exchange for something else. It’s a transaction; a business deal between myself and the universe. If I spend lots of money on luxury items, eating out, holidays and new clothes, I may not (ummm ….. actually I won’t) have enough left over for the basic household bills like groceries, fuel for the car, and electricity. Time is like money – think about how you can spend it wisely!

2. We have a choice

We have choices about how we spend our time, in the same way that we have choices about spending our money. What choices are you making?

3. Get your priorities straight

Time Management Matrix
Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix

With so many different things competing for our time and energy, we are constantly needing to prioritise. And I mean constantly! It’s an ongoing process. Everyday – prioritise. Every hour – prioritise. Every minute – prioritise. Every moment – prioritise. It’s a valuable skill – the more practise you get, the better you’ll become at getting your priorities straight.

If you have trouble identifying what’s most important and what’s most urgent, invest just a few minutes of your time reading about Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix here

4. Time is precious

Time can never be refunded once it’s spent. Thinking of time as precious gift to be treasured and used wisely can help us to make carefully considered choices about how we are using it.

5. What are your time vampires?

What is it that sucks the time out of your day? Where does your time go? Are you okay about this?

6. Record your actions for a day, or longer!

I’ve found this really helpful at times. You can make a note in your diary or notepad of how you are spending your day. Note down the time and what task or activity you are working on, and what time you finished. Or you could break your diary into 10 or 15 minute time blocks and make a note of what you are doing at every time interval. It only takes a teeny bit of time to do this, but the investment is well worthwhile! These actions can highlight where our time goes, and keeps us more accountable to our goals.

7. Ask yourself “What am I doing now?”

This precious moment is all we have. How are you spending your energy and time right now, in this precious moment?

8. Don’t make excuses

It’s easy to blame other people and situations for our poverty of time. Do a thorough audit and be honest with yourself. What can you take responsibility for? What change can you make?

9. Avoid distractions

Is distraction an issue for you?

  • Set a timer to go off at regular intervals to remind you to refocus your attention
  • Switch off your wi-fi
  • Close your door
  • Turn off your phone
  • Put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your office
  • Reward yourself when you’ve completed tasks

. whatever you need, just do it. Make it as easy as possible to keep your attention laser-focused.

Let's sum up!

Make friends with the time you have!

  • Time is a commodity – spend it wisely!
  • You choose moment to moment how you spend you time
  • Get your priorities straight – is it important / urgent?
  • Time is precious
  • What are your time vampires?
  • Record how you spend your time
  • Ask yourself “What am I doing now?”
  • Don’t make excuses
  • Avoid distractions

I’d love to hear any other time management strategies you use to stay sane when it feels like time is your enemy. Leave your comment below, send me a message, or head on over to my Facebook!

Discovering mountain biking as life’s ultimate parallel universe in her middle age, Daisy Spoke aka Kathryn Walton logoKathryn Walton shares information and reflections in Daisy Spoke that connect, inspire and self-empower women to make healthy choices for themselves. She integrates her love of physical exercise, family, nature, gardening and creative arts with her professional background in mental health social work to facilitate change with individuals, groups and communities of women who are committed to living life to the full. 


8 Strategies for Handling Unease During an Adventure

Daisy Spoke BannerHaving been on the road with my daughter now for over a week on my April Adventure road trip throughout central, northern and western Queensland, and heading north through the Northern Territory to Darwin, I’ve managed to settle in and really enjoy myself despite feeling unprepared and unorganised when we started. I’ve fairly easily challenged some of my underlying fears and assumptions about travel including leaving half my family behind, not researching details about the route and destinations, not planning my return flight home when I leave my daughter in the tropical north to start her new job, being female and camping in out-of-the-way places and driving on remote roads, and the list goes on. 

View from car windscreen

My latest challenge came only last night. Arriving at Elsey National Park near Mataranka I felt somewhat unsettled. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what it was about. The environment was not like any I’d spent time in before. It looked like a combination of wetlands and dry scrub with earth that appeared to be recently wet with rain but had since dried to a fine powder as silt does after a flood. There was a plethora of wildlife. The insects were very diverse, big and plentiful. I saw some grasshoppers that reminded me of the vivid yellow plastic toy grasshoppers you can buy in cheap toy packs from the dollar stores. The sounds of the bush here also seemed strange and haunting. I couldn’t tell the difference between bird and insect calls, or perhaps even other animals yet unseen. It was eerily quiet with only one other campsite inhabited by humans and the campgrounds extended well beyond sight in every direction. The facilities buildings were half fenced off and I was curious about this but couldn’t think of any rational reason why they would be fenced in this unusual way. 

We decided on a campsite with some shade, green grass and a picnic table, andCampsite at Elsey NP before we even set up camp we had a short walk around the area. A sudden loud rustle in the bushes next to us startled me. Turning around and expecting to see a wallaby, my daughter tells me I wouldn’t want to know what made that noise. On further enquiry she tells me it was a rather large snake, and I began to seriously wonder about moving our campsite further away from said snake. 

Roper River, Elsey NPMy uneasiness only increased as the evening rolled on and in particular when we came face to face with another snake only a few metres from our tents. Still, I wandered why the uneasiness was there in the first place. Was I sensing a spiritual presence? Was it simply that everything seemed strange and unfamiliar? Or perhaps the absence of other humans? Was I simply tired and misreading my intuition? Was it FEAR welling up and testing my inner strength? 

But how to handle this uneasiness? I decided to take some of my own advice and implemented these strategies:

  1. I chose to “be” with my uneasiness. I acknowledged how I truly felt instead of denying or avoiding it. 
  2. I shared my feelings and concerns with my daughter, getting them out into the open instead of hiding them away and pretending they didn’t exist as I would have in the past. 
  3. I listened and looked, tuning into my surroundings in the present time, focusing on grounding myself to the moment rather than flying off into a fantastical and irrational anxiety about what might happen. 
  4. I set an intention to be open to possibilities and new experiences. Instead of being closed-minded and putting up barriers to enjoying myself, I chose to embrace the experience and adopt an adventurous mindset. 
  5. I intentionally invoked a relaxation response when I noticed my anxiety rising. I brought my attention to my breath and let go of the physical tension that I felt. 
  6. I used rational and logical self-talk such as “Just because I’ve seen a snake (or two) close to camp doesn’t mean I’m in any greater danger than if I hadn’t seen them”; “Not all snakes are deadly”; “We have a snake bandage on us at all times and an emergency signalling system if we need to use it”; 
  7. I immersed myself in the sounds of the night as I went to sleep, setting an intention of getting to know them better; an intention of curiosity, wonder and awe. 
  8. I also created an action to take during the night that however irrational it was, it really helped! It may seem funny to anyone else, and in fact it does to me now too! Whenever I stirred during the night and noticed that I’d rolled off my camping mattress or that I was touching the sides of the tent, I rolled back onto the mattress telling myself I can go to sleep safely now because no snake can bite me through the mattress even if does manage to slither its way under my tent!

Kathryn at Elsey NPAnd so I survived. In fact I thrived and had possibly the best sleep so far on my April Adventure. I awoke before dawn, spent a couple of hours silently meditating, embracing my surroundings and feeling entirely captivated by what seemed so haunting and difficult the day before. I feel an immense sense of satisfaction that I didn’t allow my anxiety to rule and limit me. I chose to respect it but also to stand up to it. In doing so I’ve come to know an amazing spiritual aspect of this sacred land which I may not ever understand, but I can accept it and embrace it. And when I do that, I also accept and embrace myself. 

Discovering mountain biking as life’s ultimate parallel universe in her middle age, Daisy Spoke aka Kathryn Walton logoKathryn Walton shares information and reflections in Daisy Spoke that connect, inspire and self-empower women to make healthy choices for themselves. She integrates her love of physical exercise, family, nature, gardening and creative arts with her professional background in mental health social work to facilitate change with individuals, groups and communities of women who are committed to living life to the full. 




The Fearful Adventurer: 5 hacks to turn fear into adventure

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I’ve always believed I operate best when I can plan ahead and organise or control the situation around me so it was with a deep breath that I set off on my current journey with barely a glance at a map. In fact I didn’t even pack my bag till the morning I left, and had so much on my mind and so many work tasks to complete that I hadn’t given the two week “April Adventure” road trip covering approximately 4200kms much thought at all. 

RainforestMy Year of Adventure in fact began on New Year’s Eve as I set off on a week long road trip with my family to Melbourne and back home again traversing half the eastern side of Australia. With one daughter now settled in Victoria, I refocused my attention on developing new online programs and resources for women. I was thrilled to take my “February Adventure” to Hahndorf in South Australia to participate in and present at the Thriving Women 2018 conference. My “March Adventure” was closer to home with weekends and day trips to several magnificent National Parks, immersing myself in one of my great loves – bushwalking. 

So here I am on my “April Adventure”. This journey has snuck up very quickly on me, and if I had paused for a moment to think about it, I’m sure I would have had2 single tents a lot of “what if’s” and identified as a fearful and hesitant adventurer rather than a brave one. My April Adventure has brought up a number of ‘firsts’ for me – I’ve left half my family behind, I’m travelling with only one companion (my younger daughter) through some fairly remote parts of Australia, I’m camping in a tent by myself, I’m having to step up and make decisions I’ve not been responsible for previously, and I’m operating a business far from home and frequently without mobile reception or internet connection. 

With a firm belief in stepping outside my comfort zone in order to learn and grow as a person, I chose to embrace the opportunities that my April Adventure has gifted me. And to satisfy my need for structure and predictability, I’ve created 5 hacks to manage potential feelings of overwhelm and anxiety about the ‘bigness’ of this adventure. I know you’ll find them useful too if you ever experience a sense of trepidation when stepping outside your comfort zone. 

5 Hacks To Turn Fear Into Adventure

1. Break the task up into smaller tasks (or adventures) and focus on one at a time. 

For me, I’ve been focusing on the day and night ahead – my next destination, my next meals, my next fuel stops – instead of worrying so much about the camp site and weather conditions at my final destination. Each day is a mini adventure in itself. Don’t miss out on these little adventures because you’re looking too far ahead. 

View from car windscreen

2. Look around you, focus on the moment.

I never tire of looking out the window on road trips. The subtle changes in scenery, weather, road conditions, flora and fauna, lifestyle, language, and local industries. I absolutely love it. I wonder what it would be like to live here, to have been here hundreds of years ago, the stories of the First Nation’s people in this area, I wonder who built these roads and when and how,  what do the local people do in their everyday lives…… Captivated by my immediate surroundings, I’ve found my wandering mind is creative and free, and not constrained by my fear mongering reptilian brain. 

View of landscape

3. Maintain a routine

My social media posts on Facebook and Instagram during my trip have reflected a very important part of my routine that keeps my mind, body and spirit healthy – morning exercise! It’s not always possible to complete my entire routine but by taking a flexible approach I’ve kept my head and heart on an even keel. 


4. Listen to podcasts, Commonwealth Games news, audio books, music, anything of interest!

How lucky was it that my trip coincided with the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. Never a dull moment on the radio when we can pick up the commentary, and always opportunities to listen to pre-downloaded podcasts, training videos or catch up on a bit of blogging! Giving your attention something to hook onto prevents it from wandering away into the land of the most feared!

Reading at camp

5. Chat to people around you. 

You never know your connections until you have a conversation with someone. Connections bring the world closer together, enhance empathy, and create opportunities for sharing stories and understanding. Looking outwardly minimises anxiety about our own situations and relaxes our mindsets. 

Person standing on viewing platform

NOW, has anyone got any hacks to help me deal with the outback flies????!

What hacks do you have for managing the discomfort you feel when stepping outside your comfort zone?

Discovering mountain biking as life’s ultimate parallel universe in her middle age, Daisy Spoke aka Kathryn Walton logoKathryn Walton shares information and reflections in Daisy Spoke that connect, inspire and self-empower women to make healthy choices for themselves. She integrates her love of physical exercise, family, nature, gardening and creative arts with her professional background in mental health social work to facilitate change with individuals, groups and communities of women who are committed to living life to the full. 




5 ways to maximise your financial confidence

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Maximising financial confidence is not something many of us think about, yet it’s such an important topic. Financial confidence impacts the choices you make every day. Your core beliefs about money, spending, finances, savings and debt are all tied up in your financial confidence. The most recent Women Empowered retreat “Framing My Future” reflected on financial confidence and resulted in some amazing insights, affirmations and commitments by the women who gathered together.

Financial confidence and stress is often a silent and limiting roadblock that many women experience, and what’s more, many women are not even aware of its presence or its power. By digging down a bit and shining a spotlight on it, you can identify if financial confidence is a roadblock for you too. Then, you can choose what you’d like to do about it. You have the power within you to create a powerful mindset that will guide you past all sorts of roadblocks and light up the pathway to your future.

Here are five key ways to maximise your financial confidence!

1. Identify a financial goal

best things in life start with a dreamDo you have financial goals (or other goals), perhaps some goals for yourself, and others you share with another person?

How do you actively contribute to your goals?

What actions do you take or habits do you have that move you closer to your goals?

What actions do you take or habits do you have that keep you distanced from your goals?

2. Use your voice to communicate about finances

Do you use your voice in relation to money?

What words or phrases do you use in relation to money?

Where do you use these words and phrases? With whom?

Where or how did you learn these words and phrases?

How do these words and phrases contribute to your confidence (or lack of it) with money?

How do you value your own worth and how do you communicate this?

3. Identify your family financial patterns

Is this something I have control over?How did your family of origin handle money issues?

Were financial issues spoken about openly?

What roles did your parents and others have in relation to money when you were growing up?

What feelings come up for you when you think about money and spending?

What skills, attitudes and patterns did you learn from your family?

Are there any patterns you would like to break free from?

4. Understand how your brain and budgeting work together

Do you budget? Do you know how to budget? Do you want to know how to budget?

Do you know where your money goes? Where are the leaks in your budget?

Do you check statements for fraud or unexplained expenses?

Is there a pattern to your spending, eg pre-menstrual or other patterns? And how do you feel when you are in the process of spending?

Spending money can stimulate dopamine, a bioi-chemical produced in our brains that make us feel good. It can keep us spending even if we haven’t budgeted for it.

What other activities give you a hit of dopamine while you stay in control and without sabotaging your budget or goals? Eg crossing tasks off a to-do list, doing something that gives you a sense of achievement, trying something new.

5. What is your earning potential?

How do you feel about your job or role?What's my plan of action to deal with this issue?

How do you feel about how much you are earning?

How much would you like to be earning?

What limits your earnings?

Which of your inner beliefs limits what you think you are capable of, or capable of earning?

Can you identify a new goal for yourself that challenges these limits?

Let's sum up!

Financial confidence is not set in stone. It’s something we can work on in the same way we can extend our knowledge and the other skills we have. Financial confidence is just one of the many contributors to our overall confidence that is shaped by our inner beliefs and perpetuated by our habits and actions. Do your mental health and sense of wellness a favour by gently challenging your financial confidence – let me know how you go!

DNA Insight LogoDonna Neale-Arnold was my co-facilitator and special advisor at our recent retreat. She shared her warm, caring and holistic approach to financial management through a series of reflections interwoven with journalling and creative activities. Donna’s rich experience has developed through working in the banking sector as well as in community services as a financial counsellor and in the health sector with her homeopathy and holistic counselling practice DNA Insight at Red Rose Healing Centre in Warwick QLD.

Discovering mountain biking as life’s ultimate parallel universe in her middle age, Daisy Spoke aka Kathryn Walton logoKathryn Walton shares information and reflections in Daisy Spoke that connect, inspire and self-empower women to make healthy choices for themselves. She integrates her love of physical exercise, family, nature, gardening and creative arts with her professional background in mental health social work to facilitate change with individuals, groups and communities of women who are committed to living life to the full.

Women Empowered: Framing My Future with Financial Confidence

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Have you booked for the evening of retreat “Women Empowered: Framing My Future” coming up on Wednesday 21st March 2018 in Warwick, Queensland? It’s going to be an absolute delight to welcome you along! The Women Empowered retreats have been very popular in past years, and to keep up with changing times I’m offering this retreat in the evening instead of during the day. I’m keen to see how that suits everyone and whether this is a format you’d like repeated in future. I’m also keen to tell you a bit more about what to expect when you come along to “Framing My Future”.

Women Empowered Logo

Dream Big!

There’s no shortage of media images these days prompting women to dream and achieve Dream Biganything they want. It’s a message that’s intended to be encouraging by chipping away at the gender stereotypes our society has constructed over many generations. For so many reasons we know that women can, and do, achieve amazing things in our world. There are many wonderful role models who inspire and propel us towards our own version of success.

Obstacles lurking beneath the surface

Yet beneath it all continues to lurk a tangle of obstacles, deeply rooted and barely visible to the eye until we dig down through the layers, bringing them into the light of day. Thus begins the process of empowering women to not only take charge of their dreams, but to have the skills to manage the obstacles along the way.

The voices in our heads

I’m a big fan of dreams (and I do a lot of dreaming!) and I’ve often written and spoken about goal-setting previously. When used appropriately, dreaming and goal-setting is very powerful. It brings us to a position of being future focused. Sure, not everyone is comfortable with this. Human brains are preset to focus on problems (that’s how humans have survived for so long!), and so our angst rises with every thought of following a dream. The barriers, the obstacles, the hurdles, the roadblocks – call them what you willthey generally get in the way preventing us from following through with actions, and even from getting started in the first place. They wield their power not so much through their actual ‘being’, but through the unseen voices in our heads telling us we can’t do it, it won’t work, we’re not good enough, and we’ll fail if we try.

Don't believe everything you thinkSounding familiar? The thing is we often don’t even realise it’s happening, and when we do notice it, we keep it to ourselves because we think we’re the only ones. But have I got news for you! All of us have those critical voices. YES! All of us! They’re the voices of self-doubt, fear, hopelessness and pessimism. They keep us small when we need to be big. And the way to deal with them is to bring them out into the open. Straight away their power begins to diminish.

Read more about the voices in my head here!

Financial confidence is an obstacle

Two of the hidden obstacles that frequently impact women are financial confidence and emotional confidence. These are the key themes at my next retreat “Framing my Future”. We’re going to dig them up and shine a light on them. We’ll bring them to the surface and get to know them a little better. We’ll scratch away and see what they’re made of. And we’ll use them to propel ourselves forwards towards our hopes and dreams for the future instead of allowing them to trip us up and keep us where we are.

Create a powerful mindset for your future!

Well actually, yes I can!The beauty of the process is that you don’t have to even have any real idea of where you want your future to be heading in order to benefit from this retreat. You’ll leave with the skills to create a powerful mindset to identify, challenge and manage your financial and emotional confidence no matter what path you take.

Retreat activities

I’m truly excited to be a part of this unique retreat! I believe when women gather together in groups with openness, warm-heartedness and shared intentions, that’s when magic happens! So I hope you’ll join us for this exquisite evening. Donna Neale-Arnold will be my co-facilitator. Donna brings a warm, caring and holistic approach to her financial therapy and homeopathy practices. She has a rich experience having worked in the corporate sector as well as community services and the health sector for many years.

Donna and I will guide you through a series of personal reflections followed by simple yet Creative Artspowerful creative activities. The gentle pace will support you to make valuable connections with your own beliefs and actions around financial confidence. You’ll identify the mindset you need to bolster your financial and emotional confidence, and to frame the future you choose. You will be provided with a light meal, delightful company and a gorgeous keepsake to take home with you that will frame your future perfectly.


CD Give-awayWe will be giving away some special bonuses and door prizes at the retreat including beautiful journals, meditation cushions, carry bags, a Tony O’Connor CD of relaxation music, and more – fabulous gifts to support your self-care and progression!

Bookings are essential

Bookings are essential and limited spaces are available. It’s more fun with a friend or two (or more) so we are offering discounts when you book multiple tickets at the same time.

Here’s the deal: 3 hours of guided reflective retreat with two experienced facilitators, a light meal, all materials, a take home keepsake, a nurturing atmosphere to support your financial and emotional confidence, and opportunities to leave with a special bonus door prize.

Your investment: 

  • Single ticket: $55
  • Double ticket: $100
  • Triple ticket: $140

To book, click here

For more information view the Facebook Event here

If you have questions, email Kathryn here

Discovering mountain biking as life’s ultimate parallel universe in her middle age, Daisy Spoke aka Kathryn Walton logoKathryn Walton shares information and reflections in Daisy Spoke that connect, inspire and self-empower women to make healthy choices for themselves. She integrates her love of physical exercise, family, nature, gardening and creative arts with her professional background in mental health social work to facilitate change with individuals, groups and communities of women who are committed to living life to the full.

Women’s Wellness: Creating the ideal exercise experience!

Connection ….. Ease ….. Laughs ….. Shared experiences ….. Less pressure

These are some of the motivations that women and girls speak about when offered the opportunity for women-only sporting activities. There are many other reasons that individuals (whether identifying as male, female or otherwise) gravitate towards gender-specific activities. Despite the arguments for inclusiveness in sport, there are many women and girls who are reluctant to participate unless women-only events and activities are on offer.

There is growing concern for obesity and other conditions related to sedentary behaviour including chronic illness and poor mental health. Apart from the obvious burden on the nation’s economy, the real burden of poor health is lived out and carried everyday by individuals, families and communities. As a community, I believe we need to creatively explore the possibilities when it comes to getting people active, and not expect individuals to slot into the pre-existing boxes for engaging with physical activities.

Our society has been predominantly constructed and written by the male voice. Our medical research is skewed towards what works best on male subjects. And likewise, our sporting establishments have traditionally been set up by and for men. For women, there has long been the pressure to fit in with these establishments, or make minor modifications to better meet their identified need.

Rural and regional Australia has poorer health outcomes than its urban counterparts, so I’m really keen to make a constructive contribution to the health and wellbeing of my community on the southern Darling Downs, and to encourage women and girls to creatively construct systems and routines so they can enjoy being more active.

But I think it’s time we questioned whether our systems are meeting everyone’s needs –  not only women. Times they are a changin’ and the best time for change is now. I’d love to hear ideas from everyone regardless of gender:

  • What works for you when it comes to getting active and staying active?

  • What is your ideal way to increase your physical activity and reduce your sedentary behaviour?

  • What would motivate you to stay committed to your health and wellness through exercise and physical activity?

Leave your comments and ideas, or head over to Daisy Spoke’s Facebook: