7 signs you are an over-thinker, like me.

If the headline of this piece grabbed your attention, there’s a good chance you identify as an over-thinker. Well, welcome to the club! I am a chronic over-thinker. I over-think, well, pretty much everything. In fact, I over-thought his story for so long, I almost didn’t write it. Procrastination is a by-product of an over-thinking mind. Over-thinkers tend to over-exert the brain and consequently we over-analyse EVERYTHING. Interestingly, if you’re an over-thinker, you probably won’t have to think too long to relate to this.

Here are six signs that you’re an over thinker:

  1. You suffer from Decision Anxiety

No decision is quick for the over-thinker. Over-thinkers micro-analyse every possible aspect of a decision, rehearsing potential scenarios and calculating outcomes in their head. The over-thinker is often burdened – actually make that paralysed – by indecision. Being an experienced chronic over-thinker myself, eating out presents major challenges. The longer the menu, the more difficult my choice. I will agonise over the options, mentally weighing up the strengths and weaknesses of each dish. And when finally I come to a decision and order the mushroom risotto, I take one look at it and immediately wish I ordered the fish. Disappointment and “buyer’s remorse” inevitably follows whatever decision I make.

  1. You loathe confrontation

Over-thinkers are typically people pleasers. We like to be on everyone’s good side and we loathe conflict. If we think someone is upset with us, it will consume our every thought. Even seemingly insignificant interactions have deep meaning to the over-thinker. We worry (a lot) about how others perceive us, even strangers. Recently, the lady in the fruit and veg shop was a little abrupt with me. Immediately my mind invented possible reasons. “Was it because I knocked over a punnet of strawberries with my pram, last month? But I apologised profusely and paid for the them…” And so begins my internal dialogue for the rest of the day. Over-thinkers have thin skins and take everything personally. Bloggers, like me, are particularly sensitive to the ruthlessness of social media. Online comments sting and we will agonise over them for hours. It’s torturous. We’re devastated when someone unfollows us on Instagram. We won’t relax until we find out who, and more importantly, why?

  1. Insomnia is your friend

The mind receives no respite for the over-thinker. Our minds are “busy”, “noisy” and “argumentative”. Basically they’re just bloody annoying a lot of the time. During the day our minds race and when our heads hit the pillow at night they race faster. It’s almost as if my brain goes into overdrive just when I want it to shut down, scrolling through images of the day, a constant stream of thoughts and worries. The dusk till dawn hours are the worst. During these hours my mind is like a cerebral warzone; loud, conflicted and messy.

  1. You are not “present”

Over thinkers are entirely incapable of living in the moment. Spontaneity is not our thing. We don’t live in the moment. We live in our heads. We are plagued by what if’s and hypotheticals, constantly second-guessing ourselves. We tend to worry unnecessarily and obsess about things we can’t change. Mindfulness is apparently the antidote to a busy mind but an over-thinker will over-think ever step in a meditation. Instead of relaxing it seems to intensify our stress levels. “Am I doing this properly?” “What does my happy place look like? The beach, yes, sand, salt. No, not the beach. I feel itchy thinking of the beach… maybe the countryside.“ You get the drift…

  1. You attach meaning to everything

Over-thinkers are experts at finding hidden meaning in a text message, email, conversation, suggestion, or “advice.” So, someone says, “You should try taking up yoga for relaxation”. Simple enough. Even helpful, perhaps. But the over-thinker immediately attaches an inference that mostly likely wasn’t intended. “She thinks I’m stressed. She thinks I am not coping. God, is she right? Is this because I was a little touchy the other day because I haven’t SLEPT in a week?

  1. You “get” Nina Proudman

This one needs no lengthy explanation. If you recognise yourself in Offspring’s Nina Proudman, queen of over-thinking and over-analysing, then you will relate to the rather irritating voiceover representing the internal soundtrack of Nina’s insecurities as she mulls over every single detail of her life. Every. Single. Detail.

Yes, it’s exhausting being an overthinker. And if you’re a mum AND an over-thinker, well, you have my empathy. Last week I lost hours of my life in Target mulling over which lunch box to buy for my daughter. I spent far longer than is healthy in a plastics aisle assessing the multitude of BPA-free, PVC free, insulated options. My head hurt!

So, if you’re like me and tick all of these boxes, congratulations, you’re an over-thinker. If you’re currently using a SWOT analysis to calculate whether to have the chicken or the beef, you’re in the club. If your brain has too many tabs open, you’re in too! Membership is for life. It’s not all bad though. Over-thinkers may have trouble making micro decisions but we make ace friends and we’re loyal for life.

Want to know more about me? Join me on Facebook where I often enjoy a joke at my own expense. Don’t overthink it, just do it. But please don’t ever, EVER unfollow me :-)

 So, are you an over-thinker, like me? Is there anything else you would add to the list? 

*First published on news.com.au

My “baby” turns 3. And she moves from cot to bed.

Three years ago, we welcomed Miss H into our family and I became a mum of three under three! She has blessed our lives with fun, cheek, laughter and love. Bucket loads of love. She’s an affectionate little thing, and though she’s outgrown many things, she hasn’t outgrown cuddles (thankfully!).

I always get nostalgic around the girls’ birthdays, reminiscing about their birth and reflecting on the early days. I loved my labour with Miss H. It was a (mostly) positive, enjoyable experience free of the trauma and intervention of my previous two labours. You can read her birth story here. While the birth was lovely, the post-natal complications were traumatic. And if you’re up for that story, you can find that here. (more…)

Simply Scrumptious Coconut Cake

Sunburst Coconut Cake: a beautiful moist cake infused with coconut.

If you’re after a quick, simple, delicious cake that the kids are guaranteed to love, look no further. I have the perfect recipe for you, courtesy of Sunburst. This scrumptious coconut cake ticks all the boxes: – It’s moist, yummy and doesn’t need an icing so in my books that makes it healthy :-) – The recipe has only a few ingredients, making it affordable and simple to follow. – Degree of difficulty is ‘EASY’. That’s a win! – The kids can easily help in the kitchen. – The sunburst spread is palm oil free so that’s good news for the orang-utans. – 5 cents of every purchase goes to Orangutan Foundation International Australia. (more…)

Memories matter: How to create, capture & preserve your family memories

As a child I loved telling stories, and I still do as an adult. This blog is just one way I share stories. I like to create, collect and celebrate family moments. I gather these memories up and I enjoy chronicling their lives through words and images. It is partly for me, so I can hold onto their childhood, but it is for their benefit, too. Of course, I try to do this in a way that enables me to enjoy being in the moment with them. There’s a juggling act to capturing the special moments in life, and actually being present for them.

When you’re a parent, each time your child reaches a new milestone is exciting and naturally you want to capture these precious moments. We can’t commit every detail to memory, so our natural response is to record it. Photos, videos and letters form a little “time capsule” of our lives.  Imprinting a childhood with these ‘souvenirs’ is a lovely gift to pass on. Children will forever treasure memories if they are preserved.

 “Memories are like bridges that take us back into the past”

Like every parent in the digital age I take a ridiculous number of photos of my kids. I have thousands of photos on my hard drive. In my defence, I am determined that my children have photos to link them back to memories of when they were little. Being the fourth in line, my parents were apparently “too busy” to take pics of me. I think I’ve seen one photo of me as a baby and very few as a toddler. Yes, I am a disgruntled 4th child sufferer and haven’t gotten over this injustice. Anyone else in the same position?

If you’re like me, and enjoy collecting memories, here are 5 simple ways you can do it.

  1. Take photos that capture a moment

Photos tell the story of our lives; little moments threaded together. While naturally we like to record all the milestones (first steps, first smile, birthdays and ballet concerts) often the most precious moments happen outside of these celebrations. It’s also all the micro moments in between. I enjoy watching my children at play, from a distance. Yes, it sounds a bit stalkerish, but there is nothing more delightful than seeing a child totally absorbed in imaginative play. Whether it is making mud pies, chasing butterflies, building blocks or creating a masterpiece, their eyes reveal the depth of their emotions. Capturing a child deep in concentration or giddy with excitement often makes for powerful photo.

Tips for improving your family photos:

Get close, and then get closer. If possible, get down to their level, on the floor and experiment with different angles. Don’t always take a photo of them completely. Just focus on one part of their body – be it their hands, eyes or mouth.

Part of telling a great story is diversity. Don’t always keep your subject in the centre of the photo. Experiment with different compositions. I often take photos of them off-centre or from a height or from afar.

Keep it honest. A beautiful photo is not necessarily one in which everyone is grinning from ear to ear (although those are cute). Let things unfold naturally in front of you and remember a great photo is an authentic one.

Get outside. Nothing will improve your photos more than natural sunlight. Ditch the flash and get outdoors. Your photos will thank you for it. Indirect sunlight is best to avoid shadows. If you’re up with the birds, you’ll get a soft, natural light that’s, quite simply, gold.

Remove clutter. Keep the focus on your subject and try to remove things that will distract the eye. Ugly things in the background like bins spoil so many photos!

The lovely and clever Bron from Maxabella Loves has some great tips for improving your photography on her blog. She takes gorgeous photos and her posts are encouraging, helpful and accessible.

  1. Get creative with your pics

I love creating collages with my photos and with resources such as Picmonkey and Canva, it’s super easy to do. You can also overlay your images with words and experiment with different filters and backgrounds.

I captured the girls in front of a giant chalkboard on our holiday to Port Douglas last year. The photo itself is cool but adding text makes it more playful.

Simple photo collages in Picmonkey are quick and fun.

There are endless ways to display a collection of memories.

My recent discovery is Fat Mum Slim’s Little Moments app. It’s a fab app for making your precious memories even more special. It’s easy to use and has fun, playful editing options.

  1. Create photo books

The easiest way to preserve your family memoires is by creating a personalised photobook. Photobooks are a slick-looking alternative to photo albums, as you can print your favourite family photos directly onto the page, accompanied by text. There are loads of online options. I have used Snapfish and Photobook and impressed with both. More recently I used the mac photobook application and loved it.

  1. Make a short film

Creating short films can be time consuming, but if you’re up for a challenge, it’s worth the time and effort. I usually use a mix of video and stills to create a little movie. For your first attempt I would suggest just using images. Import all your pics to your computer and then create a theme with music. I use the iMovie function on my mac.

I prefer to keep my titles clean and simple and let my pics and video create the mood. If you’re making a birthday movie, take pics of the set up, preparation, to set up your story. You can change the speed of your clips easily and a good mix of fast and slow makes it more interesting. Here are some examples:

If you want a more detailed step-by-step guide to making a film about everyday life, head here.

  1. Create a memory box

I have memory boxes for each of my girls and I fill them with treasured keepsakes. The girls love fossicking through them and it’s a lovely bonding activity to dip into the past and remember the early days. My memory boxes include things like: newborn baby hospital bracelet, the outfit they wore when they were born, special newborn clothes and wraps, congratulations cards from family and special friends, photos, kinder journals, movie stub tickets, baby books, fairy notes and more…

I hope this post has given you some ideas on how you can preserve your precious family moments. For, in the words of Louisa may Alcott,

 “Preserve your memories, keep them well,

 what you forget you can never retell.”

 I am happy to answer any questions relating to this post. And if you want to see more of my pics, you can follow NASD on instagram.  If you have a clever way of preserving your family memories, please share in the comments section below.

A peek inside Miss A’s bedroom

Although I love looking at cute kids’ bedrooms on interior design websites, my kids bedrooms are NEVER going to resemble anything you might find on Pinterest. And that’s fine by me. I am a big believer in allowing kids’ bedrooms to be their spaces, not showrooms. Which is convenient as I have neither the time nor the money to style their rooms. And styled rooms mean you have to continuously clear the clutter, and I am simply too lazy for that. (more…)

New chapter: Starting school

When Miss A was just a baby, I couldn’t wait for her to reach the next milestone. I was eager for her to roll, crawl, walk and talk. And those milestones were celebrated with great excitement.  But lately, another milestone has been looming and my emotions have been mixed.  And today was the day for that milestone. My “baby” started school.

I wrote here about preparing myself for this moment. I held back tears when we left kinder for the last time. For me, it signified the end of a wonderful chapter and a reminder that my little girl was not so little anymore. (more…)

Wordless Wednesday: The art of play

We gave Miss A a tabletop art easel for Christmas. She loves drawing and painting and has shown quite an artistic inclination and talent from a young age. I love watching her create something from a blank canvas. Unlike her younger siblings, she can sit and focus on one task for a long time. After breakfast she goes straight to the craft tubs and begins drawing.  After drawing, she then begins crafting (is that a word?). She will happily build, make and create all day long. She produces about a dozen works of art a day. In fact, we are drowning in her artistic creations, but I can’t bear to discard many.

I love her curiosity, care and quiet patience. I love watching her work; weaving her own narrative around a blob of paint, mosaic or glitter glue. I love her persistence and precision. Most of all I just love watching her eyes as she creates, quietly focussed and determined, blazing with imagination and wonder. (more…)