8 Things I Learned This Week: 15 February 2015

Happy Valentines Day For yesterday peeps if that's your thing. It's not recognised at our house but I did enjoy the broader messages of love to family, friends and the self that was populated around the Interweb.

I'm writing this post in the great outdoors.  Our local council cleverly installed a water play park (fountains, kids water cannons, giant flowers spouting water, that kind of thing) next to a playground with both surrounded by plenty of grass. My boys are happily amused to-ing and fro-ing between the two while I enjoy sunshine, fresh air, the green surrounds and children laughing. Glorious.

The appreciation of a bit of green space is just one of the things that struck me recently so without further ado here are the eight things I learned this week:

1.  Food is free!  Well some has been around here.  The discovery of the #foodisfree movement setting up shop, so to speak, in Ballarat has rocked my world a little.  We have three dedicated locations where Ballaratians can deliver fruit, vegies, herbs and other home grown goodies for the taking.  The aim is to build community bonds and to share what we have. This week I traded a box of jam and chutney jars that I had been hoarding for some of the most delicious plums, apples, lemons and the spiciest, yummiest tiny tomatoes I've ever tasted.

This afternoon the kids and I dropped by again, this time with rocket and rhubarb harvested from the vegie garden and came away with bottles of home made lemonade we devoured for afternoon tea, more plums and some plum jam!  So much fun.  Mr 6 is keen to go back as soon as he can

2.  Sticking with the nature theme, I was reminded this week of the human need for sun and green space.  I spent Monday and Tuesday in Melbourne, squirrelled away in meetings in beautiful but very much indoor surrounds.  Keen for a bit of outdoor time I snuck off early and en route to my country train I took my sushi and joined the office workers on the patch of lawn outside of The Age building.  I was struck by the relaxed atmosphere a bit of sun and grass can create.  People sprawled across the lawn, perched on garden seats, taken leave of shoes and adorned with hats and sunnies.  Some in groups, some alone. All enjoying being out in this small patch of nature in a very urban landscape. There's plenty of research on the psychological benefits of being in nature but that aside, it just feels right to me.

3.  My boys and I have been walking and scootering to school and day care the last two weeks and it's proving a lot more popular with them than I expected. We've had beautiful weather and they are nailing the two kilometre trip which means Mummy gets a four kilometre walk at least twice a week.

4.  On Monday I wrote about the benefits of reviewing your past achievements to build motivation for future success. I was reminded by several lovely readers how easy it is to forget the good things we do in life while we linger on the not so successful moments. Accentuate the positive became the motto for the week. 

5.  Another motto this week in the form of a clever hashtag was #inthepicture. The brainchild of Bron at Maxabella Loves we mums were reminded that we too should be in photographs with our children. As the chief camera operator at our house I'm rarely in the picture myself so I promptly rectified that with a quick Mum and boys selfie. Bron has put together a little film of all of the shots shared in response to her hashtag campaign and it may make you cry.

6.  I learnt that Australia is swiftly running out of psychologists.  Due to the rather complex and daunting path to registration by the national body which allows one to call oneself a psychologist (generally four years of uni and either a Masters degree, for which there are not many places or two years of supervised experience, for which there are not many supervisors) it seems that students are ditching it as a career path in favour of other options.  According to the Australian Psychological Society, with whom I was hanging out at my meetings earlier in the week, the number of psych students has halved in the last five years.  We've got our work cut out for us as a profession if we're to avoid losing our standing in the world.

7.  I discovered (rediscovered?) that people like looking at photos with my 10 on 10 Photography Project one of my most popular posts so far.  More importantly I discovered the fun of linking up with a bunch of lovely like-minded Clever Cookie graduates for the photography circle.  I can't wait to do it again next month.    

8.  Finally, as a result of a little networking event that I held with colleagues here in Ballarat this week I learnt a whole lot more about the varied expertise and experience of other psychologists.  From counselling to family therapy, helping others to deal with death and dying in hospitals, to gambling addiction, running employee assistance services for corporates and drug and alcohol and other programs for our prison populations and coming to the aid of the youngest and most vulnerable in our community, our kids.  A stellar group of people doing some amazing work.  

Have yourselves a great upcoming week.