Following my decade long career in Human Resources, I share with you my tips for returning to work following maternity leave. In addition to the HR side of things, I discuss childcare, breastfeeding, and how you can ensure that your health and wellbeing is also taken care of as you make the transition to being a working mum.
Information regarding your return to work rights can be found here: https://www.fairwork.gov.au/leave/maternity-and-parental-leave/returning-to-work-from-parental-leave
Information regarding breastfeeding in the workplace: https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/workplace/working-mothers
This video is for informational purposes and does not substitute for professional advice regarding your personal situation.
(Image courtesy of Flotation Tank Melbourne)
Flotation Tanks are popping up all over the place here in Melbourne, and I’m sure it’s the case in most other major cities. But what is the hype about?
I had a 2 hour session in 2017 at Flotation Tank Melbourne, in Bell Street, Bellfield. It was a nice treat for myself as my toddler and husband were interstate at the time. It was very relaxing in the sense that the time flew by and before I knew it, 2 hours was over!
As all your senses are completely shut down, you are able to go into a deep relaxation. Relaxation is such a powerful healing tool, and definitely underrated. As a busy mum who doesn’t believe she is stressed, my body probably thinks a different thing! Having time out for deep relaxation and meditation is very important to me, and it was lovely to be able to have that for myself during the float.
The couple of things that I experienced that were a tiny bit annoying, was firstly I struggled to get my neck in the correct position to fully relax. They had just got in a foam headband that sort of acts like a pillow, and this really took the pressure off my neck. But at the 1.25 hour mark, the headband was digging in and feeling uncomfortable, but I didn’t want to take it off as I needed the neck support, so I was at the stage where I was really ready to get out. And secondly, trying to get out the “salty” feel out of my hair using natural shampoos took a few washes.
I was able to try a floating session with an online coupon at a fairly decent price, but it’s not something I could personally afford to do on a regular basis, but certainly nice for a self-care treat!
Cost AU$99 1 Hour Weekend or AU$88 1 Hour Weekday (although search for an online coupon and I’m sure you can find a better price)
Please note, I am not affiliate or associated with Floatation Tank Melbourne or any associated products. This review has been written by me, an unbiased and independent customer.
What is Earthing & Benefits
When our skin comes into contact with the Earth’s surface, we are able to “recharge” our energy through a process commonly referred to as “earthing” or “grounding”.
If you are curious to learn of the many benefits of Earthing, check out my brief article here or alternatively a great resource is the book “Earthing” by Ober, Sinatra and Zucker.
In addition to walking barefoot on the Earth, you can also investigate a number of products that allow you to Earth in the comfort of your own home, workplace or even car.
One of the reasons I make earthing such a big priority in my life is that I do have concerns about the effective of electromagnetic radiation. You can learn more about this in my video below.
Image courtesy of Better Earthing
Many years ago I purchased an Earthing Sheet that is threaded with silver that you can put on top of your sheets at the foot of your bed to earth whilst sleeping. I love the concept, but the practicality side was a bit difficult as the sheet would often bunch up during the night, the fabric is not protected as it’s on the surface, so I encountered some wear and tear and quite a few holes.
During 2016, I decided to purchase a new one for my daughter’s cot, when I stumbled across an Australian manufacturer that has developed an Earthing Sheet that goes under your sheet set, offering additional protection. They also claim that there is better contact with their sheet, maximising results. So we ended up purchasing a fitted underlay earthing sheet for our queen bed in October 2016.
Personally I have really missed sleeping on this when we are away. When I started using it, I was in the thick of sleep deprivation with a baby (and I still am with a toddler who doesn’t sleep through the night). Now when I do lay down in bed, I fall asleep within minutes, so it’s hard to say whether that is just the sleep deprivation or the earthing sheet. However, I had my old earthing sheet prior to being a mum, and I remember the first couple of nights of sleeping on it and was surprised with just how effective it was, so I do believe it is effective.
After having the sheet for 2 years now, there are only 2 issues that I have faced. We often co-sleep with our daughter and there have been probably 5 times over the past 2 years in which her nappy has leaked throughout the night, and therefore urine has seeped through the 2 sheets we have on top of the earthing sheet. It has ended up with quite a bit of tarnish in these patches, so although the sheet still works (we have a multimeter so check), aesthetically speaking it looks terrible! Secondly, it is suggested to have a spare sheet that fits over the top of the earthing sheet, and then you place your normal fitted sheet on top so that there are 2 layers between you and the earthing sheet as you sleep each night. I’m not sure what exactly causes is, but the spare fitted sheet we used was white and over the 2 years, the earthing sheet has “rubbed off” and stained the white sheet and this does not wash off. Aesthetics again, as it doesn’t really matter because no one is seeing this sheet, as the normal sheet set is on top.
Overall I am happy with the purchase, although it is an expensive one, but functionally speaking it has been and will continue to be very effective for me.
- 2-year Warranty
- 1-year Satisfaction Guarantee
- Available in King, Queen, Double, King Single and custom sizes
- Sewn in Australia using “the highest quality materials”
- Contains 15 times more pure silver coated fibre than most earthing sheets, which have silver fibre in 3% of their fabric compared to 50% in this one
- Earthing fabric composition is silver fibre (50%) and Tencel (50%) (Tencel is a natural fibre produced from eucalyptus trees)
Cost for Queen Sheet – AU$419 + shipping
Please note, I am not affiliate or associated with Better Earthing or any associated products. This review has been written by me, an unbiased and independent customer.
Review of The Sunlighten Infrared Solo Sauna
(Image courtesy of Sunlighten)
Original Review – 2017
After listening to several renowned health experts discuss the importance of detoxification, I started looking into saunas as a means of detoxifying from over 30 years of accumulated toxins. Infrared Saunas are more effective for detoxification than regular saunas, as penetrate far more deeply into the cellular level.
For further information on the benefits of infrared saunas, I recommend the following independent articles:
- Dr Amy Myers – Sauna Benefits Summary
- Dr Wendy Myers – Heavy Metals Removed by Sauna Therapy
- Dr Joseph Mercola – Sauna Benefits & EMF Warning
I hired an Infrared Sauna from Sunlighten Sauna in Melbourne for a period of 5 weeks. I did a fair bit of research into the different brands and types, and was particularly concerned about my exposure to electromagnetic radiation, however Sunlighten were able to provide me with extensive information and answer all my questions satisfactorily. I was quite impressed with their customer service too.
I began slow and started at about 20 minutes and worked my way up to 35 minutes per session. As I have a 16 month old daughter, I was only able to have my session in the evening when my husband was able to look after her. I found that I became a bit uncomfortable if I had just eaten dinner and jumped straight into the sauna, so instead I had the sauna right before bed. This actually led me to falling asleep very easily as I was quite relaxed after the session.
Other benefits I experienced over the 5 weeks included:
- increased energy
- increased mental clarity and far less “brain fog”
- improvement in skin texture and decrease of pimples
After reading the benefits of saunas, I was honestly a little disappointed in my results. However, my body is undergoing significant healing following pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding, and I think the benefits for me right now are a little more subtle. I am confident that the sauna allowed my body to begin the detoxification process, as I have accumulated 30+ years of toxins, but perhaps there is still much more to go before I notice a real difference.
Updated Review – 2018
I decided to try the Sunlighten Infrared Sauna again to see whether I could increase the effectiveness, and to try out the new Chromotherapy feature.
This time I hired the sauna for 7 weeks, and used every day (with the except one day when I was interstate). I tried this in combination with intermittent fasting, in which I fasted for 18-20 hours per day and had an eating window of 4-6 hours. This time I used the sauna first thing in the morning, which was in the middle of my fast. I worked my way up to using the sauna for 40 minutes each time.
In terms of relaxation, I found that the first 20-25 minutes were quite relaxing as my body heated up, and usually spent this time meditating. After about 25 minutes my heart rate increased with the heat, and whilst I felt totally safe and calm, I found it hard to meditate and concentrate, as my thoughts seemed to jump around a bit. I was also very sweaty by this point and had to wipe my face with a towel every 5 minutes or so.
Following my sauna session, I would have a shower as soon as possible, as the toxins are in the sweat and you don’t want them to be reabsorbed into your body! I decided that I would have this shower as cold as I could stand, to get some of the benefits of Cold Thermogenesis which is known to increase the production of nitric oxide and stimulate the vagus nerve.
The results I experienced this time were obvious than previously, and included:
- hardcore sweat session – I sweated profusely in my session which is obviously the purpose, but I’m confident that this allowed for a much deeper detoxification
- weightloss, particularly around my midsection (note this is in combination with intermittent fasting)
- bumpy skin on backs of my upper arms completely smoothed out
- increased energy throughout the day – I felt invigorated after a sauna session and cold shower
- accelerated healing – I had a nasty cold that was quite intense for a few days, but subsided surprisingly quickly
Overall, this time around I am very pleased with my body response to the sauna!
I became interested in Chromotherapy (colour therapy) after learning about the healing benefits of frequency from the work of Michael Tyrell of Wholetones. Our cells respond to frequency and there is much research on sound healing. It is not that much of a stretch to imagine that our eyes, skin and bodies respond in the same way to light, and light of different wave lengths which is colour. So the added feature of chromotherapy to the sauna was of great interest to me.
I asked Sunlighten for some information on Chromotherapy as the User Manual supplied with the sauna was very limited. It had instructions on how to use, but did not have any information into how this works. Whilst they weren’t able to supply a stack of research, the best summary is an article on their blog: https://www.sunlighten.com/blog/chromotherapy-sauna-benefits-color-therapy-explained/
It is hard for me to say whether this feature added any benefit to my sauna experience, as there is no real way to measure. Perhaps if I had used the one colour in every session, and that colour specifically related to an ailment that I was suffering from, but unfortunately I don’t feel I can give a review of this feature.
There are three ways you can experience an infrared sauna:
- Look for a clinic or spa that has one and book in for a session (how I first tried one)
- Rent the sauna for a few weeks and have couriered to your place (this is what I did)
- Purchase one outright (this is what I would do if I had the money!)
Sunlighten in South Melbourne has saunas on location that you can book, they also arrange sauna rental, as well as purchasing outright.
Rental cost – Ranges from AU$200 per week to AU$100 per week depending on the length of rental, plus courier costs.
Effectiveness: 9/10 (2018)
* Detoxing is something I take very seriously and believe it is an essential part of wellness in our modern world. This is why I prioritised and saved to rent the sauna for a couple of weeks, and documented my experience to share with you. However, when raising a family on organic food, and utilising regular preventative health care, such as chiropractic and naturopathy, regular sauna use just isn’t a financially viable option for me. This is why I gave affordability a lower score.
Please note, I am not affiliate or associated with Sunlighten saunas or any associated products. This review has been written by me, an unbiased and independent customer.
Review of The Shakti Mat
I was given a Shakti Mat for Christmas 2017, so I’ve been using it for about 9 months, and I have found it to be extremely effective.
The Shakti Mat is an acupressure mat with 4000 to 8000 points designed for reducing tension and promoting relaxation. There are 3 different types, the Light (8000 points), the Original (6000 points) and the Advanced (4000 points). The less points the mat has, the less your body weight is distributed amongst, and therefore applying more pressure.
I have the Original Mat and use this every single day whilst meditating. When I first commenced, it was pretty intense and I had to start with wearing a very light shirt. Over a month or two, I was able to lay on the mat with my skin exposed, with the exception of my very lower back, which is still tender. I spread a bit of fabric along the bottom 4 rows and can now lay down very comfortably.
Within a few months of use, I was able to completely relax when laying on it, and fell asleep during my meditation several times. It is deeply relaxing, and the tingling sensation is really warming, so it was bliss to lay on during Melbourne winter, although I often needed 2 blankets over the top of me, as I did become quite cold.
I did have a break from using it for about a month, and was worried that when I tried it again, I would find it very intense again, but I was surprised that I hadn’t lost any “tolerance” for it.
Using the Shakti Mat has definitely improved my meditation experience, as I find I am able to slip into relaxation faster. Although it was borderline torture the first couple of times, I now really look forward to using my mat on a daily basis!
- Ethically made by hand in India
- 100% Certified Organic Cotton & natural dyes
- Recyclable, durable ABS non-toxic plastic
- Charitable organisation giving back to Indian Community
Cost – AU$69 + shipping
Relaxation: 2/10 working up to 8/10 over time (couple of weeks to months)
Please note, I am not affiliate or associated with the Shakti Mat or any associated products. This review has been written by me, an unbiased and independent customer.