I have been visiting Sydney for the last few days (hence, no posts for a while). And I have had a fabulous time with my wonderful friends. One of my aims while here was to do a bit of shopping to make sure I had enough winter woollies to keep me warm during the harsh Albany winter… And I took this goal very seriously!

My most indulgent purchase was this knee length cardigan. I got a bit carried away and spent almost 1/3 of a week’s wages on this one item. More than a few times since I bought it I have felt regretful and stupid for spending so much. And I’ll be honest, I even lost some sleep over it.

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So, I’ve mentioned that my friends are fabulous and they heaped a lot of “you look amazing” praise on me and a few of them asked what the secret was. And I believe that the number one factor is stress reduction. Which I realise isn’t an easy thing to achieve. Not everyone has a supportive family in a stunning small town waiting for them with open arms. I know I am lucky and I am very grateful for my new life. However, I am of the firm belief that ANYONE can make significant changes to the amount of stress in their life.

Stress comes in many forms. Situational factors include traffic, noise, money problems, job satisfaction and loved ones’ health crises (or even your plane to Perth being delayed!!) Physical factors include poor diet, heavy alcohol consumption, not enough water, excessive exercise and a sedentary life. A lot of situational & physical factors are impossible or very difficult to change. But, I think there is something that most of us can change. And that is that little negative Nelly inside your head. The one that kept me awake fretting about my credit card bill, the one that calls you a silly woman if you spill some milk, the one that says you’ll never be happy while your thighs are this big. And especially the one that won’t forgive you for an overindulgent meal…

A few months ago I wrote about cortisol and stress. Once we are stressed the body releases excess cortisol which basically makes us fat. Stress causes our bodies to get out of whack, our skin gets dull, our tummies twist in knots, our personalities become strange, which all in turn causes more stress. The last thing we need to do is cause more stress through negative self talk.

So, I put on my new cardigan. And I love it! Did I say that it’s wool and cashmere? Do you know how gorgeous that feels on your skin? I can dress it up or wrap myself in it on the way to yoga. It’s a classic style that will never date. And above all, I deserve a bit of indulgence – we all do! Does that mean I’ll get this cardigan in every colour? No! But I’m going to enjoy this one.