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R U OK day

Put-Down Humour

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The Right Lazy

You know how you sometimes feel lazy, plus guilty about same?

But when you think about it, I reckon some “lazy” is more than ok… why not optimise some things for convenience, saving time/energy for other things? That’s worthwhile. Example:

  • I bake my own bread because it tastes better, my daughter loves it, it doesn’t contain any nasty additives, and as a nice sideline it actually works out much cheaper with more nutrition.
  • I use a breadmaker, because I really can’t be stuffed doing all the kneading. Happily lazy there.
  • I don’t use bread mix, because putting ingredients in the bread pan takes only a few minutes anyway. The biggest effort is actually cleaning the bread pan afterward so no difference there. I big jars with a few types of flour, a box with various seeds and grains and such that I add to some breads, linseed in the fridge, and dried yeast in the freezer. Easy-as.

Keep on moving

I know when I’m feeling down because this little part of my brain starts questioning why I’m doing anything.  Why go out and visit friends when I don’t really feel like it?  Why do any exercise when I feel tired?  Why get all dressed up to go to work?  Why get up at all?  Why…

Once I recognise this symptom it’s often difficult to fight.  I have a somewhat philosophical nature and I like asking those big questions of “what is the right thing to do” and “where should we be going”.  It’s easy to get a kind of choice paralysis when asking these questions, and if one is definitely staring down the barrel of a big question – should I disagree with someone I love, should I say something against a person that everyone else agrees with, should I complain about someone else’s misplaced generosity – then it can be really difficult to feel like you can move on.  And that’s when you start questioning why you should get out of bed.

It took me a while to feel like I could just ignore some of those questions and move on.  But I finally realised that I couldn’t let everything stall just because I can’t answer a question for which, almost by definition, there is no ‘right’ answer.  By getting on with the things we do every day – eating, doing the chores, getting out, exercising – we actually give our brains space to process some of those hard questions.  And in the process we almost invariably get some more input that adds valuable information.

By getting up and getting on with things, we are not stalling or putting off the question.  We are adding to our perception and improving our ability to choose.  Stalling is lying in bed doing nothing.  And sometimes things will solve themselves naturally without our intervention.  Most importantly, we keep to our comfortable routines, we keep on the move for new opportunities, and we don’t lose the energy and momentum to tackle life’s problems.

We sometimes need to walk around the problem and look at it from another angle, and we can only do that if we keep moving.

Healthy eating (unprocessed foods)

The following is from BBC News site: Depression link to processed food

After accounting for factors such as gender, age, education, physical activity, smoking habits and chronic diseases, they found a significant difference in future depression risk with the different diets.

Those who ate the most whole foods had a 26% lower risk of future depression than those who at the least whole foods.

By contrast people with a diet high in processed food had a 58% higher risk of depression than those who ate very few processed foods.

Not really surprising (to me, anyway) but interesting to see some research on this. And the difference is quite significant.

MASH & Hawkeye

Yea, as in the classic TV show with Alan Alda. Of course there’s reruns (again) and I’ve let my MythTV box record some. My favourite characters have always been Hawkeye and Col.Potter. Smart, funny, cynical, way with words.

Col.Potter was in WWI and WWII before Korea where MASH is situated, he’s seen it all before… but Hawkeye, he’s really just like that as a coping mechanism, isn’t he. I used to think he was cool, but with a bit more maturity I see that his attitude has to be seen in the context of the situation and definitely not as a general example of how to be.

Obvious, perhaps, but at the time a lesson for me anyhow. I too have used cynicism (and sarcasm) as a copying mechanism, particularly when I’m tired, stressed, sick, or (even worse!) any combination thereof. I try to catch myself now and consciously work to not behave like an ass in those situations. Hawkeye gets away with it, but I live in the real world…

If you want BlueHackers stickers…

We’re seeing a lot requests for the stickers, which is great – we’re happy to post some, but we do need to optimise things a bit otherwise the logistics (and cost) won’t be practical. So here’s the deal for the currently remaining roll of approx 500 stickers.

If you are active for a local user group, conference or company, and want a sticker for yourself as well as some to hand out at your next meeting or just among your colleagues, send us an email at l i f e (at) b l u e h a c k e r s (dot) o r g with a brief note on what group/company/conference it is, your address of course, and how many stickers you need.

I think numbers of up to a couple of dozen are practical at this stage. Remember, we’ll be printing more stickers anyway so this is just to get things going and spread the word further. We’ll gather the emails and do a mailout about once a week, and of course we’ll reply to let you know when they’ve been posted, and how many you get. Okidoki?

By the way, if you’re on Facebook you can also join the BlueHackers cause, again to help make the issue more visible.

Stickers at Tasmania

bluehackers-sticker-roll-lca2009Last week was in Hobart, Tasmania. This seemed like an ideal opportunity to try the stickers idea. However, this being so soon after the summer holidays (yes xmas is in the summer when you live in the Southern hemisphere!) we weren’t particularly organised. Eek!

Luckily I got hold of a bright and helpful printers in Hobart who couldn’t do exactly what we needed but just arranged everything for us locally. We were pondering a few designs and sizes, but we decided on doing small stickers (of the “powered-by” shape and size) to mainly see put on laptops. Since they’re small, the chances of someone putting them on are increased. Yet the logo is so distinct that it will be spotted. Win! It’s just our logo with the url below, one colour print with gradient, and just paper (no vinyl nasties).

So what’s the objective? For as many people as possible to have these little stickers on their laptop; laptops travel around to conferences, user group meetings and work places. And thus other people get to see this quiet sign of understanding! So it’s not just a sticker to be used by people who have dealt with depression or related issues themselves, it’s for everybody wanting to show this form of support.

As we all know, the feeling of being alone with your problems is a very important aspect. The bluehackers stickers addresses this in a friendly non-intrusive way. Over 500 stickers were handed out during the last days of the conference, so they’re already travelling around the planet to be spotted elsewhere; various people also have strips of stickers with them to hand out to local user groups, colleagues, and others.

I did a lightning talk on the last day which got a fab response and triggered numerous interesting discussions afterwards. It’s clearly struck a chord, and so I guess another objective of BlueHackers is to make the topic more open or at least not taboo. Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier wrote up a  very nice blog entry about us also (“Even Hackers get the Blues“). I have another roll of 500 stickers here, which I’ll send out in chunks to various people around the planet. And more things to come.

So who’s funding all this? Well, some of the best gestures cost little or nothing. Getting the stickers made cost me a few hundred dollars, and while the stickers were handed out for free donations came in and recouped the cost plus the same again (and we still have half the stickers left as well). It’s a matter of running low-cost, and sheer numbers. We’re pondering whether to do a paypal account, but that brings up the question of whether to become a registered non-profit as we don’t want any individual to get stuck with financial or other liabilities. We’ll work it out. Naturally all donations given so far go directly towards BlueHackers activities anyway.

Through the various discussions we’ve gained additional insight in what activities might be useful, and how to go about them. More to come! And remember, the best gestures are free or cheap. Small things can make a huge difference to a person, or perhaps even many.

Happy New Year & Media Mentions

Happy New Year everybody! We hope you got some well-deserved time off over the xmas/holiday period, with (gasp) perhaps even some time away from your computer?

We now have a mutual link with Working Well, after a kind message from someone there. Very useful.
And we hadn’t spotted it before, but ITwire wrote a nice article on us: Geeks seek to hack depression (16 Dec 08)