22 Push-up s a day for 22 days…a challenge I was nominated for back on the 15th of August.
This initiative started in the States and has grown legs across social media and for good reason. This awareness campaign highlighted the alarming statistic that 22 US returned servicemen suicide daily due to PTSD and other mental / emotions disorders developed while serving their county.
In conversations with those close to the Australian military, I found out that our rate is also very concerning. Not to mention our current and ex emergency service men and women who develop similar afflictions in the service of our community.
As we all know, there is plenty of concern about the effects of the FIFO life on the worker’s mental well-being; along with that of the families they leave behind.
With this in mind, I decided to use my challenge to not only raise awareness for this cause but also of my life as a FIFO worker. Introduce to the people and places that make up my life both on and off site.
Basically to bring more tangibility to this FIFO thing and start more discussion around coping strategies, challenges and opportunities.
So, here is a wrap of my 22 day Challenge (click the heading for video links)…
I introduced you to my back 2 back and agreed that curry with the Irish Boys is our favourite night of the week of site…the weekly family dinner.
Introducing – Gary King
Directed – Jenna Melbourne
We met the team for the weekly “logistics” meeting…a night we all look forward to.
Staring – Santhi Rajendran / Nigel Bourke
Directed – Matthew Horwood
Extras – Ross Elford / Mark Grant
Out of bed at 3am to show you around my room. This is a place I am constantly asked about so I thought I’d show you around. It’s what I call home for 26 days and it’s not too bad.
Walking to and from work is a great way many here utilize to keep physically active, in turn contributing to mental and emotional well-being while away. Taking a stroll, brisk walk or run along this track is a fantastic means to and start / finish the working day in a positive way.
Big Sam Faiers came and joined me for a wrap up of his World’s Greatest Shave and some insight into how hard it was to shave off “that” beard. The support from his FIFO friends contributed in a big way to this great cause.
Kayne Gordon, a self-confessed project B-Grade celeb, joined me to prove to the FaceBook community he was capable of not only doing 22 push-ups but informing us how he keeps his magnificent physique while away working. “I just lift heavy things!!”
I crashed a training session of these famous Kababs and was told how important the team and the social time is for not only their physical fitness but also their mental well-being while being on long project rosters.
Introducing – Tom Murtagh and the 7 Maradona Kababs
Directed – Guillauma Mongelard / Nigel Bourke
Today I showed you around the beach. It’s not your ideal beach but its sand next to a vast ocean which is good enough for me. Getting back to nature is, for me, such an important way to keep my mind in check. I am surrounded by nature up here but there is always something a little spiritual about being on the breach, fresh salt air and no one around.
Night shift is an important part of any project / large operational facility. Night shift also comes with its own unique challenges around fatigue and mental strength…as I wrote about in last years’ blog. These 22 were for the night shift crew.
Michelle Garrett accepted my invitation for push-ups this night…but she STOOD ME UP!! As she and quite a few others said, she isn’t the first and won’t be the last girl to stand me up but luckily Justine was there to save the day…and my dignity!! We have some fantastic women in our FIFO community and these ladies are just two and a big bunch.
Starring – Justine Archibald
Directed – Lizzy Boland
Later on the night of the 11th day I saw this video come across my feed. I found out the Michelle had organized her own push-ups video for me with some of her crew. This meant so much as the team knew how important this was to me and to go this far to organize, film and post was just amazing. How good are FIFO friends??!!
Starring – Nic “The Dark” Lord & Nigel Bourke
Directed / Narrated – Michelle Garrett
This is the driving range and putting green in camp. It’s definitely no links but if you like to hit a few balls it certainly does the trick. I reckon it keeps quite a few would be golfers; and some not so would be ones pretty sane. It’s these small extras around camp that make it a little more little home.
The end of any project is a very mentally and emotionally tough time for many FIFO workers and their families. So I decided to get 5 members of my team who were leaving before I returned from R&R to ask them about why they are heading off and what opportunities awaited them.
Co-host – Gary King
Starring – Luke Handsaker, Daryl Wade, Justine Archibald, Ben O’Brien, Tony Vink, Tom M, John Pelagio
Directed – Michelle Garrett
Naturally this is a FIFO workers favourite day so bags packed and in storage, travel pack / laptop / pillow packed and it was 22 to say goodbye to site for the rest of the challenge.
One of the first places I go when I get home is my Nitro Boxing and Fitness. 26 days usually washes out with a good glove and sparring session with Isaac. Nothing like jumping into the ring to calm the mind and clear the head after a long swing.
Staring – Isaac Hardman
So it was down to the lovely New Farm Park to meet Shannon from My Food Religion. She gave us a brief insight into why she believes that eating a healthy diet can improve your mental well-being; given the stomach is referred to as the second brain. For more great tips and easy recipes, visit her website here or @myfoodreligion on FB.
Starring – Shannon Williams
These 3 are the best!! If anything keeps my head above water its the thought of some fun with these guys when I get home…or just the “Hi Daddy” from down the other end of the phone. Love them to bits.
Introducing – Rocky, Scarlett and Koko.
I was lucky enough to get some time with Paula from Yummy Mummy Physio. Paula is a champion in the depression awareness space; especially for suicide widows and is active in support and awareness after caring for and ultimately losing her own husband through depression. Paula gave us her #1 tip for caring for loved ones with depression…take care of your as well. Paula is now embarking on her own venture aimed at helping soon to be / new mothers help them self through this tough time with eating and exercise plans. For more info, visit her website here or search @yummymummyphysio on FB.
Starring – Paula Hindle
Today was the yearly beast race. 22kms and 44 obstacles through the bush and my year mind cleanse. I also
introduced you to Renae Jones and her Husband Matt from Brisbane Run Squad. Renae explained how important regular exercise was to her in coping with the daily duties of being a teacher, raising 2 young boys, operating a small business and having a partner who works shift work with the emergency services.
Starring – Renae Jones / Matthew Lyne
I was a happy Father Day!!! Ninja Pack in bed after a big day and I took some time, in between wines, to do my 22 late at night.
I was inspired by Jeremy O’Brien; International Off-Shore Super-Dad to do my 22 with mountains in the background. Not quite the Swiss Alps but a 30minute ride through the bush got me over looking Samford Valley. Time with nature is always nice and is definitely fuel for the soul!!
Tuesday of R&R is my Moto Track day with the kids. my wee me goes for his lesson and I take the girls riding on their quad bike. Then it’s time for me to hit the track and get some pointers. I love it and the pack count down the days. I was joined by Jody from Ultimate Motocross who told us why he loves coaching the small kids in a sport he is passionate about.
Introducing – Jody Herson
Supporting cast – Scarlett / Koko
Well it was my last day of both my R&R and the Push-Up Challenge and I had to finish with the clap push-up gauntlet that was thrown down on day 10.
So here are the final numbers.
13,310 total FaceBook Views
37 Special Guests and budding Directors
13 Days on site
9 days at home
22 Different Locations
And a grand total of…..1,144 Push-ups!!!!
Well I hope you got something out of my 22 days. My aim here was make my life as a FIFO working single Dad more transparent and raise FIFO awareness just a little bit…whilst keeping up the recognition for the overarching cause of this viral challenge.
I also tried to bring some visibility in camp life, social interactions and the things that are important to me and believe help me to maintain high levels of physical, mental and emotional well-being in my life.
Well I’m way over my word limit here so until next time…keep safe and stay connected!!