3 Self Care Commitments That I Am Making

Hi Everyone!

It’s official, the past year and a half has kicked my butt. I have been challenged and stressed in ways that I could never have imagined and now I have hit a wall. I know that I am not alone in this. Almost every conversation that I have had over the past few months has highlighted that we have gone thru something major. And although there is now light at the end of the tunnel, many of us are coming out of the other side of this pandemic exhausted, stressed out and emotionally battered. If you are one of these people just know that you are not alone. Between increased work hours, attempting to achieve work/life balance, financial challenges, taking care of children and partners and homes (seriously why is there always so much laundry?!?!), we are all dealing with something and it is really stressing everyone out!

I have always held a lot of tension and stress in my body – relaxing is not a natural state of being for me at this point, but over the past few weeks my back has been tied up in painful knots thatI just can’t seem to shake. With my background in wellness, I tried every tool in my self care toolbox that I was able to but it made little difference with the pain. I finally booked myself in for a much needed massage and as I lay on that massage table with my masseuse painfully trying to loosen my stress knots I finally came to the realization that I need to make some changes or the impact of stress on my health could have detrimental results. I needed to make some self care commitments and stick to them if I want to be the person that I aim to be. Now it’s really easy at times like these to make bold proclamations, stay motivated for a short while then fall back into old patterns. My goal is to avoid this vicious cycle so I am making small habit and lifestyle changes that I can build upon while setting better boundaries with the things that are causing me the greatest amount of stress. I decided to put 3 self care commitments that I am making to myself in writing on the blog to help others that may be struggling, as Stylishly Zen is also a wellness blog. Here are the 3 self care commitments that I am making to myself:

Photo Credit: http://www.apple.ca

Make friends with and respect the Do Not Disturb

I bought myself an iWatch for my birthday this past January and I hate it. It tells me to stand when I am, it doesn’t count activity or calories accurately and it wakes me up in the middle of the night to either breathe or stand when I am fast asleep. Needless to say, I am not recommending this idiotic piece of tech to anyone. The one solution that I found for the middle of the night wake ups was to set a Do Not Disturb on my phone so the watch doesn’t wake me. I like that my watch no longer wakes me up but I am guilty of not respecting it. I am often still awake past my bedtime scrolling on social media dreaming about all of the glamorous lives that I am seeing. Sleep is important and I need to start prioritizing it for my body, mind and spirit. Making sure that I am in bed, lights out and phone down when the Do Not Disturb kicks in will go a long way in helping me get a reasonable amount of sleep for a clearer and well rested mind and body.

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Crowd out bad foods with better ones

When I was studying to become a health coach, we were taught the concept of crowding out. It means that you don’t need to completely cut out the bad foods from your life but you can lower your intake of them by increasing the amount of healthier choices that you make. Since the start of the pandemic potato chips have become a food group for me, and the idea of going cold turkey makes me want to dive head first into a bag of them. Instead I am going to work on making better choices while not depriving myself of my favourite junk food. By increasing healthier options in my kitchen when I come home late, stressed out and hungry. will help me to make better choices Healthier choices will help me to feel better in my body and hopefully eliminate some bloating which will make me much happier and comfortable in my body over all – basically a win win.

Increase body work

Body work is a loose term that I use to get better in touch with my body and how I am feeling overall. When I incorporate more body work into my lifestyle I feel more in touch with my body – I am more relaxed and more aware when I feel a little imbalanced so I can react faster to remedy it. For me a combination of yoga, foam rolling and massages work best along with epsom salt baths to relieve any residual tension that I may be feeling. I have managed to maintain cardio workouts over the past few months but yoga and pilates have gone out the window and my foam roller has been gathering dust in the corner of my living room. So I have now pulled my yoga mat out, dusted off the foam roller and made a commitment to my masseuse to come more often and I am hopeful that the pain that I am currently feeling will disappear (but the lessons will stay as I never want to get back to this miserable and painful state of being).

I will let you know how this plan goes in a couple of months. Hopefully I will have positive news to report. How are you doing with everything? Are you making any self care commitments to yourself? Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!

Thank you for stopping by Stylishly Zen today and I hope that you have a beautiful day! XXS

Dream Destination – Casa Aviv by CO-LAB

Hi Everyone!

It has been a really interesting almost year and a half since the world first shut down due to the pandemic. Here in Montreal, we have spent the better part of it in lockdown and with a curfew – a completely new way of life for most of us. While there have obviously been challenges there has also been opportunities for self discovery. I learned to enjoy the peacefulness of parts of my life and to lean into the slow down. The idea of rushing back into large and rowdy crowds hold little appeal to me at the moment. One thing that I am looking forward to is travelling and once I am able to do so, I plan to take a trip where I can breath, relax and enjoy my surroundings without feeling rushed or anxious…my current idea of heaven.

Until then though, I am dreaming about destinations that would fit the bill and today’s Dream Destination feature has been at the top of my list for months. Images of Casa Aviv by Co-Lab have made it’s way around social media these past few months. Surrounded by lush greenery, this minimalistic structure that leans towards austere simplicity offers both calm and privacy.

The 330 square metre home is located on the Yucatan Peninsula along the Caribbean coastline. Oriented east to west to take advantage of the prevailing winds and cross ventilation, this rental home was built with low maintanence durability in mind. I love the simple design choices such as hand polish cement covering the concrete walls and the double height ceiling in the living and dining area along with the black terrazzo flooring. My absolute favourite part of this home are the pivoting glass doors that open to create flow from the living area to small but gorgeous swimming pool and garden.

The home also has a rooftop terrace that can be enjoyed by guests. Many of the furniture and light fixtures throughout Casa Aviv were also designed and fabricated by Co-Lab. Both the styling and the colours used throughout the home help it to further connect with its natural surroundings. Love it!

What do you think of this vacation home? Would you like to experience it for yourself? Let me know in the comments below. All images via http://www.dezeen.com

Thank you for stopping by Stylishly Zen today and I hope that you have a beautiful day! XXS

The Mineral That You May Be Missing In Your Diet

Lately it feels like everyone is perpetually stressed out.  Between multiple obligations, the pressure to be our best selves, poor nutrition and conflicting world views, it’s no wonder that we are more short tempered, bloated and completely exhausted.

One of the first things to fall by the wayside during stressful and challenging times is good nutrition.  Whether you are pressed for time or turn to comfort food to ease the pressure the you may be feeling (full disclosure – I am guilty of this on nearly a weekly basis), good nutrition is often viewed as negotiable.  The truth is though that good nutrition is what will help you to successfully meet the challenges that you are dealing without sacrificing your health.  Even if that just means making an effort to get in a few necessary vitamins and minerals that help to support good health.

One of my favourite minerals is Magnesium.  Often referred to as the “anti stress” mineral, Magnesium levels are often low in most people.  Medications such as diuretics and antibiotics, stress, poor nutrition due to the standard Western diet including increased intake of caffeine, sugar, alcohol and processed foods, chronic gut problems and soil depletion are all factors that deplete magnesium.

Increasing magnesium in the diet has been shown to help tame headaches, promote regular digestion (especially when you are not eating enough fibre or moving enough) ease menstrual cramps and it helps you to wind down so that you can get some much needed rest.  Magnesium has also been shown to help with a myriad of health issues and diseases including (but not limited to) adrenal fatigue, anxiety, inflammation, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, insulin resistance and sleep issues.

Good sources of magnesium are dark green vegetables, nuts, seeds legumes and whole grains in particular wheat, brown rice and millet.  Soil depletion though will affect how much magnesium you are actually getting through your diet so it may be worthwhile to consider supplementation if you feel that you need more magnesium.

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The RDA’s for magnesium are 400mg for men and 310mg for women.  Glycinate (for relaxation) and citrate (for constipation) are the two most absorbable forms of magnesium supplementation.  Another way to increase magnesium in the body is to add epsom salts to your bath.

Overall magnesium is an important yet often underrated mineral that you may want to consider increasing in your diet to help to lower your stress level and improve your overall health.

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Please Note: This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.  It is not intended to serve as a substitute for a consultation or medical treatment from a qualified healthcare practitioner.

I hope that you have a fabulous day! XXS❤️

 

My Top 4 Winter Beauty Boosters

Winter weather can cause a myriad of beauty woes.  Even the most well intentioned beauty aficionado can get caught easily with hat head, static cling and parched skin.  While updating your beauty routine for the cold weather is a necessity in many parts of the world, you may also want to consider adding in a few nutritional beauty busters to help maintain your glow all year long.  As I have mentioned (many times) before, I love to eat for skin health.  Here are a few of the food that I reach for when the temperature drops:

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Miso

Beauty and good health begin in the belly and miso is a perfect winter warming food.  Made from soy beans, this fermented food is very popular for it’s many benefits.  Miso has been consumed for centuries in Japan and China and many regard it as the secret to the luminous skin that many Japanese women are known for.  It is jam packed with antioxidants that help to address the signs of aging and bacteria (the good kind) which helps to balance the gut flora.  Packed with antioxidants such as isoflavones helps to address the signs of aging and contains beneficial bacteria that helps to balance the gut and in turn aids in keeping the skin clear.  Miso is alkalizing for the body and also helps to strengthen the immune system making it the perfect food to indulge in during flu season.

Tips:

  • Make sure that you use hot but not boiling water when making your own miso soup as you don’t want to kill the good bacteria
  • In a rush?  Enjoy a simple cup of miso soup by creaming a teaspoon of miso in a 1/4 cup of hot water until completely dissolved.  Top with 3/4 of hot water and a few drops of chilli oil if you like it spicy and enjoy!

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Mushrooms

I love mushrooms so I don’t need an excuse to indulge but, knowing that they are a fabulous beauty booster makes them taste even better.  Mushrooms are the only vegetables that make Vitamin D from sunlight which is essential for healthy skin and bones.  Vitamin D also helps to regulate the turnover of skin cells which will keep you looking beautiful.  Mushrooms are also a source of zinc which is well known as a acne fighting mineral.  Mushrooms are a total skin clearing winner in my book!

Tip:

  • Try showing mushrooms in to stir fries, pastas, curries and anything else you can think of.  The subtle earthy flavour will add a new tasty dimension to most dishes

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Red Cabbage

Most people reach for Vitamin C during the winter months, especially when they feel a cold going on.  While oranges are a great source of it, there are other foods that are rich in Vitamin C as well and red cabbage is definitely on that list.

Red cabbage is said to have twice the amount of Vitamin C then green cabbage making it a smarter vegetable to reach for.  Rich in fibre and antioxidants and low in calories, red cabbage is an amazing but underrated vegetable.  The collagen boosting properties of Vitamin C will help to keep your skin smooth and clear while red cabbage’s anti-inflammatory properties (the carotenoids) help to fight inflammation based skin problems like eczema and psoriasis.

Tip:

  • Roasted red cabbage is simple to make and seriously delicious.  Drizzle thick slices or wedges of red cabbage with olive oil (on both sides), sea salt, pepper and minced garlic and roast for 15 – 20 mins at 450F for an easy vegetable dish

Rosemary

Rosemary

I read a study a few years ago that touted the longevity benefits of rosemary.  Since then I frequently reach for this fragrant herb.  Naturally astringent and filled chockfull of anti-inflammatory properties, rosemary is a powerhouse in the world of herbs.  Helpful in reducing redness and puffiness, rosemary even works to address breakouts due to excess sebum.  Rosemary’s ability to help stimulate the body’s circulation make it a great warming herb that helps you to achieve beautiful glowing skin.

Rosemary’s scent is said to help improve one’s mood, enhance brain function and boost energy – perfect for jump starting those sluggish winter days.  Many people swear by rosemary oil – applying it topically is said to help with indigestion and mental disorders.

Tip:

  • Not sure what to cook with rosemary?  Try a simple rosemary tea, simply steep a sprig or two of rosemary in hot water for 5 mins.  Remove sprigs and add honey to taste, and sip your way to a glowing complexion!

I hope that you have a beautiful winter season!  XXS

5 Reasons Why You Should Switch to Matcha

Many people reach for coffee when they wake up hoping that a cup of the hot brew will perk them up for the day ahead.  As coffee has gotten a bad rep over the past few years, some people have switched to tea.  With it’s lower levels of caffeine and multiple health benefits tea seems like the perfect alternative (albeit without the huge caffeine boost that coffee offers).  So what if there was another alternative that gives you a nice boost of energy and alertness but without the crash and it is was really really good for you, would you believe me?  In case you haven’t tried it before, let me introduce you to matcha.

Matcha is the highest quality powdered green tea available.  It’s made from nutrient rich, young leaves picked from the tips of the camellia sinuses plant that have been shaded.  Once they are picked, the leaves are steamed and de-stemmed then stone ground into a fine powder.  It is important to store matcha properly and away from sunlight and oxygen in order to preserve matcha’s bright green colour and antioxidant properties.

Here are my top 5 reason’s to reach for matcha on a regular basis:

  1. Enhances A Calmer State of Mind – matcha is commonly used as a means to calm the mind, relax and meditate while remaining alert
  2. Boosts Memory and Concentration – this is a side effect of the L-Theanine in matcha.  L-Theanine helps to boost the production of serotonin and dopamine within the body.  Both of these neurotransmitters can help to improve your memory, promote better concentration and boost your mood.
  3. Detoxify The Body – Matcha is very high in chlorophyll which is a natural detoxifier.  Chlorophyll is great for removing heavy metals and toxins from the body.
  4. Weight Loss – many people reach for the matcha in the hopes that it will help them to shed unwanted pounds.  While matcha can help boost weight loss, while on a healthy weight loss program it is not a magic cure all.  Matcha has a high concentration of EGCG, which has shown to increase the rate of buying stored fat within the body as energy, it also helps to decrease the formation of new fat cells, and increase the body’s rate of calorie and fat burning especially while exercising.
  5. High in Antioxidants – this is my favourite reason to reach for matcha.  Matcha contains 5X as many antioxidants as any other food.  The antioxidants help to reduce inflammation within the body, support skin health and reduce free radicals that accelerate skin aging.

When purchasing matcha powder, be sure to purchase organic as high concentrations of lead and fluoride have been found in non-organic matcha.  Also make sure that it has been sealed and stored properly, in order to maximize the benefits of this fabulous green drink.

After a quick internet search, I learnt that everyone has their own favourite way to make matcha.  Some like to keep it traditional, while others like to get fancy and include it in smoothies and lattes.  Personally, I like to keep it simple but I also like to enhance it a little bit.  I don’t use the traditional method, but I enjoy it and wanted to share it with you.

Soreiya’s Morning Matcha (1 Serving)

1 tsp of organic matcha

1 scoop of organic collagen powder

pinch of cinnamon

Hot water

Traditional bamboo whisk + bowl

It’s important not to use boiling hot water as this can cause the leaves to burn, so I normally boil the water and wait 5 – 10 minutes for it to cool.

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Combine the matcha, collagen powder and cinnamon in the bowl and use the whisk to combine them and break any lumps that may be in the powder (the texture should be smooth and even)

IMG_0841IMG_0844Add 2oz of hot water

Whisk the tea using a zig zag whisking motion until the tea is frothy

IMG_0847IMG_0849Either enjoy drinking the tea straight from the bowl or pour into a cup and drink

I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS

Please Note: This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.  It is not intended to serve as a substitute for a consultation or medical treatment from a qualified physician or healthcare practitioner.