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.

http://www.actionsportphysio.com

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

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❤️

 

5 Self Care Practices You Should Be Doing

There comes a time in everyone’s life that they forget to take care of themselves.  With life moving at a frenetic pace and our ever increasing responsibilities, there are only so many hours in a day and it is easy to put your own needs on the back burner.  The problem with not making self care a priority is that you can only continue this way for a limited amount of time before your body forces you to start caring for yourself.  For many, this is normally a temporary wake up call as they eventually go back to living life at full throttle not taking the time to care for themselves.

Contrary to popular belief, self care is not a selfish act.  By not taking the time to nourish and rejuvenate yourself, you will eventually deplete yourself of the ability to do things for others.  The old adage “you can’t pour from an empty cup”  rings true in this situation.  Over the past few years I have tried to make self care a priority.  While I am not always successful, there are a few self care rituals that I frequently practice to centre and  rejuvenate myself.  They also help to remind me that I need to be on my priority list, and to schedule a larger chunk of time for myself in the (very) near future.    My top five favourite (relatively quick) self care practices are:

IMG_00401). Get outside

We spend way to much time indoors.  Being outside and enjoying the fresh air is good for the mind, body and spirit.  Take a few minutes to just sit and enjoy the view or go for a quick walk around the block to get your blood pumping.

IMG_00472) Meditate (or just breathe) or stretch

I used to think that meditation was not for me.  My mind is always racing and I am frequently multi-tasking, how on earth could I be expected to just sit and breathe???  It turns out that those reasons are exactly why I needed to develop a meditation practice into my life.  Ever since I started to meditate I feel more grounded and not nearly as scattered as I used to be.  Contrary to popular belief you don’t need to spend a lot of time meditating to reaps it’s benefits.  I normally meditate between 5 – 15 minutes first thing in the morning (before my to-do list kicks into high gear).  Some mornings when I am running late I take a moment to take five deep belly breathes then I head out to start my day.  I have met many people that are interested in beginning a meditation practice but they are overwhelmed with the amount of information given to them about how to practice successfully.  Don’t overthink it!  Find a quiet place, sit in a comfortable position and focus on your breath.  In and out, in and out.  If you find your mind starting to wander don’t worry about it, just calmly bring your awareness back to your breath.  Some people find it helpful to have a mantra.  If you feel that you would benefit from one  then just be sure to pick one that you can say/think with the flow of your breath.  Voila!  You are now a meditating superstar!

There are countless benefits to stretching or doing yoga.  It is good for the mind, body and the soul.  If you are to busy to take a class then roll out your mat and move through a few moves at home.  There are some great apps out there (my favourite is Yoga Studio) that will help you to achieve a successful yoga practice wherever you are.  Aside from the greater range of flexibility and the calming effect that yoga has on my mind, I love the rosy glow that I get from my yoga practice.

IMG_20393) Put your electronics down!  (Yes that includes your phone)

Chances are that this self care practice may take some well…….practice.  Most of us are overly reliant on our phones (yes that includes me most of the time), but taking some time away from our electronic lifelines is healthy.  While the idea of being away from our phones for even a second is frightening take baby steps.  Try leaving your phone in another room while you eat and don’t pick up your phone as soon as you wake up.  This will allow you to stay (and enjoy) the moment rather then mindlessly going through your day.

IMG_00504) Take a mini spa moment

In an ideal world we would all have the time (and the resources) to visit a spa for rest and relaxation.  This is obviously a far cry from reality but with a little effort you can have a mini spa moment in the comfort of your own home.  Apply a sheet mask while you relax. Light some candles, enjoy a glass of spa water or wine and read a leisurely magazine to achieve the full spa effect.  When was the last time you took a luxurious bubble bath?  Treat yourself to your favourite bubble bath and body oil and be sure to add in some epsom salts to help relax those tired muscles. It doesn’t matter how you choose to bliss out as long as you do it.  Even just 15 minute of spa time will rejuvenate your body and nourish your busy mind.

IMG_00375) Treat yourself to something that will make you smile

I don’t mean to go and splurge on a high price item and consider it self care.  It can be as simple as treating yourself to a bouquet of flowers or a picture that gives you a positive pause for thought.  Something as simple as flowers can brighten a room, bring the outdoors inside and encourage you (and those around you) to smile.  Small treats that you enjoy will help to remind you that YOU are worth making yourself a priority.

There are endless ways to practice self care but it is important that you take the time to do so.  What are your favourite ways to care prioritize yourself and nourish your mind, body and soul?  Let me know in the comments below

I hope that you have a fabulous day!  ❤️XXS

Inspiring Interior

Hi Everyone!

Today is the first day of spring, but thanks to a snow storm last week there is still a ton of snow on the ground.  Winter may be on it’s way out but it seems determined to not go quietly.  Normally, by this time of year I am winter weary and dreaming of the warmer weather but this year I have decided to enjoy the last few weeks (hopefully not longer) of winter weather by taking some time to slow down, to nest and breathe.

Today’s Inspiring Interior is reflective of my current, more relaxed state of mind.  Located in Stockholm, this apartment is the epitome of chic yet understated Scandinavian design.  Large windows offer beautiful views of the city while drenching the apartment in natural light.  The colour palate is a sophisticated neutral combination of greys, whites, creams, blacks and light wood.  Designed by the talented Pella Hedeby, this apartment is the perfect refuge for a winter weary soul like me.  A girl can dream…..

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Images via http://www.nordicdesign.ca

I hope that you have a fabulous day!  XXS

4 Reasons Why Chia Seeds Should Be A Staple In Your Diet

Hi Everyone!

There are a handful of foods and spices that I consider staples in my diet.  They support my  health and nutritional goals and keep me looking and feeling great.  One food that I have loved from the first time that I tried it was chia seeds.  These little tiny seeds deliver many health and beauty benefits, so I am often surprised how few people actually eat them on a regular basis.

Native to Mexico, chia seeds was commonly eaten by the Aztecs and the Mayans to help support them through long journeys and during battles.  This tiny little seed is a food powerhouse that provides many vitamins and minerals along with energy, which is much needed to power through long and challenging days.  Here are my top four favourite reasons why you should regularly include chia seeds in your diet:

  1. It’s no secret that I love foods that help me to look good and chia seeds is one of my beautifying favourites.  Chia seeds are incredibly high in antioxidants which helps to repair free radical damage from the inside out along with helping to prevent premature aging of the skin.
  2. Bowel movements are not the pleasant topics to discuss but let’s face it – it is important and completely necessary to good health.  Chia seeds are high in dietary fibre (2 tbsp = 11g of fibre), which helps to promote regularity and a healthy stool.
  3. Chia seeds help to support dietary and weight loss goals as they are filling without a lot of calories.  This will keep you from overindulging later on and avoid any post binge guilt that you may feel.
  4. Chia seeds are a good source of Omega-3 which helps to tame any inflammation that you may have in your body.  The western diet is filled with many pro-inflammatory so any food that can help to combat this is something that you want to include in your diet.

Please note that chia seeds should not be consumed dry as it can be hazardous and potentially cause choking.  When mixed with a liquid it expands and becomes a gel similar to tapioca.  It makes a great binder as a replacement for eggs in baking and it is a wonderful addition to smoothies.  For a refreshing energy boost I like to stir a tablespoon of chia seeds into a glass of coconut water and drink it (once the seeds have gelled).

What is your favourite way to include chia seeds in your diet?

I hope that you have a fabulous day!  XXS