Making a List & Checking it Twice

It’s Wellness Wednesday of March Break! I am working today so not entirely a break but it isn’t so bad when you love what you do.

To help break down all the thoughts in my head and all the things I feel like I have to do, I like to make lists: grocery lists, to-do lists, pros/cons lists, and lists about lists. I contain most of them in a notebook purely dedicated for making lists.

This is what the first page of my lists book looks like:

IMG_1818

There are several benefits for list making.

  1. For one, it reduces anxiety. I find that getting things out of my head and onto paper makes me feel almost instantly better.
  2. It holds you accountable. Just like I decided to post every day about my Whole 30 journey to hold me accountable, writing down your task and goals allows you to be accountable to yourself.
  3. It helps you organize your thoughts in one place. It reduces clutter and I like to break my big thoughts and tasks into smaller subsequent parts.
  4. …which leads me to this point: it feels damn good crossing something off your list. You get feelings of higher productivity and higher self-esteem.
  5. Lists help keep your priorities in check. Today I made a list of all the things I have to do from sorting my laundry and cleaning my room and writing my dissertation. Having it written down allows you to see them all and figure out what should be done first, and create strategies for getting them done.

IMG_1819

I have two to do lists on the go right now. There is one with ~50 things on it that I need to get done (a larger list). I have another that I like in my agenda that is on the side that I fill out weekly, which is more short term goals.

Here is a link to an interesting article I read entitled “How Making Lists Can Quell Anxiety and Breed Creativity” by Carrie Barron, M.D.

Happy Wellness Wednesday!

“Every day’s to-do list.
1.) Listen
2.) Trust
3.) Do”
― A.D. Posey

Self-Care for the Soul

Happy Monday! Another week and this week is March Break. While I still have to work for a few of the days of the week, I am dedicating a lot of this week for working on my March goals. This past weekend, I got quite a bit of work done on my dissertation and made plans to see friends throughout the week.

Today, I am practicing some self-care with two of my best friends and we are going to a day spa to relax and have some well-deserved “me” time.

IMG_1780

Here are some of the benefits of having some “me” time and going to a spa:

  1. If you go with friends, it’s a great place to catch up and be in the presence of other people while also being away from the hustle and bustle of life.
  2. Stress relief. Life is busy. Why not do something different from your typical routine and take a break from your busy schedule and go to a spa?
  3. Increase your serotonin and dopamine levels. As someone who has has chemical imbalances in these areas from time to time with anxiety, studies show that massages release these chemicals having positive effects on stress relief.
  4. Detox. Massages, facials, the whole deal – they all have detoxification effect on the body helping lymph nodes release toxins.

 

Whatever you choose to do today, be sure to practice at least one thing for self-care. Happy Motivational Monday!

IMG_1778

Chicken Fajitas

One of my favourite things to do when I get to see my boyfriend is cook together. He has been so supportive with all of my goals, especially those for a healthier lifestyle. The past few times we’ve spent the weekend together we’ve made an active effort to cook at least one of our meals and have it be a healthier option.

This weekend, we made chicken fajitas from scratch since we wanted something easy and relatively quick to make.

Ingredients

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 onion
  • olive oil
  • 6-8 white mushrooms
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • half a head of romaine lettuce
  • flour tortillas
  • Shredded cheese
  • Hot sauce

What We Did

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cover a large sheet pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Using one of those slap-chop type things, we diced the onion, bell peppers, jalapeno pepper, and the mushrooms, setting aside the mushrooms and onions, and putting the peppers on the pan.
  3. Cut the chicken into strips and lay onto the pan.
  4. We made our own fajita seasoning. After Whole 30, I have loved making my own seasonings and dressings so we made this fajita seasoning:
    • 1 Tbsp chili powder
    • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
    • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/4 tsp oregano
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne optional
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  5. Sprinkle the fajita seasoning onto the chicken and peppers and add the minced garlic all over the chicken and peppers.
  6. Put the pan in the oven for 15 minutes (until chicken is cooked through)
  7. In a large skillet, add some olive oil (~1 tbsp? I didn’t measure this out). Once the pan is heated, add the mushrooms and onions to the pan and cook until onions translucent and mushrooms cooked.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven and add the contents to the skillet mixing everything together.
  9. Serve in tortillas with shredded lettuce, hot sauce, and shredded cheese, if desired.

IMG_1775

Daily Affirmations

Happy Wellness Wednesday or Well-being Wednesday! (reader’s preference)

We made it to hump day. How are you feeling?

I feel pretty good, considering this week feels like it is moving very slowly, it has been a good week so far.

A (Mid)Week in Review

This week, I have already started to make a few changes to my morning and evening routines:

  • I have reduced the amount of screen time when I wake up and before bed.
  • I have started using skin care products in the morning and evening and have been much better about remembering to take off my makeup at night
  • I have started meditating in both the morning when I wake up (~5 minutes) and before bed (~30 minutes…but I usually fall asleep partway through)
  • I keep a water bottle beside my bed so I can have some water in the morning before my morning coffee or tea
  • I am keeping up with my Five Minute Journal more. Starting the day off with gratitude is very pleasant!
  • I am trying to read a bit before bed each night while I “unplug.” I always complain I don’t have time to read. So I am making the time!

Other Victories So Far This Week: 

  • I tried vegan cheese…and loved it! (Nuts for Cheese is the company. They’re based in London, ON.)
  • Fell in love with Farm Boy (again)
  • Made plans with friends I haven’t seen in a while
  • I have read and made notes on several articles for my dissertation
  • I got a gym membership for a place much closer to my house with several locations around the world! They offer yoga and Pound! classes and I am so excited to try them out!
  • I created a Daily Affirmations jar

What are Daily Affirmations?

daily-affirmations.jpg

As stated in the Five Minute Journal, daily affirmations are statements of what you want in your life. Every time you write or say these statements, you are priming your brain and yourself to start believing these beliefs. If you get the Five Minute Journal, they include information about a psychological study that also goes into the logic behind daily affirmations but if you want more quick information, here’s a link with some examples: https://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/instagram-positive-affirmations/

What is MY Daily Affirmation?

The one I write in my journal every day is a combination of two of the examples in the Five Minute Journal. Honestly, I found it difficult in the moment to come up with my own even though a quick Google search would’ve helped at the time.

This is my daily affirmation:

I am comfortable in my own skin and I live with passion and purpose.

I made a jar with 21 other affirmations and I will read one each day in addition to increase more positive vibes and using the Law of Attraction.

Positive-Thoughts.jpg

March in Like a Lion

Today is the first Monday of a new month March. Can you almost smell spring in the air? Other than the large heaping of snow we received on Friday, I can feel spring coming and I am nothing but excited.

I am looking forward to floral prints, sunny rays, spring flowers, rain boots, and driving around with the windows down.

This month, I have set my intention as Focus. I will Focus on the following three key areas:

  1. Focus on my work and schoolwork.
    For those who don’t know, I am currently completing my Master’s degree and am in the writing process of my dissertation. To make this task a little more tolerable, this weekend, I broke down what I need to do into smaller steps and will push myself to put my best efforts into my work and get it done quickly and efficiently. IMG_1662.GIF
  2.  Focus on my health.
    February was a rough month for me health-wise. I had that stomach bug at the end of Whole 30 and soon after, I caught the flu and am only now feeling better from it. With being sick, however, my healthy eating habits slipped a bit. I ate unhealthy food and justified it because I was sick – a habit I thought I was doing a good job breaking during Whole 30. Well this month, I’m already back to meal prepping and sticking to an overall paleo lifestyle (with a few exceptions here and there).  Tonight I prepped lasagna stuffed chicken with asparagus for the week. IMG_1732.JPG
  3. Focus on my relationships with others
    I have found myself to be distant from some of the people in my life. Not because I don’t want to spend time with them but because I have been busy, sick, and have spent a lot of time dedicating quality time for myself – something I have failed to do in the past few years. Over the next few weeks, with March Break coming up and Easter at the end of the month, I am hoping to spend more time catching up with friends and family as they too are a priority in my life. I am also going to reflect on how relationships in my life make me feel – am I growing as a person with this person in my life? What do they bring to my life? What do I bring to theirs?

IMG_1736.JPG

Happy March and Happy Motivation Monday! I hope you start March off like a fierce and powerful lion!

Morning Routines

How do you start your day?

Do you hit snooze a few times and get up at the last possible moment? Does your alarm list look like this?IMG_1704.jpg

Mine used to. Now, I only have one alarm. And I use all my self control to not press snooze.

Right now, my current routine is as follows:

Wake up

[Usually: Check social media]

Skin care routine

Make my bed

Stretch

Write in my Five Minute Journal

Get dressed and do my makeup

Make a coffee and have breakfast

Leave for work

 

Not too bad? Well, I would like it to look more like this:

Wake up

Stretch or do yoga

Make my bed

Drink water

Write in my Five Minute Journal

Meditate

Read a few pages of a book

Skin care routine

Get dressed and do my makeup

Make a coffee and have breakfast

Leave for work

A few extra steps would make all the difference. I’m hoping to work towards better morning and evening routines in the near future and will blog about it next week to hold myself more accountable.

Let’s do this!

22196230_10209750614993187_4841764397403877360_n.jpg

 

One Brave Night

Last year, I participated in CAMH’s event One Brave Night. CAMH One Brave Night for Mental Health™ is a Canada-wide challenge to inspire hope for those affected by mental illness. It starts now and continues through to Friday, April 6.

For those who are unfamiliar with CAMH, it is the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. It is the largest mental health and addictions teaching hospital. Their One Brave Night campaign has had the following impact for mental health initiatives:

  • Create three new youth clinics to help address the gap in mental health treatment.
  • Inspire hope through discovery by testing new treatment options for people with severe and treatment-resistant depression.
  • Publish over 500 journal articles, sharing the incredible discoveries made at CAMH.
  • Continue to redevelop CAMH facilities to build treatment, education and research spaces that reflect respect for patients and hope for recovery.
  • Expand effective and timely access to mental health services in remote and underserved communities around the country through technology and access to telepsychiatry.

I am proud to say that I am taking part in it again this year and have set my fundraising goal at $250.

If you are interested in supporting my fundraising efforts, you can donate at this link. If you are interested in joining my fundraising team, you may do so at this link. My Team Name is Stomp Out Stigma.

Happy Motivation Monday!

Fighting the Flu

Well, here we are: we’re on our way to the end of February and the flu is spreading like wildfire at my workplace. And I am currently in recovery day 5 of having the flu.

On Saturday I woke up feeling as though I was hit by a bus – a bus that was on fire. I felt like I was extremely hot and cold at the same time with a mix of fever and chills.

I had the textbook symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)

All I could think was: could I have avoided this by getting the flu shot like my mother said?

Reports such CNN as say that the flu vaccine is only 36% effective this year. So is it worth getting? I have not gotten the flu shot because I have been on and off sick since winter started, especially working with children. I was going to get the flu shot once I was healthy but I have not found that time. And alas, here we are. I don’t think I’m a credible source for whether or not you should get the flu shot but I will say that if I had gotten the flu shot, perhaps I would not have been hit this hard with the symptoms.

I have a Fitbit and I thought this was interesting (since I’m a huge data nerd) but you can see how being sick has affected my resting heart rate. I woke up sick on the 17th where my resting heart rate jumped from 69 to 72 and today it is 82. I have caught myself in coughing fits where my heart rate has been at 132 bpm. I hope with more rest and relaxation, I can get it back down where it belongs.

IMG_1673.PNG

How to Fight the Flu

Sleep
They say sleep is the best thing for you when you’re sick? They’re right. Absolutely right. I attribute getting better quickly to sleeping a lot this weekend and over the past couple of days. I slept last night for 10 hours and I feel a million times better. All I have left is a residual cough.

Hydration
Tea.
Water.
Orange juice.
Soup.
Repeat.

Advil was my saving grace over the past few days to help with the aches and fever. Taking a hot bath with epsom salts also helped ease the aches and pains.

I hope if you’re reading this, you don’t get the flu or fall victim to another form of sickness this winter. Stay cozy, friends!

Creating My Own Happiness

To keep me posting more regularly, I am hoping to blog Mondays and Wednesdays – Monday Motivation posts and Well-being Wednesdays with some food posts in between.

When catching up with an old friend last week, she told me about her new Happiness journal. I was very interested in learning more about it and when I did, I had to buy one almost instantly. Since I had to pay $25 for free shipping, and the book was on sale for $24.46 CAD, I also bought the book “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero which was on sale for $11.94 CADIMG_1634

While I have not had a chance to look through all of the Happy journal, it looks promising and I am excited to give it a try.

IMG_1642

This post is also a side-rant on reading in the bathtub. I decided to create my own happiness by having a Pukka Relax tea and start reading my new book in the bathtub with vanilla chai bubble bath and lavender bath salts. The instagram picture above is picture perfect. Looks relaxing right?

Wrong.

How do people read in the bathtub? Pages get wet. Even with a towel close by, it was annoying to turn the pages. I got through the introduction and my limbs started getting raisiny and overheated and I just wanted to get out. To add to it, my tea didn’t cool down enough for me to enjoy it in the bathtub so I am sitting beside it now while I am comfy under my heated blanket.

If anyone has any insight as to how to make reading in the bathtub easier, please share your ideas.

To end, here’s a Monday motivation quote I saw and love. Enjoy. IMG_1631.JPG

Whole 30 Round 3 is Complete!

06e51a7411f9c070839cb4e7afc0f82c.jpg

Well I did it! I survived a January Whole 30. While I have done this with former coworkers in the past, this time it was all me (with the help of some Facebook groups). I survived and I feel great. #TigerBlood

How I’m Feeling

Well it feels weird to be done, to be honest.  January felt like it lasted a lifetime – it just kind of dragged on and on. Today was my first day without Whole 30 and the only non-compliant thing I’ve had today was a spring roll. Otherwise my breakfast, lunch, and dinner options were all compliant. Slowly reintroducing non-compliant foods into my diet. My energy levels continue to be amazing. No mid-day slump for this gal. My digestion is back in working order. I reluctantly stepped on the scale this morning and I have lost 12.3lbs since starting Whole 30. I was thrilled, don’t get me wrong. But it was just a number at the end of the day. My non-scale victories were larger than my scale victory.

What I Learned From Whole 30 This Time

  • I did Whole 30 a year ago or so and I feel like food labels have only gotten worse since then. More additives and preservatives. You’d be surprised to read how many things have corn or soy or sugar, as well.
  • Eating out is next to impossible but can be done strategically. If you forget your homemade salad dressing at home, the roasted veggie side (if there is one) is a good option. Check their oils.
  • It is okay not to turn to food when you are upset. It has been a hard month for me emotionally and mentally. Not grabbing any form of snack (healthy or unhealthy) was something I really tried to work on this time around.
  • I didn’t miss Starbucks as much as I thought I would. I used Coffee Mate in my coffee this morning and poured it out immediately – was wayyyyy too sweet for my tastes. Black coffee with cinnamon is still a winner in my books but maybe next week I’ll start adding milk again.
  • Simple is best. I learned to make a few new things and my favourite recipes were the simplest.
  • Making your own salad dressings and seasonings (taco seasoning, cajun seasoning, etc.) are extremely easy. Like, I still can’t get over how much I love dump ranch. I’m going to make it all the time.
  • It’s okay not to have cake on your birthday.
  • Breakfast was the worst meal of the day for me for the entire month – it’s something I will need to continually work on. I can’t eat as many eggs as Pinterest would like me to.
  • Posting every single day made me accountable to myself and to the others that have followed my blog and instagram page. At times, I really hated being one of those people taking pictures of their food but then I thought, “No, damn it, I’m doing this for me.”

What Comes Next

Well, I’m not going to abandon ship and start eating crappy foods again. I will definitely carry the lessons I have learned with me and continue to bring awareness to the food I eat.

While I don’t think I will do another round of Whole 30 in February, I have been reading Leanne Vogel’s book on her take of The Keto Diet and may give that a try. While there seem to be some aspects that may be challenging (calculating macros, counting all the things, etc.), it will allow me to have dairy in my life again (I have missed cheese). I may not start right away but I will continue to prep my meals in advanced, make healthier choices, and try not to snack. This tiger blood is amazing and I don’t want to give it up. I also don’t want to live in a world of restriction much either.

Then comes the exercise piece. The next step is bridging the two: food and exercise. In February, that is something I will make more of an effort to do. If not at the gym, I will at home with my 21 Day Fix Extreme workout videos.

I will continue to try to keep myself accountable by posting on here. Watch out for more food freedom stories and my stories of body image and the other hurdles in life.

Thank you to everyone who has followed along on this 30 Day Journey and for your words of encouragement and support.