This gift giving guide is local to the West Kootenays, in British Columbia, Canada. A small collection of rural towns surrounded by mountain peaks, endless wilderness and cold waters.
This holiday season I have pledged to try and only shop local to support as many small businesses as I can. Shopping local has a variety of benefits including helping the local economy and reducing fossil fuels because of reduction in time taken to ship the product to you. It can utilize less plastic and create more connections in the community to local artists, healers and businesses.
This list includes many of my family and friends who have start a small business within the past few years. Here are a few of my favourite local businesses I hope you can support for the upcoming holidays.
1. Reiki with Kayla
Interested in energy healing? Kayla is an old friend of mine who is now sharing her passion of healing through reiki sessions. She is located in Castlegar and is now offering gift cards to purchase. I went to a session a month or two ago. I fell in love with her treatment and the benefits I felt after the session! Check out her facebook page here.
2. Alix Parisotto Ceramics
Although her studio is based in Kelowna, Alix is an original Fruitvale girl sharing her passion for art through pottery. The handmade mug I have from her is my favourite choice in the morning for matcha. Checkout her website for gifts here alixparisottoceramics.com/
3. Briana's Designs
My favourite service provided by Briana is the ability for her to print this "Kootenay Grown" design on any old piece of clothing you own, to promote sustainability and eco-friendly fashion. Briana's designs are original, creative and local to Nelson. I very much enjoy her handmade stickers and buttons, here is her shop www.etsy.com/ca/shop/BrianaDesignsShop
4. Art by Kimboho
Kimberly is a Kootenay artist, sharing her love for nature and the outdoors through jewellery, prints, tshirts, mugs, water bottles and more. You will most likely see her at your local market but since they are closed this year, check out her etsy shop to support this lady! www.etsy.com/ca/shop/Artbykimboho
5. The Roasted Chickpea
Have someone to buy for who loves plant-based nutrition? The Roasted Chickpea is your go-to meal-prep and recipe blogger whose meals can be found in local coffee shops and markets around the Kootenays. View her website here to pre-order your food or explore her discount codes with other Kootenay-based businesses www.theroastedchickpea.com/
6. Alle Atkinson
Know someone who could benefit from some time in the gym? This girl is your one-stop-shop for everything from spin and group fitness classes to Personal training and Kinesiology. You can find her at Elevate Training in Trail. Her email is email@example.com and you can find her on Instagram at @trainwithalle
7. Mountain Nugget Chocolate
Have a chocolate lover in the family? (You can always include yourself). Mountain Nugget Chocolate Shop in Rossland has everything you need from truffles to bars to ice cream, warm drinks and pastries. They are committed to making delicious tasting desserts and serving the Rossland community. You can order online now at www.mountainnugget.com/ or visit them in person.
8. The Nadi Tree
The Nadi Tree is an inclusive, energizing space for all types of physical activity including group fitness, spin classes, yoga and dance. The community here is inviting and encouraging, to help you or a friend to reach their goals. A gift card could be the perfect present for that special someone. Find their website here thenaditree.com/
9. Sew Wired Artworks
Interested in homemade, one of a kind jewellery? Sew Wired Artworks is based in Fruitvale, my hometown! She creates beautiful, unique pieces for you or your special person. You can view her newest pieces on Facebook here.
10. Crystal Lotus Yoga Shala
Another Fruitvale business, Crystal Lotus Yoga Shala is also a very inclusive space made for community healing in the heart of the village. The owner, Monse, is committed to bring yoga to all types of bodies no matter the age, ability, size or shape. You can buy class passes and find updates about the studio here.
11. Virtue Tea
As a matcha lover myself, I will always recommend this brand from Nelson. With a variety of teas on their website, Virtue tea is unique, family-run and has amazing customer service. You can order tea online via virtuetea.ca/ and you can never go wrong with buying their ceremonial matcha!
12. Diesel's Designs
Diesel's Designs, based out of Castlegar is the best shop for scrunchies, dog bandanas and more. This year, I bought Daisy and myself a scrunchy/bandana set for us to match on our daily walks. You can view her website here www.dieselsdesigns.com/ and feel free to ask about custom orders, she will make whatever you are looking for!
Last, but definitely not least, Fly Culture was created by another Kootenay original showing his love for the outdoors through a small online business. Know a man who needs some new flies for Christmas? This is the best place to find hand-tied, professional flies and gift cards. Find their website here flyculture.ca/
I hope you enjoyed learning about each of these small businesses. I feel they reflect the culture of the West Kootenays well and would love your support over the holidays. Cheers to supporting local! Enjoy the holidays.
Thanks for reading!
Yoga offers us a way to connect to our mind, body & soul. As someone who is continually learning more about this practice, I want to share with you easy ways to include yoga daily.
This can be as simple as a few deep breaths in the morning or before bed. Or sitting with your coffee in the morning with no other distractions. Yoga isn’t just about the physical practice. It can be included in your mental and spiritual practices as well.
I understand yoga can feel intimidating for some and I want you to know I felt that way once before too. The truth is, you can only get better by practising, just like everything else in life. That's why I am here!
I want to make yoga accessible to all body types, abilities and ages through this online platform so today I will show you yoga poses you can try to add into your daily routine. Since yoga can be perceived differently by each of us, this is a simple way to begin your personal yoga journey.
These poses can be done at anytime throughout the day. There is more information below on how to perform each pose.
Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
Halfway Lift (Ardha Uttanasana)
Child's Pose (Balasana)
While you are practising these poses, here are some movement tips:
I hope this post is able to help some of you gradually add yoga into your day. Remember, it takes time and practise for this to become part of your lifestyle.
Thank you for reading!
This is how to flourish.
Personally, summer is my favourite time of the year. If your birthday occurs during the summer season, I imagine you feel the same passion towards this time of the year as I do. I contribute this love for the summer months to being a fire sign astrologically. My birthday is July 28 which makes me a Leo.
During these times, the sun is shining, the gardens are growing and the bumblebees are humming. It is pure perfection. I apologize in advance if you do not feel the same way I do about summertime but I hope I can change your mind.
This summer, I am challenging you to let yourself relax. Let yourself fully indulge of everything summer offers. Use the glorious weather as an invitation to heal your mind, body and soul. With the current pandemic occurring, it is the perfect time for us to dive into our self wellness. It is time to tap into your PARASYMPATHETIC nervous system.
Your parasympathetic nervous system is one of two divisions of the autonomic nervous system which acts unconsciously within your body. The parasympathetic system is also known to us as the "Rest & Digest" system. Maybe you have heard of the sympathetic system before, also known as the "Fight or Flight" system, these two systems are opposite of one another. When we rest and digest, our body slows down to focus on healing, digesting and reducing stress. When we are in fight or flight mode, our body focuses on increasing vision, muscle function and perspiration. Understand? If you need more information, here is an educational link.
Now you may be asking yourself, how can I do this? There is no simple answer to this question as each of us have our own individual experiences with relaxation of the body. Today we are going to discuss simple ideas you can add into your everyday life that will help you relax this summer. Even if you have that full-time job, a family and trying to live a social life... we can do this.
"What is my favourite summer activity?"
"Where is one place I want to explore this summer?"
"What is one unhealthy habit I can change to promote relaxation this summer?"
Write these answers down on a piece of paper and put it on the fridge (or anywhere else you will see it daily). This is one simple activity that can help you create a stress-free summer. Every few days, re-ask yourself the same questions. Did the answers change? Are you doing your favourite summer activity? Are you enjoying yourself? This is a great time for self-reflection.
To add to this exercise, I challenge you to pick one summer activity to add into your daily routine. Here are some ideas. Remember, think 'simplicity':
Whatever you chose, start with a simple goal on how you can incorporate this into each day. For example, I am going to aim to walk everyday this summer for at least 30 minutes. This goal is tailored to me and may or may not be appropriate for you. Your goal must be specific, attainable, measurable, realistic and time-based for success. This means starting small and working your way up to something bigger after each small success.
I have decided to dedicate this summer to full relaxation of my mind, body and soul. I hope you can as well. Evening if you are working, studying or volunteering, it is necessary to set time out of your day for self care. Your health and wellness is more important than your job or schooling. Some of us need to hear that!
Good luck to you all. I hope your summer is enjoyable and relaxing.
Thanks for reading.
This is how we flourish.
Today, we are talking about one of the most essential micronutrients our body needs. Vitamin D is used in the body to absorb calcium and create strong healthy bones. There is scientific research providing evidence that Vitamin D can lower the risk of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and multiple sclerosis. There are even more benefits to this vitamin that are still being researched. Here's why you should include more of it in your lifestyle.
You may know by now that you can get adequate levels of this micronutrient from the sun and being outdoors. Specifically, the UVB rays that the sun emits. Unfortunately, not all Canadians are going outside enough to receive any of the vitamin. Approximately 30% of Canadians are deficient in Vitamin D which could increase ones risk factors for osteoporosis, obesity, and decreased cognitive abilities.
Spending a few moments outside each day can increase your body's ability to make Vitamin D. If you cannot attain this, try incorporating fortified dairy, plant-based products or other items on the shelf where Vitamin D actually gets added to the product. If neither of these options seems reasonable, a multivitamin could be beneficial to your wellbeing. Elders can benefit most from a Vitamin D supplement due to them spending less time in the sun and their increased risk for osteoporosis.
Here if a fun fact, during the Spanish Influenza of 1918, nurses brought hospital patients out into the sunshine and saw a dramatic increase in symptoms. Those who were treated outdoors suffered less than those who did not get any outdoor time. The sun exposure encouraged healing throughout the body.
The current research is debating on how much Vitamin D is needed for your body to see the most benefits. Some say 400 IU while others say 4000 IU. I was once on a vitamin program that recommended I take 6000-8000 IU of liquid Vitamin D per day. When I stuck to this regime, I always felt my best. I encourage you to read the research out there today on this topic.
Now that it is summer time, I will be lessening my Vitamin D supplementation and increasing my time spent outdoors in the sun. Remember that sunscreen is important and each of us will respond differently to UV rays. As someone who is pale and freckly, it is important to gradually increase sun exposure with UV protection.
It is also very important to remember those with increased melanin in the skin (the darker the skin colour, the more melanin in the skin) may have troubles absorbing Vitamin D from sun exposure and most experts would recommend a supplement to fix this issue. There are a number of others factors that can inhibit ones ability to absorb Vitamin D from the sun including, smog, clothing and sunscreen. There is no magic number for you to spend outside each day. I aim for at least one hour of sunshine per day but I usually go for a lot more. I love being warm in the sun.
I hope you learned something today and will start to incorporate more Vitamin D friendly habits into your lifestyle. Whether it is sunshine, fortified food or supplements, it is important to keep this up throughout all seasons of the year.
Thanks for reading everyone.
This is how to flourish!
This is a topic I feel extremely passionate about sharing with all of you. This pandemic has given me ample time to focus on my love for plant medicine and the power of herbs in healing the body. The following article will explain my personal experience with herbal medicine along with announcing my new tea service.
Since I was young, I have always been drawn to nature and natural healing practices. My family played a large part in my fascination with nature, especially my mother. She taught me to protect the earth. She taught me that we are equal to animals and plants and we should respect them all the same. I cannot thank my mom enough for this. I would not be exploring and enjoying nature everyday if it wasn't for her love for the natural world. This is what lead me to herbal medicine.
Plant medicine is a rather large field of science which has been around since the beginning of time. The research says it actually predates human history. The first recorded use of plants as medicine was 2800 B.C. Starting in China, herbal medicine moved to Greece, Rome, India and most other settlements around the world. Since drugs cost money, many humans turned to herbs for their medicine instead of going to their doctor. Thankfully, the plants proved their benefits and are still being used and researched today.
(cited from Thor Sturluson; BS in Biology, majoring in Botany, from the University of Maine and a masters degree in Zoology from the Open University in London.)
I fell in love with plant medicine during my first year of college in the West Kootenays. This was a very stressful time in my life as I was trying to adapt to the college lifestyle. My body began to break down from the constant stress which resulted in unwanted cold sores throughout the school year. To me, this was horrifying. I found that NOTHING was working to heal them. I felt hopeless and embarrassed. Until one day, a friend of my fathers introduced me to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). I had always been interested in this topic so I figured to give it a shot. TCM is an ancient medical practice focusing on healing the mind and body. It is a combination of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage and other complementary practices. It turned out this herbal tincture one of his classmates made for cold sores actually worked. It was the only way I could prevent and heal them. I became extremely attached to this little bottle of herbs and carried it with me wherever I went.
Little did I know, my lifestyle was playing the biggest part in creating these unwanted sores. I was convinced it could be healed topically when I really needed to understand the root cause... stress. I continued to use my magic bottle of herbs and still do to this day however, healing from this took major lifestyle changes (sleep, exercise, nutrition, hydration, stress etc.). My point is, I very much believe in herbal medicines ability to heal the body from ailments however, one must view the body as whole when looking to heal. Finding out the root cause of your issues instead of focusing on the symptoms is an important practice in all Alternative Medicine. Where your symptoms occur does not exactly mean there is an issue within that part of the body. It is usually a much larger, deeper cause such as stress, which it was for me. However, herbal medicine offers a great complimentary medicine to improve your overall wellbeing and health. I would recommend it to anyone who is struggling, no matter what the condition is.
One of the easiest ways to bring herbal medicine into your life is through drinking herbal tea and infusions. The tea can be warm or cold and is sipped throughout the day to bring harmony back into the body. This is a simple way to enhance your overall health and wellbeing.
Currently, I am at a point in my life where I have time to share my passion for herbal medicine by researching specific herbs, buying them and creating herbal teas for individuals. Herbal teas are such a great way to extract all the nutrients from the plant while soothing the mind, body and soul. So far, I have sent out over a dozen sample teas to friends and family who told me each of their individual symptoms within the body. Each individual receives an herbal blend that is unique to their needs. I like to call this my personalized herbal tea service. So today, I am officially announcing this service to everyone who is interested. Here is how this works:
*I AM CURRENTLY WAITING FOR ECO-FRIENDLY PACKAGING TO COME IN THROUGH THE MAIL SO I CAN PROVIDE LARGER QUANTITIES OF TEA FOR YOU. IF YOU PLACE AN ORDER WITH ME, YOU CAN WAIT FOR THE LARGER BAGS TO COME IN AND PAY THE SET PRICE... OR... I CAN GIVE YOU SMALLER SAMPLES BY DONATION* I am hoping the packaging will be in this week!
This is a simple way for me to share my love for Alternative Medicine without having an in-person experience. I hope this interests some of you. I am excited to start this process!
If you are struggling with money during this pandemic, you can always try to harvest your own herbs in your local area, dry them and create your own tea. This can be a bit more difficult as you have to identify specific plants, wash, hang and prepare them individually however, it is a great way to get outside of the house.
If herbal tea is not your go to, I would love for you to find other ways you can include herbs in your lifestyle. This may be in a tincture, oil, powder or fresh into food and baking. Herbal medicine can often be found at your local natural or organic food stores! I encourage you to take advantage of supporting local businesses at this time. They need all the love we can provide them!
Here are a few simple ways to include more herbal medicine in your life:
That is all today. Thank you so much for reading about my passion for herbal medicine. I hope to write more about this topic in the future.
This is how we flourish!
Self care is beautiful. Today, we are lucky to be living in a world where self care can be prioritized in most cases. It is unfortunate how health and wellbeing do not always come first for everyone. Recently, society is doing a great job at normalizing putting ourselves first. Let's keep this going.
Self care may be a new idea to you however, it is one of the most important habits for a life of longevity. Also, we must recognize that self care looks different for each of us. You can take care of yourself in a variety of ways and today I have 6 simple ideas for you to try to incorporate into your wellness routine. I try to practice self care as much as possible and I hope you can enjoy it as well.
6 SIMPLE SELF CARE IDEAS
1. SLOW DOWN YOUR MORNING
I used to sleep in to the latest possible minute I could, to savour that feeling of being in bed. I would always eat breakfast on the go and had a hard time waking up in the mornings along with falling asleep at night. The pandemic has allowed me to realize, however your morning goes, this sets the tone for the rest of your day. Because of this, I have decided to take my mornings extra slow. No rushing. No stress. The first thing I do it turn on the kettle and meditate or journal while it boils. I then make my morning matcha and try to get fresh air without any screen time. This helps me stay balanced throughout the day.
2. FIND TIME FOR FRESH AIR
This is extremely important to your wellbeing. Science shows that spending time outdoors benefits our physical and mental wellbeing. Even a small walk around the block can make a difference. I am inspired by this older man who lives in my neighbourhood. He does a lap around our block multiple times a day and admires the nature surrounding us. We should all follow his lead. If you cannot get outside, try bringing plants into your home for some indoor nature therapy. Green environments are rejuvenating.
3. DRINK ENOUGH H20
Ask yourself, how much water do I really drink throughout the day? If it is less than 8 cups (250 ml per cup), you need to amp up your water game. Hydration plays a major role in our bodies ability to function properly. I try to keep a large jar or cup of water near us at all times. This encourages us to always be drinking it. We recently received a Brita water filter and I have noticed a large difference in my overall wellbeing. It is important to know that not all tap water is filtered properly. It is very much worth it to use any type of filtration system. A cheap trick for this is to leave your water open on the counter to get rid of chlorine in the water system.
4. SPEND QUALITY TIME WITH LOVED ONES
Whether it is online or in person, this matters the most. As humans we crave connection and social opportunities. The pandemic has made it more difficult to do this in person but I do believe it has increased online communication greatly. The people who are close to you would love to hear how you are doing, trust me. I know it can feel like there are 1 million people to keep up with at times but start with aiming for 1 person per day. That can be a text, snapchat, phone call or video chat. It is worth it. Share your love.
Journalling is a great tool to expand your thoughts and ideas. You can do this structured (goals; gratitude lists; mantras; etc) or unstructured (writing down whatever your feeling at that moment). Either way, it offers an opportunity for self reflection and care. Both types of journalling can be fun! Find out what works for you. I try to journal in the morning to create a to do list for each day.
6. MOVE YOUR BODY
As I have said many times before, exercise is medicine. It is medicine to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. There are a variety of ways you can move your body without doing the usual fitness routines. I encourage you to try something new next time you exercise. Here are some fun movement ideas: dancing, yoga, tai chi, rebounding (trampoline), golfing, walking, hiking, balance boards, biking or swimming. I know it can be difficult to find the right type of physical activity your body is looking for however, I hope you can trust there is something out there for everyone!
Now take these ideas and make them your own. Try new things. Find a way to take care of yourself that you enjoy. This could include bubble baths, cooking, dancing, singing or gardening!
I hope you enjoy the rest of your week. Happy Monday Everyone!
This is how to flourish
Hello everyone, today we are going to discuss what exactly the Lymphatic system is and why it is so essential to take care of. I know a lot of people do not understand what the lymphatic system does so I hope to clear that up today along with providing information on to keep it healthy.
To start things off, we need to understand what the Immune system is and how it plays a role in our health.
"Your immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against disease. It stops threats like bacteria or viruses from getting into your body. Think of it as a powerful "search and destroy" task force that sends out immune-cell forces to hunt down the unwanted intruders and get rid of them." (WebMD, Medical References, 2020)
The Lymphatic system is a part of your Immune system. A system within the system. The immune system helps your body remember previous foreign invaders to provide you protection against them. This is what it looks like.
Since the Immune system protects you from disease, so does the Lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is compiled of lymph nodes and lymph vessels. There are around 600 lymph nodes within our bodies which will swell when there is infection.
"The lymphatic or lymph system involves an extensive network of vessels that passes through almost all our tissues to allow for the movement of a fluid called lymph. Lymph circulates through the body in a similar way to blood". (MacGill & Luo, Medical News Today, 2018)
The vessels within the Lymphatic system drain our body of lymph fluid into the nodes. There are around 600 lymph nodes within our bodies which will swell when there is infection. This is a build up of the lymph fluid within the system. This buildup occurs in several areas throughout the body where nodes are present... all 600 of them. This is where they are.
The green areas on this diagram show where the lymph vessels and nodes are within our body. Since build up can occur with the presence of infection or disease, we must be able to move this lymphatic fluid to keep the circulation steady = no built up lymphatic fluid in the in lymphatic nodes.
Now, you must be thinking, how do we move lymphatic fluid within our body? Well it turns out the easiest way to do this is...
Great, right? Any type of physical activity or exercise will help the body move it's lymphatic fluid. Here are a few other great ways to take care of this system by encouraging lymphatic flow.
Above are a variety of ways to keep the lymphatic system in good health which will in turn encourage a healthy Immune system as well. If you are interested in diving deeper into this topic, I really suggest following @thelymphaticmessage on Instagram. Her posts educate me daily!
The Immune and Lymphatic systems are deeply connected in their abilities to influence each other's state of health. It is best to learn to take care of both by including small life changes into your routine that can encourage wellbeing. Once again, the best way to create a stronger defensive system in the body is to provide it with essential nutrients from our earth along with performing physical activity to our bodies.
I do hope this information makes sense to you and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask me. I have not always been invested in my lymphatic system health yet once I became educated on its importance in our wellbeing, I couldn't stop learning more!
This week, there is a Scorpio full moon on May 7, 2020. This is called the Flower full moon. It is also a supermoon. It should be seen as full for the days before and after. I hope you can catch a look! Full moons are a great time for goal setting, ritual baths, meditation, affirmations, mantas, de-cluttering etc.
I also hope you enjoy the week to come.
Thanks for reading!
This is how we flourish
Most of you know I have a slight plant obsession. This started when I took a summer job at the local greenhouse in my hometown a few summers ago. Now, wherever I live, my plants live with me. I have found out this is called "Indoor Nature Exposure" (INE) and is being used as a way of HEALTH PROMOTION. And since health promotion is one of my career goals, I thought I should do some research for you all to encourage you to fill your home with houseplants.
When I first got into collecting greenery, I did not now of the effects plants have on your wellbeing. I have been a plant mama for over 3 years now and the benefits are endless. My partner recently wrote a research paper on the plants in our home and the mutually beneficial relationship with have with them. It was inspiring and influential in me writing this post. He read a book together called Plants as Persons by Matthew Hall. If you end up reading it, let me know.
I have put time into finding quality research about plants to show you all why I am obsessed with them.
Here are the 5 benefits to filling your home with houseplants.
1. Plants can purify the air around you.
This makes sense since plants use C02 and produce 02. One research study in Korea determined the air surrounded by indoor plants "had showed a continual decrease in the indoor concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during the entire observation period". Volatile organic compounds are gases emitted from certain solids or liquids that are common air pollutants with possible adverse health outcomes. Get that healthy air flow! (House-plant placement for indoor air purification and health benefits on asthmatics, Korean Society for Environmental Health and Toxicology, 2014).
2. Plants have the ability to increase your attention capacity.
One study in Norway set out to discover how green foliage and flowers can positively influence your attention capacity in an office setting. One group of participants were placed in a room with 4 blooming plants while a control group was placed in a non-plant room. Attentional capacity was tested 3 separate times. The blooming plant group improved their performance 2 out 3 times. (Benefits of indoor plants on attention capacity in an office setting, Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2011).
3. Plants can improve many aspects of your mental health.
This is a common topic of interest within science today. Some psychological benefits presented by plants include decreased stress and associations with ill health. Another Norwegian study looked at employees skills related to the amount of plants surrounding them at work. They found "the number of indoor plants proximal to a worker's desk had small but statistically reliable associations with sick leave and productivity"! (Psychological Benefits of Indoor Plants in Workplaces: Putting Experimental Results into Context, Floriculture Production, 2007)
4. You get to experience a person-plant relationship.
This may not be an experience everyone can attain. I do believe it takes practice and respect towards plants to earn their trust. One study in Denmark explored the person-plant relationships in an office space, concluding that indoor nature had a positive influence on individuals wellbeing. This included self esteem, mood, emotions and confidence. Why wouldn't you want to be friends with then? The office space in this study improved competitiveness and the social climate. (People-plant Relationships in an Office Workplace: Perceived Benefits for the Workplace and Employees, Floriculture, 2011).
6. Plants improve your overall well-being.
The information above proves my point. A meta-analysis reviewed over 50 significant plant studies to conclude the main benefit of indoor nature exposure is increased positive feelings and decreased negative feelings within one's home. The authors extend into the body-mind connection of how plants can benefit us both physically and mentally. Having plants in your home is an effective way of improving your mental and physical health! (Effects of Indoor Plants on Self-Reported Perceptions: A Systemic Review. Sustainability, 2019).
If that information doesn't convince you to go buy a new houseplant, I'm not sure what else will. I hope you soon treat yourself to a new plant that can brighten up your home space. It is never a bad idea to come home with something green to grow.
Thank you for reading everyone. Soon I will write another post on specific plants that are easy to keep alive in your house. See you next Monday. Don't forget to sign up for the newsletter!
This is how we flourish
Below are a few of our babies I had a photoshoot with the other day!
*I'm using this piece of writing as a personal reflection on my current experiences. *
Today I want to talk about grief. To begin, let's start out with some definitions.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines grief as:
deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement; a cause of such suffering; trouble or annoyance
Dictionary.com defines grief as:
keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret
Finally, let's look at the definition from MedicineNet.com:
The normal process of reacting to a loss. The loss may be physical (such as a death), social (such as divorce), or occupational (such as a job). Emotional reactions of grief can include anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness, and despair. Physical reactions of grief can include sleeping problems, changes in appetite, physical problems, or illness.
Now, let's analyze these conversations. Grief can be experienced in various ways by each individual. You may be more comfortable with one of those definitions than the other. That's okay. That is what I would like to bring up today, that grief is different for everybody and can come from a variety of causes. No matter what the situation was to cause the grief, each human reacts in their own unique way to handle this.
And that is okay.
After a very hard beginning to our year of 2020, my boyfriend and I lost his father to lung cancer. This was devastating. My heart broke into a million pieces. To see the person I love in so much pain did not make sense to me. It was not fair. I did not understand. I still don't. Why do we have to lose the people we love?
As we tried to go on with our normal lives after missing weeks of school, this pandemic began to take its toll. Another reason to grieve. Our first 4 year Bachelor programs have come to a sudden halt. No more seeing friends everyday. No more work. No more social interaction.
We are currently finishing our 4th week of isolation here in Burnaby and all I can say is that I feel okay. I feel very happy some days while others are tough. I know I am grieving. I see is through my sleeping patterns, energy levels and mood swings.
I think people assume you can only grieve after a death but that is not the case. We can all grieve ANY distress or loss. You can't figure out why you are feeling so odd lately? Maybe you are grieving what you have loss.
It's okay to be sad. It's okay to feel loss. It's okay to be confused.
What we can't do now is ignore these feelings.
We must acknowledge them.
We as a society must understand that hiding our emotions only causes more emotional distress in the future.
Many psychologists and scholars place grief into 5 or 6 stages. This is a normal, scientific way of categorizing our feelings. They are:
The point I am trying to get at is...
GRIEVING IS NORMAL AND WE NEED TO ACKNOWLEDGE WHEN IT IS HAPPENING.
Continually throughout my life, I have seen family and friends pushing their emotions away, putting them to the back of their mind. Unfortunately, this only causes more issues in the future because of so many built up feelings.
If you are feeling anything similar to how I am lately, I wanted to create an exercise for us to help heal ourselves. Here we go.
SELF-HELP/GRIEF MEDITATION EXERCISE:
The more I see society pushing their feelings away, the more I realize we need to self medicate with meditation. A simple process we can start including into our daily routines. Research shows as little as 2-3 minutes of daily meditation can have a benefit to our physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. I encourage you to try it!
If meditation is not for you, that is okay. I ask you to practice deep breathing still. This respiratory practice has the ability to slow down our thoughts and lower stress levels. You could try the 5-6-8 breath. Inhale for a count of 5, pause for a count of 6 and exhale to a count of 8.
Thank you for tuning in everyone. I hope you enjoy your Easter weekend.
This is how we flourish.
It has been awhile since I have had time to post on here however, with the current circumstances in Vancouver, I am finally finding time for this project. Today I want to talk to you about depression and it's connection to physical activity. I recently completed a project on this for my Developmental Psychopathology class at Douglas College which focuses on mental issues throughout the life span.
This class really opened my eyes to the significance of childhood experiences on one's adulthood life. As a student in the Bachelors of Physical Education and Coaching at Douglas, I thought this was a perfect opportunity to bring awareness to the connections between Depression and Physical Activity in everyone. Throughout my school program, we are continuously learning the importance of creating young students who are confident with moving their body. Our goal is to have more people strive to be active for life, embracing their physical literacy.
Physical Literacy is the "...motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge, and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life."
- The International Physical Literacy Association, May 2014
By being physically literate, we are able to understand and control our emotions more effectively. Mental health is strongly connected to our physical activity levels. In my eyes, when someone is struggling with a mental health issue, one must look to physical activity as a complementary medicine. I could get into this in much more depth but I decided to keep this short and simple to understand today.
Now the research I did in the literature review for my class is focused on children and youth (ages 5-17) so this may or may not be important for you to read. I have attached the file below.
For those who would like to learn more about these connections between mental health and physical activity levels, here are some statistics about Canadians:
More than three quarters (77.8%, or 20.1 million) of Canadian adults 18 and over and 90.7% of children and youth aged 5-17 years are not meeting the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines (2012-13, CHMS).
Among Canadian adults, a higher number of obese adults report being depressed or having a mood disorder (11.0%) compared to overweight (7.0%) or normal weight (6.9%) adults
Over 3.5 million (or 10%) Canadians aged one year and older use health services for mood and anxiety disorders annually (2011/12, CCDSS).
One in 25 (4.0 %) Canadian adults aged 20 years and older have a mood and anxiety disorder co-morbid with at least one of the four major chronic diseases (2014, CCHS).
Taken from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/healthy-living/how-healthy-canadians.html
Now, there are a lot more alarming statistics out there regarding this topic but instead of using scare tactics to talk people into being active, I would rather tell you how depression connects to all of this.
HOW DOES PHYSICAL ACTIVITY LOWER DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS?
This information is taken from the Mayo Clinic (2020).
In the paper I wrote, I discovered how physical activity creates opportunities to grow:
I hope this information can help some people out there. I know it can be difficult to deal with emotions at times but I am a strong believer that physical activity has the short-term and long-term abilities to heal ourselves. My goal here is to encourage everyone to take part in small amounts of physical activity throughout their day to enhance their mental wellbeing. I hope some people feel better after reading this.
Thanks for reading everyone.
I have always had this preconceived notion that by the time I finished college I would have my life figured out. To be honest, the more I continue my schooling, the more confused I get with what I want to do in this life. I know what I want my end goal to be but how fast do I need to get there?
There are so many options and so much time.
Do I need to settle down soon?
What is the career I am looking into?
Where do I want to live?
Do I need to start a family?
Who do I want to work with?
Do I travel now? or do I wait until I have kids that have grown up and moved out? Isn't that in like 30 years?
Questions like these have haunted me for awhile now. You know whenever you are introduced to an adult the first thing that comes out of there mouth seems to be, "What career are you going into?". I have analyzed my answers to this question over time. Sometimes I want to be a teacher, sometimes I want to have a yoga studio, other times I want to just travel. It's confusing.
The truth is that times have changed since our parents generation has grown up. Traditionally, you went to school, you got a job, you get married and you have kids. And then what... are you stuck in that life forever?
I am a young soon to be college graduate who wants to explore, learn and research life around the world. I have always envied my friends who knew exactly what they want to be. "I want to be a nurse, I want to teach elementary, I want to be a mom". I always felt excluded for not knowing exactly what I want to do for a career.
I do know what I want. I want to be happy, to be loved, to be surrounded by nature and creativity. I want to help people. I want to have animals, a garden, a family. I want a simple life. I want to change the world. Sometimes I want to fast forward to being an old lady who just gardens all day. How do I do all of this?
What I am realizing is that, we are young. We do not have to have our whole life figured out. We do not need to chose one career to stick to for life. We can switch careers whenever we want. This will all take time.
I say this because as I am entering the world of teaching fitness, I continually ask myself if this is what I want to be doing? Do I like having to wake up at 5:30 AM to coach others to be fit without having time to focus on myself? Do I enjoy yoga more than weight lifting? What do I want to teach others? Do I have to follow someone else's rules? Can't I do this own my own? Should I open my own studio? That would mean I need to settle down somewhere and not move for awhile. Am I ready for that? Is that the best option? As you can tell, I am feeling confused lately.
We we born on this earth to explore... We need to experience what makes us feel best. We need to be open to possibility and change. I can thank my boyfriend for helping me discover this. He is adventurous and willing to offer me challenges. We share this passion for helping others and discovering new cultures.
What should we do?
Where should we go?
Who should we be?
These questions will continue to be asked on our journeys. We can be confused together. We can figure life out as we go through these experiences together.
I wrote this to help others in the world who are feeling the same as me lately. Life is full of ups and downs. Life is meant to ebb and flow. Life is meant to challenge you.
This is me telling you to take those challenges.
Follow your heart.
Try new experiences.
Don't play it safe.
The world is ours and it is our time to explore.
Let's be playful. Let's be courageous. Let's try new things.
Let's open our hearts.
I used this piece as a journal today. To get out some thoughts I have kept in for awhile. Thanks for listening.
You do not need to have your life figured out yet.