2021 Thus Far

First blog of 2021. Damn, that’s hella embarrassing. In the spirit of transparency, I’m only writing today because I was charged my annual fee for the domain this morning, and it made me realize I need to actually use this blog. So, here we are.

Going into 2021, I had so much hope. Over Christmas last year, I read that Canada was going to get vaccines in January, and I felt such relief and optimism for the year. Little did I know, that the vaccines would barely arrive, take months to be administered, and then have the second doses be delayed for 16 weeks instead of the 3-4. We were in lockdown then, and I don’t think I could have predicted that many months later, we’d still be in lockdown, due to a massive surge in cases because of deadly Covid variants and a premature re-opening in February and March. Ontario is literally such a shitshow.

The shitshow was magnified exponentially when I suffered a pulmonary embolism in February. For those who don’t know, a pulmonary embolism is when you have a blot clot, and it travels to your lung artery and cuts off blood flow. It can be fatal if not caught early. I suspect you’re going to want to know my backstory for this, so here we go. Last June, I went on birth control. I’d never previously been on it because I already have existing risk for clots due to a chronic condition, but every doctor I consulted told me it was okay to take it. So I took it. In early February, I went for my usual deep tissue massage. My RMT is incredibly strong, and I have a high threshold for pain, so we’re a perfect pairing. Or at least, we were. The next day I woke up with debilitating pain in my side, and I thought she had dislocated a rib. It was a few days of pain and spasms, but I pushed through and even kept teaching, because going to the hospital during the second wave of a pandemic was something that sent my anxiety through the roof. The pain subsided, and I had about a week or maybe even two of relative normalcy, until I didn’t. One morning I woke up with shortness of breath. As the day (days? It’s a bit of a blur) went on, the shortness of breath got worse, and I started to get chest pain in my left side, just under my heart. Again, I pushed through, shot some content somehow, until I called my mom and told her I thought I was having a heart attack, and she told me to go to the hospital.

My husband dropped me off at the hospital alone, obviously, and I was seen immediately. They did an echo to check for heart attack, ruled it out, and then I had a serious of other tests. Eventually a CT scan revealed MULTIPLE embolisms of extensive size. Even the doctor was shocked, because he had said initially that I was “probably fine.” I was not. I stayed one night in the hospital, and came home with blood thinners, which I will likely be on the rest of my life because I’m now considered “a clotter.” Usually clots happen when trauma or injury occurs, but mine was considered a freak occurrence, and so I’ll need to be closely monitored to avoid recurrence.

Fast forward to present time. I’ve been off work since then, focusing on my recovery. I’m going back in 2 weeks, because I finally feel strong and healthy enough. I’ll likely be teaching virtually, but I wish I could go back to in-person teaching for even just a few weeks. I really miss it. Here’s a photo dump of some recent happenings because I’ve been keeping myself busy despite being off work…

Lots of walks with the kids to break up the misery of virtual school. They’ve been so unhappy not being at school, so I do my best to keep them afloat.
Instagram partnerships like this recent one with What A Bagel to ensure I still have things to do at home. I’m grateful for this little side hustle because it keeps me preoccupied.
Little outdoor outings here and there for sanity. I almost never go out, and the weather has been especially crappy, but if I see a friend from a distance for an hour, even just once a week, it fills my cup and gives me strength to come home and be with my husband and kids for every other hour in the week.
Finding solace in nature.
And CBD, obviously. And meditation. And journaling. And therapy.

Obviously there has been so much stress and trauma for everyone over the last year and a bit, but I really believe the long term implications of this on our mental health are HUGE. I try to remain hopeful and optimistic, and I’m really working to manifest the second half of 2021 being much better than the first half. The US is fully vaccinated and they’re already out there living their best lives again, so I know we will too…eventually. We just have to stay strong, and although strength has been diminished over this never-ending pandemic, the light at the end of the tunnel will make it all worth it.

Takeaways from 2020

Hi. It’s December 24, 2020, and I felt compelled to write a lil somethin somethin before this year of complete and utter misery is over. There’s no dancing around it; 2020 was horrendous. Over 1 million people died of Covid-19, and the entire world spent the majority of the year in lockdown. BUT, I think it was a year of self-reflection and growth for many, and today I’ve chosen to focus on these positives for me and my family. Don’t think I’m negating the sickness (both physical and mental) and devastation, because I’m not. I acknowledge it and mourn for all those suffering. But here’s what I’ll take away from this year.

  1. I can be a much more hands on mom (and wife).

Okay, so full disclosure, 2018 and 2019 were spent away from the home a lot. Once my Instagram took off, I got very excited when I was invited to events and tastings, so I’d go out REALLY often. Towards the end of 2019, I started experiencing Instagram related burnout, and became much more particular with what I said yes to. 2020 was great for me in that it forced me to be home and be a more hands on mother and partner. I did most of my collaborations from home, and was able to really bond and spend quality time with the kids. Yes they drove me crazy being in close proximity 24/7, but we all really became so much closer as a family. It’ll be interesting to see which direction I go in once this pandemic is over. I’m either going to go hard as hell (think, the TikTok that goes “Club, another club, plane, no sleep, another club…”) OR I’ll find a nice balance of being social and being out and still spend tons of quality time with my family. Only time will tell.

2. Exercise is truly the best way to alleviate my anxiety.

This year, I essentially bought a home gym. I got a spin bike, downloaded the Peloton app, and bought a weighted barbell and weights. Basically, my favourite form of cardio and my favourite form of strength training. Sure, they were relatively costly purchases, but I made peace with knowing I’ll likely never step foot back in a gym. And honestly, my workouts were my saviours. I don’t know what kind of headspace I’d be in if I didn’t have endorphins and sweat.

3. Alcohol is a destructive coping mechanism.

Dw Aperol; I still love you…

In those first months of quarantine (March to May or June, let’s be real), I was having a drink almost every evening, as a reward for surviving the day. This wasn’t healthy for my body or my mind. It’s funny how when I went back to teaching face in face in September, I started having a drink only on a Friday evening or not at all. When my mind and body are occupied, I don’t feel the need to imbibe (imbibe is the weirdest word, amirite?). Generally speaking, I think it’s so much more important to confront your feelings (anxiety, fear, stress, whatever) and not gloss over them with booze.

4. I can do my job remotely.

And look like a major dork while doing it.

Never in a million years did I think I’d have to learn the technology that so many of my colleagues were already using. Google Classroom and Meet were so beyond my realm of comprehension. But I’m actually low key happy we were forced to work from home, because I *had* to learn, and guess what? The learning curve wasn’t steep at all. Turns out, if you can use Instagram to grow a following of 15,000, using Google tools to teach your classes is pretty intuitive.

5. I don’t NEED to be social.

Okay so I really LIKE being social. Not so much at work (hermit who marks whenever she’s not teaching 4 LYFE), but on weekends. Seeing friends for coffee, meals, shopping, drinks, etc. is a part of my life that I value. But I don’t NEED any of it. Sure, I miss my friends, but I’ve learned I’m an all or nothing kinda gal. You won’t catch me doing any sort of Zoom hangout ever, because it doesn’t fill the void of face to face interaction for me. In the early days of quarantine, I’d Facetime friends and family and do Zooms, but I stopped in April or May because it didn’t hit right. While I do hope I can resume semi-normal socializing at some point in 2021, I recognize that I’ll be okay if I can’t.

So there you have it; my 2020 takeaways. If you’ve read this far, many thanks and much appreciation. Cheers to 2021 – it can’t get much worse than this past year, so we’re all golden.

Absorbing the Mental Load

Forgive me if this is all over the place. So is my brain. Also, this blog won’t actually have any photos in it, so if you come here for the visuals, you should probably just press that little x at the top right of the screen right now.

I’ve been back at work full time now for about a month. During this time, Ontario has also entered the second wave of the pandemic, and cases are at an all time high. My kids are back in school as well. Truly, I savour every minute of knowing they’re at school, socializing (from a distance), and learning from a more qualified teacher than me (I’m great at teaching Shakespeare, but I can’t teach little kids to read and write). Every day we’re in school is a good day, despite the constant lingering fear that one of us will contract Covid. I mean, it’s in the schools. It could happen to us. I’ve stopped looking at that ever-growing list, because simply put, my heart can’t take it.

My first few weeks back were such a rush of excitement and exhaustion. Having been out of the building since March, it felt amazing to sit at my desk, greet my students in the morning (albeit half of them), and teach face to face. Even the afternoon virtual component of this hybrid model is fun for me. It’s crazy the types of engaging dialogues you can have with students virtually, when everyone is committed and invested.

But in the past week or two, the initial excitement has worn off, and teacher burnout has ensued. A big part of this is my students need me. I have 72 of them this semester (which is actually a small number compared to the 90 I’ve had in previous years), and they all email me with questions, requests for support, etc. I’m the one who they turn to not just for academic support, but emotional support too. I absorb their stress, burdens, and anxiety. I am their guide. And to be frank, during this time, that is entirely too much for me.

I’m really struggling to compartmentalize everyone’s emotional and physical needs. My students’. My own. My families’. Not to mention all the brands I partner with on top of all of this, which is essentially a third job beyond teaching and parenting. My brain can’t absorb this mental load, and I often wake at 5 am on the dot, panic-stricken at all I have to do that day.

So what gives?

Do I put my Instagram job on hiatus? No, because I’ve just been offered some amazing partnerships. Do I go to sleep earlier? I mean, you can’t go to sleep earlier than my already ridiculous 9 pm bedtime. I’m not really sure how to proceed without the inevitable crash. This isn’t long term sustainable. Usually I have a vacation to look forward to, but alas, that isn’t in the cards for a long time to come.

Basically I’m reaching out to all of you. Not to unload (well, okay, to unload a little), but to hear if you have any suggestions. I already practice so much self care, but it isn’t helping me stay afloat.

If you’ve made it to this part, I genuinely want to thank you for reading. Athleisure Teacher, out.

Gratitude – Pandemic Summer Edition

Hi hi hi! It’s been a minute since I last wrote a blog just for sheer pleasure, so I decided it was due time. Last week I was having the most lovely convo with a former student, and I realized “my purpose” for all of this public stuff, and it’s my passion for writing. After the conversation, I commit to writing more, in the hopes that I can one day compile all this nonsense into a memoir, or novel of some sort.

This summer has obviously been weird. Let’s just address that before I get into my spiel about how great it’s actually been regardless. At the height of the pandemic, everyone was saying, “summer 2020 is canceled,” and I was so depressed. As a teacher, my two months off are SO SO SO SO sacred. Like, I’d definitely sell my first born to ensure I can be a lady who lunches for at least 6 weeks. (Scratch that, you never read it, please don’t call CAS on me.) Anyway, I secretly mourned the loss of my summer back in April or May, so it was very surreal in mid-June when the economy started opening up, and we all realized, “WOW, we might actually get to enjoy ourselves to some extent this summer.” But, it’s obviously a smaller scale enjoyment, with many precautions and safety measures.

Despite staying local and wearing masks everywhere we go, we’ve been doing quite a bit! My kids have become accustomed to our new lives, and have been so happy 1. spending so much of the summer as a family, and 2. doing the things we didn’t do for four months, like patio dining at restaurants, as well as going into stores and seeing friends again. Seeing their smiling little faces as they get to experience some normalcy again fills me with so much joy. The things we took for granted before are now so cherished by all of us.

Liv's birthday

We enjoyed my daughter’s 8th (!!!) birthday on the patio at NextDoor, and they brought her the most indulgent chocolate sundae I’ve ever seen.

Nature Hike

My parents also bought her a Fuji Instax camera for her birthday, so we’ve been enjoying some nature walks to take some photos.

Now let’s talk travel. Obviously planes are not a thing this summer. I decided to forego my annual summer trip to NYC for a road trip to Bayfield, Ontario, population 62 (or maybe less, I dunno, it’s the smallest town ever). This was a tough one, folks. The frantic energy of NYC in the summer just calls me, and not going kind of hurts. BUT, I take comfort in knowing the city I love isn’t itself at the moment. A blogger friend of mine was there visiting and she posted stories of the empty subway, Times Square with tumbleweed rolling through, and stores and restaurants boarded up, and my heart broke. I sincerely hope the cities I love, and the world in general, can recuperate after all of this. Mentally, physically, economically, etc. It’s just all so tragic.

Anyway…Bayfield. Okay, so it’s not my fave little town and there are much cuter ones (Prince Edward County, Muskoka, Collingwood), but we decided to try something new. It’s a 2.5 hour drive, and there is one strip of restaurants and shops, but DANG the restaurants are amazing. Also, we snuck onto the private beach, and it was well worth it. No one was remotely close to us, and it was clean and quiet.

Bayfield 2

Just casually pretending I actually ruin my hair in pools.

Bayfield

The requisite blogger beach shot.

Bayfield 3

Y’all wish you had a forever work wife as amazing as mine!

July was honestly so fun and relaxing. I feel so grateful for all the little things we’ve been doing and it’s truly been the perfect balance of self-care/time to myself, and family time. August is shaping up to be amazing too. We have a little family road trip up to Ramada Jackson’s Point to celebrate my son’s 5th birthday, and we are also celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in late August, with a stay at a hotel downtown and dinner at an incredible restaurant! My philosophy this summer has been to LIVE. To be present, mindful, and soak it all in (safely), before the reality of “back to school” (whatever that will look like, let’s be real, a total sh*t show), and possibly a second wave.

Are you guys enjoying your summer and making the best of a really weird time? Let me know in the comments!

XO,

Athleisure Teacha OUT.

resolveCBD Review

For those of you who have been reading my blog for the last couple of years, you know my summers are typically pretty chill. All the anxiety and stress from the 10 months of the school year completely diminishes for me, and I live my best life as a lady who lunches, while my kids go to camp. There are shopping trips to NYC. Road trips to Wine Country. Well, not this summer. Due to the pandemic, summer is looking pretty different this year, and while I’m still making the best of it, my anxiety is raging.

Enter resolveCBD.

Resolve

I reached out to this local company after a few months without CBD, as my sleep wasn’t great, and I just generally haven’t felt my best. Not only does CBD typically help with my sleep, but it also helps with pain management, something that I most definitely need right now, between achy and sore muscles, and a couple of other health issues that I don’t want to get into.

I’ve been using resolveCBD now for a couple of weeks, and it’s been amazing. I take a dropper of the tincture under my tongue about 45 minutes before bed (basically right before I meditate), and it helps me turn my brain off and prepare for rest. CBD doesn’t make you sleepy – it just makes you more even keeled and at peace. This oil has a mild peppermint flavour, and it’s much more palatable than other CBD brands I’ve tried. Since I started taking it, I’ve been falling asleep faster and waking less times in the night. For the last few months, I’ve been ruminating quite a bit for hours after a middle of the night wake up, and that isn’t happening now. I’m able to block out the external thoughts and fall back asleep relatively quickly.

Overall, I’m loving partnering with this company, because they make some amazing products, and I’m proud to support a local brand doing something to help people who struggle with pain and anxiety. Their website is www.resolvecbd.ca, and you can purchase the full spectrum CBD oil here (and even save 10% off using my code RSLVATHLEISURE!), and also get the new CBD pain cream that they just launched here. They were kind enough to gift me the pain cream too, and wow, it’s actually awesome. I was skeptical, but I put it on my sore calves after a run, and it soothed them instantly! Shipping is free on all orders, so this is really a no brainer.

XO,

Athleisure Teacher

Quarantine Coping Mechanisms

As we enter week TEN (insert mind blown emoji here) of quarantine, I thought I’d share some things I’ve been doing that have helped keep my mental health in check during this awful time. It’s no surprise that when this all began, I was not okay. I was pretty transparent about how my anxiety about the unknown was raging, I was depressed due to having my world pulled out from under me, and just generally I wasn’t handling it well. I really do feel I’ve found my stride in acceptance of this as our new normal, and I wanted to share my strategies, in the hopes of helping others.

In Ontario, a lot is re-opening after this long weekend. This does provide some comfort because the government thinks we’re ready to loosen restrictions, but because I think most people will still opt to stay home a while longer, here’s what has helped me:

1. Daily Routine

home workouts

homeschool

We’ve established a really great schedule for the last month or so. Right after breakfast, I head to the mat for my daily workout. Days I don’t exercise, I obviously don’t feel as great mentally or physically. It doesn’t necessarily even have to be high impact, but just 30 mins of low intensity exercise is great for endorphins and helps me mentally tackle the day. It also gives me the energy I need to be productive.

After my workout, we do homeschool for a couple of hours. Truthfully, this is not my favourite part of the day, but it’s so important for the kids because it gives them a sense of normalcy, and ensures they don’t fall too far behind. I’m not the most patient teacher, so I often end up typing while they dictate, but honestly, I’ve made my peace with the fact that we’re “cheating,” because I’m not trying to be at the computer all day while my daughter types one letter at a time. Shhh, don’t tell her teacher.

2.  Vitamin D

this will pass

As part of our daily schedule, we take walks outside every day after lunch. The weather in Toronto is really hit and miss, and most days have either been super cold, or rainy (worst spring ever), but on days where the sun is shining, this is my happy time. I’ve also been incorporating mantras into my daily practice to help me get through this, so seeing that someone has painted rocks with “this will pass,” and other motivating words and phrases, has kept me going a lot of the time where I’ve felt really down. To the kind soul who did this, I love you (unless it’s the neighbor I really despise…I don’t love you).

3. Music

If you follow me on Insta (@theathleisureteacher, shameless plug) and watch my stories, you’ll see I always post a “hype song of the day.” Music helps fuel me in so many ways. I listen to upbeat songs of varying genres to get excited for my workouts, stay positive, energize me, etc. Music helps a lot of people cope, and truly, there is nothing better than an impromptu dance party to get you through hard times.

4. Fueling myself with proper nutrition

healthy food

We do takeout 1-2 times a week, but otherwise we’re eating pretty healthy at home. I have been mostly plant-based for a while now, and only eat meat maybe 30% of the time max. My body craves veggies and carbs, so that’s what the majority of my diet is, and this helps to keep me satiated, and my brain and body functioning at optimal capacity. A lot of people have been baking up a storm in quarantine and finding comfort in that, but yeah, that’s not me. I do snack a lot throughout the day, but I mostly do vegan protein gummies, Greek yogurt, or a fruit for a snack. That being said, if I have a craving, I honor it, and have been indulging from time to time.

5. Staying strong for them

spring 2020

This is a biiiiiiig one for me. My kids will always be the reason I wake up daily and have purpose, drive, and motivation to keep going. I can’t wallow in bed or show my anxiety visibly, because they need me. Sometimes I find myself expressing negative thoughts about all of this in front of them, and then my daughter starts to echo them. I’m cognizant of this, so I make a concerted effort just to project strength, hope, and positivity. Lately we’re starting to realize I will likely be home with them all summer and camp won’t be an option, and although I’m selfishly shattered by this (how *will* I be a lady who lunches with kids in tow?), I’m trying to frame it like “don’t worry, we’ll still have a fun summer.” I know there are many people who will have to continue to work from home all summer with their kids there, and I guess I should just be grateful as a teacher that I likely won’t have to work and will have the time with them.

6. Distance visits

This is a new one for us. As regulations start to ease, I’ve started seeing friends again from 6 feet away. As sad as it is, not being able to hug them or get close, this fills my cup in ways a Zoom chat never will. I also see my parents from a distance, and was so grateful just to be able to sit outside with them last weekend on Mother’s Day. Social distancing is something that will be present in our lives for a long time I think, so getting accustomed to it now is best for me personally. I wasn’t really up for it until last weekend, but now I feel great about it, as long as precautions are met.

Local Businesses I LOVE

With the economy suffering so much from this pandemic, I thought it was a good time to share some of the small, local businesses I support and love. I’ll keep this one concise, and just get started.

  1. DIY Dye

DIY Dye

Maxine is making the CUTEST custom tie dye pieces on Instagram. And did you even survive Quarantine ’20 if you didn’t wear a tie dye hoodie and/or sweatpants daily? I know I didn’t. Go to her order form on her Instagram and get you a vibrant, gorgeous piece. You won’t regret it!

2. KyKy Kookies

EasterKOOKIE_1024x1024@2xGuys, I can’t even with her cookies. They are the most gorgeous things I’ve ever seen, and they’re packed with sweetness and flavour. Order on her website (linked in heading); she ships nationwide in Canada and does local pick up in Etobicoke or Vaughan.

3. Yumi Organics

2017-06-30-041_2_600x

Based out of Montreal, this overnight oats company was created by nutritionists and is an amazing start to your day. They’re in ready-made packs; all you have to do is pour them into a glass jar, fill with your choice of milk (I use unsweetened vanilla oat milk), and leave overnight. Nothing makes me happier than waking up knowing my breakfast is ready! They’re delicious, organic, and keep me full for 4-5 hours, so honestly it’s a no-brainer for me. I do have a coupon code for this product too! It’s THEATHLEISURETEACHER15, and it’ll get you 15% off your order. Also, PSA, I like to top mine with cookie butter. Not the healthiest choice, but damn, it’ll change your life.

4. NextDoor Restaurant and Smash Kitchen

NextDoorsmashkitchen

If you’re in the Markham area, these two sister restaurants are still doing takeout and delivery, and are two of the most delicious spots I’ve been to. Both of them are doing weekly family platters (pre-orders recommended), and offering 15% off on pick up orders.

5. Herbaland Gummies

herbaland

This Vancouver-based company makes the best gummy vitamins and clean candy (low sugar, high fibre and HELLA delicious)! I’ve been buying their protein gummies forever as my 3 pm snack, but I recently started taking their supplements (love their vegan calcium, daily multi, and sleep aid), and buying their candy as well. They currently have an initiative to donate immunity gummies to healthcare workers during the crisis, and honestly, I feel so honoured and proud to associate with a company doing such good things right now. Use my code THEATHLEISURETEACHER15 for 15% off their website (linked in heading).

6. Sorry I’ve Got Plants

soba_blue_540x

I love this vegan meal delivery service. Their meal kits are low-waste, easy to make, nourishing, and incredibly delicious. Every week their menus change, and you can choose to order 2, 3, or 4 meals per week. Each meal feeds 2, and it’s really cost effective when you do the math. The produce is super fresh, and they come up with the most creative dishes. I highly recommend!

Locked Up

Let me start by saying I wanted to write this blog ages ago. We’ve been quarantined due to a world pandemic now for 5 weeks, and just now am I mustering up the emotional and physical energy to craft this. Real talk, the first few weeks were mentally the hardest days of my life. I’ve been through things with my health, but damn, being trapped inside with so much uncertainty was way harder on me than even battling illness. I’m an extrovert. I thrive on face to face social interaction. I love going to restaurants. Events. Social gatherings. Even just the mundane routine of driving to work daily and being in that physical space makes me happy. So having my world pulled out from under me was a shock unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

But here we are. A month in. I went through my stages of grief, and emerged on the other side of it all. Stage 5 – acceptance. Acceptance of my new normal; this life that I never signed up to, of being a stay at home mom who also works from home. Of watching my two very well adjusted kids become emotionally unstable, at each other’s throats, and just generally prone to upset and non-compliance. I’ve realized that this is not a short term thing, and just this past week, I made a schedule for what I believe my next three months in captivity will look like, and guess what? I’m happy now. I have some semblance of normal again, and being back at work has helped tremendously. Yes I’ve had to navigate difficult waters with elearning, but I’m here, I’m present, and I’m making the best of it.

So without further ado (haha j/k, I talk too much), here are my coping mechanisms for you. PSA: Coping mechanisms or not, you’re allowed to feel ALL the emotions during this. I’m tired of the “sad shamers” who tell you that you’re not entitled to grieve because people are enduring much worse right now. You can be grateful for being home and being safe, but you can also be sad. Mourn the loss of your canceled events. Mourn the loss of your social life as you knew it. Mourn whatever f*cking loss you need to mourn for and don’t let anybody tell you not to.

Okay. I’ll get off my soap box now and tell you what I’ve been up to and how it’s helped.

  1. Getting outdoors. Guys, I really hate going outside. I used to joke that if it was less than 20 degrees out, I wouldn’t step foot outside except going car door to door. BUT, life has changed so much this year, that I’ve basically had no other option. First I spent many days through the winter picketing 3-4 hours at a time, and well, that was frigid and no fun. Now, in quarantine, getting our steps in outdoors has been a game changer for everyone’s mental health. I even bought these weighted Bala Bangles to make my walks more challenging. It’s crazy how 1 lb on each ankle can make a HUGE difference. I’m obsessed, and I look forward to walking outside daily with the kids because of them.

bala bangles

2.  Going for the occasional drive. We do it maybe once a week, and it’s been great to feel some normalcy. We listen to music, we chat, and it almost feels like regular life, minus having a destination.

car drive

3. Daily workouts. This has probably been the biggest game changer for me and my mental health during this time. I LOVE the gym. Like really really really really love it. I adore taking group classes because of the loud music, the energy, and the sense of community. I like high intensity classes like spin, Body Pump, etc., and the sweatier I am at the end of that hour, the better. BUT, this was taking a toll on my body. I was perpetually in pain from doing high intensity activity 3 days a week, and suffering muscle pain and strain every damn day. At home workouts have completely altered this. Now I exercise 5-6 days a week, and sometimes only 20-30 minutes at a time. I do some lower intensity workouts like yoga and Pilates with Melissa Wood Health (I’m BEYOND obsessed and will continue to pay the monthly fee for her workouts when normalcy resumes and my gym re-opens), as well as LesMills barre classes. I still do Body Pump once a week, but with lighter free weights instead of the heavy barbell, and I do cardio like Body Attack and Body Combat, but I don’t run or cycle, which are the culprits of a lot of my muscle strain. And guess what? My body feels AMAZING. Not only am I pain-free, but I’m also getting way more fit, and my anxiety and stress is drastically reduced after these workouts. Can I get an amen?!

pilates

4. Keeping up with the kids’ school work. Keeping them busy is a challenge, and I’m so happy that school has resumed, albeit virtually, if only because it gives us all something to do. Both my kids LOVE learning and school, so reading daily with my daughter and completing her math work has been great for all of us. I thrive on productivity, and this feels productive to us.

reading with Liv

5. And lastly, healthy eating. We are eating GOOD during this quarantine. I’ve had many amazing meal/food deliveries, including this beautiful wild caught salmon filet from Papa Earth, a high quality meat delivery service. Eating at home daily (with the exception of once a week takeout on Saturday nights) has allowed me to really fuel my body with the proper nutrients that it needs to stay strong during this, and also to be able to track what ingredients are going into my meals, and control my portions. I don’t weigh myself, but if I did, I’d guess I’ve probably lost a pound or two through this, because I eat way “cleaner” at home than I do out. I don’t think I’m eating less, per se, I just think I’m making better choices.

salmon dinner

Overcoming Anxiety Triggers

Let me preface this post by saying I’m not a mental health professional, nor do I have any real expertise on this subject. I’m merely writing about my own experiences and what has worked for me and my own anxiety.

I’ve always been a relatively anxious person. Despite not having a clinical diagnosis, it’s something I’ve had to cope with for most of my adult years, and even some aspects of my teenage years, to a lesser extent. I’d say my anxiety is mild. I’ve only had maybe one or two panic attacks in my life, but whenever I have medical testing or procedures done, I get my blood pressure taken and it’s perpetually high due to anxiety. Once I calm down, it goes back down, but the fact it can get so high is proof that my mental health can have a serious impact on my physical health and I feel the symptoms of anxiety in my body.

With this being said, I think the most important part of coping with anxiety is being aware of your triggers. And since I’m astutely aware of mine, I thought I’d share them with you today and talk a little about how I cope with them, or even how I’ve overcome them.

1. Winter driving anxiety

In 2007, I had a pretty bad car accident on Valentine’s Day. I was driving downtown to meet my boyfriend (now husband), and it was snowing. I sped up to pass someone who was going at a snail’s pace, and I hit a guard rail, went OVER it, and essentially drove down into a ditch next to a ravine. I was fine, but I’ve forever had winter driving anxiety and PTSD from the incident. For many years post-accident, I’d have my husband drive me to work on snow days because I just. could. not. BUT – here’s my tip for overcoming this anxiety. Just get back in the saddle. Literally. Avoidance strategies won’t help in the long run, and recognizing that you can still drive safely in the winter is so integral to overcoming your anxiety. It was probably last winter when I started driving myself to work on snow days, and I haven’t looked back (except to check my blind spots and rear view mirror). The key is to drive slowly, defensively, and recognize that you’re not in a rush. Especially given that if you’re late, everyone else will likely be too. Snowy conditions are just not a time to let that type A urge of punctuality consume you. But if you don’t take that initiative to attempt the winter driving again, you won’t get better. The end.

2. Social anxiety

Never in my life had I previously gone to an event or party alone. EVER. The thought of it made my heart palpitate and my palms sweat profusely. But since I started this blog a year and a half ago, I’ve been invited to multiple events and tastings without a plus 1. GASP. Sans plus 1 was initially something that instantly triggered me. But I’m happy to say I’ve since overcome this fear and now attend events solo. Don’t get me wrong, I’m awkward af once I get there, but I still go. How? With the help of my BFF; CBD.

CBD

I take a few drops under the tongue about 45 mins to an hour before the event, and it helps me to be more even keeled and rational about what I’m about to do. CBD doesn’t make you drowsy and doesn’t contain THC, so it’s safe to drive on, and it helps immensely with clarity and focus. When I take CBD before an event, I feel more calm and ready to tackle social situations. Overall, I highly recommend it to help with sleep after a long day, and also when you need a little extra help with staying afloat during the day. My preferred brand is CBDMove, because it’s flavoured. I love the mango, and they also have watermelon and a couple other flavours. You can order CBDMove on CBD Cargo and use the code CARGO15 for 15% off your order. You’re welcome!

3. Sick kid anxiety

This is the one trigger I don’t cope well with, but I’m working on it. Despite being a mom for almost 8 years, the times when the kids get sick are still really hard for me. Specifically with regards to fever and puke, I don’t tend to handle it well. I can mutter “this too shall pass” to myself over and over all day, but it doesn’t seem to help. When the fever spikes, or the vomit starts spewing, you can just stick a fork in me, because I’m done. Witnessing your children when they’re miserable is really hard. If anyone has tips for overcoming this anxiety, I’m all ears!

I’d love to hear some of your own coping strategies in the comments or DM me on Instagram; @theathleisureteacher!

 

Recent Tings

Happy 2020 my babes! Everyone I know has been all over their social media screaming from the rooftops, “NEW DECADE, NEW ME,” but I’ve just been over here doing the same ish, different year. I’m not sure I grasp this “new decade” mania. Like I get it’s the Roaring 20s, or something like that, and we’re supposed to have evolved into genetically modified superhuman zombies, but I don’t feel any different. Do you?

Anyway, this Christmas break was actually the bomb.com for me. We usually go to Mexico during this time, but I was so tired of going when 1. It had barely snowed yet and we didn’t “earn” the tropical weather, and 2. My kids were perpetually fevered up with some virus or infection. So we decided to go over March break this year, and by then, I can assure you that we will have earned it weather-wise. This Christmas break was unseasonably warm, thankyouglobalwarming, and the kids were perfectly healthy for all two weeks. Hallefreakinglujah!

We went to Niagara Falls for two nights with some friends, and hit up a local waterpark for one of those two days. The chlorine and offensive bathing attire stung my eyes, and we couldn’t get outta there fast enough. But we had a great time regardless, because tbh, it was just nice to get away as a family. The kids also went to a sports camp for 3 days, which was perfect for me to have some quiet downtime to myself. Normally I’d be running around town trying to shoot content and “influence,” but my word for 2020 is “tranquility” (of body *and* mind), and I’m making peace with saying no to things and not overextending myself to the point of exhaustion. I actually rested so much over these two weeks and feel mentally and physically rejuvenated af. I also was able to read an entire novel in 24 hours, which is unheard of for me, and hit the gym 3-4 mornings a week for each week. I’m going to miss my AM exercise like crazy when I go back to work next week. Le sigh.

Other than that, here are a few photos of restaurant and hotel collabs I’ve done over the last month. I’ve definitely still been eating good, despite not attending many group media tastings anymore (if I go, I go solo), and I’m very fortunate for the opportunities that have presented themselves. I think 2020 will still be a great year of growth for me and this little blog, and I’m excited to see what awaits!

IMG_3224Westlake HotelIMG_3168