Combating the November SADs

Is it just me or is November officially the month of exhaustion, stress, burnout, depression, and all things awful and shitty? Despite feeling like I’m staying afloat in all aspects of my life, personally and professionally, I have to say that the perpetual night of Daylight Savings, early morning wakings, freezing cold weather and labor-intensive days at work have definitely gotten to me to some extent. So today I decided to compile for you some tips to help you cope with this extremely long winter that has already begun in Toronto.

  1. Maintain your workouts. Getting out of bed when it’s cold and snowy is definitely a special kind of hell, but you won’t regret it. No one ever regrets getting to their workout. The hardest part is getting there, but the endorphins at the end will be well worth it. They’ll help center you and make navigating this gloomy time of year a bit easier.
  2. Invest in adaptogenic herbs like Reishi and Ashwagandha. I’ve addressed these before in my podcast and on Instagram, but both are super helpful in combating stress and anxiety. Reishi, a wonderful little magic mushroom (not one of the fun kind though, sorry), also helps increase your immune system, which is perfect for this time of year when the kids are little living and breathing incubators of illness. You can purchase the Reishi I use here. It’s pricey, but it works.
  3. Get outside, even just for a few minutes. This is the tip I have the hardest time with, because ew, outdoors, but honestly…it works. Particularly if it’s sunny outside. Just a couple minutes of sunshine and/or fresh air does wonders for your mental health and clarity. For the last few weeks on my lunch, I’ve been taking a little walk in my school parking lot, followed by a break in my car. Will this be sustainable when it’s blizzarding and -10 degrees? Probably not. But I really ought to try to, because I come back to work refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day.
  4. Meditate. It’s good for helping shift your attitude and perspective, and ensures improved sleep. I admit I probably only do it 4-5 times a week, as opposed to daily like I want to, but I find a huge difference in my mental state after I do a quick 10 minute practice on my Calm app.
  5. Increase your vitamin D intake with a supplement and invest in a Seasonal Affective Disorder lamp. I personally haven’t done either of these things, but they were tips I received from colleagues, and might try this winter. I’d be curious to hear if anyone has found the light therapy to be helpful.
  6. Visit a salt cave. This week I had the pleasure of doing an hour meditation at Hoame, which is at 430 Adelaide St. W. in Toronto, and it was seriously the most phenomenal experience. Salt caves replicate the same benefits as being in the ocean, including improved immunity, stress reduction, and various other internal and external healing properties. I don’t think one visit is enough though, and would recommend a few throughout the winter to fully reap the benefits. All I know is I left totally rejuvenated, way more centered, and all the muscle pain and tension I had been experiencing that day, melted away. I also slept like the wee baby Jesus that night. 11/10, highly recommend.

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Salty.

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If you’re looking for me this winter, this is where I’ll be. K, bye.

I Live Under a Rock

This summer has truly been one of new discoveries. I’ve been exposed to many new things that haven’t just changed my summer; they’ve changed my life. I don’t know how I didn’t know about some of these things, but in case you didn’t either, I thought I’d share them with you, because sharing is caring and I’m nothing if not the nicest most generous person in the world.

Spotify – Apparently I’m living in 2015, because I didn’t know there was a free version of Spotify. But there is, and I downloaded it, and now I have a soundtrack to my summer. Virtually the only difference between the free version and premium is you get a limited number of skips (6 per hour I think) of tracks you don’t want to hear, and you have to listen to an ad every 30 minutes. I’d invest in the premium, but tbh, my matcha habit is really effing expensive. I’m especially loving using the app at the gym, because it can stream on the wifi while I run on the treadmill, do my cardio circuits and my strength training

Aerie – WTFFFFFF guys. How did I not know this is literally the best store on the face of this planet? My travel companion/bad influence bestie (love you A) introduced me to their cute bralettes in early July, and since then, I’ve dropped half my summer lump sum there. I love it all. Their workout gear, comfy pj-esque clothes, and undergarments (you know you’re a real adult when you use that word) are all amazing. Well priced, good quality, and so adorable. Plus their ad campaigns support the #bodypositive movement; featuring models of all shapes, sizes, and abilities.

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Exhibit A

Calm – This app is life changing. At the beginning of the summer I discovered it, and questioned whether to invest in the $77/year membership. A super kind former colleague alert me to the Calm for teachers application, which gives educators in the classroom a FREE membership! Needless to say, this was a no brainer for me. I got the free membership, and have spent the last 6 weeks or so beginning my meditation/mindfulness journey. Full disclosure, I totally suck at it, but I’m getting better. I like it because it’s helped me work on things I struggle with, like non-reactivity (I like reacting. Reacting is fun), letting go of control and other negativity that doesn’t benefit me, and just generally being more in the present and not dwelling on memories, plans, etc. What I still grapple with is not letting my thoughts wander during the practice, but I like that the narrator tells me not to judge myself for it, and to gently bring myself back to the moment. Like, obviously I still judge myself, because it’s kinda what I’m best at and I like to recognize my strengths, but I appreciate her telling me not to.

Snapchat – Okay so this was a re-discovery for me. I used to have it before Instagram Stories existed, and it was a lot of fun using the filters with the kids and posting them publicly. This summer I’ve used it differently, because I don’t think people post their stories publicly anymore. Now I kinda just chronicle my life in quick photos and send them to my nearest and dearest. It’s a great time waster, and that’s why I use it. Don’t worry though, I’ve already read three massive novels this summer too, so my brain hasn’t turned entirely to mush. I’ll likely delete it the second I step foot into my school.

VSCO and Lightroom – How did I not know about editing apps before I made this public Instagram account? Here I was thinking people actually *use* the Instagram pre-set filters. But like ew, they’re all hideous in hindsight! Even though I’m the world’s shittiest photographer still, I can make my pictures a little less horrendous by increasing the exposure, saturation, contrast, etc., and it really improves their quality. I don’t spend too much time editing them, but I just try to make the finished product look a little prettier.

Anyway, have the greatest weekend friendships, and…you’re welcome.