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.

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!

 

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.

saltcave.jpeg

Salty.

saltcave1.jpeg

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

First Week Back Starter Pack

Hello friends, and yay for making it through our first week back to work (or if you’re a student reading this, congrats for making it through your first week back to school)!

I’ve been doing this whole back to school (as a teacher) thang now for like…11 or 12 years. Yes I’m aware that makes me old af, but I can honestly say it never gets easier. August is a special month of dread, and when that first week of September hits, you’ll need some coping mechanisms. With that said, I present to you, my first week back starter pack.

xanax.jpg

I mean, this is really the foundation of your starter pack. If you don’t take Xanax, do you even teach bro? You’ll need to double up on your dosage early (ask a doctor, but also, maybe don’t and just take my advice on this one), especially if you’re like me and you looked at dem class lists way too early in August.

iced coffee

Also, get on that Trenta iced coffee addiction on Labour Day, so you’re well prepared for the caffeine jitters that’ll ensue for the remainder of this first week back. The odds of you talking a mile a minute to your students are high, and you’ll need to leave class multiple times to use the loo (look how classy and British I am today),  but the alternative is a caffeine drip right into your vein, so Trenta it is.

zantac

This one is a new addition to my starter pack this year, and I suspect it’s a testament to how old I truly have become. Aging is funny. You think you can tolerate bucketfuls of coffee just fine, but one day you just find out you totally can’t. So after doubling over in pain all the night a few nights ago because of coffee-induced heartburn, I found my  new best friend; Zantac. Allllll the self-medicating.

And finally, the most important item in your first week back starter pack is…

rsz_locker-room-vic-park-900x640

A safe and quiet space to cry in. For me, it’s a women’s washroom/locker room on the first floor of my school. Find yours ASAP. You will need it.

(Okay so full disclosure: I actually did not consume any alcohol or medication this week to help me cope with going back to work. Nor did I cry. I’m not really a crier. I actually had a really great week and just practiced self care to keep me stable and productive. I meditated, went to sleep early, worked out, ate well, took frequent pauses to savor the small moments, and overall, I handled my shit really well. This is all meant to be humorous so take it with a grain of salt!)

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.

workout gear.jpg

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.

 

Real Housewives of Thornhill – Episode 1

Hi friends! Happy Friday! For those of you working for the weekend, congrats, you’ve made it! I’m just over here losing all track of days of the week because let’s be real, every day is the weekend for me. Sorry, not sorry.

I can’t believe it’s July 20th. July is flying by, and pretty soon it’ll be August. August is a special kind of hell, because it’s an entire month of the Sunday Scaries and the feeling of impending doom sits with you daily. So my plan is to just savour each day and keep saying yes to just about anything that comes my way.

Here’s a little insight into what I’ve been up to.

matcha1.jpeg

joey

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Matcha, lunch, pampering. All day every day, on repeat. Am I getting tired of it? As if! Pretty sure I could live like this 12 months a year, not just two. I’m flying through my summer reading list, seeing friends I haven’t seen in ages, and just generally living my best life. It’s been so amazing for my mental health to rest and recharge, and be more free spirited.

wonderland1.jpeg

park

And the best part of feeling so recharged, is that on evenings and weekends I feel way more equipped to parent. I’m more patient, slower to anger, and much more hands on because of how rested I am…

Kidding. Totally kidding. I’m the same mediocre mom I am when I’m at work. I just threw these in here because I know you assholes are judging me for being selfish and not parenting during the day. XO Love you guys.

 

Day Drinkin’ and Gym Etiquette

(Separate topics. I could see how one would read that title and think I’m day drinking and then hitting up the gym.)

Hi friends! Tomorrow I leave for NYC for four days, so I wanted to just check in with a few tidbits from my week before I go.

This week has been busy, but glorious. The kids are off to camp/daycare, and I’ve been feverishly trying to get in months of neglected chores, indulgences, and missed opportunities of day drinking on patios.

drinks

Playing catch up quite nicely.

I reunited with a friend I hadn’t seen in YEARS, which wasn’t okay, and I’m so happy we got to bask in the sun and each other’s company. Also, I’ve been hitting the gym like a fiend, trying to get in as many workouts as possible before I travel, because I probably won’t be exercising much beyond walking in New York. I tried barre for the first time (now offered at my GoodLife for free [!!!], since many people have been asking), and have been walking crooked for days. It was SO challenging! I think likely because my typical workouts focus on major muscle groups (spin, running, Pump), and barre engages smaller muscles that I don’t typically use. Also, holy ab work. My core is shit. Summer goal: strengthen core!

So regarding gym etiquette, there was an incident yesterday that left a sour taste in my mouth and I need to rant about it. I was using the leg adductor machine (or abductor, truth be told I don’t know which is which, but I know they both work inner and outer thighs), and a woman approached me. It was clear she was itching to use the machine. In broken English, she says to me “What you do is no good. Here, I show you.” Like whaaaaaaaat? Excuse me, but if you wanted to work in with me, that’s fine, but don’t tell me I’m using the machine incorrectly and try to teach me! I was so offended! As it is, I’m not overly receptive to instructors correcting my form (big pride and ego over here folks), but even less receptive to some random older lady telling me I’m doing it wrong. Umm, I’ve been working out since I was 18, for half my life and I’m not interested. So I firmly told her that I was okay and knew what I was doing and she skulked away. I did, however, watch her go use the machine after I vacated and couldn’t help but giggle as I watched her use it for her glutes as she stood on it in some bizarre splits type position. You do you, boo.

Okay so last thing. I recently posted to my Instagram asking if anyone used the Calm app and invested in the $77 yearly membership. I’ve been using the trial and I LOVE it. The woman’s voice is amazing, and I love the sounds and visuals. They really help me relax and get into meditation, which is something I struggle with. My mind still wanders terribly,  but I’ve made a bit of progress. Anyway, a former colleague informed me that all teachers are entitled to a free membership! Mind. Blown. Here’s the link to anyone who might want it:

Calm for Schools

I’m still waiting for my confirmation code/to hear back, but I’m eagerly anticipating having the app for free! If you benefit from it too, I hope you enjoy! #sharingiscaring

How I Keep my Anxiety at Bay

It’s been a hard week.

With the loss of two iconic legends in their respective fields, suicide prevention and mental health awareness have been at the forefront of people’s minds and mouths more than ever. So today I thought I’d do a post to shed some light on my own struggles with mental health and offer a few suggestions for what has worked for me to keep my anxiety at bay. I’ve always been a pretty high anxiety person, and while I like to joke my preferred coping mechanisms are wine and Ativan, this past year I’ve actually taken some concrete steps to alleviate my anxiety in a healthy way, and here’s what I’ve found helpful.

1. Visualization

After struggling to quiet my mind enough to meditate or even practice mindfulness, I’ve found a strategy that helps to stop my racing heart in times of distress or when I get anxious. Visualization is great because it feels very concrete to me, as opposed to more abstract methods of calming. When you visualize, you picture all the things that are causing you stress and worry (mostly in the form of the toxic sludge you’re holding in your body), and then you dump all of that into some storage type container. You picture yourself shutting the container up in a very official way (I picture a treasure chest for some reason and I like to lock it up real tight, but you can use any container ranging from tupperware to a backpack even), and then dump it somewhere it can’t surface. For me, I dump it into the ocean and watch it sink. You then go on to picture yourself in your favourite place post-purging and spend a few minutes basking yourself in that location. Personally, I go to the beach in Mexico where we vacation, and feel the warmth on me, the sand between my toes, and I let all the worries melt away. I know it all sounds a little corny, but I swear, it works. When I open my eyes again, I feel calm and at peace.

2. Adaptogens

Adaptogens are herbs that help to reduce stress and anxiety (more info here). Ashwagandha is my preferred adaptogen, as it’s been proven to help with stress and anxiety reduction.ashwagandha

I drink mine in kombucha, but you can also take supplements (purchase here). I also like magic mushrooms. Not the fun kind, but ones like reishi and cordyceps. I really think adaptogens can make a difference in your mood.

3. Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is 100% the difference for me between being able to cope and not feeling emotionally stable. It’s a known fact I have a granny-esque bedtime, and if you text me after 9 pm, you won’t hear from me until 6 am. In fact, I power down long before my 9 pm bedtime. I’ve always been a light sleeper who wakes frequently in the night, but I recently found my secret weapon. drbach

It’s called Bach’s Rescue Remedy Night spray, and it works. It’s made from flowers and tastes like poison, and I love it. I get it from Ambrosia, where I get all my supplements, and it’s relatively inexpensive. Take a spray or two (or seven if you’re me) when you go to bed, and if you wake through the night, and it instantly calms you and helps you fall back asleep.

4. Exercise

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Obviously this one is on my list. We all know by now that exercise produces endorphins and makes you feel more centered, relaxed, and happy. It seems counter-intuitive, but pushing my body to the limit is always the most relaxing part of my day. Straight up, I exercise for my mental health, not my physical. The physical is truly just an added bonus.

5. Cuddle, get outside, enjoy quality time

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It’s amazing what fresh air does for the mind. When I’m feeling stressed or anxious, I go outside, even if it’s just for a minute (disclaimer: I only do this when it’s above 15 degrees because I hate the cold), and I take a deep breath. I instantly feel better. So days where I spend a few hours outdoors, especially with my kids, I feel particularly stable and happy. And days where we’re trapped inside? I make sure to get lots of cuddles, because a hug is sure to instantly calm my nerves and improve my mood.

So once again, a doozy of a post, but thanks for reading yet another novel of mine. I hope you find just one strategy you like or think might work. But most importantly, if you’re really struggling with anxiety and depression, or thoughts of suicide, please talk to someone and get help. XO