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5 Reasons to Hangout With YOURSELF!

Self-love can be a battle and a blessing at the same time. Now that I am growing up and exploring hobbies that truly make me happy, I have started working towards being by myself and truly appreciating that time. As much as I love being around others or hanging out with loved ones, sometimes we neglect the importance of hanging out with ourselves and the benefits that go along with it.

Here are five reasons why you should hang out with yourself! No particular order.

1. You can do whatever you want: If you can, pick one day of the week to spend completely to yourself. Go wherever you want to go, spend the day looking in stores YOU want to look at, or spend the majority of the day reading in bed if that’s what you want to do! You do not have to commit this every single week – when time permits it’s great, too.
2. You realize how much fun YOU are. Yes, it can be great to be in a crowd or surrounded by people, but it can be so good for the soul to just have a “me day” or even a “me hour.” Take yourself out on a date, bake something you love, or dance around your house with the music blasted. Having fun by yourself can release stress and make you feel more happy.
3. You learn to trust yourself. I am not the kind of person that enjoys relying on others, and of course there are circumstances where you need to enlist others for support. However, the more time you take for yourself, the more you learn that you are truly capable of doing things maybe you weren’t confident in doing before. When I am by myself, I entertain myself and don’t look towards others to make me happy or fill my day with activities. Trust your heart to guide you in the right direction, and  you will end up right where you need to be!
4. Your time is on your own terms. When you are by yourself, you don’t have any deadlines. If I have a free day all to myself and there is no where I absolutely need to be, I tend to relax a lot more. I take more time in the morning to do my planner, read, drink coffee, enjoy my breakfast. You can spend as much (or as little) time on a task. Who likes to rush, anyway?
5. It can do wonders for your mental health. When I have had a crazy work week, having a moment to breathe and honour myself can do wonders for my mind. Lately this has been taking time out to have an Epsom salt bath or stretch it out to relax. I don’t know about you, but a million thoughts go through my mind (or so it feels like) during a day, but taking a time out to just zen out instantly brings my stress levels down. Although it can be hard to take a break from the daily rush, I promise it will be worthwhile! Pick up a paint brush, read a book, take a bubble bath, watch some gossip TV. Do something that separates you from the rat race, take a moment to relax, and then come back to the real world with a fresh mind.
Why do YOU like to hang out with yourself? Leave a comment below with your perfect “me day” plan : )

Telling Your Inner Critic to SHUT UP!

Good morning, friends!
Something I have been thinking about lately is the thought of the “inner critic.” You know, that voice in your head that tries to compare you to others, or compare current situations to past experiences. Have you ever heard the saying, Comparison is the thief of joy? It is so true! I battle back and forth with my inner critic. As women (and I know men can attest to this too), we are often times overly critical of ourselves. I am guilty of looking at pictures of myself in 2015 during competition prep and thinking that I have failed myself, simply because I no longer look like that. Sometimes I feel as if I am not working out hard enough, not eating healthy enough, not doing enough cardio, not doing as much strength training as I should. However, at the end of the day – I can only try to make myself happy. Yes, I love to make others happy too, but I am learning that you can truly only count on yourself to turn things around. In a funk? Look inside to fix the problem instead of searching for outside sources to bring you happiness. Don’t get me wrong. I love me some retail therapy just as much as the next girl, but if you manifest positive feelings and a positive attitude, you are bound to reap the benefits. You have to be happy with yourself, too, not just extend kindness to others and not showing yourself any lovin’!
Of course, it can be extremely hard to get your inner critic to shut up. One trick to try is that as soon as you start to have those thoughts creep into your mind, make a conscious effort to shift gears and immediately think of a positive thing to replace it with. For example, if you look in the mirror and think, man my legs look fat in these jeans (don’t tell me you haven’t thought that – I feel you! It sucks! Whatever!) Turn it around and think of a reason why your legs are FREAKIN’ AWESOME! “My legs are strong and have powered me through 17 half marathons.”
Simply turning a negative thought into a positive thought can do wonders for your outlook on yourself. Next time your inner critic has something rude to say, shut it up by sneaking in a positive, self-loving thought.
Easier said than done, of course, but I promise you it is worth it if you try it out! Why flood your brain with negative vibes anyway, right? Happiness is a choice, and though curve balls are thrown our way in life, having a positive outlook and honoring yourself will help you turn your mood and perspective around.
Every day we wake up with a fresh new day ahead of us. How we spend it has a huge impact on our mood, yes, but so does how we start our day. When I start the day dreading my work, dreading my work out, dreading the thought of even THINKING of dinner plans – you’re damn right I’m going to have a crappy day, because I have already set off on the wrong foot. On the other hand, when I wake up in the morning feeling grateful, I am more likely to enjoy my day. Seriously. Lay there in bed and think about three reasons why you are thankful for your life (other than the fact that you are alive and breathing and that alone is something to be thankful for). A similar exercise would be looking at yourself in the mirror and listing things that you love about yourself. My dimples, my eyes, my messy I-don’t-care hair. Like I said before, we have to look inside ourselves to find the will to turn our day, our mood, our life around. Searching outside for things to fulfill us has the potential to be dangerous (think addiction, self sabotage, etc), and your intuition already knows the solution. Your body and mind are smart, so listen to them accordingly!
Whew! So that was a mouthful. I hope you found it somewhat helpful to read. I know a lot of people struggle with telling their inner critic to shut up, and you know what? It’s normal, I think! There are things you can do to make life a bit easier for yourself, but of course if you feel like you are in need of more help, don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional : ) Chat soon!

Making Fitness a Family Affair

Getting the whole family involved in a healthy lifestyle is a good way to not only keep yourself on track, but is also a great way to try new activities with your family.
It can be hard at first to get everyone on board. People like different things, and organizing the “perfect” exercise may be a challenge. However, you don’t have to get TOO crazy in order to make things work. This is especially important to me as I could easily fall into the Netflix-and-couch mentality every day after work. Instead, I wanted to share with you a few easy ways to incorporate fitness into your family life.
Find an outdoor activity: Whether you are hiking with your significant other or kayaking with your kids, getting outside is one sure-fire way to ensure everyone enjoys the activity. After all, who doesn’t love getting out in nature!? You don’t have to do anything hard, either. Simply checking out a new trail can be sufficient! Something Ryan and I have been doing lately has been going for day trips. We will go for a hike in a new area, or drive somewhere and walk along the ocean for a change of scenery. If you have a dog, this is a great way to get them out and about, too!
Some other outdoor activities include: running (trail or pavement), canoeing, skiing/snowboarding in the winter (can make a great family getaway!), swimming (always great in the summer), walking, etc.
Check out a new class: One thing my sister and I enjoy doing is going to a new fitness class together. We have gone to yoga classes, zumba classes – you name it, and there is probably a class for that! Fitness classes don’t have to be expensive, either. With a little bit of research, you can find a class near you (check out a community centre in your area) that won’t stretch the wallet too thin. My mom and I signed up for spin classes, and that was a fun way to sweat together and try something new!
Other class ideas include: bootcamp, barre fitness (ballet inspired work outs), drop-in sports like volleyball, spin classes, etc.
Walk it out: Simply going for a family walk is a nice way to not only catch up, but fit some extra steps into your day. Additionally, going for an after dinner walk can help aid in digestion and burn extra calories, too. Switch things up by walking on trails, walking through a new-to-you-neighbourhood or enlisting some friends for extra fun and conversation. If you are visiting with family members, maybe try going for a walk instead of going out to eat – you will save money that way, too!
Make it a challenge: Are you a fan of some friendly competition? See who can go one week without sugar (think junk food sugar, not natural sugars like those found in fruit). See who can fit in X amount of work outs into the week. Whatever your challenge is, make it FUN! You can also have a bet if money is something that motivates you, or a reward system at the end. For example, if you successfully go one week without sugar (just an example), maybe you will win a massage or some other kind of treat (and not the food kind. You are not a dog).
Workout at home: Working out can mean yard work too, not just taking the stairs or walking to get the mail. You can always get family involved with chores around the yard, as that often involves heavy lifting, clearing debris, and lots of bending and walking. Further, you can try online at-home workouts with family if you want to make a family work out night and get everyone involved!
Workout for a cause: Often times running races are centred around fundraising for a cause. For example, some Father’s Day runs fundraise for prostate cancer. Fundraising can be an excellent way to not only get the family involved in an event, but it can draw people to train together, too!
What are some ways you stay active with your family?
Let me know your fave way in the comments below!

What Goes Into a Blog Post?

Hey, hey, everyone! I am kicking off the day with a little bit of insight as to how I make a blog post.
This is just a very simple infographic, though I wanted to get into some more details as it’s a lot more than snapping a few pictures, writing a bunch of stuff & callin’ it a day.
So, here’s (generally) what I do!
 1. BRAINSTORM! This is so, so important for me to get those creative juices flowing. The other night I was sitting at the table with a glass of wine with no idea what to write about. It wasn’t until I started putting pen to paper that things started to happen. In my notebook I try to elaborate on each subject as much as possible and jot down key points that I want to talk about. You can imagine how full my notebook is with all the Blogtober posts!
2. Photos. This is the hardest part for me as I struggle taking pictures just on my iPhone. Sure, the quality is okay, but it’s not as great as I would like it to me. So, my next step is investing in a good camera that will allow me to take crisp, concise photos. Depending on the blog post I am writing, sometimes I will take a couple hours on a day off to set up all of my props and items that I’m taking pictures of. Then, it’s time to edit and upload to the computer!
3. The writing. The fun part! Now I grab my notebook and put my keyboard to good use. If I have brainstormed my blog post ahead of time it is generally pretty easy to get a post done. However, you also have to incorporate pictures in there to disburse the copy and revise, revise, revise! I hate spelling mistakes, so this is MAJOR for me. Grammar police!
4. Now it’s time to make the post published to the world. I will revise one more time around, preview my blog post and how it looks on my website before hitting publish. If I have several posts ready to go, I will schedule them on different days to make sure I have content spread out and organized for the coming days.
5. Last step is to utilize my social media accounts to get my post out there. I have just recently started pinning my blog posts, and they are always posted on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and I post on Instagram daily ; )
I hope you guys enjoyed today’s post! It is something a little bit different, but I thought it would be fun to give you guys a little bit of background info on how things go behind the laptop. Have a great weekend!