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!

What Goes Into a Blog Post?

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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!

How I Spend My Downtime

 

Don’t get me wrong. I love to be busy. I am a GO, GO, GO, GET STUFF DONE! Kinda person in my day to day life, but there are days where I want to do nothing, or at least relax and not worry about having somewhere to be or something to do constantly. It has taken me a little while to perfect the art of “doing nothing” but now that I have a few tried and true things I like to do to give myself downtime, I look forward to that hour (or less!) to myself.

While I cannot relate to those working mamas out there, I like to think I have a fairly busy life. We are almost always doing something on the weekend, and work takes up a huge portion of our time during the week and even after hours. For me, taking time to unwind in the evening is crucial for my own mental health and wellbeing. Similarly, I like to wake up early in the morning to spend time by myself running and exercising to ensure I have a healthy start to the morning.

 

 

Here are a few ways I like to enjoy my downtime:

–      Reading. Reading is an excellent want to not only learn, but to get lost in a story and escape from the everyday world. Whether you are a Harry Potter lover or like self-love type of books (I enjoy both!), sitting down with a book and a cup of tea can be so relaxing. You may just end up lying in bed with the book over your face if you get too comfy!

–      Essential oils. Okay, so I know not everyone is into essential oils, but hear me out. Essential oils have so many therapeutic properties, and diffusing some lemon and grapefruit in the morning can be energizing, or peppermint and lavender in the evening can be soothing. There are tons of combinations you can play with, so test out a few to see what calls to you!

–      Exercise. If you know me at all, you know I am an exercise junkie. Specifically a cardio junkie as running is my #1 form of exercise. However, sometimes in the evening a gentle yoga sequence can be just what you need. Exercising is not only good for your physical body, but it is so beneficial to your mental wellbeing and can help you work through difficult situations. For me, if I am stressed or if I have a problem that needs solving, sometimes all it takes is a quick 20 minute run to snap me outta my funk or give me a solution to my problem. Seriously – it works!

–      Writing. My blog is an amazing form of downtime AND fun for me. I love writing, researching, and creating. It is something I have loved ever since I was a kid and would make up stories at the drop of a hat. On a similar note, keeping a journal is a nice way to reflect on the day and jot down your thoughts.

–      Getting outside. While this does go with the exercise point above, you don’t necessarily need to go outside to sweat in order to reap the benefits. Simply standing outside and taking a big breath can help clear your mind and help you refocus. Being in nature is one of THE BEST ways to make you feel grounded. This may sound weird, but go outside in your bare feet and you will be amazed at how in tune you feel with the earth. It may be a little “WOO WOO” but seriously! Touch a tree. Go for a leisurely stroll on the trail and just take in all of your surroundings. We are meant to enjoy nature, and living in such a technology-dominated world takes us away from our true roots. I’m so punny.

–      On the note of technology, step awayyyy from the computer! As someone who has a very sedentary job where I sit in my office all day, I LOVE when I can have the chance to escape the computer. Sure, blogging is online, social media is online, but guess what? It will all still be there when you return! Taking time to go for a walk with your dog, your loved one, your family, or just do anything but sit in front of a screen is much needed down time, away from the buzz and glare of electronics.

–      Couch time. Okay, so I try not to spend every single evening on the couch or all weekend on the couch, but sometimes you just NEED to flop down and watch a movie. I’m not big on movies for the simple fact that I either a) fall asleep or b) get up half way through the show and start doing laundry, dishes, tidying, etc. However, the other night I thought to myself. You know what? I’m going to hang out with Nala and watch trashy TV. Why not? So, I sat down on the couch with my big bowl of salad and watched The Real Housewives of Toronto. It was kind of nice to veg out and enjoy the evening, and the drama on TV! Side note: is anyone else watching this!? How do we feel about Kara? That’s a whole other topic.


What are some of YOUR favourite ways to spend your downtime?

Why You Should Reward Your Accomplishments

Hey, hey!
I wanted to chat about a topic I feel is important when it comes to health and fitness, and especially if you are transitioning into a healthier lifestyle.
It’s easy to get started on a healthier journey, but oftentimes it can be hard to keep going. What do you do to keep the momentum going?
Reward your accomplishments.
 
Okay, so does that mean I have a big fat burger and fries after a killer work out?
No, not exactly. I wouldn’t recommend it, anyway.
 
Here is an example.
After the Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon last summer, I wanted to treat myself for accomplishing that goal. I had spent months logging in the miles, getting the time on my feet, and I felt that I earned something. Kind of a high five to myself, if you get what I mean.
So, I enjoyed my weekend in Vancouver and made wise choices when we were out to eat. For my post-race meal we went to a cute breakfast cafe downtown, and I chose to have an egg and veggie skillet instead of the eggs benny with that deliciously creamy Hollandaise sauce. Nope, I chose wisely, because I knew that my reward was coming.
What did I reward myself with? A spa afternoon with my sister. We got massages and pedicures, and I felt so relaxed and content. It was just what my mind and body needed. Additionally, during the Seawheeze weekend I also rewarded myself with a few new work out pieces and some yoga to keep my body feelin’ good. This was my celebration of all the time put into training for the race.
Setting goals is great and everything, but what happens after you reach your goal?
Some people want to celebrate with food, and that’s great if that’s what you are into.
However, I’ll tell you why I don’t personally like to reward myself with food.
Rewarding yourself with food, especially when it is something high sugar, high fat, or highly processed can aid in undoing all of your hard work, especially if you make that reward a regular thing.
What do I mean by this? If after every time I went to the gym I went to Starbucks and got a frappuccino and a donut, eventually that would start to catch up to me. Those extra calories would add up, and (knowing my body) I would get super bloated and end up feeling down on myself and wonder, why did I eat that? Ja feel? Choosing a whole food option post-workout is always a better idea from a nutrition stand point.
Are you saying you have never rewarded yourself with food? Nope, that’s not what I am saying at all. After my bikini competition two years ago I had a meal out with my family, and it was damn good because I hadn’t had a meal like that in seven months.
On the other hand, food is fuel for your body and should be used as a tool simply to put engine in your tank. Personally, if I want a glass of wine at the end of the work day, I will have one (if we have my favourite reds in the house). However, I cut myself off after a glass or two, because I know that if I have anything more than that I will A) be drunk and B) not feel great. Keeping your balance of food treats and whole foods in check will help keep you on track if you have a health or weight loss goal. Of course there are several other factors, but I won’t get into that right now : )
What I am saying is that there are other options when it comes to rewarding yourself.
Why should you reward your accomplishments?
Rewarding yourself for accomplishing a goal can help you stay motivated to achieve your next goal. Mentally, you will know that you have something just for you at the finish line, and that will propel you towards your goal. These are some of the biggest reasons why I reward my accomplishments, even if it is with something small.
A few ideas for non-food rewards:
– Book a spa treatment such as a massage or pedicure (my personal favourites!)
– Buy a new piece of work out gear
– Participate in a relaxing yoga session
– Take a nap! Seriously. So nice
– Take a bath with your favourite bath bomb, bath salts or bubble bath. Or all three!
– Paint your nails
– Have an at-home spa evening
– Unwind with your favourite movie
– Plan a road trip, vacation, day trip, etc
The list goes on and on! Sometimes you gotta get creative with it, but at the end of the day as long as you are doing something you love, that’s a reward in itself : )
Disclaimer: Keep in mind that everyone has their own way of rewarding their accomplishments, whether that is buying a new lipstick or going for a full on shopping spree. Rewarding yourself shouldn’t break the bank, either. It’s important to mindful about how you are rewarding yourself as you do not want it to become harmful to your finances.
 
What are some ways you reward your accomplishments?