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self-care

2017: The Year of Self-Care

Happy New Year, everyone! As 2017 commences, I’m sure many of you are doing what I’m doing: trying to mindfully come up with a tangible wellness goal. My usual go-to is “I won’t drink any alcohol in January!” or “I will work out every day no matter what!”

But you know what? Those goals usually become stressful because they may not be realistic. And when your new year’s resolution doesn’t come to fruition, it can be depressing. Which starts the cycle of feelings of failure and disappointment!

Ugh.

So instead, this year, I’ve decided to focus more broadly on self-care. This means no hard rules, but it encourages me to remember that being mindful about all facets of my health is important. Here are 5 ways in which one can focus on self-care (and this is my personal plan; what I’ll be doing):

Eats

The first thing most of us think of when adopting a self-care routine is a diet tweak. And fair enough! I mean, you are what you eat, right? The fuel we choose to put into our body directly correlates with mood, behaviour, weight, aging, and more.

So what should we be eating?

I think the trick is to not be strict and deprive yourself. (Because most of us can’t stick to an all-or-nothing plan.) Instead, a healthy balance is optimal. In general, tons of fresh vegetables, lots of whole grain carbohydrates (like yams and sprouted grains), and lots of plant-based or lean protein.

Basically, anything that makes you feel good and gives you energy and lends to quality sleep and rest is what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a new healthy cookbook, try Vegetarian Comfort Foods!

Drinks

Water, water, water. That is all. (Haha…) Here’s the thing: we know that caffeinated beverages and alcohol are dehydrating and affect mood. We know that sodas and juice contain way too much sugar, which spike our blood sugar and then leave us feeling sleepy after.

And more recently, I’ve discovered my go-to non-alcoholic drink of choice (club soda with lime and cucumber) makes me bloated because of all the carbonation. So I’ve come to the conclusion that water and herbal teas should definitely make up the bulk of what I drink during the day and night.

To find out how to make your own herbal teas, check out The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea!

self-care

Movement

Movement is so essential to our bodies and growth and development, and yet we forget to move! Most of us intentionally schedule in time for movement (which is great), but ideally, our bodies should be moving a lot more. Small ways to incorporate movement into our daily lives, include taking the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator, parking on the outskirts of the parking lot so that you’re forced to walk a little more, getting up from your desk and stretching every 45 minutes, and so on.

Think about what you can do to incorporate more movement into your life, and your body will thank you for it.

Sleep

Fresh off of reading The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington (which I mentioned in a previous blog post HERE), I’m really beginning to understand (and I mean REALLY understand) just how much we should all be appreciating and emphasizing better sleep.

Our culture has somehow evolved to think of being busy and sleep-deprived as something to be celebrated or respected, and yet, being sleep deprived is basically the same as being intoxicated. Would you go to work drunk or drive home from a business meeting while under the influence?

I hope not, and yet we all do it in the form of being exhausted. Let’s start NOT doing that. Let’s just remember to place appropriate emphasis on sleep, and celebrate what it feels like to not be tired!

Mental

As in mental health, that is. Although everything that’s listed above contributes to better mental health, we can a couple more things to really give a final push.

  • Meditate.
  • Be grateful.
  • Say thank you.
  • Breathe deep.
  • Love yourself.
  • Try aromatherapy.

And that’s it. By committing to general improvements in your own self-care routine, you become more in tune with parts of yourself that you can’t possibly reach when you’re not as well as you could be.

Happy New Year, friends! Cheers to self-care, and to living life with intent and grace. Give yourself a break, and tune into YOU!

You deserve it. xo

Wish You Drank More Water? Try This.

Mint in glass jar on wooden background

Well, we’re smack in the middle of summer, and my kids have already officially overdosed on store-bought freezies and fudge-pops that seem to come out of nowhere. They’ve had an amazing time–trips to the family cabin, the beach, a Vancouver Whitecaps game, multiple lakes, berry picking, random road trips, backyard soccer games, a family reunion, birthday parties, and countless playdates with the neighbourhood children.

I feel fortunate that their summer experiences have been so fun, but I’m done with the crappy food that seems to accompany each and every outing. Seriously–when I see the day that concession stands sell fruit salad and veggie pops are made available at a certain ice-cream-loving Grandpa’s house (you know who you are!)–I’ll sing Hallelujah.

lemonade in jar with ice and mint

So as of this week, it’s been Project Clean Eating in the Browne home, and that means healthy foods and drinks. (If someone offers my kids another soda, I might lose it!)

Here’s what we’ve come up with as a healthy alternative to juice and “all natural” sodas (the words “natural” and “soda” in the same sentence just feels wrong):

FLAVOURED WATER!

A jar full of cold drink with lemon and raspberries over a woode

This is fun for everyone to help make, it uses up very ripe fruit, it’s colourful, it’s cheap, and it’s delicious! (And it’s working for my kids, thank goodness.)

You can throw anything in water.

Their current faves are mint, lemon, orange, berries, and watermelon. Mine are cucumber, lime, and basil, because it makes me feel like I’m living in a spa. Add some ice, and away you go. Try and aim for 6-8 of these suckers a day, and you’ll totally be hydrated and happy. (And don’t forget how great water is for improved digestive health—something we can ALL work on!)

Cucumber Water

If you need to fizz it up a bit, try half water and half club soda. (There’s no sugar in that.) Or, instead of regular water, you can try coconut water. It’ll give your drink a very tropical taste.

Also, the drinks are very cute in jars. For some flavoured water recipes, check out Jamie Oliver’s faves HERE.

Leave me a message and let me know what you think, or if you have any other healthy bevy ideas, please feel free to post!

As usual, I can use all the help I can get. And don’t forget to enter to win a free copy of the Clean Plates Cookbook HERE!