Self-Care Sunday: Refresh for the Week

If you are anything like me, Mondays are your least favourite days of the week. I am usually filled with anxiety and worry about the week ahead. Lately, I’ve been dedicating Sunday nights to gathering my thoughts and just relaxing whether it’s with reading a book or watching some Netflix. Here are some of my favourite ways to relax on Sundays to get ready for the week ahead.

  1. Do Some Stretching – I love to look up relaxation yoga poses on Pinterest and focus on my breathing and relaxing my muscles. I like to do this as I’m getting ready for bed so that I can feel relaxed and at ease and get a better night sleep.
  2. Do a Face Mask – Face masks are a great way to change your thinking. I’m not saying that self-care is simply putting on a face mask and calling it a day but I find putting on a face mask and taking a bath helps me feel at ease.
  3. Take a Hot Bath – Speaking of baths, a hot bath with episome salts or bubble bath are a great way to relax and helps calm your muscles. I like to light a candle, play some music and sometimes I read a book or just put my head back with my eyes closed.
  4. Plan The Week Ahead – I love my planner (I could not function without it!) and I like sitting down Sunday night and plan out my week. I plan blog posts, my goals for the week and usually, I’ll plan my meals for the week.
  5. Eat a Healthy Snack – One of my favourite snacks to eat is plain (or vanilla) greek yoghurt with berries, granola and honey. It’s filling but not heavy and delicious!
  6. Read a Book – I love putting on my coziest PJs and slippers, making a cup of tea and curling up with a book (usually with my cats snuggled next to me). If you are looking for book recommendations I suggest BookBaristas and joining her book group!
  7. Unplug Yourself – Even if it’s just for an hour or two, taking time to unplug from your phone, TV or computer is a great way to collect yourself and your thoughts. Whether you are reading, journaling, drawing or even cleaning, you’ll feel a huge difference from unplugging!
  8. Write a Self-Love and Gratitude List – Every Sunday I like to sit down with one of my thousands of journals and write out a list of things I love about myself and what I’m grateful for from the previous week.
  9. Go for a Walk – Getting outside and going for a walk, even if it’s a short one, is a great way to relax. I like to listen to music or the sounds of nature and take pictures (especially in the fall with all the beautiful colours!).
  10. Make Your Bed – Honestly, I know it sounds weird but there is nothing better than getting into a bed that has been made. I like to spray my pillows with the aromatherapy Sleep Pillow Mist from Bath & Body Works and apply some essential oil to my pressure points.

I hope these self-care tips help you have a relaxing #SelfCareSunday and remember, self-care isn’t selfish!

Until next time,

Michaela Kathleen xx

 

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Tips & Tricks: The Holiday Season

The Christmas season is almost upon us (where has this year gone?!) which means you are either 1) struggling with the last-minute gift shopping or 2) already have your gifts purchased, wrapped and ready to go. If you are the person who is already finished their Christmas shopping you deserve a round of applause but if you are like me, you have some gifts planned but haven’t actually started putting them together yet. Well I am going to share how I make my holiday season a little less stressful (and cheaper) while also sharing some gift ideas!

Planning

Planning is a very important part of my Christmas shopping. I start planning my gifts fairly early (like…March for me is considered late for planning) so the first thing I do is figure out who I’m going to get a gift for. Usually, my gift recipients are always the same (though some are added or taken away depending on circumstances).  I like to figure out who I’m going to get “bigger” gifts for. There’s a great app called Santas Bag for IOS (Christmas Gift List is similar and what I used on my android phone). Both allow you to put who you are getting a gift for, what you are getting them and also a budget (you can also password protect the app so no one can see what you are getting!). I love using this app because it is easy for me to look at when I’m out shopping if I see something for a gift and it might be on sale. I also love it because you don’t need a wifi connection, therefore, you won’t run out of data!

If you don’t like using apps, you can also write out your list. This is another thing I do (on top of using the app). I like to write two lists; one for friends and one for the family. I write out the name along with what gift I’m getting them. Then I list everything I will need for the gift (minus the wrapping) under their name and simply check off each item as I buy them. This is a great way to see what you are missing from your shopping in general.

Ideas

It can be hard to figure out what to get someone (especially if you’ve been friends forever and you feel like they deserve the world but you can only buy them a candle you know?). I turn to Pinterest for almost every gift idea. Once I find something I think my friend/family will like, I personalize it to fit them and what they like. A great way to keep track of ideas is making a private Pinterest board and editing the description of the pin to the name of who the gift is for. This has helped me so much this year to keep track of ideas and who they are for.

Budget

Christmas is not about the gifts so there’s no point in going into debt over some gifts (life is expensive enough as it is!) so, set out a budget for yourself and stick to it! Set an overall budget and then individual budgets for the gifts. If you shop throughout the year, you’ll find you save yourself a lot of money (and stress) because you aren’t making all the purchases at once.

Destroy The Idea That Giftcards are Bad Gifts!

This one I cannot stress enough! Giftcards are a great gift (especially for those that you aren’t sure what they want/need) because it allows them to take the money and use it for something they will actually use. My grandparents give me gift cards every year (usually to Walmart and Tim Hortons) and for a low-income student, those save my life when money is really tight. A lot of my friends ask for gift cards to Lush, NB Liquor and Amazon because they have specific things they want therefore guaranteeing that they will use the gift card for something they want as opposed to receiving a gift that will probably end up donated or thrown out since they don’t need it.

Those are my tips right now, there isn’t many of them but I hope they help in some way. Remember that just because it is the most wonderful time of the year doesn’t mean it comes stress-free. We all know how stressful the holidays can be so remember to take time to unwind and relax amongst the chaos. Book yourself for a massage, manicure or plan a night (in or out) with the girls. Remember, there is nothing wrong with putting yourself first!

GET FIT WITH ME: PART ONE

One of my 2017 resolutions was to get healthy. I don’t care about being skinny because I’ve come to terms with the fact that, just because you’re thin doesn’t mean you’re healthy. Therefore I’ve changed my focus from the goal of being thin to the goal of being healthy.  In this Get Fit With Me series, I will be sharing my progress, tips, workouts and meal ideas. I’m hoping that this series can help motivate someone to develop a healthier lifestyle or even just finding a new recipe they might want to try. I’m hoping everyone will be able to get something useful out of this. In this post, I’m going to share some of my tips that I’ve been using for the past few months, though I will admit the past few months I’ve been a bit off the tracks….BUT! it’s ok to fall off the tracks as long as you get back on them!

If you are anything like me than you are constantly on your phone whether it’s simply checking the time, your calendar or even just out of habit. I always have my phone in my hand or in my pocket, it’s rarely out of my sight (could really be an issue worth exploring but I’ll deal with that later) so I love using different health apps offered through the Apple store. There are your standard apps that can sync to other devices such as the FitBit app but there are some other really awesome health and fitness apps offered! I have an iPhone so all these apps are for IOS but I will try and find them in the android store as well!

*All apps mentioned are free to download but may have in-app purchase options

StrongLifts5x5: IOS  Android 

I love to track my progress as I weight lift but I’m constantly forgetting my notebooks to write everything down. Stronglifts5x5 keeps track of your reps, the weight used and rest time and shows your progress in a graph, calendar and you can see all your history as well. Pretty neat.

MyFitnessPal: IOS Android

I love MyFitnessPal because I enjoy seeing what exactly I’m putting in my body. When I see that a breakfast sandwich is 900 calories, that makes me feel quite crummy compared to when I make myself a breakfast smoothie that’s under 300 calories. It’s not about counting calories, it’s about what you are putting into your body and that’s extremely important to remember when using this app. What I love about it is that you are able to customize it and change your goals as they change. You can also take and store your progress pictures to really see how far you are coming (though I really hate progress pictures…in the beginning).

iHydrate IOS *I couldn’t find the exact app for Android but I’m assuming Hydrate is pretty similar (if not the same thing)! 

I used to be so bad at remembering to drink water. I was constantly dehydrated and I felt the negative effects of that. iHydrate has worked wonders for me! I love this app because you can choose if you want to track your water in ml or oz and specify how much water you want to drink a day. I use this only to track my water intake but you can track milk, juice, soda, coffee, etc. as well. If you upgrade you are able to put in customized drinks but I find it great as a way to ensure I’m reaching my water intake goal. My daily goal is 117 oz which I’ve been reaching thanks to the reminders iHydrate send (I have mine set up to send at 9:00 am, 12:00 pm, 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm).

On top of these fitness apps, I also listen to workout playlists on Spotify. I sometimes use already made playlists but most times I listen to my Werkout Twerkout playlist which I find has a lot of great songs to workout to. If you’d like to listen to it, you can find it here.

That’s it for part one! I can’t wait to see where this fitness journey takes me and I hope you find it helpful as well.

Until next time,

Michaela Kathleen xx

 

An Open Letter About Epilepsy,

it isn’t just seizures.

It’s losing pieces of your memory and screaming for your mother and not realizing she is one of the 20 unfamiliar faces above you because you are that messed up. It’s slipping in and out of reality for hours and being messed up for days but having to try and get it together because the world doesn’t wait for you to catch up. It’s being asked “what’s the last thing you remember?” and not being able to answer because you can’t remember anything. What’s your name? Where are you? Have you been in this room before? It’s ten strangers walking around your bed with needles and charts trying to determine why you seized in the first place. It’s being injected with medication that burns your veins because you can’t keep anything down. I

It’s countless amounts of EEGs and sleep deprivation tests only to be told that the specialists don’t know why you seize or where your seizures come from. It’s having to constantly test your Lemitical levels every time you start a new pill so that you can be sure your seizures will stay under control. It’s having to remember to take your pills on top of your daily life.

It’s being told you have to be seizure free for at least a year if you want to be able to drive. It’s missing out on a rollercoaster you’ve been wanting to ride or seeing your favourite band because the lights could trigger you. It’s missing things that those without Epilepsy take for granted.  It’s not just seizures, it’s been my way of life for 9 years and it will continue to be my life. I constantly live in the fear, even though I’ve been seizure free for 5 years, that if I seize again no one will be there to help me since mine happen at night.

The misunderstanding on how to help someone who is seizing is a terrifying thing. I can’t even count the amount of times someone has told me that if they see someone seizing they’d put something in their mouth to prevent them from biting through their tongue and when I tell them that doing that is the worst thing you could do, they tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about. You sit there behind your ignorance and tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about but this is my life. If I am seizing and you put something in my mouth to prevent me from biting through my tongue you raise my chances of choking on my own vomit. It’s not a pretty picture but it’s true.

Instead of getting defensive, listen to what I’m telling you. Listen to me when I tell you that you need to put the person on their side and make sure there aren’t any objects around them that they can hurt themselves on. Listen to me when I tell you to make sure there isn’t anything tight around their neck and listen to me when I tell you not to put anything in their mouth. Listen to me when I tell you to not retrain them and to give them space and please listen to me when I say that if they are seizing for more than 5 minutes that you need to call 911.

Please listen to me because this is my life and it’s out of my hands.