The Winter Blues or Something More?

How are you feeling? Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day. So let’s talk.

How are you doing? Is everything okay? Or are you struggling a little bit (or a lot) right now?

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association 15% of folks suffer from the winter blues. If you have the winter blues you might find that you are needing more sleep, craving more comfort foods, or feeling unmotivated and just want to hang out on the couch and chill with the TV.

The winter blues are different than seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which affects 2-3% of Canada’s population. SAD is a regularly occurring depression that impact’s one’s daily life.

Almost year into the Covid-19 pandemic our current circumstances are having an impact on people’s mental health. This summer one in 10 Canadians polled said Covid-19 has negatively affected their mental health. People are feeling anxious and depressed.

It’s always a good idea to reach out and talk to someone when you are struggling. Family or friends might be one option to turn to. You can also visit the Government of Canada website to find resources for help

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/mental-health-services/mental-health-get-help.html

If you think it is the winter blues some tips from the Canadian Mental Health Association include

  1. Getting outside for some daylight and keeping curtains open while inside. The natural light can help boost your mood
  2. Sticking to a normal sleep schedule as much as possible. Over-sleeping can actually make symptoms worse.
  3. Be kind to yourself and give yourself credit for how great you’re doing.
  4. Get some physical activity. If it seems difficult to get moving start small with a short walk.

One strategy I have started using is I set the alarm on my phone with a soothing ringtone for twice a day.

When the alarm goes I pause and become AWARE of how I am doing. I check in body, mind and soul. Then I make a choice to ACCEPT how I am feeling in that moment- no matter what. It is what it is. Finally, I set an INTENTION on how I want to feel. Then I let it go and get back to what I was doing.

This whole process takes less than a minute but I have found it helpful to have these little check-ins a couple times a day.

Hopefully, you have are having a wonderful day, but if you find yourself struggling never hesitate to send a message and we can chat.

Eating My Frogs (no actual frogs were harmed)

I first heard of the concept of ‘eating your frogs’ through the Brian Tracy book, Eat That Frog.

The idea comes from a Mark Twain quote “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

With this idea Brian Tracy encourages the reader that a key to being more productive is to tackle those frogs first thing in your day. He claims that by ‘eating those frogs’ early you gain a positive momentum to your day. Likewise, once your most difficult task is done everything else is relatively easy.

Another idea Tracy shares is how often, by putting off ‘eating our frogs’ it means that we end up spending so much time thinking about it, dwelling on it, and fearing it.

I have found this in my own life. We all have frogs that we try to put off- whether it is a phone call we have to make, a workout we keep putting off, or a chore that needs to be done.

Often we find those ‘frogs’ become so much bigger in our head. When we actually deal with them they are so much easier than we have imagined. Dealing with them also gives us a confidence boost.

This week my frogs were tech challenges that needed to be done to launch my very first online course https://livingskyyogafitness.ca/online-courses/

Learning new technology is definitely a challenge for me. Yet, with each ‘frog I eat’ I find I am learning, and gaining confidence in my new skills.

This weekend give a little though to what your frogs might be. Then see if you can commit to eating just one of those frogs this week.

The more I ‘eat my frogs’ the more I find I am learning to love my frogs. Maybe I will start ‘kissing my frogs”.

Some Days Are Just Bad Days (and that’s okay)

Yesterday, I started writing a post entitled, New Year, New Possibilities. It was positive and upbeat. However, partway through my writing there were a few interruptions and things that needed my attention.

At some point I began to feel drained. Then something a little more happened. My heart began to flutter, my chest felt tight, I felt sick to my stomach. These are not feelings I usually have.

I tried to walk it out. I stepped outside for fresh air. I sat with my plants and meditated. After a bit of meditation I did indeed feel better. Yet, throughout the day feelings of unease and anxiousness returned.

Eventually, I surrendered. I knew I was not going to be productive and gave up any expectations to be. Instead I baked cookies. I put on music. I had a bath. When dinner time came I decided I didn’t want to cook dinner, so I didn’t. Instead I made a sandwich and popped frozen French fries in the oven. I spent the even listening to an audiobook, then finished my day with a guided meditation.

Today I woke up feeling refreshed and inspired. Today any frustrations or anxiety I had are gone. I feel myself again.

Bad days happen. That’s okay, especially right now as we deal with the second wave of the pandemic.

Bad days happen, even though it is a new year and all around us we see the promotion of new goals, new opportunities, new possibilities.

I promote all those ideas. Yet, life is more than optimism and positive thinking and some days we will have bad days.

So be kind with yourself. Nurture yourself. Nourish yourself with activities that you enjoy.

Sure there’s lots of things we want to do in 2021, but we can do them tomorrow when we’re feeling a little better.

Happy 2021

This morning a picture came up in my Facebook memories and I remembered how 1 year ago today I was driving across the country on my way home from the woods of Quebec. The picture was taken in the middle of northern Ontario. Though I have done cross country trips several times now, I always marvel at the natural beauty Canada has to offer.

Little did I know at that time that for most of 2020 I would be staying at home or close to home. I went into 2020 full of optimism after a 2019 that for me was marked with illness and surgery. I went into 2020 full of goals, dreams and plans.

As with everyone else, 2020 was not what I had envisioned.

Yet, the eternal optimist in me enters 2021 full of hope and a quiet contentment. With my business I still face months of uncertainty as I know that government guidelines will dictate what operations look like. However, this year my goals and dreams are softer. I just want to do work I love, contribute to kindness in the world, and find beauty in the simple things.

Though I know that I can only imagine what this new year might bring, I trust that no matter what there will be days that I smile, moments of joy and times nurturing connections with others.

Wishing you a peaceful 2021 with moments of beauty, fun and a little adventure

101 Things in 1001 Days

Do you set new year’s resolutions, goals, or aspirations? Or do you prefer not to bother with any of that?

My habit had always been to set aspirations each year. A few years ago though I stumbled onto the idea of 101 Things/Goals in 1001 days.

The idea is simple. List 101 things you would like accomplish in the next 1001 days. What is not always so simple is coming up with those 101 things. It does take time to get inspiration and reflect upon that many things you’d like to accomplish.

1001 days equals about 2.75 years. To easily calculate the 1001st date you can type “1001 days from now” in your internet search bar. If you were to start the challenge in the next while you would be set to finish early autumn of 2023.

I am currently on my second time doing this challenge. One thing I learned my first time around was to do a mix of fun and more challenging items. For example, one of my things had been to learn to make 10 cocktails while another had been to put $25 into a tax free savings account for each goal accomplished.

Whatever gets added to your list, have fun with it. While we might have ambitious goals it’s also important to enjoy the journey.

Below are a few ideas from my current list

  1. Run 5km.
  2. Take a photography class or workshop
  3. Do a No-Spend Month
  4. Read 5 Giller Prize winning books
  5. Learn some basic sign language
  6. Donate blood 6 times
  7. Paint kitchen
  8. Plant 2 apple trees
  9. Try kiteboarding
  10. Visit a new place in Canada