September Wellness Goals

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August winding down means the start of a new routine- one final year of school, my grad program! This summer has been full of meaningful challenges and growth as I’ve adjusted to my new city. And just as the comfort level of my apartment, full-time job and routine has settled in, it’ll be uprooted again in a positive direction.

I’m looking forward to having more control over my time. Even though I will have more obligations, between a part-time job at a local food shop, an energy exchange at my new yoga studio and of course an intense 12 month fundraising program, it will be things that I have consciously chosen. That being said, I want to go into September with a few intentions to keep in mind:

  1. Take time for myself every morning. Now that I’m used to the 5 am wake-up life, I can easily implement a daily habit of yoga & meditation. I will start the day on the mat to set the tone for the rest of the day. Being mindful in the morning is essential for my mental wellbeing!
  2. Stay on top of my schoolwork. I want to excel in this program & be at the top of my class, which means I’ll need to apply every productivity tool possible. My new weekly to-do list pad will be key, along with applying the Pomodoro method of intervals of 25 mins of focused work and a 5 min break.
  3. Continue to push myself out of my comfort zone. I heard a quote the other day that said we should strive for “appropriate discomfort” over “inappropriate comfort” in our lives. To me this means balancing your comfortable mental wellbeing with pushing yourself into things that may be uncomfortable but are excellent for growth- like going to that meetup that I’ve wanted to attend, joining the conference planning team at school & participating in class or trying full wheel or dolphin pose in yoga class.
  4. Stick to my budget and save half my money from my part-time job: whether that money ends up going towards an internship in Guatemala, the plant-based nutrition course, or even just towards paying off student debt, I want to be intentional with this extra income.
  5. Be kind to myself as I go through yet another period of adjustment!

Paige xx

 

 

 

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How to Take Back Your Time

If you’re anything like me, you start your Sunday by innocently thinking about the week ahead and the rough idea of your schedule. You start with the non-negotiables, like your full-time job, or grad school, or side hustle hours. Add in a few fun weekend and evening plans with friends, and a yoga class slash that trip to the gym that keeps you sane. Oh, and you put off laundry and that bulk store run last week so you have to squeeze those in as well!

Before you know it, every minute of your day is micro-planned to the point where your free time is feeling constricting rather than liberating. Looking to take back your time? So am I!

  1. Stop the glorification of busy: I truly think that in our society we have a mass cultural problem with the manner in which we view down time. It has almost become bragging rights for one to talk about the five balls they’re juggling. Ask yourself, when was the last time you intentionally scheduled a few hours just for you? We’re all different, but personally, without a couple evenings a week with zero plans post-work, I can feel my vitality deflate like a balloon.
  2. Indulge in pleasurable activities guilt-free: I’m all for decompressing in the best way for you. If that involves an episode or two of Netflix (I’ve just hopped on the Grey’s bandwagon only about ten years late), taking the time to craft a gorgeous meal that lights you up, or indulging in fifty pages of that novel that is totally unrelated to school, do it. The catch is- you cannot self-shame for “wasting your time.” Filling up your self-care bucket is the only way that you can keep on keepin’ on in other areas of your life.
  3. Consider the three basket theory. Listen more about it here, but the idea is that our lives can be divided into 3 primary categories: vitality (self-care), connection (relationships with others and our source), and contribution (output to society such as career). The most full bucket will always be limited by our emptiest. Meaning, if you are devoting all your time to connecting with friends and killing it at work, but lacking on sleep and neglecting your health, you cannot devote 100 percent to the vitality and connection buckets. Paradoxically, by stepping away from the emptying buckets, you will become centered.

Thanks for stopping by,

Paige

What’s Wrong With Our Food System?

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Making my own granola bars after learning the following…

In the past six months or so I’ve become increasingly conscious of the food we’re putting into our bodies. Not out of a desire to “look good”, but rather out of a growing awareness of the horrible ethical, environmental, and health risks associated with mainstream foods coming out of large corporations. Not to worry, I’m not about to launch into a pro-vegetarian rant- we’ll save that for another day ;).

I’ve been following more and more health-conscious bloggers, like Minimalist BakerErin Ireland, and of course the so-successful-you-can’t-help-but-hate-her Deliciously Ella. Looking back, I think this growing awareness of my own health came out of my large inability to control it while I was travelling in India and Thailand. Don’t get me wrong, I can put away plates on plates of noodles and curry better than anyone, but after weeks of indulgence, you can’t help but just feel a bit… sick. Literally sick.

Once I got to the health-food havens of Chiang Mai and Bali, I had a new appreciation for salad! A lack of fresh vegetables had made me feel lethargic, sluggish, and just overall dull. My intention was not originally to become a vegetarian. But over the weeks that followed, I felt myself come alive again as I embraced a plant-based diet. I finally made the connection that the food we are putting in our mouths everyday is literally becoming our bodies, forming new cells, connective tissues, and strengthening or hurting our many internal systems.

My new fascination with health has caused me to listen to podcasts dedicated to the subject. And today, I sat at my desk doing my work and devoured this one. Give it a listen. But for a short synopsis, “Vani has had incredible success in getting massive food corporations like Kraft, Chipotle, Subway (and many more) to make changes in their ingredients lists and become more transparent about what actually is going into their food”. While this may not be a shocker, large-scale corporations prioritizing profit over people are consistently hiding the truth behind the countless chemicals unnecessarily injected into our food.

Things like yoga mat plastic chemicals are finding their way into your favourite bread at beloved Subway. Colour dyes which have been scientifically proven to cause issues like ADHD are found in your Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. McDonald’s french fries have 19 ingredients.You see the theme. I’m not advocating for abolishing all of these feel-good foods from your eating habits. But don’t you agree that as consumers, when we order a coffee, we should just get… coffee?

And don’t get me started on organic meat and produce. It is so incredibly flawed that food laden with herbicides, pesticides, antibiotics, and growth hormones is the norm, and anything lacking these disease-causing substances require a special label and are five times the price. While I find it unlikely that this system will change overnight in our profit-prioritizing capitalist society, you can start small. Get educated. Do your research. I’m all for indulging, but eating a bag of chips should not be giving you a risk of cancer. That’s just me.

 

Little Habits to Improve Your Everyday

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If you’re anything like me, you’re always on the lookout for little hacks to improve your productivity, increase your energy, and of course provide an overall happiness boost! In the last year, I’ve become even more interested in learning about effective habits. We all struggle with feelings of laziness and inefficiency. The trick is in your reaction.

I notice such a difference between those days I set five unnecessary alarms and those I immediately open the curtains, unroll my yoga mat, and write in my gratitude journal app. The internal struggle! Especially on Mondays, friends. Recently, I’ve been particularly focused on implementing a morning routine on weekdays after reading the Miracle Morning as well as listening to the podcast Happier from the author of the Happiness Project and Better than Before.

The key to implementing good habits is to set the intention. I often found that between listening to countless podcasts, reading helpful books, and browsing blogs, my brain is overloaded with positive ideas to improve my days, only to be forgotten shortly after. So in writing down the habits I’m attempting to add, I’m hoping they’ll stick! Here are some of the things I’m trying to inject into my everyday:

  1. Wake up at 5:30 am.
  2. Use the first half hour of my day for my own benefit:
    1. write in my gratitude five minute journal app and to start the day in a positive frame of mind
    2. practice ten rounds of sun salutations to get that feel-good yoga vibe
    3. meditate for five minutes
  3. Prep the majority of my food for the week on Sundays, including three work lunches, one big batch meal for dinner, one snack, and big bag of chopped veggies. This will get me through to at least Wednesday.
  4. Eat vegan-ish in my own kitchen. I’m on month five of being a vegetarian, and have found it profoundly easier than I thought to make the shift. I’d never be a full-time vegan, due to my love affair with all things cheesy pizza, and also wanting to be flexible and happy eating at the houses of friends and family. I love Jillian Harris’ approach to this, of just doing the best you can when you can to make the world a slightly better place.
  5. Change negative thought patterns. I’ve improved so much at this, but I’d like to consistently make the effort to kick those ego-driven anxious thoughts in the butt before they turn into rumination. Yoga, walking outside, calling family, and my favourite stress-busting method of cooking are all ideal.

As I’m moving into my very own one-bedroom apartment this week in west Toronto (!!!), I am going to focus on these five habits. Gretchen Rubin talks about how a change of routine is the ideal time to trick yourself into forming good daily practices. Since purchasing the five minute journal gratitude app, I’ve already experienced such a difference in noticing positive aspects of my day, since I know I’ll need to write 3 happy things each morning and evening. I want to build on that momentum and keep at it with these new habits!

Thanks for stopping by,

Paige

 

Reflections on Coming Home

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When I grabbed my well-loved backpack from the baggage carousel in Pearson airport, having officially survived 24 sleepless hours of travel, I felt a multitude of emotions running through me. Primarily exhaustion. Second, relief that I had miraculously managed to survive four months without losing my bag. And third, another wave of is it time for bed yet?!

In the coming weeks and even first couple months of settling back into life in Canada after trekking my way through six countries on the other side of the world, I did not feel a huge life-altering shift in paradigm. It’s only now, roughly half a year since stepping off the plane from Australia that I’m noticing the seemingly subtle ways this experience has shaped the current version of myself.

On the last morning of my trip, I set a 6:30 alarm to leave my hostel room and headed to Bondi Beach for one final morning. After ten sandy rounds of sun salutations, a half hour long meditative beach walk, and happy waves at tanned surfers around me, I sat on the beach and felt an unwelcome feeling settling in. And I was surprised to find tears .

Not for the reason you may think. Of course, I was devastated to be leaving behind paradise weather and four carefree months where my biggest daily decision was to indulge in a pineapple or mango drink. This sense of uneasiness went deeper than that. I felt an inexplicable shift in myself. The previous day, I had been offered a position again at my previous comfortable government job, meaning I would return to my past routine of moving into an apartment with my then boyfriend. You’d think these outcomes would provide me with comfort, after months of instability.

I felt an overwhelming sense of panic in my gut. Somehow I knew, without being able to consciously encapsulate the feeling with words, that settling back into that life would be like moving backward, like putting on a well-loved sweater that just doesn’t fit anymore. Something in me had evolved, subtle yet significant, and the thought of losing this new version of myself absolutely terrified me.

Then I remembered the yogic phrase from Pattabhi Jois practice and all is coming. While this may have been originally intended to refer to getting stronger so you can push yourself into that challenging headstand, it reverberated in my mind. All I had to do, was worry about right now, and show up with that new version of myself everyday. I had to get on that plane. I had to step onto Canadian soil. I’d happily celebrate being reunited with my people after four long months. And then, eventually that tug in my gut would tell me to turn down that job, despite the fact that it turned into three unemployed months. Following that still small voice has led me to right now, happier than ever, dating with a new job in my new city.

Practice and all is coming. The big, important life changes will work out if you just show up in the best way that you know how. Focus on that, today, and you’ll be okay.

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