When Your Winter Body Didn’t Get the Memo: How to Kickstart That Summer Confidence into High Gear

Let me start by saying congratulations, you made it through the Winter in the middle of a Pandemic. Winter months in Canada are already tough if you live in any Province with the exception of British Columbia. As if the frigid blustery winds and hazardous icy roads aren’t enough to keep you home, the government Covid-19 lock downs reinforced that. Then if we weren’t already up against enough with the isolation, our bodies took a further beating as we still indulged in a series of holiday meals. In Alberta, gyms and recreational facilities were closed for almost 2 1/2 months which would be the nail on my coffin for myself, as my weight ballooned upwards rapidly. Seeing as this was my first winter in a pandemic, I admittedly was not prepared to cope in the best way, but I should be thankful that the worst that happened to me was a doughy belly and a double chin. I’m blaming my inability to adapt accordingly and find alternative ways to motivate and prioritize better nutrition and exercise.

Home work outs have never been my thing, but as I’ve come to find out, sometimes we need to force ourselves out of the familiar. It takes some time, especially if your stubborn like myself who gets discouraged easily when I lack the presence of reinforcing elements. One of those elements is having an active presence in the outside world, where our interactions can often validate the hard work we are putting into our personal fitness and appearance. My interactions have been mostly with clients who are for the most part strangers and have an already pre-existing sense of loathing towards me as child welfare worker. I’ve also admittedly been using my mask to hide my fuller chipmunk cheeks. So with less social outings happening under the current circumstances I feel it is more important than ever to authentically find validation from within ourselves, namely Confidence.

Transitioning to a place of practicing personal validation through other means is no simple feat. I imagine this could be a lot harder for my generation as we are far more cognizant of the differences between what is sincere interaction and the superficial world of likes and followers. I would never typically support the idea of subscribing to the practice of validation through selfies and half naked thirst trap photos, but a fluffy blonde like me even has her breaking point. If I hadn’t become totally bored through the first wave of my social media feeds I may have just likely began an OnlyFans for some compliments now and again. But for the most the most part, many of us adults aspire to channel our energy and attention to a small few so that to not distract us from our goals and responsibilities that absorb much of our time. The majority of my network uses social media platforms mostly to post pictures of their animals, new furniture, DIY projects or children. Which leaves me with the conclusion we need to work even harder to tap into that self love and confidence at all costs, and here’s my How To Guide to get yours rolling!

1. Get Your Butt Outside

You don’t need to be the outdoorsy type or the adventurous weekend warrior-while these for many seem to be perfect opportunities for Social Media Content. The art of being outside doesn’t actually always have to be about gruelling hikes up mountains or even overtly physical at all. This time of year always offers up ways to draw you outdoors whether its doing yard clean up, gardening/planting, washing your car at home, or enjoying the dog park which by the way you don’t need to have one to still enjoy those playful paws. Take a book on a lunch break and have a coffee on an outdoor patio, or simply just people watch. Exchange smiles with new faces you pass by while you take in a new neighborhood stroll, popping in and out of local shops. How about dusting off the ol’ cruiser bike and taking it somewhere scenic outside your neighborhood, or organize a squad bike beer tour through downtown? You can even cook all your meals outside by BBQing as much as possible. There is movement and social interaction happening in all of these options that are sure to get your that much needed vitamin D and Dopamine back into that ailing spirit of yours.

2. Make your Meals Colorful

Spring and Summer months invite a broader range of delicious produce options, and there is a need to support our local farmers and markets even more than ever. According to the Hello Fresh Blog, our brains respond to light energy, aka color, by stimulating the pituitary and pineal glands. These endocrine glands regulate hormones like serotonin, which is responsible for making us feel happy. Research has shown that different colors also affect blood pressure, pulse, and respiration rates as well as brain activity and sleep/wake cycles. These color triggers set the mood for us to feel more energetic, happy, and relaxed and are strong enough to even have an effect on people who are blind!

Additionally it is mentioned that we are also influenced by the visual cue of color when it comes to our perception of how something will taste. Colorful food can influence our brain to create an expectation that specific colors will taste a certain way. For example, the more vibrantly colored a food is, the more intense we expect its flavor to be.

If you are even somewhat of a meal planner, aim to prepare meals that have at least 5 or more colors in them. Whether it be a pasta salad that is loaded with spinach, red onion, cherry tomatoes, orange peppers and Hemp Seed- the challenge of not duplicating color can offer a variety of nutritional benefits that boost your energy as well as fill you up with all the good stuff!

3. Dance to your Favorite music

I know I can’t speak for all, but as a result of my vegetative state along with the extra pounds I’ve packed on; movement can feel sometimes painful or uncomfortable. My joints and body need some time to recuperate and I can quickly become fed up if I take on something too rigorous. Additionally when the body hasn’t done any kind of significant exercise its not uncommon for you to experience muscle tightness and soreness that can also prevent you from being active the next day. Consistency is key when developing a habit, and getting active again can be admittedly hard enough without being reminded how out of shape you’ve allowed yourself to become. So start with movements that don’t feel like work, and help to loosen those hips and shoulders. Throw on a belly dancing tutorial, or flail around like I do to some House Anthems like its 2005 again. Many fitness apps offer short dance movement classes that are easy and fun to follow. If you are an Albertan like myself maybe you need to brush up on your line dancing and prepare yourself for Calgary Stampede festivities we have been missing.

For Classes Check out the Peleton App

History of Country Line Dancing That You Probably Didn't know - Dance Poise

4. Ditch the Scale

Just like our beloved Aaliyah sang how “Age Aint Nuthin But a Number”- so is your weight. Because just like age, you are as old as you feel and same goes for your weight. Our bodies listen to our negative self talk and also revolt when we put it under too much stress. Stress can significantly impact your ability to maintain a healthy weight. It can also prevent you from losing weight. Whether it’s the result of high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, unhealthy stress-induced behaviors, or a combination of the two, the link between stress and weight gain is glaring. Hovering over numbers on a digital scale completely derails and undermines the idea of being good to your body. Numbers on a scale can never reflect the fun we experience and sense of achievement when doing our bodies good. If you are not convinced then perhaps use how your clothes fit as a means of measurement, but whatever you do stay off the digital confidence killer.

Get off the scale!

Or consider an alternative like the Shapa Scale that keeps the positive elements of the scale while removing the negative ones. This unique system gives you feedback about your weight, but not in pounds.

Instead of sharing a number that provides little to no insight, Shapa gives you useful feedback through a more meaningful 5-point color system.

Blue = losing weight
Teal = starting to lose weight
Green = maintaining your weight
Light Gray = starting to gain weight
Dark Gray = gaining weight

Shapa looks at your trend over the past few days compared to the past few weeks to determine your color and lets you know if the changes you’ve been making recently are getting you closer to, or farther from, your goal.

5. Wear The Bathing SUit

There is no prep involved here. If its cute, wear it. If its a bikini, wear it. Then finish it off with some Sexy Sunnies to block the haters.

Plus Size Bikini Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

6. Don’t forget your Vitamins

Focus Supplements and Vitamins for ADHD: Zinc, Iron, Magnesium

I have a tendency to learn things the hard way, just like when I failed to get regular oil changes on my BMW. I came to find out after a very expensive lesson that things can’t run optimally without the combination of chemically engineered elements. Turns out our bodies are the same and can pay the price if we don’t fuel it properly with the nurtients and minerals it needs. Vitamins that support weightloss such as Vitamin B, Magnesium, Vitamin D, Iron, and Green Tea Extract all have vast benefits. Vitamins and Herbs that support energy are Vitamins B12, CoQ10, Rhodiola, Citrulline and Beetroot powder also compliment the need to fuel an increase in activity and movement.

A Series of Acts to Self Sufficiency: Playing Hard to Get with Society.

Every time I have experienced growth in my life there has been a lapse of time in the middle of it all that is nothing short of uncomfortable. In fact, I’ve often questioned whether its depression creeping its way in, unleashing a new unfamiliar way to torture me, as the solitude feels inauthentic to my character. But unlike depression where it can make one feel confined , isolated, and exhausted; the seclusion has in fact afforded me the privacy necessary for the next transition into a new chapter of the ever evolving “Me.” I think we have all experienced times where our friends wonder if we have fallen off the face of the earth, or experienced pure shock when when the life of the party turns down an opportunity to get out on the town. Some may even take it personal. And for this reason I probably spent more years than required trying to appease people’s expectations of me out of fear they may not understand that its not them it’s me. The “Me” that I have habitually put on the back burner, as to not hurt or disappoint anyone’s feelings. And to be fully authentic with you, there are freckles of self indulgence there as well, whereby I have always found pleasure in feeling needed or necessary in peoples lives. Meet Cece the Martyr. *eye roll

Nonetheless, I feel like the Pandemic has thrown me into a new wave of self evolution, whereby it has forced me to familiarize myself with the ability to be self sufficient in so many ways. With most of life’s distractions removed, namely a day to day peer network, I was left to my own devices. It is in my nature to become bored very easily and for me I became very bored with sharing my feelings of discouragement and the feeling of powerlessness over the pandemic and surrounding complexities. I became bored with talking about my ailing mental health, my feelings of loss and freedoms, and even more so, listening to others. It was like I hit a wall. I realized the wall I hit was in actuality my own resistance to let go of What Was, and begin to accept a new way of thinking as in What’s Possible for me.

Let me provide some context.

I was a young mother at the age of 22, who for the most part experienced motherhood on my own as my peers were busy doing things that typical 20 something year olds do. My experience was vastly different. When I reached the period in my life that I could afford the freedoms that I had missed out on, I was able to make up for lost time tenfold. I look back at these times with immense gratitude, as they were the best times of my life! Many of the friends I met along the way are now family, and we continue to spend hours laughing at the memories we shared. But like most good things, they sometimes have to come to an end. This was admittedly heartbreaking for me- I felt like I lost my limbs. I wasn’t ready to let go and I didn’t know who I was without them, in fact I didn’t know who I was without anyone.

For many of my friends they went on to get married, start young families, or build empires as if it was like it was always meant to be. It was like they morphed overnight, going from skinny dipping in fountains to banking on a solid 8 hour sleeps so they could be rested for their half marathons. I have literally watched for the last 20 years gaggles of unsuspecting friends be captured and sucked into the mystery in which they take on their roles so gracefully. Its like their souls seemed to be prepped to embrace the warm and inviting hug of change. It perplexed me because transition for me has always felt like an internal battle of the wills.

I’m not saying that I have never achieved growth through conscientious intention. My life has been sprinkled with deliberate achievements where I have been cognizant of the measures that lead me to building who I needed to be. In fact it would be that same sense of intention that fueled this fierce hyper-focused woman; hell-bent on clinging to what I assumed was the quintessence of who I am. That’s assuming the concept of our souls is a static force, whereby the flames require the same degree of fanning. Ultimately, I know over the years I’ve begun to stop building the metaphorical fire and trust that the hottest embers deep down still burn just as bright.

10 Outrageous Quotes from Sex and the City's Samantha Jones

But rather than get carried away with metaphors, what I’m trying to communicate is that I’ve experienced fear accepting and opening my heart up to the new ways that excite me. I have been terrified to let go, and the biggest release lately has been the decreased interest for human interaction. Admittedly my network has been gradually growing smaller for a multitude of reasons over the years but I could have never imagined that I’d find myself as a borderline recluse. And up until recently my biggest source of anxiety has been mainly around the question “Will I ever feel like myself again?”- As in will I ever get back to a place where the Inner Samantha Jones in me will reappear so we can resume scheduled programming. The kind of programming that I’m familiar with where I can predict the outcome, do my twirls, make the audience laugh, shake shit up, with the anticipated end of the night dip. It wasn’t that long ago that this version of me was alive and well, swinging from the Chandelier. So you can understand what a drastic change it is for me to feel pure joy and peace, tucked away in my little cocoon, leaving texts unread and calls unanswered.

As the saying goes Bad Habits Are Hard to Shake- Enjoyable behaviors can prompt your brain to release a chemical called dopamine. If you do something over and over, and dopamine is there when you’re doing it, that strengthens the habit even more. So that explains the lull, or the lapse in time when our brains are re-adjusting to new Dopamine triggered events. And also explains the new events in our lives that trigger pleasure that perhaps we never took the time to explore. I believe the outcome of establishing these new habits with ourselves is what creates the desired outcome of Self-Sufficiency.

To date I am happy to report that despite my resistance the act of being self sufficient has carried no adverse affects, in fact has inspired me to grow creatively in so many ways. I spend more time thinking about my future and actively committing to plans and ideas that inspire and push me in directions outside of my comfort zone. Time with myself has pushed me to take on new learning, as well as re-visit old passions around design, writing, and fashion. I have become more self reliant on my abilities to work indepedently on my own mental health, often focusing on not panicking and placing trust in myself to manage it more effectively. I often have to remind myself not every worry, fear, or pinch of sadness warrants attention, including my own. I have also learned to make the time with myself more enjoyable with adding music to my day when I’m alone, or taking time to make small talk with the strangers at the dog park wherein its just enough interaction to remind myself that I’m not alone, and brief enough as to not take away from the Me Time I’ve come to love. The desire to appease the masses and do the check ins is usually intentional- meaning I have control over the energy I give or have available. Its neither forced, or phony.

That being said, I feel while my experience has been somewhat organic, that going forward being mindful as to how to achieve this should be consciously maintained. I came across an article posted by Raven Ishak who outlined some helpful Tips in : 6 Ways To Be More Self-Sufficient that I thought may be helpful for anyone facing a similar circumstance that I have described above.

Establishing your personal space is vital to understanding who you are as a person. While it might be easy to depend on others for their opinions and help, it can become very unhealthy, and you can lose sight of your individuality if you’re not careful. Being self-sufficient can be scary, but it’s worth it. It can make you a strong, independent person who doesn’t need the validation of others. Even though it’s never a bad idea to ask for help, it’s important to try not to be solely dependent on your friends’ or family’s thoughts. For instance, if you’re the type of person who cannot make any big decisions before asking all of your friends their opinion or you’re extremely uncomfortable doing things alone, you just might be emotionally dependent on others. Instead of continuing this behavior, here are some tips on how to go down the path of being more self-sufficient.

1. Increase Your Self-Esteem

Sometimes becoming more self-sufficient means you need to look deep inside yourself. Are you proud of who you are? Do you feel confident in your everyday choices? Having higher self-esteem could be the special ingredient you’ve been looking for. According to clinical social work/therapist Chamin Ajjan in an email to Bustle, “A belief that you are unable to care for yourself without the help of others is often linked to low self-esteem. You can empower yourself by increasing self-esteem and self-compassion. Doing this while working to master new skills can help to reinforce that you have the ability to provide for your own well-being, making you more self-sufficient.”

2. Stop Asking For Permission From Others

Why give so much power onto others when you clearly have it within yourself to make good decisions? Being emotionally strong means you know the right decisions to make and are not afraid to make them. According to licensed clinical psychologist Kim Chronister in an email to Bustle, “The last thing you want to do when it comes to striving for emotional or intellectual independence is asking what others think about that idea. You risk losing your power and your motivation by asking everyone around you for permission to move forward with your idea.” Instead of asking others for permission, follow your gut and do what you already know you’re supposed to do. Because sometimes when you’re asking other’s for permission, you could already be seeking for the answer that you’re hoping they will say. Just listen to your heart and things may magically fall into place.https://856fe575a14dfe1f245f6652c5c619ec.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

3. Learn To Be Comfortable With Your Independence

As you grow up, you may go through some tough obstacles that will make you a strong, independent person. But sometimes life happens and you lose your sense of independence. For example, maybe you’ve just gotten out of a long-term relationship. Instead of finding someone else to depend on, do something that will get you out of your dependent funk. According to psychologist Dr. Nicole Martinez in an email to Bustle, “Develop a hobby, as you need to learn to be comfortable with your independent time. Learn good self care habits including getting enough sleep, eating well, taking time for yourself, and having a good work or school, and life balance.”

4. Be More Assertive

Wanting everyone to be happy is not a bad thing, but being a complete push-over is not, because let’s be real: Pleasing everyone is never going to happen. When you put other’s feelings in front of your own, you can lose focus on what you truly want out of life. According to Chronister, “Assertiveness is a trait that can combat feelings of emotional dependence. If we assert our feelings by telling others what we truly want from them, we not only gain more respect interpersonally, but we become more emotionally independent as a result. Assertiveness is an expression that conveys that your opinions and feelings hold the same weight as those of other people. Maintaining your stance, even if it opposes another’s, is a sign of emotional independence.

5. Comprehend What Causes Dependence

What if I told you that being dependent on others can actually be explained due to chemicals in your brain? Understanding how your brain works and why you become easily attached might help fix the emotional issue. According to Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD, in an email to Bustle, “Oxytocin is the brain chemical that makes mammals feel safe in the company of others. A gazelle’s oxytocin falls if it roams too far from the herd, and it starts feeling unsafe…When you know what causes this feeling, it’s easier to manage. You can tell yourself, ‘I am safe, even without the herd’ and find new ways to make yourself feel safe. But you have to do it again and again because your mammal brain keeps going there.”

6. Spend Time With Other People

It can be easy to become dependent on another person when you’re spending time with them 24/7. Even though you know the person like the back of your hand, it can become unhealthy if the thought of spending time with other people gives your anxiety. According to Chronister, “It’s healthy to have your interpersonal needs divided up so that you are not overly dependent on simply one parent, or your partner, or one friend etc. Renew your friendships, make new ones, spend time with healthy family members, and network so that your needs will be met by more than one person at once.”

Self-sufficiency is a beautiful behavior that everyone should try to achieve. It allows you to embrace your own thoughts and establish healthy habits, and while having relationships in your life is a factor that is much-needed, being completely dependent on them is not. If you have gone through a hard breakup or just need to reevaluate some life decisions, hopefully a few of step tips can help you achieve the independence you have been looking for.

In conclusion, if you are a person who has already realized this long ago, please continue to support the rest of us who are still accepting the power of self-sufficiency- or for a better word our Inner Introvert. I figured I’d leave a few jokes with you all who may need to laugh at themselves!

At the start of the pandemic, it was a good opportunity to tell wether I was an introvert or an extrovert.

Turns out, I’m just a pervert.

What do you call an extroverted snail?

A slug

A Husband And Wife Are Creating A Password On Their Computer

A husband and a wife are creating a password on their computer. The husband, being a confident, extroverted man, puts in “My Penis”. Although insecure and introverted, the wife falls on the ground and laughs because…

**The screen says “ERROR: Not Long Enough.”.*

I’m what you would call an anti-social extrovert.

That may sound like a contradiction, but it basically means that being alone makes me what to kill myself and I love it

.

Thanks for coming by! Don’t forget to Like, Comment and Share if you have Enjoyed what you’ve Read,

Relinquishing Independence and Inviting Interdependence: Understanding When its Safe to Let Go of Control.

Solo Vacation-Its a thing “Independent Women” Do.

This is a tough post to write because simply put, I’m pissed off. I never like to write when I’m upset because often my emotions at the best of times can be fleeting and reactive. And I am glad that I took the time to take a few days to cool off before publishing this post and took time the time to reflect upon what ignited my temper tantrum. You see, I feel more and more these days that my affinity for independence, has impeded on my ability to engage and trust in the idea of Interdependence- A term that up until recently seemed like a swear word.

To provide further insight to my inner workings, I am a deeply sensitive person, who has a history of being taken advantage of in previous romantic relationships, by friends, and family. Over the years I have become far more assertive in protecting my best interests, as these experiences have not only hurt but been a reminder that I often get tired of. These experiences have served only to reinforce the idea that the only person I can count on at the end of the day to protect my achievements, growth, and my value quite frankly is me. But what if this isn’t the case all the time?

Let me also just say before my loved ones read on and feel hurt by my unhinged thought processes, allow me to shine light on you first before I go any further. I do not want to minimize the people in my life that are amazing and loving supports who have been unwavering with their loyalty to me. Without them I would not be the reasonably sane person I am today. I feel like I belong and am important to those who show me love, kindness and thoughtfulness. They aspire me to continue being who I am in my most authentic form, and also why I’m writing this today. I believe it is my responsibility to address that no negative experiences from the past is going to discourage me from being who I love to be. They allow me the safety to love fearlessly- I’m in gratitude of that.

But as mentioned above sometimes I just get tired. You see, I have been indepedent for a very long time, long before I actually had developed the skills to actually carry that out sucessfully. I was a boarding school kid who’s parents lived on the other side of the world. For the longest time I had very little need for them and relied mostly on the company and guidance of my peers and teachers at the time. So when I ventured into the cold world of hard knocks, I was simply a lamb to the slaughter, naive to the dangers and cruelty that lay beyond the borders of my prestigious boarding school campus.

It would be through a series of really crappy life lessons learned that I’d finally figure out it that is was do or die if I did not do what was necessary in terms of creating some stability. Having a daughter at the age of 22 and being a single parent had a lot to do with motivating me to be my best ally in life. I had learned through some traumatic and life altering experiences that counting on people or believing in people was never a safe option- which in hindsight is really sad, and I don’t believe this to be true for everyone. I strongly believe that my mistrust is rooted in my own trauma, and am able to see examples of people who truly can be counted on. Read Here to Learn More.

When I consider examples of the term interdependence what comes to my mind is a few of my friends who are married/common-law. I would say “happily married,” but there are days I’m sure they’d disagree with that statement. I most certainly am not the one to make any judgements on marital bliss given my own track history. So I will stick with the topic and zero in on part of their marriages that is heavily rooted in their commitment to the partnership aspect of it. I percieve this like perhaps a running contract whereby they have developed some level dependability on the other person. As in, to know that if they fall, the other will catch them. If they loose their job, they will clothe and feed them. If they want to pursue their dreams, they will carry them until they succeed, or again…catch them if they fall. The freedom to raise their children as a stay at home mom or dad and know everything will be taken care of. And if I could be perfectly honest…the freedom to be a kept Woman/Man/preferred Pronouns* le sigh….one could always wish right? My dream would also include a nanny, a cook, a personal trainer and an on call therapist that also feeds me grapes while draped in fancy loungewear.

I digressed.

But as much as brood over this idea, I don’t actually believe I could ever be that woman. My experiences have defined me, and to be honest ruined me to ever accept a life of leisure. Underneath all that layered scar tissue lives a little twinkling light of wonder that glimmers with the thought of one day letting myself kick up my feet and letting Jesus take the wheel- but with Jesus being a man, I have my doubts even with the almighty…enough said.

As I dive deeper into my own self awareness on the subject, it is not independence that I’m flouting, it is Mistrust. The kind whereby I imagine I could make someone feel “not good enough” to take on the role of being my partner. Or perhaps giving the impression that the care I require from another could ever live up to the expectations I have set for myself. I also worry about my ability to live through another disappointment that at times in my life has almost annihilated me. Yet here I stand like a bronzed statue, weathered by the storms, blessed by the luck of the seagulls excrement; my placard almost illegible. Nobody knows what to think when they see a spectacle as grand and calamitous as this but maybe admire from a distance, maybe occasionally taking a photo with it. That pretty much sums up the bulk of why few have been brave enough to tackle exploring a partnership with me. They just don’t know where to start.

But like most good parties, pity parties too must come to an end. Just as I love to take care of the loved ones in my life, I need to allow others to take the opportunity to take care of me, even if I feel that they fall short at times. Not every man or woman is meant to be kept, just as every man or women is not meant to be keeper of others. Nor should I assume that the value behind the “keeping of each other” should be measured by the means that we often run too when we think of freedom, namely financial freedom. Although if I never had to work again, that it would sit okay with me!

According to Terry Gaspard, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, “Reliance on others can be healthy and affirming. The problem is that as children we weren’t always taught how to balance self-reliance with healthy interdependence.” Terry explains “On the surface, it’s wonderful to be independent, self-sufficient and resilient. But when you believe you must do everything for yourself, you create your own demise. It’s hard to let your partner in. It’s hard to give him/her room to come through for you. But if you are ever to enjoy the full nature of intimacy, you must. In small doses, self-reliance is positive. But when it pervades your approach to the world it can deprive you of true love, commitment and trust. To avoid this fate you must learn to reign in your self-reliance, to recognize when it prevents you from trusting in your partner, and to acknowledge when it denies your partner of everything you have to give.”

Dr. Willard Harley, a marriage counselor, defines interdependent behavior as activities of a spouse that are conceived and executed with the interests of both spouses in mind. He maintains that certain levels of dependence in intimate relationships can be beneficial and promote emotional closeness.

6 Steps to Achieving Interdependence

1. Take ownership if you are too self-reliant. If it’s extreme, pinpoint the source of it and examine your thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs.

2. Challenge your beliefs and attitudes about accepting nurturing and support from your partner. Resist the urge to be self-reliant around hot-button issues such as money, work, or family matters — like how you celebrate holidays or vacations.

3. Visualize yourself in an honest and open relationship and work toward allowing yourself to be more vulnerable with your partner — a critical aspect of intimacy.

4. Remind yourself daily that it’s healthy to accept help from others and a sign of strength rather than weakness. This might also apply to your work setting.

5. Develop a policy of joint agreement if you are in a relationship. This term, coined by Dr. Harley, describes an agreement couples make to resist making decisions without an enthusiastic agreement between them and their partner — especially important ones that impact both people.

6. Adopt a mindset that it’s good to count on your partner. Believe that you can share your deepest feelings with him/her and it will promote healthy attachment, trust and intimacy. You must let them in and embrace the idea that you don’t have to go through life alone.

Dependence is often seen as a dirty word in our culture. It conjures up images of weakness and insecurity. But certain levels of dependence in intimate relationships can be helpful and sustaining. Intimacy serves to help illuminate parts of oneself never truly realized. Healthy partnerships bring out the best in people, because when they feel safe and loved, they are free to grow and explore who they are as human beings. Instead of depending on a partner, we need to seek interdependence. We must believe that we do not have to go through life alone.

“Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that, the better for us all.”

― Erik H. Erikson

As I suspected, in being overly self-reliant, I must remember that by allowing myself to depend on others, I can help develop autonomy and strength. Revealing vulnerability with my partner, has never been the issue, its the “what’s next part” that has always scared me. What if they think I’m crazy, or what will they do with this info? Will they use this to hurt me or use against me? Will they magnify my weknesses and silence my strengths? Or alternatively will Letting go of control, fear and other intense emotions help to make my relationships more solid.

Only time can tell as I grow more secure in the idea that others love me,. To accept that independence and love do not need to exist on separate planes.

When you depend on others, you are at your strongest. I will take this forward with me as I relinquish some control and communicate faith in others ability to “Take Care of Me.”

Bedroom Escape Day: A list of Bedroom Activities for When the World is Sucking too Badly

My bedroom has always been my safe haven, my Cubbie Hole of Bliss you could say. And not just because for the obvious reasons *wink *wink, but there is something to be said about the calming effect it has on my spirit when I just need a break. Over the years I’ve mastered the art of soft lighting and luxurious textiles that caress my weathered skin, hungry for some solitude and kindness. Now that the snow has fallen my desire to batten down the hatches has grown even more so, drawing my blinds closed until the Spring.

As I mentioned before, by no means do I associate time to my bedroom as a place where I skulk and withdraw from Joy. In fact its where I come to recharge, free myself from the distractions and negativity in a space I can control. Every now and again I use it specifically for a day when I need to filter out the world a bit and get some reprieve from the ugly; Calgary weather included. When I’m in my fortress of solitude I don’t just lay in my bed with my covers pulled over my head like you may have imagined. In fact it may be some of the most productive time that I spend with myself. Some may wonder how is it possible to stay so busy and entertained within such a small space let alone by oneself. Well let me put you on to some simple ideas that you may want to consider next time you want a break from the world.

This idea came to me almost 10 years ago and has stuck ever since. It was rooted in nostalgia originally from my days in high school and university where we’d rotate stacks of fashion magazines. It seems like when social media took over and magazines/gossip could be accessed more readily online that the fascination with print died. In a genius move, I brought it back for days like this. I’d buy the Cosmopolitan, People, Vogue, and Rolling Stone to name a few. I’d read them from back to front like I had 20 years ago because we all know the juicy stuff was in the back. I love coming across the perfume tester pages so that I could rub its papery fragrance all over me like I was headed to a 7th grade dance hoping to score my first French kiss. But what is a stack of magazines without a bag of Twizzlers- its not so grab two!

Run yourself a professional bath- my bathroom is open concept so technically its still in my room. The decorative candles bordering your soaker tub that may have a layer of dust on them-Light those Puppies! For gods sake candles are meant to burn, and they aren’t an ambient accent unless they are lit sis. Next, throw on some kick ass jazz or whatever tunes get you singing along sorrowfully. For me its Nina Simone, Lana Del Ray, Tash Sultana, or my ultimate fave; 80’s Hair Band Ballads. Those you can really murder the best with your angelic voice as loudly as unnecessarily possible. I love a good ol’ sing along to some Guns and Roses Don’t Cry. I imagine you’ll remember lyrics that you hadn’t sang since you were backcombing your bangs and getting spiral perms. When your done, make sure you moisturize the hell out of your body with every miracle cream that’s under your sink and lay there butt ass naked until every fragrant globule of magical serum is absorbed. You may look like a buttered biscuit, but guess what, buttered biscuits are delicious.

Make yourself a snack platter you can graze on all day. It needs to be complete with all the cheeses, meats, dips, olives, bits and bites. Include some fruits to cut the salt intake, it will make you feel like you are indulging in a healthy way. Hell, even make yourself a jug of spa water and finish that up to ensure you are adequately hydrated as the goal here is to rejuvenate and recharge.

Do something creative whether its writing a blog, sketching, brainstorming interior design ideas, or coming up with small business ideas. These often can manifest themselves into bigger goals in the future that could materialize into new passions. Perhaps write a poem, or get out an old cute note book and jot down some free thought words. Let your mind go a bit and do something maybe out of the ordinary. Maybe you like nail art, try doing something different with your nails by watching a you tube tutorial on it. Or learn a new braid and practice it in the mirror. These are all little things that we often too busy for in our lives to consider as being alternatively mindless but pleasant ways to spend time with yourself.

Play dress up. Get into that closet of yours and drag out the items you don’t wear often. Try to put new outfits together with these items that you can get excited about when you emerge from your Cubbie of Bliss. In fact while your in there, organize a weeks worth of outfits ahead of time. If your up for it you can take it up a notch and do a full runway show, documenting how freaking amazing your style is and celebrating your ability to repurpose that sequined blazer you wore once at a new years party 5 years ago. Sequins never die queens.

Put on an old 80’s movie and fall asleep to it. Go sweetly into a wonderland of REM sleep that’s influenced by the movies white noise guiding your Adventures in Babysitting, or perhaps a day off with Bueller. For some reason I feel like these naps are best had in jeans…odd suggestion I know, but how often do we get to sleep in our day clothes? I find denim warm and all encompassing, holding me together like a hug I consented too. There is an underlying feeling of unfamiliarity napping in the daytime with my clothes on…it’s laziness coming to fruition, not something I personally can always enjoy without guilt. But in the Cubbie of Bliss, there are no rules and there is no guilt because here you can spend the day however you wish.

So as you can see I have some unique ideas tailored to my own personal comforts and quirks. They are merely a guide to ignite your own exploration around finding ways to be with yourself if you struggle to sit in isolation but feel weary from the world around you. In fact I came across an article in Forbes stating that there are 7 Science Based Reasons Why Should Spend More Time Alone.

According to Amy Moren, a psychotherapist and the international bestselling author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do there are a multitude of studies that tout the benefits of solitude.

1. Alone time increases empathy. 

When you spend time with a certain circle of friends or your co-workers, you develop a “we vs. them” mentality. Spending time alone helps you develop more compassion for people who may not fit into your ‘inner circle.’

2. Solitude increases productivity.

Although so many offices have started creating open floor plans so everyone can communicate more easily, studies show being surrounded by people kills productivity. People perform better when they have a little privacy.

3. Solitude sparks creativity.

There’s a reason a lot of authors or artists want to go to a cabin in the woods or a private studio to work. Being alone with your thoughts gives your brain a chance to wander, which can help you become more creative.

4. Being alone can help you build mental strength.

We’re social creatures and it’s important for us to have strong connections with other people. But, solitude may be just as important. Studies show the ability to tolerate alone time has been linked to increased happiness, better life satisfaction, and improved stress management. People who enjoy alone time experience less depression.

5. Solitude may reduce behavior problems in kids.

When you carve some solitude in your schedule you show your children that being along is a healthy thing to do. And research shows kids who learn to by themselves are better behaved than other children. Be a good role model and teach solitary skills early.

6. Being alone gives you an opportunity to plan your life.

Most people spend a lot of time planning weddings and vacations but never plan how to get the most out of life. Spending time alone can give you a chance to ensure there’s a purpose to all of your hustling and bustling. Quiet space provides an opportunity think about your goals, your progress, and changes you want to make in your life.

7. Solitude helps you know yourself.

Being alone helps you become more comfortable in your own skin. When you’re by yourself, you can make choices without outside influences. And that will help you develop more insight into who you are as a person.

Thank you for continuing to read, follow and comment on my unique brand of crazy tales and thoughts! Lett me know in the comment section what you love to do in solitude!

Surviving Social Work in Pandemic: A Practice Model in Staying Well

I had created this presentation for my unit about 2 months into the Pandemic. Probably the only time ever in my long career to take on an ass kissing task like this. Admittedly, I was struggling to get my footing and I knew that this slow period needed to be spent in a meaningful type of way. So the social worker in me decided to social work myself and put this helpful guide together for others alike.

Approaching Wellness From a Canadian Indigenous Framework

The Medicine Wheel: Organizing our Wellness

How Can We Lead or Support Our Teams if We Are Struggling too?

“Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.”

Lets Begin

Spirituality

“Solitude is the great teacher, and to learn its lessons you must pay attention to it.” ~ Deepak Chopra

Spirituality as a Support to Mourning and Grieving; Identify those losses in your life and all that you are missing. Create idea pin boards, lists of restaurants, places you want to travel, bucket list plans, or even festivals you want to attend. These will all contribute to a sense of hope by changing your lens that some of these losses are just temporary and better times are ahead.

Connect with others who are passionate about the same issues.  Whether it’s your self-care buddies, community of care, or a local organization or campaign you are volunteering for, surround yourself with people who can understand how you feel. Venting alone doesn’t help, combine complaining with action! Get into the practice of walking away during your Venting/Complaining Sessions with action items of how to constructively do something about the things we want to see changed.

Put good deeds back into the universe—directly. Focus on creating that human connection, on giving back and showing others that there is still kindness in the world. Balance your self-care with a healthy dose of kindness activism.

Curate your methods of staying informed. Truly evaluate how much news you are absorbing and be mindful of how the news affects you—physically, mentally and emotionally. Almost two years ago, I decided to stop getting my news from television. Turn off all but one of the push notifications on my phone in order to limit interruptions during the day.

Give myself permission to cry. Anticipate the ebb and flow of emotions that go along with the adaptation processes.  Feeling sad, disheartened, or downright hopeless at times is a commonality among us all.

Incorporate Prayer/Meditation/Breathing Exercise’s in the morning and at night if you are struggling to manage the anxiety, worries and restlessness.

Consider What’s in Front of You. Pay attention to what is simply visibly present around us that blesses us each day

Examples:
Did you tackle a recipe that you’ve been meaning to try, or bake a cake from scratch that actually turned out?
Did you hit the lottery and able to find Lysol Wipes or toilet paper at the store?
Were you able to finally transition from your day pajamas to wearing pants for your zoom/skype meetings?
Is your family safe with you at home?
Is the isolation and social distancing giving you more time to make room for other things that never had time for before?

Don’t minimize your accomplishments as small as they may seemingly be.

Try some for yourself!

And Most Importantly…Don’t Forget to Laugh

Physically:

“Did my FitBit  really only count 932 steps today?”

•Create a space in your home to work in(outside of your bedroom), and make it your own by filling it with things that bring you joy. Ensure your set up properly so you have all the items you need from forms, technology, and equipment.

•Ensure you are taking wellness breaks by getting up, walking, cycling, gardening or spending time in your drive-way chatting to the neighbor across the street. Included in this may also look like trips to the fridge for a snack. These steps count!

•Schedule time for Fitness in your day: Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned athlete, now is the time to get moving. Not only will it improve your energy, but boost your immune system in times we need to stay healthy.

•Now is the time to take your vitamins and eat as much nutrient rich foods as you can. Sun is also a great source of Vitamin D- Take your computer and sit in the sun when you can, to avoid an unnecessary trip to the pharmacy.

You’re Hella Canadian if you grew up with these two!

Free Fitness Resources/Apps

´1. RUNTASTIC

Running, jogging, biking – it doesn’t matter how you train, keeping track of your workouts is essential. Runtastic allows you to set goals, uses a built-in GPS to record routes in real-time, and even lets you share your successes with your friends.

PERKS OF RUNTASTIC

The app syncs with Apple Music to offer high tempo playlists for true musical motivation

By tracking your mileage, Runtastic guages what wear and tear your trainers are enduring

´2. ASANA REBEL: YOGA AND FITNESS

You don’t have to be a full-blown ‘yogi’ to use Asana Rebel. This handy little fitness app offers the perfect introduction to the regime. Rather than bombarding you with annoying notifications, you get a green dot on the built-in calendar when you train. You also get two new workouts every day so you’ll never get stuck doing the same old routine.

PERKS OF ASANA REBEL

When you first login to the app – using Facebook or an email – you’ll see a screen that asks you to ‘unlock’ the premium version. Don’t be fooled. You can still use the free option by simply clicking the exit button at the top of the screen.

´3. MYTRAINING WORKOUT TRACKER LOG

MyTraining packs a selection of helpful training videos, a routine log, and a handy calendar feature, but that’s not all. Technology may have come a long way, but you just can’t beat support from world class coaches. That’s exactly what this tracking app offers.

PERKS OF MYTRAINING

Got a burning question about your workout? Simply open the chat feature and speak to a certified coach in minutes.

´4. MY VIRTUAL MISSION

Are you in need of some workout motivation? If your current exercise is less-than-inspiring, My Virtual Mission may be the app for you. Use it to create the virtual fitness route of your dreams – literally. If you can imagine a route, the app can create it.

PERKS OF MY VIRTUAL MISSION

If you have a desired route in mind, the app will tell you how many miles that is and set a goal for you.

When you’ve completed the route, you can even send a virtual postcard to your contacts to show off.

5. COUCH TO 5K RUNNER

The hardest part of any run is taking that first step. Couch to 5K offers running novices all the advice, support, and help they could possibly need. The NHS program claims to get people off the couch and running in just nine weeks.

PERKS OF COUCH TO 5K RUNNER

Great for easing you into your new regime, so you can realistically work your way from a 15-minute route to a 5K run

Each workout is guided by a voice over from the likes of Olympian Michael Johnson to BBC presenter Jo Whiley

6. DAILY WORKOUTS FITNESS TRAINER

Ideally, staying fit and healthy means hitting the gym or track regularly. However, sometimes, you may not have the chance to get out nor the time to dedicate to it. The Daily Workouts Fitness Trainer app means you can exercise well in the comfort of your own home.

PERKS OF DAILY WORKOUTS FITNESS TRAINER

You can choose which area of your physique you’d like to target and the app offers a simple yet effective five to 30-minute workout that fits the bill

The uniquely genius thing about this app is it’s simplicity. Download it, pick a discipline, and get working

7. FITBOD WEIGHT LIFTING TRAINER

If the CrossFit phenomenon has inspired you, you’re not alone. More men and women are lifting weights than ever. When giving this regime a shot, Fitbod Weight Lifting Trainer is the ideal app. The step-by-step nature of the program makes planning an effective strength training workout effortless.

PERKS OF FITBOD

The more you use the app, the more it understands your abilities and the challenges you face

You can tailor your workouts to suit your training style and the available equipment too

Free Dance Apps/Websites

Apps for IOS/Android 

 Top 20 Free Dancing Apps To Learn Dance On Android And iOS Device1.1 Crazy Flamenco Rumba Dance

´1.2 ElfYourself ´

1.3 Just Dance Now

´1.4 Step Dance ´

1.5 Hip Hop Dance

´1.6 Pole Dance Lessons

´1.7 Pocket Salsa

´1.8 Dancing elf

´1.9 Face Dance

´1.10 Animate Yourself 3D

´1.11 Belly Dance Fitness

´1.12 Animate Me

´1.13 NinjaMe

´1.14 Hip Hop Dance School

´1.15 STEEZY Studio

´1.16 DWM

´1.17 Learn Bhangra

´1.18 Santa’s Christmas Dance

´1.19 Baby Hazel Ballerina Dance

´1.20 Dance School Stories

Emotional:

“REMEMBER, IT’S HUMAN TO FEEL HOPELESS.”

The National Center for Emotional Wellness defines this term as an awareness, understanding, and acceptance of your emotions, and your ability to manage effectively through challenges and change.

Emotional Wellness is so important there is even a whole month dedicated to this, can anyone guess what month that is?

For the most part, being human means having challenges and problems; however, it’s all about how you deal or cope with those issues that determines your emotional wellness.

It’s about embracing all the goodness in your life and looking at your glass as half-full rather than half-empty

Lets do a test-
Are you maintaining a good sense of emotional wellness?

1)Living in the present, without excessive worry about the future or rumination about the past?

2)Do you feel connected to others?

3)Self compassion?

4)Have you been holding on to grudges and been unforgiving?

5)Do you feel that you have been thinking rationally?

6)Do you feel in control of your own feelings, thoughts and actions?

7)Can you laugh at life and yourself? 8)Have you felt grateful lately?

Intellectually:

How do we stay sharp when the World’s been flipped upside down on us?

Defining Intellectual Wellness

Intellectual wellness encourages us to engage in creative and mentally-stimulating activities. These activities should expand your knowledge and skills while allowing you to share your knowledge and skills with others.

Intellectual wellness can be developed through academics, cultural involvement, community involvement and personal hobbies.

Why is Intellectual Wellness Important?

Intellectual wellness encourages learning. It is important to explore new ideas and understandings in order to become more mindful and better-rounded. Having an optimal level of intellectual wellness inspires exploration. Intellectual wellness also stimulates curiosity. Curiosity is important because it motivates you to try new things and develop an understanding of how you see the relationship between yourself, others and the environment.

The Route to Intellectual Wellness

Be open to new ideas, new cultures, new knowledge, new skills and new environments. When you have an open mind, the world is truly yours. This allows you to explore issues relating to problem solving, critical thinking, learning and creativity. Below is a list of suggestions for you to adopt in order to enhance your intellectual wellness.

Listen. When you participate in active listening you are able to fully comprehend the information that is being given to you.

Pick up a hobby. Hobbies are great ways to increase your skill set. They can also be fun!

Express your creative side by exploring different avenues of creativity and artistic expressions.

Sessions that support Intellectual Wellness

´Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction: Mindfulness is seeing things more clearly, and paying attention moment to moment to moment. When you are mindful, you notice what is happening—as it is happens. This creates a space, a pause in which you can respond considerately to situations, rather than react. Creative possibilities open up; new ways of being with life’s challenges can present themselves.

´Transformational Coaching: Together we will identify the specific steps to make your dreams a reality. In addition, we will overcome fear, self-doubt and find the clarity needed to make the changes you desire. And finally, we will co-create strategies and your plan to reach your goals so you can achieve and have a well balanced life.

Steps to Achieve or Maintain Intellectual Wellness

´Read. There are good books, newspaper articles, essays from the internet that can be read by anyone. Through reading, your comprehension skill is challenged and it widens vocabulary that would equip you with the new development around.

´Listen to good music and radio program. It is found therapeutic to listen to positive music because it calms the emotions and decreases the risk of stress.

´Watch positive TV programs and videos. Choose informative videos and not the ones that corrupt the mind or infuse negative ideas. This way, you will absorb positive energy that enhances the ability to think.

´Be creative. When there is an activity to do, challenge yourself to make something new and different, not the one you are accustomed to, to see how far your mental ability can go.

´Desire to continue learning. Always challenge yourself to learn something new to keep your brain active and be curious to what is unknown to you.

´Attend seminars or workshops. This will help you gain new ideas that are seldom included in the books you buy. You will also improve your social wellness by meeting people and gaining new friends.

´Eat a well-balanced diet. Proper nutrition is significant for the brain to function well and avoid mental stresses that may cause additional health problems.

Questions to consider as we go forward into a continuum of change and time of uncertainty…

Reflect on some of the old habits that were no longer serving purpose to you. What were they? How did they impact your self-care and wellness. What will happen if you let go of them?

What Habits have you acquired during the pandemic that have been beneficial and what is your plan to continue it?

Identify times, actions, or accomplishments that demonstrated strength and resilience in yourself? Can you share this with your team?

How have you grown or changed in reference to the 4 quadrants of the medicine wheel in the last 2 months? Where do you see areas that need attention? How can your leadership support this?