live it active


Hate your job? Maybe you don’t have to…

Find getting up in the morning a struggle? Can’t stand your boss? You’re not alone. Many others feel the same as you. And like you, press onward hoping to go upward.

The post, Take This Job and Love it on Psychology Today is an oldie, but a goodie. It briefly discusses 5 things you can do to help make your days at work a little easier.

I believe it is important to find peace in and at work as we spend close to the majority of our waking hours doing so.

The more we fume and whinge about work, the greater our stress level. The greater our stress, the more physically and mentally unhealthy we can become.

Happy peace finding.

M


Have a “Happy Hour” Tonight

No, I don’t mean with booze (but you could…). I mean an hour (or half if you are limited on the time front) of doing something that makes you happy.

Let me be clear, this does not refer to happiness derived from getting all the chores completed on your To-Do list.  Yet, if doing chores brings you incredible bliss (like performing the actual chore itself) than I guess I can’t stop you. I want you to spend the time doing something (which may involve doing nothing) that you rarely have time to do, but always want to do.

This may be reading, cooking, writing poetry, singing, exercising, meditating, lying on the couch, watching a movie, taking a walk, going for a drive, getting an ice cream, making lasagna, going shopping, dusting off your stamp collection, etc.

If a happy hour is not possible tonight, aim to accomplish it sometime this week or weekend. And my goodness, if you can’t find one hour for yourself over the course of a week, perhaps you should be taking a deep and dark look at your schedule. Perhaps it is a little too packed? Just a thought…

Happy happy hour.

M


Favourite Recipe Friday

Good morning!

This is one of our favourite recipes (as the title of the post suggests). If you want something tasty, easy, and fairly nutritious, Moroccan Chicken is the dish for you.

What you’ll need:

6-8 chicken thighs (boneless/skinless)

1 cup salsa

1/4 cup chicken broth

2 tsp Tabasco sauce

2 tsp honey

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder

1/2 tsp saffron threads (not necessary)

5 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup golden raisins (I use dried cranberries as raisins bother me for some reason)

1/3 cup toasted almonds (throw in the microwave for 2 minutes to toast)

 

What you do:

Put the chicken in the Crock-Pot, throw in all the other ingredients on top and cook on low for 6-8 hours. We have a hot Crock-Pot so I typically put every recipe on simmer if it is going to be cooking the entire day.

Serve with quinoa or rice.

This recipe is most definitely a crowd pleaser and the best part, you can make it in a Crock-Pot. Yeah for Crock-Pots!

M

References:

O’Dea, S. 2009. Make it Fast, Cook it Slow. New York: Hyperion.


Wednesday Workout Tip: Invest in a Foam Roller

This is my second post regarding foam rollers – largely because I think they are useful stretching tools. Check out this video for instruction on proper form and different techniques.

Happy foam rolling.

M

P.S. I have to shout out to Tina at A.C.P. Rehab in Guelph for posting this on her blog. Check it out!


Why the Body Mass Index (BMI) Doesn’t Cut It

Ever calculated your body mass index (BMI)? Were you surprised at the result? Ever wondered what it means? If the measure is accurate?

If you answered yes to ANY of the questions above, I would encourage you to read the article on BMI by Dr. Janiszewski, co-founder of the well-known blog site, Obesity Panacea.

Now, when the topic of BMI arises at your dinner table, with your physician or personal trainer you’ll have an idea of what they’re talking about. Even better – you’ll have three valid arguments in your back pocket as to why BMI just doesn’t cut it.

M


Why growing up is hard and why no one ever talks about it

I appreciate that this topic is fairly off piste, however, it has been on my mind as of late. Yet, growing up/becoming a fully independent adult can be very stressful and I talk about stress a lot – its short- and long-term side effects, how to manage it better through exercise, diet, and mindfulness, etc.

As a fully functioning, independent adult you are expected to do all of the following while appearing to outsiders that you have it together, completely:

1. Work a full-time job, pay your bills on time to ensure that you maintain an excellent credit score. As a teen you were probably unaware of what a credit score was. Now it keeps you up at night.

2. Transport yourself to and from the job via some sort of machine. Your own two legs is of course, acceptable if you work within 2-3 km of your office.

3. Eat. Most of us know how to do this, but as an adult you now have to plan your meals, purchase the food to make the meal, make the meal, eat the meal, clean up after the meal and then prepare for your next meal. If you have kids this is 10x harder as you may need to prepare separate meals for each child and/or yourself. And to make it even more of a challenge, you’re expected to eat healthily which, as most fully independent adults will know, costs WAY more than eating KD, popcorn, and Pizza Pockets. If you choose the latter foods, you are likely to gain weight, feel like garbage and eventually have to spend money on improving your health…

4. Clean. No, not just your bedroom. As a kid/teen cleaning your bedroom seemed like the biggest accomplishment and you even got a couple of bucks for it. Now, you get to the clean the entire house for free. Yippee!

5. Dress yourself. Most of us know how to put on our undergarments, pants, a shirt, and some socks – fairly straightforward stuff. Well, if you’re working, you need work clothes. And work clothes typically require dry cleaning, hand-washing, or some other laborious cleaning method. Don’t forget about your non-work clothes as they require washing as well. Nobody likes a stinky Sam.

6. Maintain your personal hygiene. This ties in with the Stinky Sam concept – you need to shower, every day. Showering and getting ready for your day is not much different from when you were a teen so this shouldn’t be too intimidating a task. It’s just that when you’re a teen you’re obsessed with looking good and you don’t mind spending time in front of the mirror. As an independent adult and potentially a parent, all you care about is getting enough mocha java in your system to make it through the day – hair done or not. Oh, and you have to remember to floss as your teeth are starting to decay. Gross.

7. Be healthy. You must also find the time to run, swim, play intramurals, meditate, eat nutritious and wholesome foods everyday, limit your caffeine and alcohol intake, etc., etc., etc.

8. Be nice to other fully functioning, independent adults. As an adult you cannot throw temper tantrums. You cannot yell at people in public. You cannot hit, bite, or kick others who are in your way. As a child such behaviours were still inappropriate, but typically brushed aside with a small reprimand. If you were to behave in such a manner as an adult (and I know you all want to sometimes), you would receive the Crazy Cat label and nobody wants to be the Crazy Cat. So while you may want to smack your coworker in the face and/or kick the person who butted ahead of you in the grocery store line, you can’t.

9. Appear to have it all figured out. On top of everything I have already mentioned, you must appear to have adulthood completely figured out. You do this by posting pictures of you and your friends, partner, family on Facebook, Twitter or whatever social medium you prefer. You display your amazing/awesome adventures for all to see, you talk about your recent awards, interactions, conversations. I do this and you do this. We all do this. We do this because we so desperately want others to think that WE are the ones to have it figured out, and yet we know that we don’t. But if we were to share that we don’t have it together, we run the risk of rejection, yes? And rejection, to any social animal which we humans are, is the worst punishment of all.

10. Find time for pleasure. There are some benefits to adulthood, don’t get me wrong. One of them is the freedom to choose what activities you get to participate in. As a child/teen, your mom or dad may have coerced you into the sport or activity of their childhood. You may have had to sing in choir with a bully for an instructor or take piano lessons from a lover of pot-bellied pigs. “Not anymore”, you shout. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to when it comes to activities for pleasure. This is one major bonus of being an adult. The only downside – you rarely have any free time to partake in such activities.

The take away message  – try to stay a kid/teen forever. You will have regular access to food, not have to worry about making rent, and someone to do your laundry (maybe).

All joking and sarcasm aside, being an adult is tough, but we could all work together to make it less tough. We could talk to one another about the transition from teenagerhood to becoming a fully independent adult. We could be more open and honest about our struggles. It’s comforting to know that others are going through the same motions and emotions as you – that you are not alone on this journey into adulthood.

M


“If your fear is about the non-existent (past/future), your fear is 100% imaginary”

This video ties in beautifully with my recent focus on mindfulness meditation.

Happy pondering.

M


Wednesday Workout Tip: Watch your form

Proper form is imperative to getting the biggest bang for your buck when exercising. A friend and fitness trainer extraordinaire recently provided me with some great tips on how to get the right form when performing exercises such as squats, lunges, and forward row.

Today’s tip – watch the movement of your hip when doing a forward or backward lunge. More specifically, be careful that the hip of the forward leg does not bulge outward, away from your centre line. Note: this is going to be more of a problem for beginners, however, intermediates and experts should always be checking their form.

If you’re doing the move incorrectly than you are not going to receive maximum benefit. Furthermore, you run the risk of injury.

All in all, bad form is bad form.

What can you do? Put the palm of your hand (the hand on the same side as the forward leg) on the same side glute. Your hand will act as a reminder and hopefully prevent that hip bulge.

M

Thanks to Lisa Armstrong, RD PTS who provided this tip!


14 Activities for You and Your Lovey Dovey

Happy St. Valentine’s Day!

Need a few activity ideas for you and your sweetie? Look no further…

1. Skating at City Hall (Hello…can we say romantic?)

2. Strolling along the Speed or whatever river/body of water happens to be close

3. Going on a magical winter sleigh ride

4. Taking the dog (or just yourselves) for a walk in the countryside

5.  Cross-country skiing through your local park (I saw a gentleman doing this on Sunday morning)

6. Walking downtown for a hot chocolate/coffee/hot toddy

7. Doing hot yoga together. While this may seem a little off the wall, hot yoga is relaxing and can be (if you’re me) emotional (nice emotional, not scary emotional). Sharing this experience with your partner may actually be quite lovely. The hard part will be just getting them there.

8. Sharing a kiss…

9.  Going tobogganing. Buy a $5 crazy carpet and hit your local hill.

10. Go downhill skiing together. If you’re stuck in Ontario, I feel your pain. The hills are fairly brutal. However, if you have a good partner to go with, any sized hill can be a blast.

11.  Go to the spa together. Again, this may take some convincing, but I encourage you to try. Spa Scandinave, located at Blue Mountain, Whistler and Tremblant, is one that I highly recommend.

12. Make your own spa at home. If you can’t afford the hot baths of Spa Scandinave, create your own retreat.

13. Plan, purchase and prepare a meal together.

14. Go for a light jog around the block together. Anything is better than nothing.

I tried to focus on active activities, however, a few non-active ones slipped in. The most important aspect of doing something together is to find something you both enjoy. This can be challenging if you are quite different people, but it can be accomplished – I promise.

Happy Love Day.

M

Picture courtesy of epSos.de


Is finding inner peace possible?

This post marks the first of many that will focus on the concepts of inner peace, mindfulness meditation, and the pursuit of eternal happiness. I have already written a number of posts on mindfulness meditation, however, I have yet to write about how to go about being mindful on a more regular basis. I have provided very little guidance on the subject which is something I hope to change over the next few weeks.

Recently, my friend and former lab mate was published in the Globe & Mail. The article, “Why was it so frustrating trying to find inner peace?” chronicles Peter’s brief, albeit powerful  exposure to meditation. Peter discusses the challenges of meditation and highlights the importance of finding the right teacher. As there are many different paths to enlightenment available to you, finding the right trail and guide is extremely important. Thus, if one particular path and/or guide does not work for you, follow Peter’s example, try another.

After four days of nightly meditation sessions with Sandeh, his new and improved meditation guru, Peter experienced a silencing of his mind.

“For the first time in my life, my mind is silent. Although it lasts for only a second, the experience is remarkable.”

At the end of his four days with Sandeh, Peter asked her why she kept the White Lotus (her meditation centre) so elusive and “…she replied with a smile, ‘The right people always manage to find me'”.

While Peter’s interlude with inner peace is profound, I believe Sandeh’s comment to be more so. The path to inner peace is long, winding, and can be marred in fog on a regular basis. The road to eternal happiness can induce feelings of defeat, despair, and anger. It is not for those looking for a quick-fix. It is not for those who have been coerced into it. This path is for those who are ready and in my opinion, “the right people” are those that are ready. It would seem, that Peter was ready.

As the saying aptly summarizes, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”.

More on this later…

M


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