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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 21: Decreasing Exposure to EMF's in the Bedroom


I don't know when it started but I began leaving my cellphone and tablet on my bedside table overnight or sometimes, if I fell asleep before moving them, they would be on the bed beside me.   I am sure that having a cellphone on the bedside table overnight is a common phenomenon especially if it is used as an alarm clock.  However, for Day 21, I want to try to decrease the EMF's in the bedroom.  I know that there is a growing body of evidence that shows the deleterious effects of longterm exposure to high levels of EMF's.  WiFi devices that are on all night long and constantly polling for a signal emit a large quantity of EMF's which can lead to poor quality sleep amongst other things.  My sleep has been terrible for months and anything that can improve it would be a boon.  As well, every time there is a notification, I just can't resist checking my phone even if it is the middle of the night.  It is as if I have fallen into the trap of FOMO without even realizing it.  So from now on, I can going to make a conscious effort to turn them off at night or, at the very least, place them as far away from the bed as possible.  Even if you don't believe in the downside of EMF exposure, if you use your phone as an alarm clock, placing it far away from the bed will force you to get up on time instead of hitting the snooze button over and over again.  So win, win!

Stay tuned as we cruise towards the last leg of the Challenge!  Now is your chance to include any suggestions in the comments!


30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 20: Vitamins and Supplements


For Day 20 of the Challenge, I want to chat a little about supplements.  Now I want to be clear and state that I am not a healthcare professional and I am just doing what feels right for me.  Everyone has different needs and requirements and, if in doubt, please use common sense and consult an expert.  So now that's out of the way, let's carry on!  There was a time when I tried and tried to take a vitamin supplement, usually in the form of a daily multivitamin.  But a few days in and I would get a persistent low grade headache which would not go away.  Later, I realized that the headache was similar to the headaches one gets when doing a detox cleanse.  I could never get past it even though I knew that, if I could just get over the hump and soldier on, I would come out the other side feeling better.  However, when my health took a nosedive, I decided to give vitamin supplements another try and, lo and behold, I didn't experience any headaches at all.  I have been taking them daily for the better part of 7 months now.  The composition changes slightly depending on what I think I need.  Right now, I am taking an Omega 3-6-9 supplement, a Calcium Zinc Magnesium supplement and am trying out a Biotin supplement which I have heard is really good for healthy hair.  I was taking a Glucosamine supplement but didn't really notice any difference.  I know it can take a few months of regular use to see an improvement so I might try it again.  Normally, I get my supplements at Shoppers which is a Canadian pharmacy.  You can collect reward points at Shoppers and get notifications for flash specials.  For example, today between 6 and 9 pm, it was BOGO on select supplements.  Do you take supplements?  Any recommendations?  Have you noticed any discernible benefits?

This is not a sponsored post.  Any suggestions for the Challenge, please let me know in the comments!

Monday, 19 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 19: Participaction or Staying Active


If you grew up in Canada during the 70's and early 80's, then perhaps you will remember the federal government slogan "Participaction."  The slogan was for a government campaign to encourage the populace to take up an active lifestyle.  I never liked the idea of working out.  Too hot, too sweaty, too exhausting, too much need for $100 yoga pants.  And let's face it, who actually makes full use of those horrendously expensive gym memberships?  But as life gets more and more full and stresses and strains begin to weigh on one's shoulders, health and fitness start to fall down the totem pole of priorities when it should become a firm priority in order to compensate for all that stress.  So for Day 19,  this is my easy way of getting more active that isn't going to cost a bundle.  Even though I live in a large metropolitan city, once I was no longer a frugal student, I started taking the car everywhere.  I know!  Here I was, paying exorbitant parking fees and dealing with rush hour traffic, when I could easily have walked the distance.  I started to discover little islands of calm in the city that I never knew existed.  Above is a small circle of green that is enclosed by buildings and not visible from the adjoining roads.  For years, I never knew it was there and yet it is just minutes from where I live.  A few days ago, Monsieur and I had a quick walk after dinner and it felt great!  Normally, we end up comatose on the couch after dinner but it was incredibly refreshing to enjoy the city on a balmy summer evening.  To be fair to myself, we can only have an evening walk in the summer when the days are long because there are certain areas that are just not advisable to venture into at night and aren't particularly pleasant in the daytime either.  I am sure there are lots of other ways to be active that are low impact for those who live in the suburbs such as walking the dog, gardening, mowing the lawn etc.  Please leave your suggestions in the comments!

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Sunday, 18 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 18: Positive Thinking and Support Systems



If you grew up surrounded by negativity, learning to keep a positive frame of mind can take a lot of hard work and practice until it becomes the new normal.  You may receive push back from those closest to you who resist the change in status quo.  This can be a painful process as it is intrinsic in human nature to resist change and to be fearful of the unknown.  We all know someone who loves to be the troublemaker, that one needy person who sucks all of the oxygen out of the room and makes you feel exhausted and deflated.  It is important to maintain some distance for your own sanity and equilibrium.  I do know firsthand how difficult this can be but I realized it was absolutely essential in order for me to get a grip on my stress levels.  For example, there was one person who insisted on calling me up at 1, 2 and even 3 am in the morning simply to vent, never mind that I had to get up early the next morning.  I don't take those phone calls anymore.  I had to become choosy in structuring a support system around me that was positive and uplifting.  I also had to learn to become my own support system, my own cheerleader, and safeguard myself.  After all, if I didn't, who would?

If you have any suggestions for the Wellness Challenge, let me know in the comments so I can include them!

LBH Weekly Roundup: Wamsutta Bed Linens and Purdys Chocolates for Father's Day


Time for another Weekly Roundup!  I had to buy new bedlinens this week.  I had a set of bamboo sheets on the bed.  I remember being very excited about switching to bamboo as it is touted as being a sound environmental alternative to cotton.  Sadly, it just was not durable. The stitching unraveled on the pillowcases and a threadbare spot the length of my legs appeared.  It was almost as if the fabric was dissolving.  I loved how silky soft it was but its inability to stand up to ordinary usage was disappointing.  So it is back to good old Wamsutta, a label that I know and trust.  It was a little startling to go back to cotton as the new sheets are quite crisp to the touch, especially when you have been sleeping on bamboo sheets for a while.  Do you have bamboo sheets and what has been your experience?


Today is Father's Day!  Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there.  Monsieur got a box of Purdys Chocolates, his absolute favourite.  It amuses me greatly that it has "Dad's Stash" printed on the lid.  To be honest, I was greatly tempted to sneak a taste as I love the Hedgehogs and the Peanut Butter bars.  Monsieur actually accused me of helping myself (notice the gap at the top right hand corner) but I promise that is exactly how the box was packaged!


30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 17: Positive Thinking and Identifying Negative Thought Patterns


Day 17 is a continuation of Day 16.  The flip side of positive thinking is identifying negative thought patterns.  This has always been a bugbear of mine.  Thoughts like "I am not pretty enough, smart enough, young enough etc" run rampant in my subconscious.  I have found that it is important to acknowledge them and move on otherwise they continue to run unchecked, sabotaging all of my actions.  How I envy those people raised with boundless self-confidence, wholly oblivious to those niggling worries and doubts that plague us lesser mortals!
If you have any suggestions for the Challenge, please let me know so that I can include them!

Friday, 16 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Days 16 to 18: Positive Thinking and Feeling Gratitude


For Day 16 to 18, I would like to focus on Positive Thinking.  I am sure you have heard of the Law of Attraction but I am going to use the term "Positive Thinking" instead for those readers who think that LOA is a bit too farfetched.  I grew up in a household where negativity ran rampant.  This might have been because both parents grew up in extreme poverty.  I don't think that they were even aware of their mindsets and how it affected their thoughts, speech and actions towards others.  It took many decades of critical self-analysis for me to understand the impact on my own emotional development and then to start living life on a more positive path.  Even now, it is very easy for me to fall into a swamp of self-doubt whenever I hit a bump in the road.  One method I have found that helps pull me out is feeling grateful.  I am sure you have heard of gratitude journals.  At the end of every day, quickly jot down 5 things that you feel grateful for.  If you are really stumped, just being grateful for clean air to breathe and clean water to drink is enough.  If a gratitude journal is too much, then quickly think of just one thing that you feel grateful for.  Like anything else, a positive mindset doesn't just happen overnight.  It takes work and practice.  Because this was such a hurdle for me in the past and is so intrinsic to a sense of wellbeing, I am going to devote 3 days to it.  
If you have any suggestions for the Challenge, please let me know in the comments so that I can include it!

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Thursday, 15 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 15: Eating Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables


We are at Day 15, the half way point!  Pats on the back, all around!  The onset of summer means that seasonal fruits and veggies make their welcome appearance at the grocery store.  Of course, in this modern world that we live in, it is possible to get apples from South Africa in the depths of winter and avocados from Chile all year round.  However, nothing beats locally grown seasonal produce.  I used to eat lots of fruits and veggies but I got lazy and, more and more, junk food starting making an appearance.  My palate became accustomed to the sensory overload of all the salt, sugar and seasonings and a piece of fruit, once so delicious to me, seemed pallid and boring.  I do find that if I stay away from the junk food, my palate undergoes a "cleanse" and is able to detect the subtle nuances of fresh fruits and vegetables once again.  So, I want to consciously focus more on wholesome foods in my diet again.

Come back as we move in to the last half of the Challenge!



Wednesday, 14 June 2017

LBH 30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 14: Bolthouse Farms Red Goodness Smoothie


How did the decluttering go?  I have been decluttering in spurts since the beginning of the year but took a bit of a break after going through my clothes.  It is good to make myself get back on the decluttering track and not let the break go on for too long.  Now, we are on Day 14 of the Wellness Challenge.  On Day 1 of the Challenge, I wrote about trying out green smoothies for the first time here.  I liked it so much that I decided to branch out a bit and try out Bolthouse Farms Red Goodness smoothie.  Who knew there was such a thing as a red smoothie?  It has the juice of cherries, cranberries, peaches and pomegranates amongst other things and is delicious.  I used to eat a lot of fruit but, for some reason, slacked off.  This gives me a quick dose of fruity goodness.  Come back for Day 15 where we will be at the half way point.  Woohoo!

This is not a sponsored post.  Subscribe and never miss a post!  Use #30days2wellnesslbh on Instagram so that I can find you!

Monday, 12 June 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: H & M Cardigan


Time for another Weekly Roundup!  As a reward for donating so many clothes to the H & M used clothing donation campaign which I talked about here, I treated myself to a cardigan with one of my clothing donation coupons.  My favourite yellow cardigan shrank to doll size proportions so I was very pleased to replace it.  Perhaps it is the onset of hot and humid days but I am obsessing over citrus colours.  It is a one to one replacement which I am very pleased about as I put so much effort into culling my wardrobe and don't want to overstuff it again.  I have always loved cardigans as they make such a versatile layering piece, they can be dressed up or down and can even take the place of a dressy jacket.

This is not a sponsored post.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

30 Day Wellness Challenge Days 9 to 13: 5 Day Mini Decluttering Goal


I am a firm believer in the adage "Messy Home, Messy Mind."  Yet still, there have been many times when I find decluttering to be emotionally unsettling.  I have written about the mini 5 Day Decluttering Challenge here,  where on Day 1, you discard one thing, on the second day, 2 things and so on.  At the end of the 5 days, 15 things will have been decluttered.  It is a relatively simple and easy way to get the ball rolling when it comes to tidying up the home and achieving peace of mind.  See you on the flip side!

This is not a sponsored post.  Use #30days2wellnesslbh on Instagram so I can find you!
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Thursday, 8 June 2017

30 Day Wellness Challenge: Day 8 Unitasking versus Multitasking


For Day 8 of the 30 Day Wellness Challenge, I am going to focus on Unitasking instead of Multitasking.  The ability to multitask has been glorified as a marker of hyperproductivity.  Get one million things done in 10 minutes flat all while doing handstands and juggling!  The problem with multitasking is that this approach can drive up stress levels to untenable levels.  One's attention span is stretched thin and the likelihood of doing one's best on every single task starts to drop.  Enter Unitasking.  How about focusing all of one's attention on just one task at a time?  Bring all of your energies to bear on that one task, complete it then move on to the next task.  Try it for one day and let me know what you think of this method.

This is not a sponsored post.  Use #30days2wellnesslbh on Instagram so I can find you!



Wednesday, 7 June 2017

30 Day Wellness Challenge Day 7: Practice Meditation


Day 7's small, actionable task is to spend 10 minutes meditating.  For as long as I remember, I used to spend time on the regular just letting my mind drift.  I found it was an excellent way to calm down my overactive mind.  Little did I know that this practice was called "meditating."  Now, it is the trendy thing to do.  Apparently, there are many competing methods and "types" of meditating which means a lot of angst as to whether one is doing it correctly.  What?!  I just want to destress, not add more stress.  The last 24 hours has been particularly stressful.  Monsieur had his knapsack stolen.  It contained all his medications, identification, housekeys etc.  Without his meds, he was facing a potentially life threatening situation which meant driving him to ER.  Anyway, enough about that.  I am sure there are lots of people who think "I don't have any free time to assume the lotus position" or go "pfft" at anything that bears the slightest whiff of New Age quackery.  Believe me, I used to be one of those people.  So, a more palatable alternative to try out is to just let go of any worries that are running amok in your head and go on autopilot while you are doing a mundane chore.  For example, when you are out walking your dog, shut off your mind and just be present in the moment enjoying the company of your furbaby.  When you are doing the dishes, switch to automatic mode and just be.
Do you meditate regularly?  If yes, do you see any benefits?
Stay tuned for more daily challenges!

This is not a sponsored post.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

30 Day Wellness Challenge Day 6: Turning Off The News


For Day Six of the Challenge, I decided to decrease the amount of time I was obsessing over the news.  I stopped watching the news years ago in a bid to lower my stress levels.  I didn't miss it as information always wended its way to me eventually.  Then, a few weeks ago or possibly a few months ago (my tired brain doesn't remember any more), lured by the avalanche of world events, I started keeping up with the news and fell promptly down the rabbit hole.  This could be quite the task I've set for myself especially in the light of current events.  For the last couple of weeks, it seemed like there was one revelation every hour.  I am sure you know what I'm alluding to.  I ended up staying up later than is healthy, my brain whirling nonstop. I started experiencing FOMO for the first time in my life. When I would finally go to bed, I would lie there feeling frustrated, annoyed, overwhelmed and I don't even live in the country (ies) where these events were taking place!    So it's time to dial down my consumption of the news.  I know that, if it is important, I'll find out sooner or later.   I am not saying that the best route is to be an ostrich.  For example, for tragedies unfolding on the other side of the world, instead of obsessing over every single news report, I have to recognize that the most I can do is make a donation to the relevant aid agency and send out prayers of well wishes.  How do you handle the news?

Stay tuned for more challenges!  Use #30days2wellnesslbh on Instagram so I can find you.
This is not a sponsored post.

Monday, 5 June 2017

30 Day Wellness Challenge Day 5: Waking Up Earlier and Philips Wake Up Light


The flip side of improved sleeping habits, which was Day Two's task, is being able to rise earlier.  I am a self-confessed night owl.  Getting up early or on time has always been a challenge for me.  And lately, after a night tossing and turning in pain, dragging myself out of bed in the morning has become a Herculean task.  In my quest to get up a cock crow, I tried staying up all night.  I know, crazy huh?  I figured that my sleep was so crappy that I might as well try foregoing it altogether.   I lasted until 3 am and the next day was a zombie.  Then I tried getting up at 5 am.  I did manage to get up at that horrendous hour, only to have to listen to Monsieur's vociferous complaints at disturbing the household.  To be fair, I was feeling at a bit of a loose end and decided I might as well fill in the time until the sun rose by doing various household chores.  This was a mistake.  There is no point in doing the dishes at 5 am and feeling smugly virtuous about it only to be faced with a barrage of bitter recriminations later.
Anyway, I will say that my Phillips Wake Up Light has been a wonder in helping me to get up.  I have the older cone shaped model but I think the round shaped newer model is even better as the shape is even more "sun-like." It simulates a sunrise, glowing a reddish orange a half hour before the alarm goes off.  The glow steadily gets stronger so that by the time the alarm does off (you have a choice of bird song, the radio and elevator type music), your body is ready for it.

via amazon.ca

No more being jolted awake by a horrid, screeching alarm.  The Wake Up Light provides a gentle glide towards consciousness.
Stay tuned for more Wellness Challenges!

This is not a sponsored post.  Some links are affiliate links.
  

Sunday, 4 June 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: 30 Day Wellness Challenge Days Three and Four Drink More Water and Swapping Out Sugary Snacks



The small, actionable task for Day 3 that I have set for myself is to drink more water.  I used to drink a lot of water on a daily basis.  Then, somehow, I stopped.  I realized that the only fluids I drink on the regular now is green tea or Earl Grey, cranberry juice (that I cut with water) and the occasional fizzy drink.  Oh, how I love a cold fizzy drink on a hot Summer day!  But this is not good enough.  Fruit juice comes laden with a lot of sugar and I put sugar in my Earl Grey.  So I need to get back to drinking water.  To make it easier for me, I find that adding lots of ice cubes and a slice of lime or lemon helps a lot (yes, I am such a child that way).  Drinking more water doesn't require $100 yoga pants or buy-in from other people around you.  The point is that it is easy to do, although possibly not for me who stopped drinking straight water a long time ago. I am basically going from 0 to 60 in a flash but I know it is better for me.


The small actionable task for Day Four is to decrease the amount of sugary snacks that I reach for.  There was a time when I did not have a sweet tooth.  Then I set up house with Monsieur who has an enormous sweet tooth.  Giant bowls of ice cream after every meal became de rigueur.  Believe me when I say that when I suggested eliminating ice cream, ice cream bars, chocolate covered ice cream bars etc (you get the picture) after dinner at the very least, it was like I had set off WWIII.  So we compromised.  He can continue to stock the freezer with all manner of frozen goodies and if I want to have one, I will, and, if I don't, then I won't and he won't take me opting out as an insult.  Again it is about making it easy instead of trying to do a complete 180 on a dime.  I am not cutting out sugar entirely but trying to decrease it.  I do find that doing a one to one switch makes it a lot easier as it doesn't feel like deprivation has suddenly become the order of the day.  Dates are really sweet and assuage that craving for sweetness.  Strawberries are in season right now and are a delicious snack.  
Stay tuned for Day 5!  Are you following along?  How is it going for you?
Use #30dayswellnesschallengelbh on Instagram so that I can find you.
This is not a sponsored post.


Friday, 2 June 2017

30 Day Wellness Challenge Day Two: Better Sleeping Habits


For Day Two of my 30 Day Wellness Challenge, I have decided to tackle my poor sleeping habit.  For years, I was chronically sleep deprived.  As a student, I pulled all nighters on the regular.  Even as a working stiff, I would keep late hours reading or watching telly as a way to escape the boredom of my waking hours spent in a cubicle.  Then, my health took a nose dive.  Night after night was spent tossing and turning in pain, trying to count sheep and failing.  Because I wasn't getting quality REM sleep, my memory and cognitive functions were impacted.  So I figured I might as well start staying up late, aimlessly surfing the Net.  Better that than miserably trying to sleep.  It didn't help that Monsieur loves falling asleep to the telly.  I don't know how many times I have had to get up at 3 or 4 am to turn off the telly.  Now, I picked sleep as today's actionable task because this is something that, normally, does not require buy-in from other household members.  Obviously, my goal might be a little harder to achieve because I find it very difficult to fall asleep with the television blaring away.  But, I am determined to give it a shot because I want to get up the next day without feeling like I haven't rested at all.  I am positive that getting a good sleep will help me to lead a more balanced life.
I hope you will continue to follow along on my journey.  Use #30days2wellnesslbh on Instagram so I can find you!

Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Road To Wellness and Slow Living Begins With One Step: 30 Day Wellness Challenge Day One Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness Smoothie


I had always imagined that the road to slow or simple living would be easy.  First, I started decluttering.  Let me just say here that I have been decluttering since at least the beginning of the year and I am still not done.  Decluttering brings up all sorts of emotional issues which may delay or hinder the process.  Then other areas of one's life comes under scrutiny.  What one puts in to one's mouth, the people one surrounds oneself with and how one spends one's time get parsed on a microscopic level.  And if one lives with other people there may be a lot of negotiating going on.  One may be negotiating how to redefine the home or living space and even how relationships are conducted.  It can seem incredibly overwhelming.  So I decided that I had to go back to basics.  I would do just one thing a day that would bring me back to center.  It didn't have to be a huge grand gesture like chucking everything and going backpacking around the world.  After all, who of us can do that?  Most of us have bills to pay, responsibilities to uphold and children to raise.  And it had to be something that didn't require buy-in from the entire family (although it would be great if they did join in).  But doing one actionable step every day, day by day, no matter how small, I figured I could do.
  

I used to joke about green smoothies.  "It's swamp water!" I cried gleefully.  But my health issues had plateaued.  I wasn't getting worse but I wasn't getting better either.  I needed a kickstart in the right direction. So, much to Monsieur's amazement, I came home with a bottle of emerald green sludge.  And you know what?  It tastes great!  It would take me 10 minutes to type out all the ingredients but there is stuff in there such as Nova Scotia dulse which I would never have thought to add in to a homemade version.  This is why, as a newbie in the green smoothie arena, I decided to purchase a bottle from Bolthouse Farms, rather than attempting to make my own.  I knew it would be a huge time crunch to go to various grocery and health food stores to gather all the ingredients.  For example, I don't have the faintest idea where to go to find barley grass, let alone Nova Scotia dulse.  More to the point, it had to taste good for me to continue with it.  Now, knowing that it tastes eminently palatable, I will be able to down a glass of this on a regular basis.  Day by day, it will become a habit that infuses me with goodness.  And each time I do it, I am reminding myself that I am being respectful of me, that I am worthy and that I am coming back to center.  And tomorrow I will pick some other step to take.  And all these incremental steps, strung together will guide me towards a new horizon.  So, any suggestions on what my next step should be?  I need running buddies to tow me across the finish line.  And if you want to join in, leave a comment telling me what small or large thing you did to move you along the path to wellness.  Or use #30days2wellnesslbh on Instagram.
If you have any green smoothie or healthy smoothie recipes, please let me know!

This is not a sponsored post.  


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