10 Tips for More Mindful Self Care

1. Sun loving safety. Soak in the sun’s glorious Vitamin D but minimize your risk for developing skin cancers and premature signs of aging (e.g., fine lines and pigmentation) by limiting your time in the sun and wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and breathable, light-coloured clothing that keeps you covered up when you are outside. A healthy sunscreen, free of chemicals and harmful ingredients is of course also essential for sun safety. I have used my own recipe made from one mashed ripe avocado mixed with coconut oil and found my skin to be well protected and beautifully moist too. As an interesting aside, if you are a well mineralized person, you will be less prone to sunburn. 2. Sleep soundly. Support your hard work in the gym by catching more zzz’s and aiming for better quality sleep. Adequate rest is not only critical for muscle recovery, but also essential for restoring brain function so you can be more alert and focused – important for enhancing your performance in the gym and in your everyday activities. More reasons to make proper sleep a priority :: a. The Wellness Connection: Diet and Sleep – LIVESTRONG.COM b. Sleep: The Unsung Hero of Fat Loss – BODYBUILDING.COM c. Stress and Sleep – AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION

3. Practice “gratituding.” Gratitude is good glue to hold life together and teach joy. I like to start each day by giving gratitude for my many blessings in life and endeavor to find gifts even in the challenges. It gives me perspective, helps center me and starts my day off on a positive note. Even during emotionally difficult times, taking the time to find gratitude – even for just one small thing – does wonders for the heart and soul. Try it! A gratitude journal is a great place to start.

4. Be honest with yourself. I believe to achieve human wellness it is essential for us to guide our principles with clear hearts and minds. Emotional turmoil, if not dealt with, will deal with you and likely not in a good way. It is not enough to be well intentioned with regard to health. We must daily strive to open our hearts, give gratitude, face challenge, live purposefully and admit when it is all just too much. Along with being active in these aspects of our lives, we must also know when to admit that we need rest. To turn off for a little while and then to turn inward and care for the soul.

5. Maintain brain health. The brain needs to be exercised just as our skeletal muscles do. The more we train our muscles the stronger they are, a situation mimicked in the brain. The more we exercise our grey matter the stronger, smarter and more resilient it remains. Some easy ways to enhance mental agility :: a. Read b. Trivia, quizzes and brain games – Sporcle offers tons of fun, stimulating games on a variety of topics c. Brain apps d. Exercise! 30 minutes of exercise performed at a MHR of 70% or better maintains and improves Brain Health (Spark – by Dr. John Ratey)

6. Surround yourself with positive people. Few things in life are accomplished alone. With loving, supportive people in your life, I believe you can overcome all hardships and achieve your dreams. Positivity begets positivity. Make a conscious choice to pour your love and time into healthy relationships with individuals that lift you up and inspire you.

7. Express yourself. You Eat Clean, you exercise, you care for your family and you work, but are you making “me” time to explore other facets of yourself? Do you have a fulfilling outlet to channel your passion and interests? Whether it is cooking, gardening, volunteering, keeping a journal or taking dance classes, I encourage you to find ways to let your creativity sing and give shape to your feelings and experiences. For me, expression comes through writing. Crafting thoughts into words, words into sentences and sentences into stories feels cathartic and powerful to me. Take the lid off your creativity too … I want to see what you do.

8. Challenge yourself. Make a point to go out on a limb and take a chance every once in a while. You may surprise yourself and pick up – or uncover – a new skill or interest along the way. Go ahead, try a barre class, challenge yourself to read a new book every week for a month, or try an elaborate recipe you’ve been interested in but are intimidated by. Trying new things outside your comfort zone is one of the easiest ways to encourage self-growth. At my heaviest, I was terrified to enter a gym but my curiousity and desire for change was greater than my fear. I went. The rest is...history!

9. Aspire to the best version of yourself. Being inspired by people you admire is fantastic motivation for achieving your goals; however, I encourage you to celebrate YOU by aiming to become your very best self, not someone else. Bring your A Game each day, to everything you do. It’s worth it. You’re worth it! In the words of e.e. cummings: "It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are."

10. And finally...you knew this was coming: Eat Clean and train mean! Your body will thank you for the gift of optimal health.

Remember, I’m always listening Tosca

PS. If all of this sounds like just one more thing that is too much to handle, that’s okay too. Giving yourself permission to turn up the tunes and have a wild dance party with yourself is a beautiful thing. I’m doing it right after I finish writing this blog. My current faves include Lean On, featuring MO & DJ Snake, Bad Intentions by Niykee Heaton and Live it Up by Bellwoods. I want to know how you let loose – send me your secret escape tactics. Can’t wait to read them.