Self Care

I wanted to share some things that have helped me get back to feeling more like myself. Not everything will work for everyone, so pick, choose and use what works for you.

Breathing

I never was into meditation or mindfulness until I had to be. I first was introduced to this during an internship at a Chronic Pain Clinic that I did while studying physiotherapy. There, I saw firsthand how helpful it could be for people. It may seem unorthodox… a physiotherapist guiding a body scan relaxation technique, but it was such an incredible tool for so many. I was recently introduced to “box breathing” and it has helped to regulate my anxiety. I like that there is a visualization component to the exercise. Anyways, here it is:

Photo Taken from @drmeganjohnson on Instagram

Running

I encourage you to find your “thing”. For me, I like to run. I like to put on my music (if I am not with my kids) and zone out. I used to really enjoy group fitness classes, but with how busy our home schedule got with appointments I got away from those because they became another place that I had to be at a certain time. With running, I can just step outside my front door and go! We do have a treadmill, but I much prefer to run outside. I wanted to share the winter running gear that I am currently using:

Shoes: Salomon Speedcross Gortex ($200)- I know, these are a splurge! They have really great traction for ice and snow and they are gortex so my feet stay dry. I can also justify the cost because I don’t pay for a gym membership.

Pants: Craft SUBZ Padded Tights ($138)- These are also a splurge. They have a padding in the front to help insulate your thighs and block the wind.

Gloves: Head Digital Support Running Gloves ($40)- Thick enough for a bit of warmth but not too insulated.

Other items that I run with in the winter include: a fleece headband (whatever brand), my apple watch and air pods.

Photo Taken: November 2020

Exercise!

Exercise and fresh air has always helped me relax and clear my head, especially when I can get a moment to myself. I have been prioritizing this more than ever since we learned of Oscar’s health issues. I have learned that I need this. My mental health needs this. It doesn’t have to be high intensity exercise. Start with something simple, go for a walk, hike or run. You deserve that time.


Book Recommendations:

I have been recommended several self help books over the last year, to be honest I haven’t had time to read them all but there are two books that I have really related to.

  1. Far From The Tree written by: Andrew Solomon $30.00. This book is long, but don’t be overwhelmed, it is separated into chapters by theme, for example, I have only tackled the chapter titled “Down Syndrome” , it was the most relatable to my circumstance.
  2. The Body Keeps the Score written by: Bessel Van Der Kolk $25.00. I highly recommend this book to anyone struggling with anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress.

Recipe Ideas:

Olivia will eat anything, Oscar has struggled with eating and weight gain since birth. During his transition to solid foods I was so concerned about what he would eat that I sometimes would be too mentally exhausted to think about preparing something for me to eat, so I wouldn’t. I then started ordering this meal delivery service which made healthy foods that were delivered to my doorstep. My husband would say “you cook really well, why are you ordering food when you can make it better yourself?” and my dad teased me for having “meals on wheels”. I started making big batch salads that I would store in a large tupperware in the fridge and then I had a quick and healthy meal that was ready for me. I will gradually share more recipes, but I wanted to share one that I make every week and it lasts 3-4 days in the fridge. I like to use kale as the salad green because I can put the dressing on the salad day one and it won’t wilt.

Kale and 5 Grain Salad:

  • One bunch organic kale, finely chopped
  • 1 box of prepared 5 grain mix (I use blue menu by Presidents Choice brand)
  • 1/4- 1/2 of a medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup raw, shelled sunflower seeds
  • Dressing: 1 lemon zest & juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tsp dijon mustard, salt & pepper

Kale and Roasted Vegetable Salad:

  • One bunch organic kale, finely chopped
  • An Assortment of roasted veggies, whatever you like! Here is what I use:
    • 1 sweet potato
    • 2-3 zucchinis
    • 1 eggplant
    • 1 red pepper
    • Chop and roast veggies in a 425deg oven for 40mins.
  • Dressing: 3Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbsp honey, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1 tsp garlic powder (or sometimes I will roast a whole head of garlic with the veggies, mash that up and use that), 1/2 cup olive oil, salt & pepper

Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

  • 2 Sweet Potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 1 Butternut Squash peeled and chopped
  • 1 Large Onion, chopped
  • 2-4 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 1 Carton of Chicken or Vegetable Stock
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Optional: crushed red pepper flakes and cream
  • Directions: Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil for 10mins, add sweet potato, butternut squash and stock bring to a low boil and cook until veggies are soft (25mins). Cool and puree in blender. *Add a splash of cream for extra deliciousness!

Black Bean Soup

  • 1 Large Onion, chopped
  • 2-4 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 3 Carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 Red Pepper, chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Large Can of Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2 Cans Black Beans, drained
  • 1/2 Carton of Chicken Stock
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Optional: Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Directions: Sauté onion, carrots, garlic, red pepper then add crushed tomatoes, black beans and stock. Bring to a low boil and cook until veggies are soft (25mins). Cool and puree in blender.

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