How Long Until My Brain Gets It Right...

A couple of months ago I texted my husband, who was in bed at a reasonable hour while I was out drinking with friends, the following self-loathing dribble, "What if sadness is just a part of my DNA?" I can't remember how he responded, and since I've accidentally smashed my phone on a concrete floor, it will forever remain a mystery to me. 

But I started wondering if this statement is indeed true?  Should I wave up my hands and use sadness as a blanket excuse for all of my impulsive or avoidance behaviour- the medium pizza that I gorge on, the one too many beer I kick back, the funds in my bank account that always seem to be on a downwards trajectory, the running shoes that I neglect near my front door?

It often seems like inertia is my kryptonite. I tend to start the week or month off with the best of intentions for self-improvement, but as soon as my emotions take a swan dive I'm all too quick to duck for cover under comfortable blankets or park myself in front of the television. My intention in writing this mini-rant is not get any type of sympathy, but rather to ask others how they get through their self-imposed personal barriers?

They say that we are all of our worst enemies, but for once I'd like to befriend myself. I'm just not so sure where to start. I'm the queen of taking shortcuts, even if I'm not doing myself any favours in the long run. I'd love to hear whether any of you have ever experienced great difficulty with motivation, and how you propelled yourself forward?

5 Lessons a Tropical Vacation Can Teach You About Work/Life Balance

A snapshot from my most recent vacation in La Palma, Canary Islands. 

A snapshot from my most recent vacation in La Palma, Canary Islands. 

You've just returned from an incredible vacation. You've enjoyed the warm temperatures, the scenic vistas, and all of the fresh air. You try to remain in the afterglow, but suddenly you're right back where you left off, spending countless hours at your desk typing and grabbing snacks from the vending machine. As your tan fades, so does your spirit. You wonder why you can't keep that "vacation glow" in your day-to-day reality?

Well, maybe you can. As much as the post-vacation blues happen to almost everyone, I've discovered some things that have eased me out of my post-vacation slump. Here are my tips for incorporating some of the elements of vacation-life into your everyday, so that the shock doesn't hit you too hard. 

1. Nature, Nature, Nature 

When you're on vacation time, the view is ever-changing. You notice the palm trees outside your window, you smell the earthiness of the vegetation during your hikes, and the salt in the air invigorates you. These small details keep you in the present and away from your e-mail. While your city commute might not offer the exact same type of enchantment, nature is still somewhere under the asphalt.  I recently commented to a friend how beautiful the snow was outside of a café window, and try to immerse myself in nature as much as possible everyday.

2. Treat Yo'Self

Vacation mornings are often the stuff of dreams. You can take your coffee and croissant on the boardwalk. You make time for splurges, maybe booking spa treatments at the hotel. That self-care mentality is often the first thing to get neglected when you are back in the daily grind. That's why I make time each weekend to use my gym's steam room and massage chair. Self-care doesn't have to be costly, but the effects of a bit of healthy indulgence will definitely show in your overall well being. 

3. Togetherness

I've joked with my husband that on our last trip I saw more of him in two weeks than I have in 10 years. Although I exaggerate, there's a grain of truth when you think of all the time you spend with your loved ones without really seeing them. Especially in the era of smartphones, it gets harder and harder to have a meaningful conversation without the temptation of distraction. Even if I haven't seen my parents in months, we sometimes reunite just to start using our devices instead of catching up. My proposal for more togetherness is to go on outings where you ditch all your devices so that you really can invest in what's most important. I personally found that when I was hiking in La Palma without access to the internet, I learnt so much more about the person I've been living with for the past decade than I ever anticipated. 

4. Mindful Eating 

This one is hard--and I'm by no means a guru, as this week alone I've had beer almost every night and many, many fries. But when I was on vacation I ate things that provided fuel for the activities I'd be doing that day. Breakfasts were often composed of yogurt, fruits and an egg or two. When I'm not on vacation, I let my stress dictate what I eat, and stress always like the idea of potatoes.

I'm still working on this one, but my suggestion is to think of food as fuel rather than comfort when you can, but not without moderation (because sometimes it just feels good to go for the spuds).  

5. A Sense of Adventure 

When you were a kid, your imagination had the ability to transform everyday landscapes into magical places and spaces. With age, it becomes harder and harder unless you're staring off into a crystal blue ocean. We tend to feel a certain degree of apathy towards our surroundings. Which is why it's good to shake things up a bit!! Even if it's just going to a part of the city you're not familiar with, or making a point to stargaze when there's a clear night, treating your everyday surroundings with a sense of mindfulness and awe can work wonders on the spirit. So stop reading and get outside, why don't you? Adventure awaits!!

xo J