The Self Care Domino Effect: Look Good, Feel Good

I know these last few months have been hard for all of us. Dealing with isolation, social distancing, and working from home. There are days where I don’t even get out of my PJs! But here is the thing I have found lately, the lack of effort I have put into my physical appearance and well being has had a much more negative effect than just my hair looking a little on the greasy side.

When you’ve made an effort with your appearance, you’ve more than likely felt the association between looking good and feeling good. You feel confident and ready to take on what the day has to throw at you. Be it an interview to land a promotion or a date with a crush you’ve been swooning over for months; your appearance plays a large part in influencing the way you feel about yourself. When we have something important in our lives, we usually put in the effort to look our best, because it helps us feel our best. 

Another example of how the way we look affects our emotions is that a bad haircut can reduce many to tears (first world problems I know, but oh so true). In fact, I can’t deny I shed a few tears when I dyed my hair a little to dark.  Frustration strikes when a splodge of mascara lands on your foundation. Or your nails you’ve committed to growing for some time begin to chip!

The main point being, whether you like it or not, appearance to a degree matters, from fashion choices to skincare regimes, it influences the way you think and feel about yourself. So let’s delve into more about why that is, and why spending time to beautify and love yourself just a bit more, will boost your health and wellbeing.

Self Love

Primarily, paying attention to the way you look is about self-love. Self-care can include a myriad of positive activities, from morning and night beauty rituals, dedicating time to sleep more, getting in that hour of exercise, and being mindful about what you eat. Above all, Self-love is essential for our wellbeing. When you’re old enough to fend for yourself, the one person in the world that should love, and take care of you the most, is you! The positive effects of self-care manifest throughout your life, affecting the way you feel, look, and act. 

Taking Back Control

Plus, taking care of yourself also gives you back control of your feelings, particularly when you’ve had a bad day. Familiarity, such as applying your favourite night time serum with an aroma of lavender, makes you feel calm, relaxed, and comfortable. Or getting active every day after work is something you can look forward to, to round off a hard day of work, and shake off any stress and negativity. Which also releases those feel-good endorphins and helps you keep your body in shape. Knowing what is going to make you happy, and applying it is you being in control of your well-being. 

Making Progress To Be A Better You

But self-love isn’t just about taking control of a chaotic day; it’s also about making progress. In each area of our lives, we seek to make progress in one way or another. Whether building wealth and working towards financial independence. Going back to college to improve our education and get a better job. To calm addictive behaviours that impair our lives, such as constantly checking social media (guilty) or maybe it is one too many glasses of wine with friends. Our appearance is no different. And so whether you’re committing the next 6 to 12 months to invisalign treatment to enhance your smile, or cutting out some sugar to have a more well balanced diet. Feeling as though you’re taking steps to improve your body, boosts self-esteem, and makes us feel like we’re making progress to be the best versions of ourselves.

Tell-Tale Signs

I know the last few months our appearance hasn’t really been a top priority, but it can say a lot about a person. On top of that looking our best just helps us feel our best. I mean my wedding day I felt my most beautiful, from my hair staying in place to having just the right amount of blush. I know I am guilty of looking back at old photos and wishing I still had the same body from when I was playing professional tennis, or the long locks I had when I was younger, but but maintaining beauty as we age, is a work of art (key word there work). It takes time, dedication, and commitment to make healthy choices for your body and groom regularly. 

For example concerning our largest, external organ;

“The skin is an extremely sensitive organ that, unfortunately, reveals a lot about how we feel both physically and emotionally.” – Isabella Koretz, founder of Ciel Spa in Beverly Hills.

The statement above couldn’t be more accurate. I can notice changes within hours, like if I didn’t get a good night’s sleep I see the bags the next morning, or if I am dehydrated and drained, my skin looks lifeless. 

The way our body looks gives us a strong indication of whether we’re taking care of ourselves. For example, thinning hair could be due to stress. Emerging wrinkles could be due to not using sun protection cream. Red puffy eyes could be due to drinking too much. 

Beauty is more than skin deep. It reflects the effort, time, and love you put into looking after your whole body. If you feed your body nutritious food, drink lots of water, sleep 8 hours a night, exercise, take time to unwind and pamper you will undoubtedly look better, Your skin will glow, fine lines will reduce, and you’ll smile more! Continuous self-care forms a cycle of positivity. From making an effort to look great, your appearance improves, and you’ll feel happier.

 

Slowing down isn’t a bad thing

It is a bit of a crazy time across the world right now. The uncertainty of what tomorrow will look like is causing lots of people anxiety, and many have had to start practicing “social distancing”, something that isn’t ingrained in human nature.

Technology has saved us so much time that it is hard to picture why we would want to go back in time to a place where we didn’t have it. So as it stands, modern technology allows us to do much more, all of the time, and stay connected too. And while there are certainly plenty of perks to it, there are drawbacks also. 

It’s time to slow down and reconnect with yourself for a while. 

Slowing down is a choice that you have to make, and will likely have some trouble in the early days. We are very used to hearing our phone notifications, working on a computer, and being connected 24/7/365. 

So if you want to try going slower, but remaining fulfilled, then here are some things for you to try. 

Photo by Sofia Ornelas on Unsplash

Disconnect

Of course, that would be the first thing on the list. You might choose to disconnect while you travel to make the most of it, or you might have set hours in the day that you will be available for. Although many people couldn’t picture leaving their phone at home, it can be helpful to leave it at home while you go for a walk. Disconnecting means, you will have to focus on other things. 

Knowing your phone can go off at any time, can mean we are more likely to be interrupted by ourselves checking if we have been interrupted! It is hard to slow down when you have that small brain space dedicated to checking for messages and emails. Once in a while, disconnect. 

Move Slowly

You probably can’t just start walking slowly everywhere, but you can practice moving slowly around your home. Or do exercises like pilates and yoga. The great thing is you are only going to need pilates mats and some stretchy pants to get started too. If you do get the chance to head out into the wood for a walk, try not to rush back. Nature walks and hiking can be very relaxing and can help you feel very centred too. 

Letting the wind just blow through you a little bit, and take in all of the trees and greenery around you. Do it slowly and breathe deeply. 

Do Less

This one actually might be the most complicated thing on the list. It is hard to slow down when you have so much to do all of the time. Work, home, school, cleaning, cooking, and everything else too. If you can make a conscious choice to do less, then do so. If your schedule is really packed out, then find a space to book yourself in for some serious ‘nothing’. 

Or even a little space between meetings and being busy, those 5 minutes of just nothingness is really good for you. 

When you find that things are getting on top of you a little, or that you have just too much on your plate, take a moment to pause, breathe slowly, and assess the situation more slowly. 

I understand that all of the news, and updates we are seeing can be concerning, but instead of looking at this necessary time out as a bad thing, likes embrace it as an opportunity to slow down and take care of ourselves, and if you do need some socializing in your life, pick up the phone and reach out because we are all in this together

xo,

Mia

Breathe: The only studio you need in Squamish

Moving from Vancouver to Squamish was a big change. I went from the hustle and bustle of downtown to the quietness of a mountain town. Squamish’s motto is “Hardwired for Adventure” and it is true, this town offers everything from mountain biking to incredible hiking, however the one thing I struggled to find when I first moved here was workout classes that I enjoyed. In Vancouver I would go to my Soulcycle classes and had endless options through Classpass, here I was struggling to find my workout grove.

Thankfully for social media I came across a post from Breathe Squamish. Breathe Squamish is a boutique infrared heated workout studio that offers group fitness, hot yoga, vinyasa flow, pilates, and barre fusion just to name a few. Now I must say, I have never really been into heated workout classes nor have I been very into yoga ( the harder the cardio the better is my motto) but once I took my first class I knew Breathe and I were true workout soulmates.

What is Breathe?

Before I get into the specifics of the classes I wanted to talk to you a little about what makes Breathe so unique and so rewarding for me; infrared and heat. I have known a long time the benefits of hot yoga, it eases stress and depression, helps your flexibility, and helps you burn even more calories ( just to name a few) however I didn’t know much about infrared until now.

Infrared panel heating radiates waves of energy that penetrate into the body elevating one’s surface temperature. It helps detoxify the body at a cellular level (where most of your toxins reside) while also burning fat,  de-stressing, and promotes healing. Trust me there are many more benefits but that would need a whole blog post on its own.

In my first few weeks training at Breathe I have tried a variety of different classes, some that I am used to like hit training and barre, and some that are a little outside of my comfort zone like yoga sculpt. Each one has offered different advantages, worked different muscles, and given me one heck of a sweat session.

My favourite classes

Infrared Yoga Sculpt: This isn’t your average yoga class, this is a full body yoga workout. You are in a heated infrared room so there are all the benefits that I mentioned above, and while you do go through salutations and flows, you are also using light weights to really sculpt your arms and abs. I absolutely am addicted to this class.

Infrared ABSoulte Booty & Infrared ABSolute and Arms : Saying that I LOVE this class would be an understatement. The class is fun and energetic and they play great pump up music. The workout is focused on strengthening and toning your core and glutes (for the booty class) and the arms for the other class through resistance training. You use weights, bands, and a ball and it really works deep into the muscles.

Infrared Barre Fusion: I have always enjoyed Barre classes (and have even blogged about some in the class) it helps you work the deepest and most neglected muscles in your body, but infrared barre fusion takes it to a whole other level. You combine ballet, yoga, and pilates. You work with the barre elongating your legs and working on movements that are sure to get your booty and abs burning. It is designed to increase cardiovascular strength while also helping you tone, sculpt, and lengthen your muscles.

Infrared Sculpt It: If you are looking for a total body workout this is the class for you. It combines cardio with the use of equipments like weight bar and balls to target everything from your head to your toes.

Infrared Candlelit Aromatherapy Yin: If you need an hour to really stretch, unwind, destress, and relax every single muscle in your body this is the class for you. As I have mentioned I am not much of a yoga person, that is until now. I have started to see the benefits of allowing your body to take a moment for itself. With my work I am constantly on the go, and so to just be able to relax for a full hour, I have realized what a blessing it truly is.

These are just a few of my favourite classes that I have had the chance to try out so far. They all offer something different, but each one of them focuses on toning and working your muscles. I am so happy to have finally found my place here in Squamish.
Do you live in the Squamish area and have any favourite spots I should check out?
Leave a comment below, would love to hear them!
xo
Mia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My love/hate relationship with ‘Shredding for the Wedding’

He liked it so much he put a ring on it. That is right I am a fiancée, at least for another three weeks. The moment we got engaged I started looking at venues, dresses, oh and I finally got a gym membership because I had to start “Shredding for the Wedding.”

I had heard that term before used in magazines and by other friends that have gotten married and would always joke about it but now it was my turn and I was determined to shred some pounds for the big day.

I started hitting up the gym at least five times a week, combining my favourite SoulCycle classes, Kondi HIIT classes, F45, you name it I was trying it all, doing it all, and sweating it all out.

On top of upping my fitness game, I was also paying more attention to the food I was eating. Cutting out carbs and sugars and eating smaller more nutritional portions and meals.

In just a matter of weeks I was starting to see the pounds fall off but I also started to notice other changes. I had more energy, my skin was clearer than every before, I was in a happier mood, and feeling more confident about myself overall.

It was in that moment that I didn’t need to shred anything for the wedding, I needed to start living a healthier lifestyle in general for my own well being and personal relationships.

After quitting tennis, I had always been a bit of a yoyo dieter and had always struggled with self image and confidence because I wasn’t the athlete I used to be. However when the wedding came up, I had real motivation to stick to a plan and to better myself.

I am not going to lie, I was disappointed that it took a proposal to motivate me, I should of wanted to do this for myself but at the end of the day at least I got the push I needed and can start this journey back to a healthier me.

The best part about it all, is it has been relatively easy. Sure I wish I could drink an extra glass of wine or indulge in another scoop of ice cream but I haven’t done any actual dieting. I have let myself have cheat days, eat chocolate, drink wine but just in smaller portions. I also enjoy working out but would always make excuses if I got to busy. Since I got engaged I have stopped making excuses and have been making time.

Now the last thing I want anything to do while reading this is think that you need to lose weight if you are getting married, or need to lose weight period. What I want people to realize is that life can get busy and we can get distracted and lose sense of ourselves and that is ok. What is not ok is if we don’t check in every once in a while and reconnect with ourselves and make sure we are taking care of ourselves and if we aren’t well then it is time to make the changes. For me that change was leading a healthier and more active lifestyle and that might not be the same change for you but no matter what it is important to be aware.

I am three weeks away from my wedding and I have lost 20 pounds and am back down to a healthy weight. But besides the pounds I lost I have gained energy, confidence, and overall happiness. So while I don’t necessarily agree with shredding for the wedding, I do agree about shredding for yourself, or really anything for yourself if it is going to improve yourself.

xo

Mia

5 tips to maximize your bedtime skin routine

When it comes to your skin routine, we all know there’s one part which is possibly more important than all the others put together. And that’s the bedtime skin routine.

At the end of a long day, it can be really tempting to just get those comfies on and sink into bed without taking your make-up off – but it’s absolutely vital that you get into a regular skin routine at night to avoid any nasty skin issues further down the line.

1. Know your Skin type

First thing’s first, you need to know your own skinreally know it.

Many of us are confused about what skin type we have, so if you’re unsure, get yourself down to your local beauty counter and get some help. From this, you’ll be able to select the best products which will be kind to your skin and work hardest to keep it looking its best.

2.  Use Cleanser

Cleanser, or cleansing wipes if you’d prefer, are an easy way to get rid of all the day’s impurities – make-up, pollution, and even sand if you’re lucky enough to live on the coast.

Use soft cotton make-up pads if you’d prefer to use a liquid cleanser, being careful not to apply too much (as your skin will struggle to absorb the moisture).

Be extra careful around the eye area, it’s super delicate!

2.  Exfoliate

Many people are scared to even touch their face with an exfoliant, but it’s not the enemy (in fact, it’s far from it).

Exfoliating our facial skin (gently!), is an easy way to keep it clean, buffing away any dead cells or dirt which could cause issues if left in the pores.

Use a sensitive one if you’re new to the world of exfoliating, and be gentle, moving upwards in small circular movements. The result – fresh, clean skin!

4. Explore New Products

So many of us are guilty for sticking to the same products, even if they’re no longer suitable for our skin. Like our bodies, our skin changes as we age, so using the same product at 29 as you did at 22 may not be the best approach.

Once you’ve established your skin type, explore new product ranges to ensure you’re getting the most out of your skincare. More and more consumers are now taking the cruelty-free approach, and you should do the same. In fact, a recent study found more than 35% of women only bought from brands who didn’t test on animals – it’s the best way.

 

5. Know Your Water

Before using any products, wash your face with warm water. The temperature helps to open up your pores, making it easier to remove any dirt or grime.

After completing your routine, splash your face with cold water and pat dry with a clean, soft towel. The cold water (not too cold!) will close the pores up again, preventing your skin from absorbing any additional nasties in the night.

 

This is a contributed post written by Dale White