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.

 

Just checking in…

Happy April everybody!

I wish I could say April Fools and snap my finger and have everything just go back to normal but unfortunately I can’t do that. Instead I can write this blog and check in on my friends and family and make sure we are all doing ok, and to let you know if you are’t doing ok, well that is ok too.

It has been a weird, uncertain, strange, and scary time to say the least. I think the scariest part for me is the unknown. The unknown elements to the virus, the unknown final statistics and numbers, the unknown if a loved one or family member will test positive, and the unknown timeline of when things will get back to normal or if it even will get back to normal.

As I mentioned, it is ok to not be ok, it is ok to feel emotion, to be scared, to be sad. Sad for missed weddings, for missed birthdays, for missed childbirth, for missed honeymoons. It is ok to be sad that you lost your job, or hours, or interviews. So feel the emotions, be sad, but also be strong because you are not alone, we are all truly in this together from one end of the world to the other.

To be honest, there have been days where I haven’t been ok. Where I have cried, had a panic attack, broke down, screamed at my husband, thought about worst case scenario, read the news and cried some more.

I count my blessings every day though. I am working and staying busy and telling stories that I love and distracting myself, I have an amazing husband to keep me grounded and sane, an amazing dog that gives me an excuse to get some fresh air every day, amazing friends that check in on me, and an amazing family. I realize that not everyone is in the same position and so I want this to be an outlet for you, an opportunity to share your fears, your tears, but also your hope and your courage so that we can all get through this together, and hopefully keep as many of the vulnerable safe.

I also just wanted to share a few things that I have felt helpful to get through this.

Take a moment to breathe and be grateful 

If you know me and have followed this blog, you might know that I suffer from anxiety and so I have been struggling, but I have found comfort in waking up early and doing some breathing exercise ( or trying them throughout the day when I am feeling stressed). I also try and write down three to five things that I am thankful for everyday. It makes me realize how truly lucky I am. I also keep reminding myself the reason that we are doing this and social distancing is to help save as many lives as possible.

Try and get into a routine 

As I mentioned I am pretty lucky because I am still working right now, which definitely keeps me distracted but I felt like I was just pouring all my time and energy into work so I decided to come up with a daily schedule. I make sure to take time to walk my dog and get fresh air and also make sure I work out for an hour or go for a run because that is something that helps me clear my head when I am stressed.

Call your friends and family 

I have actually found myself facetiming and calling my family and long distance friends now more than every. As terrible as this situation is, it makes me realize how special relationships are and that in the busy world we live in, it is important to take the time out for the people we love. I have also found comfort in finding people that I can open up with and share my experiences with.

Let yourself have emotions 

I am the kind of person who tends to hold things inside until I explore, and then the situation is 10 times worse than what it would have been if I just dealt with it in the moment. I have found it has helped by letting myself feel. Sometimes I am angry and sometimes I am sad. I let myself feel the emotions but I always try and and make sure I try and end on a positive feeling (goodnewsmovement has really helped with that)

Try not to read too much 

As a journalist, it is my job to stay informed and so I am always checking the latest information, but once the work day is done I try and shut it off and if you don’t work in the news or health care don’t spend hours reading article after article because here is the thing, the virus is so scary because it is so new and unknown and so no one right now really has the answer and so reading that it will take over a year or we will have to be in lockdown for six months, sure that might be the case but don’t stress yourself out over things that aren’t proven or known yet.

Listen to health officials 

It is so frustrating when I see tweets and pictures of people gathering in groups and having house parties. Listen just because you are young and healthy, it doesn’t mean it won’t spread to family members you care about that aren’t as young and healthy. The sad thing is more and more “young and healthy” people are also finding themselves in the ICU. It is important we all listen to our health care officials and government officials and do the right thing so we can all beat COVID19 together.

Give back when you can 

I honestly feel so helpless in all of this (although the most helpful thing we can do is all stay home) but there are ways we can help. Health care workers need masks, researchers need funds, and food banks need donations. I am giving blood for the first time next month which I am very nervous but also excited to do my part. I have found comfort in being able to do some small things to help out.

So here I am, just checking in and making sure you are all ok, and if you are not ok. I am here for you all, and just know we will all get through this together by staying apart (for now)

Keep your heads high my friends,

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 experience with Pure Barre

My Experience with Pure Barre

I have been an athlete my entire life, but as a tennis player a lot of my focus was on speed and endurance. Since quitting tennis, I have been trying to keep my fitness up, but to me a  workout always meant cardio. That is why I was a little skeptical when a friend of mine invited me out to a barre class at Pure Barre fitness in Yaletown.

When I thought of barre classes, I thought of them as a sort of ballet class that wouldn’t really be much of a workout. I was completely wrong.

While I might not of gotten the sweat that I get in cardio classes, I got a workout unlike any other. The barre class was so much harder than I thought it would be because the class focuses so intensely on specific areas like core strength, stabilizing muscles in the shoulders and hips, and enhancing flexibility. This is reached by isometric exercises and continuous small moments that “burn out” the muscles. Because you are constantly moving and engaging small muscles you that you are really working deep in the muscle and targeting trouble zones like your hops, thighs, glutes and core.

Within just minutes of my first class my legs were shaking uncontrollably and the next day my body was so sore. As I said, it was so much more of a workout than I originally expected.

After a few weeks of combining barre into my weekly cardio routine, I started to notice a difference. I was already looking more toned in my arms and thighs and my posture was noticeably better (something that I thought was impossible). I have really fallen in love with my barre classes.

What to expect from class

You start the class with a light cardio warm up that targets everything from your toes to your fingers.

Once the warm up is done, it is straight to weights to target your arm muscles. You use one set of lighter weights and one heavier and again constant movement targeting shoulders, triceps, biceps, and upper back, while also moving into lunges and squats to make sure your entire body is engaged.

After weights it is straight to thigh work. To really “burn out” your thighs you use a combination of band work, ball work, and resistance against your own body weight.

This will be the moment when your legs really start to shake as you focus solely on one side of your body for several minutes before giving it a break.

There isn’t much rest for your legs as you transition quickly into seat work, targeting the glute muscles again using the band and ball for resistance.

Once you have really got a shake going in your legs (and as they say, embrace the shake), you make your way down to the floor for a very intense ab workout.

While it might be short, it is anything but sweat. You will once again use the ball to target both your lower and upper abs.

Finally you end the class with some back work and bridges before a very thorough stretch.

Types of classes 

Pure Classic 

The class that I have been doing the most and what I described above is the classic barre classic. The classic class is the original barre class that utilizes the ballet barre to perform the small, isometric movements I spoke about which are good for burning fat and sculpting muscles.

Pure Empower 
Looking for a bit more of a cardio workout? Look no further than the empower class. This is a more fast paced and dynamic workout that is 45 minutes long. It is definitely a challenging class that is more cardio centric but at the same time there are modifications for all fitness levels.
Pure Reform 
This really is a total body workout and is focused on more resistance based strength training as oppose to just body weight. I loved that it combined elements from Pure Barre classic, but had the added element of resistance bands and sliders to just give you a bit of a different workout.
Overall I am really loving my Pure Barre classes. After just a month of taking these classes I am seeing a difference when it comes to my arms and glutes. I am seeing my body becoming more toned and lean, and again my posture has improved ten folds. I am excited to see where these classes take me as I continue to mix them into my weekly workouts.

For more information about their classes make sure to check out their website;  http://purebarre.com/bc-yaletown/

Happy workouts my friends,

xo

Mia

 

New Years Resolution with the Practice Studio

I know that a few of you followed along as I shared by journey with the Practice Studio. For three months I worked with the amazing during my Whole Life Practice Journey. The journey, as I have mentioned in a few of my previous blogs focuses on four main pillars; fitness, nutrition, meditation, and life coaching.

The Journey 

While I shared the journey along the way, the lessons I learned, the changes I made, and the obstacles I overcame. I have yet to share the actual results of the experience. You know, sometimes life gets in the way and all.

Pillar 1: Fitness

When I started my fitness journey I was taking three to four classes a week and one day of personal training. Before we started the journey we set aside some personal goals that we were going to work towards over the next three months.

  • Loose 5 pounds
  • Loose 2% body fat
  • Work out at least 4 x a week
  • get involved more in outdoor activities and workouts
  • tone arms and abs

During the three months we mixed up our training routines so that I wouldn’t get bored (something that tends to happen when I go to the gym). We did workouts outdoors in the sunshine, different classes, and cardio & weight training.

By the end of the experience not only did I find workouts that I enjoyed, get a variety of training through incredible classes, and find more confidence in myself but I also reached the majority of my goals.

By the end of the three months, I lost 3 pounds, was down 1.7% body fat (the majority of the weight loss was in my arms and abs), was working out 4 to 5 times a week,  and was doing more outdoor hikes and bike rides.

While I didn’t reach every goal, I came close and was definitely taking steps in the right direction. Most importantly though, I gained confidence that I never had before and learned skills that I can apply to my everyday workout routines.

Pillar 2: Nutrition 

Before starting my journey with the practice studio I can tell you I sure struggled in the nutrition department. Of course I would order french fires with my burger, and yes I will have the dessert menu.

I knew that this was going to be my biggest challenge of all, but in my first meeting with Jackie I was surprised that instead of telling me what I can and cannot eat, she told me to create a food diary and also helped me come up with some goals for our journey.

  • Cut down on carb and sugar intake
  • Loose 5 pounds and 2% body fat
  • Become more confident with my eating habits
  • Cook more meals at home

One of the most memorable moments of my experience was going to the grocery store with Jackie and actually reading the labels and ingredients. I have always been a visual learner and so going through the store and learning how to make better choices was a big part of my journey.

It was also amazing to have an entire team holding me accountable, but in the most positive way possible. I would keep my food journals, and when I would slip up or cheat I wasn’t yelled at, instead I was told it was ok to indulge as long as it wasn’t every meal.

This was the biggest change in my lifestyle. At the end of the day I came close to my weight loss goals, but I have been cooking more at home, making healthier choices, and feeling better about my overall well being. I have more energy and am once again more confident in myself. Oh and about the cooking, it has become one of my biggest hobbies.

Pillar 3: Mindfulness & Meditation

As someone who is constantly on the go between work, my blog, vlogs, and then trying to have a social life in between, I struggle to find a healthy balance. Focusing on mindfulness and meditation has never really been  a priority for me.

Through the practice studio program though, I realized how important it is to focus on this aspect of my life more. During the three month period we came up with a few goals when it came to mindfulness and meditation.

  • Meditate every morning for at least 10 minutes
  • practice breathing exercises to help keep me calm and relaxed in stressful situations
  • Journal daily

I was able to reach all of my goals that I set and I must say I saw an incredible difference in my lifestyle and overall health. With the help of calming meditation practices and breathing techniques I have found ways to relax even when I have stressful events going on in my life.

Pillar 4: Life Coaching

When I first sat down with Jackie for our coaching sessions, it was a huge wake up call for me. I had never really taken the time to evaluate my life and what I was doing and if it was making me happy.

In just one sessions, I realized it wasn’t. I was working none stop to make ends meet while neglecting relationships with friends, family, and myself. We started to come up with goals on how to change this.

  • See my parents at least once every two months
  • Spend time with friends at least once every two weeks
  • Take at least one full day off a week for myself (while freelancing)
  • Try and find a job that allows me to do what I love, but also have quality time for myself.

Right away we started working towards those goals by creating schedules and calendars and really allocate my time to the right areas of my life. I was practicing better communication skills, and taking the time to figure out my true passions.

By the end of my coaching, I was having a better time with my partner, I was feeling more rejuvenated because I was acually taking time for myself, and I landed my dream job with the Weather Network. It is amazing what you can achieve if you actually set your mind to it (cliche I know but oh so true).

Next Step: New Year’s Resolution 

Now that I have shared my results, it is time to share my goals, and there is no better time to set some new goals then the new year right?

Goal setting was a huge part of the Practice Studio Whole Life Program because it truly holds you accountable to reach your goals, and it is something that I want to continue to focus on now that my time in the actual program has ended.

With an upcoming wedding and career as a national weather reporter, my physical appearance is really important to me. My goals are of course to continue to be healthy, eat right, and hey if I do lose some body fat along the way that would be great too.

My true goal though is to continue to focus on my fitness more so for my overall confidence. When I am staying active, working out, and feeling healthy I feel better about myself overall. I tend to have more energy, and that confidence shines in other aspects of my life.

I want to continue to push myself in my fitness and in my career. Strive to continuously be a better version of myself. Continue to grow strong relationships, and learn to love and forgive myself even on tough days.

And the best part is, I won’t be working on reaching these goals all alone. I am excited to announce I will be working once again with the Practice studio. Hey, pushing yourself to workout harder and to be the best version of you is always more fun with friends by your side right.

Cannot wait to continue this journey in the New Year, but in the meantime would love to hear some of your New Year’s resolution.