How to create a healthier home

Image by Denise Husted from Pixabay

I know this might be pretty obvious, but everyone wants to feel healthy and at their best right? I know during this pandemic feeling our best doesn’t come as easy. It has been mentally and emotionally draining on all of us but you are probably still trying to do what you can to wake up feeling good. Some steps you might be taking is easting right, exercising regularly, and making sure you  get enough sleep. Each of these is vital, but there may be one influence on your health you overlook, and that is your home. Your home plays a significant role in your wellbeing and impacts everything from your mood to your physical health. Creating a healthy home is an investment in your wellbeing and can enhance every area of your life. If you want to create a healthier home, here are some things you can do: 

Improve Air Quality

You may not have thought about your home’s air quality, but if indoor air quality is poor, it can cause various problems. Low indoor air quality can cause allergy symptoms and exacerbate conditions such as asthma. A reduction in indoor air quality can occur if your home has inadequate ventilation or if your air conditioning is not functioning correctly. If you spot an issue with your air conditioning unit, it is wise to call an emergency ac repair service to get the problem solved and ensure your air conditioning is working efficiently once again.

Keeping up with maintaining your HVAC system is the best way to keep it working efficiently for longer. 

Another important way to keep your home healthier is to install a carbon monoxide alarm. Carbon monoxide can pollute your home without you even knowing as it is an odourless gas. The effects of carbon monoxide poisoning are potentially severe, so it is vital to reduce your exposure.

 

Reduce Excess Moisture

Having excess moisture in your home can lead to mold and mildew forming. Mold and mildew not only look pretty gross, but they also are not great for your health. Depending on your sensitivity to mold spores, they can cause you to have allergy-like symptoms including a runny nose, itchy eyes, and headaches. 

Mold can appear in many forms in the home and could look like patches of black dots on your wall or other surfaces, or even have a ‘furry’ appearance. If you notice mold in your home, you may want to get it removed to prevent it from spreading and get your home looking great again.

To prevent mold from forming in your home, it is essential to keep your moisture levels low. The most crucial step in reducing moisture in your home is to prevent condensation. Condensation often occurs in the bathroom and kitchen. Activities such as taking your daily shower and cooking can create large amounts of condensation, leading to mold developing. Improving ventilation in your home while you are showering or cooking is the best way to keep moisture at bay. The simplest solution is to open the window before you shower or start cooking, as this will prevent condensation. If you hang wet laundry around your home, this can also increase moisture levels. If possible, it is best to let your laundry dry outdoors rather than inside, where it can create condensation.

Here is to a healthier and happier home my friends,

xo

Mia

What you can do about work related health issues

I have shared quite a bit on my social media channels how much I love my job and how lucky I am to be part of a team I care about doing work that  I am passionate about. One’s job should have a positive impact on one’s life, but let’s be honest, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. And sometimes, when we don’t take the time to check in, the work life balance can tip a little too far one way and impact your health. It might not be a physical impact, but more so a mental one that you might not even know is effecting you until it is a little too late. So I wanted to share with you some ways that you can make sure your work doesn’t impact your overall health.

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Start Moving More 

It’s easy to forget, especially since many of us have had to pivot to working from home and may be at a computer for longer hours than usual, but humans were really not supposed to sit down as much as we currently do. While it can be comfortable to sit, comfort in itself is probably overrated! Here is the thing, many of us are now going from our bed to our office chair to the couch in the evening and then right back to bed, and that is too much sitting! Research suggests that this might have severe long-term health consequences. The solution? Move more. You can take regular walks throughout the day, get a standing desk, or even cycle or run to work. I also wear an apple watch to remind me to get up for at least a minute each hour. 

Better Work Set Up

As well as sitting, humans were also not really designed for typing all day long. We get used to it, but it can have a harmful impact on certain aspects of our bodies, most notably our wrists and hands. Mine is doubled because of a previous life as a tennis player. If you’re feeling pain in this part of your body, then visit a hand surgeon. I recently booked an appointment and found out that I have a cyst in my wrist. Other common concerns could be carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a common consequence of typing in an incorrect position. Beyond that, it’s about reviewing your work setup. There are ergonomic keyboards and mouse setups that are easier on the wrists. 

Work/Life Balance

It’s normal to feel a little bit of stress at work. But if you’re feeling overly stressed, then there’ll be a problem. This level of stress can have short- and long-term impacts on your health, not to mention your overall enjoyment of life. If you can’t see how your working life will calm down, then it’s important to take steps to improve your work/life balance. Having a cut-off time for work, doing relaxation activities, and taking time throughout the day to get some headspace will all prevent a build-up of stress. Whenever I think I have a busy or stressful day ahead I try and start my day with meditation to clear my head and get me ready for the tasks ahead. 

Maybe it is time for a career change 

I must say I am so lucky to have a job I love, but trust me before working at the Weather Network I had many jobs I did not love. Sometimes I was working several jobs at once and the stress was just overwhelming. I understand making ends meet, I bought a condo straight out of university and so money and finances is important, but it isn’t everything. Sure making a steady income can take a lot of the stress away. You know that you can pay your bills each month, you can invest in activities that have a positive impact on your overall health, and you can do things that do create a healthy lifestyle like purchasing a gym membership or healthier (and usually more expensive meals). Maybe it is time to ask for that raise that you know you deserve. Or if you don’t think it is the right fit and it isn’t benefiting you both financially and emotionally, than maybe it is time to move on.

 

 

 

Reducing the Risk of Strain at the Gym

Having been a professional athlete for most of my life I have suffered several injuries. Broken ankles, torn shoulder, chronic wrist pain. The list goes on. But whether you are a professional athlete or just an active person, there is always a risk of injury. Most of this doesn’t come from obvious risks like falling over or mishandling weights, but from muscle strain (something that I am very very familiar with). If you’re experienced muscle strain before, you know it can greatly hold back your fitness potential and keep you out of the gym for weeks. Here are some ways to prevent it.

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Recover and recuperate

First of all, if you’re currently healing from a strain, you should make sure that you recover fully from it before you get back into working out. You can help your road to recovery with the help of things like massage therapy and a physiotherapist. You should pay attention to your delayed onset muscle soreness, as well. It doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong, but not giving yourself the time you need to relax and recover between workouts can put way too much pressure on your muscles.

Prepare effectively

If you jump right into working out intensely, then you are very likely to end up pulling something. Have a full workout routine that starts with a series of full-body stretches. You should stretch your body more thoroughly before working out than after. Some light warmups to help your muscles get limber and flexible are going to be crucial, as well.

Wear the right gear

Well-fitting gear that allows for a good range of motion is crucial in preventing all ranges of musculoskeletal injuries. If your clothes are too tight, then you’re working against your clothes as well as against your own body’s lack of agility. I learned this the hard way when I was training for my first half marathon.  A good pair of fashionable leggings does more than making your thighs look great. They can aid in both strain prevention and even in recovering from existing strains.

Feed your muscles

Most people who work out are very used to the idea that nutrition is key to staying healthy.  In most cases, you might think that this means upping your protein intake. Protein does help your muscles rebuild after the natural wear of exercise, but you should also try incorporating potassium-rich foods into your diet, as well. Potassium, which can be found in things like avocados and bananas, can help prevent the muscle fatigue that leads to more easily straining them.

Slow it down

Sometimes my body just tells me it needs a little time out. That doesn’t mean a day completely off, but maybe just a less intense workout. If you have been pushing yourself super hard lately, then you should think about taking it a little slower. This doesn’t mean that you should skip a workout (unless you’re in need of the extra recovery), but that you should try lighter workouts you can do at home, instead. Having lighter workout days and more intense workout days is a part of most training programs, and only working out at the highest intensities is going to put you at a greater risk of a tear or strain.

When in doubt, you should listen to your body. If your muscles feel too taut or in any way “weird” or have sharp, shooting pains, it’s time to take a rest.

Here is to staying healthy, active, and pain free

xo friends,

Mia

Living in the moment: a journey to become more present

Over the last few months I have learned the powers of the brain. You can’t see it but it truly is miraculous how it works in mysterious ways to protect us – protect us from pain.

Just 5 short months ago I was running on zero sleep, zero food, my whole body was in pain as I anxiously waited for my husband to wake up from a coma, bot worrying how bad his recovery would be after a traumatic brain injury.

5 months later and life has returned to “normal”. Did you know that the brain actually suppresses pain. Scientists call it state-dependant learning. When the brain creates memories in a certain state, like trauma, those memories  become inaccessible in a normal state of consciousness.

It is like my conscious self forgot about the accident, it was long gone from the front of my mind, however there were still random moments of PTSD. I hated saying that it was PTSD because I always associated this with real trauma. With people who were in war, who were robbed or beat. I never thought the loved one who had to watch the accident unfold from the outside could suffer from it. And so random moments, an ambulance would drive by me, I would drive past the hospital, little things and moments would trigger the pain, but it wasn’t all the time like it was 5 months ago.

It wasn’t until I joined my friend Joti Samra’s podcast recently and she read a piece from a blog I wrote shortly after the accident. I found writing to be a form of therapy for me. A way to let out my emotions when I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone. It was this moment that took me past PTSD, it took me right back to the hospital bed, holding his hand, praying for him to be ok, for us to be ok.

It also took me back to a promise that I made in the hospital, to live more in the present. As someone who works in media, social media is a big part of that. The first thing I do in the morning is check my social media accounts. It is also the last thing I do before I go to bed at night, and throughout the day as well.

When I was in the hospital I didn’t check my social media for 10 days straight. I was just living in the present moment, talking to my husband in a coma. And during that time I made the promise that if we made it out of this, I would continue to live in the moment. That present conversations would be more important than what was on my phone.

5 months later and as life returns back to “normal” I realized I broke that promise to myself.  I had already gone back to old routines, to the dreaded social media life consuming days. While I still value what social media offers I am re-committed to finding a balance of living more in the present. Phone down at dinner time, conversations at night instead of scrolling. The little details that make all the difference.

As for the PTSD that I am finally accepting that it is ok for me to feel this way. I did go through a traumatic experience. Through accepting, I have been able to do research and find some ways to deal with it. I still speak to my therapist, I have been practicing different breathing techniques, I have continued journaling and also speaking to my husband when I need to share my emotions and feelings. It is going to be a journey for sure, one that is going to last a lot longer than just 5 months and that’s ok. Just like it is ok to sometimes have a bit of a detour when you make a promise to yourself, as long as you eventually find the right road again.

I know that sometimes on this blog I write about beauty, lifestyle, travel, etc. But as I mentioned this blog is also an outlet for me to share my feelings, my fears, my emotions, my accomplishments. A place for me to vent,  to share, to connect and this was one of those moments where I just had to write it all down and hold myself accountable.

xo

Mia

 

 

Why has your sleep worsened over time?

I remember when I was younger I could sleep anywhere at anytime. Heck, when I was living in Florida I even slept through a hurricane, but as the years go by I have found it harder to get to sleep. I also tend to wake up in the middle of the night and find myself tossing and turning a lot. In doing some research I realized I am not alone in this.

Many people find that their sleep gets worse over time, either in terms of the amount of time spent sleeping or the depth of the sleep. If you have found this to be the case, then it might well have started affecting numerous other parts of your life. With less sleep, it is harder to concentrate and your emotions are more likely to be all over the place. You will also find you are less able to think straight, and a number of other problems too. So what is the cause? As it turns out there are actually a number of issues that might lead to your sleep getting worse over time. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Aging and Decreased need 

One of the most common reasons is simply that you are getting a little older. As we age, our need for hours of sleep actually decreases quite a bit over time, with the result being that you probably don’t need anywhere near as much as you did in your twenties. This is a normal part of aging, and not something that you have to worry about as such. But being aware of it could help you to pinpoint any other issues which might be causing your sleep problems in turn.

Sleep Apnea

There is a condition known as sleep apnea which can be quite distressing for a lot of people. One of the main results of this condition is that you can’t sleep properly for the simple fact that your airways are not fully open as you sleep. You therefore start to snore a lot, and basically wake yourself up repeatedly throughout the night. If you fear you might have sleep apnea, you should aim to get some medical help for it. It might need some intervention to help improve it.

Other Disorders

Sleep apnea is one kind of problem that can occur with sleep, but there are a lot of other disorders that you might have too. One which is becoming more common is known as REM sleep behaviour disorder, and it is characterized by unusual behaviour happening during sleep, such as shouting or screaming or flailing about. The sleeper might not even be aware of these behaviours, but they will certainly wake up feeling tired the next day. If your partner has warned you that you are exhibiting these behaviours, be sure to see your doctor.

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Poor Diet 

The thing about eating badly is that you might not notice the effects right away. But over time, you will almost certainly find that having a poor diet leads to a number of bad things, one of the most common results being that you might not sleep quite as well. If you think you might be eating a lot of heavy, processed foods, or you know that you could probably cut down on alcohol and caffeine, you should certainly consider doing those things. That could be all that you really need to do in order to improve your sleep.

If you are feeling like me, unable to get a good night’s sleep, I hope that this might help you a little,

sweet dreams my friends

xo

Mia