Thankful Thursday 19: Listening to my Body

Welcome to the nineteenth instalment of my Thankful Thursday series, Listening to my Body!

Here I am on a Friday again, wondering how it’s been a week since last time. And wondering how I’m on week 19! This week, I’m focusing on gratitude for learning to listen to my body.

Here’s my Thankful Thursday for the week of September 14 – September 20, 2018!

Things I am thankful for over the past week:

  • I’ve run a 10k once a week as one of my cardio sessions, and this Saturday’s was wet and wonderful.
Just past Second Beach and the outdoor pool.
The section of the seawall between Prospect Point and the Lions Gate is my favourite.
I get the most beautiful view of the Lions Gate right at my 5k turn-around point.
  • My best friend Joy took me to Teppenyaki for the first time on Saturday evening. We got a super great Groupon deal, and the food was amazing! I was really enjoying being present throughout the experience and only got one (not so great) photo.
Cooking our fried rice.
  • We had a beautiful, sunny, fall Monday afternoon. I took advantage by going for a walk when I got home from work. Fortunately, my tutoring session was cancelled which meant that I was home while the sun was still out. I even got to take one of my huge leaf photos like I mentioned was in the works in my last post!
It’s not the biggest one I’ve ever seen, but as we’re getting a major rainstorm this weekend, I’m sure I’ll have more to choose from in the coming days.
  • This week was busy, with the first rugby games of the season on Sunday, my two regular classes at UBC on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then Meet the Teacher night yesterday. They all went quite well (despite the rugby being exceedingly wet).
  • I’ve accomplished my goal of staying on top of my readings for school, prep work, and marking for teaching for another week!

And finally, the theme for this week, Listening to my Body!

As a person who really loves routine, and who also sets rather high standards for herself, I often find it hard to let things slide.

Missing a workout, for example, can lead to me berating myself in my head and trying to make up for it on another day by doing more than I normally would.

It also means that even though I have an inordinate amount of stuff on my plate, I still expect myself to be able to keep the kitchen clean, tidy the apartment, keep up with my exercise program, blog, work on creative endeavours, and have time to myself. Oh, and spend time with my husband. Aiya.

As I mentioned in my post last week about coping, I have definitely recognized that this new full-time work + part-time grad school + coaching gig is taking a lot out of me. And I’m coping with it. But I’m also learning to listen to my body better. That’s what I want to focus my gratitude on this week.

What listening to my body has looked like:

  • Not scheduling my BBG workouts and runs a week in advance. I’m planning a big post on intuitive exercise that I’m excited about! I don’t want to get too much into that, but I’m used to planning a workout schedule in advance. Then, I tend to ignore how I feel and just blast it out regardless so that it gets done. This week, I’ve been choosing my workouts on the fly, and it feels so good.
  • In the same vein, taking two mornings this week to sleep in for about an hour instead of getting up to work out. I made one of those days my full-on rest day. On the other, I worked out in the afternoon instead, when I was feeling energized.
  • Lightening up my BBG workouts – listening to my energy levels and taking a bit more rest when I was feeling really tired instead of pushing through for more reps.
  • Eating at more regular intervals. The high school block rotation is not conducive to fueling your body when it needs it. I eat breakfast at around 6:45, and lunch break is not until 12:50. I’ve been consciously packing healthy snacks that I can easily eat between classes at 10 and 11:20. And I’m only eating when I’m hungry.
  • Not doing the dishes at all. Like I mentioned, it was a busier-than-usual-busy week. I got home after 8:30pm three days in a row, having left the apartment by 7am. I unpacked my things and curled up into bed with a book. And some chocolate on Thursday, thanks to my hubs!
  • Leaving the definitely dry laundry on the drying racks for three days.

I’m going to be focusing on listening to my body more and more as the weeks go by. I know it’s a big part of why I wake up most mornings feeling motivated and ready to go during this draining time. I also think it’s a huge contributor to the fact that 3/4 of my closest work colleagues have been pretty sick this week and I have not gotten it. Cross your fingers, though, those whiteboard markers are deadly contaminants!

There you have it!

So, that’s my Thankful Thursday list for this week. I hope it inspires you to make your own, and get on that gratitude train!

Peace and love,


Thankful Thursday 8: Healing

Welcome to the eighth instalment of my Thankful Thursday, Healing! I’m really late this time, even with the best of intentions. I actually finished the post a while ago and then forgot to actually hit the button. I think I’m going to stop making promises, considering I’m in the thick of the last two weeks of school!

This week I’m focusing on gratitude for healing that has happened this week, both mentally and physically.

Here’s my Thankful Thursday for the Week of June 1 – June 7, 2018!

Things I am thankful for this week:

  • I got a yummy donut and coffee for Camp Day at Tim’s
  • We celebrated #nationaldonutday with Lucky’s

  • It’s been kind of grey but still warm
  • I’ve been really busy (more on that in a minute) but I haven’t dropped the ball on anything, which feels awesome
  • I went to this lovely café called the Corner Stone with some friends from work whom I worked with on an innovation grant project this year to wrap up
  • I also went to an awesome bike-themed café with a friend
Love me a well-executed theme.
  • And we walked on the seawall after
Again, grey but warm
  • The Capitals won the Stanley Cup (fight me, Ovechkin deserved to finally win)
  • Registration for my first year MEd courses went reasonably well (one class didn’t work for some reason, gave me a mild panic attack, and then worked on the second try – as usual)
  • This crazy large brussels sprout (I bought a whole bag of them, all this big)
  • My friend Joy got me the most beautiful paint-by-numbers for my birthday
  • Joy and I went to our favourite Starbucks, the fancy Reserve one on Main Street, for reward Nitro Cold Brew floats and we got the best table in the place!

The title of this post, Healing!

  • First and foremost, this week I’m really grateful for physical healing: MY HIP AND QUAD ARE FINALLY WELL ENOUGH FOR ME TO RUN! And this is what I got to see on my first trip back to the seawall… baby geese!

So cute. Anyway, at three weeks to race day, I finally felt well enough to give my legs a try. At this point in the program, Tuesdays are 6k fast, Wednesdays are sprints, Thursdays are 8k steady, Saturdays are 6k steady, and Sundays are looooooong distance. The geese photo is from Tuesday evening when I did a slow 3k, which felt stiff but good.

Then on Thursday, I decided to test my distance and was able to do the scheduled 8k (but a lot slower than target pace). I got this great view!

My hip is a ton better, but my quad still has some progress left to go. It’s not getting any worse from the running, which is great. I’m going to be my stubborn self and train and race, and then I’ll make sure it’s fully healed before I do anything else. I’ve done weekly physio and bi-weekly chiro this whole time, so don’t worry about me! 🙂

Second (and last but not least), I’ve really noticed some mental healing this week.

It’s obvious to me that this has been progress that I’ve made over the last almost two years on medication. However, it’s often things like these that we don’t really notice until we get thrown in hot water. Which is where I am now. Well, I wouldn’t say hot water. Just slightly uncomfortably warm water. It’s the last two weeks of scheduled classes at work. I’m coaching a rep rugby team, my report cards are due, and I’m getting things sorted for the MEd I’m starting in September. Oh and all the rehab and training that’s happening for my half that you just read about.

Anyway, the healing that I’m trying to get to is that I’m not panicking. I’m still sleeping eight hours a night. I’m able to get out of bed in the morning. I’m not crying. I don’t have daily headaches. I’m eating properly. It’s amazing. It used to be that when I was working through a really work-heavy, stressful time, I would start to self-combust. Now I’m fully functioning, albeit a bit more tired!

Another thing I’ve noticed is that I’m functioning better socially. This week, I had 4 social events after work. Now, I’m not going to go so far as to say that I was excited for them (I still dreaded them as usual), but I managed them especially well IMO. I’m an introvert, and I usually use most of my extrovert energy at my job as a teacher, so being required to go socialize with coworkers or other volunteers, etc. is often incredibly difficult for me. This week, although I dreaded each event, I quite enjoyed them while I was there. Healing!

There you have it!

So, that’s my Thankful Thursday list for this week. I hope it inspires you to make your own, and get on that gratitude train!

Peace and love,


Thankful Thursday 7: Birthday Week

Welcome to the seventh instalment of my Thankful Thursday! This week’s theme is my birthday week. Sadly, I’m a day late again, but I’m vowing not to make it a trend! Next week’s Thankful Thursday will come out on Thursday.

This week I’m focusing on gratitude for my life in general and what turning 27 has meant to me.

Here’s my Thankful Thursday for the Week of May 25-May 31, 2018!

Things I am thankful for this week:

  • The awesome birthday I had on Wednesday
    • Work was a low-stress day, and I had my prep block (on day 1 I teach all 4 blocks, but on day 2 I teach 3)
    • I got my free Starbucks birthday drink (Triple Venti Caramel Macchiato)
    • Andrew and I went to dinner at Earl’s and watched the hockey and tennis
    • Then we went to see Deadpool 2 which was HILARIOUS

The title of this post, Birthday Week!

  • Every year on my birthday, I naturally get retrospective about the last year. Usually this leads to gratitude. My 20s have been incredibly eventful so far, and I have so much to be thankful for, this year especially!
    • I finished my Diploma in Guidance Studies, the first step to becoming a counsellor.
    • I got a full-time continuing contract with West Vancouver Schools, at the school I’m at this year. For all you NB’ers, this means a B contract. I’m here to stay!
    • I got accepted to my Master’s program of choice at UBC, School Counselling. This will be my fourth (and last!!!) university program. I’m very excited to start in September (and excited to finish May 2021).
    • I coached three rugby teams (girls’ age-grade club, high school girls, and girls’ PRCs).
    • I signed up for two more half marathons and ran one (the next is June 24th, and I’m rehabbing my butt off to be able to run it!).
    • Andrew and I got to spend a rejuvenating weekend in Whistler around our second wedding anniversary.
    • We also got to go to Calgary for Christmas and spend a week with family.
    • I travelled to Cuba with Mom for a week over Spring Break.
    • Both Andrew and I are feeling happier than ever and really excited about our life plans.
  • Life is pretty good, and on my 27th birthday I was and am feeling really grateful for my past 27 years of life. I’m working in a professional field that I love, and I get to write and be creative and read like a fiend in my spare time. I’m active and do community activities, and I hang out with friends virtually and in-person often. Mental health is a struggle as it always has been, but I’m really getting good at appreciating what I have. Here’s to my 28th year!

There you have it!

So, that’s my Thankful Thursday list for this week. I hope it inspires you to make your own, and get on that gratitude train!

Peace and love,


Thankful Thursday 6: Organization

Welcome to the sixth instalment of my Thankful Thursday! This week’s theme is organization, but ironically, this is the week that it went off the rails a little (considering today is actually Friday). I knew it would happen eventually. It also makes a lot of sense to me that the first time it would happen during a holiday week.

This week I’m focusing on gratitude for the organization I’m making happen in my life.

Here’s my Thankful Thursday for the Week of May 18-May 24, 2018!

Things I am thankful for this week:

  • All of the amazing food I’ve eaten this week
    • Drinks and appies at Uva with my best friend, and then pizza and a s’mores calzone at Firecrust!
      Drinks at Uva.
      The arancini we ate at Uva.
      My build-your-own pizza.

      The s’mores calzone!
    • Brunch (and dessert) (and coffee coffee coffee) at Craft Beer Market in False Creek (this is my husband and I’s favourite weekend spot).
      The beautiful view near our favourite brunch place in False Creek.

      It’s called “dessert in a jar.” It’s awesome. Banana, chocolate sauce, toffee, ice cream, brownie, and whipped cream. Two spoons, of course.
    • Free popcorn and pop (and nachos we paid for) at the advanced showing of Solo: A Star Wars Story that we got to see through Andrew’s work. I’m also grateful for getting to go see the movie early!
    • Coffee at Matchstick with another best friend!
    • A delicious Starbucks breakfast with Andrew on the holiday Monday
  •  I had a guest speaker in for most of the week in my Planning 10 classes, which meant that I got a bit of a break at work. Of course I was still in all of my classes, but I didn’t have to plan the lessons, which was really nice for a change.
  • As I mentioned above, we had a long weekend for Victoria Day, and I’m really thankful for that! Andrew now gets his holiday Mondays off, which is really nice because we get to spend time together.
  • In addition to the holiday Monday, Friday was a Professional Development Day (in BC we call them Pro-D), which meant that I got to go to work and get a lot of things done and organized. Speaking of which…

The title of this post, Organization!

  • There are two main reasons that I chose organization for this week’s gratitude theme. One is that because I had a guest speaker in many of my classes and a Pro-D on Friday, I had a lot of opportunities to get organized at work. The other is that I got a burst of inspiration over the long weekend for how to further organize our home.
  • I’m always grateful for the opportunity to do some organization for work. Teaching 7 different classes with only 1h20 to prep once every two days leads to a lot of organizational backlog sometimes. It’s hard to stay on top of things. The Pro-D day really helped. Most of the time we have organized activities on these days, but this time we just got time to work on new curriculum implementation, and I got a lot of things done. It felt great!
  • Also, now and then I start to go stir crazy in our apartment. So I’m really thankful for the spark of inspiration and motivation I got over the weekend to change things up a bit. We have a kind of useless space between where our kitchen and entryway are, and our living room. We’ve had a small dining table there for the last while, but we never eat at it – we tended to use it for food storage instead. It was really a wasted space. So I decided that it would be a great idea to do away with the table and  get a big shelving unit for that wall area instead. We decided on Sunday, and off we went to IKEA on the holiday Monday. I had the shelf together by Monday evening, and I’ve spent the rest of the week moving things around and organizing. It’s been great! Here’s the process:
    BEFORE: The awkward space in our apartment. At this point, I had already taken apart the dining table, but for reference, that square piece of glass was the top of it, and the table was in the left-hand corner.
    The shelf, put together!

    The shelf, mid organizing! This is about where we’re at right now. More to come later!

There you have it!

So, that’s my Thankful Thursday list for this week. I hope it inspires you to make your own, and get on that gratitude train!

Peace and love,


Exercise: Self-Care for Anxiety Strategy 2

This post is all about the second (and probably just as important as the first – sleep) of the 50 anxiety management strategies I wrote about in my last post: EXERCISE.

The Background

Long before I even knew I had a thing called generalized anxiety disorder, I used exercise as self-care and a coping mechanism for my anxiety. I wrote a blog for a couple of years when I was in high school, and it’s definitely relevant for me to pull a few quotes from there for the purposes of this argument.

“I went for a run this afternoon in the freezing cold rain. It was awesome. I went partly because I was royally pissed, and partly because I haven’t been for a run since friday, provincials. I was really mad because of my afternoon at school… I needed to pound it all out with a good run.:) Felt amazing.”

“That was wicked. Just got back from my run, it was pouring. I feel sooo good. It was a long day at school and after that I am so refreshed.”

Even though I didn’t realize that I had anxiety and I didn’t realize I was practicing self-care and using exercise as a management strategy, I recognized in myself that it was helpful and did it because of that.

Also, exercise is another one of those things that my co-worker’s counsellor friend said had to be in place before they would treat someone for anxiety: 30 minutes of physical activity outside 5 times a week. Not that I want to validate her argument, but it is a counsellor-validated method of managing anxiety.

Ways to use Exercise as Self-Care:

Again, referring to my leading argument, exercise is not the be-all and end-all of mental health management. But it is DEFINITELY beneficial for me, just like sleep hygiene.

1. Exercising outside is extra-beneficial, because experts argue that spending time in nature helps people with mental illness:

3. Have an accountability partner to keep you on track, or use a tracking program if you think you are motivated enough to keep yourself honest.

4. Make sure that what you’re doing is something that you enjoy. Otherwise, it doesn’t work as self-care, even if it is good for your body!

5. Be careful not to overdo it. Listen to your body. Speaking from experience, it is a slippery slope to start to do extra, because then you start to feel bad when you don’t, and you can also make it worse by getting to tired and falling off the wagon entirely. It’s important to strike a balance between getting enough exercise so that your body is happy and healthy, but not doing so much that you’re tired and sore all the time.

The next parts of the post are deeper dives into how I make each of these 5 strategies work for me!


Running is my jam, and it’s been my jam since I was thirteen. I was overweight and unhappy, and my dad introduced me to the Running Room beginner running program, which takes you from running 1 minute and walking 5 all the way to running for an hour without stopping. Its step-by-step, foolproof, structured delivery format made it so easy for me to stay on track and it felt almost magical – just as the program promised, when I completed it, I could run for an hour easily.

As I mentioned earlier, running has been a self-care/anxiety coping strategy for me for a long time. Adding to that, it’s always been something I do outside, rain or shine. I actually often enjoy running in the rain (again, see above). So this definitely hits both on the requirement of exercise to help boost those endorphins and make you happy and keep your body healthy, but also on the need to spend time outside. It helps that I get to run on what I would argue is the most beautiful track in the world, the Stanley Park seawall.

I know that running isn’t for everyone, but the emphasis here is to find a kind of exercise that feels good for you!

Half-Marathon Training Program

Half-marathons are my form of achievable running goals that help me stay motivated. I know that running a half-marathon is achievable, because I’ve done it twice already. I make it a bit more challenging for myself each time by working to run it slightly faster each time. And the Running Room program that I follow gives me an easy way to do that, because it has training programs for different speeds. These programs are laid out perfectly, with runs of varying distances on the same days of the week every week – Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. It’s just perfect. I plop all the runs into my bullet journal well in advance, and then I check them off. Check, check, check. At the end of the program, I’m inevitably shocked that I can run 21.1 kilometres exactly in my goal time, but it’s pretty foolproof! Amazing, and definitely motivating.

May 2017 with my Dad and Sharon, having completed my second half-marathon (BMO Vancouver)!

Bullet Journaling

As I just mentioned, I keep track of my training program by writing it down in my bullet journal. Bullet journaling is definitely a whole other post (or even series of posts), but briefly, I tend to use my bullet journal for to-do lists. If I can check it off in my journal, I’m much more likely to complete a task. So instead of having a friend or family member help keep me motivated, having “training run” on my to-do list motivates me to get those kilometres behind me.

But if you’re not a pen and paper kind of person, having an accountability partner is a great idea to keep you motivated!

Just Love It!

It’s important to love what you’re doing for exercise. I know exercise is necessary for physical health, but in order for it to feel like self-care, it has to be something that makes your body and soul and heart feel good. For example, I hate running on treadmills. So I can’t use that as self-care. But I do love yoga, running, and lifting weights. So I can definitely use those!

Not overdoing it

This one is really important. It’s something that I struggled with when I started training for half-marathons. I always want to push myself further than is necessary, and that inevitably results in injury or exhaustion. That sets me back in the long run. It takes a while to set goals that are achievable but not too easy. You want it to be a bit of a challenge to do, because you get a lot of satisfaction from completing it. However, you don’t want to make it so hard that you hurt yourself or give up. If it happens to you, take a deep breath. It happens to everyone, the very best of us! Each time it happens is a new marker for how to measure your own limits.

Best Wishes!

Hopefully these strategies, if you haven’t thought about or tried them before, will help you like they help me. Exercise is definitely one of those things that I find it hard to motivate myself to do. It’s enjoyable and it makes me feel good, and it’s still hard. It’s especially hard to motivate myself to run when it’s really dark out all the time and almost always raining (a.k.a., November through March here in Vancouver).

But something that’s been my mantra for the last little while is this: Doing Feels Better.

If I run on Monday or Tuesday, I find it’s easier to go for more runs that week. If I don’t, it’s harder to motivate myself and I feel worse and worse because I haven’t been going.

Doing. Feels. Better.

Get moving!

Peace and love,