• The Importance of Holidays by Lori

    Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 2.16.09 PMI just took a whole month off and went to Europe; a place I have not been to in 30 years. I feel very lucky to have been able to do this with my husband and partner in crime. We did it all; ate too much, walked,drank too much, walked some more, slept in, stayed out late, walked even more. It was so great to be able to turn off, read a book, look at art, people watch and have no agenda for the day.

    Being away reminded me how very important holidays are to my well-being. Just to be out of my routine for a month has given me a new perspective on my life and shown me how I want to live a little differently.

    1. I plan on taking time to eat: We saw very few “to-go” restaurants. Instead we saw friends and families gathering to enjoy food and actually talk to each other. Cellphones were not as prevalent as they seem to be in Vancouver.

    2. I want to take in my surroundings. Europeans live among some of the oldest, most historic buildings, churches and art galleries in the world. They may take it for granted how very beautiful it all is. I, too, sometimes get caught up in my day to day and forget to see the mountains, the ocean and the sky that make Vancouver one of the most visited cities on the planet.

    3. I want to slow down and make good decisions about how I spend my time..to be thoughtful, mindful and to connect with my loved ones on a deep level. Not just fill my time with stuff that doesn’t really matter.

    And finally, I was shown that all our lives are not that different from one another…we are all human with human needs, desires, gifts and need for community.

    Holidays have also taught me to have a few unplanned days now and then the magic and spontaneity can take place. I don’t have to fly somewhere to have a holiday. I could do something on a day off that I don’t normally do; ride your bike, take the seabus, go up Grouse, go for a steambath, sauna or massage, go to an art gallery, etc.

    Now, I can honestly say it is good to be home..


  • 5 Easy Ways to Counteract a Sedentary Lifestyle

    When the weather takes a turn for the worse, our exercise and eating habits tend to change and we adopt a more sedentary lifestyle. We stop riding our bikes, going for long runs along the beach and eating lighter meals with fresh local produce. And even without the change in seasons, many of us are already sedentary all day, in jobs that require long periods of sitting and working from a computer.

    Sedentary Lifestyle: working at a computerThe irony of this situation is that after long periods of inactivity, we feel tired and lethargic—even though we haven’t expended any physical energy. This is when we often end our day sitting even more, either ‘relaxing’ in front of the TV or by reading a book. Or we’ll try eating more for energy, when our bodies actually need fewer calories if they are inactive for most of the day.

    There are multiple studies showing that a sedentary lifestyle may lead to premature death, a risk that’s higher for those that sit still for more than four hours a day (that’s it…only four hours!). Being inactive can be a risk factor for multiple health issues including depression, anxiety, diabetes, high blood pressure, deep vein thrombosis and many more.

    To counteract a more sedentary lifestyle, try the following tips:

    1. Go outside – Make a point to bundle up and go for a short walk, even if it’s just around the block, to the mailbox, the park or to the store. Get yourself a good waterproof jacket, rain boots and/or umbrella (we live in a temperate rainforest after all) and walk to your errands.
    2. The 20-minute rule – Set your timer every 20 minutes to take a break. Take a stretch, get a glass of water and walk over to your co-worker instead of sending an email. Place your trash can further away from your desk so you have to walk to it. This rule applies while you’re watching TV too…get up during commercial breaks and stretch.
    3. Take a stand – Instead of sitting down for lunch in front of your computer or a book, try standing and reading instead. Stand up whenever possible—while on the phone, waiting, riding the bus or even in a meeting (this is becoming more popular in progressive companies).
    4. Hoof it – Find creative ways to incorporate more activity into your workday. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator—even if you walk up three flights and use the elevator for the remainder. Or get off at the bus stop before your regular stop and walk the extra block.
    5. Get a leg up – After a long day, put your legs up the wall to restfully restore your energy. In yoga this is called Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-the-Wall-Pose). This is one of our favourite things to do after a long, stressful day and it’s better than a nap because it revives you for the evening. A passive stretch, it allows the blood to drain from the legs and calms the nervous system. When trying it, your buttocks should be fairly close to the wall, and your legs should be straight up the wall, creating a gentle stretch in the hamstrings. Close your eyes, exhale and stay in the pose from 5-20 minutes.

    What do you do to counteract a sedentary lifestyle? Share your tips with us.

  • Well hello, sunny September!

    This month, I decided to save a little money by foregoing the bus pass, and walking (or running) to work. The 99 B-Line commute had been getting me down, and since I just started work at the new East side studio, this seemed like a great way to get to know the neighbourhood. I certainly picked the right month! September mornings have been fabulous-sunny and crisp, and the afternoon trip home has allowed me to work on my fall tan. It’s 5 kilometers each way, which leaves me feeling invigorated and clear- headed, though I have to leave a little earlier in the morning than I used to. It’s worth it! And I’m not the only one, Lori has been cycling, and Diane walks to work as well.

    The Hastings Sunrise area is really lovely: quiet, tree-lined streets, ethnically diverse, and filled with local parks. Every Saturday morning I pass a Tai Chi class at Beaconsfield park, and on the weekdays, two solemn student crossing guards escort me across Grandview. The Italian grocer on our block has fabulous espresso, and has been family-owned since 1964. Yesterday I noticed a Latino bakery only a block away; you can bet I’ll pay them a visit soon. Yum!

    So, all things considered, the decision to take a break from the bus has been win-win: healthy body, peaceful mind, and a great way to see the neighbourhood. Have you considered making a change to your morning commute? You may be happy you did!