If you know me personally, you would call me a Monica. I want to think that my husband has grounded me into a more laid-back person; Still, my Monica tendencies like to poke through. Back in June, I mentioned our whole house needed to follow a balanced lifestyle. I’m happy to report that due to my love of lists, schedules and planning, we’re doing it!

Since I’ve been working from home, I’ve been finding it hard to stay healthy & active. I knew I had to change it but honestly had no idea where to start.

The first thing that I started doing more of was Meal Prepping.
Before I had a baby, I was so good at doing this, and then after she came around, I found I was only doing HER meal prepping, which caused a lot of junk food to land in my mouth.
When my husband comes home from grocery shopping, I take this opportunity to wash/cut up our fruits and veggies. It makes it easy for me to grab a quick and healthy alternative, and I don’t have to ‘think’ of what to make. We also started planning our dinners each week to cut down on unnecessary spending and arguing over what to do for dinner. You’d be surprised how much time you save

Here’s what our current week looks like:

We try to use as many leftovers as we can to incorporate new meals & not every night has to be fancy either. Deluxe grilled cheeses mean you’re winning as an adult 😉

The second thing that I started to do was figuring out how to get more “me” time, either during the week or on the weekends. As a new mom, I’m finding myself bogged down with so much cleaning on the weekends that I said, “Fuck this shit!” I wanted my weekends back and started a Weekly Cleaning Schedule.

I don’t do anything on Wednesdays because we have no daycare options for our daughter – less stress = happy andrea

Granted, this works for ME and doesn’t even include the monthly cleaning that I do (like washing floors, clearing out the fridge, etc.). Still, I found that chopping it up evenly throughout the week meant that I had maybe 20 minutes of cleaning to do a day instead of killing my back for hours each weekend. You may chuckle at putting away my clean laundry on Mondays or decluttering our never-used dining room table, but hey, we’re all human, and sometimes laziness wins!

The third thing that I also started to do was making sure that I am actual MOVING. Since the majority of my job consists of me sitting, I know that I need to be more conscious of getting my daily exercise. This can be hard when you’re glued to a desk, but I made a mini workout schedule for myself that I try to adhere to every morning.

I generally work from 7-3, so around 10, I’ll go downstairs and do my 5-minute workout, grab a bowl of fruit, fill up my water bottle and head back to the grind. I’ve noticed that taking those 5 minutes has elevated my mood. Once I get into a better groove, I’ll be doing more repetitions instead of one.
I used to sit at my desk and eat as I would work, but since I’m now at home, I try to walk around the block before lunch. Gaining those extra steps in a day and getting some sunshine is so beneficial to my mental health.
If I have to take a phone call that doesn’t require video, I tend to walk around the house. I probably drive my husband bonkers doing this. Still, I remind myself that all of these small things do accumulate into something. I’ve been hitting my steps for the last week!

There are so many other things that you can do to get your balance, everyone is different, and not everything I do will apply or work for you. I’m sharing what works for me because I know what it’s like to have zero motivation even to fathom doing a ‘plan.’

How have you been surviving?  

Today is Mother’s Day, and I am currently hiding from my family upstairs. I told my husband the day previous that what I wanted was an anti mother’s day. All of the things that I usually do on a day-to-day basis were to fall on his shoulders and not bother me.
That includes:
No waking up at 6:15 am
Not feeding/changing my daughter.
No cleaning or maintaining the house
Not to be interrupted from my shower
No planning activities or schedules

When I laid this out, I felt a tinge of guilt. I love my family, and I want to be around my child, but I am just so tired of everything falling on my shoulders. I’m not asking for much – I’m only asking for my husband to be the mother on this day while I carve out time for writing, catching up on shows I usually can’t and just having some quiet time that I desperately miss.

When I woke up at 8:30 this morning, I jumped into a long, hot shower. I was able to sit and blow dry my long hair, put on some minimal makeup and dressed up. I can’t even tell you the last time I had the morning to myself, it was lovely. I went downstairs to make myself a cup of coffee, only to be greeted with a hot meal and slobbery kisses from my daughter. I wasn’t expecting the hot meal and graciously ate it all up. I kissed my daughter on her forehead, leaving a small trace of the lipstick I applied. I then grabbed my laptop, a book and parked myself in our spare room.

Some mothers love flowers, chocolate, brunch, etc. I wouldn’t complain if I were to receive them, but I much prefer having to do nothing today. Eventually, I will be leaving this room to spend some much quality time with them both, but I am thankful to get this “me” time.

Wishing all mothers, conventional or not, a happy mother’s day!

If you are reading this article, it can mean one of two things: you’re either planning your wedding and need some advice or, your friend is, and you’re wondering how in the hell she’s surviving everything!

Anxiety is the most common mental illness in Canada – you’re not alone. Fear, stress, and nerves are normal feelings and experiences for us. It can creep up on you at any moment and interfere with your daily activities either at work or home. Planning a wedding is hard enough and can almost seem daunting if you struggle with anxiety.

Your anxiety won’t go away during your wedding planning. There are, however, some tips and tricks to help you throughout the process!

  • Get Organized
    Planning a wedding is a challenging task, and you’ll need to get yourself organized. If you’re like me and cannot afford the splurge on a wedding planner try out these simple things:
    a) Sign up for The Knot
    This website is FULL of fantastic articles and pictures. What sold me immediately on this site was their “To-Do List” which they categorize by month for you, so you don’t feel so overwhelmed
    b) Create a Pinterest board
    One of the fun things to do while planning a wedding is to get inspired. Sometimes with an anxious mind like myself, I find it hard to get creative. Browsing through an endless amount of photos can spark some fire!
  • Figure out your Budget
    Oh boy. the tough topic! Talking to the parents/guardians on how they can support you financially! It’s tough to overcome confrontations, but this chat needs to happen. If they cannot offer you any money, do NOT agonize. Paying for your wedding can be nothing but rewarding – your way, your say! Not to mention with all the DIY projects online you can cut costs very drastically.
  • Not everything will be perfect
    As much as you want the day to pass by without a problem, it likely won’t happen. This is OK
    You’re surrounded by so much love and affection that you most likely won’t even realize if anything wrong happens. In my case, I gave my maid of honor the “Day Of Duty,” meaning that whatever happens the day of, they go to her directly. I grew up as a perfectionist, so it was hard to delegate this responsibility. You need to realize that this is your day and you need to enjoy it!

  • Ask for help
    This relates back to what I was saying beforehand – Let’s say this out loud: Asking for help is not a sign of failure.
    Once your to-do list gets created, you’ll realize it’s hard for one person to do all the tasks oneself. Not only will you have your fiancée and immediate family close to you but you did ask some of your best friends whom you trust to be your bridesmaids, they should be the first people you ask! This is what they’re here for; Try to delegate tasks to their skills. Example: My friend Alana is a very creative person, so I asked her to help me design my centerpieces.
  • Don’t forget to make time for yourself
    This is the tough one, planning a wedding is almost like taking on a second job to some people. You need to make sure you don’t cross the lines of personal and job stress. Something that helped me get through the motions was making sure that I took out 15 minutes of my time to stretch. I also caved in and shelled out some extra cash for a half hour massage (YES PLEASE). You’ll realize that once you make time for yourself and clear your head a little, you’ll be more energized and less anxious to dive back into the planning.

This should be an exciting time for everyone involved but don’t forget to keep an eye on your anxiety. If you are feeling overwhelmed it will be best for everyone for you to take a breather instead of worrying about that pesky caterer.

Toxic relationships have always hit close to home for me. I grew up in a loving household, but once my adoptive mother passed away, the tune changed. For the eight years that followed afterward, I noticed my old self-starting to fade away; I was becoming a shell of a person that I once knew. I decided to take action and leave that atmosphere once I was of age. However, I felt lost. Instead of figuring out how to love myself again I jumped into a serious relationship thinking that would solve the problem.

It was a whirlwind of infatuation, and I was drunk. When the honeymoon stage started to fade, the toxicity started to creep up. I kept telling myself that no relationship is perfect, but the fighting and masking kept happening. Everyone who shared moments in our lives was none the wiser; this mostly happened between closed doors. My partner manipulated me into thinking that I was unhinged and I started to question my sanity. I was the one who was getting hurt yet he made me believe it was my fault.

I was there for him; I supported him. I was good to him.

When he brought up the conversation of parting ways (third time in over five years), I accepted. I felt drained, and I couldn’t keep apologizing for moments that were not my fault.
If this sounds familiar to you, I want you to take a step back. Are you making this person a priority when you’re not one? I didn’t realize how toxic our relationship was until after the fact.

I became depressed. I stopped eating. I didn’t know who I was anymore.

After a couple of weeks of wallowing, I knew that I had to do something about it – I couldn’t rely on someone else for my happiness. The only issue was how was I going to learn to love myself after being berated for so long?

  • Surround yourself with Love
    Support systems are different across all boards but make sure that you engage with those who are there for you in good or bad times. I surrounded myself with my closest friends whom I’m happy to call family. They kept offering their support and reminded me that things would be OK. I started to listen to them more even though I didn’t believe them at the time. I know they had my best interest at heart
  • Keep Busy
    I found that staying home under a blanket wasn’t doing me any good, so I decided to work extra hours at my retail position, and I stayed back from several classes to engage with other students. I didn’t want to do this, but I forced myself too. I was still exhausted from everything that happened, but I pushed through. (I got a promotion at work shortly afterward!)
  • Be Positive
    Yeah, OK Andrea easier said than done.
    TRUST ME, I KNOW. I’ve always struggled with being a positive person since negativity always surrounded me. It’s so easy to feel that you will never find love in yourself or others but you need to know that this is not true. Create a mantra for yourself: “Everything will be OK – You are where you need to be” I know it sounds corny but saying it to yourself every day does help.
  • Make ‘me’ time
    I’m not saying to be positive all the time here, that’s not possible. You will cry, you will hurt – and that’s NORMAL. We’re all human, and there’s no shame in having low points. If you need to stay home, eat a pint of ice cream while watching Grey’s Anatomy – DO IT. I cannot stress this enough. Making time for yourself is a major part of healing!
  • Define your self-love
    Everyone’s definition of self-love is different; mine is to be comfortable in my skin & not apologize for my personality. Yours will most likely be different, and that’s OK because it’s for yourself. You need to understand what works and what doesn’t so you can stand up for what you believe. A great way to start this process is by making a list: What are your best attributes?

Happy with yourself
None of this will work if you continue to hold onto the past. Don’t feel like you can jump into this, either. I’m still navigating on my route of self-love, but I can thank my change in atmosphere. Leaving all of that behind really did make my transition to being happier easier.

If you’re unsure about toxicity – please read my post “It’s not you; it’s them”