How to Have A Lovely Day

How To, Personal, Wellbeing

How to Have a Lovely Day

The idea for a How to Have a Lovely Day post comes from Sara Du Jour’s post by the same name. When I read it, I was immediately inspired to write a how-to from my own perspective.

So, without further ado: I had a day off and decided to Have a Lovely Day. Your idea of a Lovely Day may look different from mine, but if you also happen to have the day off of work, feel free to follow along.

Start the day off with a cup of cayenne lemonade.

Squeeze half a lemon into a cup of warm water. Add a couple shakes of cayenne (make it as spicy as you can realistically handle). You’re ready, Freddy. Sip away. Drink it all up before you have anything else to eat or drink. This stuff is like a magic elixir for flushing out your digestive tract (By this, I mean that it will make you poop. Have fun.), supporting liver detoxification, and giving your metabolism a spicy kick in the pants. Unf.

Enter: Bed Yoga.

Take your cayenne lemonade back to bed with you so you can work on stretching out that beautiful bod in the comfort of your bed. If you aren’t sure what to do to wake up your body, throw on a YouTube video (Yoga With Adrienne is one of my favourites) or grab an issue of Yoga Journal. YJ always has a section of awesome little sequences you can do whether you have ten, twenty, or thirty minutes to spare.

Is your cayenne lemonade gone? Good, because…

It’s time for a healthy breakfast.

On this particular day, I opted for a quinoa berry bowl. I made a big pot of quinoa on Sunday which makes it really easy to put together breakfast bowls or to bulk up a salad. You know what they say, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Get lost on the internet.

Like many other people I have surveyed — in a super official way, of course — my getting lost on the internet is a daily occurrence. I try to use this time to watch videos and read articles and blog posts that will inspire my focus for the rest of the day.

Spend time on your passions.

Do things that make you happy. Engaging in creative pursuits and having an outlet for your thoughts and ideas is life changing. I use this time to work on my Thousand-Words-A-Day Project, attend a life drawing class, or make something fun in the kitchen. Sometimes, I’m also passionate about binge watching Orange is the New Black or controlling various lives in The Sims (because I’m coo’ like that…), and that’s okay too. It’s your day off. Enjoy yourself.

Snack mindfully.

Make sure whatever you’re snacking on includes a healthy protein or fat source. You don’t want to be eating foods that are going to leave you with hypoglycemic and ravenous half an hour later. If you’re going to have a piece of fruit, slather it in nut butter or have it with a side of trail mix. I had leftover turkey burgers in the fridge, so when I found myself feeling a bit peckish, I had one of those with a giant scoop of hemp seed guacamole. Later on, I smeared organic peanut butter on apple slices and sprinkled them with cinnamon and dulse. (Dulse, if I haven’t mentioned it before, is a kind of seaweed. Sea veggies are a total superfood. They’re a great source of trace minerals, particularly iodine. I may do a sea vegetable-specific blog post in the near future. And show you my seaweed collection!)

But also, clean something.

I know what you’re thinking: Eff no, I am not cleaning on my day off. And if that’s your outlook, that’s totally fine. For me, cleaning something is cleansing, whether it’s purging my closet or sweeping the kitchen floor. It feels good to take care of my space, and keep it feeling safe. Like, I’m not afraid to lean on a counter top and come away with a sticky elbow. By keeping my space neat, I feel more focused and feel less lingering anxiety.

Exercise.

My workout routine changes frequently, especially during the warmer months (RE: When it isn’t winter.) when a hike or a lakeside walk isn’t too far out of reach. Lately, I’ve been alternating between yoga days and rock climbing days, which complement each other wonderfully. Bring some movement into your day by doing exercise that is fun and feels good for your body. Tune in to what your body needs on a given day, and go for it!

Get some Vitamin G.

While we’re on the topic of hiking and lakeside walking, spending some time in nature is mega important for having a lovely day. My day doesn’t feel quite right without breathing in fresh air, or taking in the sight of magnificent Mother Nature.

Dinner.

I try to taper my meals off toward the end of the day, eating much less for dinner than I would for breakfast so that my body can focus on things while I sleep that night. Important things like resting and repairing itself.

Bed time rituals.

I often have some trouble getting to sleep at night, so I aim to start winding down right after dinner. This ritual always typically requires having a book in one hand and a hot beverage in the other. And snuggly blankets, because why not.

For the rest of the evening, I’ll curl up on the couch and read or watch a movie with Erik.

And then it’s off to bed with me.

How do you make your days lovely? Leave a comment and let me know! 🙂 

Oh She Glow's nutty granola clusters with yogurt and green apple slices

Ode to Autumn

Holidays, Personal

Autumn is my favourite season because there seems to be so much potential in the air. I don’t know if it’s the the remnants of childhood nostalgia for each new school year, but ever since I’ve always felt excited for fall. It could be because the colder weather tends to keep me cooped up inside that I don’t feel at all guilty for taking advantage of that time to do indoor activities like curling up with a book, or settling into a writing session with a cup of coffee. Here is my ode to autumn, a list of some of my favourite autumnal things:

Bundling. Layering. Nesting. Cuddling.

I love the crisp and chilly air this time of year. My current uniform consists of giant scarves, leg warmers, fingerless gloves and wool socks. My bed looks like a bird’s nest of pillows and blankets (I have, approximately, 7 pillows in my bed, 3 couch throws, and a duvet). This time of year begs for cuddling. It starts to get dark so early, which is perfect for spending many an hour curled up in my bed fort and winding down.

Side plank at Tiffany Falls, Ancaster, Ontario

Warm, comforting foods and familial feasting.

By the time autumn hits, I’m usually pretty over green salads. These days, I’m all about soups and stews, hot beverages, hearty salads (featuring warming add-ons like goat cheese, toasted nuts and seeds, roasted veggies, and whole grains), and comfort foods like this granola! I used the Nutty Granola Clusters recipe from The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out!

Oh She Glow's nutty granola clusters with yogurt and green apple slices

granola with nuts and dried fruit on yogurt

Florence + the Machine’s Ceremonials

This is my quintessential soundtrack to cold weather. There are elements of magic and fantasy throughout the whole album, with a tendency toward the sparkly and haunting. Florence’s voice floats effortlessly through a huge range of tonal qualities. Her voice transitions from loud and abrasive to quiet and choral, plus a bit of everything in between. My favourite song on the album is ‘Seven Devils’. There is a beautiful variety of songs on this album, but ‘Seven Devils’ is the stand out, in my opinion. I usually listen to Ceremonials in order, but I’m always excited for ‘Seven Devils’ to come on, though I usually do my best to resist the urge to skip through to it because I know it will be worth the wait. This song is filled with these big cacophonous sounds like someone is banging on the bass end of a piano, layered with some gorgeous dissonance and next level creepiness. Like, give-you-nightmares creepy. Which brings me to my next favourite thing.

Spooky Halloween stuff.

I love the air of spookiness that hangs around during the colder months. In addition to surrounding myself with creepy music, I love the Halloween decorations that people put out on their lawns and drape their homes with. I especially love a good horror novel, like my most recent read, “Let Me In” by John Ajvide Lindqvist. It’s this super dark and disturbing Swedish novel, and it’s an amazing read if you don’t feel like sleeping at night. 

I have to say, I’m a bit worried. I hope to enjoy autumn for several more weeks. I felt a pang of panic when I heard this morning that we’d be getting some snow this weekend. Ugh, I’m not ready. 

Bald Head Island: A Gratitude Journal

Personal, Photo Diary, Travel

I recently returned from a week-long vacation on Bald Head Island. If you haven’t heard of this magical place, it’s a small island off the North Carolina coast. There are very few cars on the island (police vehicles, garbage trucks, maintenance, etc); everyone gets around on golf carts and bicycles. It’s a relaxed, slow-paced, wonderful place to be. And these are some of the things I miss the most:

entering the harbor on the ferry to BHI

Living on beach time. 

the coastscoping out beach houses

Listening to my body – napping whenever it felt right, guerrilla yoga whenever I felt like it.

beach and ocean inspired decor

Beach reads. Gratitude journaling. Coffee. A little trio of perfection.

latte, gratitude journal, beach book

Daily ice cream runs. Duh.

key lime pie and meyer lemon cardamom ice cream sandwiches

chewy, creamy, refreshing, and decadent ice cream sandwiches!

Swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. Investigating jumping fish and discovering the cause of their jumping: a pod of dolphins making their way by! Throw in some tiny shark sightings and you’ve got a perfect day!

rolling clouds over the atlantic

sunglasses and beach hair

Creating amateur beach art.

heart-shaped seashell mosaic

Contributing to and partaking in delicious food.

green smoothie, breakfast wrap with black beans and quinoa

The coolest wildlife. Everywhere you look.

the smallest lizard I've ever seen

our local golf course  swamp gator

Stumbling upon a sea turtle nest excavation on our last night on the island. Unfortunately, most of these shots came out quite blurry. Baby sea turtles are squirmy little things, after all.

freshly excavated baby sea turtle 3 baby sea turtles squirming in the sand baby sea turtles struggling through the sand out to sea

Night after night of incredible sunset after incredible sunset. 

sun setting over the atlantic oceanAnd of course, spending the week having super cool conversations with amazing people. Miss you all already. xx

7 Tips For A Vibrantly Healthy New Year

Holidays

The year is almost over, and my personal version of it has been both wild and wonderful. 2013 has been a roller coaster ranging from super amazing fun times, to some of the most stressful experiences I’ve had yet. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and looking back, I’m so excited by how I’ve evolved over the last year. There have been a lot of big changes and decisions I’ve had to make over the last few months, and the struggle still isn’t over, but I’m still going, and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? I’m very blessed to be spending this week nestled into a cottage in Muskoka with Erik (my other – cuter? – half) and his family. It has been a very different kind of Christmas than any I’ve had before since, this year, we are all much more health focused than we have been over previous holidays. I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded by and to be a part of such a loving and supportive community.

That being said, today I wanted to pass on some of that love and support to you lovely individuals! The year being almost over, I know that you’ve probably already started thinking about what sorts of New Year’s Resolutions you want to get cracking on in 2014. Here are some that will get you on the path to a vibrant, energized lifestyle! And you definitely don’t have to do them all at once. Start with one goal per week, and add on another resolution the next week. Baby steps, my friends!

Hydrate:
Aim for 1.5 – 2 L of filtered water every day. Our bodies are 75% water and as a result, water is essential for:

  • the function of every cell and system in our bodies
  • flushing toxins from our body
  • digestion
  • the absorption and distribution of nutrients throughout the body
  • lubricating our joints
  • reducing inflammation in the body

Try to avoid bottled water as much as possible. Not only is it harmful for your body (the plastic leeches some very unpleasant toxins into the water including carcinogens and nasty hormone disruptors that contribute to weight gain and estrogen dominance) but it is also harmful for the environment. Those piles of plastic water bottles will be left behind long after us humans are gone. Not to mention all the issues regarding growing worldwide water privatization. A simple solution is to invest in a glass or stainless steel water bottle and fill it up on the go. Do it! Your body and the environment will thank you.

Chew:
“Chew your water and drink your food.” Maybe you’ve heard this saying before? Try challenging yourself to chew your food at least twice as much as you do right now. We often eat our food so quickly, our brains are unable to receive a signal of fullness from our bodies until it is too late and we have stuffed ourselves. By spending more time chewing, you will be less likely to overeat. Chewing also sends a signal to the brain to release digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid which are necessary for breaking food down into absorbable molecules.

Eat your greens:
Leafy greens are a super concentrated source of nutrients and fibre which are both sadly lacking in most western diets and are essential for digestive health. Some examples of leafy green vegetables are spinach, kale, chard, collard greens, and cabbage. Try incorporating at least 3 of these delicious nutritional powerhouses over the next couple weeks. They are delicious steamed, sauteed, or raw, so be sure to enjoy them a few different ways!

Move:
The hardest part of becoming a more active person is the getting started part. If hitting the gym doesn’t seem particularly appealing to you, there are tons of other activities that might. Some fun examples are hot yoga, belly dancing, rock climbing, zumba, crossfit… I’m the kind of person who will quickly get bored with doing the same things over and over again, and perhaps you are too. Pick out 2 or 3 different activities that interest you, and make a commitment to trying them all! Most studios and gyms have an introductory rate for new members, so if you give something a good college try and still aren’t feeling it, move onto the next thing! My current routine has largely consisted of home workout videos and yoga at my favourite studio for the last year or so. Sometimes you’re just too lazy to leave the house, and having a back up plan for those days is great. Aim to get active for at least 30 minutes 3 – 4 days a week. It can also help to have a workout buddy or an action plan for the week to help hold you accountable.

De-stress:
Stress will kill you. Literally. It is a huge contributing factor to disease. There are always going to be times in our lives when we are feeling stressed out, but how we manage and cope with that stress is critical to how it affects us. Learn how to say “no” when you know you can’t handle more on your plate. Stay organized, make to-do lists, and know what needs to be done when. Then come up with some strategies for relaxing – whether it is lounging in a steamy bathtub with a book or curling up with a cup of tea and a book or popping into the bookstore and picking up a new book – in my world, whenever a good book is involved, I know it’s gonna be a good time. Regular exercise, yoga, and meditation are some surefire ways to get your mind off of stress. Know what you need to do to ensure a relaxing evening, and do it!

Sleep:
When you get out of your bath, or whatever it is you’ve done to get you good and relaxed, try to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. If you are the kind of person who struggles with falling asleep, it really helps to have a sort of ritual and schedule around bedtime. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and avoid eating within the 3 hours before that. An hour or two before bed, start to get into relaxation mode. Brew yourself a cup of tea, put away the electronics, and sit down with a book or whatever you know is going to help you settle down. Getting those glorious 8 hours of shut-eye will help you:

  • avoid weight gain (particularly in the belly area)
  • keep those cravings in check
  • regulate your mood
  • strengthen your immune system
  • improve your mental function thus boosting productivity – no more brain fog! (I’m not the only one who walks into a room and forgets why, am I?)
  • look and feel your very best!

Let go of guilt:
So you slipped up on a resolution or two. Feeling bad about it is not going to improve the situation, and it isn’t going to help you in any way. Let go, forgive yourself, get back on that horse! We’re only human, and we make mistakes. Punishing yourself for something that happened in the past does not serve you.

And with that, I’m off to enjoy some more downtime with my family. If you have any questions, please leave a comment, message me on Twitter @amdnutrition, or shoot me an email at info@annemariedixon.com. In the meantime, I’ll be sending lots of love your way and I will see you all in the new year! Happy Holidays!