Self Care Practices for the Winter Season

Self-care means paying attention to and supporting our physical, mental and spiritual health. 

It's a daily practice and one that's easy to dismiss in times of stress and busy schedules. It's so important to integrate into our routines in order to be present in our relationships, work, and purpose. Let's get a few things straight; self-care is not selfish and you can make time for it.  We just need to step outside the cultural pressure to keep pushing ourselves, and start to listen to the physical and emotional needs of our mind, body and spirit.

All Photos by Laura Hughes -  Radiant Spirit Coaching Desire Map Workshop

All Photos by Laura Hughes -  Radiant Spirit Coaching Desire Map Workshop

Because we all have different lifestyles, personalities, and priorities, self-care practices look different for everyone.  Below is a short list of practices that I'm engaging in for self-love and nourishing this season. Maybe you'll try them with me? And let me know your favorite self-care practices in the comments below! 

Self-Care for the Mind

1.) Mindfulness: Everyday we confront situations that pull us out of the harmony we are trying to live in. Pausing to find mindfulness is a challenge. How do we slow down and stay present with the world of noise we're living in? The answer may be with mindfulness practice. Here are 2 mindfulness practices I'm currently engaged in: 

  • Beginning the Day Technology Free: I wake up at 4:45 am Monday-Friday, and most days I have an urge to check email, read the NY times, scroll through Instagram etc. On the days I give in, I feel frantic from the get-go. Instead of beginning the morning with intention, I bring the chaos of the outer world into my inner world. I've started to set a second alarm that reminds me to not log in to accounts until it has gone off.  My mornings are now limited (in the best way) to activities that feel nourishing. 
     
  • Practicing One Task at a Time:  Anyone guilty of trying to do five things at once throughout the day? (Raising my hands!) I hold a false belief that I'm being more productive if I can learn to juggle. What actually ends up happening is my energy gets displaced and I accomplish fewer things. To battle the urge to do multiple things at once, I've started using Toggl to time my tasks, and only keep one tab open when I'm working on the computer. That way I'm not compelled to click on other websites and get off track. 
IMG_0578.jpg

2.) Yoga Nidra: Also known as "yogic sleep", this yoga practice is one of ultimate relaxation. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which allows the body to enter a state of blissful rest. Practicing yoga nidra can help alleviate stress, anxiety and depression. It's incredibly accessible and a simple practice. If you have a floor to lie down on, and 5-10 minutes free in your schedule, you can start today! Click below for a free guided practice with yogi Elena Brower.

IMG_0469.jpg

3.) Set Boundaries: Brene Brown says "daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others."  Setting boundaries with your time, relationships, or work protects your vital energy.  It's ok, more than ok, to say no to a request if it's going to compromise your energy. Be polite with the decline and trust that true friends will understand you love them, but are tending to your personal needs.  

Self-Care for the Body

1.) Dry Brushing: Dry brushing is a great detox practice as it boosts circulation, sweeps away dead skin cells, stimulates the lymph nodes, and help the cells and body in general remove waste. It's energizing, so it's best to dry brush in the morning to get those benefits. Start at the feet and work up towards the heart, brushing for 3-5 minutes and shower off after your done.

2.) Keep Moving:  Exercise boosts the mood, elevates our energy, and battles stress. Even with that knowledge, I lean towards sitting next to a space heater in my sweats all day during winter. I've been able to combat that heavy, discouraging feeling by maintaining my morning workouts. Part of my daily routine after waking up is to get caffeinated and start moving whether it's a swim, yoga practice or run. I know that I will feel better mentally and physically and the positive effects cascade into my day. 

Photo by Supri at Take a Pix Media 

Photo by Supri at Take a Pix Media 

3.) Infrared Sauna Therapy: An infrared sauna is said to be 70% more effective than a dry sauna when it comes to expelling toxins. The major difference between the two is a dry sauna heats the air around you, while an infrared heats the body at a cellular level. Sounds scary but I promise it's not. A 45-minute sweat provides the benefits of improved circulation, skin rejuvenation, relaxation, decreased muscle tension. And honestly, it just feels good to be in a warm space when it's cold outside!

Self-Care for the Soul

Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.
— Elizabeth Gilbert

1.) Get Creative: Vision board, watercolor, pick up an instrument, daydream, knit, enroll in a drawing or cooking class, dance it out - do something that is not work-related or an obligation. I reject the idea that 'some people are creative and others aren't.' We are ALL creative beings. Use this time to find out how you want to express yourself. 

Photo by Laura Hughes -  Radiant Spirit Coaching Desire Map Workshop

2.) Read a Novel: Less than ideal weather keeping you inside? Instead of reaching for technology, how about settling down with a good book? If you're feeling really motivated, start a winter book club, complete with tasty snacks and some heart healthy wine. 

3.) Stay in Touch with Friends (In Real Life):  Busy and conflicting schedules make it easy to resort to texting or checking in with friends via social media.  But real life connection has a lasting positive affect on the brain. Bonus points if you're getting outside during the visit. Get a group of your closest together for a hike or a weekend stroll through the farmers market. 

Your turn! What self-care practices are you currently engaging in? Or, what's holding you back from self-care. Leave your questions or comments below. 

Forever Stoked - Holiday Gift Guide

The season of gift giving is upon us. But I have to be honest, I don't really like shopping (online or in stores) and gift-giving is not my love language. Bah humbug right?! But the beauty of this season is that it focuses on what we can offer to others. It doesn't even need to be a tangible gift. BUT, if you're looking to give in a more traditional sense, I've created  handy a gift guide. Most of these items I own, so they are tested and approved, but a few are actually on my own wish list. I tried to promote a mix of products and experiences that support small business owners and ethical companies as well as items that are practical and not one-time disposable. Happy shopping and giving! 

Gifts for the Creative

1.) Skillshare Membership: $100 for the year
Skillshare is a learning platform and community featuring over 17,000 classes. Their mission is to empower people to advance their careers, improve their lives, and pursue the work they love. Before I transitioned to freelancing, I purchased a one year membership and consumed their photography classes.  I've since expanded to watching branding and marketing classes, as well as content planning and social media.  At the end of each class, you're given a project to upload and share with other students to get feedback and constructive criticism, which is super necessary if you're working by/ for yourself! 

1.) Artifact Uprising Gift Card: any amount
Living in a digital world gives me more appreciation for tactile items like a nice coffee table book or a framed photo. Artifact offers an extensive product line of books, frames, and calendars. They use recycled papers and reclaimed options like mountain beetle pine wood for the products too! This is a great gift for the photographer friend or family member who wants to honor their art and give it a permanent place in the home. 

Photo courtesy of Wylder Goods

Photo courtesy of Wylder Goods

2.) Layered Mountain Mug: $30
Most creatives I know live on coffee or tea. I'm no exception and love this landscape mug from ceramist Coco Barrett-Tormey.  Everything she creates is made by hand and is inspired by the slow moments in life like morning tea or watching a sunset. Her mugs are a reflection of her love for the mountains, ocean, and desert. 

3.) Moleskin Notebook: $18
You never know when a creative idea is going to present itself! I keep a notebook by my bedside for and carry one with me wherever I go for spontaneous journaling or note taking. These are the notebooks to buy in bulk because it's so easy to go through them.  

4.) Big Magic: $12
The book that reminds you that you do not need permission to live a creative life.  Elizabeth Gilbert, my all time literary #womencrush, gives poignant insights into how to deal with fear and courage during the creative process. It's a great read for anyone engaged in personal or professional creative pursuits. *If possible, purchase from your local bookstore. 

Gifts for the Adventurer

1.) Rumple Puffy Down Blanket: $150
This blanket utilizes sustainably sourced grey duck down (600 fill)  for insulation and has a weather-resistant DWR-treated nylon shell. Maybe most importantly though..... it's incredibly warm. It's accompanied me on all my travels since I got it and has been clutch when Jared and I road trip in Buttercup. It compresses easily into a packable size and is big enough to cover both of us and keep us cozy. If you don't live in a region with cool temps, I would suggest the original puffy blanket pictured below.

Rumpl Puffy Blanket- Photo by Laura Hughes

Rumpl Puffy Blanket- Photo by Laura Hughes

2.) Patagonia Black Hole Duffel: $130
This travel bag is super durable and can be carried on the shoulder or as a backpack. It functioned as my suitcase this spring when I spent 2 months traveling through Europe and was a superstar as I moved through train stations, airports and countries! It's weather resistant and stuffs into it's own pocket for easy storage.

3.) Peak Design Capture Clip: $60
This seemingly simple clip changed my backpacking experiences. Before I started using it, my camera would either hang from my neck (thus straining it) or it would be tucked into my backpack. When I wanted to take photos I would have to stop, unzip my backpack and set up my camera. Now, I can clip it to the outside of my bag and quickly take it off when I see something I want to capture. Aside from being a great product, I love the company's commitment to being socially and environmentally conscious. 

4.) Aeropress Kit: Because before the adventure, coffee needs to be had. At least in my life! We use the Aeropress at home every morning to make our coffee, but it packs up nicely into the perfect travel kit. This is a great gift for the person in your life that loves caffeine and is always on the road. 

  • If you need convincing, read more about the coffee travel kit here

Gifts for the Wellness Guru 

1.) Garmin Forerunner Watch: $290
I was in the habit of taking Jared's watch when I worked out, but I continued to declare that I didn't need one for myself. He surprised me with this watch for my birthday and it's been one of the most fun and practical gifts I've ever received. Not only can I use it while running, but it works for cycling, swimming, and triathlons (should I decide to do another.) It's also super lightweight and tracks heart rate + gives me a little buzz every hour that reminds me to get up and get moving. 

Photo courtesy of Ursa Major

Photo courtesy of Ursa Major

1.) Ursa Major- The Minimalist Skin Care Set: $70
This set is only available for a limited time and includes the essentials; face wash, fortifying face balm and face tonic. Besides being made with healthy ingredients, the aromas are fantastic. The cedar, spearmint, lime combo in the face wash is my favorite! 

2) Essential Oil Diffuser: $30
In my opinion, a home isn't complete without an essential oil diffuser. I find a weird amount of joy picking out oils to diffuse, and I love the different energetic effects they create in the house. Lately, I've been going with a sandalwood and myrrh combo. Other favorites include; lavender, eucalyptus, sage and rosemary. I'll also never tire of friends coming over and complimenting how nice the house smells! 

3.) Hydroflask Water Bottle: $40
This water bottle has a permanent spot in my bag. At 32 ounces, it takes up a bit of space but I figure if I can get through two a day, I'm definitely staying hydrated. Double-wall vacuum insulation keeps the contents hot for 6 hrs. or cold for 24 hrs. and it's super tough stainless steel. Don't ask me how many times I've dropped it and you can't even tell. 

4.) Monthly Membership to a Studio: price varies
Now that it's winter, I've found the best way to stay active, is to move indoors. Give the gift of wellness by pre-paying for a punch card or monthly unlimited membership to a yoga, pilates or barre studio. Many are currently running holiday specials. 

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Forever Stoked!

Checking In: Backeddy Resort & Marina, Sunshine Coast BC

 

At the beginning of the month, my good friend Laura and I took a road trip from Seattle to the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia. We had 2 nights booked at Backeddy Resort & Marina in the tiny town of Egmont. Neither one of us had been to this part of Canada and that was a large part of the allure. 

Accessible by air or ferry service, the Sunshine Coast is part of the mainland, but has a very laid back island vibe. It's a commitment to get there, but I promise it's worth it.

Laura and I visited in shoulder season so it was too cold to partake in the areas popular water adventures. Regardless, we bundled up and braved the cold for a few hikes.  The rest of our hours were filled with relaxation, creative projects, and daydreams. 

Getting to the Sunshine Coast: 
Overall a 6 hour trip from Seattle and includes; 

  • US - Canada Border Crossing
  • One 30 minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale
Ferry ride from Horeshoe Bay to Langdale. We enjoyed the view from inside and still needed to bundle up!  Photo by Laura Hughes

Ferry ride from Horeshoe Bay to Langdale. We enjoyed the view from inside and still needed to bundle up!  Photo by Laura Hughes

 The Resort & Check In: 
Located on the beautiful Sechelt Inlet, the Backeddy property sits on 600 feet of remote shoreline and has five different types of lodging; waterfront cabins, large vintage cabins, small vintage cabins, inn rooms and geodesic domes. (I would love to return and stay in a dome during the summer).  The reception area had already closed when we got there but our keys were left outside for us to collect. There didn't appear to be many staff on site, I assume because we were there during shoulder season and the resort was fairly quiet. We did cross paths with one of the employees after we picked up our keys and she pointed us in the direction of our cabin. All staff we came into contact with were welcoming and considerate. 

Backeddy Resort & Marina, Sunshine Coast, BC

Backeddy Resort & Marina, Sunshine Coast, BC

Inside the Cabin: 
With the sun gone for the day and temperatures hovering in the low 30's, we hurriedly walked from our parking spot up the small green hill to our vintage cabin. Anticipating our arrival, the staff had turned on our heater and the room was gloriously warm. The wood burning stove was already loaded with newspaper and kindling too which was a nice touch! Our space was equipped with a double bed, a kitchenette, a bathroom with a shower, a full size bed that also served as a couch, a wood burning stove and a deck that overlooked the mountains and water. I would have loved a larger bathroom but It was simple and cozy, with just enough space for 2 people. 

171103_back-eddy-resort_1.jpg
Inside our cedar-lined vintage cabin. Photo by Laura Hughes

Inside our cedar-lined vintage cabin. Photo by Laura Hughes

Food & Drink:
Knowing that we would have a kitchen to cook in, we only ate out once. Conveniently, the resort has a pub that's popular with guests and locals. On the night we arrived, we had little energy to cook so we popped in for an early dinner. We were greeted by a friendly bartender who turned out to be our server as well. We were the second customers of the night, so we had our pick of tables and chose one next to the window overlooking the inlet.  The bartender/server was highly attentive, made excellent recommendations, and fixed us delicious hot toddies. We shared a festive fall salad and a lamb pot pie. I rarely eat meat but was craving something warm and filling. The meal was both and we retired back to our cabin and fell asleep before 9pm. 

Hiking to the rapids at Skookumchuk Narrows Provincial Park. Photo by Laura Hughes

Hiking to the rapids at Skookumchuk Narrows Provincial Park. Photo by Laura Hughes

Around the Resort: The resort is only a few minutes drive from the lush rain forest of the Skookumchuk Narrows Provincial Park.  After visiting the Egmont museum, we began the mellow 4 km hike to the narrows and stopped at Roland Point to view the fierce and famous rapids.  The trail is well-developed and takes about an hour to walk, maybe longer if you like to stop and take pictures. 

Near the beginning, we passed the Skookumchuk Bakery, which is only open in the summer but said to be a 'must visit' post hike. 

Check the tide tables to get a schedule of the best viewing times for the rapids. There is a 30 minute window on either side of the tide change so you don't have to worry about being right on time. 

171103_she-explores-sisterfriend_6.jpg

The Verdict: The property is unique and has a mix of vintage and new accommodations- options for everyone! It's in the most picturesque location and if you're looking for quiet, you'll find it here. The staff are super friendly and happy to share their knowledge of the area.  There is spotty wi-fi near the reception area but you might as well give into a technology free week! 

Not only would I recommend staying at the Backeddy Resort & Marina, I hope to return in the summer when I can enjoy the marina and go kayaking and swimming.

Thanks to Backeddy Resort & Marina for welcoming us. Our stay was complimentary and all opinions are my own. 

Travel: Road Trip Snack-Pumpkin Protein Energy Bites

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and Jared and I are waking up extra early to drive from Seattle to Silverstar Mountain in British Columbia. If the holiday is anything like last year, it will consist of the repeated actions of eating, skiing, eating again, skiing again, hot tubbing and sleeping. It's a schedule I can happily adapt to for the long weekend. 

To prepare for a road trip, we make sure that playlists and podcasts are downloaded, our pillows are packed, and that snacks are always within reach. We emphasize food, and not the kind you can pick up from the gas station. (*Except for Salsitas chips. I can't resist a bag of those.) With a 7-hour drive on the agenda tomorrow, I wanted to make something sweet but healthy and satisfying. And in keeping with the Fall and Thanksgiving theme, I really wanted it to include pumpkin.  I was inspired by the wonderful recipes at "Lee from America" and made slight adaptations to her "pumpkin fat ball" recipe.

171121_leslie-carvitto-pumpkin-protein_1-3.jpg

Armed with a food processor and bulk ingredients that we purchased from Costco, these energy bites were a breeze to make. From beginning to end (dishes included) I spent 15 minutes in the kitchen and ended up with 10 energy bites for our drive tomorrow. I've already tested one and the only change I would make is adding cacao nibs because chocolate makes everything better, right? If you give this recipe a try let me know how they turned out! 

Pumpkin Protein Energy Bites Recipe

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut shreds
  • 1/3 cup pureed organic unsweetened pumpkin puree 
  • 2 pitted medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 2" fresh organic ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1/3 cup almond butter

Instructions:

1. Combine the dry ingredients and pumpkin puree in a food processor. The dough will clump so stop the processor every now and again to scrape the sides with a spatula. 
2. Add almond butter and almond milk and process again until the ingredients are at your desired consistency. I processed for 30 seconds-1 minutes. 
3. Roll the dough into balls and place in the freezer. I let mine sit for 3 hours. 
4. Remove from the freezer when ready to eat and let it thaw for a few minutes. 

171121_leslie-carvitto-pumpkin-protein_1.jpg
171121_leslie-carvitto-pumpkin-protein_1-5.jpg