10 Ways to Celebrate Canada Health Day without Getting a Physical

Celebrate Canada Health Day

Canada Health Day is today, May 12. It’s not Christmas, but taking care of your health is the best gift you’ll ever give yourself.

So what am I doing this week to celebrate? While I do make a point to check in with my doctor regularly, total health is so much more than visiting the clinic every few months. In my opinion, it’s the daily habits that truly make a difference.

Getting back to healthy habits can be way to eliminate your risk of heart failure and mental disorder. Next to cancer, heart disease is the number 2 leading cause of death (Stats Canada). And according to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental health issue in any given year.

Here are a ten simple ways you can celebrate Canada Health Day that don’t involve a visit to your doctor.

1. Make exercise fun again.

Remember when you’d go to the park and shoot hoops with your friends for hours on end? You’re never too old to make it happen. Saskatoon has some offbeat exercise clubs including acroyoga, aerial dance, and beach dodgeball leagues. Or go old school and call a friend to play a game of 21.

2. Start a walking, or running club.

We hardly got any colour at Color Me Rad.

I don’t know about you, but walks are always so much better when catching up with friends. It doesn’t have to be a large group to be a club – keep it small if that’s what you prefer. All that matters is that you stay accountable and meet up a certain amount of times per week/month to walk it out.

3. Round up the girls for a healthy food potluck or BBQ.

Contrary to popular belief, not every gathering has to have meat. Try to go meatless and see how creative you can be! Assign each friend a dish to bring and ask them to keep it clean. Walk the aisles around the perimeter of your nearest grocery store (fresh produce and dairy), instead of going to the aisles in the middle (preserved foods).

4. Go to a workshop to learn about meditation.

If you follow along in the Do Sask Facebook group, there are a number of activities in the city that encourage meditation. Some are free! Give it a look and if you don’t see what you’re looking for, start up your own event or group.

5. Push yourself to reach some new goals.

Setting SMART goals each week is part of adopting healthy habits. Try to keep them within arm’s reach, as lofty goals such as “lose 10 pounds in 1 week” will often leave you more discouraged and more likely to fail in the long-run. I put things like “make meal plan on Sunday” and “limit alcoholic drinks to under 5 per week” on my list of goals. These are all working towards the larger goal of feeling healthier every day.

6. Park at the last lane of the parking lot.

My husband Chris often chooses the furthest parking spot from the door. I grumble, but it’s actually a good idea to work in exercise in everyday moments like going to work and running errands. That way you’re building up your recommended 60 minutes of activity per day over the course of the entire day, not lumping it together in one hour that you may not have.

7. Bike to work!

Amy Bike Commuting to Work

I used to bike commute in Calgary every day during the spring, summer, and fall rain or shine. (I tried it in winter, but fell off my bike down an icy hill and called it quits.) 45 minutes in the morning pumped me up for a day at the office, and 45 minutes at rush hour helped me avoid traffic calmed me down on the way home. As a bike commuter, I was the most fit I’ve ever been and felt pretty good about myself.
Now that I work from home, biking is something I have to work hard to make happen. I’m looking at joining a biking group to get back at it. Friendly reminder: Bike to Work Day is May 16!

8. Go screen-free.

As a solo business owner, it is hard for me to cut out screens out cold turkey. What I’ve started doing is plugging in my phone to charge at the end of the night starting at around 9 pm, so that it’s far enough away from me that I can wind down for the evening. Some of my colleagues have chosen a day of the week to go without their phones to greater well-being. Choose whatever method that works best for you and stick to it.

9. Sign your organ donor card.

A big decision like organ donation deserves some dedicated thought. On a positive note of encouragement, one of the Humbolt Broncos crash victims, Logan Boulet, saved the lives of 6 people because of his decision to sign. Organ donations have spiked since news was shared about this tragic hero. It’s definitely worth considering.

10. Learn more about mental illness.

Different forms of mental illness affect my family members, so I have been aware of it since I was a teen. I am not ashamed to admit that I have sought help for different issues tied to mental well-being throughout my adult life. Facing your fears and learning about psychiatric disorders will put you in a good place should you or anyone close to you be diagnosed with a mental condition.

These tips for a healthy lifestyle are things I have learned over my life time. I hope they inspire you to celebrate Canada Health Day in a fun way!

As a reminder, before you ever consider changing your diet or exercise routine, always consult a physician.

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Kick Start the New Year: These Habits Help You Keep that Fresh Feeling Every Day

Simple habits to help you kick start the new year

This post is about simple ways to keep that fresh, hopeful feeling alive all year long. These habits will improve your mood and help you kick start the new year everyday of the week. Think of this advice as a reset button you can press when you’re feeling like you need to.

Note: If you love making resolutions, this article probably isn’t right for you.

New Year’s Eve can be one of the most hopeful nights of the year. You have a few drinks, spend time with your favourite people, and watch the ball drop/fireworks (or look it up on YouTube). There’s a super-connectedness with the people and the world around you in those fleeting moments.

So why would you let a resolution put a damper on your spirit?

All of the explosive joy can come crashing down as soon as the clock hits 12:01. Some of us feel anxious about the year ahead while others are too lit to notice the difference. If you’re from the former group, you may lay awake in bed coming up with ways you want to be better in the New Year. (If you’re in the latter group you will likely wake up in the afternoon singing sea shanties… but that’s a topic for another post.)

Self-proclaimed resolutions only set you up for failure. Only 8% of people actually keep theirs. So why are we wasting time making ourselves feel icky about who we are? You deserve to feel good throughout your day-to-day life, no matter what day it is.

Kick start the new year and get a fresh start all year long with these simple life hacks:

Get a new haircut

Back in 2015, I decided to kick start the new year by donating my hair that had grown for over 4 years to charity. It was at a hair college with a student that took over 3 hours to cut it all off. At the time, I was super nervous about letting go of my locks. Surprisingly, I’ve kept my shoulder length since then. Who says I can’t change my mind and snip it again any day of the week?

For under $50 at most salons, ask your hairdresser to give you a new look. Maybe it’s as simple as a nice trim, or perhaps you want to go from long to short. If you’re a dude, you can treat yourself to a professional shave or beard shaping. Whatever you’ve been waiting to try, do it! You may not recognize yourself, but that’s the point! Remember that hair always grows back.

Toss your old undies

Ladies, do the panties in your drawer have a stained crotch, ripped elastic, or fraying hem? Guys, do your boxer-briefs have holes in the crotch and skid marks?

We all have a pair that’s been worn one too many days. And yeah, you may only keep them around for certain days of the month, or laundry day. How do you feel when you put them on again and again and again? Likely, not as saucy and confident as you once did.

It’s time to release them out into the world. (I’m having flashbacks to that season of Orange is the New Black.)

There’s no denying that used up undies definitely aren’t going to make you feel fresh. So toss them now before you forget you’re wearing them on a date that’s going well…

Sort the pile of paper

The mountain of crap – bills, letters, receipts, etc. – that’s been sitting on your desk, kitchen table, or nightstand needs regular attention.

I tend to hoard receipts and handwritten notes. Last year, I spent several days of my Christmas holiday tallying them up on a spreadsheet. This year, I made an effort to regularly sort the pile when it got too large. Now I’m way ahead on organization come tax time. And I got more time to read and bake cookies over the holidays!

I still have a manageable pile on my desk. Baby steps!

Brush & floss your teeth

How good does it feel to have smooth pearly whites before you go to work and when you go to bed? Fang-tastic.

I resisted purchasing an electric toothbrush for most of my life. Since I started using mine around two years ago it’s made an impact come dentist time. Flossing regularly has also made a huge difference. I’d prefer not sitting in the dental hygienist’s chair any longer than I have to!

Make the bed

According to Psychology Today, bed makers are happier than those who don’t make their beds. It turns out that taking 30 seconds to accomplish something small before starting your day tricks your mind into maintaining other good habits.

When I was a kid my grandma taught me how to make hospital corners (she is a trained nurse), so I take pride in trying to make mine like she taught me.

Maybe this isn’t your thing and that’s okay! I’ve had debates with friends about making beds in the past, so I know there’s no convincing people who like messy beds.

Pick up that hobby you’ve forgotten

A hobby takes your mind away from the daily grind and onto something completely outside of your work, relationships, and obligations. It’s all about giving you pleasure in your off time. When I work on my hobbies it takes me to a state of flow. (Learn more about how to find your own flow point here.)

  • That canvas and paintbrush kit? They look like they need some colour.
  • The beautiful yarn? It could make a nice toque.
  • How about the bow and arrow? It’s time to hit the target.

A number of craft projects that I’ve never finished are in a bag in the basement. For example, I’ve got all the panels cut and prepared to make a t-shirt quilt, but no sewing machine. I like that I have a bunch of things in the works to pick up at any time when I need a pick-me-up.

Write something down

As a full-time writer I sift through a tonne of details every day, so tasks like “call doctor” might get forgotten for weeks. My brain has a funny way of retaining information.

What’s worse is when something nags at you inside for a long time. It’s called repetitive ruminating and it’s not good for your health at all. Putting those thoughts into words is a great way to dump them and either: a) fix ’em, or b) forget ’em.

I don’t want to say write a journal, because that can be a daunting chore for most. In my own personal experience it has been freeing to write one or two sentences. Some people use bullet journals which are designed for efficiency and mindfulness. It’s fun to look back on the things that excited me, or tore me up inside.

Get outside and/or off of your butt

If the gym ain’t your thing, don’t feel pressured to go. Do something that gets you up and out of your chair.

I’ve tried lots of things over the years including kettlebells, kickboxing, belly dancing, cycle commuting, acro yoga, dance classes, running, rollerblading, skating, skiing, snow showing, tobogganing… and the list goes on. Don’t let the cold weather stop you – unless it’s frigid enough to make hot water evaporate into thin air.

If you really don’t want to get moving, then remind yourself of those stress-busting endorphins. Once you’re done moving, you’ll feel like a million bucks.

Prayer and/or positive affirmations

When I’m too in my head and up to my eyeballs in overwhelm I need to be reminded to stop and let it go. The best way for me to do that is to pray. Again, prayer might not be for you. But letting go of your worries is freeing.

How do you pray? Some speak out loud, some think, some sing, some memorize, some read, some have conversations.

Benefits of prayer include improving self-control, increasing trust and lowering stress, according to Psychology Today.

Put your phone away

There’s no denying that most people are addicted to their smartphones. And it causes major damage to our personal relationships and health. If you can’t cut it out cold turkey and replace it with a flip phone, you’ll have to come up with ways to wean yourself off of it to detox.

One way is to take an hour before bed each night to do something without your phone. Plug it in to charge in another room and buy yourself an old-fashioned alarm clock to wake up without it.

Making time to disconnect is one of the best daily gifts I give myself. Try it yourself!

Most importantly: do what feels best for you.

Here’s hoping that these ideas help you kick start the New Year every day of 2018! Become a VIP to get more ideas like these and updates about events delivered to your inbox.

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