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Canada Mental Health Week
It is with great honor that I write this today. As some of you may already know, May 4th – 10th is Canada ‘Mental Health Week.’ You may know a person or multiple who suffer from mental illness and the stigma that surrounds it. Perhaps one of these people is you. Recent times have been particularly hard for us all, and we want you to know that our ‘stretch fam,’ is here for you, not only now, but always.
We have a few useful tips and tricks to try that may help you manage any difficult times that you may come across, as well as a beautiful family’s story about how they used their tragedy to bring awareness and support to people all over the world.
Part 1. Helpful Tips + Tricks
There is an endless amount of ‘breathwork,’ exercises that you can find almost anywhere. Taking time to bring awareness to your breathing patterns, taking note of ‘slowing things down,’ and counting the seconds of your inhales and exhales all have a downregulating parasympathetic, (calming) response.
The most commonly used ‘breathwork,’ exercise for those who are susceptible to panic and anxiety attacks is the ‘4-7-8 Breathing Method.’
Inhale: 4 seconds
Hold: 7 seconds
Exhale: 8 seconds
Repeat the cycle five – twelve times, or as required. This simple yet challenging method helps us to slow the mind down, and appreciate our next inhale.
As a Certified Stretch Therapist, I work on some form of stretching every single day. It could be anything from a class setting, individual appointment, or my own practice. The benefits of regular stretching have changed my life, and I’ve been fortunate enough to watch so many others benefit as well.
Stretching helps to increase blood flow and oxygen to the muscles, improve posture, decrease stress, as well as aid in stiffness and pain. Stretching can be used as a tool to heal physical conditions, but can also be very calming to the mind as well.
Stretches targeted specifically to the neck, shoulders, and jaw will help decrease stiffness and soreness in the upper body for those that hold their stress and anxiety in their upper body. The ‘pause,’ that we take while we hold a stretch, allows us to focus on our breathing, what we’re feeling and helps to quiet the mind.
If you would like to join our free Facebook Group and take part in 45 minute guided stretch classes, I’ve attached the link below. We have an extremely supportive online community that we would love for you to be a part of.
Cardio and Exercise
Physical activity of any form is extremely beneficial to aid in mental and physical wellness. Physical activity is a proven mood booster, as it helps us to release endorphins in our brains. It also helps boost our natural energy, as well as sleep patterns, and can help to improve our overall self-esteem and self-confidence.
There are many ways to get active each day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. You don’t have to be an extreme athlete to exercise. Anything that gets your heart rate up and increases your blood flow is a great place to start. Some of my favorite ways to exercise are:
-Walking with friends outside
-Fitness classes; virtual or in person at a gym/studio
-Sports of all kinds
Proper Nutrition & Hydration
This may seem like a no brainer, but proper hydration and nutrition play such a huge roll in ensuring that we get to live the quality of life that we deserve. The average adult should consume 2L of water/day & consume between 1800-2400 calories a day. Crazy right? That’s a topic for another time, but I’ll share my favorite tips with you while I’m here.
Whole Foods: Try to include as many ‘one ingredient,’ whole foods in your diet as possible. Whole foods provide us with tons of nutrients and vitamins and are easiest for our bodies to digest. This will ultimately provide our bodies with more energy, and help us feel more alert throughout the day. Whole foods are foods that have not been processed into another form of food. Examples include fruits, veggies, rice, seeds, oats, eggs, meats, etc.
Water: If you aren’t someone who enjoys drinking water, there are a few ways that you can spice up your water, without the added sugar and calories!
Fruit infused water: add some lemon, lime, and/or other types of citrus to your water for a fruity and more exciting taste.
Carbonated water: If you’re a pop person, you’ll love this option!
Keep in mind that this is all just general knowledge, meant to be appliciable to everyone. Everyone is different, and we all require tools unique to us, to help us through this crazy journey called life. Please know that my both my inboxes and my heart are always open. If there’s anything you think I can help you with, please reach out. ❤
Part 2. BASEBALL FOR DAD
Today, I am so honored to share this touching story from a family that I will always hold so close to my heart.
Meet the Snider family. Louri, Sean, Mark, Tegan, and Taylon. I grew up idolizing Tegan as an incredible figure skater, athlete, and role model. She was like a big sister to me, and I wanted to be ‘just like her,’ for so much of my childhood. My mom was both of our skating coaches, which meant we got to hang out lots. Louri was always so amazing as well. She was almost like a second ‘rink mom.’ There were countless car rides, competitions, and adventures to be had with these amazing ladies.
Louri is an amazing mother with a huge heart and has so much love for everyone. She always had the best skating parties, made the best food, and fostered children, which lead to their youngest family addition, Taylon. Now a grandmother, her family continues to expand, and so does her heart.
We’re coming up to the anniversary of the day that the Snider family changed forever. I’ll let Louri take it from here.
As Louri had mentioned in her note, to this day, 132 baseball gloves have been placed around the world in Marks honour. Here are just a few of the places gloves have travelled to in memory of Mark.