There is a lot more to life than salad and spin class.
There is art that alters your perspective on the world. Travel that alters your perspective on yourself. Music that makes you feel things (drake). Work that if you’re lucky fulfills you. Friends who enrich your life. Loves who make you feel timeless. Families who support you and give life meaning. I am of the opinion that a “healthy lifestyle” can and should include all these elements. But not to the detriment of self-care.
Eating well and moving your body deserve to be prioritized as well. Different but equal. The older you get the more you’re forced to accept that. So if you’re the type of person who tends to prioritize work, friends and relationships over self-care (me! me! me!) here are a few tips that have helped me over the years to strike that tenuous balance.
- Drink a little less
I’m SUCH a deb, I know. Drinking = friends = fun, right? I don’t entirely disagree. I think drinking is a great thing to do sometimes, but moderation is key. Drinking multiple times a week means you’re home less which leads to a messy apartment and no groceries. It means you blow money on overpriced drinks at the bar instead of saving that money or spending it on other more meaningful aspects of your life. It means you spend less time hanging out with close pals, more time with acquaintence-type psuedo-pals (boo!). Cutting back on drinking (even just 1-2 nights less than usual) is one easy way to free up time, money and energy so you can foster other interests.
- Wake up a little earlier
Now that you find yourself drinking less, you may notice that you’re waking up earlier (even on weekends!). And what are you going to do with this extra time? Productive stuff that’s what! No one cool is up early in the morning so there’s no one to hang out with. Mornings are the time to do things like catch up on your credit card payments, skype your mom, do your laundry, cook a batch of healthy food to eat all week long, tidy your apartment, make something, go for a walk, etc. Who knows? You might actually start to meet other “morning” people who have cool morning-person interests that you might be into as well.
- Eat a lil something for breakfast
I know I’m not breaking ground by suggesting that a healthy breakfast is essential for a healthy lifestyle, but I do think it’s important and it definitely changed my own approach to eating. A little something in the morning boosts your energy and keeps your hunger in check for the rest of the day. I always notice I’m a lot more “snacky” in the evenings on days when I postpone breakfast. Some simple favourites of mine include overnight oats, oatmeal, green smoothies, poached eggs on whole grain toast or my healthy banana oat pancakes.
- Eat a few more vegetables
I’ve said this before, but I am of the opinion that it’s better to focus on adding things to your diet rather than eliminating them. And the easiest and most obvious addition to your diet should always be to just EAT MORE FREAKIN VEGETABLES. Like double what you’re eating now. For me this looks like serving my lunch on a big bed of arugula, adding vegetables to my snacks or doubling up on side dishes at dinner time (salad AND green beans). Your body will thank you for all the extra nutrients and the fibre.
- Move a little more
Doesn’t matter what you do. Aim for 30 minutes a day. Walking, biking, yoga, weights, skipping, crossfit, whatever. I’m not going to tell you why because you know why. It feels good. Short-term bad, long-term good. Make the time.
It took me a long time to realize that I was a control freak. Because I have always been really good at it.
Even as a kid I could make situations go my way without those around me really knowing it. I like to think of this as tilting the pinball machine but in the business world I think it’s called “framing.” I don’t think this makes me a sociopath because I didn’t derive any pleasure from manipulation. I derived my self-worth not from manifesting my ideal scenarios, but having them go seamlessly. I was obsessed with being right. And I thought that everyone – myself, my friends, my family – would the better for it if I got my way.
As it turns out, I was definitely not better for it. I was a powder keg of stress and anxiety. I felt enormous self-imposed pressure for everything to go well all of the time. I had no resiliency or ability to handle things when they went wrong. It was only after my quarter-life-nervous-breakdown that I understood the negative impact micro-managing had on my life. How it bred resentment in my relationships. Made me feel isolated. Sucked the fun and surprise out of everything.
Nowadays, I find liberation in relinquishing control. I do this by asking for help. By admitting when I’m wrong. By facing my fear and anxiety head-on. When I go into a situation that is scary or unknown my inclination is to plan ahead for every possible outcome. However, I have “reframed” this for myself in recent years. I see planning as something that prepares me for the unknown but does not stave it off.
Organization and preparation are just tools that trick your mind into feeling confident. It’s that confidence that has enabled me to embrace flexibility…most of the time.
I’m the girl who brings salad to a party. I accepted this fate long ago.
The trick is to bring a salad that’s so delicious no one really cares. The other trick is to BE COOL ABOUT IT. Don’t make a big deal about your new veg-positive lifestyle. Don’t pester people who prefer more typical BBQ fare. Trust me. By being LOW KEY about your healthy contribution, you can ensure that a) your salad gets eaten and b) no one leaves said party talking how new-agey you’ve become or how you “used to be fun.”
Here’s a recipe that might help you out in these efforts…
SUMMER DINNER PARTY KALE SALAD
Serves 4 as a main, 6-8 as a side
- 2 large bunches of kale, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 tbsp Coconut oil
- 1.5 tsp cumin
- 1.5 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 block sheep feta
- 1 pint blueberries
- 1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup balsamic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp tamari
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Coat chickpeas in coconut oil, cumin paprika and sea salt.
- Bake on a lined baking sheet for 40 minutes. Remove from heat for 10 minutes and allow to cool. Cook for an additional 10 minutes (this is a trick I learned here and it really helps to crisp them up).
- Whisk together balsamic, olive oil, maple syrup and tamari.
- Add dressing to kale and masssage gently with your hands until wilted.
- Top kale with roasted chickpeas, feta, pumpkin seeds and blueberries and serve.
…Because some days it’s just too beautiful to set foot in a gym.
For a good time try completing 2-3 sets of this. Thank me when you’re happy, sweaty and tanned.
New York City gives me the same feeling I get when I’m standing in front of an ocean.
I feel insignificant, in a powerful way. My life feels small. My struggle feels relative. That feeling is a comfort.
There’s no shortage of New York City Guides out there written by honest to goodness New Yorkers. I’m not that. I pack 2 flannel shirts, a muttonhead toque & a pair of blundstones everywhere I go “just in case.” I could not be more Canadian. But I also know how it feels to travel to a big city without a plan. Without pals to show you around. So I thought I’d share some of my favourite places and moments from my latest trip to New York, in case anything strikes your fancy.
Morning in Bushwick:
Wake up early, grab a quick snack of sliced mangoes and fresh coconut at Fine Fare Supermarket in Bushwick, a grocery store that looks like a bargain basement from the outside and a whole-foods-of-your-dreams inside. With the edge taken off, wander over to Little Skips for a coffee and some pretty people watching. Grab one of their Norwegian open-faced avocado, goat cheese and salmon sandwiches before heading out for the day.
Afternoon in Fort Greene:
Get your fill of overpriced yuppie antique goods and (to console yourself when you can’t afford anything) Dough Brooklyn’s Hibiscus doughnuts at the Brooklyn Flea.
Happy Hour in Manhattan
I’ll admit I typically spend the majority of my New York visits in Brooklyn. Would you expect any less from a self-professed hipster? But there are obviously loads of places I like to go in New York City proper. Babe-watching in Washington Square Park. Vintage shops in like Edith Machinist in the Lower East Side. Eating my weight in smoked fish at Russ and Daughters. And my recent favourite find was Happy Hour Oysters at Fish (6 blue point oysters plus a glass of Chardonnay, Merlot or PBR for $8). For an more upscale oyster experience you may also want to try Maison Premier in Williamsburg. Heaven.
Nightlife in Brooklyn
Happyfun Hideaway has cheap drinks and nice people with a queer-friendly backyard party feel. The Narrows for a David-Lynchy vibe with especially flattering lighting. Late-night tacos are non-optional. These tasty ones from Santa Ana Deli made life worth living.
Let me know if you’ve been to any of these spots or if you have any suggestions for me. And if you feel the need to mock me for how bushwick-centric this post is…I’ll take the hit. 😉