Sleep... or Lack of.

Sleep has never been a problem for me; when I was young I told my parents and anyone who would listen that I NEVER slept. Still to this day I am made fun of my old family friends and relatives who remember me waking from a nap and saying "I wasn't sleeping, I was tricking you." or "I never sleep, my eye are just resting." My mother remembers when I came home from high school and said i was going for a nap, she almost hit the floor. 

I learnt the importance of sleep the last few months of grade twelve. I was busy with a job at a movie theatre (late nights), in at least two plays and had to have a full social life. I hit the wall in May, I thought I had the flu, but rather it was mono and I was out for the count, 3 weeks to be exact. 

That experience, made me undeniably aware of the power we have in our health and how some people don't have that power. I remember thinking "If this is was chronic fatigue syndrome or cancer treatment feels, I don't know if I'd last" for three weeks I only had enough energy to walk about 10 feet before needing to lay on the floor where it was cool after I got better I became hyper aware of my body a scratch in the throat or a stomach ache, I rested, took vitamins and changed my diet. Today I am grateful that I don't get sick often, I know how to better pace myself (as a go getter this is always challenging). 

When I married, I was reminded how challenging health can be for some people. My husband has a few conditions and none of them do well without getting a good sleep. Sleep is so natural, refreshing and rejuvenating... if you can fall asleep. Me head on the pillow, out like a light. Skylar, head on the pillow... 20-40 minutes he'll get to sleep, never deep, often wakes up and wakes feeling underwhelmed with the quality. 

We have implemented so of the common sleep routine suggestions and they have helped:
- No phones in the bedroom - We bought an alarm clock and now awake to the radio.
- Essential oils - Each of us use different oils on our body, but we diffuse lavender or cedarwood.
- Meditation - Skylar is a great meditator he will regularly spend 10-20mins before bed meditating in our zen room. Meditation for me looks a bit different, I use guided meditations often about gratitude or kindness. 
- Cool room - I LOVE sleeping with the window open and the breeze blowing, it is recommended to 60-67 degrees F or 15.5-20 degrees C.

For more tips and tricks, let's connect on or off line. 

Quality over Quantity

Life can be overwhelming when it feels like we are living in a hamster wheel. Go to work, clean house, make food, go to the gym, do this and do that and when the day is done, we look back at the end of the day and wonder what we got to do for ourselves. 

When working on living a balanced life this feeling can take over and become a depressing thought, taking the time to ensure that you do something kind for yourself daily is important.

Over the last few weeks in our house we have seen a big shift in time… and how it feels like we don’t have enough of it. We long for a day at home to putts, read a book and drink coffee for hours. When your family is on the go, it isn’t that you don’t want to do the things that are being done or wish you were somewhere else, the problem is we have so many choices and live such complex full lives and everything takes time.

So, this week I want to encourage you to PLAN quality time with yourself, your friends and your family. Often planning this time feels contrived or like we are overly complicating life when you schedule in a date night or play games with kids or stay home and putter around the house, but there is a big difference between quantity and quality. I know for myself, having breakfast with my husband isn’t quality time, I’m a morning person and he isn’t, in all actuality we are only share space and not connecting in the morning. Having quality time be it an evening walk or a long hot bath give our bodies and mind a moment to relax. Enjoy

Mental Illness Isn't A Character From A Film

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about mental health, mine, my families, my ancestors, my friends and I’ve come up with one main observation, everyone has dealt with mental health issues.

Sometime you watch a film and you hear about a clinical diagnosis, “bipolar” “personality disorder” “addict” and the character on the show is how you learn about that diagnosis, the problem is that more often then not it is either a joke (silly exaggeration of truth) or its dark (a cruel depiction of an illness that has a huge spectrum).

This post is to act as a reminder that we are all people.

A diagnosis does not define a person, just like a person living with diabetes or cancer shouldn’t be defined by their illness. When I sit and talk to my friends that have lived through being suicidal moment and who work hard daily to be healthy and happy, I think to myself“Where would they be if people treated them like the characters in movies?”. And I think how blessed I am that they are open to sharing their story with me, because to be vulnerable and host about the struggle of their illness in a world that can be so judgmental and lacking in patience is so brave.

To stay in a healthy headspace can take a lot of work, here is a list I’ve collect from many people who live with mental health issues: 

  • Time with nature
  • Time with animals
  • Meditation
  • Fitness (some need calming like yoga others need to run or do HITT)
  • Friend/Family time
  • Quiet time
  • Essential oils
  • A Bath
  • More Meditation
  • Prayer
  • Therapy
  • 12 Step meetings
  • A job that is solitary
  • A job that is around people
  • Special diet (lots take out gluten, sugar & dairy)

Take time to understand a illness more before you assume they are like a character in a movie or a stereotype. Give a friend a call if you haven’t heard from them, sometimes the best way to help someone having a bad day is to be there and listen.

The First Blog Post

The idea of sharing my journey is tricky, because I (Sarah) am not the only one on the journey. My family and my friends have as many ups and downs as I have and sharing my truth I often will have to do so while exploring and understanding theirs.

This first post is going to be just about me… and maybe a cat or two. 

Sharing my truth… that is a statement that sounds so new age and millennial that it almost makes me want to hit the back space, but the fact is that is just what I’m going to be doing.  I am a 33, married to my husband Skylar and parent to a step daughter and two cats. I’m a chubby, loud, creative, excitable and motivated person on a good day and chubby and excitable every other. 

I created Connect to Wellness years before I knew I needed it only knowing that I knew that connection was an important part of life.

A brief synopsis of my life:
Great family! Middle child. First job was at a movie theatre where I made life long friends. Second job was at a Vespa shop where I fell in love with everything Italian. Third Job Owner of a cute café (Luzzara). Fourth job selling fancy espresso machines & coffee (where I met my husband – he was a customer). Now: My Mother & I run Makers & Mentors – creative workshops. My husband and I DJ weddings and I share my passion of essential oils & community with everyone.

f you look closely, very closely you will see I keep moving, stay busy, have a project and for a long time this was my normal. Spend the day moving, planning, executing and the evening exhausted and in front of the television. When Skylar and I moved in together life began to change… QUICKLY. 

When you begin living and sharing a life with someone they become your mirror, you are made aware of your bad habits, quirks, strengths and successes, these lesson usually come at the wrong moments and are not fun. The problem is growth and personal development are hard, painful and at times really uncomfortable, life in general is a work in progress and has its ups and downs. Connect to Wellness is a community that is here to become support, motivate and encourage a connect life, lived well.

What do I mean by “a connect life, lived well” I mean, we try and sometimes we fall and it is a lot easier to get up when we have a tribe cheering us on. I mean, growth can hurt, but hearing someone else’s story can inspire us to keep doing the work. I mean, just living can be tough (stress, mental illness, addiction, disease) knowing that we have a community to lean on and tools in our tool kit to help us keep moving in a health, kind, soulful way can be the difference from an ok day and a really bad day. 

Over the next few months you will learn more about my journey - co-dependence, stress, weight gain, weight loss, family struggles, marriage, essential oils and so much more. I hope you will join me and share your story and your truth.