Getting in Tune (with myself)

self-care Dec 08, 2021

After a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with my two kids and close friends, I returned home feeling full, yet empty.

This was my first U.S. Thanksgiving since I became a U.S. citizen in December 2020, and my second family Thanksgiving without my husband.

Just as I was about to cry myself to sleep after narrowly avoiding an anxiety attack by deep breathing, I pulled out something unexpected from my Emotional Emergency Tool Kit:

Singing.

That’s right, singing! Don’t get too excited – I’m no Adele. Historically, the only singing I did was in the shower.

But this time, I leaned into the inner artist I’ve been developing. As I’ve written about recently, I’ve created space in my life to explore my creative, expressive side through dance. I’m always drawn to a dance that represents exactly what I’m working on within myself and how I connect with others.

Recently, I’ve been most inspired by Julia Cameron’s...

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Confessions of a Dance-a-Holic

Uncategorized Nov 30, 2021

My salsa dance addiction started in 2002, at the beginning of a 12-year divorce from hell.

Dance was my exercise. My escape. My solace.

I lived in Toronto, within minutes of salsa socials and studios. I was a single working mom with a live-in nanny for my then one- and three-year-old kids. When they went to sleep, I went dancing, five nights a week.

It was as if I had another life: Working by day, dancing by night. No matter how badly I felt, all my stress disappeared on the dance floor. Dance changed everything in my mind and body.

Ten years ago, I shelved salsa and transitioned to west coast swing dancing, which was gentler on my aging body. West coast swing is an improvisational, playful smooth partner dance to music ranging from blues to pop. The dance features an extension-compression style of partner connection.

Now, I’m recently separated and I’ve added salsa back to my dance repertoire. I love moving to the beat of Latin music. I needed something uplifting to...

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Reflections on Gratitude

Uncategorized Nov 24, 2021

I stumbled into this quote: "This is not the year to get everything you want. This is the year to appreciate everything you have."

Select and perform a different act of gratitude for the remainder of this month:

Say thank you unexpectedly to someone.

Complement a stranger.

Tell someone you love or appreciate them.

Call a friend that you haven't been in touch with for a while.

Post gratitude notes around the house.

Keep a gratitude journal.

Embrace setbacks as part of your comebacks.

Volunteer to help and give back to others

Gratitude is contagious; it strengthens relationships, improves physical and mental health, and increases compassion, resilience, confidence, humility, and grit to rise from failures and disappointments.

I am ever so grateful for your readership and being a part of my wellness community and journey.

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Jerry Seinfeld’s Rules of Sleep – is this your life, too?

sleep Nov 18, 2021

Do you remember the hilarious Jerry Seinfeld bit about Night Guy, Morning Guy and Day Guy? It was all about sleep habits. Seinfeld said as a Night Guy, he didn’t care that Morning Guy was going to be exhausted because he stayed up way too late – that was Morning Guy’s problem!

Well… I’m a Night Gal, trying to become a Morning Gal. And I’ve really been struggling...

We’re all guilty of this, especially when facing big work deadlines: We skimp on sleep during the week and then binge-sleep on weekends, telling ourselves that we’re ‘catching up on lost sleep’.

I battled sleep disorders for many years. I did my most creative thinking and writing late at night, often until 4 AM. While studying for my MS degree at Miami University, I was an insomniac. I wanted to get everything done as quickly as possible, and that meant functioning on about four hours of sleep a night.

During the dissertation phase of my doctoral program...

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What you hear can change how you feel

breathe self-care Nov 10, 2021

Last weekend, I attended my first Sound Meditation workshop at my local yoga studio.

For 90 minutes, we lay on our backs with a bolster under our knees, listening to a range of sounds originating from Himalayan and crystal bowls, gongs, rain sticks and chimes.

This workshop took the “woo” out of “woo woo”, and I was incredibly moved by this participatory experience. Here, in a place of stillness, one becomes open and aware of the surrounding sounds while feeling energy and vibrations moving through the meridians of our bodies.

Sound is a powerful tool for healing sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, stress, PTSD or pain.

It induces relaxation while releasing mental blocks, stagnations and emotions. It’s a helpful tool to access the body’s energy centers.

Most importantly, sound meditation is all about being present and whole, allowing yourself to feel the vibrations through your body, along with a range of emotions and experiences.

I...

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Thoughts from a Tombstone: How do you want to live your life?

self-care Nov 03, 2021

Last week, I shared some thoughts about what I had learned after my father passed away. While in Vancouver recently visiting my father’s grave, I thought about how generous my dad was with his time, his presence, his undivided attention and his energy.

I got to thinking: Throughout this pandemic, our work and home lives have merged. We weren’t just working from home – we were working longer hours. Always on call to hop on a Zoom meeting. Many of us worked until we reached burnout. With no energy left to give ourselves or our loved ones.

But is this what’s supposed to give us meaning and purpose in our lives? I believe the pandemic has forced us to re-think how we want to spend our time and where we want to devote our energy.

As I looked around at the tombstones at the cemetery, I asked:

What if you could write one sentence you’d like to see on your tombstone that captures who you were?

I’m still thinking about what I would write.

...
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4 lessons I learned after my dad died... 4 years ago

self-care Oct 28, 2021

I was in Vancouver, British Columbia this past week and visited my father's gravesite on the 4th anniversary of his unexpected death. One is never prepared for a parent’s passing.

My dad survived two heart attacks: one at age 47 and the other at age 71, followed by triple bypass surgery. My dad had such a will to live that I often thought he was immortal.

I think my dad knew when it was his time. It was as if he planned his final day of rest - three weeks after his 84th birthday and three months after his dream vacation, a family cruise to Alaska.

My dad awoke, sat at the edge of the bed and then fell backwards and died beside my mom who was sleeping.

The cause of death? Intracranial bleed. My dad hit his head on his night table a few days before he died. He minimized the severity of his accident; however, his Google search history prior to his death indicated that he had been researching concussions.

Four years later .... Here are 4 lessons that I learned from my dad:

1....

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Up in the air? How I pivoted from travel stress to a new virtual wellness business

self-care Oct 20, 2021

Hello from Vancouver, British Columbia!

This is my first Canadian visit to see my family since COVID – and my first time traveling in two years. Before the pandemic, I used to visit my mom, who has dementia and lives in a nursing home, every five months.

This trip was not easy for my mental health. I’ve written about how the pandemic served as an accelerator for many things, including relationships and stress. In this case, traveling – which meant leaving the comfort and safety of my home, my dog Benji, who is my Director of De-Stress, and my entire routine behind – exacerbated my anxiety big-time.

Planning for international travel meant coordinating a PCR COVID test within 72 hours of the second leg of the flight – four COVID tests in total for this week-long trip! – packing clothes for cold, damp, rainy weather, and a 15-hour travel day.

As a professional wellness speaker, I used to be a seasoned business traveler, not a stressed-out...

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It’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month – and here’s what’s on my mind

self-care Oct 14, 2021

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and you just have to take a look at your news feed to see that toxic relationships are everywhere. The tragic details surrounding the Gabby Petito murder, the issues raised in the Netflix hit series MAID – based on Stephanie Land’s bestselling memoir – have received lots of media attention and viral shares, showing us that domestic violence does not discriminate.

Anyone can fall prey. And COVID put an added strain on marriages: Many couples in quarantine went one of two ways – either the crisis brought people together, or it tore them apart. In the last e-blast, we talked about the pandemic being a relationship accelerator.

Survivors of domestic violence and advocates that support them know all about the patterns of abuse. Unhealthy relationships leading to abuse can happen at work and at home. And believe it or not, many people don’t realize that they are in a situation where the power imbalance is off,...

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Trapped in a parking garage? Just breathe!

Uncategorized Oct 06, 2021

Remember that classic Seinfeld episode where Jerry, Elaine, Kramer and George got lost in the parking lot? The entire episode revolved around them going around in circles, getting increasingly aggravated.

Well, that happened to me yesterday. I found my car, but couldn’t figure out how to exit from the parking lot.

I drove around and around, up and down four parking garage levels. I did this many times.

But I just couldn’t find the exit. That’s because the exit had moved: There was a slight detour, but the signage did not reflect that.

My mindfulness practice was incomplete: I was certainly aware – I definitely noticed how my body was physically reacting to stress. But instead of pausing, taking a deep breath, slowing down and responding calmly to the situation, I reacted. Quite badly, actually.

Not only am I directionally challenged, but I was suddenly overcome with such anxiety – the anxiety that has been exacerbated since COVID – that...

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