Make Everyday A Little Happier

Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Hey everyone!

Today I wanted to pop in and leave a few suggestions on how to bring some sunshine into your day. It's so easy to get bogged down by all the negativity around us, and I always make a conscious effort to climb out of happiness death pits. I find many people allow an entire set of 24 hours go down the toilet, because of a tiny incident that will render itself insignificant in a matter of weeks. Let's not do this to ourselves anymore!

Credit: Hermes 

1. Make a list of 3 things you are grateful for everyday. You can do it in your head before bed, or log them in a journal. I prefer to log my lists so I can read them years later, and recall the memories from that time. This is one of my favorite activities to do!

2. Ensure you're doing at least 1-2 things you love everyday. For me it's a sweet smoothie, dance class, hot chocolate, a bubble bath, reading a thriller, or taking photos. There is ALWAYS time! For example, I sometimes bring a packet of hot chocolate and make it at work while I write patient notes. Frequently I put a thriller or fantasy novel on my iBooks or Read app so I can get sucked into a new world during ten minute breaks for lunch. Woo!

3. Release some endorphins via exercise. I've found forcing myself to enjoy a workout that's uninspiring will not make me feel content. I just can't do it. I've finally gone back to dance class, and the change is wonderful and welcome. I've discovered that any group class will get me working harder and longer than if I was doing a workout alone. It's because I'm competitive. I'm now using that to my advantage instead of hiding it under the rug.
         Note: If I cannot make it to a class because I work late, I've found a way to enjoy cardio (treadmill or elliptical). I listen to a great podcast! I typically listen to 50 min to 1 hr long interviews, and refuse to get off the treadmill until the podcast is completed.

4. Just to play off the point above, I now try to listen or read something inspiring every day. Elizabeth Gilbert's podcasts are amazing, and I am extremely motivated after hearing even one session. I also picked up her book Big Magic to help get my creative juices flowing, but most importantly to embrace living a life of curiosity. I find the Happiness Planner is also a great tool. Its ultimate focus is to help you identify goals, and achieve them in 100 days while incorporating activities that you've established bring you joy. It also allows for reflection everyday, and I like how that provides a journalling component to the agenda without feeling intimidating.

5. Call the people you love. I speak to my parents daily, and almost always have shared texts going on with my besties and boyfriend. Relationships bring meaning to your life, so spend time cultivating them.

6. Always have something planned. Because my boyfriend and I are long-distance during our medical training, we always have weekends booked with fun activities. Now, I don't endorse only ploughing through your days because you know a vacation is coming in 2 months. That's a waste of time. Rather focus on regularly scheduling activities that will fill your cup of love. Seeing friends, having dinner with mom, or signing-up for a rock climbing class. I ended up going bouldering for the first time -thanks to my boyfriend pushing me to scratch another item off my bucket list- and it was so rewarding learning a new skill that my body could do. It's a huge confidence boost! Make yourself uncomfortable in the name of self-discovery!

These are my reliable go-to's for a life of sustainable happiness. What brings you joy on a daily basis?


How To Bundle-Up For Winter Like A Canadian

Sunday, January 07, 2018
Heya my lovelies!

I hope everyone is enjoying the fresh start to a new year. I've got all my resolution lists written out for goals I hope to accomplish in the next 12 months, and it is super motivating! Unfortunately, we have been hit with frigid temperatures and mountains of snow here in Cleveland. Today, I thought I would share my tried and true tips for surviving winter without sustaining any cold injuries. This will be particularly focused on weather below -20˚C (-4˚F). I have been working in the Emergency Department this month, and the amount of frostbite I've seen has been astounding! Friends, protect yourself and each other!
VOGUE Japan 2017

1. Invest in a warm, long parka. The least amount of body area exposed to the elements the better. Good brands make a difference; particularly in construction and insulation. I have reliably purchased warm parkas since I was young, but frequently from fashion brands. This year I got one from North Face (an outdoor company specializing in clothing for extreme sporting conditions) just because it was the parka with the slimmest fit. To my big surprise the difference in overall warmth is HUGE compared to my past purchases! There are grip sleeves inside the actual sleeves, magnetic strap devices to decrease air gaps, high insulated collars, waterproofing and air venting, etc. North Face knows their shit.
PS. Get a size that allows you to fit a thick sweater underneath!
I have the Tremaya Parka in XS, Graphite color (it's sold out on The North Face website, and Nordstrom but save the links in case they re-stock!)

VOGUE Russia

2. Extremities - these are the quickest areas of your body to get frostbite because the vessels in your body vasoconstrict in the extremities to preferentially keep your core organs warm (in some temperatures, you can get frostbite as quickly as 10 minutes!!).
  Hands - Thick, fleece-lined gloves are my go to. I stopped wearing single knit gloves mid-December because it was gosh darn freezing. Mittens are even more ideal because they conserve heat by having all your fingers lying close together!

  Feet - Get yourself a solid pair of winter boots. My pretty over-the-knee leather boots are just not cutting it right now, no matter how many warm socks I wear. I'm hunting for a pair of tall snow boots this week, and hoping they get delivered ASAP. My favorite winter boots whilst in Toronto were the Cougar brand tall snow boots; the brand is very reliable and I was super toasty. There is a huge difference in build of winter boots vs fashion boots. You need them to be lined, insulated, waterproof and tall enough on the shaft to avoid getting snow inside. Update 2/1/2018: I got these Aquatherm boots (now on sale!), and after using them for a few weeks I can vouch for their brand: my boots are very warm and insulated, waterproof, and the leg opening is small enough for my skinny legs while allowing me to adjust it even tighter with laces and pulls. Also, these boots have prevented me from slipping and falling; there is great grip in the rubber sole.

  Face (especially ears, tip of nose): I typically favor a thick toque and a scarf I can wrap high enough to cover my nose so only the eyes peak out. If it's not scary cold like we are getting now, then I forgo the scarf and hat, because my parka has a high collar and a warm hood.

3. Wear an 'under outfit'. I always have leggings on under my pants (fleece-lined are obviously the best)! I also like wearing the Zara slim tanks under my sweaters, or a close fitting t-shirt if there is enough room. The more layers the better! Update 2/11/2018: I've tried these heattech socks by Uniqlo and they are great for sweat wicking whilst keeping the feet warm. I tried the heattech leggings, and I am not a huge fan. I feel any fleece-lined leggings are warmer and get the job done for a cheaper price.

4. Avoid drinking too much alcohol and don't do drugs (ever!). This has landed a ton of my patients in our ED beds with horrible frostbite, and some on the brink of hypothermia because of misguided beliefs that they were invincible whilst under the influence. Careful at those parties! Also, if you are walking past a homeless person in frigid weather conditions, please find the appropriate organization to call, and find these people a warm place to survive another day!
winter parka
source: unknown

I hope you found these tips useful! They are mostly for deep freeze temperatures, so remove a few layers if you're getting too hot and sweaty. Tell me some of your winter survival tips!