Help! Tips for When You Proscrastinate

design desk display eyewearI’ve done my fair share of procrastinating over the years, but I have learned some key strategies for coping when you leave your assignment to the last minute

Here is a quick video I made about what you can do if you have left things until the last minute.

What are your best strategies to overcome procrastination?

xoxo,

Heather

 

5 Affirmations for People with Anxiety

Anxiety can be hard to manage sometimes because it feels like your brain is running in five different directions at once. Here are five affirmations that have helped me deal with my anxiety struggles, and I hope they help you too 💕.

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I have made it through this before and I will make it through again.

Look around you and realize how far you have come in your life. You have made it to this moment, through the ups and downs, and have overcome much adversity. This moment will pass, and soon enough you will find yourself reflecting on its significance (or lack thereof).

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This is only temporary.

Everything is in constant transition and in motion. Every year the seasons change, the school year ends, and time continues. Enjoy each moment but know that these anxious thoughts are temporary.

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I trust that everything will work out.

You’re on a sacred journey through life and regardless of what will happen, everything will work out. You are well equipped to deal with any adversity that comes your way.

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Tomorrow is a new day.

The end of each night brings forth a new day, and a new beginning. Even though it may feel like the end of the world, it’s not. Just as the seasons change, tomorrow will bring about something new and brighter.

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There is no wrong decision.

No matter how many times you go back and forth, or weigh the pros and cons of your decisions, any decision will put you on the right path – the path you are meant to follow. Trust in the journey and know that you will end up where you are meant to be. To read more about decision making, check out my article ‘There is NO Wrong Decision’ here!

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Even though anxiety can be difficult to deal with, I know that it is simply another challenge that I will learn to live with in time. Trust your journey, and know that life is not meant to be easy. At the end of the day, I am happy to be here and happy to be alive 💕

If you are feeling anxious, I would recommend you check out my FREE Grounding Meditation exercise to help during times of elevated stress and anxiety. You can access it here.

Have a wonderful week!

xoxo,

Heather 💕

Five Affirmations

How I Overcame Anxiety and Started Working Out: The 5 Lessons I Learned 💕

woman looking at sunsetDealing with anxiety has been my greatest challenge in life, as it prevents me from doing many of the activities I enjoy. It’s always there, in the background, stopping me from getting out the door, trying new activities and even driving. At my lowest point, I quit my favourite sport (softball), stopped exercising because I was too nervous to go to the gym, and I didn’t leave my house for two weeks. Getting help for my anxiety was the BEST decision I could have made for myself. It took the help of a school counsellor that connected me with resources to get myself out the door and prevent anxiety from controlling my life.

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Photo credit: https://www.wlu.ca/life-at-laurier/services-for-students/wellness.html

My counsellor recommended I try a program offered through my school’s Athletics Complex called, “I Move My Mood”. Within the program, I was paired with a ‘buddy’ who would meet with me twice per week, and we would exercise together. The girl I was paired with was very nice and confident in the gym. She showed me how to do a bunch of exercises and helped to correct my form (which was one of my biggest barriers to going to the gym). It was through this program that I realized that people weren’t judging me for having the wrong form, or not knowing what I was doing.

After completing the program, I was determined to continue exercising, however I was still terrified to set foot in the gym by myself. A year of trial and error later, I now find myself a regular gym-goer and have overcome the barriers that used to prevent me from going. To overcome my anxiety and begin working out, I will share the 5 main lessons I learned, so you too can overcome anxiety and start exercising.

Lesson #1: Find a buddy or someone to keep you accountable

casual cheerful daylight friendsSocial support is no joke. As humans, there is something about the social environment that helps motivate us, keeps us accountable, and makes us feel connected. Throughout my struggles with anxiety, I often find that I socially isolate myself and feel disconnected. Finding one person to encourage and motivate me really helped to get myself out of the house – as my buddy was counting on me. Having someone to talk to also helped me feel that I was socially connected with the world, which helped reduce feelings of loneliness and depression. After the program ended, I found a new buddy to help me feel confident and maintain my accountability (you can check out her blog here).

Lesson #2: Take Baby steps

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Celebrate the little accomplishments you make. Maybe getting up and out of bed is the furthest you got today – but that is still a step in the right direction! After the commencement of the program, I still wasn’t 100% confident to go to the gym alone, so I started walking with my mom. Thirty-minute walks turned into 45-minute walks, and I found that an activity as simple as walking made me feel so much better mentally. This then motivated me to start exercising at the gym with my new buddy. Then exercising with my buddy increased my confidence and I began going to the gym alone.

The first time I went to the gym alone was a huge accomplishment for me, as I actually got in the car and drove there! The pride I felt from overcoming this barrier translated to other aspects of my life – as I now don’t feel as anxious driving places. To make myself feel comfortable at the gym, I came prepared with a basic exercise plan that had exercises I was comfortable doing. As I felt more confident in the gym, I decided to try new exercises – the ones I wanted to try for curiosity and for fun! As I continued to try new things, I learned what did and did not work for me. This has lead me to today, where I find myself looking forward to my workouts because I have found exercises that make me feel strong and confident.

Lesson #3: Do the activities you actually enjoy!

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I tried synchronized swimming this year, I met a lot of great people and had so much fun!

Don’t do the exercises or the workouts you think you should do, do the activities you actually enjoy doing! If you love walking – do it! Any change you make to your current routine will make a difference. Working out and getting healthy doesn’t need to be done at the gym – you can get active playing sports, running or exercising at home. If you pick an activity you love, chances are you will not dread doing it, and you will actually be more motivated to stick with it. Do activities that excite you and fill your soul.

This past year, I decided to give synchronized swimming a try, and I joined my school’s novice synchronized swimming team. Not only did I get to participate in swimming (one of my favourite activities), I also got to meet other girls that had similar interests! I had to opportunity to travel with the team to two competitions, and we came in 4th place for our routine at one of the competitions. Not only did I get the physical benefit from swimming, I also branched out and made some awesome social connections, which improved my mood and my confidence.

Lesson #4: Set a goal and track your progress

A goal without a plan is simply a dream. To turn your physical activity goals into reality, it is important that you set goals, come up with a game-plan and track your progress. (For some tips on goal setting, check out my article on Goal Setting here). For me, my goal began small – to exercise twice per week, whether it be going for a walk, going to the gym (with my buddy), or going on a bike ride. I tracked my progress using The Calendar Method. Looking back at each month and seeing that I had exercised twice per week really encouraged me to continue. As I succeeded with my goal and became more confident in going to the gym alone, I eventually changed it to exercising at the gym twice per week, and I began a strength training program. To track my progress, I weighed myself, took progress photos and recorded my reps and sets of each exercise. Even though my body didn’t change based on my weight, I noticed that my progress photos began to look more muscular and the weight of my exercises increased. In the months where I saw very small changes, I tweaked my plan and began focusing on my nutrition to see further progress. Seeing these subtle changes motivated me to continue. (For FREE monthly calendars to track your fitness progress, you can also check them out here)!

Lesson #5: Don’t be so critical on yourself.

self-loveIt’s important to know that your while you are on your fitness journey, you are going to mess up. You will do an exercise or two with improper form, and there will be days where you feel unmotivated. Instead of being critical on yourself, think about what you would tell your best friend if they were in your situation. When you fail, rather than judge yourself, evaluate yourself. Figure out what when ‘wrong’ and come up with a new game plan. Treat yourself with kindness and support yourself as if you were your own best friend.

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Feeling gym-confident 💕

Today, I am still making changes to my exercise plan and am still coming up with new activities or exercises that I enjoy doing. Anxiety is hard to deal with, but sometimes just getting yourself out the door is the smallest, yet most life-changing step you can make. I hope these 5 lessons help to motivate you to begin your own fitness journey. I’d love to hear any additional tips you use to overcoming mental health struggles in the comments below.

I hope you have a lovely day!

xoxo,

Heather 💕

how i overcame

Spring Grounding: A 5-Step Mindfulness Mediation

Sometimes all we need is to take a moment to ourselves and to observe the calmness around us. In this simple mindfulness activity, you can learn how to relax and take a moment to calm your day. This simple activity is a grounding activity that will bring you into the present moment and help you to overcome feeling overwhelmed, anxious, “out of body” or unable to focus. Turn off your phone and put away all distractions for the next five minutes as you complete this Mindfulness Moment 💕.

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Begin by sitting outdoors, in a safe and comfortable spot. Sit upright and relax. Take some deep breaths – in through the nose, and out through the mouth. Notice how you begin to feel relaxed.

  1. As you sit, begin to notice the world around you. What do you see? Notice how vibrant and colorful the grass is. You may notice birds flying around or landing in the trees above you. Really take a moment to observe all the beauty there is. Take a moment to look around and identify at least 5 different things that you can see.
  2. Next, bring your attention to the sensations you are feeling. As you are sitting, feel yourself melting into the chair, or into the earth. Take a deep breath and notice all that you feel around you. It could be your feet against the rough ground, your back pressed up against your chair, or the warmth of the sun on your skin. Take another moment to yourself to acknowledge this present moment, and identify 5 sensations you feel.
  3. Close your eyes and shift your attention to your breath. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Shift your attention to the sounds around you. What do you hear? You many notice the cicadas humming in the background, or the birds communicating with one another. Perhaps you hear a lawnmower buzzing in the distance. Take this moment to identify at least five different sounds you hear. Notice how busy the world is, while you sit in silence and enjoy its abundance of life.IMG_2405
  4. With your eyes still closed, shift your attention back to your breath. While breathing, focus your attention on the fragrance around you. What do you smell? You may notice the smell of freshly cut grass, or the smell of a flower garden. Perhaps you can smell the fresh spring air or the crisp autumn leaves. Take a moment to yourself to identify three different aromas you can smell. How do they make you feel?

Repeat this activity one or two more times to help ground yourself and bring yourself to the present moment.

To gently awaken yourself and bring yourself back to your day, wiggle your fingers and toes. Pause for a moment to appreciate yourself for taking this brief moment to enjoy the world around you. Set an intention for the rest of your day, and know that you will return to your life with a clearer mind. Enjoy today 💕SpringGrounding

I have created a five-minute Mindfulness Moment meditation track JUST FOR YOU to accompany this Mindfulness Moment activity. In this track, titled: Spring Grounding: A Mindfulness Moment Meditation, I walk you through this simple grounding exercise to refresh your day.

Here’s where you can find the FREE five-minute Mindfulness Moment meditation track. In this track, titled: Spring Grounding: A Mindfulness Moment Meditation, I walk you through this simple grounding exercise to refresh your day.

I hope you enjoyed this Mindfulness Moment. Practicing Mindfulness Moments has really helped me overcome anxiety, reduce stress and maintain a calm state throughout my busy day. I would appreciate your feedback on my meditation track and this activity in the comments below! 🙂 For more fun articles, I would recommend you click here for an entire list! I hope you enjoy and have a beautiful day!

Sincerely,

Heather 💕

Mindfulness Monday – There is NO Wrong Decision 💕

What I Have Learned from Making Tough Choices

Have you ever struggled with making a decision? Or once you’ve finally made a decision, do you worry about whether your choice was the right one? Do you ask yourself, “what if” questions, or envision elaborate stories about what “could have been”? One of the greatest adversities I have faced in life is making decisions.

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I am the type of person who always wants to do the “best” thing for me, or make the closest decision to the “best” decision as possible. I think it’s part of human nature to want to succeed and become our best self. Unfortunately, like many people, the focus on making the ‘best’ decision often leads me to not make any decision at all. I also find that I regret many of the decisions I make because I constantly feel that I could have selected a better option, or could have had a better outcome. Throughout my short life, I have come to the realization that there is no crystal ball that allows you to know how things will pan-out. You never know whether you have made the right decision until you look back in hindsight. Looking at my life in this exact moment, I can say that I am happy with where I am and how far I have come. I can also say that I do not regret a single decision I have made, because I would not be where I am without the accumulation of these decisions.

I remember in grade 12, I was petrified with moving on from high school and making the huge life decision of selecting which university program I wanted to pursue. I researched almost every university in Canada and weighed out the pros and the cons of each program I was interested in – only to end up making the decision to stay back and do an extra year of high school because I just couldn’t decide. The entire year, I felt as if I had made the wrong decision, and beat myself up over ‘wasting my time’ and being ‘too stupid’ for not preparing myself for university. Spending this time back in high school led me to see all my old friends move on to universities across Ontario, live in amazing residence buildings, experience awesome parties and complete their first year of school before I had even decided on what program I wanted to do. In all honesty, it was very difficult to watch everyone else move on, while I was still “stuck” in high school. My friends had magically matured before my eyes, while I was still “just in high school”.

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In hindsight, I look at this experience in a more positive light. Since I did not feel ready for university, I decided to apply for the University Co-operative Education Program (UCEP) at my high school. I was fortunate to get accepted into UCEP, which allowed me to spend my first semester on the University of Waterloo campus, taking two high school credits (calculus and something else I can’t remember), one university credit (Health 101) and working as a co-operative education student with Dr. Heather Keller. The most interesting part about this experience was being immersed into the university campus and learning about the various research opportunities that Dr. Keller was conducting within the retirement setting. Overall, this experience made me much more confident that I could succeed in university and that I was “smart enough” to thrive in that environment. By the time I was ready to apply for university at the end of that semester, this experience allowed me to finally narrow my interests down to nutrition or kinesiology. My biggest goal was to get into an accredited nutrition program (there was only one near my house) so that I could become a registered dietitian. I applied for the programs and didn’t hear back until the middle of second semester.

My second semester back in high school wasn’t quite as rewarding, as the UCEP program ended and I was back in high school. By end of second semester, only 5 ‘fifth years’ remained and it was a very lonely time in my life. I finally heard back from the university programs and I found out that I was not accepted into my dream nutrition program. I felt like I had failed and that the entire year was a waste of time. Since I had been accepted into Kinesiology at Wilfrid Laurier University, I decided to do it because there were some options for taking nutrition courses once I got into third year. I felt like that was the best solution at the time because I did not want to wait another year to re-apply to the nutrition program, and perhaps I was ‘not meant to be’ if I studied nutrition.

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Again, looking back at this decision in hindsight, I can say that the universe was looking out for me. Even though I wanted to study nutrition more than I wanted to study kinesiology, I ended up with greater appreciation of the human body, learned about the importance of movement and began carving out my career path in the co-operative education program at Wilfrid Laurier University. In co-op, I started a small business called, “Northern Girl Fitness” where I wrote a fitness journal and started a blog (which was always a dream of mine). I was also fortunate to get a placement at a retirement home where I implemented a Walking Program that won an award and sparked my interest in health promotion and program planning/evaluation.

During my fourth year, I ran into the same dilemma of not knowing what to do when I graduate. I ended up meeting two professors in my fourth year that had similar interests to mine, and helped me decide whether graduate studies were right for me. After weighing the pros and cons of working or applying for more school, I decided to apply for Graduate Studies at both Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo, to simply see if I could get in. To my surprise, I got into both programs (which made me realize that it was meant to be). I ended up choosing the program at Laurier because it was thesis-based and it allowed me to work closely with two professors that have my best interest in mind.

In a recent interview with Olivia, at LivYourLife (check out the article here), I opened up to Olivia about some of the struggles I have overcome and how I stay positive. Within this interview, I mentioned how the poem, ‘The Road Not Taken’ by Robert Frost has helped me to be more at ease in my decision making. It reads:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

– Robert Frost

pexels-photo-196667.jpegToday, I sit half way through the second semester of my Master’s Degree. Even with my thesis looming in the back of my mind, I feel so proud of all the obstacles that I pushed through and the decisions I made to get myself here. If my high school plan worked out, I would have been graduated from a nutrition program and potentially a registered dietitian by now, but instead, I find myself pursuing a different interest that I never thought I would have – looking out at a completely different landscape then I would have ever imagined. In hindsight, I’m glad that I created my own path and stayed back for an extra year, even through all my friends were doing the opposite. I’m also glad that I stuck through school and pursued my interests. Sometimes, paths diverge and you may not know where you are going, but in the end it will work out – it always does. I still find myself sitting here and wondering, “what will I do next”, but I know whatever decision I make will be the “right” or the “best” decision that I can. Whichever path I take, will lead me on a wonderful journey because, man! My life has been a journey so far!

Hope you have a fabulous week.

xoxo,

Heather 💕

There is no wrong decision

My Bucket List! 💕

As 2017 is just around the corner, I have been reflecting over my year and thinking of all the things that I still want to do in my life. Time keeps moving forward and I’ve learned that it’s important to not dwell on the past, but live in the present moment. With all of this in mind, I have high hopes that 2017 will be a year jam packed with blogging, adventure and goal achievement!

Here are my top goals for 2017:

  • Get into a Masters Program (Masters of Kinesiology) with a professor that I click with
  • Launch the Vitality Project and really dive in/focus on my blog
  • Commit to a stricter gym routine to help build more muscle (start with 2x per week and move to 3x per week)
  • Try new activities – sign up for more community classes/attend community events (1 per month)
  • Continue to push through school and work hard! School has been going surprisingly amazing this year, so I hope to keep it up as I move into my final semesters of undergrad!
  • Take up more Yoga to help my work on my flexibility and stress management (do one yoga video each night)
  • Become a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach/Personal Trainer (CSEP-CPT)
  • Travel somewhere! I would like to book a trip with some friends to celebrate my graduation
  • Be HAPPY 🙂 I want to emphasize this point the most! Ultimately I want to have a great year!

What are your goals for 2017?

Hope you are having a lovely week!

xoxo,

Heatherly 💕

DIY Inspiration Board

In this video, I show you how to create your own motivation board.

Hello! My name is Heather and I am so happy that you stumbled upon my channel! Visualization is something we tend to overlook and underestimate. This DIY inspiration board will help you establish your goals and display them for everyone to see. Physically seeing your dreams each day will motivate you and push you to accomplish them. Keep dreaming and make them come true 🙂

Leave me a comment below with some of they ways that you motivate yourself to achieve your dreams.

Cheers!

Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PtcHGXAMl0