30 Jan

Resistance to Exercise: It’s kind of like eating your brussel sprouts

Resistance to exercise, it’s a thing.  We all know it’s good for us just like peas or brussel sprouts but do we do it?  February is on its way and with it cold days and more snow.  As Canadians we are used to it but it still can make you feel like hibernating.  This means that we can find a multitude of reasons not to exercise. “I’ll wait till it’s sunnier outside.”I don’t want to leave my warm house to go to the gym”. So what can we do to get ourselves moving?

Create a weekly exercise plan

Write it down, put it in your phone. Whatever it takes, but make a commitment to yourself.  If you make a date with yourself for spin class or Zumba you will be more likely to go.  Some gyms even have apps that allow you to put your classes in your calendar and add reminders.  It is a great way to set yourself up for success.

Try You Tube

Well, it doesn’t have to be You Tube but it is a great place to start.  There are lots of videos to choose from.  For example, if you are looking to start a daily yoga practice, you can do this from the comfort of your own living room with Yoga with Adrienne 

Adrienne leads people through 31 days of yoga and if you finish that there is bedtime yoga, yoga for anxiety and even yoga for weight loss.  These videos range from 6 minutes to 30 minutes so they can fit into most busy schedules.

Find a Friend

Do you have a friend who is an avid gym rat or maybe one that keeps talking about getting fit?  Buddy up and make plans to sweat together. Set a night that you can walk together after work or try a membership to a nearby gym. If you don’t have a friend that fits the bill, then find a group.  Usually there are team challenges you can sign up for and join some like minded people. Check out your local gym or maybe even a boot camp group.  The idea of a team is for support and encouragement. You may even make a new friend in the process.  If you are the type that will never let others down but puts you last on the list, then this might just be something to keep you focused.

Tap it Out

If you are fantastic at coming up with excuses not to go to the gym, then perhaps trying a bit of EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique would be helpful. Here is a tapping meditation on resistance to exercise from Nick Ortner’s site the Tapping Solution.  It is a short 12 minute exercise that might just get you started.

13 Aug

Parenting 101: Take care of you so you can take care of them

Counselling with parents often has a theme that starts with talk of exhaustion,  frustration and feelings of inadequacy.  Parents strive to do more with less.  They have less time, less sleep and sometimes less patience.  Quite honestly they put themselves and their own self care at the bottom of the “to do” list.

There is a whole market out there with “mommy” bloggers providing tips with meal planning, children’s parties, cleaning and even full sets of printables for household management. There are some pretty incredible ideas which any of us could use if we only had the time.  Time is precious for parents in particular as they feel the crunch of work, family, social and emotional.  Many parents of young children describe feeling overwhelmed and have an emotional bank account that is well into overdraft!

Relax: Remember your own needs

Parenting can be fulfilling but also draining.  You will be be a more patient parent if you recognize your own needs.  If locking yourself in the bathroom for twenty minutes with something to sip on and some essential oil in your bath is the key to becoming calm again, then do it.  Ask your partner or  a friend to watch the children while you de-stress.  A bit of relaxation can do wonders for you.

Restore: Take a day for yourself

“What” you say, “a day for myself?! That’s not possible!” In an article from the Washington  Post one stay at home parent took a day to go for a drive with music blasting, dance with their cousin and just take time for them.  Restorative time is key, it is what builds that emotional bank account.

Rejuvenate: Do something that makes your heart race

This might mean to get yourself moving at the gym or it might mean a walk in nature with a camera.  Do something you love.  This can include the kids because they are a big part of what makes your heart soar.  Take a family class or just plan an outing that you will enjoy as much as your children will. When the heart is full, life’s challenges don’t seem quite as difficult.

So, Relax, Restore and Rejuvenate and you will be ready to go again. You will be a kinder but firmer version of yourself, the parent you would like to be.


29 Jan

Wellness for 2017

It’s a new year and with it comes new ideas of things we could be doing differently to promote wellness in our lives.


The less is more movement continues to be significant. North Americans have become known for their love of material things. The trend in 2016 was decluttering your life physically and emotionally. In 2017 it continues as it moves to fashion and our wardrobes with clothing coming from natural fibres and Canadian designers. The idea that we should simplify our wardrobes and get rid of excess, ditch the trends and get back to basics.  We guess that means 2017 will be a bit of a jeans and tshirt kind of year as we declutter our wardrobe.

Digital Detox

The constant buzzing, we are all familiar with the sound that happens even when our phone is on vibration.  The checking to see the email that just came in or texting a friend instead of calling.  In 10 Ways To Step Up Your Self Care Game in 2017 this tip stands out.  Take a no technology break and let your brain be creative without the help of a phone or computer.

Hygge or Nesting

Hygge, pronounced (hue-Gah) a Danish term defined in the New Yorker as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”.  Winter is the perfect time for curling up with a good book with a hot beverage and practicing the art of hygee.

Self Care

We keep talking about this but honestly it is incredibly important and we can’t talk about it enough.  It is the subject of many blog posts like 30 on Tap and Moms Who Drink and Swear.  A favourite description for self care that is shared by Nicole Knepper on The Soundtrack for Self Care 2017 is to take time to do things that make you feel like you.  That is fantastic advice we can all use!

Silence is Golden

Have you ever thought about spending time in complete silence?  Silent retreats are now being offered where people cannot speak and must unplug for the duration of their time there. Unwind and still your mind for a couple of days or even weeks.  These retreats are becoming so popular they are being offered around the world in countries such as Australia, Costa Rica and closer to home in Canada. There is a website that lists them on their directory.

So find something that speaks to you and make 2017 the year of wellness!


04 Sep

Getting Unstuck


With the change of the season many of us find ourselves a bit introspective and thinking about making a change ourselves. This week we want to look at getting unstuck.

At points in our lives most of us find ourselves feeling stuck.  In order to make changes we have to recognize that we’re stuck and decide to do something about it.  Being stuck can mean many things.  It can be a thought loop, a behaviour, a routine, a feeling but what’s clear is that you feel as though it just can’t change, you feel stuck.

Getting unstuck means making a change but sometime it is easier to ignore what isn’t working in our lives, but then we remain stuck.  In 7 Ways to Get Unstuck the author points out, we might have to take a risk. Taking life to the next level doesn’t happen without at least a little risk.  Look before you leap and examine what isn’t feeling right in your life and how you might feel if that changed.

An Internet search suggests that this problem isn’t uncommon.  There is actually a website dedicated to Unstuck Life Courses.  To get started we identify the barrier or quite simply ask the question What is stopping you? It is easy to be complacent because honestly, change is hard.  Who really wants to do something hard when life feels exhausting already.

Be clear in what you are looking for in this change and think about the benefits.  What positive payoffs are there for getting unstuck?

Talk to people in your life that have made a change.  People love to talk about their achievements, just ask them.  Although every situation is different the commonality is positive change.  Knowing that someone else was able to get unstuck can be quite inspiring. Take some time to inspire yourself.  Change your environment with a new plant or do something that makes you smile.  Small changes mean you are on the road to bigger changes.

Make a plan.  How are you going to get there?  Be concrete but leave room for revisions because sometimes the plan requires a bit of tweaking when life gets in the way.  Be kind to yourself and focus on the end game.  You are going to feel happier and more fulfilled when you become unstuck. Be realistic blogger Kristy Campbell points out in Getting Unstuck .

So get started and do something for you. Today take 5 minutes to view this motivational video by Iyanla Vanzant on How To Get Unstuck and you will be grateful you did.


24 Aug

Cultivating Happiness: Make a Choice

ti_graphics_happierpeopleWhile setting goals in counselling sessions, clients often state they want to be happy.  For some it can be difficult to imagine what that would look like or how they can get there. For some they cannot remember what happiness feels like.

In the above infographic from Tech Insider they share  9 things that happier people have in common.

Happiness doesn’t just happen, it is means setting goals and putting the work in.  One of the 9 things is spending time with close friends.  Putting yourself out there can be challenging but by picking up the phone or sending that text and asking to get together the rewards are enormous. Take action and be an active participant in your own happiness.

In a society where our culture focuses on things, change your way of thinking and instead of spending your money on stuff use your resources wisely and invest in experiences. In childhood if we are asked about our favourite memories they seldom involve material things.  Childhood memories are about that family camping trip, impromptu meals with friends, swimming in the neighbour’s pool or maybe playing cards or board games on a rainy day.  Focus on what matters and do what brings joy into your life.

In the article 10 Ways To Achieve True Happiness the steps are simple.  Care more about yourself by knowing your own worth.  You are valuable and the opinions of others don’t need to be given so much power.

Spending time doing what makes you happy is one area that many of us can go wrong.  As adults we don’t have as much fun as we used to.  Evidence to support this is the increase in adult focused programming with the “fun” component highlighted.  Paint Night with friends, adult summer camps, color runs and spending the afternoon driving a race car. There is a consumer market of adults yearning for a bit of childhood type fun.

Whatever your idea of fun is, take the time to do it. It doesn’t just happen, it means making conscious choices and putting your happiness first. People love being around happy people.  This week in Canada we celebrated the life of am iconic Canadian rock group.  The outcome was people across the country on a hot summer night in public parks watching their final concert, or at a backyard barbeque with outdoor screens, people really just coming together to find happiness in what could be viewed as a time of sorrow. Whatever you do choose well, choose happiness and you will not be disappointed.



30 Jul

Sometimes being Selfish is about taking care of Yourself

Self care

Sometimes as therapists when we suggest to clients they need to be just a little bit selfish, it is met with a response as though we have suggested that they become a serial killer.  Society has placed a negative slant on the idea of taking care of yourself.  Self care means taking care of you so you have the energy to help take care of others.  It doesn’t mean being  uncaring, thoughtless or just giving up as the word selfish might suggest. Self care is different, it means placing value on you.

In an article by Pick the Brain, the author suggests some positive ways to be selfish.  When was the last time you were intentionally lazy?  Lazy could mean curling up in a Muskoka chair with a good book or binge watching on Netflix.

One of my favourite reads of the past few years is a book called The Art of Extreme Self Care.  In this Cheryl Richardson sets forth to get us to see self care as a necessity.

In a blog article on Healthy Minds Canada, the author simply states that Self Care is Not Selfish.  Taking the time to recharge gives a positive message to those around us.  It speaks to positive self esteem and the ability to prioritize yourself when it is needed.

I appreciate all the strong, vibrant women friends in my life who are able to say “no” to things that deplete them and “yes” to the things that give them energy.  The first step to this journey however is the wisdom to recognize the difference.

If you are having trouble distinguishing between self-care and selfishness then take a look at Friday’s Food for Focus: Ain’t no shame in the self-care game. It is a few questions that you can ask yourself.  Remember that self compassion can generate more compassion for others so it really is a win, win!



30 May

Accepting Who You Are


Accepting who you are is a step towards learning to love yourself.  It is human nature to look at our own flaws and hold ourselves to standards that we would never expect others to live up to.  In counselling a common theme is being unhappy with one self and judging.  If you don’t like you then why expect others to?  It seems simple but we tend to make it complicated. Accept yourself and be your own best friend.  If you are happy and caring to yourself then others are attracted to that energy.

In article Therapists Spill: 12 Ways to Accept Yourself, they suggest you identify and set your intention.  Intending to self nourish and celebrate your strengths and honestly embrace your vulnerability is a stepping stone to your new relationship with yourself.

Self Acceptance is about letting go of who you want to be or think you should be and just being. There are steps we can take to be kinder and more loving of ourselves. We can take action and move towards change and healthy improvements to our own self care and self concept.  On the blog Tiny Buddha, author Jasmin Tanjeloff  writes about Accepting and Loving Ourselves in 10 Simple Steps.   

In 8 Techniques for Self-Acceptance, author Leo Babuta suggests that our “happiness is determined by our level of self acceptance.”  Compassion and forgiveness for yourself is an important technique to practice. Let go of old grudges and forgive yourself for being human.

So to get started, begin your day with a positive affirmation or a short meditation.  This is simple but it reminds you everyday how you can make a difference by setting your intent and making it a positive one.

Affirmations should include a positive statement about yourself.  Something like I love and accept myself without question.  Here’s a short meditation (2 min) from Depak Chopra, A Positive Affirmation and Acceptance.  A little longer one (16 min) is excellent to focus on something your don’t like about yourself and expose that thought in a guided meditation for self acceptance


17 May

How to Use Mindfulness Everyday


This month I was lucky enough to be able to attend a Mindfulness workshop.  The workshop didn’t teach me any earth shattering new ideas but it did make me a better therapist.  I am at a time in my life where my mind is very busy with a number of things that are quite frankly out of my control and not of my creation.  Taking a day to be with other like minded professionals in a positive environment and practice mindfulness was quite frankly a fantastic gift!

I left feeling relaxed, void of negative thoughts and thinking about how I could use it more in my own practice with clients.  Fast forward a bit and I now have an arsenal of handouts, apps and links to provide clients with the tools they need to be mindful.

It only seemed to make sense to share a little of my research with everyone.  The number one question is where to start?  Start small and build from there.  There is no right or wrong, no judgement.  Freeing your mind from judgement if only for a minute is a much kinder way to treat ourselves. Take a look at Three Simple Mindfulness Practices You Can Use Everyday.  

Try a 3 minute body scan which will help ground you and be more present.  My new favourite is a 5 minute Chocolate Meditation, it is wonderful and calorie free!  It does make me want to go find chocolate though.

If you find yourself wanting to know more about Mindfulness and Meditation we have a very good collection of resources on the Lidkea Stob Pinterest page.  On our Meditation board you will find links to additional meditations, articles on the benefits of meditation  and a few tips on how to get started. Our Mindfulness board has explanations of mindfulness and activities your can try such as a mindfulness walk or mindful coloring pages.


10 May

Let’s Talk About Sleep

Wordle21Sleep is a powerful thing.  If it is restful and restorative we wake up feeling like we can conquer the world, or at least the busy day ahead of us. At times when we don’t get enough or we have poor quality sleep, we can feel exhausted and less confident about our own abilities.  The day seems to drag on and all we can think about is crawling under the covers at the end of our day.

There are a number of things that can impact the quality of our sleep. A busy mind, menopause and stress are the top three that people often talk to their counsellors about.

Perimenopause or menopause is something that is whispered about in the lunch room.  The change in hormone levels can bring hot flashes, irritability, anxiety and insomnia.  Interrupted sleep at this time in a woman’s life is very common.  Author Sheryl Kraft, Is Menopause Playing Havoc With Your Sleep? addresses the fact that there is no one size fits all solution. We are all uniquely different and trying different solutions will help you have a more restful night.  Suggestions she makes are to avoid caffeine after 2:00 p.m, keep your bedroom dark, incoporate some exercise in your day and eat a high carbohydrate snack such as a whole grain cracker with a small amount of healthy protein before bed.

If after trying a few of these changes you do no find success you may wish to speak to a naturopathic doctor and they will listen to your specific concerns and will tailor a plan just for you.  Many benefit plans now cover naturopathic appointments.

A busy mind is common in menopause and also when under stress.  In an article from Pick the Brain they provide 5 Strategies to Empty Your Mind Before Bed.  Keeping a notebook beside your bed can become a nighttime ritual that will help you prepare for your new day tomorrow but also to free yourself from the perpetual “to do” list.  Write down what is on your mind whether it is your grocery list or the things that might be bothering you. Think about them and then release them for the day and you can pick them up again the next day if you need to.

In 12 Ways to Shut Off Your Brain Before Bedtime they suggest practicing relaxation exercises.  Visualization exercises, meditation or a short evening yoga practice can help set the stage for sleep.  If stress if still a barrier to catching the rest you need, then seeing a counsellor to help explore what the issues further and create a plan together.

Try making the last thought before bed one thing you are grateful for from your day.  Set your intention to be a positive one for the next day.

Tools to Help Sleep

Yoga Nidra for Sleep, A 22 Minute guided meditation for sleep.

Bedtime Yoga for Deep Sleep,  6:36 minutes of bedtime yoga flow that can done on your bed.

Yoga for Better Sleep, 10 minute yoga routine for better sleep.

Into Sleep, A 10 minute guided meditation from Quiet Mind Cafe to promote a deep restorative sleep

Free Guided Meditations from UCLA Health, Try the mindful body scan

Naturopaths in Niagara

Dr. Stephen Tripodi, ND  Optimal Wellness Niagara

Dr. Jane Lauermeier, 905-935-6460

Dr. Laura Imola, WIN Health Solutions

Dr. Charlene Kush, Niagara’s Elite Wellness Spa

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