4 Self-Care Tips for When the Kids Go Back to School

Sandcastle building! Cabin time! Water parks! Backyard barbecuing!

Also: Sunburns! A car full of sand! Popsicle stains on the floor! And daily choruses of “I’m booooored!”

Everyone loves summer fun with the kids, but as the season winds down, many stay-at-home parents find themselves looking forward to a little less chaos and a little more Me Time.

If you are secretly fantasizing about shipping your little angels off to school, here are four self-care suggestions for the fall.

 

Eat: Alone

Newfound hours of daytime quiet in the home may seem daunting at first, but fill them with those basics of life that are a little less pleasurable (and sometimes nearly impossible!) when the kids are around. Like eating a meal—even while it’s still hot!

Or go further: use the extra time to enjoy a meal that your kids would never go for. Turn on some mealtime music, bring a magazine, and break out the roasted brussels sprouts or delicious fish (that isn’t fish sticks).

 

 

Look: Fabulous

Taking a long shower, blow drying your hair or putting on mascara may seem like a stretch when your seven-year-old is banging down the bathroom door.  

But having the kids out of the house for a few hours means you can take some time for yourself: paint your toenails, give yourself a facial, or perhaps best of all, take a nap! Yes, right in the middle of the afternoon. You deserve it!

 

 

Do: Nothing

Sure, there may be a few things you have to get done around the house to restore order. But running around obsessively trying to catch up on all of the housework you meant to do over the summer will likely have you burn out faster than you can say “dust bunnies.”  

Instead, cut yourself some slack: start by walking by a pile of toys, pointing and shrugging like you have no idea who left it there or what it is. The kids will be home soon enough; they can tidy their messes.

Use the time instead to throw yourself on the couch, turn on Netflix or grab a juicy novel, and turn off your compulsion to clean. The grime can wait, but that game of Clash of Clans isn’t going to play itself.

 

Yoga is all about connecting body and mind; what's your favourite way to make the connection? Work: Out

Getting back into an exercise routine may be the last thing you feel like doing once fall starts, but it doesn’t have to be hard.

In fact, you could simply take a few minutes to limber up with some stretching every day. Or, find some quick and simple workouts to do at home courtesy of your friend Google. 

While you’re getting the body going, don’t forget about kickstarting your brain as well; you’re not just a pretty face after all!

Whatever you choose to do, just make sure you take some time for you: it has been a long hot summer, and you need your rest. Remember, next summer is only eight months away!

6 Ways Exercise Benefits Your Mental Health

We all know the physical benefits of exercise. It helps keep excess pounds at bay, increases stamina, strengthens our heart, keeps arteries clear, and wards off illness. But did you know that exercise can improve the structure and functionality of our brains, as well as improving our overall mental health?

There’s no denying exercise should be a key part of any strategy to combat depression, anxiety, and the general stress of daily life, but “green exercise” in particular, such as cycling, brings with it added psychological health benefits compared to exercising in synthetic environments such as gyms!

Recent studies suggest that exercising in nature gives a quick and significant boost to our mental health. Researchers analyzed studies encompassing more than 1,200 participants involved in outdoor activities such as cycling, walking, horseback riding, and fishing. They found that outdoor exercise improved mood and self-esteem significantly, with the biggest effects coming within just five minutes. The study also found that the trials also showed an improvement in mental well-being.

Compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments is associated with greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy and enjoyment, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression. Here are six interesting ways exercise can positively affect our brains.

1. Improves cognitive functioning

The overlooked cousin of “grey matter,” white matter is comprised of millions of bundles of nerve fibers acting as the computer cables that connect various parts of the brain. Research has shown than exercise enhances white matter integrity and improves conductivity resulting in better cognitive functioning.

2. Promotes brain health

Intense exercise results in elevated levels of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) – an important protein that that promotes brain health and memory. BDNF prevents the death of existing brain cells and supports cognitive function. Low levels of BDNF have been linked to obesity, depression and even schizophrenia. Therefore maintaining satisfactory levels of BDNF results in optimal neurotransmission and potentially prevents a myriad of physical as well as mental diseases.

3. Improves memory and reasoning

Exercise acts directly on the body by stimulating physiological changes such as reductions in insulin resistance and inflammation and by encouraging production of chemicals that affect the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and the overall health of new brain cells. Studies show that the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory are larger in volume in people who exercise than in people who don’t. Exercise also boosts memory and thinking indirectly by improving mood and sleep.

4. Reduces anxiety and stress

Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment. It produced endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers. Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects. Physical activity helps to relax muscles and relieve tension in the body and also improves the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.

5. Acts as a natural antidepressant

Studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication—but without the side-effects.  It promotes changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. It also increases blood flow to the brain, releases endorphins and other neurotransmitters, like serotonin, which makes you feel good.

6. Increases self-esteem

Regular activity is an investment in YOU. When it becomes habit, it increases feelings of self-worth, achievement and make you feel stronger. It also helps you feel more confident in your physical appearance too!

And if you still aren’t convinced that getting outside is worth the effort then consider this: Science also suggests that mental health may be an even stronger predictor of life expectancy than physical health or even heavy smoking. If we’ve got you motivated, throw on some shoes and head outside this summer!


Written by Lorna Allen, CMHA BC

How to Set Smart Health and Wellness Goals for an Awesome 2018

smart health and wellness for 2018

It’s that time again – New Year’s Resolution season. Let’s admit it: we always start off strong with motivation and enthusiasm to eat healthier, exercise more, get more sleep and take better care of ourselves, but come mid-January, that enthusiasm starts to wain. Sometimes we just need that little extra spark to keep the fires of motivation burning, and we’ve got some super-handy tech gadgets to add some fuel to your smart health and wellness fire.

Eat Bettersmart health and wellness for 2018

Prep It: Of course preparing your own meals is far healthier than take-out or pre-packaged food, but cooking at home takes extra time and creativity that we don’t always have. Luckily,  The Panasonic Steam Microwave will make your meal prep even easier with easy, oil-free dishes that taste great. The steam function can also be combined with microwave, grill, and convection cooking to give you limitless options for making “healthy” synonymous with “delicious.”

Kick Sugar: Everyone snacks. It’s inevitable—that yawning chasm of time between lunch and dinner will find you eventually. In fact, healthy snacking can actually be good for you, as it fends off swings in blood sugar and prevents binge eating when you’re reaaally hungry. Unfortunately, most store-bought snack foods have a shocking amount of sugar in them, so we’ve got some easy tips for cutting down on sugary snacks here.

Move More

smart health and wellness for 2018

Pump It: The perfect playlist can make or break an intense workout. If you’re addicted to the energy that music gives you, make sure you’re taking full advantage of your tunes with a great set of headphones. Skullcandy’s XTFree Wireless Sport Headphones eliminates the hassle of cords and and keeps you free to pump it up. The lightweight buds have a tight comfortable fit, and you’ll get up to six hours of battery life on a charge to keep you going longer.

Get Up: New studies have shown that there’s a direct relationship between time spent sitting and your risk of early mortality. Doctors suggest that for every 30 consecutive minutes of sitting, standing up and moving or walking for five minutes at brisk pace will reduce the health risks from sitting. If you work at a sedentary job, a standing desk is a great way to avoid sitting for long periods of time. Our Certified Data Standing Desk easily changes from sitting to standing position and has a large surface area to accommodate all of your work activities.

Get Down: Fitness is more fun when it’s a family affair! Get the whole gang grooving with Just Dance, available for Nintendo Switch, PS3 & PS4, Wii & Wii U, and Xbox One and 360.  

Track It: Some people need a little bossing around to stay on track with their fitness. If you don’t want to hire an expensive personal trainer, go for some wearable tech to keep you accountable. London Drugs has a wide range of Fitbit fitness trackers in lots of different styles and price ranges that can help you reach your goals. With the Fitbit app, you can track your daily steps, caloric intake and output, heart rate, sleep habits–all while looking sleek and stylish.

Get more sleep

smart health and wellness for 2018

Light It: Everyone knows that getting enough sleep is essential support for good health: it helps our bodies repair damage, clean out waste products, balance hormones, renew cells, and so much more. New studies have even shown that a good amount of sleep helps you form memories, solidify learning, reduces your risk of depression, increases fitness levels, and helps to avoid weight gain. If the thought of trying to get more sleep seems intimidating, there is some great technology available to help create optimal conditions for a good night’s rest, like the Sleepace Nox Music Smart Sleep Light. It can help you fall asleep easily with soothing light and sound and wakes you up naturally with a smart light alarm. It also collects data from your bedroom environment that impacts your sleep quality and makes smart suggestions on how to improve your sleeping experience.

Hear It: If you like to listen to music or podcasts as you fall asleep but wake up in a tangled mess of headphone wires, the Furo Bluetooth Sleeping Mask helps you rest in comfort while listening to whatever sounds are needed to take you to dreamland. A soft micro-fibre sleeping mask with built-in Bluetooth speakers and a 6-hour battery life will give you a comfortable, tangle-free sleeping experience.

More self-care

smart health and wellness for 2018De-Stress: Ideally, we’d all have a live-in massage therapist to help us work out the knots after a stressful day or a hard workout, but alas, most of us aren’t so lucky. The next best thing could be the Homedics Neck & Shoulder Massager with Heat. This invigorating vibration massager adds heat to soothe tense muscles, and the portable design flexes and shapes to your body, providing the perfect fit for the perfect massage. Makes you want to let out a big “ahhhhhhh” just reading that, doesn’t it?

Breathe In: It’s amazing how scent can affect your mood and well-being. Just ask any of your friends who have jumped on the therapeutic essential oils bandwagon recently: lavender can help you sleep, pine can alleviate stress, citrus can help you feel more energized, and peppermint may boost concentration, just to name a few. An aromatherapy diffuser will help fill your home with whatever scent and mood you crave.

Hopefully, with a little help, we can all stick to our goals for the year (and stay off the road that they say is paved with good intentions), and make 2018 into twenty-GREAT-teen!

Still On Track With Your New Year’s Resolutions?

It can be discouraging setting your fitness New Year’s Resolutions and not being able to keep them by the time spring arrives. You feel motivated to start but somewhere along the way you lose energy, can’t keep up with your exercise routine and don’t have anyone to hold you accountable.

Here’s 4 ways to stay on a track with your fitness resolutions:

Set realistic goals

At the start, you’re motivated to make your health a priority but tend to overexert yourself. You’re willing to implement a new meal plan and exercise 4 times a week. Eating well and exercising multiple times a week are both realistic lifestyle changes, however, when you begin, it’s important to stay realistic.

Tip: Look at your current schedule and plan 1-2 fitness activities for the week. Once you feel comfortable and consistent with those days, add another class. This will allow you to ease into a new routine and make sustainable positive changes.

Find an activity that you enjoy

Doing an exercise routine that feels like a chore, limits your ability to achieve your goal. Exercise comes in many forms and can even include activities such as gardening, playing with your kids or going for a walk.

Tip: Brainstorm a list of activities that get you moving and you enjoy, or think you might enjoy, and schedule them in your calendar.

Find the right support

Not only should you set realistic goals and enjoy what you do, you should find the right support group or partner that will hold you accountable throughout the year. Kevin O’Connor, a competitive road runner and coach, relies on his support team to get through the rainy cooler months in Vancouver, BC. “Training through the colder months, I think it’s very important to find a group. If you can’t find a group then try and find a training partner so you know that when it’s cold, wet and miserable, someone’s going to be there and you’re accountable.”

Tip: Sign up for a weekly fitness group or pair up with a friend. Exercising with a group or friend will be more enjoyable and you can keep track of each other’s progress.

Supplement with the right joint health product

Increasing your physical activity may leave you feeling too sore to continue and increase your chances of giving up on your goals all together. Your recovery process is an important part of your fitness routine and should not be avoided. Stretching, hydrating, eating a balanced diet and supplementing with the right joint health product, allows you to regain your energy and support your joint health and mobility.

“As a running athlete, I find SierraSil Joint Formula14 and Pain Relief Topical Spray enables my recovery from the same hard workouts that I ran 17 years ago when I was at my peak. Taking SierraSil products has assisted greatly in my training with confidence after hard workouts and now I’m running almost as well as I was in 1994 and 1996.” – Kevin O’Connor

SierraSil, a clay-mineral that aids in easing joint and muscle aches, reduces delayed onset muscle soreness and calms inflammation. SierraSil has allowed many to get back to their regular physical activities without experiencing chronic pain and stiffness.

Tip: Pick up a bottle of Joint Formula14 at your nearest London Drugs to help you ease into your fitness routine.

For more advice on joint health products such as SierraSil, speak to a London Drugs pharmacist today.

The Ultimate How-To Guide for Surviving a Canadian Summer

Canadian summers are short, causing our great annual migration outdoors. Whether camping, canoeing, or chilling on patios and in parks, Canadians are incredibly active during summer. But there are many hazards to avoid. Luckily, LD takes care of that with solutions to carry you comfortably into September.

Canadian Summer

Seton Lake in Lillooet, B.C., Canada.

1. Avoid a #SunscreenFail

When exposing long-covered skin, most Canadians remember sunscreen. But are you wearing it right? The experts insist on broad-spectrum, SPF30 if spending all day in the sun. But also be sure to apply sunscreen 20 minutes before leaving shelter—allowing it time to take effect. And don’t forget to reapply periodically, especially after swimming. READ MORE

Meet Georges St-Pierre in Vancouver on July 10

GSP London Drugs Event

Attention British Columbia MMA Fans

You can meet twelve-time UFC welterweight champion and three-time Sportsnet Canadian Athlete of the Year Georges St-Pierre (25-2 MMA) in person this Sunday, July 10. The event takes place inside London Drugs at 710 Granville Street in Vancouver from 3:00pm to 5:00pm. But it will be best to line up early.

Protein Rush“Rush” will be there to promote his GSP Series supplement line, which will soon be available at London Drugs stores. Because it’s from GSP, a longtime proponent of clean athletic performance, you know it will be good.

Event Details

  • Georges St-Pierre will sign one item per fan.
  • Free printed photos of the champ will be available for signing, if you choose*.
  • Sorry, there will be no time to pose for personal pictures with GSP.
  • Please follow the directions of crowd-control personnel when lining up.

*Limited quantities.

 

Measuring your Personal Metabolism

weightKnowing the number of calories you burn when your body is at rest will help you determine how much physical activity you require, and better manage your nutritional input. Even a small change to your diet and lifestyle may help you reduce your risk for a number of chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

BMR explained

Difficulty losing fat pounds is not uncommon. Often, we attribute it to a slow metabolism, which may be correct, but how can you confirm this? Similarly, putting on weight can be challenging for some people. In this case, a fast metabolism is often blamed, but this is often a guess and other factors may be responsible.

The inability to maintain an appropriate weight is not as difficult as it may seem, once you have determined your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
READ MORE

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