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Summer is a special time. Whether you are a kid with a summer break from school, an avid hiker, a beach goer or someone who lives for the summer get-togethers, the summer months are nothing short of wonderful. With longer days and restrictions on social gatherings, many people look for any opportunity to spend more time outdoors socializing and who doesn't love a good BBQ with a few beers? The summer often seems short and temptations for indulgences are all around. 

So, what is the best way to maintain your commitment to your health related goals? Avoiding all social gatherings to help you stay focused may not be the best course of action and sticking to salads instead of a fully loaded hamburger and potato chips isn't sustainable. Balance and moderation are key when working at staying on track because, let's face it, resistance and willpower only last for so long.

In Japan, there is a practice called forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku. Shinrin means "forest," and yoku means "bath." So shinrin-yoku means bathing in the
forest environment or experiencing the forest through our senses.

While Japan is credited with the term shinrin-yoku, the concept at the heart of the practice is not new. Many cultures have long acknowledged the importance of the natural world to human health.

Forest bathing can be simplified as being in and connecting with nature through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. We know how good we feel when we spend time in nature. How it can ground, calm, energize, and uplift us. The fresh, clean air, the richness of colors, and the awareness of being part of something bigger than ourselves are just a few of the benefits we can experience.

How do you talk to yourself? Really think about this. 

Take a regular morning routine, such as getting ready for work, and think about what you say to yourself. As you check the mirror before stepping out of your home, what do you say? If it's something like, "You look fabulous!" you're probably not suffering too much from self-judgment. But it's more likely that you say something like, "I look so fat" or "Great, bags under my eyes again." As your day progresses, what's the self-talk? When you make a mistake at work, is your response compassionate or judgmental? Do you say things like "I'm such an idiot," or other negative descriptors?

It's important to point out that most people are very self-critical and at the same time, totally unaware of how damaging this is. Listen to your own self-talk and then picture yourself talking to a friend that way. The odds are, you would never speak to someone else as harshly as you speak to yourself.

Let's consider some strategies for reducing self judgement.

This is a great salad to eat on it's own as a light lunch, added to a buffet or served with chicken as dinner. 

The sound of birds singing on a sunny morning. A soft, early morning breeze is floating through the curtains. The sunrise. A bee is happily moving from flower to flower. A dog is lazily lying in the sun and quietly observing you, as you sip your tea...

  • ​Your colleague has a habit of belittling you in front of your peers.
  • Your friend calls again at 2 a.m. in distress.
  • A family member insists on dropping in at inopportune times.
  • Your partner has a habit of yelling at you.

If you're feeling resentful, used and/or disrespected you know you have a problem. The solution? Boundaries. 

Are you having trouble finding a healthy breakfast for weekday mornings that is also quick and easy? Overnight oatmeal is a quick, healthy recipe that you can prepare the day before and then top with your choice of fruit, nuts and berries. It's a healthy start to your day and can be a great source of fibre, protein, healthy fat, as well as vitamins and minerals. 

​Ingredients

  • 1⁄4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1⁄3 cup low-fat milk
  • 1⁄4 cup low-fat yogurt
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoon chia seeds or ground flax seeds

Most people know that diet and exercise go hand in hand but did you also know that your diet has a direct effect on how well and how much you sleep?

We all know that this time of year is filled with thoughts of new beginnings and "resolutions" but what if instead of short-term goals, we could take a deeper dive into understanding what we really want and need? Below are some tips to help you get clear.

January marks the beginning of something new, a new day, a new outlook, a new year. There is nothing that says 'fresh start' more than January One. Most New Year's Resolutioners begin their plan for change with good intentions. The desire for change is strong and the hope for something new is high.

If the opportunity for change is so great at the beginning of the year, why is it that so many are back to where they began within the first three months of the year?

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