Last Day of Favourites

Today is the last day of the “Birthday Favourites” series, which means you have until tonight to comment and get your name entered in a draw for an Amazon gift card! Share your favourite things and give me some ideas on new things to try next!

Today should be especially easy to comment on, because we’re covering the odds and ends – I was able to group most things into nice, tidy themes each day for the last two weeks, but today is all the random stuff that didn’t fit in anywhere else! Here are a few things I’m loving:

Balance Bike

Ben’s parents bought Everett a balance bike (Amazon affiliate link) for Christmas, and he is loving it! It’s been really fun and interesting to watch him develop his skills on it, and every single time I watch him coasting along with his little feet up in the air, I say to Ben, “I wish we’d had a balance bike for the girls!!”

Seriously, all those hours Ben spent running alongside the girls on their bikes, all hunched over and awkward, and all their fear about falling – all avoided! Everett is teaching himself how to ride a bike, and I would love it if there were other parenting hurdles that could be avoided this painlessly and easily.;)

Vitamin B 100

This one’s for the ladies! If anyone out there is having trouble with monthly cycles, get yourself a bottle of Vitamin B 100!

I’m going to get really open and honest here, so if you’re uncomfortable with the details, please feel free to skip ahead!! When my cycle returned after Everett was born, it came back as the Cycle of Death. It was horrible beyond anything I’d ever experienced –  I had outrageous cramps, it was very heavy, over a week long, and kept getting longer in between, to the point where I was only getting it every 40 days or more, which is just far too long.

When I asked my naturopath about it, he immediately said, “Vitamin B 100!” He said it’s helped every single woman who’s complained to him about issues with her cycle. I completely trust his advice, but I wasn’t expecting it to help immediately. Well, after only two weeks of taking B 100, my period came exactly on time. Each month, it’s gotten better – shorter, lighter, NO CRAMPS at all (which I can hardly believe is even possible), and very consistent.

I had a little trouble finding B 100 – it’s different than B Complete 100 mg, which someone said was the same thing. My naturopath said it must be B 100, so I finally ordered it online here.

Ebates

Do you guys use this?! I’d heard about Ebates a bunch of times, but didn’t really know what was involved. I’m so glad I finally looked into it, because it could not be easier.

Basically, you sign up for an Ebates account (here), and every time you buy something online, you go to Ebates first, search for the store you want (there are 750 stores), and click through Ebates to start shopping. It takes you to the page you would normally shop at, but when you click through from Ebates, you get a percentage of what you spend added to your Ebates account. It’s not a huge amount, but it adds up over time, and you’re doing next to nothing to get this money. All you have to do is remember to go through Ebates whenever you shop. We do most of our shopping online, mostly from Amazon, American Eagle, Old Navy, Gap, and Indigo, so I love it that we’re getting a bit of money back for purchases we’d be making anyway!

And that’s it! Now you know what I’ve been enjoying this year. Let me know what’s been bringing a little bit of joy to your life recently! I’ll be back on Monday to share the winner of the Amazon gift card.:)

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DIY Cleaning and Personal Care Products

This post is part of a series on all the things I’m enjoying right now. I’d love to hear what you’re loving at the moment – all comments during this series will be entered in a draw for an Amazon gift card, so don’t be shy about what is making your life just a little bit better right now! 

Am I allowed to re-favourite something?! Today I want to share my favourite recipes for homemade personal care products and household cleaners, and I’m pretty sure I’ve shared them here before, but this year, I grew a new appreciation for them.

You know how life happens and sometimes, even though you love doing something, you just kind of stop doing it somehow? That’s what happened to me. I was making my own toothpaste, and then one day I ran out, and instead of making more, I grabbed Ben’s toothpaste. And then there was a sale on dishwasher detergent at Costco one day, and Ben likes bought soap better than my homemade concoction, so we started using that all the time. Anika likes my homemade deodorant better than bought stuff (smart girl – it’s actually the best deodorant I’ve ever used, even if it’s natural and homemade!), but it’s so cold in the basement during the summer that her deodorant froze! So I started buying stuff for her instead of making it.

Suddenly, there we were, with lots of empty little jars that I used to keep full.

A few things happened. I have sensitive teeth, and they started hurting like crazy from the bought toothpaste. Anika ran out of bought deodorant, so I finally got back to making the homemade stuff. I started keeping a closer eye on our budget this last year, and was reminded that it is a huge savings to make our own dishwasher soap, and takes two seconds.

So now we’re back, and I’m loving it, and feeling thankful that I came across these recipes years ago. They work, they’re cheap and natural, and are super fast and easy to mix together.

Here are my favourites:

Deodorant (click for the recipe)

Toothpaste (click for the recipe)

Retainer Cleaner

*I was told to use denture cleaner for my retainer, but after googling it, I found out you can just put a little bit of baking soda and water in a cup, and it will do the same thing! That one is so easy, it’s not even a recipe. 🙂

Foaming Soap

*Fill a foaming soap dispenser with water and add 1 tablespoon of Castile soap. You can also add essential oil if you want more of a scent, but I just leave it plain.:)

Toilet Cleaner

I used to mix this with measurements, but it’s so much easier just to put vinegar in a spray bottle, and keep baking soda in the bathroom. Spray the toilet, shake in some baking soda, and scrub away! Someone asked me if the smell of vinegar lingers, but it doesn’t for more than a minute or two. There is no smell afterwards, which is the smell of “clean” to me now! I used to think “clean” smelled like heavily scented cleaners, but now I love the absence of smell!

Dishwasher Detergent

*Mix equal parts Borax and Washing Soda. Adding a small squirt of liquid detergent when you put it in the dishwasher helps get the dishes shinier.

Do you like to use natural cleaners? Any other recipes you’d like to share? 

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Morning Routine

A huge thank you to everyone who has participated in this series so far! I’ve been sharing my favourite things of the year in honour of my birthday, and anyone who comments on these posts will be entered in a draw for an Amazon gift card. I have loved reading everything you’ve had to contribute! If you have any favourite things to share or thoughts on the topics of these last two weeks, please feel free to comment! You have until Friday, July 21!

This was the year I got serious about my morning routine. It’s so hard – I totally get it. Having young kids who wake up early makes it very hard to wake up even earlier. For the longest time, I just couldn’t do it.

But, as I’ve been talking about a lot this week, I’m an introvert, and waking up at the same time as Everett and having no personal time to get my day started on the right track was not working well, and I knew it was time for a change. I decided to start waking up just 15 minutes earlier than when Everett usually woke up. Even that felt super hard, but I knew in my head that 15 minutes wouldn’t make a huge difference in my energy levels, even if my body felt like it was a bad idea!

I stayed there for a long time – 15 minutes wasn’t much, but it was enough for me to drink some water and read my Bible for a little bit before Everett woke up. I don’t know how long I would have kept things there, if God hadn’t given me a big nudge! For some bizarre reason, I suddenly went through a phase last fall where I woke up at 5:30am, every single morning for a week or two! Oh my word, I was so tired! But I could not fall asleep again, so finally, I just gave up and climbed out of bed. I didn’t want to be out of bed that early, but I tried to make the most of it, since it was happening anyway!

It turned out to be amazing. I had all the time I needed for morning devotions, and I got my exercising done before the kids were up. By the time I went back to sleeping normally, I was hooked. I craved that alone time each morning, so I asked Ben to start setting my alarm 20 minutes earlier, with the intention of working my way earlier very gradually. Finally, I told him one day that I was ready to wake up at 6:30, and he cheerfully told me I’d already been waking up at 6:30 for a few weeks, because he’d kept setting it earlier and earlier without telling me! I guess I stumbled out of bed so bleary-eyed, I never looked at a clock!

Fortunately, my body has adjusted, and I usually wake up before the alarm now, happy to get out of bed at 6:30am. There was a time in my life when I would NEVER have thought that would happen, but here we are, and it’s been one of the biggest turning points of my life this last year. I start my day with intention, I get more alone time, my relationship with God has grown because I’m spending more time with Him each day, and I’m exercising very consistently. It’s been a process, but totally worth it!

So here’s how I start my day:

  • Drink two cups of water first thing, and take any supplements I need to on an empty stomach
  • Read my Bible and write in my Five Year Prayer Journal, which is a new thing I started this year
  • Exercise for 45 minutes, or as long as I can until Everett wakes up, while listening to a message (which I shared in my post on podcasts)
  • To keep my mind coming back to where I want it to be throughout the day, I use an app that has an hourly beep. I got this idea from a Bridgetown podcast on hourly prayer, and it’s been so good! Every time I hear that beep, it’s such a great reminder to pray about whatever is on my mind right at that moment. I’ve found it to be very helpful for keeping my thoughts more on track.

That’s all been working well, but my goal for this next year will be to get more sleep! I listened to a great podcast this week called “Why Sleep is More Important Than Diet and Exercise Combined”, and it was a huge kick in the pants!! Yikes, I have some work to do. It’s pretty amazing how much sleep impacts absolutely everything, so I’m setting out to improve my evening routine, and get to bed earlier. I’m excited to see how this will go!

Do you have a consistent morning and evening routine? What works well for you?

 

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For the Love of Introverts

This post is part of a series, sharing my favourite products and discoveries from this last year. (You can find the first post here.) If you have any favourite ideas to contribute, please feel free to comment. Anyone who comments during this series over the next two weeks will have their name entered in a draw for an Amazon gift card. Let us know what you’re loving!

Today’s favourites are related to the post I shared yesterday on personality types. As I mentioned, I’m an introvert and I love my alone time!! But as a homeschooling mom of three kids, it can be hard to recharge, so today I’m going to share three things which have been really helpful this year. If you’re an extrovert, take notes, because you’re bound to have an introvert in your life who could benefit from these things, too!! (affiliate links included)

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

This book has been showing up everywhere, and for good reason – it is AMAZING!! It’s such a good read for anyone, extrovert or introvert. It’s been crazy for me to read the ways in which our culture is built for extroverts. I’ve actually needed to read this book slowly, because I need to give my mind time to keep up with all the shifts that happen as I read it! I’m constantly recognizing ways in which I give in to pressures around me, or how I’m parenting my own little introvert in ways that aren’t helpful or healthy, but it’s just the way things have always been done.

Susan Cain has done a phenomenal job researching this book, and it is so well written. Her interviews are fascinating, and she questions many things we consider normal, but are really geared for extroverts, and make introverts miserable and uncomfortable. I keep realizing how much I’ve come to accept being uncomfortable! It’s hard for me to be honest and stand up for myself, and say no to things which don’t work well for my personality type. No, I’d rather not shake hands with complete strangers in church. (No offense!) No, I’d rather not answer my phone…like, ever. (I bet an introvert invented texting!) No, I’d rather not work with a group of people on anything I could just do it by myself.

As I shared in yesterday’s post, I truly love people, and I don’t like to be alone all the time. But there are certain interactions (small talk, gossip, strained conversation, etc.) that drain me quickly, while deeper conversations about topics which interest and inspire me are life-giving. It’s interesting to think of ways to recover from energy-sucking interactions, and add in more of the life-giving ones.

This book is great for introverts who want to find out what’s awesome about being an introvert, and for extroverts who need to grow in their appreciation for all that introverts are capable of, and why we need them to keep things balanced.

Headphones

Best purchase of the year. All of my kids looooooove listening to music, but most of the time, I just want it to be quiet and peaceful. I don’t like multi-tasking, so my favourite time to listen to music is when no one else is around, and I don’t have to listen to people talking to me and listen to music.

We’ve struggled with my low noise threshold for years, but finally figured out that headphones would save the day for everybody. It’s been the best thing ever – I have my peace and quiet, and my kids take turns listening to as much music as their little hearts desire. They think it’s far more fun to listen to music with headphones than without, so it’s suddenly become a special treat, and great entertainment.

Podcast Episode: How Personality Types Manage Energy

I used to think being alone was enough to recharge me, but listening to this podcast episode was very eye-opening. There are 16 different personality types (take the test here), and each type recharges in a different way. Each one has it’s greatest area of strength, and when we utilize that strength, we are recharged. For me, that strength is thinking! Specifically, it’s thinking about how my day is going, noticing patterns in my kids’ behaviour, trying to think up solutions to make our home run better and keep everybody in a healthier place. When I have the chance to be alone, I make myself set aside the phone or the book or whatever would distract me, and I just think. At first it felt weird and like I should be doing something more productive, but it’s been amazing for me! I could think for hours. However, there are also times when I need to get out of my head, and so the best way for my type (INFJ) to balance out is to do something that physically connects me to the moment of enjoyment, like yoga, a walk, or a hot shower.

But that’s just my type. There’s a type that recharges by going back to a familiar book or movie, and a type that feels most rested when they’re learning, so listening to a podcast feels very restful. Extroverts feel energized and refreshed by different types of social interactions. There are many different ways to recharge, and it makes a lot of sense to get intentional about it. When we just blindly stumble along and do whatever feels good, we could be wasting valuable down time that’s not leaving us recharged. This episode is definitely worth listening to, for all personality types!!

Alright, let me hear it – what are your favourite ways to recharge? What gives you energy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Personality Types

This post is part of a series, sharing my favourite products and discoveries from this last year. (You can find the first post here.) If you have any favourite ideas to contribute, please feel free to comment. Anyone who comments during this series over the next two weeks will have their name entered in a draw for an Amazon gift card. Let us know what you’re loving!

You guys, today’s topic is my favourite of all the favourites. It’s shaped my thinking in some big ways over this last year, but it’s a huge topic, so I’ll only be able to give you a bit of an overview. If anything peaks your interest, I’ll point you to some great resources so you can dig deeper if you’d like.

Today we’re talking about personality types and the Myers Briggs tool. Most people are at least familiar with this tool, so you probably know about it, but this was the year I dug into it and got a much better understanding. In case you’re not too familiar with it, here’s how it works:

There are 16 different personality types, but this doesn’t mean each person with the same type will be exactly the same. We give our personality our own individual twist, and there are many factors playing into it, but these generalizations can be extremely helpful in exploring how we think and respond to people and situations.

Each 16 types is given a combination of four letters which stand for words describing your personal preferences – Introvert or Extrovert, Sensing or Intuition, Thinking or Feeling, Judging or Perceiving. My letters are INFJ, and Ben is an ENFP, for example. Here’s what that means:

Introvert or Extrovert

Do you need to be alone to recharge, or does being with other people make you feel energized? “Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world?” (source) Although people have a preference one way or the other, people are usually a mix of the two. For example, I’m an introvert, but I really love people and don’t like to be alone for endless amounts of time. I need to be alone to recharge, and get super grumpy and overstimulated if I don’t get enough alone time, but if I’m alone for a whole day, I actually start getting depressed and feel very out of balance. Ben, on the other hand, is an extrovert, but says he would have no problem being alone for a couple of days. We are opposite in how we prefer to recharge, but because I’m an extroverted introvert, and he’s more of an introverted extrovert, we’ve found it pretty easy to find balance in this area.

Sensing or Intuition

Sensors are very present in the world around them. They take in information with their five senses and are very aware of their environment. They are focused on facts and experiences as they actually happened, while intuitives are all about reading between the lines and picking up on undercurrents. Their thoughts leap all over the place, they love new ideas, and they are more abstract. Ben and I are both intuitives, so our conversations go deep and wide, with lots of new thoughts to explore. Both of us use metaphors a lot to explain things. I find that most of my friends are intuitives, but I have great appreciation for the sensors in my life. My mom is a sensor, and there is no one like her when it comes to throwing a party. Sensors are all about holidays and traditions, and when I look back on my childhood, I can see how consistent she was with traditions that meant and still mean a lot to me. Unfortunately, I have a lot of trouble with repeating the same practice for my own family. I used to feel a lot of guilt about this – being a “good mom” meant being like my mom, but I just didn’t have the energy to do a lot of things she did. It’s been very freeing to discover this past year that a “good mom” can actually look many different ways, and when we spent Canada Day at the cabin with my parents,  I was delighted to let her decorate and make the whole thing beautiful and festive so we could enjoy the tradition without me needing to do all the work. I’m absolutely not lazy, like I used to worry about – I just have different priorities, and get excited, energetic, and motivated by different things.

Thinking or Feeling

When making decisions, Thinkers focus on facts, logic, and effectiveness, while Feelers focus more on people’s emotions, and think more about keeping everybody feeling happy, understood, and cared for. Thinkers still have feelings, and Feelers still think, but it’s their preferred way of processing. Ben and I are both Feelers, so things in our home are very focused on the deep conversations to get everybody connected. Anika may very well be a Thinker, though, because sometimes she’ll suddenly say, “Okay, I get it, can we stop talking about this now?” I used to think she was being totally disrespectful, and while I still think tone makes a huge difference, I’ve come to recognize that she reaches her limit for conversation on certain topics. Sometimes I’d feel a little shut down when she’d say it, but now I can understand that my efficient daughter is just ready to move on to the next thing, and I choose not to take it personally.

It seems that many times, hurt feelings come about because of these differences. Feelers tend to share thoughts and emotions which Thinkers don’t always connect with. Thinkers are more straightforward, and think all the fluff and emotions Feelers use to communicate are unnecessary and maybe even a waste of time. These are vastly different styles of communication, and I’ve seen (and felt!) these opposite approaches bring about misunderstanding and hurt where it was never intended. As a Feeler, I find it very helpful to have another point of view to examine when someone doesn’t respond to me in the way I expected and anticipated.

Judging or Perceiving

The easiest way for me to differentiate between these last two preferences is to figure out if someone has a “work before play” mentality, or if they just love to have fun anytime, throwing in a bit of work here and there, wherever it fits in best. Or make the work fun! I use judging, and it’s all work. I don’t want to even think about having fun until the to-do list is done, and then I can move on to the fun part feeling guilt-free and ready to enjoy myself. But Ben is the fun one in our home, and he’s all about turning on the music while we work, and thinking up ways to make it more enjoyable. Life with him has definitely made me learn to be less intense. Sometimes there’s a bit of frustration because I have a list and I’m on a mission, which is not his style at all, but it’s pretty much the only area where we have to work on things in our relationship. I read an article recently about what it’s like for an INFJ and ENFP to be in relationship, and it said we’re the perfect match, comparing us to levitating unicorns, which sounds quite magical to me. Our relationship is not perfect, but it’s pretty great! I’m very happy with my unicorn.:)

So all of that is only the beginning of the 16 personality types, and it can go in a million different directions. In the last year, I’ve used it to deepen my understanding of myself, my relationship with Ben, in parenting, extended family relationships, friendships, pretty much anywhere I interact with people. It’s been eye-opening and sometimes slightly uncomfortable, but mostly fantastic. Interestingly, not all personality types like personality typing! Some types see no use for it, while other types are drawn strongly to it. Ben’s type doesn’t like to put people in a box, but he sees some value in the tool. My type finds it a huge relief, because I finally feel understood and like I’m not completely weird in the way I respond to stuff!

If it’s something that interests you, the best place to start learning is by taking a free personality test here. I love the podcasts by Personality Hacker, which you can find here. The profile descriptions at this site are very informative, and to get a better understanding of what the difference is between Extravert/Introvert, Sensing/Intuition, Feeling/Thinking, and Judging/Perceiving, I really like the list format provided at this site.

The best book I’ve read this year is MotherStyles: Using Personality Type to Discover Your Parenting Strengths (affiliate link). A lot of things started making sense to me when I read this book, like why I parent the way I do, my relationship with each of my kids, why I was the way I was as a kid, and our family dynamics. I’m just finishing it up now, and I’m eager to see how it will positively impact things in our home.

Earlier this year, I was searching for a book that would help me figure out how to survive as an introvert parent when I’m with my kids all day. I love them like crazy, but I was feeling overwhelmed because of never having enough alone time. I’d feel guilty when I took alone time because I felt I needed to be with them to be a loving, attentive mom! I couldn’t find a single book for introvert parents, which made me feel very frustrated, but then a friend mentioned this book to me, and it’s been so much more helpful than I was even hoping for! Because it covers all 16 personality types, as well as the different personalities our spouse and children bring to the home, it is very informative and useful for absolutely anybody interested in learning more about Myers Briggs. Such a great resource.

And a big favourite around here is the Myers Briggs Disney princess site, because it’s become vitally important to understand which princess everyone is most like, and it makes me Elsa, so it’s a big topic of discussion around here.

Are you a fan of the Myers Briggs tool? Bonus points to anyone who takes the test and comes back to tell me what you are! 🙂

 

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Feed Me

This post is part of a series, sharing my favourite products and discoveries from this last year. (You can find the first post here.) If you have any favourite ideas to contribute, please feel free to comment. Anyone who comments during this series over the next two weeks will have their name entered in a draw for an Amazon gift card. Let us know what you’re loving!

Other years, I’ve always included new foods in my list of favourites, but I don’t know if I tried a lot of new things this year. My food favourites this time around have more to do with how I get the food on the table, instead of what the food actually is!

Have a Plan

As I shared in January, I took an online course called “Grocery Budget Bootcamp“, which I loved, and it was super useful for getting me to be more intentional about what we were buying, as well as planning our meals. Taking the course made me realize how much stress can flair up in our home when I don’t have a plan for what we’re eating. I was consistent with planning suppers, but breakfast and lunch were more up in the air, and every single morning, around 11am, Anika (who LOVES to know what the plan is) would ask, “What’s for lunch?” And every day at 11:01am, I would get really grumpy. That may seem ridiculous, but she asked the same (legitimate) question every single day, always in the middle of our homeschooling morning, when I didn’t want to be thinking about food, and it stressed me out. Then she’d get stressed out, because there was no plan, and then everybody was grumpy. By the time we were finished with school for the morning and I had the head space to think about lunch, it was late, and everybody was even more grumpy because they were also hungry at that point. It was a disaster every time, until I finally figured out that all our problems were solved by simply coming up with a weekly menu which included breakfast and lunch. Our mornings went smoother, everyone was happier and less stressed, and we are eating better meals with more variety.

Prep Ahead

The other wonderful thing that happened this last year was that I started making smoothie packs to stick in the freezer. I usually have two green smoothies a day, so every morning and every afternoon, I was cutting and peeling vegetables. It was time consuming, and our cutting boards, knives, and peelers were always dirty. I’d seen the idea of smoothie packs on Pinterest, but I didn’t think it would work for my smoothies, because of the type of vegetables I was using – I’d never heard of freezing cucumbers! Well, it turns out you can! And freezing spinach is SUPER easy – we just buy the huge bags at Costco and put them straight in the freezer. Freezing avocados also works really well, so I was set.

A few major benefits have come out of this – my smoothie can be prepared so much faster now that my freezer is full of smoothie packs, the kitchen doesn’t get as messy, and we can buy all those vegetables at the lowest price. The Grocery Budget Bootcamp taught me the importance of grocery sale patterns – fresh produce doesn’t go on sale super often, but every few months, there will be a sale on cucumbers, peppers, or avocados. When one of those things is on sale, we buy enough to last for one or two months’ worth of smoothies. It’s ended up saving us a ton of money to do it this way, and all it took was a little bit of research to find out which vegetables work well to freeze.

I’ve never explored freezer meals, but this makes me think it’s something I need to look into…

Alright, I want to hear all your tips – what are your best tricks for getting fed in the easiest, fastest way possible? Do you like to have a plan? Prep ahead of time? Give me all the food advice!!

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Get Moving

This post is part of a series, sharing my favourite products and discoveries from this last year. (You can find the first post here.) If you have any favourite ideas to contribute, please feel free to comment. Anyone who comments during this series over the next two weeks will have their name entered in a draw for an Amazon gift card. Let us know what you’re loving!

This was the year I stopped sitting so much. For anyone who’s been reading my blog for awhile, you are probably aware  that I’ve dealt with a lot of pain in my back and hips over the years, and although I’ve made significant progress recently, it just wasn’t enough. I was still experiencing more pain than I wanted to, and just when I felt as though I was gaining ground, little things would set it off again – sitting too long in the car when we’d drive to the lake for the weekend, or a really bad chair at a restaurant.

When I would express my frustration to my muscle therapist, he would say things like “Bring your own chair!” or “Don’t sit down!” He always had an answer for everything, but it didn’t always feel very practical or doable – how was I going to bring my own chair everywhere?! We finally came up with a solution that’s worked well – I never sit longer than 20 minutes, and when I do sit, I use an Obus Forme cushion. (I have a seat cushion and a back rest – affiliate links) These things are amazing – the first time I sat on one, it felt like my whole body breathed this huge sigh of relief. I was finally comfortable! I can take it with me wherever I need to go. People give me strange looks and wonder what I’m carrying around, but I’m learning to get over that. No back pain is worth suffering on a bad chair, so people can stare all they want. I use it for driving, and around the house as well. My kids are always choosing to sit on it when I’m not, so I’m not the only one who finds it comfy! It’s a great solution for anyone who regularly needs to sit somewhere uncomfortable, or anyone who is wanted to sit with better posture.

Whenever I do sit down, I’ve gotten in the habit of looking at a clock to time myself, and I change position every 20 minutes. I found it interesting to learn that the standing desk craze is not actually the answer to problems with sitting – my muscle therapist explained to me that no position is great indefinitely. We need to change between standing and sitting, and it’s even better if we can stretch and move around. Standing desks are only a good idea if you have a high stool so you can regularly change your position.

The long car rides to the lake in the summer are still tough for me, but if I stretch before we leave, halfway there, and once we arrive, I can keep it under control. So if you’re ever driving to the Whiteshell, and you see someone doing yoga in the ditch, it will be me. Ben takes the kids exploring in the bush, and I work out my stiff muscles on my yoga mat.

exploring/yoga break on the side of the road

Here’s the thing – I’m not the only one who needs to be taking extreme measures. Have you heard the expression “Sitting is the new smoking”? My muscle therapist says everyone needs to get up and move every 20 minutes. Now that my body has gotten used to this habit, it feels horrible to me when I sit for long periods of time. I can’t believe how quickly my muscles tighten up. We weren’t made to sit around for hours at a time, and yet that’s what our culture does. Our world has been built for sitting – restaurants, movie theatres, church, work, school, everything. People just sit, all day long.

Trying to work against this has proven to be really hard for me this last year! It has to always be on my mind, and I need to get creative about it. In the beginning, I used an app on my phone as a reminder. I’ll always choose a seat in the back row so I can switch back and forth between sitting and standing. Ben and I even went to see a movie recently, using the same strategy! Constantly changing position in a movie theatre was a bit of an inconvenience, though – I prefer Netflix at home so I can freely move about as needed! Restaurants are also tough, because there’s not really room for standing, but when there’s a bar stool option (The Keg’s outdoor patio, for example!), the table is the perfect height for sitting or standing! The waitress thought I was weird, and asked if I was alright, but once again, my personal comfort has to come before being “socially acceptable”. And really, what’s it going to take for this to be the socially acceptable way? I like to imagine what life would be like if everyone was making the same effort to stand and move. Maybe someday, public places will- be more standing-friendly, who knows?! Ben is curious if we’ll have standing cars in the future.:)

In the meantime, Ben’s creative problem-solving skills have been very useful in helping me figure out how to take uncomfortable sitting scenarios, and come up with ways to get me moving.

And of course, going for daily walks, yoga before bed in the evenings, and stretching throughout the day are all important habits which greatly increase my comfort, and get me moving.

What are your favourite ways to get active? Does it come naturally to you, or do you need to work at it?