A simple dose of happiness

motivated

Sometimes when I get a big boost of motivation, I worry that the feeling won’t last.  I try desperately to hold on to it, to bottle it up, and preserve it for those days when I just don’t want to do anything.  I’m only two days in, but I am happy to say that I am feeling just as inspired today as I was a couple of days ago when another burst of motivation suddenly came over me.   In fact, I’m once again amazed at the difference of the power of positive thinking (why do I always forget how simple it is?)

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been feeling pretty great.  I’ve felt energetic (despite a lack of sleep), focused, and truly happy to be alive.  In fact, yesterday as I was driving I was thinking of all the things I love about my life – and not just the everyday, obvious things like my husband, kids, family, friends, and career, but rather, the less obvious things.

One of those things is the idea that I still have so much time to figure out this thing called life.  Lately, I have felt inspired to find ways to improve myself mentally, emotionally, physically – even spiritually.  I am learning a lot about myself – building on and feeling proud of my strengths, and working hard to improve myself in the areas where I struggle.  I am discovering more about the things I value in life, and opening mind to things I never contemplated before.  I am slowly learning that how I perceive a situation has a direct impact on how much stress I feel, and that I have complete control over my inner peace. And on days when I am feeling happy and inspired, the fact that I still have so much time to think about these kinds of things, is simply, exciting.

I know I’ve said it before, but I will say it again.  Take it from me, a person who’s spent more of my life being a couch potato, then I have working out: It’s truly amazing and outstanding what physical activity can do for one’s mental state.   Much like before, it’s only been a couple of days since I’ve been back on the “active” bandwagon (I recorded 16,000 steps on my Fitbit yesterday and have already put in an hour walk this morning!) but already the feel-good vibes are unbelievable and empowering.

Like I mentioned above, I pray that this motivation will last and that I can continue to remember how easy it is to put myself in a good place.  I know I have to stay focused, determined, and dedicated and if I do, my entire life is only going to get better 🙂

happy

 

Third Week Check-in: Big results!

quote 7It’s been three weeks now since my husband and I had a big heart-to-heart about my weight and I recommitted to my health.  I am so happy to say that I have kept this promise to myself and continue to track in my food journal and be active every day.   While I did weigh myself the other day (and am down 5lbs!), the number on the scale isn’t my primary focus because I am so pleased with the effects it’s had on my mental health and overall well-being.

The biggest result I have noticed so far (after 3 weeks of re-introducing healthier eating and regular activity) is the overall improvement in my mood and level of motivation.

I’ve always known that physical activity has been proven to affect one’s mental health and overall moods, but I had never really paid attention to it before.  Over the course of the last year and half though, as I let my good habits slip, and virtually became a couch potato, I also increasingly suffered from low energy levels, major lack of motivation, and general feelings of tiredness and unhappiness.  At one point, I even suffered from a mild form of depression and had to take a stress leave from my part-time job. quote 5

But now, after only three short weeks of recommitting to healthy habits, my moods have changed drastically.  Day-to-day my energy levels are significantly higher which means I get a lot more done (with less effort), and this results in a feeling of accomplishment (which for me, always makes my day feel complete). In addition to this, my overall feelings of happiness and self-confidence have also increased significantly.  Even though I know I still have a long way to go with my weight loss and fitness goals, the feelings of self-pride and satisfaction after every little milestone met, continue to drive my motivation, which leads me closer and closer to meeting these goals.

I don’t know why all of this comes as such a shock to me but I really am having a hard time believing the big results (mentally, emotionally, psychologically) that such little changes have made.  The other part of me continues to question why I waited so long to re-introduce these healthy habits back into my life.  But that doesn’t matter now anyhow. What matters is the change has been made, I am feeling big results, and my motivation continues to be high.  And the most exciting part is that I know as I continue to see results (mentally and physically) my motivation, feelings of self-worth, and overall happiness will only get better. I am so glad I have found myself again 🙂

Hockey Wives: Why we shouldn’t be too quick to judge

The 8-episode docuseries airs on the W Network.

The 8-episode docuseries airs on the W Network.

A friend once warned me to refrain from reading the “comments” section on social media sites like Facebook, but despite this very wise advice, I often can’t resist this terrible temptation.   Sure enough, as I scroll through many of the comments, shaking my head (and sometimes actually worrying about the future of humanity) I am frequently irritated, annoyed, and sometimes even outraged at what people have to say.

A similar experience happened to me recently.  Now I know my choice of television programming is not always of the “intelligent” variety (just ask my husband!)  I’ll take a Keeping up with the Kardashians re-run any day, and was obsessed with Jon and Kate Plus 8 when it first aired.  But what some people are saying about my new favourite, Hockey Wives, is really starting to irk me.

Former NHLer George Parros, wife Tiffany, and Noureen Dewulf (wife of Vancouver Canucks' Ryan Miller) and chat with Lola (one of the Parros' twins)

Former NHLer George Parros, wife Tiffany, and Noureen Dewulf (wife of Vancouver Canucks’ Ryan Miller) chat with Lola (one of the Parros’ twins)

If you are not familiar with the show, it’s an 8-episode docu-series (aka “reality tv show”) that airs on the W Network and follows several wives/girlfriends of NHL hockey players.  Now, let’s get real for a moment.  I am Canadian.  I grew up watching hockey.  My stepson dreams of making it to the NHL.  My friends’ kids play hockey.  My husband watches hockey.  Hockey, hockey, hockey – some will say it’s what makes us Canadian.   Because of this, I feel it’s only natural for some people (like me!) to be curious about what the lives of the real big guys are like behind closed doors.  I believe it’s a natural human instinct to want to have a sneak-peak into the lives of others – especially when those others happen to have “celebrity status”.  (And when you’re Canadian, NHL players have celebrity status).

Now, I get it.  Some of the women featured on Hockey Wives don’t always represent themselves as best as they probably could (I won’t mention any names) but it takes all kinds to make our little word go round and whether it’s on Hockey Wives or out your very own front door, there are always going to be people we encounter who we don’t necessarily like.  And let’s not forget that many TV shows are edited and altered to give the public a specific perception of its characters for a lack of a better reason than to make good television and increase revenue. (example: crying on the steps of a beautiful home saying you’d rather live in your car).

Montreal Canadiens' Brandon Purst and girlfriend & TV-personality Maripier Morin.

Montreal Canadiens’ Brandon Purst and girlfriend & TV-personality Maripier Morin.

That being said, the thing about the social media comments that irritate me the most, is how quickly people are to judge these women because of how much money their husbands make.  Many of the commentators seem to give the impression that if someone is rich, they have no right to “whine” about their so-called “problems”.

Really?!  And here all along I was under the impression that money doesn’t solve problems.  In fact, sometimes having money can actually cause more problems (haven’t these people ever seen Lottery Changed My Life?)

Now please don’t get me wrong.  I am not trying to say that people living below the poverty line, or even those living pay cheque to pay cheque, don’t have their own fair share of problems.  It’s neither one, nor the other. I  am simply saying that just because people have money, doesn’t mean they aren’t human and don’t experience life challenges just like the rest of us.

Anaheim Ducks' goalie Jason LaBarbera with his wife Kodette, and sons Easton and Ryder

Anaheim Ducks’ goalie Jason LaBarbera with his wife Kodette, and sons Easton and Ryder

Yes, I am sure it is lovely to live in a mansion with a pool and a maid, to get your nails and hair professionally done on a regular basis, and to have a walk-in closet jam-packed with Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and the like (if that’s what it’s actually like to be the wife of an NHL player – somehow I don’t think it’s necessarily that glamorous!)  But it still sucks to be separated from your spouse for months at a time, raise children single-handily, and never know where you are going to live next or what will happen to your spouse’s career from day-to-day (trades, injury, etc.)

And that’s what the wives of hockey players do.  They are married to men who are away from home for a significant part of the year (including many holidays and special occasions).  Yes, there are many other situations where a spouse may work away from his/her family.  But whether it’s to barely make ends meet, or to pursue a dream that just happens to pay millions, is not really the issue.  The issue is that with this separation comes feelings of loneliness, isolation, and despair.

LA Kings' captain Dustin Brown, with wife Nicole, and two of their four children.

LA Kings’ captain Dustin Brown, with wife Nicole, and two of their four children.

So imagine those feelings of isolation and now throw kids in the mix.  Many of the players have to watch their children meet milestones or celebrate holidays from afar – not such an easy thing to do if you’ve every had to do it. And what about the Moms who are left behind with children to care for all on their own?  And what about if one of your child has significant special needs and requires specialized therapy (which is the case for one of the Hockey Wives)?  It’s no joke that parenting is hard.  Extremely hard at times.  And you likely know someone who is a single parent and just how much harder that is.  My own husband works away from home every second week, and while the time he is away is short, some of the days where it’s just me and the kids feel long and frustrating.  Very, very long and very, very frustrating.  And when the kids are misbehaving and I feel like ripping my hair out, my husband can’t be there.  Just like, the NHL players who can be away from home (and their families) for weeks at a time. When the wives are dealing with the tantrums, the carpooling, the endless tasks that make up the life of a stay-at-home mom, their husbands can’t be there. And what’s more is that when your husband is a professional athlete his focus and loyalty to the sport is intense so you aren’t going to call him for support when you feel like you just can’t take another day as a single parent.

With that being said, in addition to tackling things like first pregnancies, new babies, and raising kids alone, some of the women featured on Hockey Wives have made the choice to put their own careers on the back burner in order to support their husband.  While some may argue that they made that choice, I still say we need to recognize how difficult that is to do – to put our aspirations on hold in order to emotionally and mentally support our loved ones in the pursuit of their dream.  Surely, while it certainly is a choice, it can not be an easy one.  And maybe we can actually decide to respect those people that have made the selfless choice to fully, 100% support their spouse.

Martine Forget, fiancée to Toronto Maple Leaf's goalie Jonathan Bernier, and their newborn son, Tyler.

Martine Forget, fiancée to Toronto Maple Leaf’s goalie Jonathan Bernier, and their newborn son, Tyler.

And let’s not forget the women who are still charging ahead full-time with their own career while living with the uncertainty of where their husband’s career might take him season-to-season.  At least a couple of the Hockey Wives have very busy careers (one whom has returned to work as a model mere months after giving birth) that take a lot of dedication, hard work, and commitment. Building this type of career, while married to a man who may need to relocate just months down the road, can not be easy and surely takes a lot of sacrifice.

So next time you want to write a judgemental comment about someone who you only know through TV, I ask you to pause and reconsider.  Think about the editing that goes into these shows in order to make “exciting ” TV.  Think about how that woman you are judging is someone’s dedicated wife, loving mother, or faithful friend.  And most of all, let’s not be so quick to assume that just because someone has a higher-than-most income, they don’t face the same everyday life challenges, feel the same emotions, or have similar “problems” to the rest of us. Please remember, “money can’t buy happiness”.