HOW TO GET A BETTER NIGHT’S SLEEP

HOW TO GET A BETTER NIGHT’S SLEEP

I am a former night owl. (You can read all about my transformation from night owl to early riser here.) While I occasionally slip back into bad habits I feel the impact of the absence of my preferred sleep routine so much it's usually not difficult to get myself back in line. Sleep is so essential to our ability to perform- in our jobs, in our family life, in everything. So with this weekend's time change (giving us parents an extra hour of sleep to recover from all the sugar induced kid craziness from Halloween tonight) here are some ways to get a better night's sleep:

1. Go to bed at the same time every night even on the weekend.  While it might be tough at first, your body will get used to the routine and get used to falling asleep quickly and waking up well. You can help things along by having a good daily schedule which involves exercise in the morning and the same rituals before bed like herbal tea, and a bath. As I mentioned at the top of my post, I changed from night owl to early riser- and I NEVER in a million years thought it was possible for me, but I am a convert- and think you will love the positive change too. 

2. Create a sleep retreat.  Your bedroom should help you sleep, not stimulate you more. This is why I am a huge proponent of TV-less bedrooms. And the design of the space should invite peace and tranquility! Your bed should feel like a cloud, and the room should be void of clutter. Let it be your sanctuary! Do this by investing in bedding. My dear friend Jo Alcorn has just launched her signature pillow made out of StaminaFibre, which is a washable, hypoallergenic, cruelty-free down alternative. And did you hear that Sarah Richardson has just launched her bedding collection? For $195 you get a gorgeously coordinated, 100% cotton bedding set to set the stage for a good night's sleep. Lastly, commit to keeping the bedroom clutter-free. For years and years our bedroom was where stuff got stashed when guests were coming over. And then the stuff never left. So just commit- don't let it be a dumping ground- you deserve it!!!

3. Calm that crazy mind. I find this one really difficult, as a mom of 5 and entrepreneur there is a whole lot of stuff that happens in my brain! I find running a diffuser with lavender essential oils really helpful to calm my body down and I literally just lie there breathing deeply while it runs. Also resist the urge to bring your phone into bed and check a million things just before your eyes close. I would not be authentic if I didn't share that I struggle with this big time- but I feel first hand the tension that builds and I myself am causing my body to ramp up right before sleep- not good! Must kick this voluntary habit. Lastly, try an herbal supplement like Pascoflair 30 minutes before bed to help clear your mind.   

How do you get a better night's sleep? Love to know in the comments below.   

ORC WEEK 4: HOW TO STAY FOCUSED TO FINISH STRONG

ORC WEEK 4: HOW TO STAY FOCUSED TO FINISH STRONG

I have heard Linda over at Calling It Home say that week 4 of the One Room Challenge, this crazy fun challenge where designers and bloggers are challenged to complete a room in 6 weeks, is the hardest. Boy is she right. Because looking at my photos and thinking that there are only 13 more days to finish this room off is kinda crazy!!! 

Pot lights are in, room has been emptied of stuff save for the treadmill and a few other random things (so much purging happened!), closet is gone and first coat of paint went on today! Woo hoo. However… there are so many things still to accomplish. And so little time! 

This is why I love a deadline. I've written about how to complete a room in 48-hours. And deadlines, self-imposed or not, are big time motivators. But of course it can be really challenging. From a whole bunch of personal experience, here are my tips for staying focused to finish strong:

1. Call in the cavalry. Sometimes it pays to pay (whether it be in cash or baked goods!). When life is busy you sometimes cannot afford to spend time doing things that other people can do (and do really well). While I painted myself for my last One Room Challenge reveal, this time around has been a bit nuts timing wise, considering I'm also finishing my bathroom, my husband has been traveling for work, my 5 kids are… well, 5 kids! and I am nursing a cold that is hanging for dear life no matter how many oranges I consume. If you need tissues, come on over. I've got them in bulk. So when other things demand your time that only you uniquely can do, delegate the rest. This time I called in my favourite painters from Finer Edge to help me get this room done. So whether it be in supporting a small business by hiring people to help, or bringing in friends with the promise of your best baked goods, delegate.

2. Picture what will be made possible when the task is complete. It can be hard to see through the drywall dust, bags of garbage, and paint cans what the finished product will be. Last week I wrote about how every time I opened the door to the gym I would literally get so overwhelmed and just close the door behind me without going in. What would motivate me to push through was picturing what it would look like when I would turn the knob and then walk in to a finished gym that will help me towards my health goals. Picture the end and how you'll feel and remember it will be so worth it. 

3. Just do the next right thing. I recently learned about the Ivy Lee Method– where you essentially write down the 6 most important things you need to complete each day in order of priority and only focus on that list. Getting a project done is basically just a long list of small things- so just make that list, whether it be 6 or 600 and do the first thing on the list until it's all done. 

Check out what the featured 20 designers are doing this time around and what my fellow guest participants are up to as well! 

5 SUPER QUICK FAMILY HEALTH WINS FOR BUSY MOMS

5 SUPER QUICK FAMILY HEALTH WINS FOR BUSY MOMS

As a busy mom of 5 kids, up until VERY recently I made an abismal effort to be healthy. Vegetable intake was the little garnish on top of the pasta. My car was a literal storage area for Harvey's take out paper bags. Poutine was consumed twice (sometimes three times!) a week and coffee was my beverage of choice (ok, that hasn't changed). 

The bad habits finally hit the poor health fan when about 2 months ago, I went to lift my 22 month old daughter into her high chair. She weighs 20 lbs. The simple act of lifting her and not using any of the proper muscles to do so caused me to throw my back out and incur pain like I have never experienced- including labour (and I have done that 5 times my friends!!!!) As I sat literally immobilized on the sofa with all my kids vying for my attention around me I knew I had to make some serious changes.

So I invested in a trainer.  We are doing a home gym renovation. I am following  a meal plan. And I am basically trying to hack my way into a more healthy lifestyle one shortcut at a time, lol. I'm doing this as when I was lying on my couch, unable to move without stabbing pain running up and down my body with an intensity I would not wish on anyone in life, I realized that the stakes are too high. To be unhealthy in both my diet and my physique does not serve anyone- and can keep me from enjoying life with the ones I love.

So when BioGaia invited me to be a part of their recent event at Kidville on the benefits of probiotics I knew it would be helpful for my family and for yours. You can watch the full presentation here. But if like me, and are new to the language of wellness and all this overwhelms you, here are my 5 super quick health wins for busy moms:

1) Switch up your salt. Presenter Julie Daniluk shared that typical table salt has 2 minerals and usually contains fillers and sugar. Whereas salt originated with 65 minerals- so look for a healthier alternative like pink Himalayan salt.

2) Practice the just one bite rule 10-15 times. Ok, this isn't a quick win but so interesting- it's been scientifically proven that kids between 2 and 4 years of age need to be introduced to a food 10-15 times to "retrain" them to like it again- particularly with greens. So stick it out because it works eventually.

3) Try sweet peas. If the endurance is hard, go for "sweet" veggies like sweet peas and sweet potatoes.

4) Sooth a colic baby with BioGaia. Forget the gripe water presenter Bryce Wylde shared. A medical study showed that infants taking BioGaia cried less after just 1 week of daily intake. 

5) Give yourself a daily boost. The biggest benefit I can see for my own life from increased probiotics is a reduction in stress. Increased probiotics reduce the level of cortisol in our bodies- thus reducing our own stress levels. 

 

Reduce my stress say what?!?!? As evidenced by my face in the online stream : ) I would love to know how you might reduce stress and what quick health win you might implement for your family! Leave a note for me in the comments below : )

ORC WEEK 3: THE CONQUER OF CLUTTER CONTINUES

ORC WEEK 3: THE CONQUER OF CLUTTER CONTINUES

Hello friends- so excited to be sharing another installment of the One Room Challenge, where designers and bloggers are challenged to completely design and renovate and style a room in SIX WEEKS. Crazy, I know. But let me tell you it was incredibly motivating last time around when I completed my laundry room so I am thrilled to be doing it again. It's pretty awesome when you can take a space and be motivated to make changes that will bring so much good to your family. 

The room we are tackling this time around is my home gym. It kinda became a glorified storage room with an expensive treadmill in it. With newfound goals to be more healthy and try and get into some sort of physical shape after having 5 kids I really am motivated to get this room done and make it a really inspiring and beautiful space to work out in. 

However, right now beautiful and inspiring it is not. I have to admit every time I go in there my heart sinks, I close the door and I procrastinate making the decisions that need to get done. 

This is why deadlines are so great. They force you to stay on track even when you don't want to. 

I am pretty excited about a home gym but I am honestly equally excited to de-clutter my house even further. Right now the contents of my gym, which was FULL OF CRAP, are strewn around my basement, making it basically impossible for me to relax. But it's week 3, so the end is near- which is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. 

If you too are knee deep in clutter here are 3 super quick wins to make it more manageable:

1) SET A TIMER: Literally set the timer on your phone, or put a 20 minute TV show on for the kids on Netflix. Just sort through and put in the garbage or donate pile what you can in that amount of time and don't worry about the rest. It is not insurmountable! De-cluttering is literally done one item at a time. 

2) CALL JUST JUNK: I recently helped a family sort through 7 years of accumulated clutter and we strategically booked Just Junk in the middle of the day to take away what we had sorted. Just Junk will literally lift, carry, dispose of, and donate all this stuff. For a pretty reasonable fee you're given the physical support to really conquer your clutter. 

3) PICTURE THE END RESULT: When I get overwhelmed (which has been daily my friends) I just try and picture what my gym and the rest of my basement will look like when this is done. Keep your eye on the prize!!! The hard work is worth it!!!!

There are some pretty amazing participants in the ORC this year. Check out the featured 20 designers here and the rest of the guest participants here

CONFESSIONS OF AN INDECISIVE DESIGNER: HELP ME PICK MY PAINT

CONFESSIONS OF AN INDECISIVE DESIGNER: HELP ME PICK MY PAINT

I am always astounded by how difficult decisions for my own house are. For clients, I can make decisions at lightening speed. For television sets, we simply don't have time to ponder things for too long. Yet in my own house, I can think and think and think and think and basically be paralyzed over the vast number of decisions that a decorating project can hold.

This was me earlier this week. While I was working on my CIL Beauty on a Small Budget paint project, I basically stood in my bathroom in utter paint paralysis. I held up the paint chips. I did the CIL online visualizer. I even took it to social media to get help, feeling utterly silly that something as simple as paint was causing me so much stress.

And then I remembered it's just paint. And paint is simple.  

So I took the first step, purchased some paint testers and here's where I have landed: 

As you can see (actually it's kind of hard to see as this room is such a mess of peachy pink paint which is reflecting on EVERYTHING and drywall still needing to be patched) I am trying to decide between a white and a black. Sounds simple doesn't it? Not in my indecisive head. So here's my dilemma- do I do:

A) Dark Secret on the walls? Result will be really moody and dramatic.

OR 

B) Go White Wisteria on the walls? Result will be polished and bright. 

Can you help me pick?!?!?!? 

I have partnered with CIL Paints on the Beauty on a Small Budget contest. The Beauty on a Small Budget contest challenges Canadians to make a room beautiful on a small budget using CIL Premium paint. So pick your space- paint out the fireplace, change up your favourite accent chair, or tackle the walls- and simply post a photo of your completed space on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the paint can in the photo and the hashtag #CILPremiumBeauty. 

The grand prize will consist of a two-hour home design consultation with either myself, style-maven Erica Cook, or editor-extraordinaires Earl Einarson and Jan Halvarson from Poppytalk (pending location of winner) and $5,000 CDN in The Home Depot gift cards.

For today, I am making it even easier for you to enter by giving away TWO $250 gift cards to The Home Depot! Here's what you have to do to enter:

◦ Hop on over to Instagram and share a photo on Instagram of YOUR #CILPremiumBeauty paint project documenting your progress 

◦ Include #CILPremiumBeauty hashtag and tag me [@lisacanning] in caption

◦ Tell me in your caption what colour I should paint my walls: Dark Secret or White Wisteria

Entry open from October 21, 2015 to 11:59 p.m. on November 2, 2015. Winners (2) will be selected at random and will be announced on my blog on November 2 and on Instagram. Open to Canadian residents only.

Can't wait to see what you're up to and thanks for helping me pick. Don't forget paint is simple- and the results can be beautiful : )