HEALTH & WELLNESS

Meet The Sponsors: LEAD

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The Modern Woman Show & Expo is fast approaching and we want to take a minute to talk about Lead Pilates & Cycle and Integrated Health & Wellness. This amazing local business is a show sponsor, will be showing their studio-to-street fashion on Saturday night’s runway, and hosting not one, but two amazing workshops. 

Lead is Saskatoon’s premiere Integrated Health and Wellness facility. Home to over 80 weekly Pilates-based fitness classes that make you sweat, strong, stretch and move, The clinic offers Chiropractic, Naturopathic Medicine, Massage Therapy, Physiotherapy, Clinical Counselling, Reflexology + BodyTalk and Athletic Therapy.  

 
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At 10am on Saturday, April 14 the instructors from Lead are hosting a Pilates-based Bootcamp Fusion class that is sure to get your heart pumping, booty and legs burning, and your abs shaking. This class is perfect for the modern woman looking for a full body burn in just 45 minutes. 

At 10am on Sunday, April 15 Lead’s Founder, Jana Danielson, will be hosting “Love the Life You Lead”, an interactive workshop offering tools to improve your health and address the obstacles that may be holding you back. With a focus of nutrition, hydration, sleep, and movement, join Jana for what’s sure to be an inspiring and informative experience. 

Tickets to both classes are $10 and include the cost of the workshop, general admission to the show, and a swag bag. Who doesn’t love swag?

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Lead’s studio-to-street fashion will be featured on the runway for Saturday night’s fashion show. They will be showcasing spring pieces from their amazing in-house lines such as Alo, Body Language, MPG, and Free Label. You will be able to see these trendy and versatile pieces on the runway, and then shop the looks for yourself at Lead’s booth following the show!

Tickets to this event are $47 and VIP tickets holders have access to the lounge at 5:30pm for cocktails, appies, and music by DJ Kush. These tickets also get holders preferred seating, the chance to win amazing prizes, and an awesome swag bag. The fashion show hosted by CTV’s Chantel Saunders begins at 6:30pm. 

 

Tickets for all three events are available at www.modernwomansaskatoon.com 

 

See you there!

Katie

Xoxo

Vendor Profile- SIMPLY GROUNDED COFFEE GALLERY

 
                                   All photos courtesy of  Lovestruck Portraits

                                  All photos courtesy of Lovestruck Portraits

 

In May of 2017 I became a mom for the first time. My beautiful son was everything I could have wished for and more! I had spent most of my pregnancy like I assume all first time moms did, planning all the outings I’d take baby on, listing all the friends we’d visit and the things we would do. Little did I know I would sleep less then I had anticipated, wake up 10 times a night,  and sleep train a little boy who some nights just wouldn't stop crying. And then, on top of all that, I diagnosed with postpartum depression. I soon realized all the outings I had been planning were slowly starting to crumble into the background... until they became completely non existent. I stopped leaving my house altogether, most days I wouldn’t even put on real people clothes. I could be found sitting in my house, usually on my couch, with a BIG HOT cup of coffee in hand and still rocking my PJ’s. Most days that one or two cups of coffee were my saving grace, keeping me awake and keeping me sane when my son wouldn’t stop screaming...

Slowly after finally seeking help for my postpartum depression I finally started to want to go out, and started taking little steps to those big outings I had been planning the entire pregnancy. Usually these outings were just something simple, something that sounded easy like coffee with a friend at a near by coffee shop! However even that seemed to stressful and to much to handle at times. I was so worried and stressed about being judged for bringing my baby with me, scared that I’d be judged for him crying, or him being loud, and making to much noise, even scared I’d get judged for changing my sons diaper .... and at some coffee shops believe it or not I was judged!

Eventually we found the perfect coffee shop and it became the norm for me to pack up my little man, and take a little road trip to where I felt like me and my son were welcomed and comfortable. The half hour trip was more than worth it to get to Simply Grounded Coffee Gallery in Delisle!

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I felt so welcomed walking into their shop! Their décor is family friendly, and the staff is so personable. It's easy to relax with one of their signature ground roast coffees such as their Blizzard roast. This is just the tip of everything this small town coffee shop has to offer! My little man is welcomed with smiles and happy greetings every single time, taking all fear off my shoulders, and my husband even loves to join us for a 'coffee trip' when he isn't working. 

The shop moto is “be sweet, be bold, be inspired” and this is a perfect description of not only the shop, but also the owner. Carol is super sweet, bold and quirky (just check out her shoes!) and as inspiring as one could be with all love and time she puts into her coffee shop and efforts to support all things local! All thebaked goods are made in store; like their SWEET home made Oreo’s, their BOLD roasted coffee is roasted exclusively for Simply Grounded in Outlook Sask., and the INSPIRED décor and word art displayed throughout the building is shop swag or created by amazing local businesses.  Looking around the coffee shop it is so easy to feel that inspiration!

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One of the sayings I saw really spoke to me and has become my daily mantra! “Be a pineapple”. That may sound ridiculous but bare with me... “Be a pineapple, stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet on the inside”. As a new mom, most days I feel like that old sock that you lost under your bed as a child, but by doing something as simple as driving a half hour and having coffee I am able to feel human and proud. Seeing this quote truly has inspired me to look at myself and feel my self worth, not only as a mother, but as a human! Who knew that getting coffee could be so instrumental to my mental health!?

Simply stated- Simply Grounded Coffee Gallery is a perfect addition to the town of Delisle. If you are a coffee lover who loves feeling like not only a valued customer but like a friend to the staff, love to eat good food- especially baked goods, enjoy delicious caramel macchiatos and Saskatchewan roasted coffee, then the half hour drive from Saskatoon is absolutely worth it!

 
 

MWSE Guest Blogger

I AM A MODERN WOMAN: KY Fitness & Nutrition Consulting

Meet Kalli Youngstrom of KY Fitness & Nutrition Consulting

TELL US ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS?

I am the owner operator of KY Fitness and Nutrition Consulting and work as an online health, fitness, and lifestyle coach!

I work with clients to develop customized nutrition and training programs that are designed to suit their lifestyles while helping them achieve their health and fitness goals. All of my programming is done online so that I can offer my services to anyone in the world and work around any schedule. Although I am personally in Saskatoon I have clients all over the world, from Canada, to Australia, to Sweden! With the majority of my business being online a large part of my day is dedicated to creating content for my various social media platforms along with my client programming. I work to provide insightful content on all things health, nutrition, and training on myYouTube page, Facebook, and Instagram in order to provide people with the tools and information to make the choices that are best for their mind and body.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?

I have always been an athlete, but after 9 years of wresting competitively and making it to the national level it was time for a change. I became interested in bodybuilding while I was in University completing degrees in psychology and marketing and as I prepared myself for my first bodybuilding competition friends and family began to ask for help with their fitness goals.

I began getting certifications in nutrition and exercise while I was completing my University degrees and started to help others with their fitness by creating customized nutrition and training plans for them. From there my clientele continued to grow and by the time I was done university I had a client base that allowed me to continue with my business full time and pursue coaching as an entrepreneur.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

I am inspired by my clients every single day. To have the opportunity to work with clients not only in Saskatoon, but all over the world, and from all walks of life, is truly an eye-opening experience every day. I am continuously motivated to be a better coach and better human through the 1 on 1 interactions I have with my clients on a regular basis. Knowing that I have the opportunity to positively influence the lives of others inspires me to do what I do to the best of my ability every day and continuously grow in all facets of life.

I am also extremely inspired by the opportunity I have to impact women within the community as well as within my social media platforms. I am driven to be a positive role model for women of all ages and encourage them to pursue the path that is right for them, even if it is the less traditional one. Whether it is in fitness, business, or just life, I strive to be a strong role model for all women.

WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF A MODERN WOMAN?

To me a modern woman is one that pursues her dreams fearlessly, no matter what those dreams may be. I feel grateful that I live in a time where women are encouraged to be trail blazers, crush gender barriers, and break glass ceilings- but I also realize that is not necessarily a path that everyone wants to take. I think a modern woman is one who honors her passion in life, embraces the path that is right for her no matter what others say, and uplifts other women along the way.

WHAT TIPS CAN YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS?

I truly want everyone to live a life of no regrets. If you have a business idea or think that entrepreneurship might be for you, question whether you will always think “what if,” if you were to not pursue it. If you know you will look back and regret not having started that business, developed that product, offered that service… maybe it’s time for a change. I don’t think of anything as concrete, you can always change paths, try new things, and adjust. I think that it can be scary to consider entrepreneurship because of the risks attached and viewing it as a cemented decision, but I think regret is even scarier. What’s the worst that could happen?

DO YOU THINK HAVING A MENTOR IS VALUABLE BOTH WHILE YOU'RE STARTING OUT AND EVEN AFTER YOU ARE MORE EXPERIENCED?

Absolutely. Although… do as I say, not as I do. I have never had a true business mentor, but I like to think that I have many mentors in life who I look up to for guidance, inspiration, education, and encouragement. My business is unique in that I “am” my business and it developed very organically. There was no start up cost, no business plan, so the need for a mentor in that sense was less important than it would be to other businesses. I look to role models and mentors within all industries for guidance in making decisions in business and in life and believe an extremely valuable education can be achieved this way. You can avoid many missteps in business by listening to stories of others experiences. Whether from 1 or 100, learning from others is key to success.

DO YOU FEEL A STRONG SENSE OF COMMUNITY AMONG BUSINESS WOMAN AND FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS IN SASKATOON AND IN SASKATCHEWAN?

I love the feeling of community that I experience locally within the group of female entrepreneurs. Being so involved in many social media platforms enables me to interact with female businesswomen and entrepreneurs throughout Saskatoon and Saskatchewan, some who I have yet to have the chance to meet in person, but am able to connect with via social media. Some have even turned into great friends after having had the chance to meet in person and its amazing being able to feel connected to other boss babes despite being an online business! I think this sense of community just goes to show the movement of women empowering each other instead of competing with each other. Hell hath no furry like a team off boss babes supporting one another 😉

Want a chance to meet with Kalli and learn about your food and diet choices? She is hosting a workshop at Modern Woman Show at 3pm on Saturday April 22nd at Prairieland Park. Click HERE to learn more and reserve your spot!

The Fabulously Unfit Girl's Guide To Health & Wellness: step up

Fitness trackers. They are everywhere. Fitbit, Garmin, Apple ... you name it, they make it. So why are they so popular?

Well. Let me tell you why I love mine. I have a Fitbit One. It's a little bitty thingy that I clip on my bra that tells me what's what. Am I a sloth? Am I less of a sloth? If indeed I am a sloth that day, it is a techy reminder to get up and run around the block or whatever fit people do. 

These things also monitor heart rate, calories burned, stairs climbed, and even sleep patterns. It's pretty cool really. Many designers such as Michael Kors and Tory Burch have even jumped on board creating more fashionable ways to wear your tracker because, let's face it, they're ugly. (Hence why I chose the hidden clip model.)

There are two things I personally like about Fitbit. One is their customer service, it's awesome and you talk to real people when you have a problem. They understand the panic when you have an issue tracking your steps ... after all, if your Fitbit didn't track those steps, did they even really happen? Answer: No. 

The other thing I love is the challenges. I am a super competitive person so the fact that I can add a network of friends to my Fitbit world and have weekly races to get the most steps is motivation at its finest. Just ask my family and friends about the times I've been walking circles around the house or running on the spot to get ahead of so-and-so. True story. "Circle walking" has become a coined term when referring to my Fitbit antics. I have a group of people that routinely do challenges together, and although I know them all in one way or another - many don't know each other. All they know is that they are step competition and they must be destroyed. If you think I'm exaggerating, you've never been part of The Workweek Hustle or The Weekend Warrior.

 My peeps... they vary week to week, but most of us are regulars!

My peeps... they vary week to week, but most of us are regulars!

They say you're supposed to get 10,000 steps a day. Ok, reality check. You might think that's easy, but for those of us who work at a desk all day it's not happening without some effort. 

On an average day if I did nothing but work, I would get only about 2000 steps. Status: Sloth.(In fact, yesterday I binge watched Scandal and got a corspe-like 884 steps. #sorrynotsorry) 

On a day when I did errands and worked I would get about 4000-5000. 

If I worked, ran a couple errands, and spent an hour on the treadmill I would get around 8000-9000. 

If I worked, ran errands, took my dogs to the dog park, and spent an hour on the treadmill - bingo. 10,000-11,000. But that's what it takes for me to reach non-sloth status in my real life... and for the record, I don't have time for all this shit. 

We just returned from a trip to Florida.  When I went to hop the plane I realized I forgot my Fitbit... Oh heeeelllll no, going without it just wasn't an option. Holidays are when I do my best Fitbitting! Believe it or not - I could buy one right in the airport, out of a Best Buy vending machine. I didn't, because they didn't have a model I was interested in - but my first stop after checking into my hotel was Walmart, where I purchased a Flex 2. Although it was a wristband (which I poo poo because they cramp my style...), it was water resistant and that worked well with my plans to drink several gallons of wine in the pool. The cool thing was comparing the two when I got home, and while the clip is most discreet - it was also more accurate step for step. Fun fact. 

I wore my band every day that were out hitting the theme parks, malls, stadiums, and night spots. Those days I was getting roughly 20,000 - 25,000 steps a day without even thinking about it. 

Moral of the story: Spend thousands of dollars on a vacation and you will meet and exceed your step goals. Ha. #fitspo

Seriously though, these little things are great ways to stay accountable to get up and get moving! If you have a Fitbit feel free to add me to your network! Just beware of my "circle walking". 

Keep calm and step on my fellow modern women!

Katie 

Xoxo

Increase Productivity: 8 Tips from a Happy Driver

About six months ago I walked into the office at 7:45 am as usual, set my things down, unpacked my full lunch kit into the mini fridge and settled down at my desk ready, alert and excited to start my day. This is my best time: between the hours of 7:45 am and about 3:45 pm I am the most alert, productive and efficient in my workday. This is my normal.

A co-worker approaches me and says “Mandi, I always notice you are full of energy from the start of your day to the end!” I feel it too, though truth be told, from 3:45 pm until 5:30 pm when I leave, I am putting in more effort to be “energetic” to say the least. Due to my 4:45 am wakeup call, by late in the afternoon, I am losing steam. At least I am faking it well.

Said co-worker then proceeded to ask for my advice on staying energetic, how to increase productivity and stay organized during my fairly hectic workday. Those who work in the technology space can relate. Especially those in the start-up/fairly new environment—think 50-200 employees. My role can have me working with several different teams and departments all within one workday, and it involves a lot of time management, quick thinking and the ability to be a chameleon depending on the role I am filling at any given moment. He proceeded to explain that he wanted some advice on how I stay focused, patient and fairly low stress while maintaining a full workload and then some.

8 Tips to Increase Productivity

His question made me step back and really think. He wanted my advice? What kind of wisdom could I bestow that would be anything new or life changing? Well, to start with, I guess I could review what a typical “day in my life” looked like and pull some key habits/consistencies in my days. Here is what I found:

1. Sweat everyday

Or at least most days, before the work day begins. A bootcamp, bike ride, run, yoga, traditional weights, etc. I take in whatever fits my week, and most importantly, what I enjoy. If I am bored, I change it up. I rarely do the same thing for weeks on end, or even day-to-day for that matter. This keeps my morning sweat session something I look forward to, even when the sleep fairies tell me it’s far too early to get up.

2. Take the thought of what to eat out of the equation

I buy lots of groceries Sunday, and plan/prep for the busy week. Filling my fridge with lots of variety of both healthy and more fun foods allows for me to be hassle free when it comes to food during the week. Each evening I pack my food for the entire next day, and bring it with me when I am rushing out at 5:30 am. Eating fresh variations of foods keeps me feeling alert, awake, energized and ready to tackle the hectic meeting-filled, task-filled days that working somewhere as fast growing as Vendasta.

3. Shutdown and read 

Each night I shut down all technology approximately one hour before I would ideally like to be asleep. This includes TV, laptop, cell phone, iPad—any screen that has a back light. I pick up a book every evening. And no, this isn’t always a professional development book—sometimes this is something embarrassing like Harry Potter, or another easy read. The point is that I read from something that requires a lamp and turning pages, not touching a screen. This ensures I am alert and ready to be fully connected each day at work, which in the software as a service space is crucial. Laptop, headset, smart phone all in hand for the entire day can be exhausting if you do the same when you arrive home each night. Expand your knowledge and borrow a book from someone you look up to, or that is your mentor, and you can mix-up your nightly reading to ensure that you are having fun but also maybe improving your productivity at the same time!

4. Sleep

This one ties nicely into number three. Reading will ensure you actually fall asleep quicker and remain asleep (i.e. you didn’t leave Jimmy Fallon on in the background to jolt you awake mid dream). Adequate sleep is something I neglected in my early twenties, though I realized its importance a few years ago. It’s surprising how much of an effect an inadequate amount of sleep can have on my ability to juggle a fast paced, partner-centric day; just the kind of day that is certainly waiting for me when I arrive at Vendasta HQ. Our partners are in various different time zones, so when you are groggy at 8 am and yawn as I pick up my headset, they will hear it and likely not have the world class service Vendasta is known to provide. My goal is to get a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night with no background noise, other than my sleeping dachshund puppy snoring alongside me.

5. Cutback on the digital communication

At one point I was using Trello, Evernote, Google Calendar, email, Slack and Pivotal Tracker. While trying to stay “organized” I was overwhelmed and scattered with overuse of technology. Gasp! She works in a SaaS based company and wants to avoid technology?! False: I want to utilize it effectively. Find a few apps that will work best for you to stay organized. Further, keep it simple and try and use something that the majority of your co-workers use to streamline your correspondence. The best perk of using the same tools as your coworkers is that you can get great tips on how to best use them. Be consistent with these select apps. Find what’s going to work best for you and stick with it. At least until the “next best” app is released, and then of course test it, try it, critique it. We are in this agile space for a reason!

6. Win list

Daily in my preferred app/calendar, I create a quick daily “wins” list—a few items that I know I can complete that day and feel like I am winning. This is a big one. Often times, depending on your role, in the software space you are tasked with things that will take time, several iterations, collaborations and, frankly, fail more times than they are successful. Process changes, busy customers, feature requests, software bugs and the list continues. These hiccups can throw curve balls into getting things fully accomplished in any given workday. Having a quick wins list allows you to feel like you are being productive and getting ahead. Often this list flows into your “slower wins” list, and makes you a better contributing member of the workplace.

7. Take a tech timeout

In a perfect world we would all get our lunch break and leave work at a decent time to have a “balanced” work-life pendulum. Sorry in advance for bursting this oh-so-nice dream that is pushed in every health magazine on the stands. Here is a reality check: if you ask most successful, career-centric individuals at all levels, they will admit that they are not always “balanced.” When their career is thriving their personal life may suffer (if even slightly) and vice versa.

In order to make the best of this reality instead of looking at this in a pessimistic frame of mind, I choose to both love my job and take a hot second (sometimes literally I need some summer air/heat) to reset, refresh and get back at it! So, yes you may miss lunch trying to stay ahead of your growing list of to-dos, and yes you may work past 5 pm sometimes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a time out. The wonderful world of most SaaS based companies, or at least ours, provides a culture and environment conducive to work hard, play hard environment. Take a break at a non traditional time, maybe in your day it’s slower at 9 am and super busy at 5 pm. Take a 15 min break at 9 am and go for a short walk around the block, play a game of ping pong, find a quiet corner and read something interesting or just sit quietly with some music and a cup of joe.

8. Bus driver mindset

No, I am not going to give you advice on meditating or some life changing never heard before tidbit on how to be positive but here are the facts. You drive your own metaphorical life bus. You choose your direction each and every day. You can choose to view every hiccup, bug, change in process, upset partner and empty coffee pot as a massive traffic accident, or you can choose to thrive and appreciate all the things working in this unique, culturally charged environment provides. Take each growing pain as an opportunity to never feel stagnant or bored. You get to come to work each day and learn something new, improve a customer’s experience, improve workflow and, gasp, maybe even contribute to a future BIG thing. Do you want to just drive the same route with zero change, zero obstacles every day for ever? If your destiny includes driving several different models and all different speeds, then get your seat belt on and navigate your way holding onto an (almost) always positive mindset!

These were just a few things I shared with my fellow Vendastian. I quickly realized that while these things all seem simple and obvious to me, they are not so obvious for others, and it’s valuable to share productivity hacks with others. Vendasta is big on promoting a healthy workplace culture, and the daily habits of our executive feed into that, as well as the habits of all Vendastians. I hope that some of my daily habits can help any of you out there feeling stressed, overwhelmed, tired and unproductive in your bustling agency, software company or any demanding workplace you may be a part of.

Mandi

*Amazing things are happening at Modern Woman Show & Expo in 2017. Stay tuned for more information on new features at the event, including two workshops facilitated by Steve Kushman. We will be focusing on the development of Goal Setting for young females and an mentor-ship program for inspiring women in business. #atradeshowwithpurpose

The Fabulously Unfit Girl's Guide To Health & Wellness: let's talk.

Let's talk about something extremely personal. 

 

Something almost everyone who knows me is surprised to learn I have Bi-Polar disorder. And not just a little bit. I have full blown Bi-Polar 1 disorder and have my whole life - and although I was diagnosed at 18, I was never fully and properly treated or made to understand what I was dealing with until my late 20s. I have a family doctor, a psychiatrist, an ObGyn, and a maternal psychiatric specialist that are all fortunate enough to have me as a patient. Ha. I take 3-4 different medications daily, some twice a day, and I will have to for the rest of my life. 

 

Some people will suggest that you can control an illness like mine with breathing exercises, physical activity, diet, or yoga and green tea. Those people are wrong. They are ignorant and need to get informed. In short, until they decide to hit up a library, they can go f**k themselves.

 

People also assume that being bipolar means simply that you have mood swings. Nope. Wrong. In the simplest way I can explain it, it's like you are either in the deepest depression or high as a kite. And I don't mean sad or happy, although those are emotions that can come into play. I'm talking about crippling depression that will keep you in bed for days, so anxious you can't breathe, angry, sad, and desperate. I'm talking about highs so extreme that people will think they are invincible, not sleep for a week, spend money on ridiculous things, choose terrible partners, and take on far too many tasks. Being in a manic (high) cycle can make you feel magic - but like my psychiatrist says, magic comes at a price. Long story short - what goes up, must come down. And when it does, it's a not a gentle landing. 

 

Let me tell you a story... 

 

Last winter I experienced one of the worst lows of my life. It went and on and on and got worse and worse. I would get up every day, get dressed and put my makeup on, and go to work with a big smile for each of my clients like everything was fine. Everything wasn't fine, I felt like I was drowning. I was functioning but only as an empty shell - like a puppet. I would come home and take out my frustration on my husband, I didn't want to engage in any social activities, I was confused and angry all the time. 

 

After my household was asleep I would get up about 3:30am every night and have such an intense anxiety attack that I would often throw up and sit crying on my bathroom floor. My best friend Ted was always by my side... for anyone who doesn't know Ted, he's a big, adorable rescue mutt that I got just in time to save his life from being shot, after living the saddest life a dog could live. And yet, time and again, I wonder who has really saved who? 

 

Finally, one night or early morning, my husband woke up to find Ted and I on the bathroom floor. He knew this had been happening but hadn't seen it for himself to fully understand where I was at. 

 

The next day he told me he wanted to put me in the hospital. My mind raced... what would people say?... this would be on my medical records... my career would never be the same... people will lose all kinds of respect for me... I simply said "If you do that, I will never, ever forgive you."

 

To which he replied, "Well I will never, ever forgive myself if I come home to a dead wife."

 

Never had I considered suicide. Let me be clear about that. I am WAY too stubborn for that. Ha. But the fact that my husband saw that as an end game for what was happening was like a cold shower. The jig was up, I couldn't live like that anymore. My meds had stopped working, I hated my psychiatrist, and I was sick. Plain and simple. 

 

Luckily (very, very luckily), I had access to someone who manages a psychiatrist's office who had always spoken so highly of the doctor she works for. She is a beautiful person and so very compassionate. I swallowed my pride and explained what was going on and asked for help. I saw him within a week. He tweaked my diagnosis, changed my meds, added some new ones, and focused on the holistic things I could do to help myself. He actually listened to me. He asked my husband to attend my appointment to understand the illness. Nobody had ever done that before. Most importantly, he didn't talk down to me. 

 

Let's get something straight. Somebody can have all the degrees in the world but nobody is an expert on a mental illness like the person who has it. Trust me on that. 

 

Flash forward to 2017 and a year of new treatment and a good doctor. I feel really good. I can't say great because I don't think I ever feel totally great. It's something I still deal with everyday and always will. But I'm happy, I'm social, I'm lucky to have a job (correction, jobS) that I love. I try to put effort, research, humour, and kindness into everything I do. I appreciate the life I've been given and I try my best to take care of myself. 

 

I love my husband and I am nice to him... Most of the time. Ha. JK, he's seriously the best. 

 

... And Ted is still my best friend. 

 Photo by Leslie Kent.

Photo by Leslie Kent.

 Photo by Leslie Kent.

Photo by Leslie Kent.

 

This blog series is about health and wellness. Mental health still has a huge stigma around it, and until we can accept these illnesses just like any other that needs to be diagnosed and treated, people will continue to suffer. Not everyone is as stubborn as me, not everyone is so stubborn that they refuse to let an illness beat them. Not everyone has an amazing husband, friends, family, and dogs that are by your side the second they sense something is wrong. 

 

People without support systems will continue to live in poverty, battle addictions, resort to crime, and alienate their loved ones. People will continue to fill our hospitals, jails, and shelters. People will also appear to live completely normal lives, but come home and suffer in silence. 

 

Open your minds, open your ears, and get informed. You might just be the person to help someone who is struggling. 

 

If you or anyone you know feel that you need help, ask for help. As Canadians, we have access to health care. Use it. It's there for you. 

 

Take care of yourselves and love each other. 

 

Katie

Xoxo

#bellletstalk

 January 25, 2017 is the Bell Let's Talk day of mental health awareness that raises money for mental health initiatives. Talk, text, or use social media and let the world know your story. 

January 25, 2017 is the Bell Let's Talk day of mental health awareness that raises money for mental health initiatives. Talk, text, or use social media and let the world know your story. 

 



 

I'm not your mom. I'm Chan

As we approach the fourth year of the Modern Woman Show; the blog team and I have decided to reflect on the last year’s growth and changes. For myself I have always found that your world can be turned upside down at a moment’s notice and we have to learn to roll with the punches.

Hand me a work issue, rental property mishap, or multiple chronic diseases, and I GOT IT (with a little wine and some grumbling).  Now, add a whole new dynamic with a little eight year old, call me dad’s girlfriend and see me squirm.  I’m a fish out of water. KIDS. Shit. This sounds scary. It’s a tough gig this ‘stepmom’ role especially when you don't have children of your own. You never really know how you will be accepted by the family, the existing friends, and most importantly by the kids. In what ways will this effect your future? Will you sacrifice your goals and plans? And don't forget the ex wife who might pop out of the bush at any moment - that is a whole other level of stress. What do you say? What do you not say? Don't screw this up! Everything is so delicate. 

It happened and now you're attached to the kid(s). You love them with all your heart and can't imagine life without them. But a nice dose of reality sets in. You are not their mother

Today i'm offering a little advice to those second in command. I'm not a counselor but I have had personal experience as a kid of a blended family and now in the reverse role. So i have compiled a little list of dos and dont's. 

* Support your partner’s parenting decisions. You are a united front. Offer feedback and conversation out of earshot of the children but remember that you are the co-pilot in this particular journey. Kids like stability, so provide that. You may not have your shit together but the kids need to think you do.

* Be a good listener and don't force the process of building a relationship – when you are yourself it tends to happen naturally. Kids feel the pressure of being loyal to their biological parents. Don't make it more stressful for them. This process does not happen overnight. 

* Understand and accept that your friendship is a valuable piece in this little humans upbringing and being a positive role model everyday will always have a huge impact on who they grow up to be. We all have gifts that can be shared with the world. Find those common interests. Mine happens to be love of hockey and Nutella by the spoonful. 

* This is not for the weak. It can often feel like life in the trenches. Unless you have been there you truly can't understand. Somewhat like an outsider. Especially so when you don't have children of your own. Keep open communication with your partner and it can be of great comfort to talk to someone who shares this same role.

* You can't fix what you didn't break and just KNOW that some battles can't be won or more importantly -shouldn't be won. Be supportive. Be kind. Be patient. Be honest. And sometimes going to the safeway starbucks to take a breather is needed. It can be your secret spot. Just make sure to save me a seat.

I really want to say kudos to all the stepmoms and stepdads, the girlfriends and boyfriends who accept the challenges of a blended family. It’s a tough job but you are nailing it. 

And remember...

LOVE MAKES A FAMILY

Chantal