10 Ways to Preserve your Mental Health during these Uncertain Times

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a proper blog post other than a few posts here and there, but in light of what’s been going on around the world I’m compelled to share some of the things that I have been doing to preserve my mental health and relax as much as possible while being asked to stay at home. I hope that some of these things can also help you get through the next little while!

1) Download the Calm App – I’ve been overcome with a lot of anxiety as of late, as I’m sure many of you have. I recently downloaded the Calm app, a great app for meditation, relaxing music, story time, etc. I’ve committed to doing at least 10 mins of mindfulness or meditation a day, which I find has already been helping me a ton. There are other great apps like Headspace, Oak, Relax Meditation, etc.

2) Take some online classes – With a lot more free time due to contracts being cancelled, I’ve decided to take this opportunity to do some additional learning. There are a handful of classes being offered online for free at the moment, so why not seize this opportunity to learn something new? Since I’m expecting my first child in less than two months, I’ve decided to gain a better understanding of the pelvic floor and diastasis recti, with the help of Dr. Sarah Duvall‘s free online courses.

3) Discover new music – Music has always had the power to heal in my opinion. In times of stress and anxiety, I’ve always turned to music as a way to let out how I’m feeling. We’re lucky to have so many great music streaming services at our disposal these days such as Apple Music and Spotify. I love being able to discover new tracks and playlists that are curated based on moods, genres, etc. This above playlists is one of my current favs.

4) Workout from home – If going for a walk, running or cycling isn’t your thing, there are tons of free apps available online that provide great HIIT, no equipment, full body workouts that you can do from home. Some of my favourite free workout apps include Nike Training App, Sweat (you get 7 days free!), Daily Workouts Fitness Trainer, Seven – 7 Minute Workout. If yoga is more your thing, there are lots of free online yoga workouts on Youtube and a lot of local yoga studios are offering daily or weekly videos online either via Instagram or Facebook. Moreover, several boutique fitness studios in cities around the world are offering free live classes that they will stream via Instagram. Lots of ways to stay active even from home!

5) Clean/Declutter your home – Since being asked to stay at home, there’s no better time than now to do your spring cleaning, declutter your home and put things in a donation pile. With a move potentially coming later this spring, it’s a great way to go through everything and see what I want to take with me or donate. Plus there’s no greater feeling than spending time in a place that is clean and organized!

6) Catch up on the latest podcasts – With so many amazing podcasts now available online, why not take the time to catch up on some of your favourites. Some of my favourites include: Joe Rogan, Rich Roll, Anna Faris, Trail Running Women, Sibling Revelry, Armchair Expert & more!

7) Get some fresh air & vitamin D – Although it has just been announced here in Canada that all national parks have been closed, if you can get outside for a quick walk or for a bit of sunlight and nature, your body and mind will thank you. Vitamin D is key in keeping your health on track. Healthy bodies and healthy minds are the best way to fight this pandemic.

8) Stay in touch with your friends & loved ones – We’re so lucky to live in a time where we can not only stay in touch via phone but also via video messaging, group chats, group video calls, emails, etc. My family in France and I have created a group email chain, some of our friends have created Whatsapp groups, etc. Although in-person meetings are being cancelled, virtual meetings with your friends and loved ones from all around the world don’t have to be.

9) Watch stand-up comedies, your favourite movies/series – Laughter is key to help fight anxiety and to relax. I’ve been making it a point to watch a lot of stand up comedies as well as some of my favourite movies and series to help boost my mood. One of my favourite discoveries this week has been Taylor Tomlinson’s Quarter-Life Crisis. Tons of great content on Apple TV, Netflix, Amazon, etc.

10) Practice self-care – This can mean so many different things to everyone. For me, it has meant trying to sleep more, taking the time to up my skincare routines, taking baths, making delicious plant-based homemade meals, going for runs, reading, etc. Take this opportunity to take care of yourself, it’s primordial in preserving your mental health.

Share with me what are some of the things you’ve been doing during the past couple of days to stay relaxed and keep anxiety at bay while we’re all at home. Never thought we would be going through something like this but we are all in this together. Sending much love and health to you all!

Mel xo

MELSAYS PODCAST – EP. 4 – Genevieve Arnaud

Happy New Year everyone! Took a little break over the holidays but I’m back with a brand new podcast episode and I’ve got tons of new content coming up in 2018!

Excited to share with you today the fourth episode of the MELSAYS PODCAST.

This week, I chat with Genevieve Arnaud. She is the founder Atwell Health, plant-based nutritional counselling and mental health coaching, out of Squamish, British Columbia. In addition to running her private practice, she is also a trail runner and the volunteer coordinator for the Coast Mountain Trail Series out here in BC.

The podcast is just one click away or you can also listen to it below. If you enjoyed our chat, make sure you subscribe to the MELSAYS PODCAST here -> iTunes and Google Play.

RBC Race for the Kids

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When I was approached to become an ambassador for the upcoming RBC Race for the Kids taking place in Toronto on September 17th, I didn’t hesitate a minute to say yes. Their race has as a goal to raise awareness and funds for mental health and more specifically the Family Navigation Project at the Sunnybrook Hospital. The race has raised $5.1 million in only 3 years for the Family Navigation Project and has become the 3rd largest walk/run in the GTA. With close to 20 000 participants and sold-out editions in 2014, 2015 and also now 2016, this has become a very important event in the city.

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Mental health is a cause that hits close to home. When I was 21, I lost my best friend and boyfriend at the time to suicide. This was an incredibly hard time in my life. I know that projects like the Family Navigation Project could have potentially helped him during his time of distress. There is unfortunately still such a stigma associated with mental health and over the past couple of years, I have tried my hardest to talk as much as possible about my direct experience with it, offer any help I can and hopefully point people to direct lines of help.

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The Family Navigation Project has already helped more than 1000 families in the past 2 years. Did you know that as many as 2 million young Canadians struggle with mental health or addiction and yet only 1 in 5 receives the specialized treatment he or she needs? The reason being is that Canada’s mental-health system is difficult and confusion for families to navigate. So the goal of this project is to provide family with experts and navigators that can help families free of charge get the specific help they need. The project is entirely funded by private donations so partaking in this race directly impacts the services that can be provided to the community.

 

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This weekend, people from all over will be coming to downtown Toronto in support of this cause. You have the chance to run either 5k, 7k or 15k. I picked the 7k distance. I will be running in some great new gear by New Balance, the official race sponsor.

A lot of groups have signed up for the race because the race has no registration fee (which is awesome!). This is because everyone is encouraged to fundraise at least $100 for the event. So even if the race is now sold out you can still donate by going to the link provided below. With everyone’s help fundraising, the Family Navigation Project hopes to expand their services and reach beyond the GTA, to across the country.

For more information about the RBC Race for the Kids and how you can donate, go here. See you all on Saturday!

Photos by: @Offner

#SPOKECHELLA x CAMH

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There’s a great event happening on Friday in Toronto that I wanted to share with you all today. As some of you may know, I took part in CAMH‘s campaign for mental health One Brave Night in the spring. I’m excited to share with you today a special event that will be taking place at the end of the week with CAMH and Toronto’s top spin club and one of my personal favorites – SPOKEHAÜS.

They are teaming up together for a special #SPOKECHELLA x CAMH bike ride, the biggest outdoor ride in the city! The ride will be taking place on The Brainstation x Quantum Coffee Co. Patio at 12pm and 5:30pm. 100% of the proceeds from the ride will go directly to CAMH – Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

SPOKEHAÜS’ founder and lead instructor Christine Tessaro will be there, so will special guest singer/songwriter Madeline Merlo, who will be on-site to sing “War Paint” live for the ride home, a song inspired by standing up for loved ones who are struggling with mental health).

There are still some tickets left for Friday’s special #SPOKECHELLA x CAMH ride so make sure you sign up for a great time and great cause! Tickets available here.

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