I guess what I’m saying is, I think I meditated

The 2017 Self-Care Project: Entry #8

I cannot count the number of times meditation has been recommended to me. I think it’s one of those things that makes such a big difference for some people that they tend to become big evangelists of the practice. That and the fact that my personal grievances basically read as a litany of antonyms for the benefits of meditation, particularly all the stuff about improving concentration and attention, easing stress and anxiety and boosting immune function. I read this stuff, and I’m like GIVE ME THAT.

But then I try it and the thing is…  I have this major, visceral aversion to it.
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When better isn’t best

The 2017 Self-Care Project: Entry #7

This week I am just taking a minute to refocus. I think I got a little off track there, at least in my head, and somehow all this thinking about self-care and learning to take better care of myself started quietly morphing into self-improvement and learning to BE BETTER. It came from a good place, eat better and exercise so I feel better, learn to meditate and plan and stay on top of the mess in the apartment and admin stuff, in order to mitigate my stress. But I lost focus a bit, and found myself just trying to pack in way more than I’m capable of, and feeling heaps of self-critical at the end of the day. One evening last week Achim came home and suggested maybe I could remember to close jars of nuts so we don’t get moths/turn off lights/not stack tons of shit on top of the key basket or something else reasonable and not laden with judgement and personal attack and I just kind of crumbled.

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Can a hat make you happier?

The 2017 Self-Care Project: Entry #6

Last week I got a new hat. I am so happy with this hat, that it stands out above all else when I think over the week. The thing is, I am perpetually dissatisfied with my clothing. I am conscious that this all sounds a bit materialistic, but my new sunshine hat has got me musing a lot about clothes, and I think maybe it’s not.
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Ok then, let’s talk

The 2017 Self-Care Project: Entry #5

Hey Guys.

Ok. So this week, I’m going to talk about something that I don’t really want to talk about. Because, that’s boring and self indulgent and such a downer, Elena. Because what if my mom reads it and worries about me? Because what if people think I’m whining? Because it’s MY problem, so I’d rather just recede into my own coping and nurturing strategies until it passes. Because I’m FINE and I’ve got it under control and I don’t want to talk about it so let’s just talk about something else, please. Please.

But last week was Bell Let’s Talk Day in Canada, and there was such an outpouring of support and kindness and honesty across social media, it seems right. So, well. Let’s do this. Let’s talk.
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So, I joined a gym.

The 2017 Self-Care Project: Entry #4

Yeah, I did. I am indeed a January gym goer.  And I already have two failed year-long memberships under my belt, so for real, I have no illusions. This time I paid the premium for a one-month contract, though. I realised it has been pretty well 10 years since I exercised regularly and I just have to stop ignoring that. I have this idea that I am actually quite sporty, because I kind of was, oh, half my life ago. An while these delusions are nice and all, make my life seem a little more colourful, it’s kinda ludicrous to keep blaming sugar and lack of sleep and cold feet and constant (so far false) suspicions of mould and various vitamin deficiencies for everything when there is a shit ton of evidence that exercise is like, the number one bang for-your-buck when it comes to health.

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Balance feels better!

I did it! It’s still Sunday because I haven’t slept yet!

Entry #2 of the 2017 illustrated self-care project. As was to be expected, I went a little over the top this week. They won’t all be this elaborate! It was my first real go at an autobiographical “comic” type thing (besides the Goal Guide), so I’m still figuring it out. Although it’s hard to turn my critical brain off (nothing is ever as clean and simple as I want it to be!), it was fun and genuinely helpful!

Without further ado, some thoughts on balance…

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The 2017 Illustrated Self-Care Project

“You treat your future self terribly.” Says my husband, as he grabs a bowl to catch the carrot peelings I am flinging around with abandon in the process of making supper.

He’s said this to me many times while I go about making my disasters, leaving expired passports until I can hardly sleep with worry, letting the chili crust up the bowls, staying up wayyy too late for the 3am wake-ups and 6am mornings of babies.

“Girl!” He pleads, exasperated, “be kind to your future self!”

It’s one of those Achimisms I tend to half-consciously dismiss, placing it vaguely, and okay, unfairly, in the category of “Things Achim Does Because He is German and Kind Of Anal.”
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On getting over imposter syndrome…


This post is about imposter syndrome. Specifically, mine! I’ve had a stubborn, recurring case for, oh, pretty much my life. As a grad student, parent, creative professional, um… person who cooks things people actually like…? And so on. But I am pleased to report that it seems I am finally kicking the old affliction! Hallelujah. So I’ve whipped up (haha) a post on the topic, my own story and magical strategies included.

This spring I flew to London
for the weekend all by my sweet self. It was for a creative bloggers’ conference called Blogtacular. Achim and I agreed, it could be my (extra fancy) birthday gift this year. Out loud, that’s what I called it. A special treat, a solo trip for mama to get away for a little rest and fun, but I knew that wasn’t all it was… And although I feel a painful pang of self-consciousness saying this, I’m just gonna go ahead and own it. This trip was an investment in my dreams. It was me quietly daring to take my creative aspirations and ultimately myself seriously.

It was so worth it. I came home feeling like I’d turned a corner, like some cognitive dissonance had resolved and I’d sort of found my place. And more or less, it has stayed that way. I’ve been thinking a lot about what shifted and why, and I want to share my thoughts with you, because I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’s had trouble believing they belong.
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Johan Lindström: A softer side of fatherhood

ReadingDad_web1Happy Father’s Day! In honour of the day, I have something really special for you – my first ever interview! With Swedish illustrator, animator, and dad of three, Johan Lindström! I was struck by his giant, gentle, technicolour depictions of fathers on Instagram, and had to talk to him! We discussed his inspiration, his experience as a stay-at-home dad and a freelancer, and his beautiful way of challenging norms and raising the societal value of the softer side of parenting for dads. So good, guys!

First – though, I know, this day can be a hard one for a lot of people. For those of you who are missing someone today, big, big love. And for the good guys out there, raisin’ the babes, doin’ their beautiful best, here’s to you! You are such gold. It makes my heart swell.
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What if our “deficits” are really our strengths?

Hey guys. So, today I want to talk about a gorgeous perspective shift that has made my life so much better. It’s an idea that comes from my occupational therapy (OT) school days, and like so much from that time steeped in the badass world of knocking down barriers, empowering and enabling people, it’s had a huge impact on my approach to living.

During my master’s, my professors managed to snag the brilliant and intrepid Dr. Winnie Dunn for an evening to speak to us. Dunn is an OT and researcher, well known for her work on sensory processing. Her book Living Sensationally is a game changer for understanding our senses and how they effect the way we function in daily life. But she didn’t discuss that with us, instead she talked to us about a new strengths-based paradigm for serving others. From a therapeutic perspective, it was kind of radical. Therapists tend to be more accustomed to seeing and trying to fix “deficits” in people – Dunn suggested a totally different way of approaching these traits.
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