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Filtering by Category: Life - Celebrate

Long Weekends: Avoid the After Slump and Savour the Present Moment

Kelly Bos

 photo credit:

photo credit:

It is often a “case of the Tuesdays” after a long weekend as the regular work week looms overhead and people start dreading the routine, the trip back, the packing up, cleaning up, etc. The grumblings are inevitable and pretty normal. You might like your job, or even look forward to a being back to routine, but much like the mixed emotions when thinking about the September start, there can be a sadness or some grief when the long weekend is over. There is also the opposite phenomenon with people who hate long weekends and go in already unhappy, as Rebecca Eckler wrote in Macleans, “Some can’t wait for that extra day; for others it feels like there’s a big party going on and they weren’t invited”. So there is the grief about the end, FOMO, and those who feel guilty for not doing something special enough. Do long weekends add to happiness? Generally, long weekends are seen as a good thing, a time to recharge, focus on family, a restart to be a bit nicer, healthier and frankly work more productively when one has some extra time off. But, as in most things, a lot has to do with perspective and this we have power to work on and change.

Sunday evenings often feel like the weekend is over before it's even begun.” -Catherine McCormack

 photo credit:

photo credit:

Savour Don't Slump:

1. Find the joy in the present:

Be mindful of all the good to be had, even if it is holiday traffic, look around for the fun in the moment you are in. And if you didn't get out of city and feel inundated with posts of friends tubing, hitting the spa, or riding rollercoasters, find something that makes your weekend special and savour that. Be intentional about finding the good and make today a great day. While you are at it, plan something great for tomorrow too!

2. Take the moment forward:

Maybe it was a busy weekend but we can happily take the memory of the laughs we had with us. Or if it was a restful time, we can remember that nap we had in the hammock. If you felt rejuvinated, relish the refreshing swim experienced beside the waterfall. Using imagery and invoking your senses to imagine an event can conjure up the same feelings as actually experiencing it.

3. Let tomorrow's worries be tomorrow's worries:

There might be a lot of work waiting for you this week, but ruminating on that doesn't help you tackle things any better when you get there. If there is something you can do to make your life easier before you go in, then by all means do it, otherwise, it is best to stay in the moment you are in and take things as they come. If you are anxious about the week beginning, write the “to do's” down and let them go. And make sure you take the breaks and holidays when you can, research shows working long hours can lead to health problems, affect your emotional regulation, affect your sleep and will likely have you working less effectively. Being on your computer the whole weekend is not going to reap those rewards.

This long weekend create and take the good forward.



7 Festive Brain Boosts

Kelly Bos


'Tis the season for merriment, connection, reflection and celebrations and this focus is very good for our well being and specifically for our brain. Here are a few brain boosts you might not have associated with the holidays.

1. Pass the Cranberries:

Cranberries are chalk full of anti-oxidants, so yummy and definitely a common presence in holiday treats, Christmas dinner sides and it is a great herbal tea to cosy up with at the fire. Cranberries are well known as the drink of choice for those doubled over from UTI's but they are also fantastic for the brain with studies showing positive affects for post stroke sufferers and that the ursolic acid, a specific compoud found in cranberries, may protect brain cells from injury and degeneration. 

2. Don't Pass By the Puzzles:

I don't know who brings them out every season, but someone does, and you think maybe I will do just a few, group a few colours, finish at the border, and the hours pass. It might not have been the best sleep decision for that late evening, but not to worry, puzzles are indeed good for the brain. Puzzles work both the left logical sequence side of your brain and the creative right side. David Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson authors of The Whole Brain Child state, “The brain has two sides for a reason: with each side having specialized functions, we can achieve more complex goals and carry out more intricate, sophisticated tasks. Significant problems arise when the two sides of our brain are not integrated and we end up coming at our experiences primarily from one side or the other...In order to live balanced, meaningful, and creative lives full of connected relationships, it’s crucial that our two hemispheres work together”. 

3. Hit the Slopes (or Skating Rink):

Skiing, cross country or downhill and skating are great forms of aerobic and muscle building exercse. Exercise is a mood booster that can help reduce anxious and depressive symptoms, aids in sleep and helps with clear thinking. Being outside on the slopes or at an outdoor rink, brings sunshine, fresh air and the beautiful sights which feel great. With these activities there are also the effects of cross lateral movements which activitates both hemispheres of the brain.

4. Laughing Stock:

The holidays bring families and friends together and hopefully a lot of laughter. They say it is the best medicine and it is pretty awesome for the brain, here's why: laughter improves memory, elevates mood, increases motivation, reduces pain, lowers stress, boosts immunity, and it releases dopamine, a natural opiate. 

5. Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot? 

The answer is no! A familar Christmas CD, family heirloom ornaments or decorations, whimsy about playing in the snow can all bring up fond memories of the past and it is good for you as reminicing can improve productivity and boost mental preformance.

6. The Long Winter's Nap:

Not only does your body scream for them during the holidays, naps can help your brain make decisions, feel more alert, and increase motor preformance. It is even in the traditional festive literature... “And Mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap” Twas the Night before Christmas even brings up these brain settling naps (although technically it was actually the night)! 

7. Choose Chocolate:

Studies are showing the consuming chocolate positively affects a person's cognitive abilities. Good news for chocolate lovers as chocolate can help with concentration levels. This might help counter what my friend calls turkey lethargy posioning regularly induced after the Christmas meal.

So eat, sleep, drink and be merry, much of it has the great effects of your brain on Christmas.


Five Simple Ways to Put Some Self-Care Into Your Day

Kelly Bos

 Photo Credit:  Flickr

Photo Credit: Flickr

Make Some Time for Yourself! Go on, you Deserve It!

If you are like me, once you became a parent, “self-care” – seeing to your personal needs and interests – became a distant memory. Sometimes, it seems like more effort than it’s worth to take time for yourself. Still, as a professional therapist, I can tell you “self-care” is important. Here are some ideas for creating that elusive “me” time and space.

1. TO DO:

It’s satisfying to check tasks off a list. Be it laundry or groceries, why not add items for yourself? Maybe it’s simple, like flossing, or perhaps it requires more planning, like taking a class. Include the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of your life.

 Photo Credit:  Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

2. TO DON’T:

If finding the time to take care of yourself seems like a fantasy, have a look at your obligations to see if anything can be tweaked or cut. My husband found a lot of freedom at work when he learned the principle of a “To Don’t” list. Now his meetings include time to brainstorm what no longer needs to be done. You might not have to do all the things you think every good parent does.


Find a special room or nook with pleasing aesthetics and lighting. Have supplies for self-care handy: beloved books, a yoga mat and treats. This area might seem difficult to create, but it doesn’t have to be big. My friend has energetic sons and although she loves decorating, she has accepted that picture frames and vases have a very short, pardon the pun, shelf-life in her house. If this is the case for you, try a self-care drawer with personal effects and treasures at the ready.

 Photo Credit:  Flickr

Photo Credit: Flickr


Be it from family, friends or paid assistance, ask for help when you need it. Try trading off with a friend; this will give you some alone time and provide entertainment for your child when a new face comes to play.


Many household tasks can get dull so get creative! My friend and I got together recently and we prepped, cooked and made slow cooker meals to last a month in one afternoon. Get imaginative with the personal interests and hobbies you once enjoyed. Many a entrepreneur started with a desire to get back to her artistic passions.


Find some time for yourself starting today. Self care is not only good for you it is also good for those around you providing you with a chance to fill up your bucket before you attempt to fill everyone else's. It will also give you a sense of accomplishment and help you reconnect with your goals, interests and dreams. How do you make time for self-care?


Kelly Bos

After months of planning, shopping, and wrapping, Christmas has left again for another year. For some, it met or exceeded expectations, for others it didn't. Some happily accepted all of their gifts; gifts they didn't ask for, things they didn't need, some even conceded that the thought counted. Others thought that there was just too little thought.

Hopefully whatever the result, thank yous were given and proper gratitude was expressed. With everything going on in the world, is the issue of not getting what we want at holidays or celebrations bordering on the ridiculous? Yes! We are a society of wanting what we want and justifying our frustration when we don't get it. We need to suck it up and simply say THANK YOU!

I was recently at a celebration where a child received a sort of comical gift. A bit of fun, but the child's response and how much they didn't like it was appalling. The parents sort of laughed it off, but we the guests jumped in and raved about how wonderful the gift was. I was even tempted to lecture my own kid on the spot just to make sure she would never create such a production when receiving a gift of her own. Again, it was a different kind of gift, but that doesn't matter. I believe it is our responsibility to correct, show, teach and model to our kids the importance of gratitude and a proper reception of gifts.

At times receiving can be complicated. And here are some of the areas for us to keep in check that can affect our attitude of gratitude:

  1. Expectation: We do it to ourselves. We want and we want specifically, Merry Christamass and Merry Christmusts. We tie our happiness to something believing it will make us happy and when this is not fulfilled we get disappointed. We might have had a little help; our boyfriend might have bought a present shaped exactly like a ring box that turned out to be fridge magnets, you might have hinted up a storm about something and thought the hinted-to caught on, or your boss might have been promising a Christmas bonus of epic proportions and ended up being a company golf towel—remember how Clark received the jelly of the month on National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation? These situations can make our hearts sink a little, but if we keep our expectations and our pool down payments in check there is really nothing to say other than thank you.

  2. Fear: I know I have worried when I have received something I think the person has spent too much money on or I don't think I will use especially when finances have been tight. The worry is coming from a decent place, but I have learned it is better just to say "thank you." Let people choose their own budget and what they would like to give you.

  3. Interpretation: When we interpret the gift as a marking stick for how much we matter to the person we are creating a problem. This issue often comes up in romantic relationships where the one partner feels the other doesn't value them enough to take special care in buying a gift. I often hear clients share that it wasn't that they wanted something extravagant, but rather wanted something that shows the person cared, a favourite magazine or some trinket that uniquely represents them would have sufficed. Being handed cash on the day, year after year, can sometimes feel like a cop out. However, some people don't really value gifts, it isn't their love language. They will serve, spend time with you or verbally affirm before they ever think of gifts. It might not always excuse the fact that a gift is important to you, but not getting certain gifts doesn't necessarily mean you aren't cared about.

    I have also seen people complain about not getting enough or the right gift when the person has put in effort. This behaviour really doesn't lend itself well to an excuse. In this case you are simply putting in an order, a demand on someone else that they then have to fulfill. You are best to leave this exchange for the gifts you order for yourself as it takes the act of giving and receiving completely out of the picture.

    At the end of the day a gift is a gift, so say thank you. Be thankful. As parents we have little people watching our every move and we want to model responses of appreciativeness. Yes, people might not have put in as much thought as you did into their gift giving, they may have wasted money on something you may never use, and they might have given you the wrong idea about what you were getting but that is inconsequential. You are responsible for you. Being a cheerful receiver is a better way to live as satisfaction is realized when you are grateful and counting your blessings. And in the end, living cheerfully and thankfully is a pretty big gift to yourself.

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