Finding Yourself: Planning for a Sabbatical, Anticipating Self-Discovery

Finding Yourself: Planning for a Sabbatical, Anticipating Self-Discovery

Planning a Sabbatical

If you’ve been feeling out of sorts and under motivated, wondering how much longer you can keep cranking out one 8-hour day after another, it’s possible you need a change of scenery. Or you may need something more – possibly a change of venue for an extended period of time. If you take that thought to the next level, it could mean you’re approaching personal and professional burnout and could benefit from a sabbatical, and that’s far more meaningful than a week’s vacation. It takes courage to leave your life behind for an extended period. Taking a leave of absence from work and possibly, leaving family behind for a time, can be jarring. It can also be transformative in a very positive way.

Identify your objective

It’s important to understand why you’re going and what you hope to accomplish. Otherwise, your sabbatical could have no more meaning than a long weekend. For example, if you’re interested in exploring a humanitarian lifestyle, you should count on spending several months in an underprivileged part of the world to find out what’s missing in your life. In any event, do plenty of research to find the right destination before taking your plans to your employer and loved ones.


Taking an extended sabbatical requires plenty of money. You’ll need enough to achieve your objectives, so figure out financing travel, paying for multiple accommodations and transportation (you may need to buy a vehicle rather than renting one or taking public transport; consider purchasing an RV if you’re covering long distances), and covering food and incidental expenses. Make a budget, and plan for an emergency fund so you know whether it’ll be necessary to delve into savings or investment earnings to make it happen, especially if you’ll be without income from your employer (some companies will allow a paid sabbatical if they believe it’ll benefit them). Using credit cards or taking out a loan are also options, albeit less desirable ones, if yours will be an unpaid leave.


Settle on a central location, a “base” from which you’ll do some exploring and spending time with the native population, wherever that might be. Not surprisingly, money is often an obstacle, but people have gone on months-long sabbaticals on less than $10,000. Visiting a less expensive region is a good way to make financing a sabbatical easier, though you should factor in things like medical care in case you become ill. Remember, research and knowledge are your best friends when planning this venture.

Venture forth

Once you arrive and get settled into your base, you may experience a reluctance to get out and explore. It’s a natural human reaction to unfamiliar surroundings, even if you’ve been looking forward to it for months. Take it slow, and don’t rush yourself. You don’t need to scale a mountain on day one or jump right into a conversation using a language you’ve only recently learned, so take it one step at a time. At the same time, bear in mind that getting out of your comfort zone is what it’s all about, and it’s the only way you’ll learn what you came to find out.

Safeguard your assets

An extended leave of absence means leaving your home and assets behind. Why not protect your home and belongings by renting the place out while you’re away? You’ll also generate income, a good thing if you’re going on an extended unpaid leave. If renting is your intention, consider hiring a professional cleaning service to clean your house and make it easier to stage for potential renters.

Check out online resources that can help you prepare your property to attract motivated renters. If you don’t have a home security system, this is the right time to add one. Most systems allow you to interact with it from a distance, meaning you can monitor what’s going on through video access. Incorporating smart automation features will let you manage the thermostat, door locks and lighting, as well as identify would-be intruders approaching your property.

You go through months planning, saving money and anticipating a potentially life-changing experience on your sabbatical. Try to avoid building up unreasonable expectations in advance of your trip. A sabbatical isn’t about checking off fun activities and interesting sites from an itinerary. It’s about broadening perspective, coming to a better understanding of yourself and, possibly, reaching a decision about where your life is headed.

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The Best Tips for Getting Good Sleep on Hot Summer Nights

The Best Tips for Getting Good Sleep on Hot Summer Nights

The Best Tips for Getting Good Sleep on Hot Summer Nights.

Getting adequate sleep is a major part of keeping your physical and mental health in good shape, yet many Americans are plagued by poor rest that keeps them feeling sluggish, cranky, and unable to handle their daily activities. Parents and those who work long hours are especially prone to poor sleep habits, which can leave them feeling guilty when they’re unable to perform the way they would like to. On hot summer nights, the potential for poor sleep is amplified, since many people find they just can’t get comfortable when the temperature is too high.

Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to help your body and mind get the rest they need at night when the weather is warm and muggy. A good plan will ensure that you and your family are able to not only get a good amount of sleep, but that it’s restful as well. This means you’ll be able to lie down and not have to worry about waking every few hours.

Keep reading for some great tips on how to get good sleep even on hot summer nights.

Change Your Bedding

The type of bedding you use can have a big impact on the quality of sleep you get, especially when the weather changes. When it’s hot, you’ll rest better with cool, cotton sheets and a thinner blanket than you usually use for the rest of the year. You can even look for sheets that are specially made for people who tend to perspire a lot at night, which will wick moisture away from you as you catch your forty winks.

Repair Screens

If you sleep with the windows open to stay cool at night, make sure all the screens are in good shape so summer insects won’t come in and bite while you’re trying to rest. You can also block their path with a box fan that fits securely in the window, which will draw in the cooler air from outside and keep you feeling good all night long.

Keep Your Bedroom Cool Even When You’re Not in It

Keeping your bedroom cool during the day will make it easier to cool down at night, so look for room-darkening curtains or shades that will block out the sunlight during the hottest part of the afternoon. You can also plant a good-sized tree near your window, or use a sunshade on that side of your house to keep the sun from invading your space.

Keep Your HVAC System in Good Shape

Keeping your HVAC system in good shape will ensure that it doesn’t have to work too hard on hot summer days, which will not only save you money, but it will also prevent any issues that heat up your home. Change the filter once a month or bi-monthly, and make sure you clear away any debris or leaves from outdoor units. It’s also a good idea to have the entire system inspected every year to make sure everything is in good working order. For more on how to keep your HVAC system in good shape, read on here.

Change the Way You Eat

Different foods will have a different reaction in your body; some will cause you to generate more heat than others, so try a raw diet in summer and save the higher-protein meals for cooler days. Salads, veggies and dip, cold wraps, and fruit are the best way to go when the mercury shoots up.

Getting good sleep can mean the difference between a good day and a bad one; it can be the thing that allows you to either be productive or sluggish on a busy day. With a good plan and a few simple tricks, you can get better rest no matter how hot it gets.

Make sure you check the Yoga classes I offer to help you with sleep and also Yoga teacher training to help make change in your life.

Top 10 Best Calisthenics Exercises To Build and Strengthen Your Muscles 

Top 10 Best Calisthenics Exercises To Build and Strengthen Your Muscles 

Top 10 Best Calisthenics Exercises To Build and Strengthen Your Muscles 

There is a common misconception that the only way you can strengthen and build your muscles is by lifting heavy weights in the gym. But you might be surprised to know that it is possible to build mass without any equipment at all. You don’t even need a gym membership to start! The key is to build muscle with calisthenics exercises. Calisthenics exercises are forms of exercises that only utilize your body weight as resistance.

Incorporating calisthenics exercises into your fitness routine is a safe and effective way to build muscle without putting unnecessary stress on your joints. The great thing about these exercises is that you can perform these even if you’re a beginner. As you grow stronger, you can adjust the intensity of the exercises by trying out different variations or increasing the duration of your workout.

Take a look at the 10 best calisthenics exercises that will help you effectively strengthen and build your muscles.

1. Push-ups

The push-up is a classic exercise that targets different muscle groups in your body. Performing the exercise engages your arms, chest, abdomen, hips, and legs. There are many different variations of push-ups, but it is best to start with the basic push-up then progress into different types once you master the perfect form.

  1. Dips

The dip is an amazing upper body workout. It targets the muscles in your chest, shoulders and arms simultaneously. While calisthenics athletes use a dip station, you can use a chair or parallel bars in outdoor parks to practice your dips.

  1. Lunges

Doing forward and backward lunges will work out your abs, thigh and butt muscles at the same time. If you are a beginner, you can start with alternate legs. As you progress you can upgrade your lunges to build more muscle mass in your lower body.

  1. Planks

The plank is the exercise that looks easy to do but it can be really challenging in reality. Planks are hands down one of the best exercises to build ab muscles and develop insane core strength.

  1. Jumping Jacks

If there’s one exercise in this list that you can definitely do, it’s the jumping jack. While it seems pretty basic, this exercise actually targets the muscles in your calves, hips, shoulder, and abdomen –  giving you a total body workout.

  1. Squats

Squats are powerhouse exercises that strengthen your legs, butt, hips, thighs, calves, and abdomen. The key to getting the maximum benefit from this exercise is to ensure that you know how to do the squat correctly.

  1. Burpees

Probably one of the most detested exercises because this full-body strengthening exercise will get you out of breath even just after a few reps. But if you want to build muscle, burpees should be your best friend! This is because every rep targets your arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and abs

  1. Superman

If you want to strengthen your back muscles then this exercise is perfect. The superman is an essential exercise that will give you a stronger core.

9. Pull-ups

A pull-up is an exercise that you should be working towards mastering to increase your chest, abdominal and arm muscles. It helps improve your grip strength, too.

10. Chin-ups

A chin-up is different from a pull-up as it uses an underhand grip on the bar instead of an overhand grip. While chin-ups and pull-ups work the same muscle groups, they target them in different capacities.

Strong and Steady

These 10 calisthenics exercises are perfect for everyone – from beginners to fitness athletes. You can easily upgrade these exercises to increase their intensity depending on your individual fitness levels.


I use a lot of calisthenics movement into most of my classes and online program. Check it out:

About the Author:
Rebecca Smith started calisthenics at age 26 as a means to lose weight and tone her body. After completing her first successful muscle up, the amazing feeling inspired her to train further and become a full-time calisthenics instructor. Rebecca also holds a Management Degree and a Diploma in Nutrition.


Heroes of Nanaimo’s Health and Fitness Community: Tasha and post about getting older and exercising

Heroes of Nanaimo’s Health and Fitness Community: Tasha and post about getting older and exercising

Nanaimo and surrounding is blessed with a wealth of wonderful, passionate health and fitness professionals like Tasha who inspire others, helping them to overcome obstacles and live healthier lives. These Yoga teachers, Fitness Instructors, Massage Therapists and others deserve to be more widely known because they have so much knowledge and insight to share. This post was part of a newsletter I received from Tasha who own the Gabriola Fitness center. I found the information below so inspiring I’ve asked Tasha if I could share it with you all. Thanks, Tasha, for writing this post.

Exercise and again, how does it work together, especially as you get older?  You may be surprised by how many people in their 60’s and 70’s tells me that it just keeps getting better.  (by ‘it’ they are referring to exercise and how it feels to be in their body) You may not be surprised by this when you know that I work in a fitness centre – of course I would hear this.

Let’s think about that for a minute… working in a fitness centre, I hear people say that fitness keeps getting better with age…One thing I should mention is that the people I hear this from are people who are dedicated to their health.  The people who say this come to the gym many times per week and also have another activity (or two or three) that they enjoy on a weekly basis.  Some of these people have dealt with major injuries or being overweight.  The good news is that a person can start at any time.  Isn’t that exciting?!

I can tell you from my own experience that the first steps are THE HARDEST, then it gets easier, then the results start showing up.  Sticking to an exercise and nutrition program for a full year will show you something you didn’t know possible – transformation.  Sticking to an exercise program for 2 years will show you something that will amaze you – bone density, joint health, strength, endurance and a huge genuine smile on a regular basis.  Sticking to an exercise program for longer than 2 years (lifestyle at this point) and you will be in your 60’s and 70’s saying that it just gets better with age.

“Not Exercising May Be Worse for Your Health Than Smoking, Study Says”(article from

“It’s common knowledge that there are many benefits to being fit, but one large new study found that skipping out on the gym is particularly bad for your health.

In fact, the study claims not exercising may be more harmful to your health than smoking.

New findings, published Friday in the journal JAMA Network Open, detail how researchers at the Cleveland Clinic studied 122,007 patients from 1991 to 2014, putting them under treadmill testing and later recording mortality rates. Researchers found a clear connection between a longer, healthier life and high levels of exercise. The report calls for health care professionals to encourage patients to achieve and maintain a robust fitness routine.

“Cardiorespiratory fitness is inversely associated with long-term mortality with no observed upper limit of benefit,” the study says. “Extremely high aerobic fitness was associated with the greatest survival and was associated with benefit in older patients and those with hypertension.”

Although it is widely understood that an active lifestyle can lead to a healthy life, the study concludes that a sedentary lifestyle is the equivalent of having a major disease and the simplest cure is exercise.

Dr Wael Jaber, co-author of the study, called the results surprising.

“Being unfit on a treadmill or in an exercise stress test has a worse prognosis, as far as death, than being hypertensive, being diabetic or being a current smoker,” Jaber told CNN.“We’ve never seen something as pronounced as this and as objective as this.”

The study also took a look at the risk of being overactive and found that “ultra” exercisers do not face higher risk of death: the research consistently found that the more a person exercises the lower their mortality rates.”

Watch this video -> Lifting weights at 72 years old

Seriously, don’t miss out on this short video about an inspiring 72 year old woman who lifts weights!! (who is also a doctor)

Make sure you also check this post about How to get up from the ground safely?

Aerobic versus Anaerobic post from Gabriola island Fitness center

Aerobic versus Anaerobic post from Gabriola island Fitness center

Nanaimo and surrounding is blessed with a wealth of wonderful, passionate health and fitness professionals like Tasha who inspire others, helping them to overcome obstacles and live healthier lives. These Yoga teachers, Fitness Instructors, Massage Therapists and others deserve to be more widely known because they have so much knowledge and insight to share. This post was part of a newsletter I received from Tasha who own the Gabriola Fitness center. I found the information so educational I’ve asked Tasha if I could share it with you all.
So many moving parts, so many places to sit… 

Have you ever had a vehicle that sits without being driven?  Then you will know without a doubt, how bad it is for that car.  Cars have moving parts, and if they don’t move continuously, they seize up and rust together.

Our bodies are the same.
A lot of people ask – How often should I exercise?  The answer is ->

Your body is meant to move everyday!

This doesn’t mean that you have to do a heavy workout everyday, but with all of those moving parts, our bodies definitely love moving…everyday….and even several times throughout the day…

“Research has shown that one-hour of exercise in the middle of the day could be as helpful as a light treatment for coping with the winter blues.”

You may have heard people saying “sitting is the new smoking”, but what does that really mean?

Watch this —> The hidden risks of sitting

 Aerobic vs. Anaerobic 

Most likely you have heard of aerobics (referring to the aerobic energy system in the body)  Perhaps you have also heard of the anaerobic system… But what is the aerobic and anaerobic system, really? The answer can get quite complex, but I will try to simplify it.

Every move that we make requires the production and use of energy.

​In a quick burst of movement – like a sprint – the body produces energy without oxygen.  The energy is needed so fast and with such an intensity that there is no time to wait for the oxygen required.  This is why you will start to take big deep breaths with this kind of movement.  The body goes into a type of deficit and needs to replenish the oxygen.

In long bouts of exercise like a long run or bike ride, we may feel that initial increase in breath and heart rate, and then it levels off and returns to a state of balance – meaning the body is receiving the amount of oxygen needed to continue to produce the energy required to maintain the level of movement that you are doing.

When you are gasping for air and taking deep breaths you know you are using the anaerobic energy system.

When you’re sweating but your breathing is even you are using the aerobic energy system.

Training these two systems have a lot of benefits. Here’s the thing:

When you train the aerobic system – the anaerobic system does not get stronger.
When you train the anaerobic system – the aerobic system will become stronger and you will have more endurance.

Why is this important to know?

If you go for long walks, bike rides, or runs you may still get winded by quickly running up a flight of stairs.  This can be quite perplexing when a person feels as though they get a lot of exercise and then is suddenly gasping for air after a quick sprint to catch a bus or a plane.

High intensity interval training has been voted in the top 3 ways to exercise since 2014, landing the #1 spot in 2014, 2016 & 2018.  This is why.  People are finding that if they do some sort of interval training it incredibly enhances all of the other things they are doing.  High intensity interval training can sound scary, but all it really means is that you increase the intensity of what you are doing for a short period of time, rest, and then increase the intensity again.

Increasing the intensity can be for 10 seconds, 20 seconds, 30, 40, or 50 seconds.  The rest time depends on your level of fitness.  You can rest for 10 seconds, 20 … or even up to 2 mins in between.

It’s pretty cool to think that you can train the body to respond better to quick intense bursts of movements, and that when you do it also increases the total endurance of the body.

Introducing the Unsung Heroes of Nanaimo’s: Mint Girls

Introducing the Unsung Heroes of Nanaimo’s: Mint Girls

Mint Girls

Nanaimo is blessed with a wealth of wonderful, passionate people like Robin and her sister who created Mint Girls. These girls deserve to be more widely known because they have so much passion and joy to share. I know you’ll enjoy meeting them here!

One-of-a-Kind Upcycled and Artisan Clothing

Mint Girls is a local brand created by two sisters with a shared passion for creating art and clothing while supporting a more sustainable future. We carefully source quality items from thrift stores to be transformed into unique pieces of art and clothing. Our goal is to draw attention to our capability to reuse and refresh items that become treasured pieces.

We use a variety of techniques to create unique pieces: reverse tie-dye, fabric paints, and stencilling. We source out second-hand objects such as doilies to create unique images out of old art. We also carefully select stencils that project meaning, such as the flower of life and customize our own stencils to send a message in our clothing.

We’ve partnered with local photographers and “Art of Where” to bring fresh active wear to our Mint Girls clothing line. We design leggings and tops using our artwork and photography from Vancouver Island, Banff and the Kananaskis/ Bragg Creek, AB area (our home town!) Check out our website and Etsy page this Spring to buy clothing manufactured in Canada using EcoPoly fiber with vivid print that will never fade after washing.

I had the pleasure of getting to know Robin and Kendra through the 200 hours yoga teacher training. You can read some of her experience of healing with yoga here. Theses sister share such a deep bound and are so fun to be around.  This is what they had to say about the program.

“Vero is a knowledgeable, focused and caring leader. She goes above and beyond for her classes, it’s always clear that she’s put a lot of thought into everything that she does. I’m amazed by her consistent, positive energy and her joyful smile that lights up a room and continues to shine no matter what. I would take another training with her & I highly recommend her; I’m so grateful to have her as a teacher for the 200 hours Yoga training.” Robin Minty

“The yoga teacher training program offered by Veronique has been an amazing and transforming experience. Her wisdom, skill, honesty, and kind heart has made it a very unique journey. I would highly recommend working and learning with Veronique! ” Kendra Minty