Alyssa is the founder and CEO of Mini Mioche, a brand of eco-friendly kids wear.
Last spring I tried my first spinning class after a friend told me about her experience at a class at a local Toronto spin studio. I was not in the best shape at the time and was seriously worried that I was going to pass out or throw up during the class but I also knew that I needed to start working out more regularly and that if I could find a workout I actually enjoyed doing (versus one I forced myself to do just to try and stay healthy and in decent physical shape), it would make all the difference. From my first class, I was hooked and I’ve been going 2-3 times per week since that very first day. It has made such a difference not only my physical appearance but more importantly in my mood, my level of stress and my general tolerance and patience level with others (i.e. my kids and husband).
In addition to spinning, our family is fortunate enough to get to spend the winter weekends up north, so I spend a lot of time on Saturday and Sundays snowboarding, skiing and snowshoeing. I actually really dislike winter (I truly believe I was meant to live in a hot climate) but I do love being outside and being active and it makes the winter go by so much faster.
I’ve also recently been trying to incorporate yoga into my schedule more and have been doing a class here and there. One of my goals for 2017 is to try and do one yoga class per week as I think it would be very beneficial for me to stretch and breath and incorporate something new into my routine.
I do my best to pack my lunch to bring to work during the week (which I always bring in my Soyoung cooler bag). I am not a big foodie so I tend to pack a lot of snack-y type foods like veggies and dip, hummus, cheese and crackers, yoghurt etc. I would be happy to eat appetizer type food for pretty much every meal.
I have found that the spinning classes I go to are probably my best mental break. I can truly check out and just focus on breathing, the music and the workout itself. I often go first thing in the morning and find it’s the best way to start my day.
I recently did a mindfulness workshop so I have been trying to put that into practice in my day to day life (not always so successfully). A friend of mine told me about a free meditation app called yoga nidra that helps with sleeping (you listen to it right before you go to sleep) and it has made such a difference for me. I have always struggled with bouts of insomnia and this is probably the most effective sleep aid I have tried.
Our weekdays are crazy as we have 2 kids that both do a lot of after school activities and my husband and I both work full time. Thankfully, he’s a very supportive partner and we are all about ‘divide and conquer’. That being said, it does mean that during the week we are often all running in different directions. So for me and my husband, it’s important that we have some good quality family togetherness happening on the weekends. As I mentioned before, we are fortunate to be able to go up north every weekend in the winter where we can all ski or snowboard together and hang out as a family. One of the things I love most about skiing is that it is one of the few activities that the whole family can do together.
I am also big on family vacations and we do our best to take at least 2 trips together each year as a family. Many of our best family memories have been made while on vacation together. It’s amazing to me what a little downtime once in a while can do for your relationship with your kids.
My husband and I just celebrated our 10 year anniversary this past summer and it no doubt takes serious work to keep our relationship in a good place. One of the things we started doing about a year ago is meeting for lunch just the two of us once every 2 weeks. We call it ‘lovers lunch’ and it’s one of my favourite things to do together (and one of the only times we get an opportunity to really talk and connect during the week).
I am also a big believer in adult-only vacations. We try our best to go on at least one trip each year without kids. Even a weekend away at a spa or hotel is great. It’s always amazing to me the difference that a little quality one on one time makes in our relationship. It takes us back to the pre-marriage/pre-kids years and is an great reminder that we still have so much fun together. I really need that connect time or a periodic ‘check-in’ as I refer to it. My best friend told me a while back that the most expensive thing one can go through in life (generally speaking), is a divorce, so any money you spend on keeping your relationship healthy is a worthwhile investment and I have stuck to that rationale ever since!