Is Instagram Toxic? Or Not Being Used Effectively?

Since joining the fitness and health community on Instagram, I have seen both the positive and negative effects that social media has on an individual. While this community can be such a great outlet to share your journey and be supported by your followers, it can also be detrimental to your mental health. 

I first created my account to keep myself accountable and to find different workouts or healthy recipe ideas to help me start my journey. I started connecting with others on their own journey’s and I started following people who inspired me, but I also started following people because I wanted my body to look like theirs. 

While it’s okay to follow fitness influencers and admire them, it is not okay to constantly compare yourself to them. I started to obsess over having a body and life just like theirs. I wanted to live an influencer’s life, I wanted to have a tiny waist and a big butt and I wanted to create content just like theirs. In the end, I was creating content that wasn’t authentic. I was upset about how my body looked and was setting very unrealistic goals for myself.

Instagram became a place where I scrolled mindlessly through pictures of really fit girls who did not look like me in the slightest. I questioned if I was even doing anything right with this whole health and fitness thing. Why didn’t I look like these girls?

I was looking for happiness in all the wrong places. I shouldn’t have been looking for validation or self-love on Instagram. I shouldn’t have been seeking attention with inauthentic content. When I started my fitness journey, I was sad, had low energy and had little to no self-confidence. I hated the way my body looked. 

I needed to realize that Instagram is a highlight reel. People post what they want you to see with highly edited photos and not the shitty things that are happening in their lives. After the screen time weekly report came out, I was shocked at how much time I spent on app. Was it really THAT important? No. I vowed to limit my time spent on Instagram. No more mindless scrolling. No more spending time on the explore page and more time spent posting real and raw content. I started setting realistic goals. I want to be honest with my followers because my fitness journey and adapting to a healthy lifestyle is hard! You need support and consistency and SELF-LOVE. It all starts with the love that you have for yourself. If I didn’t have self-love, I would not be where I am today physically, mentally or spiritually.

If you find yourself becoming sad/upset/frustrated while on Instagram or any other social media platform, take a break! Get off your phone and do something that’ll make you feel at peace again. Lean on your offline connections (your loved ones) and the most important connections, in my opinion. They’ll definitely bring you back to reality and remind you that you’re more than just a picture on Instagram. I know mine do. 

P.S. Shout to all of you posting REAL and honest content. Keep hustling!

Bliss & blessings, 


How to Create a More Balanced Lifestyle

Was anyone feeling like they didn’t want 2018 to end? I had so many good things happen to me last year, and the highs definitely exceeded the low’s. But a new year means many more opportunities and experiences! My overall goal for the year of 2019 is to live a more balanced lifestyle. 

I feel grounded when I feel balanced. Balance means being able to handle many different aspects of your life without feeling overwhelmed. The main categories that most individuals are currently balancing are physical health, mental health, relationships, environment, work life and material wealth. When a person does not feel balanced, they feel as if their heart or mind is being pulled in many different directions all at the same time. When problems arise in our lives, it is clear that an imbalance is happening. Whether we’re exercising too much or not exercising enough. If we’re spending too much time on our own and not making time for our loved ones. 

Now let’s bring it back to the categories that make up a balanced lifestyle. The first category is our PHYSICAL HEALTH. Think body and nutrition. Things that fall within the category of our physical health are: eating intuitively, drinking water, exercising, resting our bodies and treating ourselves to delicious foods. The second category is our MENTAL HEALTH. This is all about our mindset. How we view ourselves and the world around us. It’s the way we challenge ourselves intellectually and make time for our minds to rest. The third category is RELATIONSHIPS. These relationships include romantic, familial, friendships and the relationship you have with yourself. It’s the balance between giving love and receiving love. It’s about creating boundaries and taking time for yourself, but at the same time making time for socialization.

The fourth category is ENVIRONMENT. This includes our home, our support network, the media, and world issues. The fifth category is WORK LIFE. Depending on where you are in your journey and what type of journey you are on, this could mean career, education and/or business. In our work lives, we should push ourselves to achieve our goals, but we should also see the bigger picture and enjoy this ride we call our lives. 

The sixth and final category is MATERIAL WEALTH. This category is all about money and material things we have in our lives. We must allocate money for things we need and not just want. We must think about the future and not spend money when we don’t necessarily need to, but we must know the balance of indulging in something nice for ourselves or our loved ones.

So, how do we achieve this balance?

1. Whether it’s your phone or a day planner, decide on a consistent planning system that you use to record your appointments, lunch dates, due dates, and to-do’s. For me, a day planner is like a map of everything I have on my plate for the day, week, or month. It allows me to prioritize the different things I need to and when I need to do them. I even plan out what days I’m going to the gym and what I’m working on. I try not to allow one area of my life to take over my time at the expense of other areas of my life. 

2. A simple task for balancing is knowing what your priorities are and setting them straight. Examine your values and decide what’s important to you and what you can take off your plate. This is a crucial step to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Remember to say no to everything that is either not essential or does not add something valuable to your life.

3. Make time for yourself. Give yourself time and space to meditate, journal, or even to do something simple like grocery shop on your own. I love being busy and socializing given that I am a very outgoing person, but I also love my alone time. Being around people 24/7 is exhausting and sometimes you just need some down time to be still. It’s a great idea to set aside some time each day for an activity that you enjoy whether that be catching up on your favourite TV show or reading a new book, turn off the world and disconnect for a bit. 

4. Cultivate an efficient growth mindset. This means that you think of success and failure as a package deal. You don’t think of mistakes as absolute failures, you think of them as lessons from which to learn. You must learn to expect the unexpected and roll with the punches when something happens that you have no control over. You need to be able to adjust your game plan and not freak out when something unplanned happens. This is a HUGE one for me this year and something I really plan on working on this year. 

5. Last not but least and probably the most important is to avoid negativity. You need a positive attitude and you need to stay away from negative influences. This is necessary for inner peace and happiness. Practice gratitude, avoid self-criticism and do one thing everyday that makes you happy.

Bliss & blessings, 


How to Bounce Back and Thrive

A recent life event has inspired me to write. An experience filled with disappointments, negative energy and bad decisions. At the time, I would have never thought to write about it because of how awful it made me feel, but as I sit here and reflect, I realize that my words may be able to help others through a difficult time. 

As I stepped back into reality, I was upset, angry, confused and genuinely embarrassed. I was in a rut – but not for long. Resilience is how well a person can adapt to the events in their lives. Over the years, I have actively practiced how to have good resilience which essentially is the ability to bounce back more quickly and with less stress. So here’s how I bounce back and thrive:

Lean on your loved ones. Find comfort in the ones who love you and cherish your relationship. Focus on people who care about you and your well-being and who support you. Value whoever values you. Spend time with them, talk to them about how you’re feeling, and let them listen. They are your support system.

Do something to break the pattern of nasty self-talk and ruminating. After an unpleasant event, we tend to put the blame on ourselves. We think negatively about ourselves and consistently think about what we could have done differently (well I mean, I do). Keep yourself busy. Watch a movie, laugh, call a friend or go to the gym. It’s hard to steer clear of negative thoughts, but give yourself credit for that hour or two that you were able to not think about that shitty thing that happened to you. 

Practice mindfulness daily. Journal or meditate. Focus on the present moment, where you are right now – allow yourself to feel – release those negative emotions, but always remember and be grateful for the beautiful life God has given you. 

Forgive yourself and forgive other people. Even when you didn’t get the closure you needed or an apology, forgive. This may seem silly to other people because everyone deals with things differently, but the act of forgiveness has changed the way I look at shitty things that have happened to me. Forgiveness helps me move on with my life. 

You choose how to react to what has happened. React positively. Choose kindness, choose love, choose happiness. Don’t sit around and sulk. Get back into a routine that makes you feel alive and energized. For me, it was getting a good night’s sleep, heading to the gym, eating healthy meals and making time for self-care.

Accept, learn and MOVE ON from it. Remove yourself from the situation – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Just disconnect from it. Don’t try to control what is out of your control. Being angry, sad, or worrying won’t change the situation. Shitty things happen to good people all the time. Don’t let it be a big deal. Better things are coming for you. Things work themselves out and everything happens for a reason. In a year or so, I’ll probably still think negatively about the situation (hahahaha), but I’ll most likely be able to laugh about it because I’m human and I make mistakes – even really big ones. 

Help someone else in need. Be the best you can be in your professional life. This is huge for me. I’m in a field of work that relies heavily on helping others so I pour my energy into my meaningful career.

Read and listen to motivational, inspirational and encouraging words. I’ve always been a huge fan of reading, but for those who aren’t, there are podcasts and ebooks available everywhere. Reading and listening to another person’s words can be a form of healing for some. Hearing about someone who has been through a difficult time and has dealt with it is reassuring to me that I’ll get through it too. 

Some of my favourite podcast channels:

  • The Skinny Confidential Him & Her Podcast
  • The Health Code
  • Wellness Force Radio

Some of my favourite books: 

  • A Tribe Called Bliss by Lori Harder
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
  • The Ripple Effect by Greg Wells
  • Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop

Take each bad experience as a lesson learned. Take it as the universe telling you that it wasn’t for you. It wasn’t meant for you and you probably dodged a bullet. A job opportunity lost, a relationship ending, failure, rejection – take it and use it to better yourself. Bounce back fast and make others wonder how the heck you did it. Take your L and make BIG moves.

Bliss & blessings,


Feeling is Living: An Empath’s Existence

Are you the person that everyone runs to for advice? When you first meet someone, do they usually feel comfortable enough to tell you all about their life? Instantly, I give off this warm and understanding vibe that allows others to share freely with me. I always considered myself a deep feeler, a helper or a healer. Things just get to me more easily than they get to other people. I labeled myself “emotionally sensitive.” The first time I heard the word ‘empath,’ I was in a meeting with my manager. She was describing me as the empath. I was stunned. All the qualities she mentioned, I embodied. 

An empath is a person who has the ability and capacity to feel what others are feeling. I felt so lost when attempting to explain it to someone because I was unaware that there was a word to describe the deep heartache and heavy burden feeling that I sometimes experience. I would think to myself, “how do I say this without sounding dramatic?” 

I am someone who feels so deeply and intensely. I’ve felt the emotional pain of my family, friends, clients, and strangers. I am sometimes so overwhelmed by my own senses that I just need to take a moment or several moments to just bring myself back to clarity and keep myself grounded. Everywhere I go, I want to find and make meaningful connections. I walk around with an open heart that is sort of like a sponge – taking in everyone’s energies and emotions. I connect and sometimes, heal without the intention of even doing so. 

Being an empath can be very emotionally exhausting at times. The powerful quality of empathy that I embody and my own personal challenges has led me to want to help others. I work in a field where I am constantly surrounded by people, offering support, helping when and where I can and all while trying to remain positive. I sometimes feel like I am carrying a weight (that is not always mine) on my shoulders. My mental and emotional health has suffered because of this. I realize that I must put in the extra effort to take care of myself that others might not find necessary. 

It is important to learn how to manage our empathy in such a way that prevents negative energy and fosters our well-being. A few things that have helped me to lessen the absorption of other people’s energies and focus on my own emotions:

1) Set healthy boundaries for yourself.

  • Know when to take a step back from the situation. Whether that be alone time or letting someone know that other resources are available for their use. You can’t be the superhero every time! We teach ourselves to not rely on others to make us happy, now it’s time to preach our knowledge. 
  • Ask for help, if need be. If you need a break from your job because it’s all just become too much, ask for more support or a day off. 

2) When you notice heavy emotions, start by labeling what you’re feeling. 

  • Ask yourself whether what you’re feeling is yours, someone else’s or a mix of two. 

3) The moment you notice yourself feeling emotions that are not yours, think about what is happening within you.

  • Take a deep breath and notice where in your body you feel the most grounded and let that guide you to a place of release. 
  • Return those emotions to their rightful owner. 

4) Use mindfulness meditation. I write about this all time, but it has truly changed my life. 

  • Stay within the present moment. Reflect on where you are. Breathe. Release.
  • I use this as energy healing. Cleansing my energy to allow for positivity to emerge. Clearing my mind and resetting my mindset. 

Once we learn to properly care for ourselves, we can use our gift and offer it to the world. I believe our biggest gift to the world is learning to trust your intuition more than anything else. Let it guide you to greatness. Deep empathy gives us the ability to relate and connect to others. When we care so genuinely, we are able to understand another person in a way that not everyone can and because we feel what others are feeling, we communicate in a sincere way that others can relate to. This sincerity can help us develop meaningful and fulfilling relationships. All in all, being an empath is a blessing if you know how to use your gift. Remember to spread the kindness not to just everyone else, but to yourself. 

Bliss & blessings, 


How to Get Back on Track with Your Fitness and Health Routine

It’s so easy to fall off the wellness train once life starts to get in the way. We start making excuses about having no time or just being so tired. We simply put our health on the back burner. You vow to eat healthier and never skip the gym and the moment you fail, you give up. I’ve heard everything in the book:

“Well I’ve already ate like crap, so I’ll just start fresh tomorrow.”

“I’m so busy. Maybe I’ll go to the gym tomorrow.”

“I can’t believe I ate that slice of pizza! I feel so awful. I ruined everything. I give up!!!”

“Ugh. I didn’t workout today. It’s okay, I’ll start again next week.”

Next week turns into next month turns into next year and you’re right back where you started – upset and unimpressed with yourself. We need to remember that this is a journey that we’re on, with no specific end point and there are many bumps in this long road of working on our health and fitness.

6 Simple Ways to Get Back on Track: 

Accept that you are a human being who makes mistakes and can’t always be 100% all the time. Even the most successful people slip up, but they always have the willpower and motivation to jump back up and get back on track quickly. Change your mindset from “maybe later” to “right now” because starting again may be difficult but it’s better to just get back on with it then keep making excuses. It’s completely normal to fall off the wagon, but don’t dwell and feel bad about it. Be active and create change in your life! So what you ate a slice of pizza? So what you skipped three gym days? Be better tomorrow. Set goals and start small. Make sure they’re realistic.

People often underestimate the importance of water consumption. It helps with dehydration (during workouts), elimination (flushes out toxins) and digestion (of your food). Your brain is made up of mostly water so drinking water helps you focus and concentrate better! It increases energy and relieves fatigue. Carrying a water bottle with you will remind you to keep drinking and motivate you to keep filling it up. I drink about 2-3 L a day!

Make time for your workout. Put it in your calendar on your phone, make a reminder and make it a habit! It’s all about being motivated and willing to go now that you’ve created some time. The next step is to schedule out each day and what you’ll be doing at the gym. For example, on Monday, I focus on my legs and incorporate some LISS (Low-Intensity-Steady-State) cardio. I also have each leg-focused exercise written down on my phone so I can refer to it. It’s so much easier to go to the gym when you’re prepared – it’s less intimidating.

Sometimes we don’t have time for a full workout or to even get to the gym. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Do some squats and lunges, go for a walk, stretch or even do a HIIT (High-Intensity-Interval-Training) workout at home! The point is to get your heart rate up and move around for a bit. Trust me, your body will thank you.

If you’re constantly feeling like you need to “cheat” on your relationship with food, then you need a new relationship. Eating healthy sometimes holds a negative connotation. It’s so hard for some people to understand that eating healthy is not eating kale, boiled eggs, and drinking lemon cayenne water everyday and restricting yourself from your favourite foods. We’ve got to get out of that mindset! That, in itself, is unhealthy. Here’s how I created a healthier relationship with food:

  1. Start eating mindfully – listen to your built-in cues – when you’re hungry and when to stop eating.
  2. No foods are off the table – I don’t restrict myself, I just understand what foods are treats and I create alternatives to the foods I love but not are so great for my body.
  3. I always eat breakfast – no matter how early or late my body is telling me to eat.
  4. I don’t keep problematic foods in my house.

Progress doesn’t happen overnight. I’m not expecting you to magically lose 10 lbs in a week (because that’s not healthy) or just stop eating chocolate for the rest of your life (because that’s just whack). Remember why you started this journey. Take photos so you can track your progress. Keep a positive mindset – no negative self-talk. Learn to love how your body transforms and changes. Appreciate that you are making the effort! This journey isn’t just to transform your body, but your mind and soul too. Be proud of how far you’ve come – a day, a week, a month, a year. Celebrate the small victories!

Wishing you luck on your journey, 


Embracing the Fear of the Unknown

It is a part of our human nature to fear the unknown. We are predisposed to the idea that not being in control of our lives is scary. We are afraid of the unknown because we don’t know what’s coming or what life has in store for us. Fear stops us from living our best lives – taking risks and exploring new ideas. Sometimes, it makes us put our passions on the back burners which ends in regret. We take the easy, more secure route. We take this route because we know there is stability, we know what the future looks like for us.

I was always really scared of the future, and big decisions I’d have to make regarding my future. I realized thought, that if I’m always letting this fear of the unknown future hold me back, none of my hopes and dreams would ever happen.

I still struggle with that fine line between thoughtful decision and overthinking. Thoughtful decision-making is all about making a pros and cons list and considering how the decision will affect your life. It is something that leads to action. Overthinking is more about contemplating, comparing and analyzing every single thing that could go wrong or right in regards to the situation. I am guilty of stressing myself out by playing out all possible ways in which a scenario could go. I stress myself out to the point where I miss the opportunity to see how the scenario actually plays out. I miss out on things that could have been great because I am overwhelmed with the fear that it could have gone terribly wrong.

You might be afraid of taking a new job because changes in your life may occur and you’re extremely comfortable where you are. You know that these things will be replaced by better things, but your feeling of fear doesn’t know that. It only sees one side of the situation – fear convinces you that things could go wrong.

But honestly, what is the worst thing that can happen if you let go of this fear of the unknown? Rejection? Failure? These things happen to the best of us. I am also a strong believer that things don’t workout because we are meant for something better suited for us.

3 Things that Helped me Overcome my Fear of the Unknown

Most of your fears won’t manifest, unless you think about them all the time and actually manifest them into your reality. I was told by a dear friend that if you put certain thoughts into the universe (negative or positive), the universe will attract those thoughts or energies back to us.

Whether you believe in something or not, believe that you were destined for greatness. I believe that God has a plan for me and so I leave it in His hands that my life is exactly where it is supposed to be right now. It brings me comfort knowing there is God to rely on. Saint Catherine of Siena said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

We may fear those who are different from us but if we don’t learn about things we don’t understand and just fear them, we will forever be afraid of things we do not know. We must make a conscious effort to uncover the unknown outcomes and great possibilities that the unknown may hold. Be curious about your fear!

Life is all about taking chances, conquering your fears and accepting the unknown and all that surrounds it. Take risks, accept the darkness of the unknown and know that you alone have the power to light up the darkness. Leave security behind. Life is meant to be uncertain and it may scare the living heck out of you, just remember that this is YOUR life and the future is so bright – so much is in store for you. Good things, great things! Where you currently are – is the beginning. Think fearless and strong and you will be just that. Embrace the change because the possibilities are endless. Make the unknown a challenge and conquer it.

I get out of bed everyday happy and excited about where I currently am and what the future has in store for me. Be brave, because taking that leap could really change your life.

Bliss & blessings, 


Remember to follow my fitness/wellness journey on instagram @smprogress

Being Positive and Staying Positive – All on Your Own


A mini collage of myself and some of my favourite people.

This isn’t a step-by-step guide to always having a smile on your face and being “happy” all the time. This is me explaining how I’ve been learning to become more of a positive person and how I’ve embraced doing it all on my own. Although good people in your life can help you create a more positive life as well (more about that below!!!). Being positive doesn’t mean that you have to live in a perfect, sugar-coated world. A person who is positive faces obstacles as well. They get angry, just like any other person and they fight hard for what they believe in, but they are strong and self-aware about their emotional state. They take responsibility for their feelings and are okay with being kept accountable. I am not always positive – I struggle, just like anyone else. I get into moods and feel not so great sometimes. It happens, but always remember that what you’re going through isn’t permanent.

Here are a few things that helped me become more positive in life.

1) Focus more on your peace of mind and less on being happy. Experience everyday as it comes and let yourself feel different emotions. When I try to increase my peace of mind – I try not to overthink things or think too much into things. When you overthink things or worry about things you cannot control, it only leaves you feeling upset and disappointed. Accept that you are right where you need to be. As soon as you start letting go of the fact that you cannot control all aspects of your life, it will become easier. Someone once told me, “you may not be able to control every situation and its outcome, but you can control how you react to it” and I’ve always lived by this. Sometimes shitty things happen, but I always try to keep an open mind and I’m a strong believer that things do happen for a reason so this gives me peace of mind that I am right where I need to be. Your thoughts and mindset are EVERYTHING.

2) Don’t make your intimate relationships the end-all-be-all of your happiness. The person who is in a relationship with you is not there to give you your happiness, they are there to increase it. When it comes to relationships, I see it as two people, two separate entities coming together to be positive additions in each other lives, not the one person completing the other person’s life. You can’t rely on your partner to shift your mood, heal you, or fill empty spaces and it is not your responsibility to do that for your partner either. I’m not saying don’t be there for your partner if they are going through a rough time, I’m just saying that if they need space or to be alone – give it to them and don’t let their mood define how happy/upset you are. Don’t feed off their energy. Create your own happiness and stay positive for your partner. The last thing you need is both people feeling really awful. Develop a positive relationship with yourself and embrace your independence.

3) Don’t force things – this applies to everything in life. Your relationships, your friendships, conversations. Once you learn how to let life happen on its own, you’ll be so much more relaxed. Go with the flow!!! Don’t self-ruminate and over-analyze every situation or relationship in your life. Remind yourself that you don’t need to have it all figured out.

4) Figure out what truly makes you happy so that when you do get into a negative mood, you can find ways to pick yourself up. Go to the gym, call a friend, journal, play a video game, and get distracted! If you’re struggling to find something to do, why don’t you try something new? Step out of your comfort zone. Strength comes from overcoming things we thought we couldn’t do. Do something challenging you would’ve never thought you’d enjoy.

5) Don’t take yourself so seriously. (I need to take my own advice!!!!!) I’m always taking myself too seriously. Always trying to be a superhuman and be the best version of myself. I never give myself a break. Give yourself permission to be who you are. Allow yourself to be different and to be unique. Reach for your dreams and go as far as you need to in order to accomplish them. Don’t compare yourself or your life to others. Get off social media and give it a break if you are. Social media can seriously be the devil sometimes.

6) Listen to yourself. Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, helps you grow or makes you happy. Eliminate toxic people or relationships from your life. Once you allow someone to disrespect you or treat you like you don’t matter, you are setting the tone for the rest of your relationship with that person. As I have grown up, this has been a huge lesson learned for me. I don’t tolerate people who come in and out of my life whenever they feel like and I do not allow people to treat me as if I am a friend/partner of convenience. Let it go guys, seriously!!! Please don’t let people be shitty to you. I promise you deserve so much better than that. A person who says they like you and care about you wouldn’t be treating you like that!

Lastly, appreciate all the good things in your life. The things and people you may be taking for granted. A roof over your head, food on the table, your job, your health, your education, your family, friends, and your significant other. Thank them and send them love whenever you can. I thank God for all the good people in my life and for what He has given me thus far. Be humble. Good things are coming!

Sending you lots of positive energy,