Collection: Just Gotta Swim

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Take a Hike, It's Rejuvenating

No really, I mean 'take a hike'! Seriously though, hiking is like a good medicine it rejuvenates, energizes and makes you appreciative of the amazing outdoors. I know that not everyone is suited for certain outdoor adventures but even a short hike on a gentle trail can do wonders for the soul. As you do more walks and hikes and increase your stamina you'll want to explore a little more ground, finding a variety of hiking trails to visit. Some people like to hike alone and enjoy the solitude of the great outdoors that way. Others like to hike with a buddy or some prefer to hike with a group.  

I love that hiking is not only good for the physical body but also is uplifting and inspiring for your mental and emotional health. This summer my husband and I have been doing lots of hiking trails and enjoying many bike rides too! 

In the last few days we did a bike ride that turned out to be a 60 km ride. We stopped for lunch at a quaint cafe and enjoyed some country road riding along with a few back roads. We just finished a combined cycling and hiking ride yesterday! 8 km bike ride including some good hills and an 8 km hike to a beautiful viewpoint on the ocean. I love that we live in a fabulous area of B. C. so close to nature trails, walks, bike paths and mountain hikes that we can explore whenever we like. 

If you can you should get out at every opportunity you have to explore, have amazing adventures and rejuvenate your soul.  It will make you more productive in your business too! 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Fresh Perspective

Sometimes all you need is a fresh perspective. Think about  how a fresh coat of paint can change the atmosphere of a room. When you add a new or different piece of furniture it can change the way you feel about a space. A fresh coat of paint can liven up an older item that isn't looking as well as it could. I had an old little side table that just simply needed to be sanded down and given a new stain or coat of paint as the base (the legs) were still in great shape. It had a few coffee cup circles on the surface and it was just sitting in a corner downstairs not really being utilized. So to save it from going to the landfill or second hand shop I thought I'd spruce it up a little.  

I gave it a  quick sanding with a sand block then dusted if off and chose to to give it a coat of black paint. The paint was an acrylic paint with a little bit of gloss in it. After a second coat I decided to paint it with a glossy varnish to add a little extra shine. The legs were already a black metal as you can see. I think it came out quite nice and makes a great useful little side table. 

Perhaps you have some things in your home that you can freshen up. I was thinking the same principle could be applied to a website. I have a few different websites and have been thinking that I should freshen them up with a new look. The front page of your website is like your front door or your entrance, it's the first thing people see. A new design or an interesting title can bring more attention and make your site more appealing  attracting returning visitors and customers.  Keep your website up to date with regular tweaks and new things to keep customers coming back too! Make it easy for people to maneuver around your site, items and new categories should be easy to find. Always be creative and keep trying to better what you're doing. It will pay off in the long run! 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Nature and its Benefits on the Mind and Body

Research and many studies have proven how the effects of being in nature for even a few minutes a day can have a remarkable effect on one's health. Taking time to be outdoors has been said to stimulate areas of our brains that can give us a mental and physical boost in energy.  I know when I take even a 15 minute break to go for a walk or hop on my bike for a ride I feel so much better and re-energized and am then able to focus so much better on my work. Exercising outdoors is reported to provide us with more health benefits than performing exercise in a gym or indoor fitness facility. Spending time outdoors can not only increase our energy but may quite likely impact our happiness. Nature can revitalize us and have a positive impact on our brains. 

A book called  'Your Brain On Nature' has been an interesting read.  The authors have gathered some great information and statistics on this subject.  Some quotes from authors Eva M. Selhub MD and Alan C. Logan ND stated "In a large study done on residents of Shanghai, researchers reported that neighborhoods with a higher proportion of parks, gardens, and other green areas were associated with a reduced risk of mortality. "  Another U.S. study from the University of West Florida, showed that researchers found after examining 5 years worth of data on stroke mortality they found that those living in areas with a high geographic green space offered significant protection while areas with low green space were associated with a very high risk of stroke mortality."  Very interesting, I'm glad we have a lot of green space around our neighborhood and easy access to amazing outdoor walking trails, hiking, biking as well as lakes and oceans not too far away. 

Let's face it working in an office, staring and screens and walls doesn't do a whole lot for one's health. We need to stimulated to do our best work and the effects of nature can surely help us improve our health, lower stress and improve our immune system. Not to mention increase your longevity. I don't know about you but I'm in! As far as work, time spent in nature can help increase your focus, creativity and production.  Eva M. Selhub co-author of  'Your Brain on Nature' says " a drop of nature is like a drop of morphine to the brain, since it stimulates reward neurons in your brain." It turns off the stress response, lowering cortisol levels, lowers heart rate and blood pressure and improves immune response. 

I know it's not possible for everyone to get outside during the business day but when you can incorporate a few minutes of nature into your day, even a walk to the coffee shop can give you a boost of energy and help you refocus on your tasks. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Defining Walking Styles

If you are a walker you've probably already adopted or fallen into a certain style that you enjoy and that works for you. Perhaps you are very in tune with your walking style or maybe you don't give it much thought at all and just head out the door. I was thinking about different fitness walking styles recently as I watched people walking through my neighborhood, it is quite interesting to see the different gaits, arm movements and step sizes that people use. 

I consider myself a very fast walker, my husband finds it hard to walk the pace that I go. I  take deliberate quick strides throughout my entire walk which is usually 25 to 35 minutes depending on the route I take. I prefer shorter quick walks that get my heart rate up and engage my muscles. I guess you could call it power walking! 

In European countries and growing in popularity around the world is Nordic Pole walking. This is a style of walking where you use poles in somewhat of a ski technique. It makes your walking stride easier and smoother. It is said to engage approx. 90% of your muscles as you move. 

There are those that walk in more of a meditative way. Sometimes with their heads down, at a slow pace as if contemplating or in deep thought. 

Race walking similar to Power walking is another popular style. In race walking one foot is always in contact with the ground. If done correctly is said to put less stress on your joints and burns more calories per mile. 

Strolling is just a slow kind of lazy day walking style. Not being in a hurry just ambling along while taking in the fresh air and scenery. 

Whatever your walking style is, it is important to just get outdoors and walk whenever the opportunity presents itself. Everyone has to find the correct balance for their own gait, speed, step length and frequency. With each walk you do and the more steps you take you will notice increased health benefits. Sitting too much can be damaging to our health so I say come on' just get out and walk, you'll be glad you did! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Simplify With Organizational Tips

We all know that an organized home can lead to a healthier more organized life. Who wouldn't want that, right?  Organization doesn't have to break the bank, it can be done simply and on budget. I consider myself a pretty organized person and thankfully my husband is as well. We are not collectors of 'stuff' and neither of us like clutter so it makes staying organized some what easier.  I know many people have a hard time keeping their homes and work space clutter free but with a little help it can be done. 

Here are a few low cost tips for the kitchen and your home office:

Kitchen -  wicker baskets are great for holding papers, vegetables or fruit
- trays (one size or with divided compartments) are very handy and come in a variety of sizes, use one on a coffee table or in a drawer or cupboard to organize items
- appliance manuals should all go in a ziplock bag and be put in a safe place for easy access
- clear glass or plastic canisters make great containers for dry cereal, baking items or treats
- ziplock bags are great organizers on their own, use one for birthday items like candles, cake decorating items, food coloring, etc.
- spice racks whether you like them visible or in a cupboard keeps spices organized and easy to find
- add some hooks to inside cupboard doors to hang an extra kitchen towel, barbecue tools or other item you use 
- a cleaning caddie keeps cleaning products together and stores easily under the kitchen sink

Home Office - filing cabinet or paper file box with compartments to keep all of your papers in order
- a must have is a paper shredder
- labelled binders for easy access 
- a bulletin board is useful for inspiration as well as for pinning important information you want to see daily
-magazine holders wooden or cardboard can help keep books and papers organized
- small wicker baskets can organize random office items
- desk lamp for task lighting
- book shelves of course for your physical reading material
- organize books by theme or alphabetically for easier access
- an old dresser that you repaint or re-stain can be a great way to keep items organized and out of sight

These tips should help you have a more efficiently run home and office. Simple things that make life easier. 

Designs by Shell - the home of whimsical happy designs
(apparel, gift items and stationary products)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

How Being Fit Can Benefit Your Work Life

If you love to stay fit and healthy then you probably already know that exercise comes with many more benefits than just the physical ones. Exercise can improve many different aspects of your life. Think of how great you feel after accomplishing a good workout. I know when I get home from a great bike ride or fitness walk I feel energized and so refreshed just from being outdoors and having that great adrenaline or seratonin boost. It gives me a clear focus and I feel much more alert and ready to work on my business. 

Whether you go to the gym to workout or prefer getting your exercise outdoors you will reap the benefits of staying active and in shape. Having more energy will keep you more alert and productive at your job and throughout your day. Even a 15 minute walk on your lunch break can be enough to recharge your battery and help you tackle tasks that feel like a burden. 

We all know that exercising regularly, especially as we age can increase longevity and improve overall health. Here's a list of some things exercise can help improve:

- weight
- mood
- stress
- anxiety
- depression
- illnesses  

I don't know about you but those are enough to make me want to exercise regularly. 

There are so many options of activities that you can choose from. Don't say you can't exercise, just find the type of activity that works for you.  

Here are a few examples of what you could do: 

walking, biking, hiking, gym classes, weight lifting, spinning, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, running, tennis... the list goes on.

Whatever you choose to do, do it well and you will improve your immune system as well as boost your productivity at home and work. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Gift of Travel

Getting ready for a big trip can be overwhelming when you start to think about all the details that have to come together. There's of course the trip planning in itself like your flights and connections and all the information you need to go with that. There is the hotels to book, your tours and excursions to book otherwise you risk not being able to get into many of the places that you wish to see. Booking ahead will also save you from being in those nasty long lineups and wondering if you'll actually make it in. Booking many things ahead can also save you money as many sites offer deals for signing up to things in advance.  Then there are all of the details to leave for those taking care of the fort, so to speak. Lots of things to finalize, not to mention all the packing and organizing of  travel items.  Okay... I'm tired just thinking of it all! 

My husband and I have been greatly blessed to be at the stage of our life where we are able to travel. Not just little trips but longer adventures to places we've been fascinated with and often talked about. This is our third time to Europe and our excited to explore new cities and countries in this area of the world. Exploring new cultures, art and history and tasting a variety of foods new to us is pretty exciting.  When we return home I will share pictures and stories of our adventures.

Having the opportunity to visit different places gives me great picture taking opportunities too! This works out perfect giving me a variety of photos for use on many products that I sell in my store and on my websites.  I get great inspiration from new places, from nature, people and sites that we visit. 

If you're travelling soon don't forget to pack it right and tag your bags with recognizable luggage tags.