Thursday, 30 April 2015

Swimming = Increased Productivity

     Well, it's been an interesting few weeks! I've progressively adapted to my new swimming, hot tubbing and sauna-ing regime. I've been aiming to go every other day, following my hair washing schedule. It's weird I know! The pool is salt watered and apparently it's suppose to be a lot better for me sans the chlorine. If you ask me, I really couldn't tell the difference minus the salt flavoured gulps I accidentally ingest up my nose here or there. And the weird texture in my hair from all that time in the water. I feel so good after the fully body workout, swimming laps is fun for me not boring, tedious work. Change up the techniques you use and you end up working out different muscles. When, I'm tried I swim on my back so I'm still moving but not as vigorous. Plus, the whole if you don't keep going, you could drown helps keep me motivated enough to get to the other side. I use to absolutely hate swimming because I was always the smallest person in swim class. I hated certain techniques and being the one everyone had to practice "saving" from drowning. The extremely cold water was so torturous, that my lips were always a constant blue/purple hue. My teachers always asked me if I was ok, but it was brutal to swim in what would probably be equivalent to an ice cubed filled pool. You could just never get warm enough until you hit the showers.

     In the hot tub and the dry sauna, I like to bring a book and a large bottle of iced water so that I'd be able to read and have something to do. Having low blood pressure, I make sure to keep very hydrated and not get too over heated. Feeling like you're going to pass out absolutely sucks! Especially, since the saunas are in the change rooms and Winton can't come with me. To be honest, at first, I actually hated the dry sauna since I didn't seem to sweat fast enough and my skin would feel like it was completely drying and burning. But, between reading and stretching in there, I've actually learned to enjoy it. It took a few trips to figure out how long and how hot I liked it in there. I've debated a bunch of times whether or not I should pour some water on the hot rocks just for a little steam. So far, I've met a couple of interesting women in there. One woman just moved to Toronto, so I gave her some advice about what's in the area etc. Another elderly Chinese woman, ended up giving me advice on life and what to expect etc. It was pretty amusing cause there was the standard Asian parent bashing their kid. When I'm alone, I love to practice some yoga poses! I love being able to stretch further in the hot atmosphere. I'm super fidgety so sitting still and meditating doesn't work for me, but in a way I feel like being alone with no phone access in a completely quiet sauna is like meditation for me. It's Julie's quiet time, and that's what I feel like all of us are missing in our lives. Even when we are alone, we aren't really alone. It's really easy to text your friends and listen to a podcast. But, being completely alone to contemplate your thoughts is like digesting the information from your brain instead of your brain constantly ingesting information.

     The best part of this whole experience was the change in my attitude. I always thought I didn't have enough time for anything and I "tried" to make time here and there. Whereas, when I just sucked it up and went swimming and forced myself to go the first few times, I found myself coming home and it was still early to do things. I had so much time and energy to cook dinner, make my lunch and snacks for the next day. I did so much more, but didn't feel as exhausted as when I sat around on the couch and did nothing all evening. It's pretty bizarre! And now, I crave going cause I love that high you get from feeling healthier and stronger. Try something new that's good for you! I bet you'll love changing up the boring daily routine. Besides, it doesn't hurt trying to get that six pack while having fun and enjoying yourself.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Progress and Contemplation!

I've been doing a ton of learning in the past little couple weeks! I've ramped up my savings games in some areas and faltered a bit in others. I've tried to cut out all my miscellaneous spending habits, but cracked on the no junk food rule. I'm surprised I was able to hold off on buying junk food for a couple weeks but when I caved I caved pretty bad. On the bright side, packages of cookies will sit in the cupboards and eaten pretty slowly by my normal standards. With the nicer weather, I'm back to the daily 45 minute walks to work. Some people think it's excessive, but with my podcasts they feel like 20 minutes. I actually feel like I'm reducing stress on my walks, as I like to see the elderly doing Tai Chi in the park while the bright sun is shining on my face. I'm one of those people that need to be in the sun! I love basking in it and working on my non-existent and impossible tan, but that's another story! I'm also happy to report that I've survive another year biking through the harsh Canadian winter. I absolutely refuse to take the TTC home during rush hour, I just can't deal with the cramped and grumpy crowds who push and shove like it's life or death to get on the train. Weather permitting, I've biked home every single day in the blistering cold! Some days when the snow or rain falls pretty hard I will end up walking for safety reasons. Even with bike lanes, they are rarely shovelled all the way to permit us bikers to ride safely in our own lane and cars for some reason don't mind driving so close you can reach our your arm and touch them! Even with my helmet, it's not worth the risk to easily slip on some rain or snow and get into an accident.

     Last week, I started back tracking and reading all the interesting blogs from Mr. Money Moustache. He's great! If you haven't heard of him, give him a google and check out his blog. He talks about living a frugal, simple life that isn't about consumption and more about being happy and enjoying life. It made me do a lot of contemplating about my life and reinforcing what I was doing was good for me. For all the shiny things I wanted to buy, at the end of the day they didn't really increase my happiness. If I had one day left on this earth, the last thing I'd want to do is go shopping for shiny new things. So, I went out and created new experiences that would increase my happiness and hopefully my life span. Usually, on Sundays its my catch up and clean up day but instead I took out an hour or so to sit in a cafe and enjoyed a hot chocolate, my favourite crepe and start a book I bought on vacation way back in November. I took another half an hour and spent it going to the condo pool to do some laps. I HATE exercise but I love to swim! The hot tub doesn't hurt either hahaha! It was hard at first since I'm so out of shape but I've gone a few times since then I can slowly do more laps than the previous trip. Best part is it's in the condo, so I don't have to leave the building to enjoy a quick swim and post relaxing session in the hot tub. Sometimes, I forget and take for granted that we are so lucky to be living downtown and are paying for all these amenities that most people don't use. The pool is always dead and I've never seen more than 5 people or so at anytime. Most of the times we've gone, the pool is empty and that's the best! Starting this year, there also has been a myriad of fitness and fun programs hosted by the condo and they are all free! I am fortunate enough that I work from home on Mondays, which is also my errands day and it just happened that I was offered set work. I'm usually tired on Monday's but I felt a nice sense of new energy that came over me from changing up my routine. I've gone a few more times after work to jump in the pool and you really get an extra jolt of energy to get you through the rest of the day. My days are longer but they are more fulfilled and feel like I accomplished a lot more. The worst feeling for me is after a crazy long work day, and spending a few hours on the couch binging on shows you think "what the heck happened to the day?" Don't get me wrong, I love tv binging and there is nothing wrong with doing it in moderation. But, I really did notice what I could do if I get off the couch for a couple hours and do something else instead and it's great!

DIY Re-Caulking the Bath Tub
Lesson learned: Silicone is better than general caulking material

We had to caulk the tub this week since our first attempt, however well done, the material did not hold up to the water assault we gave it over a couple of showers. The tube said it was caulk made for the tub and needed 36 hours to dry. We gave it more than two days and started to notice it peel right off the wall after the first shower. I suppose the fact we picked it up from Walmart, instead of an actual home repair store should have been a sign. Luckily, we were able to still reuse the tools we bought the first time around to scrape off the off the old stuff and re-apply with the recommended silicone by the Canadian Tire guys. It was advertised as three hour ready but we gave it a good 24+ hours to fully dry. It's appears a bit shiny/wet but when you touch it it's nice and dry. It's been almost a week and it's nice and solid with no signs of wear or tear. The best $3 we spent! I would definitely recommend buying a scraper and applier, we got ours from Walmart for about $5 each. They are reusable but after two uses the scraper seems to be a bit dull. The applier tool gives you a nice professional, clean and straight look. This tool is definitely a keeper! You just need to make sure to use a wet paper towel to wipe off the excess silicone before it dries to avoid it drying up on your tool.

Tip: wipe the tool often to avoid the silicone over flowing on the sides and smearing all over your tiles and tub.

Overall, I had a very good couple of weeks! Had some great new experiences and fun, all while reinforcing my good financial habits. It's hard to start a new savings habit and the best thing you could do is start TODAY! Right now! Put away $5 into an account and once you see it grow you'll get addicted! That's what happened to me. I made a good chunk of change as a teenager but with no financial foundation I blew it all on eating out and having fun with my friends. I still regret it and wished someone sat me down and taught me about personal finance! No one will care more about your finances and future more than you will (ok, maybe your mom). But even then, if you ever get into a pickle, most people won't or can't help you. Thanks to Facebook/Instagram etc. most people seem so happy in their big houses, new cars and what not but you never see the bill attached to those items. How much debt do they really carry to keep that facade? So, what if you don't have the newest whatever! Trust me, it feels a MILLION times better to be able to stand tall and know you owe nothing to nobody! The onus is on you to take care of yourself and family (if you have one). Sadly, some people think their parents will be around forever and are so dependent on them that they never learn to grow up and become independent. So, I say STAND UP, GROW A PAIR, and GET YOUR SHIT IN ORDER!

Eros and Pookie