Sleep & Stress Management

Health & Lifestyle

Presented by Rhiannon Lytle, RHN with Organika (source)

How Much Should I Sleep?

  • Adults should get 7-9 hours daily of quality sleep for proper repair
  • It’s important to sleep more, especially during times of stress or illness
  • Don’t hit snooze!
    • Your body re-enters a REM cycle and gets ready to sleep
    • Tip: Set alarm 1.5 hours before you want to wake up; go back to sleep for a 90-minute REM cycle (the average REM cycle for most people) 
man in crew neck t shirt lying on bed

When Should I Sleep?

  • According to the Traditional Chinese Body Clock, our body has certain hours targeted at certain organs
    • E.g., 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. is the time our liver is functioning at its highest;
    • If we’re staying up until 2 a.m., our liver is not getting the support needed to detox the things in our body which can cause inflammation, our immune system to not function at its best, and/or poor bowel movements 
  • In Western culture, we recognize the natural cortisol curve
    • Should be highest first thing in the morning and tapers off mid-day (groggy feeling we experience)
    • Can shift with your body, such as if you work nights
  • Ideally, you should be asleep by 11 p.m. and wake around 7 a.m. (at least 8 hours; can be adjusted depending on your schedule) 
  • Why?
    • Detox support
    • Works with our natural cortisol curve 

How to Practice Good Sleep Hygiene 

  • Nighttime routines are essential to prepare for bed 
    • Putting phone away 1 hour before bed 
    • Turning off notifications while sleeping 
    • Sleep with phone outside room 
      • Quality is just as important as quantity 
    • Have room as dark as possible (e.g., eye mask, blackout curtains) 
    • Try white noise or ear plugs
    • Avoid alcohol close to bed so body can digest it before you sleep
  • Supplement support:
    • Magnesium
    • Herbal teas (chamomile, passionflower, valerian root)
person pouring liquid into brown ceramic cup


  • An essential mineral for overall health 
  • Involved in hundreds of body functions 
  • Allows body tissues to relax, from the muscles to digestive tract and the nervous system
  • Commonly found types of magnesium supplements:
    • Magnesium Citrate
      • Magnesium bound to a salt, like citrate 
      • 30-40% is absorbed, relaxing muscles and nerves 
      • Used for issues with constipation
        • Helps the digestive system 
    • Magnesium Bisglycinate 
      • Magnesium combined with the amino acid glycine 
      • High absorption, less digestive side-effects
    • Magnesium L-threonate 
      • Another magnesium + amino acid combo 
      • Most effective at reaching the nervous system 

Stress & Immunity

  • Sleep and stress are linked
    • When stressed, increases in cortisol can shut down body functions that aren’t deemed “essential”, such as:
      • Digestion
      • Reproduction
      • Immune function

Short vs. Long-Term Stress

How to make stress your friend (TedTalk)

  • Short-term stress
    • Natural – we’re supposed to experience it 
    • Beneficial to our immune system and can boost inflammation response
      • E.g., Inflammatory response helps to heal wounds faster 
    • Can boost energy (fight-or-flight response)
      • In fight-or-flight mode, your body shuts down functions that aren’t deemed “essential” (digestion, reproduction, immune function)
  • Long-term stress
    • More apparent in society today
    • Can lead to:
      • Chronic inflammation
      • Poor digestion
        • We need a lot of nutrients to ensure our immune system is in shape
        • If we’re not digesting properly, we’re not absorbing properly (supplements can be helpful)
        • Develop stress management techniques before eating 
      • Imbalanced hormones
    • Adaptogens may help support chronic stress
      • Helps us to adapt and find “homeostasis” (balance)
      • Needs to be taken consistently to see the affects 
      • Powders absorb better than capsule 
    • What to look out for:
      • Feeling “wired but tired”
      • Having no energy to do anything
      • Unable to focus
      • Crashing extremely hard
      • Physically fatigued 
depressed black man touching face in frustration near window

Simple Tips to Manage Stress

woman doing cobra pose

More from Organika
More from Rhiannon Lytle, RHN


This website is provided only for informational purposes and not intended to be used to replace professional advice, treatment or professional care. Always speak to your physician, healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have concerns about your own health or the health of a child.

Meditation Tools & Tips

Health & Lifestyle

Presented by Lilly Balch (The Morning Ritual Podcast)

Meditation Practice Tools & Tips

1. Time & Place

woman in black tank top sitting beside man in black shirt
Photo by cottonbro studio
  • Start first thing in the morning
  • Choose the same spot every day
  • Consistency is key
  • Do 2 minutes every morning vs 20 minutes once a week
  • Practice in a space free of clutter, distraction and noise
  • Show up!

2. Get Comfortable

  • Set yourself up for success
  • Feel physically supported

3. Don’t Worry If You’re Doing It Wrong, You’re Not!

  • There is no perfect way to meditate
  • Be at ease with the fact that you’ve showed up

4. It’s Not about Clearing the Mind

  • Thoughts are normal and can’t be shut off
  • Practicing is about focusing attention and strengthening mindfulness and awareness muscles

5. Approach Meditation with a Beginners Mind

  • Don’t compare to previous meditation practices
  • Hopes, fears, desires and expectations can interfere with meditation
  • Release the desire to control the outcome
  • Simply be!
More from Lily Balch


This website is provided only for informational purposes and not intended to be used to replace professional advice, treatment or professional care. Always speak to your physician, healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have concerns about your own health or the health of a child.

The Vagus Nerve and 5 Ways to Tone It


Presented by Ashley Turner (source)

The Vagus Nerve

  • Also known as the “Wandering Nerve”
    • Connects to most vital organs
      • From the brain through the face and thorax to the abdomen
      • Carries information from the gut, liver, heart and lungs to the brain
    • Mediator of our parasympathetic (rest & digest) response 
    • Influences breathing, digestion and heart rate
      • Sends message to slow down heart rate
        • Releases: acetylcholine (a calming chemical) 
  • Listen to: Polyvagal Theory with Dr. Stephen Porges to learn more about the different branches of the vagus

5 Ways to Tone the Vagus Nerve

  1. Deep Belly Breathing: lengthen the inhale + exhale; calms, tones + soothes the vagus nerve
    • e.g., Meditation 🧘🏾‍♀️
photo of woman singing
Photo by White Gold Photography
  1. Chanting: singing or chanting are great ways to tone the vagus nerve
    • e.g., Singing songs from your favourite Spotify playlist 🎵
  2. Spinal Flexion: massages the vagus nerve
    • e.g., Yoga (cat/cow, seated spinal movements) 🌸
  3. Belly Laughing: increases circulation, blood flow, tones diagram + strengthens the vagus nerve
    • e.g., Watch comedies 😂
  4. Splash Face: tones your vagus nerve in the morning and resets/wakes up your nervous system
    • e.g., Splash face and eyes in the morning with cool water 💦

Why Tone the Vagus Nerve?

  • Decreases stress and anxiety (activates rest & digest system)
  • Deepens breathing
  • Lowers heart rate and increases circulation in the body
  • Opens emotional capacity (feeling grounded and lighter)

Ready to get started?

Vagus Nerve: Breathing for Relaxation
Spotify – Summer Hits Playlist
Cat-Cow Yoga Pose – Yoga With Adriene


This website is provided only for informational purposes and not intended to be used to replace professional advice, treatment or professional care. Always speak to your physician, healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have concerns about your own health or the health of a child.

Five Stress Healing Solutions

Health & Lifestyle, Self-Regulation

Presented by Proven


  • Four major researched components of yoga:
    • Posture and Exercise 
    • Pranayama: breathing practices (long, slow, deep breathing)
    • Relaxation
    • Contemplative: meditative focus of attention
  • An effective way to boost mood and achieve emotional wellness
  • Yoga helps you to pay attention and become aware of your body and thoughts
  • See: The Science of Yoga

Herbs, Adaptogens & Supplements

  • Ashwagandha 
    • An adaptogens that helps the body “adapt” to stressors
    • Studies have shown:
      • Reduction in anxiety 
      • Reduction in cortisol levels
      • Helpful with weight
        • Increases feelings of satiety (feeling full)
        • Decrease in stress eating
    • See: Let’s Talk Adaptogens!

Mindfulness Practice

Jon Kabat-Zinn Teaches Mindfulness and Meditation
  • The practice of bringing full awareness to the present moment (e.g., meditation)
  • Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
    • Consists of doing a body scan (brings you to the present) 
  • Mindfulness Self-Compassion 
    • How to be more compassionate, loving and kind towards self
    • Being a better human being starts with you!
  • See: The Foundation of Mindfulness Practice


  • An ancient Chinese exercise and healing technique
  • Qi = energy 
  • Internal & external energy work
  • Deep stances that build up quads and glutes 
  • Can increase the powerhouses of energy in the body 
  • Want more energy? Build up the big muscles in your body 
  • The coordination of eyes, mind, body, breath
    • Activates the brain 
    • Attention turns inward 
    • Awareness of what is happening inside the body
    • Can modulate and control the parasympathetic (rest & digest) nervous system

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

How to Tap – with Nick Ortner of The Tapping Solution
  • Originated by Nicolas Ortner (CEO of The Tapping Solution) 
  • Tapping on end points of meridian on the body to calm body and release stress and overwhelm (example)
    • Meridians on the body:
      • Pathways in which qi (our energy) flows 
      • When there’s pain there’s a blockage of qi
      • Meridians connect all of the organs and qi flow
  • Tapping on end points sends a calming signal to counteract fear responses from the amygdala

What are your stress healing solutions?


This website is provided only for informational purposes and not intended to be used to replace professional advice, treatment or professional care. Always speak to your physician, healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have concerns about your own health or the health of a child.

Mindful Communication

Health & Lifestyle

“Great communication begins with connection.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

man wearing brown jacket using smartphone while using smartphone

How would you describe the way you communicate with others? Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the way people communicate. The way that I communicate. Especially since the COVID-19 pandemic shifted the way we had to communicate and the new ways that we do now.

Every single day we communicate. Whether it’s through our words, lack thereof, body language and/or actions, we are engaged in some form of communication. There are many different ways we can communicate with others. Face-to-face, over the phone, virtually/remotely, or in writing. Such as through text messages or written letters. Just to list a few. Compared to years ago, we have so many more methods of communication available to us.

Because of just how important communication is in our personal and professional relationships, I believe it’s important that we take time to reflect more deeply about how we communicate with others, and about ways we can do so mindfully and effectively. One of those ways can be through mindful communication.

What is Mindful Communication?

Mindful communication is the way in which we can bring awareness, attention and compassion to how we communicate with others. When we become aware of how we communicate with others through our words, body language and/or actions, we can start to pay close attention to how it influences the nature of our conversations and relationships. While there are many different methods that can be used in mindful communication, I’m going to share one I discovered by Gregory Kramer, author of Insight Dialogue: The Interpersonal Path to Freedom. He shares 6 meditation instruction steps (Insight Dialogue Guidelines) that can be used in interpersonal relationships.

1. Pause: Mindfulness

This consists of stepping out of the daily rush and letting go of whatever the mind may be attached to at the moment. It is a movement of the mind towards being more awake and present to a moment of dialogue. This can happen through paying attention to the breath and having a sense of body awareness to ground you. It includes noticing where you are externally (e.g., anything outside and around you), and internally (e.g., thoughts and feelings). In this way, you can enter communication with the whole mind, body and heart.

2. Relax: Tranquility & Receptivity

woman meeting with client

This step consists of relaxing muscles that are tense and paying attention to the feelings that come with relaxing, such as ease, allowing, and letting go. This can be tested in places that are not usually attended to such as the muscles below the eyes. Relaxation of other parts of the body such as the jaw and shoulders allows the mind and emotions to follow. This step helps to bring about mental tranquility and serenity, and can be explored as you speak and listen to others.

3. Open: Relationality

This step is about how we relate to others and invites an open inquiry into our internal and external experiences. It allows us to look at how mindfulness is resting, whether it be internally, externally or both. This is an intimate experience which allows us to notice where the mind is in each moment and what is being received (e.g., voice, face, eyes, pain, love, beauty, horror, tragedy, potential).

4. Trust Emergence: Attunement

This step is about having the flexibility to trust what will emerge in conversation.

5. Listen Deeply: Meditate

This is all about showing up and paying full attention. It includes a steady quality of listening which matures and develops through concentration. Through this step, you can begin to notice how you make sense and attend to something, while also observing and listening to the phasing, pauses, pitch and changes in loudness in another person’s voice. This also includes noticing beyond one’s language and words and actually hearing the person.

6. Speak the Truth: Language

This step pairs together with the former step – listen deeply, since speaking begins with listening. This step also flows out of the first 4 steps. Kramer says, “It rests on the mindfulness of the pause. It stabilizes with relax. It engages relationally with open. It gains flexibility with trust emergence. To speak the truth, we have to first know what the truth is”. It also includes discerning what gets spoken and what is left unspoken, and giving language to the moment of awareness.

How might you begin to integrate any of these steps into your communication with others?

To learn more about Gregory Kramer’s Insight Dialogue Guidelines

Are you interested in sharing a post on a topic or adding to our resources page? Let’s connect!


This website is provided only for informational purposes and not intended to be used to replace professional advice, treatment or professional care. Always speak to your physician, healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have concerns about your own health or the health of a child.

Self-Care Begins With You


I’m grateful to share with you this inspiring “everything self-care” article, written by my best friend who I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for many years. If you haven’t begun your own self-care routine and are thinking about getting started, in this article, Kaitlin shares with you how she came to discover self-care, a complete insight into her own routine, along with suggestions and tips to get started. Thank you, Kaitlin, for taking the time to share with others your own experience on such an important topic!

Written by Kaitlin Findlay

“Honour yourself to love others.” – Paul Colaianni

Self-care is not selfish. It is a practice of self-love, respect, and appreciation for ourselves so that we can love, respect, and appreciate others. Before I began my self-love journey in March of this year, my typical morning during the week would look like this: wake up at the latest time possible, hop out of bed to get ready, pack my lunch, and off to work I went. My typical morning routine on the weekends would look like this: sleep in, grab my phone to scroll on social media for at least an hour, and then slowly get out of bed to get ready for the day. I realize now, looking back, that both routines were toxic to my mental health as I focused my attention and awareness on other people, and as a result, neglected myself.

I have found that creating and practicing self-care every morning to start my day has given me two things:

  • Motivation: My morning self-care routine has motivated me to be the best person I can be everyday. When I take the time in the morning to reflect on my feelings and thoughts and to praise myself for the beautiful human I am, it literally hypes up my soul to start my day off with positive energy. This allows me to regulate my emotions and thoughts for the remainder of the day so that I can have the best day possible.
  • Self-esteem and Self-confidence: The second thing my morning self-care routine has given me is self-esteem and self-confidence. Before this, I lacked these two things as I would self-sabotage myself throughout most of my day. Now, loving myself for the first few hours of my day has allowed me to accept that I am beautiful, worthy and therefore, I view myself differently now than before and it feels incredible.

So, what does my morning self-care routine look like?

I have tried many different things and have perfected what I do now to suit what lifts me up every morning. My routine takes me around three hours to do, but this is simply because I have the time to do it for that long.

My Morning Self-Care Routine

Drink a litre of water
Filling my body with water at the very beginning of the day helps me to rehydrate and refresh from my beauty sleep.

Listen to a podcast
I lie in bed while I listen to a podcast to help wake me up. I usually pick podcasts that will strengthen my self-love as this is something I am currently working on.

What I’m currently listening to:

Read a daily affirmation
Affirmations are powerful as they help bring truth to light. They allow us to appreciate ourselves for the beautiful humans we all are.

What I’m currently reading:

Engage in a guided meditation
This is an art that I am still practicing. My end goal is to be able to meditate on my own, but for now, I do guided meditations to help clear my thoughts and emotions.

What I’m currently practicing:

Write in a journal
I have a love for journalism as I’ve been doing it since I was 12. I have kept all of my journals and when I look back, I used to write everyday and write every small detail! In university, it started to become less frequent and I tended to only write when I was at a low. Once I started working with my life coach (shoutout to Hillary Flinn!) she suggested I journal when I was happy too and told me to get a writing-prompt journal for the days I didn’t know what to write about. I have been journaling everyday since! The art of journalism helps me to organize and clear my thoughts and emotions. It’s one thing to always be reflecting in your brain, but another to write those reflections down.

What I’m currently journaling in:

Kick my own butt with some exercise
I have recognized the benefits of working out at the start of my day rather than anytime afterwards because it gives me the energy to continue the rest of my day on a high. My current workouts entail cardio (running) and then weight training (a different muscle each day).

Here are some other suggestions of what you can add to your own morning self-care ritual:

  • Stretch
  • Make the bed
  • Clean room
  • Take an Epsom salt bath
  • Yoga
  • Morning devotion
  • Pray
  • Singing bowl
  • Skin care routine
  • Shower
  • Listen to music
  • Go outside
  • Read
  • Do a puzzle
  • Write down daily achievable goals
  • Talk to self in the mirror
  • Visualization of where you want to be

Tips to get you started:

  • Start off small
    If you’re just beginning your morning self-care routine journey, it can feel intimidating and overwhelming. I suggest you start off small! Set aside five-to-ten minutes of your time for self-care and do something simple. Become comfortable with that small routine and then you will naturally want to add to it.
  • Be consistent
    There were times in the beginning of my journey that I felt like giving up. I couldn’t stay mentally focused on the tasks and I felt like I wasn’t getting better. The famous saying, “practice makes perfect” stays true to a morning self-care routine (although perfect looks different for everyone). I’m only feeling good about it now, after six months of practicing, with way more room for growth. With time comes progress and I promise it gets easier.
  • Say no to your phone
    Do you wake up and look at your phone right away? Scroll through social media and check who messaged you? I used to! It set me back not only time wise, but mentally too. Waking up and immediately looking at my phone affected my self-esteem and self-worth as I was comparing myself to others, right at the beginning of the day. I have made it a rule to not look at anything on my phone (other than my podcasts and meditation) until I have completed my self-care routine. It allows me to focus on myself so that I have enough energy to engage with others.

I can’t even begin to explain how rewarding waking up every morning to work on myself has felt. Although Covid-19 has brought us a lot of sorrow, I appreciate the time it has given me to work on myself, as I would not be where I am right now. It takes a lot of self-discipline, time, and effort, so I am thankful this pandemic has given me the opportunity to fully engage in this process. Now that I am more comfortable with my routine, I will be able to modify it for when I do have to return back to work as I will not have as much time. I now understand that if you put yourself first and if you make your happiness a priority, then you will naturally want to make the effort to practice self-care, no matter how much earlier you have to wake up. You will want to practice self-care because you love and care for yourself and your well-being. So, ask yourself, how much do you love yourself? 

Additional Resources

Courtesy The Good Trade

How To Start A Journal (Even If You Hate Writing)

Here’s A Journal Prompt For Every Emotion You Might Be Feeling Right Now

How You Can Cultivate A Sense Of Connection During COVID

Our Editors Share Their Morning Routines

99 Ways To Add Mindfulness To Your Day

Slow Your Scroll—How To Develop A Healthier Relationship With Instagram

3 Simple Mindful Breathing Exercises To Use Anytime, Anywhere

9 Podcasts Hosting Meaningful Conversations On Mental Health

A Step-By-Step Guide To Walking Meditation

Your Guide To Writing Poetry As A Form Of Self-Care

Podcast Suggestions

The Overwhelmed Brain with Paul Colaianni

The Morning Ritual with Lilly Balch

Mindful Meditations with

Hurry Slowly with Jocelyn K. Glei

Being Well with Dr. Rick Hanson

Tara Brach

Unlocking Us with Brené Brown

Affirmation Cards Suggestions

Affirmators! 50 Affirmation Cards to Help You Help Yourself—without the Self-Helpy-Ness! by Suzi Barrett

Heart Thoughts Cards: A Deck of 64 Affirmations Cards by Louise Hay

Love Powered Littles I AM Affirmation Cards For Kids

Butterfly Affirmations: Affirmation Cards For Your Happy, Courageous, Beautiful Life by Alana Fairchild & Jimmy Manton

I Can Do Anything: Positive Affirmations, Inspirational Thoughts and Motivational Words Card Deck by Becca Anderson


This website is provided only for informational purposes and not intended to be used to replace professional advice, treatment or professional care. Always speak to your physician, healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have concerns about your own health or the health of a child.

Mindfulness & Meditation. What’s the Difference?

Health & Lifestyle

Mindfulness and meditation go hand in hand. Here’s how!

Mindfulness is an awareness and attention to the present moment. It can be practiced formally, such as through a meditation practice or informally, throughout everyday life. Meditation is the formal practice of pausing and turning awareness and attention to a target, usually the breath. Meditation is a formal mindfulness practice because it requires awareness and attention to the present moment.

How can mindfulness be practiced informally throughout the day?

Mindfulness can be practiced informally throughout the day by focussing awareness and attention to experiences as they happen in each moment. This can include attending to the things we register through our 5 senses. For example, you can practice mindfulness while eating, by attending to the colour, smell, texture, sound and taste of foods. You can even draw awareness to simple daily tasks such as washing the dishes, driving and brushing your teeth.

How can mindfulness be practiced formally through meditation?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

While meditation might preferably be done in a quiet space, it can in fact be practiced anywhere. Once in a comfortable seat, you can begin by bringing a focussed attention to a target, which is usually the breath because it helps to anchor you to the present. As you focus your attention to your breath, you may begin to notice your attention shift to thoughts and emotions. That’s OK. Without judgement, allow them to naturally come and go. Judgement takes you out of the present moment of mindfulness so allow them to pass. With regular and consistent practice, meditation improves overall mindfulness.

What are the benefits of mindfulness?

Some of the researched benefits of mindfulness include1:

  • Decreased stress, anxiety and reactivity
  • Greater cognitive flexibility
  • Increased immune functioning
  • Improved attention and sensory processing
  • Increased ability to manage emotions and distractions
  • Greater well-being and compassion towards self and others

What is happening in the brain during mindfulness practices?

There are two areas of the brain important in mindfulness practices. There is the amygdala which is responsible for our emotions such as happiness, sadness, fear and anxiety. Emotions are likely to come up during mindfulness practices. When they do, allow them to naturally come and go as you return your attention back to your target, the breath, or in the example above, food. Overtime, the amygdala may become less activated as you steady your mind, awareness and attention. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for our focus, attention and decision making. Since mindfulness is awareness and attention to the present moment, this part of the brain is most activated and sharpened.

So, what does this all mean?

Through practicing mindfulness regularly and consistently, both formally and informally, you begin to attend to each of the moments of your life as you experience them. You will learn to see your thoughts and emotions simply for what they are and from a gentle and non-judgmental place. You will start to slow down and attend to an awareness of yourself and others, allowing for greater compassion to build. Through mindfulness, you focus only on what you have control over which is the present moment. Allowing for stress and anxiety to reduce, leading to greater overall health and well-being. Ready to get started? 😊

The Foundation of Mindfulness Practice

Establishing a Daily Mindfulness Practice

Meditation Tips & Tools

“The real meditation practice is how we live our lives from moment to moment to moment.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn


1Davis, D. M. & Hayes, J. A. (2011). What are the Benefits of Mindfulness? A Practice Review of Psychotherapy-Related Research. American Psychology Association. 48, 198-208. doi: 10.1037/a0022062


This website is provided only for informational purposes and not intended to be used to replace professional advice, treatment or professional care. Always speak to your physician, healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have concerns about your own health or the health of a child.