ERM 008 Nikki Zavitz: Unschooling, Happy Accidents & Recovering From Perfectionism

IMG_6283Nikki is a Paleo-living, nature-loving mother of 3 girls ranging in age from 2-6 yrs, and is married to her best friend for almost 10 years. A passionate learner and unconventional thinker, Nikki has taken a very early retirement from teaching in the public school system and is now Unschooling her daughters. We talked about why she made that choice, and how that decision and other ‘happy accidents’ have flowed into her now living a life she loves. We also discussed some of the challenges she has faced as a mother, criticism about some of her parenting choices, finding acceptance and recovering from perfectionism. Nikki shares what gives her confidence as a woman, what inspires her, and the work it takes to continue to create balance within all of their lives. Nikki also runs her own small business creating pre-made healthy meals for families, and we talked about how she schedules her time effectively and the difference that healthy food has made in her family’s life. Nikki is a warm soul who has consciously created a lovely life for herself and her family. This is a great conversation! You can reach Nikki at zavitznikki@gmail.com.

ERM 007 Lia Sonnenburg: Creating Boundaries, Building Confidence & Taking Care of Basic Needs

HeadShot_IMG_0238Dr. Lia Sonnenburg is a Naturopathic Doctor who has practiced in Collingwood for 6 years.  She’s a mother of two active, healthy and hilarious young boys under the age of 5.  She’s passionate about helping people reach their health goals using the ‘physiology prevails over pathology approach’.  By finding the root cause of the problem, the body can then do what it’s supposed to – naturally and faithfully.  Her specialties include pediatrics, oncology, digestion, women’s health and fertility but she ends up running a fairly busy general practice as well.

On this episode she talks about how motherhood has shaped her confidence as a woman, given her tremendous joy, how she juggles running a business with two young children, keeping her marriage healthy, and taking care of herself.  We also discussed some of the tips she gives her female patients, the importance of taking care of our basic needs, and how to create boundaries in your life for people’s opinions about how you raise your family.

Lia is a warm woman with lots of wisdom, you’ll hear it in her voice. Check out this episode!

I Love Purses But…

ID-100327306Some of you know I have a fondness for beautiful purses and handbags!

However, similar to carrying a heavy backpack, a heavy shoulder bag or purse can injure your back, neck and shoulders. Hand and shoulder bags also create poor posture by encouraging the carrier to lean to one side. This affects posture, balance and movement. 

Here are my 10 helpful tips to protect your spine and muscles from a heavy handbag:

  1. Choose a handbag that is proportionate to your body size and no larger than what is needed. Your handbag should not weigh more than 10 per cent of your body weight up to a maximum of 15 pounds.
  2. The shoulder straps should be wide and adjustable. Ensure that the straps do not cut into your shoulder. Shoulder straps that dig into the muscles, put pressure on the nerves.
  3. If possible, select a strap that is long enough to place over your head so as to rest on the shoulder opposite the handbag. This will help distribute the weight of the bag more evenly.
  4. Choose a handbag that has several individual pockets instead of one large compartment. This will help to distribute the weight of the contents more evenly and keep them from shifting.
  5. Resist the urge to carry everything with you all day. Consider leaving less commonly used items behind. Keep that heavy laptop out of your bag!
  6. Change the size and weight of your wallet once in a while. You may also consider one wallet for your work and a different one for when you go out, as you may need different objects for both.
  7. Ensure the weight is evenly distributed in the purse by using all the pockets.
  8. Instead of always carrying your handbag on the same shoulder, switch sides often so each shoulder gets a rest.
  9. Square your shoulders – many women have a habit of lifting the shoulder on which the purse is carried to keep the straps from slipping.
  10. Try to maintain good posture. When standing, your head, shoulders, hips and ankles should line-up, one comfortably above the other. Your knees should be slightly bent and your feet should be shoulder-width apart or more.

If you can walk to lunch or a meeting, lock your purse in your desk or locker and carry only your cash and/or credit cards in a pocket. Remember that exercise is good for many reasons but it can also help prevent injury! Specific strengthening exercises for the back and abdominal or core area will help promote good posture, which will further help to condition muscles and prevent injury.

Dr. Melissa

ERM 006 Michelle Kusiar: Defining Moments, Transformations & Making Things Happen!

IMG_3787Michelle is a wife and mother of 2 beautiful girls, Ciara 12yrs and Camryn 2yrs.  She works full-time in the recreation field assisting community groups with their programs and connecting families to those programs.  When she’s not working or parenting, she’s helping others develop a healthy lifestyle.  Today she shares her ideas about motherhood, some defining moments in her life and the dramatic impact it had on who she is as a woman and mother. We also chatted at length about her pursuit of health both physically and mentally, the importance of her workouts and nutrition, how she makes time for it, and most importantly, the personal challenges that got her motivated to make some changes in the first place. Michelle has a great commitment to making things happen in her life, and inspires others with her positivity!

ERM 005 Dr. Ali Miller: Being a Role Model for Girls, Peak Performance Strategies & Thriving in Chaos

aliDr. Ali Miller is a fifteen year chiropractic professional with a strong affinity for women’s and children’s health and family wellness. Dr. Ali leads a balanced chiropractic lifestyle incorporating exercise, clean eating and meditation. It is her mission to raise the level of health in her community and she thrives on sharing information and inspiring change. Dr. Ali and her rockstar husband Adam live in Bolton with their three well-adjusted daughters Riley, Bailey and Zoe. They are her everything.

On this episode we talked about how she balances her practice and the lives of her 3 girls, how she has kept her 22 year relationship with her husband strong, and the importance of taking care of herself and how workouts, connecting with friends,  are keys to making it all work.  She also shares some of her experience in dealing with her own fears as a woman, facing challenges within her family, and how she dealt with them and got through them stronger. I particularly loved how she grounds herself consistently in thinking about what kind of example she wants to set for her daughters, the kinds of experiences she wants to give them to know that they are capable as women and deserving of a great life.

ERM 004 Dr. Justine Blainey Broker: The Value of Competitive Sports, Daily Rituals & Working Hard For What You Believe In

IMG_2535At the early age of 12 years old, Justine Blainey learned that the price of a value held dear can be loneliness and friendship, despair and elation, endless work and useful work, and the sometime sadness tinged with satisfaction of a life lived well, a life lived to serve. Her beliefs became action and five court cases later, the Ontario Human Rights Code was amended to remove legislated inequality in sports, and Justine hit the ice with the boys. Justine has not sat on the pride of her past achievements. Justine continues to believe passionately in equality.

Now Dr. Justine Blainey-Broker, Doctor of Chiropractic, she has spoken internationally about chiropractic, health and well-being. She provides entrepreneurial advice and inspiration to thousands of Health Professionals and runs a busy family practice in Brampton, Ontario.

Justine is a passionate doctor, but she is also a devoted wife, and mother to two teenagers! On this episode she shares her ideas about motherhood, we also talked about the value of competitive sports in her life and for both her children,

She also shares some of her experience in fighting for equality in the hockey world as a youth, the impact of being an activist, how that shaped her as a woman and continues to influence her today.

Justine is a very busy woman, on this episode she also shares how she manages their family’s busy schedule, the value of a few key daily rituals for her, the importance of having a support team, and some of her strategies to keeping her marriage strong.

Justine is a dynamo, is a powerhouse, a hard worker with strong values – check out her interview!

Reduce Inflammation & Prevent Arthritis

ID-10092149Arthritis is a term used very loosely in a broad range of circumstances, and many people are not exactly clear as to what arthritis actually is.  The word “Arthritis” means inflammation of the joints. The cartilage surface that lines either side of a joint begins to breakdown, causing the joint space to narrow. The increased friction and stress on the joint surfaces causes an inflammatory response consisting of swelling, pain and loss of function.

Quite simply, the joints begin to wear out prematurely.

However, random genetic mutations aside, the human body was not made to break down. So what causes arthritis? Improper alignment and faulty mechanics.

Proper alignment and function of joints is essential to maintaining healthy joints. When a joint is out of alignment, proper mechanics are altered and muscle imbalances occur. Whether it’s your spine, hips, knees, feet, shoulders, elbow, or wrists, every joint needs to be moving the way it was designed to in order to function well.

Proper joint function cannot be maintained if the joints are not properly aligned. Just like mal-alignment of your automobile causes the tires to wear out faster, spinal subluxations create the same problem in your spinal joints.  With greater stabilization within the spine, the other joints can heal too. Only a trained, licensed Chiropractor can locate subluxations, correct them, and restore structural balance to your body.

With the correction of spinal subluxations, the joints heal.  I see it all the time in my practice with dramatic changes in symptoms, but also objectively with improvements in measurable diagnostic tests such as X-rays, as well as with neurological and orthopedic testing.  Not only within the spine, but also with knees, shoulders, elbows, finger, and feet.

The body is self-healing, but all healing takes time.  The longer the joint breakdown process has been occurring, the longer it will take to fully heal. For some people, the only challenge with the Chiropractic approach is just that…time.

By the time joint degeneration has reached the point of chronic pain, the process has often been developing for years.  Every spinal adjustment retrains your brain and muscles towards healthy mechanics, building momentum and greater stability along the way.

The good news is that although it doesn’t take years to correct the damage, it does take a consistent and holistic approach to restoring proper motion in your body to heal fully.  The body’s ability to heal is so profound, it doesn’t take years to restore function to the body and feel better. It does take time though, and is not the “quick fix” that many are looking for.

The question I often ask people is this: do you want to patch things up or fully heal? I am honoured to help people with a wide variety of goals and health challenges, and I respect everyone’s ability to choose the level of chiropractic care that suits them, but my recommendations are always the same. 

Based on my years of experience (in both practice and life!), fixing something properly generally works the best! Not only does it ultimately save time and investment in the long term, more importantly it gives people the opportunity to start LIVING sooner.

ERM 003 Michele Rich: New Directions, The Power of Meditation & Being A Student of Motherhood

3770LinkedMichele is a mother to a teen-aged daughter, married to a great guy, and a Registered Psychotherapist with an independent practice.  Michele is also the Executive Director of a non-profit organization called The Environment Network, and she teaches at Georgian College. Her goal is to empower people by helping them to understand themselves and guide them into a healthy, joyful life.  Michele dedicates her time and energy to all of these endeavours because she believes, deep in her heart, that this is the way to heal the world.  Making sure that she maintains a healthy, joyful life herself can sometimes be tricky, but it is definitely possible.

On today’s episode Michele she shares her ideas about what motherhood has taught her , the impact of some of the challenges she has faced, why she decided to go back to school, and how she manages to make her family life and career work. She talks about the parenting choices she wishes she could have reversed, the ongoing joys of motherhood, and how she finds time to stay connected with her growing daughter.

She also discusses her secret weapon for giving her focus, preparing her for challenges, calming her in times of chaos, and why it’s one of the top tips she recommends to all her clients.

Michele can be reached at 705.444.3372 or mrich@environmentnetwork.org.

ERM 002 Rula Sharkawi: Pursuing Dreams, Setting Intentions & Family Balance

Rula’s passion for good food and a pursuit of creativity in business makes for an innovative and delicious line-up of My Little Chickpea products. She began her career over 25 years ago helping run two family restaurants and then, following graduate school, went into corporate communications and crisis management. She left her role as an executive in the corporate world to return to where it all began—food. Since launching My Little Chickpea, this big chickpea has never been happier, spreading the comfort and energy of clean food goodness to communities all around her!  Rula lives in Toronto with her husband and two gorgeous little chickpeas, Gabe and Julian!

On today’s episode Rula talks about what prompted her to make the big leap from corporate life to entrepreneurship, how that decision improved her relationship with her sons and her husband, and how this lifestyle change has create more joy in her life. Rula shares how she focuses her time, what motivates her everyday, and where she finds inspiration. She also discusses the importance of having goals and setting intentions on a daily basis to ground her as both a mother and business women.

Rula makes time to take care of herself too! We talked about the importance of nourishing the female spirit, keeping excitement in marriage, and dealing with challenges in life, work, and parenting.  A wonderful woman with an inspiring story!

Connect With Rula & Find Out More About My Little Chickpea

ERM 001 Darlene Christianson: Be Open To Adventure, Reinventing Yourself, & Being Present With Your Kids

dar1Darlene grew up in small town Ontario, Canada and was married with two beautiful kids by the age of 23. After being a stay at home mom for 5 years, Darlene moved back to cottage country and pursued a career in new home sales. Her children grew older, she divorced, went back to school, and enjoyed a variety of work opportunities before meeting the love of her life, remarrying, and blending her family with his. Together with her husband she has conducted tours all over Europe, travelled extensively, and now lives and works in Washington, DC.

Throughout her life Darlene has been heavily involved in volunteer opportunities, in particularly in events that support other women. She is the creator and leader of the meet up group in DC area called WAM – women achieving more – with currently boasts over 300 members. She’s a dynamic, lively personality who likes to give back and help others, that certainly comes across in her interview today.

On today’s show we discussed Darlene’s life experiences and journey as a mother, the tough times, the joys, and how relationships with children are constantly evolving. She describes why she feels motherhood is better than she thought it would be, the key strategies she used to stay connected to her kids during times of transition, and her role in a blended family. Darlene also shares how she keeps some excitement in her marriage, how she makes time to take care of herself, and why she feels it’s important to stay open to the unexpected possibilities and adventures life brings us.