Cozy Autumn Playlist for Relaxation

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Filled with cozy vibes, this Autumn-inspired playlist is designed to help promote relaxation.  Snuggle up with a blanket and enjoy.

Sweater Weather - The Neighbourhood

 

Sunday Morning (Acoustic) - Maroon 5

 

Warm Foothills - Alt-J

Bring You Home - Peter Bradley Adams

Autumn Leaves - Ed Sheeran

Old Pine - Ben Howard

re: stacks - Bon Iver

 

Bonfire Heart - James Blunt

Simple As This - Jake Bugg

Paint - The Paper Kites

Heart's on Fire - Passenger

Send Me on My Way - Rusted Root

Emmylou - Vance Joy

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Self Care Ideas for Autumn

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As the weather changes along with the seasons, it can be a great time to introduce new ideas to your self-care arsenal.  Whether we like to believe it or not, the cooler temperatures and lack of light can have a huge impact on our mood.  Embracing the season with these self-care ideas can be helpful in finding a little more comfort in this season.

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Crunch Through the Leaves

Take advantage of all those pretty leaves and enjoy them while they're still around!  If you'd like, make it a mindful activity by really paying attention to the noises and the feeling of the leaves underneath your shoes, as well as the crisp fall smells.  If you're feeling adventures, rake them into a pile and go leaf jumping!

Buy Your Favourite Halloween Candy

If seeing your favourite Halloween candy in store excites you, embrace it and buy yourself a little treat.  Enjoy it before Halloween (we won't tell!), or embrace the after-Halloween sales and create your own Trick-or-Treat stash for November.

Do a Fall Craft

Take advantage of the extra time you're spending indoors by embracing your creative side.  Pick up a cozy project you've been waiting to do, like knitting a scarf or quilting a blanket. Try one of these DIY Fall-Themed projects .  Or, bring the outdoors in by heading out for a walk and collecting some pinecones to make this pinecone framed flower display or collect leaves to make a clay leaf dish

Watch Your Favourite Seasonal Movie

Curl up on the couch or snuggle down in bed and watch your favourite seasonal movie, or check out a new flick. Turn on a movie set in autumn like When Harry Met Sally or Garden State to enjoy the autumn scenes.  If you're into something a little more festive but not scary, check out Halloweentown or Hocus Pocus.

Add Fall Decor to Spaces You Spend the Most Time

A little seasonal decor is a great way to add a little pick-me-up to your space.  Make sure that you add these little touches to spaces that you spend the most time in - even if you're lounging on the couch or in bed, you can still enjoy a little seasonal decor.  It doesn't have to be expensive or lavish - use what you already have, check out the dollar store for fake pumpkins and faux leaves, or bring in some flowers from the garden or collect a few pinecones to stick in a vase.

Cozy Up With Your Favourite Book and Re-Read It

When you're searching for comfort, curling up with a well-loved book fits the bill.  If you don't have the energy to take on a novel, grab a magazine you love (bonus points if it's a fall edition!) or even check out your favourite Halloween story from when you were a kid from the library.

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Enjoy an Autumn Scent

Scents can have such a great impact on our mood, and can be a great way to practice a little self-care, no matter what you may be doing. If you're an essential oil user, bring out oils that are reminiscent of the season, like clove, ginger, or sweet orange. If you have a favourite seasonal bath or body product, pick it up while it's still limited edition. For something a little more convenient, make one of these autumn simmer pots and use what you have on-hand to make your home smell delicious.

Visit a Pumpkin Patch or Farmer's Market

As the temperature starts to dip, it's natural to spend more time inside.  Help yourself to get a little more fresh air by making a point to enjoy an outside autumn activity like visiting a pumpkin patch or heading to a local farmer's market.

Enjoy Seasonal Foods

Switching up your typical meals and enjoying something seasonal can be a wonderful act of self-care. Turn to nature and pick up some autumn produce like pumpkin, apples, squash, pears, and cranberries. Pick up those limited edition pumpkin spice goodies or grab a caramel apple at a local chocolate shop.  If you've got a little more energy, bake up a nourishing tray of seasonal roasted veggies or cook a warming soup.

Give Back

While it's important to ensure that you're taken care of, giving back can be a wonderful part of a self-care practice if you're able.  It can be something as simple as donating some extra canned food to your local food bank, reaching out to a friend or family member you haven't heard from in awhile, raking a neighbor's leaves, or doubling your recipe the next time you bake muffins or cookies and sharing the extras at work.

Turn on Your Fireplace or Light Candles

That warm glow is such a great way to enjoy a little ambiance. Make sure to remember to turn your fireplace on, light your candles (bonus points if they're autumn scented) or pick up some battery operated candles if you don't want to worry about a real flame.  To up the coziness even more, turn on a fall playlist like Autumn Acoustic or Autumn Sounds.

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Stock Up on Your Favourite Cozy Warm Drinks

Whether your thing is pumpkin coffee, hot chocolate, apple cider, or chai tea, ensure you're stocked up for whenever you'd like a mug of something warm. 

Practice Gratitude

With Thanksgiving, autumn is a natural time to up your gratitude practice. Use your current journal to write down a few things you are grateful for everyday or download an app like Mojo for a digital way to keep track of the things you are thankful for. 

10 Recipes for Gut Health

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With over 80% of your immune system located in your gut, it's no surprise that gut health is important! Digestive issues are also common with many autoimmune and chronic health conditions, making gut health even more important.  We've rounded up recipes from our favourite bloggers which are loaded with gut-healthy ingredients like probiotics and anti-inflammatory ingredients to help calm and balance the gut. 

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Probiotic Guacamole // Organically Mandy

This delicious guacamole is made with fresh cherry tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro, and has added sauerkraut for those much-need probiotics. 

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Paleo Gummies // Bakerita

These homemade gummy bears are Paleo-friendly and can be made in three flavours: Apple CInnamon, Cranberry Orange, and Pomegranate. They're rich in gelatin, which help to improve digestion.

3 Ingredient Berry Kefir Sorbet // What's the Oven on For?

Probiotic-rich kefir is blending with fruit to create a delicious mixture that has the creamy texture of sorbet.

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Soothing Coconut Cranberry Smoothie // Cotter Crunch

Cranberries are the star of this yummy smoothie, as they're super high in antioxidants and contain enzymes that help with digestion.  The smoothie also contains Coconut MCT oil, an easy-to-digest fat that'll help keep energy levels up.

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Cultured Breakfast Macro Bowl // The Full Helping

This nourishing bowl is topped with fermented vegetables for that dose of healthy bacteria.  Though it's intended for breakfast, we think this macro bowl is delicious any time of day.  

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Probiotic Kombucha Gummies // Dear Crissy

Made with your favourite kombucha, these homemade gummies are a tasty way to get your probiotic fix.

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Aloe, Ginger, and Mint Digestive Elixir // The Fit Foodie Mama

Designed to help soothe cranky guts, this refreshment contains aloe vera juice, ginger, and mint - all ingredients that are associated with improved digestion and an immunity.

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Wild Blueberry Ginger Kombucha Smoothie // Food, Pleasure, & Health

Ready in less than 5 minutes, this smoothie is packed with antioxidants from the blueberries, as well as gut-friendly ingredients like ginger and kombucha.

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Tummy Healing Soup // Strength and Sunshine

When you need comfort food, this soup is perfect.  It's got soothing ingredients like turmeric and ginger, and is ready in less than 10 minutes.

Best Apps for Chronic Illness

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Like using apps to help manage your mental health, your phone can be a great resource for helping to manage your chronic illness.  We've rounded up our favourite apps to help.

 

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Medisafe

 

iOS, Google Play, Free

Medisafe is a free medication reminder app. It'll alert you which medication to take when, and you can even send alerts to a friend or family member as well to help keep you on track.  The app will also remind you when to refill medications, to make ensuring that you have what you need easier.

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Flaredown

 

iOS, Google Play, Free

Flaredown is one of the most popular apps for chronic illness management, and it's for good reason.  The app allows you to track multiple conditions and tracks your symptoms in relation to treatments and triggers, so you can determine if a treatment is effective or not and what might be causing a flare.  Flaredown also has a community section to connect with others for support.

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Fibromapp

iOS, Google Play, Amazon, $2.99

Though it's got "Fibro" in its name, Fibromapp is a helpful app for those dealing with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or chronic pain.  It allows you to keep track of your pain, including severity, location, and type of pain, as well as mood, fatigue, and other symptoms. This information can be used to quickly create graphs and charts, which can be helpful to both you and your doctors.

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Carezone

 

iOS, Google Play, Free

Carezone was designed as an app to help managed family health, but it's also especially useful for dealing with chronic illness. Medications can be easily scanned and put into the app, and you can also photograph important documents like driver's licences so you have the information with you whenever you need it.  There's also a calendar to keep track of doctor's appointments and prescription refills, as well as notes, a journal, to-do lists, and important contacts like doctors and pharmacies.  What really makes this app unique is the ability to share all this information securely with those you choose, so you can share information with those helping with your care.

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Cozi

IOS, Google Play, Windows, Free

Cozi is a family organizer, but it's also a great tool to help stay on top of things when you're dealing with fatigue or brain fog. It lets you see everyone's appointments and activities, and allows easy sharing and updating of grocery store lists, plus you can easily input recipes to help generate a grocery list.

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ColorNote

Google Play, Amazon, Free

ColorNote is a notekeeping app that makes keeping track of things easier.  Because it's colour-coded, you can easily find what you're looking for.  You can also add notes to the calendar to be reminded of a deadline or appointment.

 

 

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MyFibroTeam

iOS, Google Play, Web, Free

MyFibroTeam is a community support site for those dealing with fibromyalgia. It lets you ask and answer questions, share your daily ups and downs, and give and receive supportive comments.

 

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Track and React

iOS, Google Play, Free

Track and React is a free app put out by the Arthritis Foundation. It allows you to input your daily activities and symptoms, to help you determine triggers or see progress over time, which can be helpful when determining how well a treatment or self-management is working.

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mySymptoms

iOS, Google Play, $2.99

mySymptoms is a symptom tracking app, that really shines in it's ability to track food, to help find if your diet is contributing to your symptoms. You can easily view trends and analyze to see what food is most likely contributing to your symptoms.

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SleepBot

iOS, Google Play, Free

Since sleep can be such a difficult thing when dealing with chronic illness, SleepBot is a great app.  Open the app and place your phone next to you, and the app will track motion and sound throughout the night to help you better understand your sleep quality.  You can also set a smart alarm which uses the tracking to wake you up during your lightest stage of sleep within a half-hour window, so you feel less drowsy when you wake up.

2 Mood-Boosting Drink Recipes

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While we all know how mood-boosting a great piece of chocolate can be, choosing foods that benefit brain health can truly help to boost your mood from the inside out. Dr. Leslie Korn, traumautologist and author of "The Good Mood Kitchen: Simple Recipes and Nutrition Tips for Emotional Balance" is devoted to helping people improve their mental well-being, who values integrative approaches to treating both the mind and body.  Dr. Leslie is sharing two of her recipes with us: the coconut milk mocha is a tasty mood and energy booster, while the cherry chamomile smoothie is perfect before bed to help promote rest.  Enjoy!

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PB&J Smoothie (Low-FODMAP, IBS-Friendly)

With only 5 minutes prep time, this quick smoothie is a great and tasty (who doesn't love PB & J?!) option, especially when you are dealing with digestive issues.  In addition to being Low-FODMAP, this smoothie is also gluten-free and vegan.  If you have allergies or experience GERD, be sure to follow the special note for suggestions. Thanks to Karen Frazier, IBS/GERD Expert for sharing this recipe from her newest cookbook, The Quick and Easy IBS Relief Cookbook, with us. 

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9 Best Apps for Your Mental Health

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We often think of our phones as another source of stress - they're so often with us and asking for our attention.  However, there are a lot of great apps that can help you to take control of your mental health, and even find moments of grounding.

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Pacifica

iOS, Android, & Web, free to download, subscription for full access

Pacifica is an all-in-one app that is designed to help manage stress and anxiety. The app provides guided self-help like mindfulness and cogitive behavioural activites, as well as relaxation like meditation and progressive muscle relaxation exercises.  The app also allows you to set goals and track your mood and progress over time to help identify patterns. 

 

Talkspace

iOS, Android, Starts at $32/week

Accessing therapy can be difficult - from finding the right fit, to fitting it into your busy life, to affording it.  Talkspace is an online therapy app that takes therapy into the 21st century.  A matching therapist will work with you to find you a licensed, background-checked therapist who suits your needs.  From there, you can message your therapist whenever you'd like and get responses.  If you need a little more facetime, you can also schedule video sessions.

 

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Stop Breathe Think

iOS, Android, Web, Free with option add-ons

Stop Breathe and Think is an easy-to-use app that is a great introduction to meditation and mindfulness.  When you sign into the app, you're given a few minutes to select how you're feeling both mentally and physically, as well as any emotions.  The app will then recommend a short selection of meditations for you to do based on what you need in the moment.  Most of the meditations are fairly short, making this a great app to try.

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What's Up?

iOS, Android, Free.

What's Up? is a great, free app that provides you with Cogntive Behavioural Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in your pocket.  Resources include games to help you stay grounded, breathing exercises for relaxation, activities to overcome negative thinking patterns, and more.  The app also includes a diary for tracking your emotions and habits.

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Mindshift

iOS, Android, Free.

Although Mindshift is created for teens and young adults, it's a fantastic resource for anyone dealing with anxiety. The app provides information about ways to manage different types of anxiety, including perfectionism, test anxiety, social anxiety, and more.

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Stigma

iOS, coming soon to Android, Free

Stigma makes tracking your mood easier with tools like a word cloud and reminders set up to your own schedule. The app also allows you to share your posts annonomously so you can give and reveive peer support.

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Wildflower 

iOS, Android, free to download with in-app purchases

Wildflowers is a mindfulness meditation app that takes mindfulness to the next level.  The app uses your phone's camera to measure your heart rate, providing data which helps the app to learn more about you.  You can also use their meditation suggestion tool to find meditations for your mood, and track your progress in the journal.

 

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Happify

iOS, Android, Free.

Happify is an app that focuses on, you guessed it, happiness! Based on science, the app provides a selection of activities that are designed to boost your mood, reduce negative thinking, and improve mindfulness and relaxation.

 

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Calm Harm

iOS, Android, Free

Designed specifically to help manage urges to self-harm, Calm Harm has categories of tasks so you can choose what you need in that moment. Distract helps to develop self-control, comfort offers ways to care for yourself rather than harm, express helps to release emotions, and release provides safe alternatives to self-harm.

Inside the Box: Simple Summer Evenings

This box was designed to capture the ease and simplicity of summer nights, and included a collection of items to inspire you to take an evening or a few moments for self-care.  Let's take a look at what was inside!

 

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Whimsy by Lindsay Cooling Menthol Foot Scrub

Refresh with this cooling foot scrub to soothe tired feet. Natural jojoba and raw turbinado sugar exfoliate skin while cacao butter, shea butter and sweet almond oil lock in moisture. Vegan and cruelty-free. 

I knew I right away that I wanted to include a cooling bath or body product, and this menthol-based, natural food scrub was perfect! Our feet take a beating, especially during the summer, and this is the prefect way to refresh them.

 

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Mink Chocolates Mermaid's Choice Salted Caramel Sauce

Handcrafted in Vancouver, this delicious combination combines caramel with fleur de sel and a touch of rosemary. In addition to an ice cream topping, its also delicious on pancakes, french toast, or fresh fruit. 

I thought that sundae toppings would be such a fun treat for a summertime box!  I love that this caramel sauce is locally made (and award-winning!). 

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Sweetapolita Chocolate Crunchy Sprinkles

Candy sweet, these chocolate sprinkles contain a touch of cocoa and are yummy on their own as well as on an ice cream sundae. Vegan and gluten-free. 

These vegan sprinkles complement the caramel sauce perfectly!  I love that they are chocolate flavoured to add a touch of cocoa.

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Canvas Candle Co. Bug Be Gone

Enjoy your relaxing summer evening bug-free with this soy candle hand poured in Port Moody, BC. Citronella essential oil keeps bugs away naturally while the fresh lemongrass scent is super relaxing. 

A simple summer evening makes me instantly think of relaxing on the patio - which can be problematic with bugs.  I already love Canvas Candle Co., and love that this candle has lemongrass so get the relaxing benefits of burning a candle while also keeping bugs away.

 

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Mes Amies Soaps Facial Mask Bar

This facial mask bar is made with a selection of ingredients to care for your skin: activated charcoal and kaolin clay to remove impurities, aloe vera and shea butter to soothe and moisturize, and frankincense to renew dry, and tired skin.

I discovered Mes Amies Soaps awhile back, and fell in love with their facial mask bars!  It's such a unique idea, and makes applying a facial mask less messy, which makes you want to take the time to treat yourself even more.  This bar has activated charcoal and clay to help cleanse your skin.

 

Reviews

"This was definitely a great way to relax after a stressful week!" - @ashleylaurenshea

"These were SO lovely to use on a balmy summer night: candlelight + beauty routines + topped off with a frothy vegan latte w/ chocolate sprinkles? yes please. I love that this box encourages you, in a gentle way, to indulge in the little things" - A Wildflower Spirit

"I absolutely LOVE the Summer Evenings theme this month. It couldn’t be more perfect. Caring Crate is lovely…….that’s the best word to describe it…..absolutely lovely." - A Year of Boxes