Katelyn Sander

How this pandemic may be impacting your brain.

Living Well...together, while apart

There is so much we cannot predict or control. This can create chronic anxiety and stress. It certainly impacts our mood, energy, and overall heath. And may even affect the tissue in our brains.

Just over one year into the pandemic, people are feeling defeated, foggy, tired, and overwhelmed. As troubling is the accompanying lack of motivation to engage in the things we know will ultimately make us feel better, and an inability to cope effectively can set in.

A recent study of Canadians indicates more than half of us - 56% - are feeling stressed and anxious as a result of COVID-19.

In some, chronic stress can negatively impact the tissue in the brain. The brain reacts beautifully with a fight-flight reaction in the short term. It then recovers – returns to homeostasis quickly once the threat is removed. But under a continued onslaught of perceived threat, in some, the brain tissue may begin to remodel, leading to challenges with cognition, memory, and mood.

The fabulous news, is there are a number of simple interventions that can have a powerful, positive impact on the brain. We’ve always known these types of activities are helpful over the short term. Turns out they have a positive impact on creating positive brain tissue changes over the long term too.

The first – and our favourite: Physical activity. Of all types and durations. Long walks AND crazy high intensity interval training are all helpful. So, choose whichever one you prefer. Better yet – do it all!

The second one: Mindfulness. Slow down every moment you can. Be present. Listen attentively to those who are speaking to you. Savour and enjoy every bite of your meal. Breathe the cool, fresh spring air into your lungs and notice every blade of grass and bud reaching up through the new earth.

Social support: So tough these days! We know! Continue to find every way you can to stay connected to those you care about.

Sense of purpose: Explore outside yourself and find something or someone who needs your help and attention. 

Sources:

https://www.ipsos.com/en-ca/covid-continues-take-heavy-toll-canadians-mental-health

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4677120/

Inspiration of the Day

“Everyone has the ability to increase resilience to stress. It requires hard work and dedication, but over time, you can equip yourself to handle whatever life throws your way without adverse effects to your health. Training your brain to manage stress won't just affect the quality of your life, but perhaps even the length of it.” - Amy Morin

Today’s Live Workouts

Happy Monday! Ready to get moving to start your week off right? We’ve got TWO classes on the schedule for today!

TOTAL BODY CONDITIONING WITH ROBERT S

Join Robert S today for a Total Body Conditioning workout! Challenge your cardio and strengthen your muscles from head to toe with this incredibly effective no-nonsense bodyweight training.

No equipment needed today.

Join Robert at 12:00pm (30 minutes) from your own living room.

Click here to join the workout.

Meeting ID: 864 5295 2847
Password: 991724

YOGA FUSION WITH ROBERT Y

Join Robert Y today for our new Yoga Fusion workout! A combination of hatha, ashtanga, and kudalini yoga techniques. This class will engage your muscles, open your joints, calm your mind, and lift your spirits. (All levels)

No equipment needed today.

Join Robert at 5:15pm (45 minutes) from your own living room.

Click here to join the workout.

Meeting ID: 899 4248 0739
Password: 624126

THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE

Click here to view our weekly schedule.

If you have questions about our virtual live workouts, please reach out to Lauren.

Today’s Trainer Moves

After enjoying the beautiful weekend, we thought it was the perfect time for you to join Marvin, one of the Pilates Instructors at the Toronto Athletic Club, for this creative outdoor Pilates session.


For questions about today’s Trainer Moves, you can connect directly with Marvin here.

This Week's New Class

Get Road Ready

Join Brian beginning this Tuesday for a 4-week Cycling class designed to get you ready to get back out on the road this spring.

This virtual class runs from 12:00 - 12:45pm.

For the link to join the class, check out tomorrow morning's class reminder email!

Today’s Bite

Vegan Pot Pie with Spring Veggies

A simple delicious pot pie recipe made with flakey puff pastry crust that features vibrant spring veggies. Simple, easy, and full of flavour! Recipe from Feasting at Home.

For more recipes like this, visit our Spice of Life Recipe Book.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb diced, blanched Yukon gold potatoes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion or leeks
  • 4 cups any combination of: diced carrot, parsnip, celery, fennel, mushrooms, pearl onions (leave whole)
  • Generous pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 cup fresh peas (raw) or 1 cup asparagus tips (or both)
  • 1 lb tofu, seared with salt and pepper (optional, or sub more veggies, or sub baked chicken breast)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups flavourful veggie stock
  • 2 tsp whole grain mustard
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 - 2 tbsp fresh tarragon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 package vegan puff pastry dough

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Blanch potatoes. Saute leeks or onions in 3 tablespoons oil, for 5-6 minutes on medium heat until translucent and tender. Add 4 cups diced veggies, and salt and pepper. Turn heat to medium low and saute until carrots are al dente, about 10 -12 minutes. Splash with wine, and cook on medium heat until it evaporates, about 4 minutes. While this is cooking sear the tofu.
  • To the veggies, stir in flour and nutritional yeast and cook one minute, while stirring. Add stock and mustard and stir until it just comes to a boil and thickens. Turn heat off. Fold in cooked potatoes, fresh peas or asparagus, and seared tofu (or cooked chicken).
  • Add fresh tarragon, thyme, and white pepper. Taste and adjust salt.
  • Roll out puff pastry dough to fit what baking dishes you will be using. If using individual ramekins, place them on the dough and use as a pattern, and cut around them (with a sharp knife) leaving an extra 1/4 – 1/2 inch for crimping.
  • Fill the ramekins 1/4 – 1/2 inch below the rim and dampen the edge of the ramekin with a little water, on your fingertip (or use egg wash). Place the puff pastry over top and crimp the edges with a fork pressing down into the edge of the baking dish. Make a slit so pie can vent, and either brush with an egg wash, or a little olive oil. Place on a sheet pan (to catch any juices) in the oven.
  • Check at 15-20 minutes as some ovens do run hot, paying attention so they don’t get too dark (turning oven down to 350F if need be). Smaller ramekins will cook faster. Depending on the baking dish, baking times will vary. They are done when they are puffed, bubbling, and golden. (20-35 minutes)
  • You can also make this is a 9×13 inch baking dish. If you fill them overly full, they will bubble over in the oven. If you like things neat and tidy, just fill to slightly below the rim. Bake for 25-35 minutes until puffed and golden.

Notes:

  • If adding chicken to some, divide the veggie stew and fold in baked chicken breast to the amount you think you will need. Make sure the chicken is seasoned (at least with salt and pepper).

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