North Shore Health Matters

Health Matters Series Poster (September-November)-page-001On the North Shore, clinics are currently overloaded with patients, making it difficult for most people to get quality time with their doctors and learn more about their health conditions. Recognizing this issue, the West Vancouver Memorial Library—along with North Vancouver City Library, North Vancouver District Library, Vancouver Coastal Health, Liberation Fitness and Lions Gate Cardiac Rehab—have developed a partnership in order to provide community members with more access to health experts and reliable information.

With this partnership in place, the North Shore Health Matters Lecture Series was created!  This lecture series, which will be hosted across the three North Shore Libraries, includes free presentations on a variety of topics, including:

  • Mindful Eating
  • Diabetes Management
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Positive Mental Health
  • Child Development

During these health talks, participants will get the chance to speak with local doctors, dietitians, counsellors, and clinical educators, as well as learn more about the health conditions and solutions they are interested in. Also, individuals are highly encouraged to attend these sessions as a way to have informative discussions about different health issues and connect to other people who have similar challenges and interests.

No registration is required for any of these health talks!

See you there,


West Vancouver Memorial Library

Mindful Monday no. 43: Morning Yoga for Energy


With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”  -Eleanor Roosevelt

One of the best ways to energize in the morning is to move the body. Recently, I started the practice of doing short yoga sequences in my living room. I open my curtains wide to let the light in and I follow along on a short video that I found online.

Yoga is a physical activity that is good for people of all ages and abilities. As long as they are positioned correctly and listen when their body is telling them something does not work, anyone can practice yoga.

Starting the morning off with a few yoga poses ensures that I will make self-care and my health a priority for the day. Even if you can’t fit an hour-long class in the morning, there are tons of videos online that make it easier to incorporate into your busy schedule.

Here are 3 videos to start your morning yoga practice: 

Can you squeeze in 5 minutes? Try the “Wake Up” Yoga for Energy Practice by YogaBody. 

Have 20 minutes? Try the Gentle Morning Sequence: by Yoga with Adriene.

Do you have the luxury of an hour? Try the Energizing Yoga Sequence by Yoga with Adriene.



Foodie Friday: Balsamic Melon Salad


“Summer cooking implies a sense of immediacy, a capacity to capture the essence of the fleeting moment.”

Elizabeth David, food writer (1913-1992)

Balsamic Melon Salad is a refreshing recipe for the hot evenings of summer. The seasonal varieties of juicy honey dew and canteloupe, accompanied by more savoury ingredients like red onion, cucumber, and prosciutto, is perfectly balanced in this dish. It is the perfect recipe for a garden party or for dining alfresco.

How to make Balsamic Melon Salad: 

This recipe for Balsamic Melon Salad was adapted from the one featured on The First Mess.


1 Honeydew melon, balled

1  Canteloupe melon, balled

1 Long English cucumber, finely sliced

1 Cup of red onion, finely sliced

Salt & pepper to taste

3-4 Tbsps. of balsamic vinegar

Optional ingredients: prosciutto, fresh basil, fresh mint, cherry tomatoes, watermelon.



  1. Pour the 3-4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar evenly along the bottom of your serving dish. This will ensure even distribution of the dressing when serving.
  2. Combine melon, cucumber, red onion, and any optional ingredients in the dish.
  3. Add salt & pepper. Tip: Salt any melon before serving as it brings out its sweetness.
  4. Place any fresh herbs over the top.
  5. Serve immediately.

What are your favourite summer salads? We’d love to hear about them in our comment section.


De-stress and energize with Reflexology

I love that look of calmness that comes over people after giving them a 5-10 minute reflexology session. Whether it is for tension in the muscles, headaches, stress, anxiety or numerous other conditions the outcome is always the same.

       WOW!! they say.

My headache’s gone, I don’t feel as tense, I can breathe more easily and best of all,


“Gosh, I never knew that by doing this on my hands I had the power to prevent or alleviate my symptoms”.

Hand Reflexology works because reflexes in the hand correspond to all parts of the body and mind via the nervous system. Hands go everywhere with you and are easily accessible, so you can work on them night or day.

Spritz!! AAAHH!!


What nicer way to enhance that experience than with a spritz of aromatherapy essential oils? Something to add to your feeling of calmness with Stress Release from Saje aromatherapy; a blend of Lavender, Chamomile, Geranium, Clary Saje and Vetiver. Or, for something more energizing and awakening, try Energy or Refresh with Spearmint, Lavender and Eucalyptus.

The choice is endless!!

I love to share so join me on August 22nd  in a fun interactive evening of Hand Reflexology and Aromatherapy. Just bring yourself, your hands and a small cushion.
See you there.

Shirley Gibbons, Reflexologist

Mindful Monday no. 42: Sleep Rituals

photo-1450776598040-e0dbb5665213.jpgGoodnight stars. Goodnight air.  Good night noises everywhere.”

-Margaret Wise Brown, Goodnight Moon

How do you signal your body that it is time to rest? Sleep rituals allow us to follow a routine to ensure that we fall asleep and stay asleep during the night.

Some of the many benefits of better sleep is increased energy, uplifted mood, better focus and memory, and other health improvements. To improve your sleep, start implementing some sleep rituals in a bedtime routine.


Here are 10 ideas for sleep rituals to iProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetmprove your sleep: 

  1. Ensure your bed is comfortable with enough pillows a
    nd blankets, a good mattress for your back, and clean sheets.
  2. Make your bed every morning so that  you want to get under the covers when it comes time to sleep.
  3. Do some gentle stretches before bed to loosen the body and initiate relaxation.
  4. Have a hot bath before bed to unwind.
  5. If you often stay up with ruminating thoughts, journal before bed so you can process those thoughts before the lights go out.
  6. Listen to an audio book with your eyes closed to fall into a relaxed state.
  7. Add the scent of lavender for a stress-free space. I place few springs of lavender in a vase on my bedside table and every once in a while, I smell their therapeutic scent. Or, I spritz my sheets with some lavender pillow spray.
  8. Make your bedroom an electronics-free zone. The light of electronics trick our minds into being more alert and awake.
  9. Pick up a paperback and allow yourself some downtime to read before you plan to turn off the lights.
  10. Meditate. Read our post, Meditating for Better Sleepfor an easy exercise you can do in bed.

Do you have any other ideas for sleep rituals? We’d love to hear about them in our comment section.


Book Review: “Mental Resilience: The Power of Clarity” by Kamal Sarma

41yEOJraUwL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_Author Kamal Sarma offers a 21-day mental resilience program in his book Mental Resilience: The Power of Clarity (how to develop the focus of a warrior with the peace of a monk) (New World Library, 2008). Meditation CD included.

Sarma gives the reader straightforward practice, no hype.  His audience seems to be particularly busy executives or people with very busy lives for whom stress causes all sorts of problems, such as lack of sleep, tension, or headaches.

Apparently the left prefrontal cortex has been associated with happy thoughts.  Meditation helps people develop this area of the brain, leading to greater mental well-being.  In addition, studies have shown that meditation helps slow the process of aging, particularly in the brain.  Meditation helps the individual develop equanimity, the realization that everything changes.

Sarma offers several easy ways to practice mindfulness, such as:

  • mindful eating: notice the appearance of food, tastes, textures, and sounds of eating
  • mindful showering: notice the smell of the soap or shampoo, the temperature of the water and your body
  • mindful walking: sense the feelings in your feet, notice your rhythm and posture
  • mindfulness at traffic lights: notice your breathing, be absolutely present until the light turns green

Stay tuned for a review of Richard Davidson’s The Emotional Life of Your Brain

Mindfully yours,

Calm Pond