a peek inside the fishbowl

23 Nov, 2016

Taking small steps to find balance (plus a giveaway!)

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Giveaways and product reviews

This post contains some sponsored content.*

I’ve been writing about some of the steps I’m taking to give my sanity a helping hand. These past few weeks (months?) have been stressful and I knew that I needed to take some steps and find balance again.

Life balance is an elusive beast and I don’t think it can be reined in all of the time. What we CAN do is find ways get ahead of it before we find ourselves succumbing to stress. We can also stop beat ourselves up about not being perfect in all aspects of our lives. I think, as mothers, we can be particularly hard on ourselves.

I am trying to get a grip on some healthy habits to build up my resistance when stress starts to get the better of me. The cornerstone of these is diet, exercise, and sleep. I know that I need these three things in order to handle the moments when life throws me a curve ball.

One of the things I have started doing is an afternoon meditation. Here’s why: I was always tired after lunch and found it hard to get anything done. As a result, I’d sit on the couch and mindlessly surf the Internet on my iPhone. For a while I had convinced myself that I was merely taking a healthy break from work, but when I really thought about it, looping incessantly between Facebook > Twitter > email and then back again was not exactly healing my busy brain. I decided to turn this time into a meditation break instead.

The idea actually came to me via an email I received via Tetley asking me if I wanted to sample their new Tetley Ayurvedic Balance teas. The timing couldn’t have been better – for me and for my goals – so I decided to combine my meditation time with a cup of tea.

Tetley tea

I learned that these new tea blends aren’t very “new” at all. They are actually inspired by Ayurveda, a 5,000-year-old system of knowledge, which teaches that balancing of the mind, body, and spirit is essential for holistic well-being. Working with Ayurvedic experts, the Tetley blends were created to address the needs for balance at all stages of our lives.

Each blend is made with all-natural ingredients. For example, the Poise-Vata blend contains cinnamon bark, chamomile, fennel, tulsi, licorice root, orange peels, cardamom. This particular blend is designed to be calming, to help attain focus when feeling worried or scattered. It’s what I’ve been brewing for my meditation moments.

Cool-Pitta blend contains peppermint, hibiscus, spearmint, lemon balm, coriander, and lavender. It’s touted as a “cooling” tea to help calm you down when you’re feeling overheated. (This might be a nice way of referring to hot flashes. I am not quite there yet with the hot flashes but I do like this blend!)

Vigour-Kapha is really unique: ginger root, tulsi, peppermint, spearmint, clove, turmeric, and cumin. This is what I reach for when I need something to perk me up at around the 3 p.m. mark when I’d normally be craving another coffee or foraging in the pantry for something sweet.

You know what, I am really enjoying this healthy new habit. To hold myself accountable, I created goals in my Google calendar so I wouldn’t forget and work through it or decide to skip it. My rule is that if I have a meeting or a deadline, I can postpone it, but I can’t cancel my meditation time.

Turning my ringer off and sitting down in a quiet corner with my cup of tea – with nothing to think about but my steady breathing – has become one of the best parts of my day.

Tea time

Sidebar: for those who aren’t yoga or meditation devotees, it’s easy enough to just call this your quiet time… because that’s exactly what it is! It’s a quick and easy way to recharge my batteries and I feel stronger and more capable of taking on the afternoon ahead.

I’m giving away a special gift pack to one lucky winner. I hope it will facilitate some quiet time for someone! It contains a package of Tetley Ayurvedic Balance Teas and a tea bodum. Interested? Please read the following:

  • This giveaway is for one gift package of Tetley teas and a tea bodum and will be awarded to one winner, chosen at random.
  • In order for your entry to qualify, tell me, how do you find balance? Leave your comment below.
  • One entry per email address, please!
  • This giveaway Canada-wide but void where prohibited by law.
  • If you can’t post your comment for whatever reason you can email it to andrea at quietfish dot com. Please note, I cannot be responsible if your entry is misdirected or gets stuck in my Spam folder.
  • I will draw the winning name using Random.org at noon EST on November 30, 2016.
  • The winner will be contacted by email and his or her name will be posted here.
  • Tetley’s representatives will mail the gift package to the winner. I cannot be held responsible for delayed or lost mail.

* Tetley Tea is the sponsor of this post but my experiences are my own. And I do recommend taking a bit of quiet time for yourself whenever possible!


28 Responses to "Taking small steps to find balance (plus a giveaway!)"

1 | Sarah

November 23rd, 2016 at 9:32 am


How do I find balance? Badly.
I was a sole parent for so many years, I still find it hard to believe I have time to take a bath, or enjoy a cup of tea while it’s still warm. I think I need more practice.

2 | Sarah McCormack

November 23rd, 2016 at 9:36 am


I am very happy to say that I have found balance. there is not one simple answer to “how” but I will say that not having a phone, being able to step away from all of the “noise” helps me a lot! also, TEA!! such a part of my day. I have never been a coffee drinker, but TEA is everything! love it.

3 | Jonnie

November 23rd, 2016 at 12:56 pm


I find balance by staying organized and asking for help when I need it. I make sure I have some alone time each day, even if it’s late at night after everyone is in bed, because it helps me get my head clear and calm.

4 | Lynn

November 23rd, 2016 at 1:25 pm


Ha ha ha! Balance is …elusive to say the least. One thing that I’ve been doing lately, though, is taking a firm stand on the “end of workday.” Used to be I’d stop working and pick up the kids from school, but if they were doing homework or playing happily together I’d sneak in some more work and it would run into dinner and then I’d be frantic. Now I try to have a firm stop when it’s school pick up time and that’s it, everything work wise will have to wait until tomorrow. It has helped a lot.

I love the idea of meditation time. I often don’t even stop for lunch as I only have a few hours each day to work – but taking a half hour tea break in the middle of my workday would, I think, be a really great idea.

5 | joy

November 23rd, 2016 at 2:27 pm


it is a daily struggle. I am going through a tough time right now and stress is chewing me up and spitting me out. I like to take a walk, or escape into a book when I can get myself out from hiding under the covers.

6 | Misty Pratt

November 23rd, 2016 at 2:33 pm


I agree about the cornerstones of balance, but I think meditation is the fourth (so sleep, diet, exercise and meditation) It can be “sit on my cushion” meditation, yoga, or sometimes just 5 minutes of deep belly breathing. When one or more of those things are let go (because, busy!!) I find I feel really out of balance. It’s an evolving thing, and sometimes I feel like I will never get there :) But meditation helps me be OK in all the chaos of life.

(p.s. do the teas have any natural or artifical flavours in them? I find it hard to find tea these days without flavouring, and I wonder why it’s even necessary, when the herbs can speak (taste!) for themselves)

7 | andrea tomkins

November 25th, 2016 at 2:07 pm


No artificial flavours at all Misty… The ingredients I listed in the post are what’s in the tea!

8 | KristaR

November 24th, 2016 at 8:33 am


A daily workout before the rest of the household wakes up helps to start the day off in a calm frame of mind and a hot bath with a good book finishes the day off.

9 | Rebecca

November 24th, 2016 at 9:03 am


Balance? It’s very elusive. I find that I feel more balanced when I can get a good sleep and get outside for a walk most days. Just 20 minutes of fresh air and being away from my responsibilities often lets me come back recharged and ready to keep going.

10 | Suzi

November 24th, 2016 at 10:10 am


I’ve been working hard to find balance by doing a lot of reading and also going to see a therapist. I’m very type A and high stressed and doing these things are helping me to achieve better balance in my life. It’s a learning process.

11 | Tatiana

November 24th, 2016 at 11:52 am


For years I thought of Balance as a destination and figured that if I worked hard enough at the right things I would eventually arrive. Now I think of it more like holding the tree pose in yoga, achievable (according to my own relaxed standards) but fleeting. Mindfulness definitely helps me to recognize & celebrate my balanced moments throughout the day. It’s a real sanity saver.

12 | Geneviève

November 24th, 2016 at 3:50 pm


As a teacher, I have no balance. September-June are nuts and my days are so incredibly structured, including weekends, so I can get everything done. July-August, I feel bad because I have so much free time…. Difficult to obtain perfect balance…

13 | TD

November 25th, 2016 at 9:41 am


Balance is difficult, but I have been trying to make more time for myself. Doing Yoga and playing a sport once a week has helped ensure that I have me time. would like to add another day to that though. Maybe then I would have balance.

14 | Claudette

November 25th, 2016 at 11:12 am


I guess for me it depends on the mood I’m in. If I’m all hyped up hyper or irritated or annoyed, to ground myself I grab my cleaning supplies and start tackling whatever requires cleaning! But his is few and far in occurrence….

A good way to find balance is to take the dog for a walk. We don’t have a dog but do regular dog sitting so that too depends on whether someone’s dog is here, or not. Taking a walk without a dog, when you’re usually walking with a pooch, is just…weird.

And a final way to find balance is to have a hot soothing beverage (not coffee), like tea, or even broth (soup). Especially on a cold, gloomy day. But unlike you I don’t mediate, I zone out into some stupid tv show. Perhaps it’s time to try to meditate instead?

15 | Deniz

November 25th, 2016 at 9:42 pm


Ahh the elusive balance!! Ever since becoming a mom 22 months ago, I’ve had a harder time with this. But lately I’ve been tapping back into my meditation days which had been quite nice. Every night while nursing my daughter to sleep, I take the time to meditate and it’s truly calming and wonderful!

16 | erin Pollard

November 25th, 2016 at 10:20 pm


Walking the dog in newly fallen snow, filling my lungs with crisp air while feeling gratitude for the experience.

17 | Darcy

November 25th, 2016 at 11:14 pm


Balance – morning walks with a good friend. A morning run with another good friend. Daily snuggles with the four kids. There is balance there somewhere.

18 | David Mackie

November 26th, 2016 at 8:50 am


I work to find balance by finding time to meditate and exercise regularly. If I can squeeze in some time for a creative outlet, that is a bonus. I can’t say that I’m overly successful, but when I manage to accomplish the first two with some regularity I really notice a difference in my personal well-being.

19 | alison

November 27th, 2016 at 4:31 pm


Balance- It has been an evolution to find the balance. Always testing new systems. For now 5 days a week before work…..Pages ( a la Julia Cameron), meditation, stretch, vitamins, check the tickler file. Getting those things done first thing helps me with the starting the day on the right foot. That way, whatever chaos or last minute events pop up, I still feel like I am “driving” the day. Thanks for the tip on the cool pitta tea. Will be tracking that down. Having a new level of flashes that is fascinating and trying any type of natural methods to minimize.

20 | Life of K

November 28th, 2016 at 9:57 am


I practice yoga every day. That’s my me-time. And I can really tell a difference when I’ve missed a day. It’s grounding and physical and calming and I’ve really come to love my practice.

I drink a lot of tea but hadn’t heard of these blends before. My go-to is flavoured green tea.

21 | Sarah De Diego

November 28th, 2016 at 10:02 am


I find balance by taking time for myself every single week. I spend 3 hours volunteering and another 3 hours doing all the shopping and errands. During this time, my husband looks after The Kids. Time away and to myself makes me come back refreshed and ready for my 24-hour a day job. Love my morning cup of tea too!

Besos Sarah
Journeys of The Zoo

22 | sherrie.guthrie@ocdsb.ca

November 28th, 2016 at 7:35 pm


I struggle to find balance, but once in a while I am able to go for a long skate or play a game of hockey. It centers me, reminds me what I love about life. Someday I will find balance.

23 | Erika

November 29th, 2016 at 11:36 am


To find balance, I try to find some me-time where I can be alone and relax. It can be taking a long, hot bath with some candles, reading a book, listening to music or working out at the gym. These are all feel good things for me that help me to find a healthy work-life balance.

24 | Kendra Hoskin

November 29th, 2016 at 2:47 pm


To find balance I run. It usually helps to have a goal in mind to keep me motivated. My next goal: 30 km road race in Hamilton in March. That should keep me balanced for awhile!

25 | Kim Barrett

November 29th, 2016 at 6:45 pm


Most of the year, I find balance by spending time in nature, but on dull short winter days I find even the briefest of naps very helpful.

26 | Linda

November 30th, 2016 at 4:23 am


I find balance by spending a lot of time outdoors.

27 | andrea tomkins

November 30th, 2016 at 1:36 pm


Comments are closed to new entries. Winner will be contacted and the name will be posted here too.

28 | andrea tomkins

November 30th, 2016 at 1:38 pm


We have a winner! It’s commenter #8, KristaR, who wrote:

“A daily workout before the rest of the household wakes up helps to start the day off in a calm frame of mind and a hot bath with a good book finishes the day off.”

That’s a great way to find balance Krista! Please check your email. Thanks for your entries everyone. I hope you are all able to find balance, and more importantly, sustain that balance in a way that makes you happy and healthy. xo

comment form:


Stay in touch

Me and my pet projects

Ottawa Bucket list

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Surface tension - a peek inside the fishbowl: […] book, and watched avian-related antics in the backyard. I will say once again for the record that expanding our bird feeder set up was one o
  • andrea tomkins: I'm happy to hear! Thank you for letting me know Inge. :) Merry Christmas to you!
  • Inge: Our family still uses our Advent Envelopes inspired by you! I think we are going on twelve years now. Thank you for the inspiration! Merry Christmas!
  • Mort: I'm usually very good but was gripped with mild panic at the drug store Saturday when I suddenly realized I'd forgotten my mask. Normally there's a ba
  • Michael: You could mix up all your ingredients and form the dough, cover the put it in the fridge. This will cause the dough to perform a slow rise, so if done
  • Sally Dowe Marchand: Wow. Well done. I too have done something as absent-minded as walking into a store and taking my mask off. Inside right so remove it. I immediately re
  • sassygirl: i like hearing your voice on the browser version. it’s well done! (:

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


Connect with me at these places too!

On the nightstand

All hail the mighty Twitter