With the last few years blurring the lines between work/life balance, it’s safe to say we can all appreciate meeting-free days and empty calendars. The need to prioritize wellness in our daily routines was the inspiration behind our newest Out of Office series, where we connect with community members and ask them: What does a day off look like for you?

For this week's installment, we connected with Andrea Barber.

Your Name & Pronouns:
Andrea Barber (she/her)

Before we dive into the fun stuff, what do you do for work?
I’m the founder and creator of the online, on demand movement platform A Few Fun Moves.

I create, and curate workouts with the goal to inspire more people to get moving and feeling good, when and how they want at whatever pace works for them.

During an average week, how do you spend your time off?

Ideally it’s a sunny day and I get to start it off by drinking coffee and reading for an hour in peace and quiet. I’m a morning person and truly cherish the quiet of the morning. For breakfast I’m either having a couple hard boiled eggs, yogurt and fruit, or a protein smoothie. I’m not a big breakfast person, so it’s usually something quick and easy!

After I’ve had some quiet time and I’m all fueled up, I head out to get my daily Fun Moves in (a Fun Move = anything that gets you moving, feeling good, and having fun). I currently love exploring the city on my bike or horseback riding.

Now that I’ve worked up an appetite I’m heading somewhere for something tasty like a sandwich, or a pastry. A few of my favourite places for tasty things these days are Say Hey, Coco et Olive, Ubuntu, Merci Boulangier, and Bigsbys Bakehouse. I’d love to finish off the day by cooking a tasty meal for a small group of my favourite people!

What does work/life balance mean to you and how do you try to integrate this in your day-to-day schedule?

It means having the flexibility and freedom to participate in activities and experiences that make me feel fulfilled and happy. I’m so incredibly lucky, and fortunate that my life is my work/work is my life. This can be tricky at times but it’s allowed me to live a life with flexibility outside of the standard Monday-Friday 9-5. I’m still learning how to allow myself the time, and space to fully disconnect from work. But taking time away from my computer, and social media helps! I recently got into using the “downtime” setting on my iPhone to block off certain apps during specific time periods. I’d highly recommend trying it out if you also have a hard time setting boundaries with certain…. Apps on your phone.

How has this changed in the last few years?

Pre-pandemic I felt burnt out, and exhausted. I was working within the same industry, but in a way that didn’t align with my personality type. Having a career that better aligns with my introverted self has allowed me the capacity to have more energy at the end of the day and on my days off to do the things I love for myself, with the people I care most about. Again, it's all about having the energy and time to create experiences that feel the most fulfilling to you.

Anything in your health or general wellness routine that you could never give up?

Getting my daily Fun Moves in! I need to do some kind of activity everyday for my mental health. Whether it's a bike ride, a 15min walk, going horseback riding, baking something, or trying a new recipe for dinner. I need to get moving in some capacity every single day.

It's been a long week. List your go-to for:

Recreation —> Riding my bike! My favourite rides are Fishermans Loop in North Vancouver for something longer and more adventurous. Or a quick jaunt around the trails in Stanley Park.

Relaxation —> Waking up early to drink my coffee and read my book in peace and quiet. I just finished The Hearts Invisible Furies. I’d highly recommend reading if you like a heartbreaking, yet beautiful story with great characters.

Reward —> Something fancy - the 90min luxe facial at Sunja Link. Something simple - a coffee and pain au chocolat at Ubuntu.

Lastly, what’s one piece of advice you have for anyone trying to better integrate balance in their everyday schedule?

Become mindful of the activities, people, or places that make you feel the most like yourself, at ease, and rejuvenated. Focus on including aspects of those in some capacity every day. It may be in a shorter format during the week, and larger on the weekend/days off. But remember that even the small things can matter and make a difference.

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