Powered by Blogger.

September intentions

Whilst I was away in Palma last week I took the opportunity to take some time out to write in my journal and give myself the headspace to make plans for September and the coming months. Things have been incredibly busy over the last couple of months and I've got out of a lot of the habits that I know help my happiness, health and general wellbeing.  I really want to focus now on being happy, healthy and forming positive routines - this year has been a difficult one and whilst it's tempting to hide in my bed as much as possible, I know that there are several things that keep me on track and I'm determined to stick with them.

Yoga yoga yoga

I have barely done any yoga lately, and I really notice the difference in both my flexibility and sense of calm.  I've found a yoga studio that's a relatively short walk from the house and I'm going to try and go to classes a couple of times a week.  I also really want to get back to doing yoga at home - I started the day with a Yoga With Adriene video yesterday and I felt so much better for it all day.  I think it's such a good habit to get into just to take some time for you on the mat.

Go to the gym

Oops.  This is another thing I haven't done for around two months and I'm massively noticing the difference.  I've joined a gym near the new house and I must, must, must force my bum there and get myself into shape.  I've lost a lot of confidence about my body recently and I need to stop whinging and do something about it.

Meditation every day

I've just downloaded the Calm app as well as using the Headspace app - the one thing I really like about Calm is that you get a new audio every day which is part meditation and part reflection on life. I feel like I've been more anxious and worrying lately and I know that meditation is one thing that really helps me from letting my busy brain get out of control.

Listen to hypnotherapy audio

About three weeks ago I visited a hypnotherapist after hearing about Rapid Transformational Therapy on the Jess Lively Podcast.  I wanted to overcome some of my confidence issues and limiting beliefs and it was a really interesting session that I think I'll blog about separately.  The hypnotherapist gave me a recording to listen to every day to talk me through some of the work we did in the session and I need to be dedicated in listening to it so it can make an impact.

Reduce alcohol

I spent a week in Palma last week for a hen do, and whilst I had the most amazing time (take me back immediately pls), I did notice how the daily prosecco by the pool made me feel pretty terrible the next day; both health and mental health-wise.  Does anyone else suffer with 'hangxiety' or 'the hungover blues'? I know alcohol is a depressant and since I'm trying to work on getting into a more positive headspace and being more in control of my emotions, it makes sense to try and avoid the things that make this more difficult.

Use mantras and affirmations

When I find my busy brain racing out of control (usually in the middle of the night) I get a lot out of using mantras and affirmations to repeat to myself to calm me down.  I also write these in my journal so that I can remember them and look back on the ones that helped.  The most simple one I go to when I really need to slow my brain down is 'om'.  It's an ancient Sanskrit word traditionally used in meditation (you can read more about the meaning of the word here).  If I am getting too wrapped up in the past I repeat to myself 'I choose to enjoy my life now' (I borrowed this from Jen Sincero's book, You Are A Badass).  I also enjoy anything that teaches me to let go and relax, and allow things to be as they are and trust what is coming.

Eat more plants

Where things have been busy lately, my diet has been really poor and I've almost entirely stopped eating vegetables and green things, favouring convenience over nutrition.  I know I feel better when I eat lots of veggies (and less sugar - sorry Milkybar Buttons, we've become a bit too close recently) and so I want to whip up some batches of yummy foods to take for lunch so I feel more prepared and don't end up buying sandwiches and crisps from the Co-Op.

Finish online courses

I signed up for about five online courses with qualifications from Centre of Excellence recently but I've been a bit slack with actually completing them.  I want to start gaining some extra skills and knowledge to set me up for the future so I need to knuckle down and get them done.  I'm only 40% of the way through my Diploma in Wicca, it's so interesting!

Read more books

I say this all the time, but reading is a habit I know I love that I'm so bad at keeping up with.  Instead of reading I lie in bed, scroll through Twitter and instagram and then go to sleep.  I worked out before my holiday that I had 41 books on my Kindle that I'm desperate to read, so I really need to knuckle down and start ticking them off.

Run more

I really miss running, I think my last run must have been about two months ago too.  I need to be more disciplined with it and force myself out on a couple of mornings a week, I have no excuses not to, especially in the periods I have Bodhi as I can run with him as I'm out anyway (except for when he wants to stop and sniff everything!)

Use airplane mode or Forest app

I hate the amount that I use my phone and I really want to distance myself from it and focus on all of the things above over the coming weeks and months.  I've discovered this brilliant app called Forest where you set a period of time you don't want to use your phone for, and it starts growing a virtual plant for you.  If you use your phone during that period the plant dies, if you don't it adds it to your virtual forest! It's a fun way to get more disciplined about having some space from your phone.

What are your plans and intentions for September?

What couldn’t you live without?

I want to talk about something a little different today, something I might not usually blog about - and something that isn't aesthetic, or stylish or desirable, but something I have learned that needs to be shared.

When I think about the things I couldn't live without, I think about my duck down duvet, my morning green tea, my comfiest jogging bottoms and a bubble bath before bedtime.  Of course I could live without these things, but I'd definitely be a lot grumpier and craving the things that help me wake up in the morning and wind down after a long day.  I probably don't show gratitude often enough for the fact that I have access to all of the things I would describe as my home comforts - my sofa scattered with plumped cushions and soft throws, Bodhi dog snoozing at my feet, my king-size bed, my sheepskin rug.  But the concept of home comforts is definitely relative.  What I often take for granted are things I have in my home to make it comfortable, which for others would be unimaginable luxury.  This week I discovered via a campaign between Andrex and WaterAid that across the globe, 1 in 3 people live without a decent toilet.  This makes me feel ashamed that what I think I couldn't live without is a comfortable bed, when 2.4 billion people don't have access to a toilet, and simply have to go out in the open.  Again - this may not be something you might think I would usually blog about, but I think it's important to realise just how severe this crisis is.  (And not only severe, but deadly - disease spreads fast when people don't have clean water and sanitation).

When I think about my worries at school, they were about not having the right shoes, wondering why I was left out of certain friendship groups, or what would happen if I didn't get the right GCSEs. I learned that across the world, girls are dropping out of school because they don’t have access to private toilets, meaning their opportunities for a better future and an education, are lost.  Furthermore, women going to the toilet outside face harassment, or even attack.  It just utterly breaks my heart to think of young girls, struggling with how difficult it can be growing up anyway, but who are also faced with the prospect of needing the toilet or dealing with periods when proper sanitation and facilities are not available.  Being able to have your health, dignity and wellbeing should be a basic human right, so I was shocked to learn just how many people are robbed of this.

I fully support this new campaign - which at the heart of it lies the belief that everyone, everywhere should have a decent place to go to the toilet.  I was shocked to discover that 1 in 3 people live without a decent toilet, and almost a billion have no choice but to go out in the open.  I have been reflecting on this a lot, and it's really made some of the things I've been worrying about this week (having several as yet unpacked boxes in the new house, a cracked phone screen, noisy neighbours and nothing to wear on holiday) pale into insignificance.  I really had no idea that so many people were living without such a basic human right, and the number of deaths due to dirty water and poor sanitation shocked me to the core.  In 2017, you just don't imagine this could be happening.

I've been working on a campaign to highlight the partnership between Andrex and WaterAid – Andrex have committed to donating at least £100k to WaterAid this year, which will make possible up to 100,000 visits to community toilets.  If you want to help with this campaign you can choose to purchase the special Andrex packs in Tesco.  For every pack bought, Andrex will donate a penny for every pound spent, which will go directly to WaterAid.

You can also make donations directly to WaterAid.

*This post was written in collaboration with Andrex, however I have made a donation to WaterAid as part of this campaign

Health and Fitness Update - August

I'm holding my hands up and admitting that over the last few months my health and fitness efforts have majorly dropped off the radar.  In between selling a house, renting another, a holiday, one hen do and another I'm about to set off for, I've been more focused on easy, convenient food than whipping up salads, and gym trips have been swapped for festivals, nights out and sofa time.  It's fair to say it's been a rather busy Summer.

Although I have totally stopped logging my food on MyFitnessPal (who wants the shame of having to enter every Deliveroo delivery that comes to their doorstep?), the two things I have been tracking are my steps via my Fitbit Blaze, and my weight and body fat % via my iHealth Core Scales.

I'm a bit of an obsessive tracker, so having a set of scales that gives me a range of data such as BMI, body water, lean mass and muscle mass and uploads it all to an app on my phone.  Everyone is a bit blown away when I show them that my scales connect to the wifi and upload all the stats so I have them on hand and can look back over my past results (and send them to my personal trainer - eek!) The scales themselves are brilliant and I've found them incredibly easy and motivating to use - you can set goals and then the tracker will tell you how far you are from your goals and give you trends so you can really keep on top of your tracking.  It integrates with the Health app on the iPhone so you really can feed it into everything else you're monitoring as part of your health and fitness.  You can also add different users and it logs their weight so you don't even need to say who it is that's using it.  (It also helps that they're a lovely looking set of scales - they look so swish in my bathroom!)

Unfortunately using my scales I've seen a steady increase in my weight in the last few months and I've put back on all of the weight and body fat that I previously lost through running, personal training, tracking my food and increasing my protein.  As I mentioned, I'm off on a hen do in Mallorca later today, so I won't be watching my weight whilst I'm there, but when I'm back I'm determined to get focused.

Matching running shoes with my friend Charlie

I'm intending to go to at least two yoga classes a week, and there are some great yoga studios within walking distance of the house.  I'll also be joining a gym that's only a few minutes' walk away, so I'm hoping the convenience of these options will spur me on to get my trainers on and yoga mat out.  I'm also going to get back on to tracking my food and being more disciplined with my meals and preparation so that I'm not grabbing take-aways or sandwiches at work.  I also want to get back into running again and get out a couple of times a week before work (for some reason I'm more of an autumn/winter runner, I hate getting hot and sticky and running when it's boiling outside!)

How are you doing with your health and fitness goals?