Meditation and Mindfullness

For a long time I used mediation only when I felt I needed it. After a stressful day I would take ten and just sit and focus on my breathing. This of course worked for a little while but I have found that meditation is more about the frequency rather than the length of time it is practiced for.

Over the last month or so I have been meditating once a day for between ten to fifteen minutes. I’ve found by meditating once a day that I gain new perspectives on situations that are stressful or cause me to become anxious, I can focus on the present and how I am feeling in that moment not just in life situations but also within myself and my body. Not only does it help me to lower my stress levels and let go of all the bad, negative emotions that I might otherwise hold onto it has also helped me to deal with stress and manage it even when I’m at work or going about my daily activities.

I focus mainly on my breathing whilst meditating. How it feels when I breath in and how my chest rises and lowers as I breath in and out. By focusing on my breathing you nearly automatically relax your neck, shoulders and upper body muscles as you draw in more oxygen to allow for better breathing. Focus on how the breath feels in your nostrils and the back of you throat and if your mind starts to wander, which is completely fine, just draw your focus back to your breathing and how your body feels whilst your either sitting in a chair with you feet flat on the ground and your hands in your lap or you can sit crossed legged like I do. I like to sit on my yoga mat with my legs crossed and a folded towel or pillow under my bum so that my hips are higher than my ankles.

If you can’t find yourself a quite spot to really focus on your breathing and how if feels and what it sounds like I have found that playing slow, relaxing music works well. I use quite a few different playlists on Spotify. It did take me a while to find ones that really worked for me but I listened to them whilst doing yoga and then saved them for a later date. You will find that there are playlists for different types of mediation and if you can’t find anything that works for you I recommend a sleep playlist. There will be a blog post going up soon focusing mainly on these playlists and how different sounds can make you feel and focus on different aspects of the world around you.

I do set my timer for ten minutes but when it does go off I allow myself time to open my eyes slowly and in my own time. You want to allow yourself to stay relaxed and not be jolted out of your relaxed, mindful state so taking your time at this point is really important. The length of time you meditate for isn’t important because again, different people will feel differently. Sometimes you might not even set a timer, just go with how you are feeling and you will know when you want to stop and at that point you just slowly bring yourself back to present.

Keep in mind that this is only one of many forms of meditation which works jolly fine for me but you might have to find a different form that works better for you. I like to have my eyes closed which I have found stops my mind from wandering as much but you may find that having your eyes open actually works better for you. It’s all about trial and error and finding what works the best for you and what you need from it.

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Being Brave

What would you do if you were being sensible? What would you do if you were being brave? You can’t change your life by doing all the same things you have always done. Being brave is a massive step to being someone new and achieving things you never thought possible. Whether you take little steps at a time or a massive leap it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that your taking the steps towards what you want to do with your one and only life.

Believe me when I say that I don’t like change. I never liked the idea of going to far off places, somewhere with new languages or weird animals that look cute but are deadly. That never appealed to me until this year. I got a graduate job that I never thought I would be lucky enough to get and I’m actually kind of good at it. I think that getting it just made me realise that I can do the things I never thought I could. I answer telephones and deal with picky people who want designs to be just right even if they are wrong. I tell them they are wrong in a round about way to make them think it was their idea to change it. Instead of  rolling over and accepting everything thats thrown my way I’m actually questioning and explaining which is totally not me and I’m enjoying it. I keep surprising myself with little things.

Telling myself to get myself together is big part of that. I set myself up to get what I want now instead of setting myself up to fail. It’s a new outlook that does actually mean a lot.

I get in my car and drive to new places without my sat nav guiding the way. I read sign posts and take the wrong roads but I enjoy it now which is strange because turning the sat nav on before used to scare me. Theres more to see than a screen. Looking out the window and stopping in little towns you would usually pass through. Taking my time isn’t wasting time, it’s making memories and living in the moment. Something I never did before. Everything was planned to within an inch of its life.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have freak outs about not having everything planned if I stop and think about it long enough. But as long as I remember which roads I took to get there, it’s easy enough to find your way home.

I completed my first five kilometre run and raised £285 and counting for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust through our Just Giving page. That I never would have done before. Would have been too worried about what other people thought and I would have thought through a million different situations through in my head before hand. But instead I got up and ran it with Kelly and we did something different, new and worthwhile. We obviously feel like we didn’t push ourselves enough either because we are running the Falkirk Supernova five kilometre run in November too. It’s these little things that show you just how far you have come and it just shows that your capable of pushing though even when you want to stop.

I guarantee that if you have a look at your own life you will realise that you’ve accomplishing things you never would have before. Even if they are just little accomplishments at least your still taking steps in the right direction.

Take the road less travelled even if it says it’s not suitable for motor vehicles. Worry about it in the moment and laugh about it later.

 

 

Are You Hungry or Bored?

Learning the difference between being hungry and bored is super important when your trying to cut out all the foods you really shouldn’t be eating. I like to nibble at snacks while I work and it really doesn’t help that I am sat right next to the biscuits, sweets and crisps. Since I started working full time I have struggled to tell the difference between being bored or stressed and being hungry.

The best way around this mystery is by constantly sipping on water. When I wake up in the morning I will have a pint of water before I do anything else. I have found this helps to settle my stomach and makes eating breakfast so much easier. Up until a month ago I never ate breakfast so I am still getting used to the fact I now eat in the morning. I plan on sharing a few of my favourite breakfast ideas in a blog post soon so keep your eyes peeled.

Once I have had my water in the morning I do half an hour of yoga and then get ready for work. At work everyone drinks so much coffee it might as well come straight out the tap. I try not to drink too much due to the caffeine and the fact I have to put sugar in my coffee to enjoy it. Throughout the day I will drink another three pints of water. One an hour before I eat my lunch to help speed up my metabolism and the rest whenever I get the chance.

After work Kelly and I go to the park for a run before we both go our separate ways home. Usually on my way home I will drink another small bottle of water or diluted juice to tide me over to dinner.

Since I started drinking so much water I have noticed a not only a massive difference in my appetite but there  has also been a massive difference in how well I sleep and how I feel when I wake up. I literally jump out of bed which is the complete opposite of what I am normally like. I used to physically cry with the thought of getting up and now I actually look forward to it. There has also been a huge difference in my skin and the number of breakouts I have had. When I first started I did get a good few spots however now that I am a couple of weeks in my skin has really cleared up and I actually look well rested for once.

I am putting all of this down to water which seems very hard to believe but I have literally changed nothing else in my life. So if your struggling to lose weight due to being bored not hungry and eating anyway, try drinking more water. It will make you realise that you really are just bored most of the time and therefore so much easier to make those life changes and reach those body goals.

5 Steps To Bossing That Morning Workout

They do say that the early bird catches the worm. While everyone else is asleep just think about how far ahead you could get! That’s been my number one push to get up early. I want to change my life and I am not going to do that by sleeping in till eight every day.

Setting That Bloody Alarm

Setting that alarm is the easy part, it’s actually getting up when your alarm goes off thats tough. I have found that wearing my activity tracker to bed and setting my alarm on the app for a smooth wake up is a lot better than a loud obnoxious alarm. Waking up to a soft vibration of your wrist is a much better wake up and one that doesn’t put me in a bad mood before I’ve even set foot out of bed.

Put Your Workout Gear Where You Can See It

Laying your workout gear out at night before bed is also a huge motivation. The fact that it’s all there ready to go as soon as you wake up means your more likely to wake up in that mindset. It also helps if you have nice workout gear that you enjoy wearing because then you’ll want to put it on. Put it somewhere you can see it in the morning to push you to get up.

Fresh Tunes

Have your playlist ready to go. Whatever music your into have your playlist set, mix it up just like you would your workouts to keep it fresh and exciting. Have music that matches the pace of your workout. I have found that having music with a strong beat makes running so much easier. Hitting the pavement on the beat helps to keep a steady rhythm, therefore you keep the same steady pace and in theory the same breathing pace.

Plan Out Your Workouts

Know what workouts your doing before bed. If your going to the gym, swimming, running or doing a class, know what your going to set your goal as before bed. Having that motivation when you wake up of putting your gym clothes on and going straight where you planned means you have no chance to back out. Treat it as a meeting that you can’t miss or be late for.

Believe You Can Boss It

Have your mind set on the fact that you can do anything the day throws at you and that includes the hard sweaty workout you have planned first thing in the morning. I have found that going to bed motivated and having a good night sleep makes it so much easier to believe in yourself in the morning. So get the shut eye that you need and you will get the workout in that you deserve.

That Grown Up Word

Mortgage. The fact that it took me three tries to even spell mortgage right screams that I am anything but ready to have one. The idea of saving and scrimping and not buying make-up whenever I feel like is making me feel very grown up. A whole lot more grown up than I thought I would be at this point in my life.

I’m 21. I’ve graduated from uni and I have a full time job. I have my own car and I pay for my own holidays. I have now been granted permission to have candles in my room and I don’t need reminding to turn my hair straighteners off before I leave in the morning. I have officially made it to the next stage. The scary thing is that the next step is a house and buying my own toaster and all the other stuff you don’t really think about when you live with your parents.

How do you even pay your taxes or pay for your electricity and water and all your usual stuff that just happens when you flick a switch or turn on the tap? For some reason all this important stuff was skipped at school and university. Why is there not a class that teaches you about paying bills and living like an adult? They teach you how to bake a cake but not how to live your life on your own. That makes no sense.

I don’t have to worry now though because the house won’t be for at least another two years. Two years of scrimping and saving and not eating take-away twice a week to save money. You just know it’s gonna be tough but I’m hoping that when we finally find ourselves in our first home, sat on the living room floor with a few beers and shit Saturday night tv, we will know we have made it and we did it all on our own.

Drink, Drank, Drunk: Silent Pool

This absolutely gorgeous bottle of gin is the child of a Surrey based distiller. I am going to start off by saying it is by far one of my favourite gins. Silent Pool Gin, Fever-Tree tonic and ice in a glass is a dream.

The 24 botanicals in this beautiful bottle create a floral, citrus combination that you would be silly not to love. You would think that I was talking about the love of my life with home many positive describing words I am using but it is honestly, hand on heart, gorgeous in and out the bottle. Perfect for sitting out in your back garden with your feet up in the sunshine. And can we also pay attention to the gorgeous blue and bronze bottle?

Being new to this whole gin thing is absolutely fantastic! Everything is brand new and finding weird and wonderful distilleries right here in the UK is very exciting. Who would have thought that we would have so many fantastic gins right on our doorstep. My work has mostly been the reason I drink more than Bombay Sapphire now. We have been researching distilleries to reach out to and hopefully build connections with which has obviously made me want to try all these small batch gins that are just starting to pop up all over the place.

YouTube Videos For A Great Home Workout

With summer literally right around the corner and the weather starting to get better, I have realised that I am not exactly beach body ready. This year I have decided to change that and really push to get the body I have always wanted.

I try to go to the gym three times a week and the days I am not at the gym I’m completing loads of great workouts from Youtube. Youtube is literally full to bursting with fantastic, empowering and motivational workouts that anybody could do in the comfort of their own home.

I have complied a short list of the workouts that I have completed so far and absolutely loved. Yes they are incredibly hard but you honestly feel so good once your done. Almost makes rolling out of bed at 6:30am every morning worth it.

I shall continue doing the workouts in this list for the next four weeks and hopefully by the end of June I will have some noticeable differences in my body.

Burn 500 Calories in 45 Minutes With This Cardio and Sculpting Workout by PopSugar Fitness

I will admit that I was completely drawn in with the title and a little part of me thought that there was no way the workout could do exactly what it said on the tin. How wrong I was. This workout is a sweat feast. It’s full of explosive moves that take you from a warm up to a kick boxing segment to a sculpt.

If you want to work your whole body and burn a hell of a lot of calories then you really don’t have to look much further than this little beauty.

30 Minute Selena Gomez Workout for Flat Abs and Toned Legs by PopSugar

Your booty will be burning for days after this workout. It takes you through a range of ballet inspired moves and strange crunch workouts but by doing this it’s targeting key areas such as lower abs and your booty.

This is one of my favourites down to the fact you can feel the burn for days afterwards. You just know that you have gotten in a really good workout which makes everyday a good day.

I think we just need to keep in mind that even if you can’t do all the moves in the workout and have to do modified versions, your still doing a hell of a lot more moving than you would be if you had chosen to stay in bed for an hour longer. I feel great about myself as soon as I have finished my workout because I chose to start it and I chose to finish it.

 Plank Challenge by Rebecca Louise Fitness

If like me, you love a good plank but struggle to find the motivation to keep going or you just want to find different variations on a good classic move then Rebecca Louise will definitely be able to help.

This five minute workout takes you through the basic plank moves that focus on building your core. If your looking to gain those washboard abs and toned waist then this is a super move.

Lift Tone Booty Routine With Katrina

These two beautiful women are body goals. I find there charisma and chemistry fun to watch and at times I find myself smiling through the pain. Seeing there abs right in front of me whilst my tummy tires are rolling does make you hate yourself slightly but at the same time it’s the perfect motivation.

4 Minute Lower Body Burpee Gauntlet Challenge by Turbulence Challenge

4 minutes seems easy. It’s not with Turbulence Challenge. These simple moves target key problem areas and burn a huge amount of calories. Perfect for weight loss and toning. They have plenty of workouts that don’t require any gym equipment or weights and they are one of the few channels that I like that would cater to both men and women.

No Gym Full Body Workout by Jordan Yeoh Fitness

This workout is again short and sweet. Circuits at there best. Simple yet powerful moves that burn a hell of a lot of calories. You know they burn a hell of a lot of calories because the burn is real. Burpees are my worst enemy so when you finish that final circuit the relief if real but so it the sense of achievement. If you want to not only feel good but look good then this guy is defiantly a good idea.