My Life

Checkpoint 5

Hi, Hey, Hello!

This check in is late I think…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I honestly cannot figure out the timings of it. I’m pretty sure it’s late. It should have happened last month but November was otherwise engaged and so it has to open December, which is gonna be festive-ish I guess. I’m not a big Christmas person until it gets to about the 20th and then I’m over it come the 27th. That’s it, you kinda get festive me for about a week, but during that week I go hardLike, I wear a Christmas jumper every day and always buy a new one to wear on the day.

This is kind of festive themed I guess. I mean it’s terrifyingly reaching the end of the year and this is the time where people start looking back at what they had intended to do for the year and seeing whether they’ve achieved it or not. This isn’t quite closing out the whole year because I wrote it up when it was supposed to be written but have only just had an opening to post it, the final check in will come some time in January when I do a 2018 version of this, but this is the last comprehensive update of the year. So without further ado:

1) Take Better Care of My Hair – There’s not really much more that I can do with this one. I had my second haircut of the year back in July and I am due another one in January (hell yeah perks of having hair that only needs two haircuts a year). I continue to wash, condition and deep condition my hair each week. Which is arguably kind of pointless given that during this season so far (meaning winter) and the fact that I work out 5 times a week it spends most of its time tied up. But it remains moisturised and there is some length coming to it and it’s plodding along. Leave in conditioners are my friends and I’m always trying new shampoos and new hair masks. I’m kind of done with this one. It’s become a habit at this point.

2) Take Better Care of My Skin –  Okay, so I have moved away from Lush products since the last check in. This happened mainly so I could see what Glossier hype was all about. I’ve got a full post coming about this later this week but it’s come with a new cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen. My skin is looking less oily which is good, but the breakouts are still there and I can’t quite figure out why they are happening. I really need to get back to cleaning my face with Dark Angels once a week again for an extra exfoliating kick mid week but I keep forgetting. I mean I’m not treating my skin badly or anything, it’s just decided to go through a second puberty.

3) Tone The Hell Up – Look at some point in October my diet fell to shit and for some reason it now ebbs and flows. I’m not beating myself up about or anything and I kind of make up for it by regularly working out and stuff so I don’t feel bad about it or anything, but I really need to start shaping up with that again. Diet is like half the battle with this one. The exercise is routine now. It happens 5 times a week, I do cardio twice a week, I lift once a week, I do some bodyweight stuff that is basically just planks and squats and I do barre because nothing burns quite like the barre burn. Physically I have baby biceps that come out to play now and I can lift weights now which is changing things slightly and like, I have the hints of abs and my legs are hella toned. Did I do that for the aesthetics? Hell no. I did it to get stronger, to get moving, to help cope with my every day stresses and just really sweat the day away. But the aesthetics of it isn’t a bad thing. We’re approaching Christmas at this point, and while I’m not going to go crazy I’m kind of not naive enough to think that I’m going to completely overhaul my diet in amongst alllll the food. So this will trickle over into a 2018 goal.

4) Start Saving Properly –  Look, this has not gone well this year. It just hasn’t. But I think this is good. It’s forced me to really assess the whole situation properly and truly look at better ways to be saving money and how to get everything under control. So yeah, this has failed. In so many damn ways. But it can only go up from here.

5) Get Better Organised – The diary I bought does get used. But again, it remains super sporadic. It’s habit that I’v never had before and trying to get into one is proving hard for me. I’m choosing Sundays as the day where I sit down and just plan things out. And then I need to keep referring to it. In a similar way to how I do a face mask every Sunday and go through the hair washing process on a Monday, I just need to form a habit of it. And I have the motivation for it, so it’s getting there.

6) Try And Be More Creative/Just Write More – I’ve learned this year that I need to not force this. I need to just let it do what it wants to do. And some days it wants to write 3,000 words in a day and others it wants to write 0. I need to learn to fall into this and not feel bad or feel like a failure when I don’t. I also need to not just let myself fall into a habit where I do not write anything for days on end. It’s just kind of frustrating the way it works, but I need to stop worrying about that. I also think that I am going to start making a habit of just writing for half an hour each night, and not just for this blog but outside of it. It’s just half an hour and yeah sometimes that half hour will fly by in a flurry or words and sometimes it won’t. I just need to roll with it and not fight it. My NaNo attempt was behind from day 2 and it sucked, but it wasn’t the end of the world and realising that lifted a huge weight that I hadn’t even known I was carrying.  So yeah, I have written more and I’ve also not, but this is a ongoing thing for me and I have written a lot of stuff so I consider it a win.

And that is the 5th and final full check in for my 2017 goals for the year. Some have been good, some have been truly ignored and nothing has come from them. Some of them are ongoing beyond just this year and this was just the foundation for them.

Parentheses count: 2. See you tomorrow!

 

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Letters to Autumn, My Life

Letters to Autumn 27

Dear Autumn,

Anger’s a weird one.

I mean emotions in general are kind weird if you really think about them, but there is something about anger.

I feel like for the most part you can deal with the origin for some other emotions. And they make sense that you would feel them. And I get feeling angry, but like angry that you stubbed your toe. Or angry that your team’s defence is so shit right now (seriously Liverpool, sort it out).

But pure unadultered rage that you don’t really know what to do with and will not pass unless you shout, cry or punch something.

That shit is fucking weird.

It just seems to come out of nowhere and then sits with you.

I bring this up because last week I spend most of the day seething with rage. Like it seeped out of all my pores and most people kept a fair distance from me for that very reason. I just felt a level of anger that I haven’t felt in a very long time, or maybe ever. It was weird.

I mean I know what triggered it, but it something that has happened before multiple times and other than annoying me slightly I am kind of over at this point. But on this day, I just felt uncontrollable anger.

That I could not get rid of.

So it hit me at like 9am and then it just sat with me all day. And I could not get rid of it for the whole work day. I didn’t really talk to anyone unless it was necessary. I took a deep breath every time I had to answer the phone and tried to mask the anger out of my voice. I kept just getting up and moving away from my desk every hour and taking a couple of breaths so that I didn’t actually go insane.

I will be honest, it felt like I kind of broke a little bit.

I sweat it all out later that afternoon after work in the end. I just channelled it all into donkey kicks, squats and ab roll outs. It was 45 minutes when the only thing that I let myself focus on was the fucking burn in my glutes and abs. And it helped. I sweat it all out, got home, hugged my dog and then slept relatively well that night. It did me the world of good.

Turns out this letter was basically another ode to exercise but I got there in a roundabout way.

One I never really want to feel that kind of anger again, but two, it’s good to know that I have a healthy outlet to channel it into now.

Love,

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Letters to Autumn, My Life

Letters to Autumn 20

Dear Autumn,

In the depths of my anxiety ridden life earlier this year I tried all sorts of things to try and get my head back in the game. They all had varying degrees of success, and in the end the thing that helped me best was sitting down and getting together a coherent plan to help me deal with all these irritating thoughts that kept plaguing my mind and driving me mad.

The one that had the most success, at the time, was meditation. I’d kind of found that focusing in on my breathing during yoga helped me somewhat when I did for an hour a week but or some reason I kept it limited to that, because I had attempted meditation before when something similar happened 3/4 years ago and I found that I just could not shut my brain off. And even though the app I was using said that it was fine to let other thoughts in I found myself focusing so much on the fact that I was thinking when I was supposed to be just letting thoughts go that I stayed very much in my own head and the whole thing proved very fruitless.

However this time I was coming at it with the fact that I was managing to for, the most part, really focus in my breathing and the practice for an hour and week and it was helping a little to quiet the noise in my head and so I gave it another try.

And it helped me so much. Not enough to help me deal with the problem completely, but enough that I felt calm enough to be able to fall asleep which was pretty much all I had as being awake was exhausting me because my brain would not shut off and I was easily stressed out to the point of panic attacks at almost all points.

Then when I started to get better for whatever reason I fell out of the habit of taking 10 minutes out of my day to just breathe and focus in on myself and calm the hell down. And I really don’t know why.

I mean I have now created a good enough plan for myself for my day to day life that I have my anxiety mostly under control and when it’s not I can get it back under control relatively easily now. And they don’t involve meditation.

But I feel like they should.

For whatever reason I’ve dropped exercises that really focus in on the breathe in this current version of my exercise plan and although there is something kind of meditative about the other exercise that I do as I focus in on reps and proper form, it’s kind of not the same as doing something that is solely focused on it.

I found it so helpful and it did really help to calm my nerves and leave me feeling centred in a way that I do get post-workout, but not in the same way.

So starting from next month, when I feel like I am going to need to really focus on trying to stay calm in amidst attempting the insanity that is NaNo, I am going to introduce the daily practice back into my life. Don’t ask me why I’m not just starting from now, for some reason I feel like I need the significance of it being a fresh start and a fresh month…

Love,

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Letters to Autumn, My Life

Letters to Autumn 15

Dear Autumn,

It’s Sunday.

I used to be the champion of a super lazy Sunday where you just sort of crawl out of bed at whatever time you want, throw on some different comfy clothes that aren’t pjs and then do very little except eat. I had that shit nailed down. Sundays used to be the day where I would just totally reset in preparation for the week ahead. I would go into work on Monday and the only thing I could ever really say was that I did nothing.

Sundays have changed a little over the past month. In fact my weekends in general have shifted slightly.

As I have mentioned many a time on here, I exercise now. Quite a bit. Actually I say that, it’s in total 4 hours a week. 4×45 minutes sessions and 1×60 minutes. The amount of hours I spend a week exercising hasn’t actually changed, the breakdown of it just has, it used to be 4×60 minutes sessions a week. And those 4 sessions were Monday-Thursday with a long weekend rest period. And it worked fine, but then I got bored of it and decided to shake it up a bit slowly but surely.

So I shifted my rest days around and upped the frequency to 5 on 2 off. I knew the increase in sessions per week was coming. I could feel it in my bones. But I knew when it came around to doing that I would have to just shake everything up. And so I have. And that means that I now get real sweaty on weekends.

On Saturdays more than on Sundays but given that I’ve been away for a week and the most about of cardio I’ve done is climbing an awful lot of stairs today will be the sweatiest that I’ve been since last weekend. It’s not the sweatiest I can get, that tends to happen on Wednesdays and Saturdays which are just pure cardio for the most part (there sometimes some bodyweight strength stuff), but it’s up there.

You don’t think that doing work on gliders will really affect you that much and then all of a sudden everything burns and there is a sheen of moisture covering my entire person and making things sticky. Because Sundays are now cardio barre days. In fact, for some reason this is now the only version of barre that I do because I switched my Thursday workout to lifting instead.

Whereas before I used to love just lazing around and doing nothing all day and getting out of bed post noon, I was doing just that. Nothing. Now my Sundays are actually productive. For starters I get a workout in and all the delightful endorphins that come with it. Secondly, it gets be out of bed and out of the house. It forces me to utilise my time better. If I have a couple of errands to run then I do that beforehand and cross them off the list. I arrive to to the studio about half an hour before the class starts and then I get some writing done in that time. I use my travel time (mostly) to get some things done as well. I get things done and then that seems to trigger something in my brain that then allows me to have a lazy afternoon/evening and do so feeling totally guilt free. I’ve almost earned the rest after being so productive.

Plus it now means I have Fridays and Mondays rest days, which just feels better for some reason. Mondays I was my hair and now on Fridays I shall start to foam roll because with this shake up I decided to drop both Yoga and Pilates which means that I’m not stretching as much as I used to and my body is tight as a result.

So after a week off I shall soon be embarking on my cardio barre class, getting a sweat on and then having a chill afternoon that will include eating and Netflix.

Love,

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Letters to Autumn, My Life

Letters to Autumn 9

Dear Autumn,

So I was writing a review for Sweaty Betty the other day (because what I really needed was another pair of leggings and sports bra) and there’s this little ‘about you’ section that you can fill out next to it and it mentions what activity you do and then it levels you in terms of front, middle or back of class.

It was that part that got me.

I’ve never really put that much thought into what part of the room I stand says about me. I kind of didn’t think it really said anything about me. I just always kind of dropped my bags at the back of the room and then turned around and set up shop wherever that was. Which was almost always at the back of the room. I think part of me had convinced myself that it just made the most sense. If there’s a lot of floor work then it makes sense to be at the back of the room because I take up a lot of space and the back of the room makes that easier to accommodate…in my head.

It turns out that it was probably just another level of a confidence thing that I’d never really thought about before. If I’m at the back of the room then it’s harder for me to get called out for stuff or for other people to notice me. Which is both a good and a bad thing I guess. I can’t get called out on my form if they can’t see me properly, or for giving up a little prematurely (which happens less these days, but still happens). However it has also made sure that I work on making sure that my form isn’t shit and really giving up before the set is done is cheating nobody but myself.

But anyway, back to the confidence thing. Turns out it was that. This past week I’ve forced myself to move further forward in the room, and twice now I’ve ended up straight in front of the instructor. Which horrified me in some ways because they were right. there.

Funnily enough though it turned out fine. My body is waaayyyy ahead of my mind in terms of knowing what it is capable of and actually getting it done. I spent most of Thursday super non-excited for my Lift class that night because Aunt Flow decided she was going to be early and it was too late to cancel so I had to do when all I really wanted to do was go home and be a sloth, but come that evening while I was loading up the barbell I felt the endorphins do their thing and the 45 minutes flew by. Plus on some level it was kind of nice to know that if there was something dodgy with my form (which is definitely a possibility as I am still getting used to lifting) that the instructor was right there to correct me if necessary (it was also good to know that even she was a little shaky when it came to some balance stuff).

There was still that part of me however that felt like I was being watched and judged by the people behind me, which I guess is why I always exist in the back somewhere. I hate that feeling. That people are watching me. That I’m somehow the centre of attention even though I know I’m not. There’s a part of me that always wants to make myself as small and as invisible as possible and I can’t do that if I’m standing in front of people. There’s nowhere to hide when you’re up front. That’s a residual problem from childhood. One that I thought I had gotten over, but apparently hadn’t. So that’s my new challenge to myself.

Because I know from experience that no one is really paying to attention to what anyone else is doing unless they are glancing over to try and figure out what the fuck they’re supposed to be doing next and then they are gonna carry on with their lives and pay you no mind. And I got over myself being my own worse enemy enough to put myself in that environment, so I’m gonna get over this thing that I didn’t even really know was a thing until I indirectly got called out about it.

Love,

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My Life

Strength Training and Me

Hi, Hey, Hello!

In my new minor obsession with working out, because hello an outlet to direct my anxiety, I have slowly introduced a lot of new things to my routine slowly but surely. Some have worked and I stick to them on a mostly weekly basis, some I rotate in for a few weeks and then I switch them out. Sometimes I just have to listen to my body needs and wants during any given week and work accordingly.

The one thing that I have never done is anything that involves weights. And it’s not because I was worried about getting bulky or anything, I was just sort of scared of them.

They intimidated me in a way that I try to not let things do anymore.

I would just have these visions of me not being able to lift that much because my upper body strength is effectively non-existent and then eventually somehow getting that small weight above my head only to then promptly fall on the floor because the weight is too much and I can’t take it. Or getting crushed by a barbell or something. I would go full Final Destination with my thought process for no reason whatsoever.

And then at some point last week I was like ‘fuck it’, I’m a lot stronger in my body than I was when I first started this ‘journey’ (I am reluctant to call it that but I don’t have a better word so I have to go with it) and can almost do something that could almost be called a push up without being on my knees now. So my upper body strength is doing something that should probably be considered progress in some way. And also my lower body strength is pretty damn strong.

And so I signed up for a class that is literally called ‘Lift’.

It was hard.

Not in a bad way, just in a way that my body isn’t used to. I mean it squats a lot (I have to squat into my jeans to get them to sit right on me, long story, but yeah…I have to do that) and it does a fair amount of arm work. But never with weight involved. Funnily enough it gets harder with weight involved.

It also highlighted new areas of tightness to me. For example, I knew I had tights hips, but they are definitely not as bad as they used to be so I’ve sort of stopped noticing tightness there. There are things that have gotten a lot easier as they have ceased to be so damn problematic. This 45 minute class taught me that I also have tight shoulders. Like really tight shoulders. I mean they loosened up a little, but for the most part they’re tight. I did not know that before.

Another thing I learned is that I’m not actually as weak as I believe I am. I mean I’m a light lifter but I didn’t go into this thinking that I would be super good and strong because that’s absurd. But I wasn’t as weak as I expected. I managed to do a whole round with 10kg on a barbell which the thought of doing sparked those images of being crushed by a barbell. It was hard, and I didn’t think I could do it but it was definitely a case of my body being way further ahead of mind, which happens to me a lot these days.

It burned and it hurt (not in a bad way or anything) and I felt like quitting a couple of times, but when it came to the final track and I actually managed to (mostly) get through it with 8kg on my bar and not cry. I kind of felt fucking amazing.

So much so that I did it again last night. It was a little bit easier and then also somehow harder. I mean I knew what to expect from it this time which also helped so that fear was gone. But also I just felt more confident in it. At the end of the day I can only do what my body is going to allow me to do in terms of weights. And that’s not going to change if I lift light or super heavy.  It’s going to very much be an of the day thing.

It’s a full body work out and it makes me really focus in on the way my muscles are moving and supporting each other. It’s another great way for me to just disconnect from the world and let the stress of the day melt away as I get into a rhythm with it all. It releases all those fun endorphins and it’s a proved to be a great way to close out my work out week.

I’m probably going to phase more of it in because I actually almost enjoy it, even though it burns so much. It feels the same that barre did when I first did it and I do that shit on the weekly now, it’s one of my staples.

And you know what, I didn’t fall to the floor under the weight of it all and I can do something called a skull crusher and not worry that my arms might actually give out and crush my skull…

Parentheses count: 4. See you tomorrow!

 

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My Life

8 Month Point

Hi, Hey, Hello!

I spent an awful long time trying to figure out when the hell the next one of these was due. I think in total there should be 6 in the year if I do one every 2 months, so I think I have worked it out that one is due now, one in late October/early November and then one at the end of the year. I think. Honestly I cannot figure it out, but I’m gonna roll with that and pretend that I’m not truly atrocious at maths. So, here’s another check in.

1) Take Better Care of My Hair – I got a trim at the end of July just to keep it fresh (and also to encourage it to grow a bit, the fact that my hair seems to just hover at shoulder length when dry while it is boob length wet is a tad annoying to me right now, but I’m embracing the curls and all that jazz) and that is obviously to keep it as healthy as possible. I also deep condition it once a week and make sure that it is slathered in conditioner at all points to keep it hydrated and bouncy and in good nick. This one has basically just become part of my day to day life with great ease and it’s in the best condition it’s been in in years.

2) Take Better Care of My Skin – I fear that I am going to have to change my skin care routine up a bit shortly because I keep having break outs and I do not know why. Sometimes it’s hormonal and that’s fine, but it’s when it’s not that it’s annoying. And also the hyperpigmentation on my face has just become even more obvious recently, which I think is just because I’ve got a tan over the past couple of months and so the dark marks look darker. I’ve recently added Vitamin E oil to my night time routine as well as tea tree oil to deal with the breakouts overnight and I think there has been a small change in the state of my skin, but they are small. So I’m in two minds about what to do with it. But while I still um and ah about it I am keeping up with my existing routine to try and keep the issues under control.

3) Tone The Hell Up – I took a whole week off and did whatever the hell I wanted while I was in Greece because I was on holiday and who the fuck cares. I then came back and jumped straight back into doing a lot of cardio, which is a big deal for me because I cut the hell back from cardio for a good 2/3 months and just did low impact work outs (that focused on stretching as well). I then got my diet back on track for the most part and am still making small changes to it to try and make it better because all the exercise that I am doing don’t mean shit if my diet is whack. I’m also going to try and get back into exercises that focus more on stretching (like yoga and pilates which I haven’t done in over a month now). Look, I like the way my body looks. I like that it’s a lot stronger than it used to be. I like that I don’t need to fake being confident in wearing certain things that I own and actually am now. I will walk around in a crop top/bralette and shorts and not feel super self conscious. I have some personal goals that I am working towards for the end of the year and I feel confident that I am going to achieve them. I feel good about myself and that’s what this goal for the year was all about. I hated myself for too long and had far too many bad habits and behaviours that were doing me damage in so many ways and I’ve changed a lot of them and actually feel good now. Plus exercise is doing wonders for my mental health and that can never be a bad thing.

4) Start Saving Properly – Listen, I spent so much money in August cos holiday and I went a bit into denial about how much money I actually spent. So to counteract that I am basically not spending money on anything except for a need to basis for the next couple of months. So things like food, toiletries, my gym membership and my monthly train ticket are still on the list and I’m not going to deprive myself of going out if the opportunity arises, but for the most part I’m cutting back on my spending. That’s not going to contribute to the saving thing, but it is going to put me back in a position where I can start saving properly. This whole goal has been a total clusterfuck, which to be honest is what I expected.

5) Get Better Organised – I mean I don’t even know what is happening here. For the most part, I am not better organised but then also I somehow am as well…there has honestly been no change. But there probably needs to be because as it stands I am due to get more creative projects in my life that I need to dedicate time to and keep on top of them all, so some change is going to have to happen. But then again, knowing me I also don’t think it will.

6) Try And Be More Creative/Just Write More – This is happening. I have 14,000 words of a novel written that came fully into existence throughout August. Plus I have some other projects that require my creativity over the next few months so this one is actually all coming together. Which I am really happy about because my creativity abandoned me in a big way recently and so having it back is just really great.

And that brings me to the end of this little 2017 intentions update. Another one of these will be coming at some point…I think it’s November…we’ll see. There are 2 more left that much I know.

Parentheses count: 3. See you tomorrow!

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