Photo from my Instagram

I looked on my running app yesterday (I use Runkeeper by the way and really like it) to see when I started running multiple times a week. Like ‘really’ running, as in this is something I want to do and try and get better at. It was September 2019, so 8 months ago.

To be completely honest, that 8 months feel like SO long ago. I remember coming home after running 2 miles and feeling so upset that I found it so hard. Truth be told, I’ve NEVER been good at running.

That girl who used to be last at every cross country at school? Yep, that was me. I even used to try and get people to pretend to fall over with me, so we wouldn’t have to carry on. I was that bad! I know a lot of people say that about school, but I really was always the last one. Granted I struggled with asthma quite a bit when I was younger, and I was always on the chubby side too.

Even when I got older, I used to try go on runs with my dad and sister and always ended up crying in frustation and feeling like I couldn’t breathe (I think I just never got the breathing right for running!)

I started with Coach to 5k last September, which I would highly recommend. I know it’s very popular, but I think there’s a good reason for that. It breaks you into running gently and is actually pretty enjoyable too. I did struggle a bit after completing Couch to 5k on what to do next, and also I don’t necessarily like the fact that it presumes everyone who does it can run a 30minute 5k, I still can’t do that 8 months on and I’m not sure I ever will!

I remember after Coach to 5k I started doing 3k runs and eventually building up to a 5k once a week. Now, I either do two 5k’s a week or one 10k. I made it my April goal to run a 10k and I’ve been doing it every 2 weeks since. I signed up to a 10k race in July but obviously that isn’t happening now. I am working on trying to get faster on my 5k time, and I know when I run with my dad, I’m much faster than on my own. Ideally, I’m definitely not anywhere where I’d like to be with my times, but I’m working on it and when I look back to where I started, I’m at least 5 minutes faster already.

I actually find it a lot easier to run a 10k than try and be faster on a 5k, I think I must be more built for distance than speed! In the near future, I want to go back to Parkrun which we started just before lockdown, and really enjoyed it. I also want to start running a few 10k races too, hopefully I might be able to do a later this year, or if not definitely next year. (I really want a medal, I know I’m ridiculous!)

In the distant distant future, I think I’d love to achieve a half marathon one day. I know for sure I will never do a full marathon, my sister has done one before (she’s much better at running than me, clearly she got the speed gene!), but I really don’t think they are good for your body and the amount of stress you put it under. If I one day did a half marathon, that would be more than enough for me and something I never thought I’d be able to do.

In terms of how/why/where/when in the actual running, I either do it in the morning after breakfast and afternoon. I usually listen to podcasts because I find I would get too bored with music, I like my mind to keep occupied. I recently got a running belt instead of just holding my phone, and I really prefer that. I don’t take a drink with me on any run, but if I’m doing a 10k I usually run back to my garden and have a quick drink of water whilst jogging on the spot, especially if it’s sunny. I also pop a few sweets in my pouch too for my 10ks and that is a LIFESAVER tip! I’ve recently started HIIT training at least twice a week too, and I think that’s helping my running aswell.

I feel like I’ve got a lot more things to say about running, such as why I love it and keep doing it, and my running essentials etc. Please let me know if you’d like to hear more about it, and I can write those up too.

Do you run?

Photo from my Instagram

It feels like a bit of a weird time to chat about ‘happy’ things, doesn’t it? So instead, I’m going to focus this post on the things that are bringing me light in this time of darkness. The things that comfort me, give me hope, keep my mind occupied and make me feel a little bit more positive than I did before. I love the Dumbledore quote ‘Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one remembers to turn on the light’. It feels very apt right now, but obviously I’m very aware that I’m currently not going through the same journey that other people may be.

#1 DISTRACTIONS

Because when I’m trying not to check the news every hour, I need to keep myself as distracted as possible. Netflix (I’m watching Dirty John & Too Hot Too Handle at the moment!), podcast episodes, Youtube, and Instagram is helping take my mind off what’s going on at the moment. I know it’s very important to be aware what’s happening right now, but sometimes it can be a little too much when you’re refreshing the BBC app 18 times a day.

#2 THE WEATHER WE HAD

Granted this week is set to be very grey and rainy, but my goodness wasn’t that sunshine quite something? I know for sure that when yesterdays weather rolled around, I felt a bit worried about if it would change my coping skills. Thankfully that hasn’t seemed to happen, and I’m actually relishing cosying up at home a bit.

#3 BAKING

I’m not sure I’ve ever baked so much since we’ve been in lockdown, but it does pass an hour in the afternoons, and it means I get homemade snacks for the rest of the week! So far I’ve made two sets of cookies, banana bread, flapjack, and next up I want to make some muffins I think! I’m not the best cook (I actually hate cooking) but I do find baking quite therapeutic, although to be honest the end goal always motivates me the most.

#4 CONNECTION

Instagram seems a busier place than ever, and I do quite like that. I feel like I’m connecting with the community on there now more than ever. We’ve been having weekly quizzes on Zoom and they’ve also been a massive highlight, I am quite competitive it has to be said. Facetiming my nephew every day is bringing me such joy, even though I’m missing him so so much. I’m also really enjoying watching everyones videos on IGTV and Instagram lives.

#5 SMALL JOYS

Morning cups of tea, reading a chapter of a book in bed, ice-cream, hot baths, seeing the blossom outside, magazines, being still able to go for a run, a stretchy yoga session, ringing my grandma. All of these things keep me feeling topped up.

What’s bringing you some light these days?

Photo from my Instagram

Well what a strange time we’re having in the world at the moment? I haven’t been blogging this week, purely for the fact like I’ve felt like I’ve had nothing valuable to say. I’m just muddling along with this like you are. But I know reading how others feel, makes me feel better, like I’m not alone, so I wanted to come on today and do a little mid-week check in, and how I’m currently feeling. Of course this goes to say, I’m following all the government guidelines to stay safe and help the rest of the world stay that way too. Please do the same, as I’m sure you lovely lot already are!

What’s working this week:

  • Making the most of those once a day walks. The weather we’ve had recently has been amazing, gorgeous blue skies with sunshine, and I know for sure it’s been really helping me feel better. Yesterday I went out for a run, and I’ve been walking Harvey on the other days. Thankfully we live in a quiet town so we haven’t seen many people, and when we do we of course keep our distance.
  • Having small rituals to rely on. Such as sitting outside for a cup of tea, doing a face mask and evening pamper, making sure I’m having a few hours completely off my phone. Those little things that keep me feeling uplifted are even more important now.
  • Staying positive. I feel really lucky that I can still spend time with my mum, stepdad and Dan, and that we have Harvey too. Gratitude lists are really key at this moment in time, I feel so fortunate that none of us currently have any symptoms.
  • Staying connected. I’ve definitely been relying on social media this week, and it definitely does help. Staying connected to my family on Facetime is also a great pick-me-up and something I’ve been doing a lot of. (Although don’t go on Twitter, it’s far too much for me on there!)
  • Keeping busy. Luckily I can still go into work because there’s only my mum and stepdad in the office (who I’m with at home) on some days of the week, which I feel fortunate about. I don’t really have any ‘work’ that I can do at home, so when I am home, I’ve been keeping myself very busy around the house doing bits and bobs.

What to improve for next week:

  • Less news. Ideally, I’d only like to watch the daily updates from our prime minister, but of course some days go astray and you end up on all sorts of websites in a spiral of doom. Definitely want to do less of this, next week.
  • Worry less. This probably won’t happen, but I’m adding it on here anyway. In such a strange time, it’s bound to make us worry, but I know that it affects my sleep, so I’d like to try and switch it off a little bit, especially before bed.
  • Lists. I’ve started doing to-do lists for each day (which is something I’ve always done to be honest) but I want to stick to them a bit more next week and also, try and find new things to add so it doesn’t get boring and I don’t get demotivated.

 

How are you feeling this week?

Photo from my Instagram

I know that it’s currently a bit of a weird time for us all. A lot of people are working from home, and most of us in general will be spending more time at home than usual too. With that in mind, I really wanted to share some ideas of what we can all do to stay positive during this season. I think staying positive is so so important, even in the midst of chaos. It makes such a difference, I promise!

Focus on the little daily joys
Your morning cup of tea. Snuggles with your pet. A hot bath. The blue skies outside. Eating an Easter egg (yep, that’s one I did last night). Counting these small joys and even better, writing a list of them every day will help your mindset feel lighter, and you’ll realise how much you still have to be grateful for.

Create an escape
Whether that’s starting a new exercise program, finding a funny podcast, going on a long walk or escaping into a good book, find an escape. Sometimes we all need to put our phones away and log offline (now more than ever, I think) and have a distraction. Don’t feel guilty about it, a few hours looking after your mental health and not reading the news, will keep you feeling more positive.

Work on projects you usually don’t have time for
With more time at home, that means we have more time to priortise the things that we’ve let go of recently. For me, I want to work on my cross stitch project, and also do some more mindful colouring. I picked up a copy of one of my favourite magazines the other day too so I’m looking forward to digging into that with a cup of tea.

Connect with others
Whether that’s facetiming your siblings, uploading onto Instagram or writing more blog posts than you usually do, using this time to connect with other people who will be feeling the same as you is a great way to distract yourself, and also not feel alone either. I’ve really been enjoying using Instagram as an escape, and checking in with other people there who provide light hearted relief.

Take it a day at a time
Schedule your current day, and try not to think too far in advance. Having a plan for the day will be so important in making you feel organised and that somethings are still somewhat normal, but try not to look too far ahead because that’s when it might feel overwhelming. Taking it one day at a time can be harder than it sounds, but when you do it it really does minimise panic and worry that is so prevelant in these current times.

Will you be doing any of these things this week?

Photo from my Instagram

I don’t know about you, but I know for sure that I always put my ‘best self’ online. Well, most of the time anyway. I do like to always share the behind the scenes and the reality over on my Instagram stories, and on this blog too, but more often than not I try to show up being my usual, positive, happy self. That’s just how I like to live my life on the whole.

But sometimes, it’s in sharing those more real moments that make you connect more to other people. You realise you’re not as alone as you thought you was, people do have and experience the same things you do, and that there is always support out there if you need it.

The idea of this post came to me while I was walking, and once it did I knew I couldn’t let it go. 3 mistakes I’ve made in 2020 so far.

Not listening to my gut instinct

This is really something that I try to work on all the time, letting my gut instincts guide me. But in certain instances, I’ve tried to ignore it and it didn’t do me any good. I really do think your body knows best, and it will always try to lead you on the right path. It’s probably just a normal part of life and the ups and downs we go through that sometimes, plans don’t work out exactly like you envisaged. But guess what, that’s okay. You can always try again tomorrow, I promise.

Spending too much time on my phone

We all do it don’t we? I’m trying to really put a cap on it this month and it’s going well. Some days I end up at the end of the day feeling so headachey, and just kind of urgh. That’s how I know I’ve spent too long on my phone. Sometimes I reach for it almost like a habit, for no reason whatsoever. Instead I want to read more magazines, be more productive with my time, and enjoy the company of who I’m with. I know that I’m a happier person and can create better things when I have a balanced life.

Not being mindful

I’ve rushed around the house, I’ve made clumsy mistakes, I’ve spoken out of tune and probably hurt a few feelings. Yep, I’m not perfect in any shape or form. But none of us are really. I’ve been really trying to listen more and talk less recently, which I can tell you is a lot harder than it sounds. Not making a quick judgement and try to see situations from a neutral stance. All of these things are not easy and most definitely don’t come natural to me, but I’m trying and that’s the most important thing.

What mistake have you made so far this year?