6 LESSONS FROM THE FIRST 6 MONTHS OF 2020

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Can anyone else believe we’re in the second half of 2020? I mean, I don’t want to scare anyone but that’s just so crazy to me. But in some way, looking back on to New Years feels like another lifetime ago. I thought for todays post I would chat about the 6 lessons I’ve learned in the first 6 months of 2020. Lets be real here, theres *loads* more if I sat down and studied it for 2 days, but for now, I’m going with these.

White Privilege and the Black Lives Matter Movement

It goes without saying, this is by far the most important lesson that I will keep learning about this year, and so it should be. Over the last few weeks I have learnt so much more than I ever did in school, come to think of it, I can’t remember hardly anything from my history lessons. I have watched so many valuable and insightful things online, and I’ve read some great fiction reads that deals with the topic of racism really well too. Next on my list is watching ‘When They See Us’ on Netflix, and reading Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race’. I feel ashamed that its taken me this long to start learning more, but I’m on a lifelong journey now.

Global pandemics can happen- and shake up your world

Not seeing my sister and nephew for 3 months, not being able to sit in my grandmas and visit her, our family business providing frontline care throughout these worrying times, the lack of normality and uncertainty that there’s no set plans for the immediate future are all scary problems I’ve dealt with throughout the Coronavirus (I also know a lot of people have it a lot worse and I’m so thankful that we haven’t had any ill family members). Before 2020, I couldn’t even imagine the world having a global pandemic, and what would happen because of that. Face coverings, intense hand washing, staying at home all the time. 2020 has shown me so far that nothing is ever set in stone.

Body confidence

Compared to the beginning of this year, and even a few months ago, I feel a lot more comfortable in my body. I think most of that is due to HIIT training, and seeing how that has helped towards my running too. It’s really gave me the confidence that I didn’t even realise I was lacking. Like most of us, I’ve been on such a massive journey with everything body related, so having a sense of acceptable (however long that may last) feels so good right now.

Slow is best

In regards to the pandemic, most of our lives, if we’re lucky, has slowed down a huge amount. At first, I didn’t really notice a different in my immediate lifestyle, but after a first few weeks I realised I was obviously rushing around a lot less than I was before, and I put less expectations on my day than I’d ever had before. I really want to keep this slow pace of life going when everything goes back to ‘normal’. I feel like my general mood is much better when I operate this way, and that affects the rest of my lifestyle too.

You know what’s really important

When you can’t hug your loved one, suddenly, it doesn’t matter as much if your Instagram picture hasn’t got as many likes as the one before, or that you ended up skipping a workout for an extra hour in bed instead. I’m sure on some days these are things I’m bound to forget, but when everything is burning down, it just cements to you how important the small things are.

Staying positive is key

The little things have always made me happy, and that’s proven even more true these past few months. When I’m looking after myself (eating well, working out, sleeping well etc) I know that I can be my best self, and others feel that benefit too. Focusing on happy things when I’m having a bad day makes me feel better, and I’ve learnt how to know when I need to be extra kind to myself and rest, too.

How are you feeling about the first half of 2020?

LIFE LATELY

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thinking.. I couldn’t just write a blog post without talking about the Black Lives Matter movement, and the horrific news of what is currently going on, and has always been going on without us noticing in the world. The tragic death of George Floyd, Breoanna Taylor and many others has opened up our eyes in a way that they have probably never been open before. I hope as a nation, and as a world we now start to do the work and change, so this never has to happen again.

learning.. I have learnt so much recently, and I know I have so, so much more to learn. There has been so many insightful IGTV videos online that has taught me more than I’ve ever been taught in school, and I feel so grateful for black content creators for allowing us into their space to learn, when they shouldn’t be the ones to teach us in any way.

reading.. I’ve just finished Queenie which I loved and would recommend to everyone. I have a long list of other books I want to read which will help me in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

sharing.. I’ve been sharing the links I found on my Instagram stories, but I’m also going to leave some really important links at the end of this blog post, if you would like to take action, read, share, or sign.

talking.. I’ve been having lots of uncomfortable conversations with loved ones lately, some with good parts, others not as great. I really do feel like having these conversations at home is where the work begins, and is so crucial in making a start to be better.

following.. I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to diversify my feed. Like many of us, I noticed recently how under representative it was, and I felt pretty shameful about that, to be honest. I would definitely urge you to do the same.

IMPORTANT LINKS:

Breonna Taylor petition

George Floyd petition

Make British Black History Compulsory Teaching in Schools

Anti-Racist Reading List

 

MY GOAL(S) FOR JUNE

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Before I chat about June’s goals, I want to quickly re-cap on those I set for May, and how they went down. In one sense I can’t believe it’s June already, but in another world the beginning of this year feels like a complete lifetime ago.

MAY RECAP

Push myself out of my creative comfort zone. I feel like this is something I’m still working on, and May was just the start of that. I definitely still feel like a complete beginner when it comes to my photography, but in a way that feels really exciting to me. So heres to more of pushing myself out of my creative comfort zone this year.

Try a new workout. Me and my mum did a virtual fitness retreat at the beginning of May, and that set off an old love affair for me, HIIT workouts. I haven’t done that kind of fitness for years, and I definitely lost confidence with it, but I feel like it’s reignited something in me that was lost for so long. I’ve been doing 3 a week for about 4 weeks now, and it’s really helped my running, plus I’m definitely noticing a difference in how more toned I look and feel too. I’m so happy about this!

Work on mindset and positive habits. This is another goal I felt like I achieved this month. I’ve tried lots of different meditations this month, and I updated my habit tracker a few days ago with lots of new activities for me to focus on, such as using Duolingo, body brushing, and facial massage.

JUNE GOAL(S)

Reflect. I’m only setting myself one goal for June. When I was thinking about goal setting and what I want to achieve this month, all I could think about was reflection. Reflecting on what I’ve learned about myself in lockdown. Reflecting on where I want to go in the future. Reflecting on what I want to let go of, and what I want to keep. With everything that’s been happening lately, and the fact that I still very much feel like I’m grieving the loss of a man who brought me up for 26 years, I want to this month to just think and reflect, and hold that for a moment, for my own sake. I know in my gut, that it feels right for me to focus on right now.

Do you have any goals for June?

HOW I GOT COMFORTABLE WITH RUNNING/MY RUNNING JOURNEY

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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?

3 RECENTLY READ ‘FIVE STAR’ BOOKS

One thing I seem to be going through a lot of recently is….books! I’m not quite sure how it’s happening because I only really read before going to sleep on an evening, but I’m averaging about 3-4 books a week which is a bit crazy, even for me. (Let me know if you’d like a book reading tips post or something?)

With that being said, lately I’ve read some great books and I wanted to share a few of them here.

HALF A WORLD AWAY

I’ve read another book of Mike Gayle’s and I really enjoyed it (The Hope Family Calendar) so I knew I would like this one going into it, and I loved it! It totally moved me, and I was so invested in the story. A story about two siblings who were put into care, lost touch and then found each other years later as adults, and it also deals with lots of different family issues too. It definitely isn’t a light read, especially the second part of the book, but don’t let that put you off!

WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING

This book is everywhere on Bookstagram accounts at the moment. To be honest, I get a bit put off when things are super super hyped up, but this was a different story. It’s a book about the life of a marsh girl, who gets involved with a wrong member of the nearby town. I can’t quite put into words just *how* beautiful this book is. Probably the most beautiful book I’ve ever read! If you only read one of these books, please make it this one. I’ve now lent it to my dad who I think will love it, and then my sister wants to borrow it after too. I think it’s a story everyone will love.

PAPER AEROPLANES

I love The Cows by Dawn O’Porter and enjoyed her latest novel, So Lucky, but I knew this book was about two young teenage girls, so it wouldn’t really be the same sort of writing. And it definitely wasn’t, so you can’t really compare the two, but I just loved this book and how it took me completely back to being a young teen again. She writes so well and describes the feelings and thoughts you have when you are that particular age, you almost feel like you’re back there yourself.

 

..And here’s a few recent 4 star reads too!

  • Pretending by Holly Bourne
  • One Minute Later by Susan Lewis
  • The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell
  • The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

 

Have you read any of these?

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