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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The most recent two weeks, I’ve been working on a few healthier habits that I can incorporate into my lockdown life, and hopefully life after lockdown too. Like the rest of us, I’m having up and down moments, days, and even weeks really, so if that’s you too feel free to take all of this with a pinch of salt, and just take it easy on yourself.
I feel like I’ve been on such a journey with exercise. Last weekend, me and my mum did a virtual 3 day fitness retreat which was filled with lots of high intensity interval training. I used to do that kind of exercise a few years ago, but I’ve lost confidence in myself with it and I haven’t done any since. Well, apart from now! I feel like I’ve fallen back in love with it and I want to do two a week, along with my running. I’ve also been doing lots of restorative yoga recently and I feel like it’s doing wonders for mental clarity and feeling more relaxed too.
less screen time
At the beginning of lockdown, my screen time was so high! Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a lot higher than I’d like it to be, but I’m slowly lowering it every week and finding things to do instead when I automatically reach for my phone. I’ve managed to finish off a small part of my craft project this weekend, and I love chilling out on an evening with a magazine for an hour without my phone too.
I’ve done so much baking this week, and I love it! I love that I can eat the mixture out of the bowl when I’ve finished (definitely the best part, and always reminds me off baking with my grandma when I was younger), and that I then have a week of yummy snacks for when I get hungry.
I’ve been tracking my cycle (which I’m sure is a whole other post in itself) but I’ve honestly found it so so helpful, and something I really want to continue. I feel like I’m finding out so much more about myself and my own body, and it’s a journey I’m really enjoying.
Making sure I get out for once walk a day at least (at the moment the UK government are letting us go outside for ‘unlimited exercise’) helps me stay feeling balanced and calm in the midst of this crazy world. Popping on a podcast and walking Harvey or going solo, gives my mind freedom for a minute or two and feels normal, which a lot of things don’t right now.
Do you have any healthy habits you’re working on right now?