Sunday Post – Friends, Free Love and Free Running

What a week it has been for the Pride movement and for love and positivity everywhere!

It’s been another full on and fun week for me here in Glasgow too. Working overtime 4 out of 5 days this week to get an event up and running at work has been hard going but also very rewarding. This week I also started to try out a new little fitness practice that I like to call “free running” -purely because making up names for things makes them sound more interesting in my eyes!

Not a new or complicated concept, in the spirit of my last post, I just get into my running gear, leave my music off and head out in a direction that I haven’t been before and am curious to find out about. I don’t map it or plan it. I don’t set out to achieve a particular distance. If I don’t like where I’m headed I go back and try a different route. I did this on Tuesday evening, I got a little bit lost at one point (of course) but it was an interesting way to explore the area I live in, and pay more attention to my surroundings on a beautiful June day.

Taking the time and distance pressure off can rekindle your appreciation of running, and probably a lot of sports now that I think of it. I came home and did a 30 Days of Yoga video as a stretch out too – I am currently doing a Yoga video almost everyday. It’s become a bit of an obsession of mine and I’m noticing an increased level of zen and a also bit of arm definition happening too which is nice!

I have to say though, the highlight of my week has been a visit from my friend Eimear who spent Friday and Saturday here with me.  I’ve known Eimear since our first year of University and we have been firm friends ever since. I find that as you get older, you just don’t get to spend as much time with the people that you care about as you would like to. Life, schedules, commitments all have a habit of getting in the way don’t they? I certainly feel like this having moved country, but I believe that everyone can relate, regardless of your situation. The great thing about good friends is that you can just pick straight up from where you left off no matter how long it’s been. It’s such a pleasure to talk about and truly appreciate each others little life triumphs while also laughing about the hilarious shared Uni experiences!

The thing that I find is that you can have a body or a job or a life that inspires envy, but without having positive people around you it would all be a bit pointless. So if you have good people, give them the appreciation they deserve. Good friends and positive people are good for your health!

Have a great Sunday 🙂

Tea with Friends :)
Tea with Friends 🙂
Me and Eimear
Eimear and I at dinner on Saturday

Go For It – Switch Off

Do you ever feel like there is just a lot of noise in your life? Your social media feed, you phone ringing, your tv on, traffic, somebody else’s phone ringing…I could go on! Noise for me isn’t just sound, it’s colour and faces and tasks and everything that isn’t exactly what you want to focus on in the moment at hand. Sometimes noise is good. It can lead you to consider things that would not have crossed your mind. But there are times when we just need to switch off.

I have mentioned this before, but I found a meditation app Headspace which is fantastic for taking a few minutes at the end of each day to really switch off. Headspace encourages you to focus in on your breath and yourself while letting the “noise” around you just wash over you. For anyone who is busy or bursting with nervous, anxious, excitable energy this is a great app to try. It has definitely made me a calmer Jen, and that’s hard to do!

The other little switch off I wanted to mention is for the runners. If you are like me, you will like the headphones in and the music blasting every time you are out on a run. However, I got thinking about it and had to ask myself, is the music helping my focus? Most of the best runners I know don’t listen to music. You don’t see professional athletes with their head phones in during a race, do you?

So I tried going out for a 5k without my musical crutch. I noticed that, well, I was noticing more. My posture, my gait, my speed, my breathing. I’m not saying that I will stop using music altogether. I do find that when I’m in a rotten mood, blaring Prodigy and going hell for leather brings endless satisfaction. But I will be incorporating music-less runs into my training to maintain the focus on what is actually going on in my run.

So go for it, switch off and see how it makes you feel!

Some things that help me to switch off…

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Having a bath (this is a bath bomb from Lush and not a cake FYI)
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Basking in the soft glow of a candle. If it smells good, even better!
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Reading

Staying Healthy at Work: A Lazy Girls Guide

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Our jobs can be demanding at times, can’t they? I have been in a full time career for almost two years now (yikes!). Lately I have been really thinking about how I can maintain healthy habits in the workplace. I’ll always be honest in this blog, so I have to say that I have definitely given in to some really rubbish habits at work at times. Plates of chips and beans for lunch, coffee after coffee, Snickers bars as a snack, I could go on! When the pressure is on you reach for comfort don’t you? A lot of things can make us forget to stay healthy. Maybe you are new to full time work, or feel like you’re in a bit of a rut, or maybe your coursework is chaining you to the desk more than you like.

In this post, I want to share a list of things that help me to stay a little bit healthier in the workplace:

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1. Our friend caffeine

Let’s leave the catch up’s with this particular pal to mornings only, shall we? I mean, we love him, but repeated caffeine fixes throughout the day WILL mess with you! I have found that a high intake of caffeine in my day goes hand in hand with increased stress levels and terrible sleep. It creates a vicious circle, so break it! Have you tried out herbal teas containing Ginkgo Biloba? This is a natural energiser and one that I have been meaning to try. A piece of fruit after your lunch will give you a sugar boost to get through your food coma. If you hit a slump, hydrating yourself with water, squash or flavoured tea will give you a gentle boost that will get you through, without the caffeine hangover later.

2. Be Self Conscious:

Not as counter productive as it sounds I promise! Hunching over a laptop, poring over files or holding a phone to your ear for long periods of time will tense up your body and cause tension particularly in your neck and back. Be mindful of how you are sitting and why you are sitting like that. Think of it is going to effect your body. Are your shoulders relaxed? Are you sitting at the edge of your seat  because you can’t see your screen clearly? Can you adjust it so that you don’t have to do that? Are your legs crossed over and over because you were just in a stressful situation? Maybe you need to take a minute, get yourself a glass of water and have a breather before you get back to it. Sometimes I get so focused on the task at hand that I forget to think about myself. Don’t fall into that trap. Be conscious of yourself. Your body will thank you for it!

3. Snacking isn’t all bad:

Making food that I’m not going to eat straight away feels plain wrong to me which always puts me off making packed lunches! Don’t make it difficult on yourself, a lot of canteens have healthy options, but if you can, try to have some fruit and veg on hand for slumps and snacking. A guy I work with once brought a full bag of chopped carrots from Sainsbury’s to snack on, and do you know what? Between the two of us there were none left by the end of the day! I think it’s a great idea. My favourite part is that there was no preparation required! Pre chopped fruit and veg is tasty, clean and a good healthy snack.

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4. Try to Eat Something In the Morning:

I have spoken about the benefits of a healthy brekky in a previous post (which you can read here) so I won’t go into this again. But just to say that a handy cheat for those (like myself) who like a lie in in the morning is even to have a little smoothie in the fridge that you can pop into a bottle, or if you are me, a reusable coffee cup, to drink on the way in. It’s not ideal but at least you are getting something into your tummy before you get to your desk.

I hope that these tips are of some help to you and if you have any to share with me please let me know by leaving a comment.

Sunday Post: Bloggers and Braggers

Sometimes I take part in blogger chats on Twitter and earlier this week I stumbled upon the #socialbloggers chat. One of the first questions asked was when you started blogging and I realised: I have been blogging for 6 months! It feels nice to have kept this little hobby up and I have to say that I’m proud of my little piece of the internet.

One thing that I love about blogging is that it provides a network of support and interest in your chosen subject. It actually is meaningful when someone you have never met compliments your writing, or an achievement you posted about or nominates you for an award. That really makes blogging for me. Acknowledging achievements and supporting people in their endeavors shows your quality as a human being. When you are a person who has an interest, you are open to praise and encouragement, but you are also open to judgement and of course the dreaded “humble bragger”.

One thing that I have noticed over the years is that like anything else, people who care about their fitness can be bloody competitive about it. There is nothing more irritating than being in the presence of someone who asks you about an achievement only to belittle it. You can always tell when people ask about your running times whether they are genuinely interested or whether they are looking for a chance to put you down. People jump on fitness or healthy eating bandwagons all of the time and work toward whatever goal they want to achieve. Some people do it for themselves, and some people do it for their status among others. It is generally in the latter that we find the braggers and the put downs. I’ll be honest with you, I am a confident girl. I like the way I look, I like the things that I have done and I have a good idea of what I want out of life. At 25 I have less and less time for anyone who has a problem with that. Simple as.

Listening to a boaster go on about how strong or fit they are or how much organic unpronounceable superfoods they consume on a daily basis doesn’t make me lose hope or feel like I am rubbish. Because I am too comfortable in myself to stop running just because someone looks at me funny when I tell them the time of my last race. But some people are put off by that. Some people do think that because they aren’t hitting a particular mark that they should just stop. Or that because they can’t afford to buy this expensive grain or juicer that there isn’t much point in continuing with their healthy lifestyle because so and so says that any other approach is rubbish. Who would want to be a person that puts others off bettering themselves? You won’t get anything from it, other than the isolation of being the only person who wants to be the best. You won’t be happy with what you have achieved because whatever satisfaction you get from putting one person down will be short lived because there is always, always going to be someone who is better than you.

If you are good at something don’t sour your achievement by using it to make other people feel small. It only makes you look insecure. If you find yourself talking to someone who is putting you down, just remember that your goals are personal. You’re not working for anyone else but yourself and we all feel bad about where we are sometimes. Please keep going! I probably should give some tactic here for how to steer a conversation away from bragging and into more positive territory, but honestly? If someone is being like that just finish the conversation and move on to someone with better chat.

As far as I’m concerned, the braggers can get in the bin.

Hydrate Yo’self

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Okay I know that these are a major fad right now, but I got one of those water bottles with a fruit infuser and I have to say, it’s brilliant! I bought one a couple of weeks ago when I was in Dublin. I had noticed a lot of people at work have been putting fruit in their water and wanted to try it out. It seemed like a great way to keep hydrated in work and maybe cut down on all of the tea. They were also on offer (to be fair, this was probably the main reason why I bought it. Bargains, all the way!)

One thing I noticed pretty quickly though, is that I am using the infuser at home just as much as I am at work. I put a half a lemon or some sliced apple in to the bottom bit and just refill throughout the day. There are plenty of other options though, like mint leaves, strawberries, tea leaves…the list goes on. Pretty much anything you can think of could go in there.

The light taste of fruit in the water makes it refreshing to drink. Sometimes, even if it’s freshly squeezed, I find juice a bit too sugary so it’s nice to get the taste of the fruit without being intensely sweet.

I have to say it’s encouraged me to drink a lot more water. I keep it by my bed at night too because I like to have water beside me. It doesn’t let the water get stagnant over night in the way it would in a glass. They’re very easy to clean so they’re hygienic for use everyday.

I know that these are everywhere at the moment and I am most certainly jumping on a major bandwagon here. But hey, if it works, I’m good with that!

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