Ah, life.

Ah life, why must it happen to all of us.

You might have noticed that some time has passed between my last post (in which I talk about how I will provide updates here on how my 100 days of healthy is going) and this one. Not as much time as has passed between previous posts, but still we are approaching a good four weeks without a single update here on how everything is going.

The reason for that is two-fold, although perhaps they can be considered the same thing. The first being that I started a new project at work, and the second is that I completely lost sight of how to manage my time well.

The new project at work is still out of town, however rather than flying up to Edinburgh each week I will now get the train up to Birmingham – a shorter commute that means I can get up slightly later on a Monday and get home earlier on a Thursday. But it’s a much busier project, and the last three weeks (the first few of this project) have been a bit manic. I had one day to get to grips with the workstream I now own before the previous owner left, and I spent the first two weeks trying to put everything into some semblance of order and trying not to break down.

I’m one of the people working the fewest hours at the moment, and I get there before 9 and leave close to 7. I know this is normal for some, but the end of my last project was so quiet that I was doing a 9-5 with little to do for the last few weeks of it. Having a busy 9-7 is a very different thing, especially when you’re trying to get your head around completely new things with tight deadlines that are coming up very soon. It was stressful.

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On Time and Progress

I’ve fallen into that trap again of not writing anything because I’m concerned that I need to be perfect, having a consistent theme and something of great importance to say before opening my mouth. And I don’t think my writing is good enough, or that the things I want to talk about are worthwhile enough, and I was without a camera for a good majority of the last year so my photography progress has stalled. It’s a common occurrence, one I’ve actually had before during the life cycle of this blog. But as I said back then, and I think bears repeating now,

You don’t know who your audience are – you don’t know their inner thoughts or feelings, you don’t know what makes them tick, you don’t know what they’ll jump on out of interest or shun in distaste. Don’t have the arrogance to presume that you are uninteresting to them, because you can not speak for them.

I had a lovely day out yesterday with a friend who said she enjoyed hearing about my life and my journey to where I am now as she found it inspiring. I was, and still am, extremely flattered by this and she made me feel interesting for once, so I’m just going to get straight back into it.

Recently a theme that’s been cropping up a lot is the passing of time and the lack of consistency in various aspects of my life. For example, yesterday I started a knitting project that I originally thought of doing about two years ago. My parents bought me the yarn the Christmas before last, and I kept planning on doing it ‘soon’. I picked it up this week on a whim – having fortunately received some Amazon vouchers from work, I decided to buy the required knitting needles on next day delivery. Thank you prime trial membership that I forgot to cancel several years ago, you’ve more than paid for yourself by now. And then made a start because… well, just because!

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30 Days of Yoga Day 18: A Moving Meditation

A few weeks ago my mother and I decided to start a 30 day yoga challenge, specifically Yoga With Adriene – 30 Days of Yoga. This was a course I had done a couple of times before, although never in the supposed 30 days, but it had been several months since I’d done yoga at all regularly and I was trying to find a way to ease my mum into it. I kept extolling the benefits of yoga and she kept claiming she had no time. A mother-daughter 30 day challenge seemed to be the perfect fit, especially since I found that suggesting we do it first thing in the morning was the best way to stop my mum using the time excuse – I have to both get up earlier than she does for my job, and also leave the house about an hour earlier. If I could do it, she could easily do it.

So we began. And for the first week or so, I was very good at getting up at 6:30 to do my yoga before going down for the hotel breakfast, and I received a daily text from my mother claiming that she too had done hers for the day. It felt challenging, but I was enjoying it. My body clearly wasn’t used to doing half these poses anymore and I was glad we’d chosen a more gentle introduction than we could have done.

Of course, after several days I couldn’t manage to maintain my ‘every morning’ routine, and I decided to sleep in a little one Thursday instead. It was supposed to be a longer session, and Thursday mornings are always tighter for me as I have to pack and leave slightly earlier than usual so that I can check out of the hotel. Disappointed in myself, I wasn’t looking forward to telling my mum the next day that I’d fallen off track, and so I decided when I got back home that evening – back in London – that I would catch up and do it before bed.

Since then I’ve more often done my yoga just before bed than not, and I don’t mind that. Particularly since I have started doing more consistent workouts this last week as well, I’ve found that doing some stretching just before bed is a great way to unwind for the night, step away from my phone or laptop and stretch out my muscles from whatever I’ve put them through earlier in the day. It has also made me miss less days – and by that I mean I have only missed one so far and I’m on day 19 – because it’s a lot easier to find the time just before I go to bed than convince myself to get up in the morning. I think I still want to try getting up early and possibly doing a few stretches, but so long as I get my yoga done at some point during the day I’m not going to beat myself up about the time. It’s better than not doing it.

As for how I feel after doing yoga consistently for 18 days, I am definitely noticing a difference, though I wasn’t aware of this until last night. Yesterday was a great day, but it was a little exhausting. It was a very hot day and I’d started off fairly relaxed, lazing around my bedroom, but as the day went on I did a pretty intense 25 minute workout, followed by a 5 mile walk up and down a hill, and then going out for dinner with a friend in the evening and following that up with a 30+ minute walk. By the time I got home close to 10pm, I had done 25 minutes of intense exercise and 20,000 steps, it was still warm, and I was exhausted. I sat on my bed and thought that I would leave my yoga until today, because I was just too tired and my muscles were a little achy.

But after a few minutes I decided that I wanted to get it done. It was 20 minutes, and I could go to bed straight after. I realised that I’m starting to rely on doing yoga as an essential part of my daily routine, which is newly cultivated. It made me feel good to have got it done. But more than that, I noticed that it was coming easier to me. As I went through the session, I was tired and achy but I found myself getting more into my head than my body, if that makes sense. For the first time, I understood why people say that yoga can be a moving meditation.

Because I’ve done this for about three weeks now, I’m developing some strength and finding the moves a lot easier than I was in the first few days of practice. So I found myself spending less time paying attention to what my body was doing and whether I felt uncomfortable or not, and more time focussing on how my mind was feeling, and slowly quietening it and settling down for the night. It was only when I caught myself not really paying attention to doing a vinyasa, and yet managing to do it better than I ever have before (not collapsing to the ground for one thing) that I had this realisation. It was a calm, relaxing session, and I really felt like I could let go and just trust my body in what it was doing, rather than getting frustrated and trying to force myself into doing various things.

I’m sure there’ll be plenty of frustrations in my yoga practice in the future, but I felt that last night turned out to be a good way of showing myself what benefits having a daily practice can bring – and hopefully this will encourage me to keep it up once the 30 days have ended. I already have a plan of what I would like to move onto next. Having made this a daily part of my life, and knowing how I felt last night – like I really wanted to get it done despite being tired etc.. – I really feel better for it, and I hope that the benefits only continue to increase in future.

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Laying bricks

I remember reading once that life – and goal setting – is like laying bricks. Whether you want to build a cottage or a cathedral you have to put down just one brick at a time. There are no short-cuts, it just has to be done. Eventually you’ll build what you’re trying to build.

One of the dangers with this, of course, is that you can both lose sight of the bigger picture for focussing on the small things, and also get overwhelmed with how long the journey seems to be taking; how long you’re going to have to do what you’re doing in order to get there.

Recently I think I’ve been having a problem with the latter issue and have been focussing on the wrong things. I’ve talked about how I let things go around Christmas and fell into bad habits, and I link that often in my mind with the fact that I haven’t really lost any weight since this time last year. So in the last month or so, I’ve been thinking a lot about how can I lose the weight – should I be counting calories, paying more attention to portion size, fitting in a few more workouts etc… I’ve been so focussed on what can I do to lose the weight now that I’ve not really been thinking about it in a long-term sustainable way.

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Rebirth and Renewal

rainbow fountain cow

There’s really no correlation between this picture and this post

Surprise! I’m still alive!

So, that went well.

Despite the fact that several of the last couple of posts published on this blog discuss re-starts and a need for increased consistency in posting, you may have noticed that I’ve failed spectacularly in doing just that. Whilst I did indeed have several very good weeks following on from my last post in regards to improving my diet, exercise, sleep schedule etc… I quickly fell into the same problem that so many people have with the end of the year, when I let December and the Christmas holidays completely derail my progress.

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