Friday Thoughts 3

friday-thoughts

Hey folks, super quick update this week as I’m on the train on my way to see my bestie for a catch up and drunken night out!

So, without further ado, here’s what my week has looked like:

  1. I’ve been working on the next stages of my business plan. Nothing has really changed but the next steps needed a bit more work on them
  2. My post-half marathon high has just about worn off from last Sunday. I’ve decided that half marathons are my favourite distance. 10k doesn’t really seem like much of a challenge but there’s very little chance of my running a full marathon any time soon!
  3. And, following on from that, I’ve signed up to the Brighton Half in February next year.
  4. My dairy free diet has been pretty poor this week. I’ve definitely cut down a lot but there’s still some more to get rid of!
  5. I’ve registered for my first ever blogging event this weekend! Eeeeek!
  6. I’ve had a mini meltdown about how slowly I’m paying off debt and (not) saving to go travelling. I’ve decided to be a real grown up and just ignore it for now and think properly about it next week.
  7. I’ve been totally loving the dark evenings and cannot wait for the Christmas markets to start!
  8. I’ve been totally hating the dark mornings. It’s been so difficult to get out of bed this week (also because I’m still sleepy from the weekend)
  9. I’ve really enjoyed writing some more travel posts. They’re so much more time consuming than I ever thought they could have been – hats off to full-time travel bloggers!

That’s about it for this week. I’ll have more to update you on by Sunday after my girly night out and blogger event!

Hope you’ve all had a lovely week.

How to Practice Better Self-Care

Self-Care

Self-CareI’ve always avoided articles that include the words self-care or self-love in the title. I don’t know why, I’ve just always had this idea that they’ll be…hippy. You know what I mean. “How can you expect anyone to love you, if you don’t love yourself” kind of thing. I hate that saying.

Anyway, a friend of mine was talking to me about how important self-care is for everyone and what she was saying made sense to me. So I did some research. I Googled and read all of those posts that I’d just ignored before. And you know what? They weren’t that bad! There were a few that were a bit “spiritual” for my liking but that’s just personal preference.

I’ve been trying to practice better self-care lately although some of the changes have been tough. It’s work in progress though which is a good start. The main thing that I’ve picked up through what I’ve read and started to practice, is to treat yourself more like you’d treat someone you love…a partner, a sibling, a close friend.

With that said, here’s five ways that you can start treating yourself better.

Listen to Yourself

I’ve put this at the top of the list because this is one of the things that I’ve started to get much better at. If someone you cared about told you they needed a rest day and to eat comfort food, I’m sure you’d support them. But are you as kind to yourself? Probably not.

There’s often a guilt that comes with giving yourself permission for certain things such as taking time off, having a nap, or eating whatever you fancy. Now I’m not saying you should do all of these things all of the time but sometimes your body and mind need them. Listen to yourself and give your mind and body what it needs. You’ll feel much better for it.

Self-Care

Be Kind to Yourself

When was the last time you told a loved one how amazing they are? Now think about when the last time you told yourself that was?

I find this one the hardest to do. There are so many negative, self-defeating thoughts in my head on a daily basis that I just let sit there. Sometimes I listen and really take it to heart, other times I just leave them there. What I should really be doing is forcing those thoughts out completely and replacing them with loving words and positive affirmations.

All too often I focus on what I haven’t been able to achieve. Instead, we should be focusing on the positives and what we have been able to achieve. This is another key part of being kind to yourself.

Pamper or Treat Yourself

Do something you love. Have a long bath, order your favourite takeaway and have a film night. Go out and get a massage or your nails done. These might seem like trivial, irrelevant things but treating yourself to something nice every so often is so important!

If you’re creative, treat yourself to some new “tools” and make something. Allow yourself to have some time alone to write, draw, paint, bake, or whatever it is that makes you smile.

Self-Care

Look After Your Health

Eat right and exercise. I know I’ve just said that if you want a night off or a takeaway, that you should listen to your body but not all the time! Those things should be one-offs when it’s what you really need. The rest of the time you need to be taking care of that body of yours. After all, you do only get one.

Get your blood pumping and endorphins flowing a couple of times a week. If you can exercise outdoors, even it’s just a gentle stroll, even better.

Protect Yourself

Protect yourself in the same way that you’d protect your best friend. Remember all those times you’ve told your friend they don’t need someone in their life that’s bad for them? Apply the same principles to yourself.

If there’s people in your life who are bringing you down or have a toxic effect on you, get rid of them. I know it’s not as easy as that but if that’s the advice you would give to a friend, why not yourself?

It’s also important to protect yourself from situations, not just people. If you know a situation isn’t right for you or will have a negative impact on you, avoid it if at all possible. Protect yourself from toxic and negative energy.

The key to all of these things it to try and build them into your life in a way that suits you. And, most importantly, to not feel guilty about it. This is the bit that I really struggle with – taking time off and treating myself always leave me feeling terrible but I’m working on it.

Do you have any other tips for self-care? Let me know in the comments below.

8 Reasons Why You Should Travel When You’re Still Young

travel

travelI try not to “regret” things I have or haven’t done in my life. Travelling however, is one of those things that I regret not doing. I wish I’d gone travelling straight out of university. But I didn’t. And now I’m almost 30 and feel like I haven’t seen or experienced anywhere near as much as I’d liked to have done.

Personally, I don’t feel “too old” to travel and still plan to do it before I settle down and start a family. I do however, think there’s some huge benefits to travelling whilst you’re still young…

1. It Makes You More Independent…

There’s nothing like packing a bag and setting off on an adventure alone to help gain independence. It’s about making decisions, whether good or bad, for yourself. From choosing the next place to visit to what to eat at a street market, those decisions are all yours. Sometimes you’ll make the wrong decisions but you’ll learn from them and that’s important.

Whether you travel alone or with other people, you will learn to look after yourself (and probably others too!)

Copenhagen
Copenhagen

2…at a Time Where You Have Little Responsibility

Your twenties is the best time to travel. Before you have a “real job”, before you have children, before you have a mortgage…basically, before you have any real responsibilities. Like I mentioned above, your independence is a huge part of this, not only are you learning how to be independent from your parents/family/primary school friends but you’re also independent in terms of those depending upon you.

Now is one of the only times you can be totally selfish and spontaneous. Want to spend 6 months travelling around Europe? You can. Want to change your flight to Sydney to Rio instead? You can. There’s nothing stopping you from doing whatever you want to apart from yourself (and maybe money).

Zermat
Zermat

3. You Have the Energy

Travelling might sound like an extended holiday but it’s not. Okay, well it is kind of but it sure as hell isn’t relaxing. Constantly moving from place and place and exploring every mile of every country is hard work!

A lot of people will need to work whilst they travel too to sustain their nomadic lifestyle. Energy is a must if you plan to be out on an adventure all day, working in the evening and partying all night – definitely something that works better in your twenties! I’m fairly confident I could keep up with that for a fair few more years but I certainly wouldn’t be too happy about it.

Manly Beach
Manly Beach

4. You’ll Make New Friends

Possibly one of the best parts of travelling is meeting new people and hearing about their adventures. I mean this one isn’t age specific really but as I’ve got closer to 30 I’ve liked people less! Haha!

But seriously, travelling helps you to meet other people that you might not otherwise have the pleasure of meeting. Once you finish uni, you usually only meet new people through work or through sports clubs etc. Travelling doesn’t confine you to these things. You’ll be surprised by how many, completely different, totally lovable people you’ll meet.

Making new friends isn’t something that you can only do whilst you’re still young but it’s something I would recommend doing as early on as possible so that you can make the most of those friends in the years ahead of you!

Alanya
Alanya

5. You Learn a LOT

About Yourself – At different points during your travels you will be faced with tough decisions and forced to confront some of your fears (if not all). Going to new places and meeting new people shows you who you really are and what you are truly capable of. You’ll find yourself spending long periods of time alone (like overnight flights) just thinking about things. Things you’ve done, things you want to achieve…the list goes on and it’s wonderful!

About Others – This is kind of covered above (making new friends) and below (learning about different cultures). You will learn a lot about other people, partially due to the huge range of people you will meet and partially due to the time you’ll spend with them. Travelling gives you the opportunity to essentially live with people you’ve never met before without the stresses of living with people you’ve never met before! You’re not tied down and there’s no pressure. You can just enjoy each other’s company, explore and learn together.

About Life – Yeah. This one’s a biggie. It’s also really hard to explain. You’ll learn so much about everything when you’re travelling. You’ll learn through mistakes you make. You will pick up hints and tips from others along the way. You’ll draw inspiration from pretty much everything you see in some way or another. You will think about your future plans and change them on a weekly basis and it will be amazing. And so, so, so good for you!

Zanzibar
Zanzibar

6. You Get to Explore Different Places and Learn About Different Cultures

I’ve said this a million times before but travelling is good for you. Getting to learn about, experience and appreciate different cultures is amazing for self-development. You’ll gain a whole wealth of knowledge that lots of people won’t even get close to in their life time.

Experiencing new cultures and learning about different ways of life is not only eye-opening but it’s empowering too. It gives you a whole variety of new ways to look at things, approaching situations and even dealing with problems.

Santrokofi
Santrokofi

7. You’re (Usually) Less Fussy

Bunk beds in a dorm room are usually acceptable…not so much when you’re in your 30s and 40s! As is sleeping on the floor of a friend of a friend’s apartment and taking a 24 hour bus rather than a 2 hour flight. If you decide to travel before you get “comfortable” and stuck in your ways, you’ll enjoy it so much more. Generally speaking, you’ll be much more open to different opportunities and ways of doing things. I know that younger me would have been perfectly content in a dorm full of drunken 20-something-year-olds, whereas now, that’s my worst nightmare (well, not actually my worst but it’s close)!

Amsterdam
Amsterdam

8. You’ll Appreciate Things

The memories and experiences of travelling will stay with you for life. You’ll be grateful for the things you learned and people you met. You’ll also be grateful for what you had at home, the people and the things you missed whilst you were away.

You’ll appreciate things no matter what age you decide to go travelling but your angle will be different. The earlier you go, the longer you’ll have to appreciate it and apply it to your every day life and decisions.

I feel slightly hypocritical writing this given that I don’t plan on going travelling until well into my 30’s. But these are things I have learnt from the travelling I did do in my 20’s and the reasons I wish I had travelled more earlier.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your passport and go explore!

Kilimanjaor
Kilimanjaro

5 Tips for Living with Someone who has Depression.

Living with someone who has depression

Living with someone who has depressionYou might have noticed that recently I’ve been banging on about the challenges I face living with mental health problems. It’s something that’s close to my heart and definitely something that I think we should all be talking about more. Out in the blogging community it’s getting a fair bit of coverage but we need to keep that going. What isn’t covered all that often, is what impact depression (and other mental illnesses) have on those around us.

So, for a slightly different approach to today’s post, someone very close to me has written this. It’s all about what it’s like living with someone who has depression (me). It’s written completely from their point of view and I was only allowed to read it once it was finished (which was a nice surprise). Anyway, that’s enough from me for now…

I’m not going to lie and say this is easy because it isn’t. There are many challenges when it comes to living with someone who has depression, but thankfully I have learnt some tips to help.

1.  Sweets!

Now, while this is not recommended to be used all the time for obvious health reasons, it works. When your significant other is having an especially bad day, having some of their favourite sweets hidden away is a way of showing that you care and lifting their mood even if just a little. Thankfully for me there is an off licence right across the road so I can dash over if we’re out!

It’s not just sweets either, anything that you know they like and will let them know you were thinking about them.

2. A Thick Skin!

Depression is a horrendous illness that drains people physically and mentally. Imagine being in pain every waking moment and you can understand why they may snap at you or say something they don’t mean. I always try to not let these comments effect me. If I feel the need I bring it up when they’re feeling better and discuss if there was any truth behind it. Unfortunately there will be times when they say hurtful things but just remember it is purely the depression talking. Chances are when the cloud lifts they’ll tell you how much they love you and supportive you have been and that they regret what they said.

3. The Beauty of a Smile.

You will never truly realise the beauty of a smile until they’re in the midst of a bad spell and you finally get them to smile. You see that little glint in their eye and it restores your hope that you will both get through this together. Hold onto that image when the tears return. There is truly no better feeling than when your love feels the weight of depression crushing down upon them, and you manage to make them smile and laugh. Even if it is only brief, know that it will have meant even more to them than it did to you!

4. Get Ready for Housework!

Depression is incredibly exhausting and can cause physical pain. This can make it impossible to get out of bed or off the sofa. Something as simple as washing up becomes an Everest of a task. Don’t complain, just smile and do it. No one likes washing up, but trust me it’s much easier for you to do it than them. Plus being in a clean and tidy home can help with depression. If you ever feel like you’re slaving away, just remember they’re fighting a much harder fight than you are. It’s truly amazing how lifting a small weight like chores off someone can help them.

5. Pillow forts!

If all else fails make a pillow fort. Genuinely. Now. They’re awesome! It may seem stupid, childish, useless and a whole load of other negative words. But everyone did this when they were young. So when you’re inside with your partner it will bring back happy memories of sharing ghost stories as a kid under a sheet. Play the moment by ear and be prepared to go full out, crazy silly. Or be quiet and contemplative depending on their mood. This can either be somewhere to giggle and tickle each other or just a safe place to hide from the world.

Pro Tip: This is great when combined with Tip 1!!

While living with someone who has depression can be very hard, when you love that person it is 100% worth it. And while it is incredibly painful to watch them go through so much pain. It is one of the most incredible things you can do in your life. To be there for them, and support them as they fight it.

Four Ways to Drink More Water and Stay Hydrated

Stay Hydrated

Stay Hydrated

We know that being able to stay hydrated is one of the most important things for both your body and your mind. Since, running the half marathon yesterday, I can’t seem to drink enough! This post has been sitting in the “drafts” folder since June so now seemed like a fitting time to get it finished off and published!

There’s a few signs that you’re not drinking enough water that are less obvious than simply being thirsty. These include being tired, lacking concentration, feeling hungry (yep, sometimes when you feel hungry, you’re actually thirsty) and dry skin. The trick however, is to always be hydrated and never get to a point where your body has to tell you it needs more water.

Here are my four top tips for drinking more and how to stay hydrated.

1. Buy a water bottle

Having a water bottle helps me drink much more water and stay hydrated. I have one water bottle for the office and another at home. The main reason it helps so much is because I’m lazy! If I only have a glass of water on my desk, I either don’t drink it because I’m “saving it for later” or I do drink it and then don’t refill it! When I’m at home, I just genuinely forget to drink but if I have a bottle full of water near to me it’s a nice reminder.

Having a water bottle helps with all these “problems” that keep me from drinking enough.  It also means that I can easily keep track of how much water I’ve got through in a day (see below).

2. Track your intake

I love having goals and challenges so tracking how much water I’ve had in a day is a great motivator for me. Personally, I use the Fitbit App for tracking but I know that Apps like MyFitnessPal also have a water tracking element to them.

I usually get to early afternoon and realise that I haven’t had anywhere near enough water. Then I spend the afternoon and evening trying to make up for it. For that reason (and the fact that they look pretty), I really, really want one of these water bottles. 

Stay Hydrated

3. Drink with meals

One simple way of making sure you’re getting enough water, is to make sure you have a drink with each meal. I try to have a pint of water with each meal and finish the drink by the time I’ve finished the meal. That way, I know I’ve had three pints of water without really needing to think about it.

4. Make water more exciting

I don’t think I know anyone who is crazy in love with plain old water. I mean, I don’t dislike it but it’s not the most exciting is it! There’s a number of ways you can make water more exciting without taking away from it or adding lots of sugar.

My favourites include fruit teas (Twinnings Lemon and Ginger is top of the list by far!) and fruit infused water. Purchasing a water bottle designed so that you can add fruit makes this an easy way of improving the taste.

This week I’m going to set myself a goal of actually drinking the recommended 2 litres a day. If you have any other tactics to make sure you’re drinking enough, please let me know!