Well, it’s been a while since I blogged with regularity, so I guess it is time for an update. I have been working from home for approaching 7 months, and I am incredibly grateful to still have a job as so many people don’t. Coronavirus really has changed life, but I have always been a homebody, so it’s not all bad for me, we are all healthy and doing okay. I’m glad we have the garden though.
Category: Self Care
This year I have severely cut back on my alcohol consumption, having drank twice or three times, and not much on any of these occasions. This has been an intentional act, not one to make it into my New Years Resolutions as I don’t want to feel tied to it, but over time I have found drinking alcohol agrees with me less and less, for a number of reasons.
As I have aged my hangovers have became awful. Around 20% of the time they are normal level, tired, not right for a day or two. But 80% of the time I can’t move for about 12 hours after drinking without being sick. I fondly (!) remember a night out with friends, having to travel back on the train and being sick in random bins, even in my hands at one point. Honestly, it’s horrific thinking about it. Not only am I sick, I feel awful mentally and physically for at least two days. A general feeling of malaise (never used that word before!), the fear making me not want to leave the house, or engage with anyone ever again. On top of that my filter that stops me stuffing my face completely disappears, and I eat anything in sight, usually fatty, salty takeaways.
After this extreme event I feel awful, binging on food and alcohol clearly doesn’t agree with me, and it often starts a period of overeating. I am also concerned that when I start drinking a frenzy begins and before you know it I’m doing shots and it’s 3 am. This cannot be having a good impact on my liver, or weight loss efforts.
So with all of this in mind I think it’s understandable that I want to cut back on drinking. However, I still want to socialise! I used to love a good night out clubbing, the music, the lights, the dancing, I have always enjoyed it. I’ve never felt hugely confident while out clubbing, and while I have enjoyed nights out there is something about a dark night club full of drunk people that makes me feel on edge.
While on Facebook I saw an event that caught my eye, Sober Clubbing at Ivory Blacks. Vegan snacks and fruit juice to keep you going. My thought process was, “That sounds fun”, “Wait, are you actually brave enough to dance sober, in front of strangers?”, “Will anyone go with you?”.
I shared this on Facebook and a friend from work said she was up for it, so we booked our tickets. My husband thought it sounded awful, one of my friends said it made them sad. I’m not sure why going out and not drinking has such an affect on people.
On the 29th May me and my friend went along and it was one of the most fun, liberating nights I have had, no exaggeration. I danced like I have never danced in public, surrounded by like-minded strangers. I was sweating, adorned with a flower garland and glowsticks, and all sober. Mindblowing that I actually managed it, but also mindblowing that I had the best time! Sober Clubbing Part 3 is on the 3rd of June and I’ve already signed up for it with a super early bird ticket.
There was also a vegan meetup group on meetup.com so may dip my toe in with this next time too. I’d like to get out there and socialise some more and that seems a good way to do it! All round sober clubbing was a hugely positive and enjoyable experience, no hangover, healthy snacks, calories burned and a lot of fun!
If anyone had suggested to me when I was younger that not too far in the future I would firmly believe 5 am is the best time to start your day, I would have laughed my head off. I was always an early riser, but 5 am was still the day before in my mind. 7 was acceptable, 6 was early, 5…madness.
But every day, my alarm is set for 5:02 am, that includes weekends (mostly). Why I hear you ask? There are a few reasons for me but I suppose if I was breaking it into three distinct areas, they would be as follows, peace and quiet, self reflection, routine.
Peace and Quiet
The world can be a busy, loud place. I live on a main road, it’s got cars on it at all times, a lot of cars. All day long I hear them in the background going past. When you get up at 5 am, you can hear the birds. There are cars too, but a lot less than during the later hours of the morning. In addition to being quieter externally, it is also quiet in my house. When I get up it’s just me and my cat and dog. I feed them, give them some attention, they wander around after me, happy to see someone else up. The kids and my husband are asleep. I love this time for that reason. I grew up an only child and really cherish alone time. Getting up at 5 am allows me to have this.
What I do at 5 am differs depending on what day it is, but there is always an element of self reflection, and self improvement. Every day I meditate for at least 5 minutes, more if I have time. At the moment I’m using the free app insight timer, this has many different types of meditation, to music, nature, my favourite though at this time are guided, I find hearing the voice lead me keeps me on track. Currently I am meditating to forgiveness based meditations, but I have followed anxiety, self esteem and many other types. Starting my day with meditation is a beautiful and calming start to the day. Next up my day branches depending on later plans although I will usually have coffee at this point. I may include journalling, I try to do this daily, although sometimes if I can’t fit it in during the morning I do this at night. I also have a book of ideas to write about, to aid creativity, I find this a fun addition to my days, and do it at least 5 out of 7. I also write blog posts in the morning, scheduling them for later publishing. I may also do some yoga, especially when it’s a nice clear morning and the sun is rising.
Again, depending on the day, I leave to go to the gym around 5:45 am for a 6 am opening. On days I don’t go to the gym I take my dog out for a walk around 6 am. It is important for me to get exercise in early, it means that I can get on with the day and know I have done some activity.
Routine for me is really the underlying reason and motivation for getting up early. I have suffered with depression on and off for many years, and if I have a good, healthy routine, diet, and exercise included, this generally keeps it at bay. Getting up early gives me the chance to combine work on me, and peace and quiet, so it’s a win win. Getting up early allows for me to think about my day, and what I would like it to be about, setting an intention for myself, which I find very helpful.
One thing that does suffer as a result of getting up so early is my ability to stay up late at night, although I was never a night owl, now I like to be in bed for around 10, and I have a marvellous knack of being able to fall asleep in seconds. I usually get around 6.5 to 7.5 hours sleep, this may seem a little low but over the years I seem to have settled on this being sufficient, if I’m any under 6.5 I begin to feel a little tired, but anywhere in my 6.5 to 7.5 window and I’m great, no tiredness throughout the day. Sleep is so important, there is no point getting up at 5 am if you aren’t going to sleep until midnight. For me, those morning hours are more important and useful than the night time ones, where I would generally be sitting about watching TV, or eating!
There is a podcast I listen to that is really big advocate of early rising, plus he is also vegan, so definitely worth a listen, the 5 am miracle by Jeff Sanders, he is one of the most positive people I have listened to, his energy is really inspiring, so if you are looking for some motivation to get up early, or some productivity tips in general, I definitely recommend checking him out. What time do you get up? Do you have any other routines you would like to share? Feel free to comment on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!
New Years Resolutions and my Word of 2017
The Christmas season is drawing to an end, and for me this year it has been a good one. I missed my mum and dad a lot this year, my mother in law couldn’t make it over due to illness so it was just myself, husband and kids, which made not having my mum and dad a little more raw I think, but despite that we still had a great time, completely overindulged and enjoyed the period. For New Years Eve we stayed overnight at friends, they have a little girl, so we took our kids and dog too. Said friend made a delicious meal, some of which was especially vegan, which was much appreciated!
While we had a lovely time, I’m glad for some normality to return. I do usually make some New Years Resolutions, but its 50/50 whether I manage to finish them, although I believe in the past I have made them a little open ended, which doesn’t help with completion. Really, you must aim for a finish point to be able to say you succeeded. (Last year my daughters was to go through an automatic car wash for example, very random but we completed it in the Summer).
For 2017 I have decided to use a word I would like to motivate my year, and additionally i have two completable new years resolutions which tie together a lot of other areas I would like to focus on.
My word for 2017 is Simplify.
Simplifying for me means making changes in my life to cut out unecessary thinking, decisions and time. I feel I spend too much time thinking, and doing tasks and jobs that with a little work could be cut significantly, leaving time and thought process for more important areas of my life, that I would like to succeed in.
Simplifying my diet is my number one simplifcation. I’m moving to a more plant based whole foods vegan approach. Less processed food, less oil, less bread, less sugar, more whole plants, fruits, legumes, wholegrains. I love big portions and food in general, but big portions only work when food is low in calories, big portions of processed, sugary, salty food makes me (and I’d imagine others) gain weight. I love vegetables, I feel food when I eat them, so that’s what I’m going to do. I doubt I’ll be perfect, but losing weight is a massive priority for me, and I think moving to whole foods will be an amazing step in the right direction.
Simplifying exercise comes in next but is also tied to diet. One of my new years resolutions is to run a 10k race. This is a resolution that can be gained with work, it has an end point. Simplifying my exercise for me means a focus on walking and running, and not overthinking it too much, just to get out and do it. Even if it’s a walk/jog. I have my gym membership but I’ve not used it enough, so fitting in the gym and treadmill are on my list of priorities.
Simplifying my house and household routines via minimalism is very important to me. I took a huge step last year getting rid of over 1500 things in November that I didn’t need or use, but I still have a long way to go until I reach a level I am happy with. My cleaning routine is faster now than it ever has been, and additionally, my house looks cleaner than it ever has. Funny how those things tie together. There is still a way to go though. For January I am back on the minsgame challenge, but for the year as a whole I have joined a facebook group to help me reach New Years Resolution number two, get rid of 2017 things in 2017. I don’t expect this to be too hard, and I would like to have it done well before the end of next year, but I think 2017 will be the year where I start to really put my money where my mouth is, and take minimalism seriously. We had successes at Christmas, our kids still got many Christmas presents, but less than previous years, and they were over the moon with what they go. They have used what they got, there isn’t endless piles of pointless stuff still lying around the living room. I know stuff is not the answer.
Additionally, and I guess tying in to the last simplify, I would like to simplify my waste. I can’t see me reaching the dizzying heights of zero waste any time soon, but waste is bad for the planet. I’m already doing a good job on the planetary front with veganism, but another area in my life I am interested in targeting is waste reduction. I recycle already, but could recycle more. I am looking for shops in the area where you can buy with less packaging, and if eating whole foods there will be less anyway. Additionally, I am looking into composting leftovers indoors, I don’t have a garden sadly, but that shouldn’t stop me.
There are many other things I am looking to continue throughout the year, bullet journalling, blogging, meditation and yoga, these all help me keep a healthy mind. I also have big changes on the horizon, I am in the early stages of setting up a new education business, this will require much concentration and work, and a large part of simplifying other areas of my life is so that I can give my business the focussed time it needs without many other distractions. I know the new business is massively important, but I need to clear space in my head (and home) to give it the time it deserves. Simplification does this.