Healthy Habits I Learnt From Isolation

As we near the end of lockdown in New Zealand, I’ve been taking some time to reflect on the last 5 weeks away from the real world. This concept of bubbles, and staying away from others, has saved thousands of lives in our little country, but it has also taught us lots individually. I know personally, I have formed several healthy habits from this self-isolation that will absolutely change my life and the attitude I have whilst living it.

Here’s 4 things I learnt:

Running is good for the mind and the waistline

After about a week of moping around the house, I decided I wasn’t doing myself any favours when I had so much time on my hands.

So I downloaded the free app C25K, and I went from there. I used to run nearly everyday, so I found this was the perfect app to remind my muscles how to do their thing without burning myself out. After four weeks I have now finished the app’s program, and I’m happily running 4 or 5km daily on my own and definitely reaping the benefits. I have significantly more energy, and I’ve reminded myself why I used to enjoy pounding the pavement when I lived in London. Not only does it slim the waistline and make you feel more confident in your own skin, it’s a sure way to clear your mind for a half hour. It’s time to yourself, to focus on your breath and the strength your body has.

  • I’ve decided that coming out of lockdown I’m going to cease my gym membership, save the dollars, and continue running for my fitness. I will do home HIIT workouts and stretch using online yoga videos.

 

Caffeine is not my friend, nor my wallet’s

If you know me, the biggest shock that could come out of my mouth would be “I quit caffeine”. I’m pretty sure I even once started writing a blog titled ‘Death Before Decaf’ – basically, if you don’t know me, I would typically buy/drink 3-to-4 lattes a day. Nonetheless, this brings me to my second healthy habit picked up during lockdown. I decided to swap out my drinks for a decaf alternative, and honestly I don’t think I’ll go back. I have not had caffeine for a month, and I’ve been sleeping significantly better, I’ve passed the period of withdrawal headaches, and I’m still enjoying a cup of coffee or tea every day just minus the caffeine.

  • Getting back into my daily life, I will religiously restrict my purchasing of coffee, and help my body and wallet by, instead, drinking more water and buying a jar of decaf coffee and using my cafetière at home.

 

Screen-time is terrible for my head

I’m sure it doesn’t come as a shock when I say that lockdown was pretty much us being forced into day long Netflix sessions. Yes, I’ve done my running and my daily walks on the beach, but that still left me a lot of my days to sit and watch Netflix, write on my laptop, or scroll through my social media accounts. I’ve always had sensitive eyes when it comes to light, but I’ve never truly realised the strain that screens – and blue light – have on my eyes and head.

I do have glasses with blue light lenses, and as much as I knew they worked/were skeptical of their abilities, I didn’t fully realise the world of good they do for me. After several nights of splitting headaches, and terrible eye strain, I decided to do some experimenting. I wore my glasses for 3 days, and continued watching Netflix as per (excessive) normal, and got far less headaches. I then decided to change my display settings on both my laptop and phone to an anti-blue-light hue (so basically yellow) and it has completely obliterated my headaches. It’s insane how much this worked. So, when I’m using my laptop and phone I need not wear my glasses as much, but I still continue to wear them whilst I’m watching TV.

  • Blue light is so bad for my eyes and head, changing my phone’s display settings to warmer tones – in combination with my blue light glasses – has bid a warm farewell to my headaches caused by screens.

 

Saving money is easy when you change your mindset

Temptation is defined as ‘a thing that attracts someone’. I can say, that for a lot of Kiwis, the temptation to spend money has significantly reduced since lockdown. Yes, most online shopping sites have continued, but without the frequent visits to shops, social venues, bars, restaurants and even the likes of gyms and recreation centres, we have had a great opportunity this last month to put money aside and/or cut back on leisure spends.

On top of this lack of temptation, I’ve had a lot of free time to really stress about money – and then transition into really focusing on creating a plan to save it. It was really this last month that I truly have found a motivation, and full-proof mentality, into being the most financially stable in all my life.

  • I have cut down my expenses; moved to a phone plan $45 cheaper than my previous plan, cancelled a weekly gym membership and replaced it with running and home workouts, and crunched numbers to figure out how many hours I need to work a week and what percentage of my pay-check needs to be put aside, in order to reach my targets.

 


 

I hope you have all enjoyed some time to rest and recover. I encourage everyone to think about what’s been achieved in this isolation period, but also to think about what sort of person they want to be coming out of it. It’s never to late to insert some healthy habits into your life.

Stay safe, stay in your bubble, stay happy x

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The Anxious Girl’s Guide To Isolation

Hey y’all, and welcome to Lockdown. If you’re a fellow kiwi, or whether your country is already in quarantine-mode, you’ll be bunkered down and preparing for several weeks of isolation.

So, unfortunately, today’s blog is brought to you by Covid-19 – and our global battle in fighting it. It’s really important to note, that by staying home, we are all saving lives. Very literally, saving lives.

If you’re anything like me, these last few days and weeks may have triggered a little bit of stress and panic. It’s quite a solemn thing to hear your Prime Minister announce a nationwide lockdown, that shit IS SERIOUS, and when you fully process it, it does bring on some unwanted thinking.

So, today I present: ‘The Anxious Girl’s Guide to Isolation’.

Know Your Sources

First and foremost, keep updated with the news but, be aware of what you’re reading. There are so many journalists and so many opinions out there, so it’s important to read and focus on those official government updates in your country. In New Zealand I suggest sticking to www.covid19.govt.nz and watching the updates on Channel One News – which airs around midday, daily.

I found I got more anxious with the more News Sites I scrolled through. Yes the articles out there are mostly factual and informative, but they are also infested with sadness and distress. When the world is in global crisis, mental health is important, and sometimes leaving these articles be, is the ‘ignorant bliss’ you need to keep yourself safe and healthy.

  • Limit yourself to two official forms of updates.
  • Stay focused on local events and local coverage.
  • Don’t spend all day burying yourself in facts and stats online.
  • This is only temporary.

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Lockdown doesn’t mean locked in

Make sure you understand, that in lockdown, you can still leave your house. In fact, it has been exceedingly encouraged by the Prime Minister, to do just that. Fresh air, and wide open spaces, are great for mental health. Moving our bodies has been shown to decrease levels of tension, boost our mood, improve the quality of our sleep, and improve self-esteem. I’m sure we can all understand and appreciate how exercise helps our anxious minds when the world is good, so need I say how important it is now that the world is in a state of emergency?

If your anxiety overwhelms the possibility of leaving your gate, or you live in an apartment building where leaving home isn’t an option, please at least open a window. Let the sun and air in as much as possible. Put music on and dance, keep moving that beautiful body of yours. And, please remember, that even though we can’t venture far, physical distancing doesn’t mean social distancing. Talk about what is going on, share your concerns and thoughts about everything with friends and family; you will not be the only one who is thinking these things.

  • Go for a walk/run. Take those in your isolation space with you, or go for a solo walk.
  • Get someone to meet you at the beach or a local park. Just remember to keep your 2-metre-minimum distant.
  • Video-chat your friends and be creative with social media.
  • Do online yoga classes – I highly recommend Yoga With Adriene.
  • This is only temporary.

Keep A Routine

This applies to both those who are working from home during the isolation period, and to those who are not. I cannot emphasise enough, how important it is to try and maintain a normal life as much as you can. I’m not saying set an alarm for 6am, but make your bed every morning, have meals at regular intervals, schedule in your washing, put time aside to workout, and open your curtains!

If you do need to work from home: Designate a space away from your relaxing and sleeping areas, to assure the differentiation between working and having finished for the day. I suggest having a set up in an office or at a table where you work only; get dressed and out of pyjamas before you start, eat your lunch way from this space, go outside and have your afternoon cup of tea. Don’t go near that space unless you’re working.

If you’re lucky enough to not be working from home: Try and put some time aside in the first few days of isolation to figure out things you’d like to achieve over the lockdown period. A few examples:

  1. Learn a new language (e.g. sign language)
  2. Write a book, start a blog, or express yourself through poetry
  3. Organise your photos into albums/clean out your phone’s photo albums
  4. Do some gardening, and some DIY landscaping
  5. Perfect a handstand
  6. Alphabetically organise your books, CDs, & DVDs
  7. Meal prep
  8. Write letters to the grandparents
  9. Read ‘X’ amount of books
  10. Rearrange your room

This is also the perfect time for a solid Spring/Autumn clean – go through clothes, old papers, the cupboard when you throw all the junk, and rid yourself of anything you don’t need. Because, of course, a clean space helps with a clean mind.

  • Shower, get dressed, and make your bed everyday.
  • Schedule your days to optimise time and maintain some normality.
  • Divide your space into work and play – never mix the two. Make sure your clothing also represents what mode you are in.
  • Set goals that you can achieve from home.
  • This is only temporary.

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I think if we all follow these guidelines, isolation will become less daunting and more normal with everyday that comes. Remember:

  1. Know your sources
  2. Lockdown doesn’t mean locked in
  3. Keep a routine

It is okay to worry, and it is okay to find this scary – you’ll probably never see something this historic in your lifetime again. However, please remember that this is temporary. You are staying home to save lives, and to stay healthy. We will make it through this, and we – and the world – will resurface better than ever.

If you need to chat, please contact me on Instagram at @paigebolland.

Stay home, stay clean, stay safe, and unite against Covid-19. All of the love to you all.

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A Piece of Advice On Time

I’ve been wanting to write a blog about this for a while now, but I’ve been held back by the thought of not being one to talk when things still fall apart before my eyes some days. So based on the fact I’ll never be an expert on the matter, I’m gonna write it regardless – and hopefully I’ll help myself in the process.

So, here it is – a blog on managing life and finding time.

Life is never easy. You can feel the pressures from all angles some days, and you can feel like you’re losing control of even the simplest of things; your home is messy, you don’t have time for breakfast, and you’re always buying your lunch because who the %$*@ has time for meal-prep. Raise your right hand if you can relate; don’t even get me started about skipping your gym workouts for 7-days straight, or the fact of all that is in your fridge is a can of whipped cream and a jar of peach chutney. I get it, cause right now that life is mine. I mean, I am literally squirting cream from a can into my mouth – intermittently – as I write this.

I recently started a new job as a restaurant manager; ironic, right? I get paid to organise operational tasks of a restaurant and bar, yet I can never manage to have clean socks. At the start of the year I was at the gym everyday, if not twice a day, I was downing smoothies which were 50% spinach, and I was constantly putting time aside everyday for my writing or my to-read pile. However, since switching from a part-time, 9-5, to my new job which includes an hour commute each way, I’ve lost the assurance of the routine I used to have. I’ve come to realise that finding a routine after shifting your life’s pattern, is not easy! Ask anyone. So, if this is you; your life has changed in some way (new home, new job), don’t expect it to just happen.

So how does one figure that out? How can you find the time to do these things? Well, as annoying as it may sound, it’s completely on your shoulders. Remember in high school when you were given an assignment which was due in 5 months, and you left it until the last week, and still managed to hurriedly finish it on time? Yeah, well that is a fine example of how time is always there – if you’re willing to realise the fact.

“I’ve been so busy” is the new “I’m fine”, and we use it without even thinking about the words before we speak them. I know firsthand it’s easier said than done, to just make the time to bang out those chores, but it definitely is all about mindset.

Okay, so you’re busy and you haven’t been to the gym in a week; want a solution? Get up an hour earlier. If you genuinely want to get your arse burning, you have to want to do it. No one is going to come dress you, no one can make you pick up some dumbbells – that’s crazy! So, set your alarm for 6am instead of 7am, and just do it.

And like everything else; washing, groceries, returning your library books which have accumulated a $10 fee (not me), JUST DO IT. I know you were probably coming to this blog for more precise advice, so I’m sorry, but I’m hitting you with a reality check!

So, on that note, I’m gonna kick myself up the arse and take a piece of my own advice. My new schedule/routine/motivation starts now! No excuses, no “I’m busy”s, no not-having-enough-time; I’m going to prioritise the things that mean something to me, and live the life I want and need to live. I’m going to make sure I have healthy foods in my fridge, I’m going to get to the gym every second day (at least), and I’m going to go for hikes and coffee dates by myself on the weekend. Yes I have less free time than at the start of 2019, but that’s not a good enough reason to not live it up in my free time.

Say an affirmation with me now:

“I have all the time I need.”

Say that to yourself every morning, and I guarantee you, you will find an extra hour or so. Time is there if you want it.

 

Welcomed with open arms

Well, it’s 2018, it’s a New Year and I love it!

For a lot of people, it’s the time of fresh starts and goal-setting. I know it can be a bit of a cliché; intentions, and changes, but I know personally having such a dead-set start date provides more motivation, and a point of comparison.

This year, I’m putting my goals out there. I’m holding myself accountable through my website, and my readers. I’m hoping that it may also inspire some of you to do something similar, or give you some New Year’s intentions ideas.

So, what are my intentions for 2018?

(emphasis on the words intentions, and not resolutions)

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That’s right, I’m jumping on the health-goal-setting band wagon. But this time, I’m making it simple. Don’t eat anything processed.

Eat whole foods, things with ingredients I can read, and foods only it their natural form, or as close to it as possible.

Fresh fruit, fresh veggies, new recipes and more cooking at home. Yes please.

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yoga

Something I’ve always done, but not everyday. Yoga is something I thoroughly enjoy, and this year I want to add it into my daily morning routine.

I intend to start my days earlier, and wake my sleepy limbs and mind with yoga as soon as I rise.

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write everyday

I’m writing a book.

…and in 2017 I actually wrote half of it.

This year, I am going to write everyday and get this book published! (The ultimate 2018 goal)

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So there you go. My three intentions for 2018. Small enough to be doable, but suffice to make serious change in my life. Find some intentions of your own, no matter how small, and make them habit. Push pass the point of falling back into old routine, and make this a year of self-determination and change.

“When intention becomes action, it becomes habit.” – PB

What are your 2018 intentions? 

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