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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A Conversation With My 12-Year-Old Self

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the future. I’m twenty-three now & when I was twelve, that age seemed such a put-together kind of age. My romantic child-self would imagine myself to be married, buying a house, living as a successful woman.

How time deceives you when you’ve only lived 12 years on Earth.

Do I have any of these three things? Well, not exactly. Now and then, my mind repeats this conversation with my twelve-year-old self. I listen to it say, “What have you been doing all this time?!”. 2008-Me telling 2019-Me I should have found love, found a permanent home, found a job that pays more because I should have graduated University and have a frame on the wall. Cue mixed feels.

But, what does a twelve-year old know?

Nothing much, let’s be real. 

I used to let that child in my mind make me feel bad, but now I ignore the shit out of her. Yes, I want to find the love of my life, yes I would love to buy my own home, and create my own business, but shit – it all takes time.

So, aside from my killer achievements and experiences I’ve had in my life up until this point, what more am I going to do with this new age of twenty-three? Well, I decided in January, that this would be the year I got into the best shape of my life (follow #tonetheheckupin2019 on Instagram) – so far so good – and this year I am also planning my own business in the hopes to start it in 2020. The house thing I’ve decided will come after the business, and the whole love thing? — well, I’ve decided I’ll let that happen when it happens.

Society has this way of telling us what we should aspire to have or be, and by what age. Well, I’m here to tell you that the world is changing. We don’t have to follow the hill downwards – a marble subconsciously rolling – be a tree. Grow upwards, have branches that go in different directions. To have a perfectly beautiful tree, you have to have branches that grow in many ways until you can trim it into perfection.

So, if you find yourself also thinking you’re behind in the game; you’ve broken up with your significant other, you can’t afford the house, and you’re still working in retail – don’t be so hard on yourself. Success isn’t deemed only when you’re young, because twenty-three is young.

And, twelve? Well, twelve is baby.

Be a tree.

Fake It Till You Make It | The Self Series

Have you ever had a day when you’ve been moody, and someone has said “fake it till you make it”..?

I was thinking about this the other day, and not because someone said it to me, but because it has been so drilled into my head that I’ve started saying it to myself. So here it is, the latest instalment in The Self Series – all my tips for faking it till you make it.

Blast the happy tunes 

This is probably the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling down, but studies have shown that your mood is likely to improve if you actively try and feel happy whilst listening to upbeat tunes. So, next time you’re feeling down,  put on something slightly upbeat, light some candles, flick on some fairy lights and make an effort to make it a vibrant space. Before you know it, you’ll at least be tapping your toes.

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Dress for the mood you wish to be in

How we present ourselves plays a big part in how we are perceived – not only by others, but through our own eyes. For example, if you wake up and you’re in a mood of ‘I just can’t be bothered today’, by putting no effort into your appearance, you will only feel worse about yourself. So, when you have days like this, try and make a point of showering, putting on your favourite items of clothes, and doing something with your day. You don’t have to go to-the-nines, but at the very least wander out and grab a coffee.

Use your clothes as your voice of energy, instead of actually trying to act all energetic. It’ll do your mood wonders.

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Pose it up

My main man, Aristotle, had an idea that has stuck with me since I studied him in uni:

To be virtuous, one must act as a virtuous person would act.

So, to be a confident happy person, surely we must act how a confident happy person would act – right? So, next time you feel like crawling into a little ball of self-pity, strike a pose in which you deem as confidence and competence, and your physical might just alter your mental.

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Remember we are the only thing that stands in the way of our mood improving. So, next time you’re having a substandard day, or you’re struck into a bad mood, try one of my three top tips for faking it (till you make it). And don’t worry, I’m still trying to perfect the art.

Stay confident, stay happy.

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5 Steps To Soul-Saving R&R

If you live in a city like me, you’ll understand how easy it is to get caught up in the hustle bustle and stress. Without noticing you can become just like everyone else, constantly reaching for a deadline that’s zoning in on you way too fast. Have you ever asked yourself Why does stress even exist? Well stress has evolved with us as humans as a survival instinct. Even though the typical work place isn’t a place of literal life or death, stress unfortunately still finds its way into our modern lives. It’s impossible for us to stop stress entirely, but some R&R can definitely help with a soul being suffocated by stress and a busy lifestyle.

As a young adult who suffers from anxiety and stress, here are 5 ways I calm my soul. We all need a healthy mind and body to aspire and inspire.

1.’The’ Trousers This may seem absolutely crazy, but find yourself your holy grail of trousers. These may be sweatpants, leggings, yoga pants, shorts, or designer trousers like me. I have a pair of Oska trousers I thrifted and they have become my ultimate feel-good item of clothing. They’re beyond comfortable, they exert creativity for me, and they fit like a glove. When I feel stressed, confined, or even ill, I wear them and know I’m in my zone of creative calm. They’re corduroy, high-waisted, flair Designer trousers but they work for me. If sweat pants work for you, own it. Wear ‘the’ trousers along with the comfiest of all tees, and you will instantly be set up for serious R&R.

2. Creativity This works for me, anytime. Being a creative soul myself, rest and relaxation is incomplete without a book, music, singing, or my MacBook opened on a new Page document. This may not work for everyone, but find something that does. Your form of creativity might be painting, sketching, colouring in your favourite adult colouring in book. Using your mind for something you love, stops there being space for the stresses of anything else. If you’re still thinking about that uni assignment due next week, blast a song like ‘These Days’ by Take That and groove it away.

3. Clean your space It’s very easy to be convinced that R&R means sitting in front of the TV with nothing but a tub of Ben & Jerry’s, but alas this isn’t the only approach. For me,  when I’m entirely overworked and my soul is screaming out for me to stop for a second, I love to tidy my room. I’m a fairly tidy person anyway, but cleaning my wardrobe, changing my bedding & vacuuming is one of my favourite things to do on a lazy day. It’s a little bit of physical activity which will make you feel accomplished, and having a clean space does aid with a clean mind. It’s fromage, but we all knows it’s true.

4. Treat your body If you’re treating your mind to some paused luxury, treat your body with delicious healthy foods. You will think clearer, and the energy that comes with nutritious foods with make your body feel more alive, and you will go back after a days rest fighting.

5. No-Go Zone If I can, I always make my times of rest and relaxation a ‘no work zone’. I don’t think about work – and when I was at uni, these days were a no go zone for any assignments- and doing this forces your mind and soul to just wind down. If you’re stressed, this may seem like deadline suicide, but trust me, after a day or two away from thinking about assignments or work, you’ll always come back with fresh perspectives and fresh & speedy energy.

If you do suffer from anxiety, make the time to find steps that work for you. It’s never fun to be stressed, but involuntarily worrying is worse. I’ve been there, and it’s been a matter of finding mantras, steps and people which aid in bringing my mind back to reality. Take time for yourself more often, and constantly remind yourself to do things that bring you more joy.

I wish all you beautiful souls the best in your days of R&R. If you have a soul-saving tip, comment down below so we can all include a bit more calm into our lives.

Paige x