Getting Back on Track

Good morning…

So, things have been a little quiet in the world of Joyful Things these days. If you stumbled across my little blog over the last month you may have wondered whether I had given up, or simply dropped off the face of the earth.  Or perhaps you didn’t notice.  Either is fine.

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For me, my moods and emotions can be tracked by how much I blog.  For some, blogging is therapy, or release, for me it seems to be the first thing that suffers when life gets too much. Not because I don’t enjoy it.  Not at all; I would say that starting this blog was one of the best things I ever did. It has quite honestly changed my life.  This little break was purely because it seemed frivolous to be writing about my favourite makeup when in the midst of an apparent early midlife crisis. I actually think that is the first time I have been early for anything.

Things still haven’t resolved themselves really. I made an impulsive decision about my future, and it will take a miracle for that to go away. So if anyone has a direct line to God maybe you could put a word in for me, because it seems He doesn’t want to deal with my whining voice at the moment.

 

 

This post is likely to be a bit of a muddle, because my brain is in a bit of a muddle. It’s also not very helpful, and quite possibly not very interesting (this blog post, not my brain…)

I’m working on the mess, though. Sorting through the scattered papers on desks, floors, table tops and chairs inside the many rooms of my mind. I could employ a cleaner, but I have always been one to do things myself; not asking for help even when juggling more than I can comfortably handle. I’ll keep going until I finish, or drop from the weight of it all.

Whichever comes first.

I plan for normal service to resume soon.  Next week I finish with a project that has taken up way too much of my time over the last two months.  I’ll be able to take a break until the next phase, and I will be making the most of that time, to get my blogging mojo back.

My content may evolve and change a little, as I evolve and change a little. I hope that’s ok.

 

Anyway, thanks for taking a few moments to read my ramblings. I hope you will return when my blog becomes a little more Joyful Things, and a little less Moaning Things.

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How Yoga has Changed My Life

Why Yoga?

I have done yoga on and off for years.  It started as a method of relaxation, and a way to stretch out tired muscles.  I also have a tendency to suffer from headaches. All the time.  Mainly tension headaches (originating in my neck, back and shoulders), but sometimes dehydration headaches, and – until I recently renewed my glasses prescription – eye strain headaches.

**Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. This is simply my experience of using yoga to help with headaches, as well as for exercise.  I do suffer from headaches, they are a nuisance, but they are not chronic and are not migraines**

 

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Because I am so prone to them, it would not be an exaggeration to say I live in fear of that familiar tightening at the base of my skull. I know that there is a fairly good chance that I will suffer from a headache if I spend a day out and about (because I’m an introvert, but that’s a whole other blog post). If I spend too long staring at a screen (iPad, PC etc) I will end up with some degree of aching in the noggin.  I am constantly drinking water, not just because I like the way it helps keep my skin clear, but because I am terrified of becoming too dehydrated.  Am I sounding like I have issues yet?

 

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Then a few years ago I discovered the wonder that is yoga.  It works like magic.  Within minutes, I can feel the tension draining from my overly tight muscles.  At the beginning of this year I started running in the morning, and as my cool down I will do between 20 and 40 minutes of yoga. I never thought I would be someone who would enjoy working out, but I actually look forward to my hour or so of activity each day.

 

Yoga in The Home

For the yoga, I use a couple of different sources.  I have a few apps on my iPad (my favourite is Yoga Studio) that allow me to choose the length and difficulty of a session.  Of course, YouTube was also a revelation to me. It would be fair to say that YouTube is one of my guilty pleasures.  I even wrote about my Favourite Beauty YouTube Channels.  However, it was only recently that I discovered what a fantastic resource YouTube is for yoga.   My top two are Yoga By Candace, and Yoga With Adriene.

For straight to the point yoga, Candace is amazing.  She is strong, but real.  I love that she wobbles a bit, but makes it look easy at the same time.  When I want a proper sweaty workout (rather than a stretching relaxing one) I will choose Candace.  She does a mix of voiceovers and talk-throughs, and there is no filling or fluff.  Her yoga is varied, and I usually choose her Power Yoga videos.

Adriene, on the other hand, is relaxed and chatty.  She makes you work without even realising it’s happening, because she makes you feel like you’re working out with a friend.  What I love about Adriene is that she encourages you, (there’s a lot of ‘keep going my friend’s) and lets you know how many breaths are left in the more challenging poses.  Her style won’t be for everyone, and I do sometimes find myself urging her, in my mind, to stop talking and change poses. But only because it’s hurting.  And I am a wimp.

 

Yoga for Weight loss

But what about progress? Well, I am not looking like a yoga expert yet, and in fact I don’t see a difference at all.  However, there definitely IS a difference.  Three months ago I couldn’t do more than 10 seconds of plank without shaking like a leaf, and now I can not only hold it, but also move smoothly to the next pose.  I can even do side plank, which I honestly thought would never be possible.

Personally, I haven’t lost any weight since starting my yoga journey (ooh, get me) and that was never really the aim.  I started it as a way to get strong, and I am making steady progress in that respect.  I know there are a lot of people who swear by yoga for losing weight, and that’s great.  However, the main positive for me (other than the fabulous loosening of my aging muscles – four pregnancies took their toll) is that yoga has made me want to be healthy.  I finish a session, and I want to reach for a healthy snack more often than not (of course biscuits will always have a special place in my heart).

 

And the best thing? You really don’t need anything specific.  A mat is a good idea, but even that is not essential to begin with. Yoga is best done with comfortable clothing, and bare feet.

Yoga has helped massively with my tension headaches, and starts my day off in the best possible way.  It’s making me stronger, and more flexible.  In fact the only challenge is trying to hold downward dog while my toddler uses me as a bridge.

 

 

 

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Running Tips for Beginners – From a Fellow Beginner

So this year – like every other year since time began – I decided that I would attempt to work on my fitness.  I’m not getting any younger, and huffing and puffing up the stairs is not cool.  This blog is where I share my beauty loves – amongst other things – and being skinny and fit makes you beautiful. Amiright?

 

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So here are my tips, from one beginner to another:

 

1. Download a fitness tracker.  These apps tell you how far you’ve travelled, and how quickly.  Paired up with the right equipment, they’ll even record your heart rate.  That’s not the best bit though.   They also display the number of calories burned on your run.  Very useful when counting out biscuits later in the day.

2. Tweet those statistics! These apps often give you the option to tweet your results, or update Facebook with a smug status.  Make sure you do this after every run.  This can be a great way to connect with other runners; and to feel superior over everyone else.  Mini Tip: don’t share how many biscuits you have consumed – this will be between you and the biscuit tin.

3. Don’t run when it’s too hot.  You don’t want to end up all sweaty and nasty now, do you?  Also, don’t run when it’s too cold.  That cold air will make your nose run quicker than Usain Bolt – not cute. The cold air does keep the biscuits fresh though….

4. Eat healthily.  The reason for this is simple.  The less calories you stuff in your face throughout the day, the less you have to run.  Just make sure you factor in those biscuits (FYI, a Custard Cream contains 65 calories).

5. Weigh yourself after every run.  This will keep you motivated as you see the weight start to fall off.  It will also help you work out your daily cake allowance.  (You thought I was going to say biscuit then, didn’t you?)

6.  Just breathe.  Or not.  Are you self-conscious about sounding like an over-excited dog as you run past other people on your run? There is a simple solution to this; hold your breath as you pass them.  When you pass out from lack of oxygen, and roll elegantly along the path, your breathing will be the last thing they notice.  Oh.  And biscuits.

7.  Get the right equipment.  You don’t need to spend a fortune, but decent shoes and comfortable clothing will make each run a little less painful.  I also recommend a running belt.  This will hold your phone (don’t forget the running app!!) and biscuit stash.  You’ll need regular snack breaks, so make sure you are prepared.

And Finally:

8.  Just do it. Nobody is going to just hand you that gorgeous body on a plate, you are going to have to work for it.  Mmmmm, plate of biscuits.  Be right back.

 

What are your exercise tips?! Let me know in the comments below…..

 

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*This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your continued support of Joyful Things!*