Last month, an old school friend of mine (hi Sofia, if you’re reading!) reached out to me and told me about this 2800 Squat Challenge she’s doing as a charity fundraiser. She told me it was for the Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity I’d never heard of but I thought the name was pretty self-explanatory. Together, along with another old classmate, took on the challenge together to do 2800 squats each in the month of February and posted a fundraiser on Facebook. Today is the last day of the challenge, and I wanted to share what I’ve learnt about the charity and what they do, as well as how I got on with the challenge. I will leave some links at the end on how you can donate (and please do if you can – every little helps!)Continue reading “The Teenage Cancer Trust – Who They Are, The Challenge And Why You Should Donate”
“I wish I looked like ____”
“I wish I had her stomach”
“I hate my legs”
Let me stop you there. We’ve heard all this self-loathing before. We’ve all been there. If anything, it’s promoted all over social media to desire what other people have. I’m a big fan of social media and I’m also a big fan of appreciating other people’s features, but I’m going to draw the line at desiring. What’s wrong with what we already have?Continue reading “Why You Need To Embrace Your Body and Stop Wanting What Others Have”
I love dance. I’m not a dancer, but I wish I could dance. A new dance TV show? I’m on it. I just love watching dance and admiring how incredibly talented they are, physically and also through their ability to express. It was through a random Youtube recommendation that I found Scout Forsythe, a ballerina for the American Ballet Theatre, doing almost ‘day in the life’ content for channels such as Glamour and Allure. To say I loved these videos is an understatement.Continue reading “I Tried To Do Every Exercise A Pro Ballerina Does In A Day”
Since I’ve returned to university, I realised that my workout routine has become less and less consistent: I went from working 5-7 times a week during lockdown to 2-4 times a week. Whilst this isn’t necessarily bad, I could quite literally feel the impact it had on me. I felt sluggish, my body started aching again and my mental health just shot right back down.Continue reading “Every Workout I Did This Week And How It Made Me Feel (Lockdown Workout Inspiration)”
After seeing a post over on the British Black Girl’s Instagram , she created a ‘covid care package’, I thought this was something that was right up my street. I love the idea of creating care packages, so I thought I’d try my own virtual one for a change!Continue reading “The Essential Lockdown Care Package”
I wasn’t really into fitness before lockdown. When I say ‘into fitness’, I mean that I’m just more conscious and active about fitness, not that I’m the next fitness guru on the scene. What I have noticed though is that lockdown has changed me for the better, primarily in my fitness. I’m probably the most physically fit I’ve been and the most confident in my skin than ever before, and I couldn’t be more thankful for this period of time (in this regard anyways). I guess you could call this post my ‘fitness journey’ up to now.Continue reading “The journey of an unfit girl (me) getting fit(-ter) during lockdown”
Lockdown has allowed us to have more time for ourselves and has left us wondering what to do with our time (unless you’re an essential worker, and if that’s the case, thanks for your hard work!). Whether you think this free time is a good or bad thing, I’m sure most of us can agree we have been doing things differently in one way or the other, or have tried and tested things you maybe haven’t done before for the sake of not being bored.Continue reading “Beneficial Habits I’ve Picked Up During Lockdown”
After hearing all the hype about Chloe Ting, I decided to give in and finally give it a try!Continue reading “I Tried A Chloe Ting Workout: The 2 Week Shred Challenge”
Quarantine can be a lonely and very very boring time, but we all just need to remember that staying home is necessary and we all have to do it – it’s for the better good.
However quarantine doesn’t have to be completely boring – trust me, I’ve had the days that go past that are so (so, so) boring, but in times like this, it’s more than possible to make the most of it, and make it a positive experience, despite all the negativity that’s going on in the world right now.
You have all this time now to do whatever it is you want to do. Sure, you may have some work or life priorities, but I’m sure you have more free time than before. Seize this opportunity to the fullest – you may never get it again. This may be the time where you can start to form new and beneficial habits for the future.
I can safely say that being in quarantine has been a positive experience for me for the most part: I’ve definitely had my ups and downs, but I can say that I’ve been working on myself in many different ways, and am becoming more and more happy about the person I am growing into. You have all this time to work on yourself now – make the most of it. Here are some ways I’m making the most out of quarantine:
Working out (properly)
There’s no excuses now – I have all the time in the world to work out. Luckily for me, I would take home workouts over the gym any day of the week. Instagram and Youtube has plenty of content at the moment for home workouts, especially with no equipment, so I keep saving them and I try to do it as often as I can. I think making yourself do them is the way forward: just do 15/20 minutes each day and you’ll start to see results. For me personally, I feel best when I feel good about the way I look, knowing that I’m keeping strong and healthy. I’ve been on quite the journey with fitness in general, and I feel like I’ve come a long way in this quarantine period (I might write a blog post about my fitness journey at some point, if you would all like to see it?)
Going outside (when safe)
We’ve been lucky enough to have (short) periods of amazing weather in the UK, so why not make the most of it? Catch those rays and sit out in the garden (if you have an outside space available to you) and tan. Get that bronzed skin! I’ve caught the slightest of tans out in my garden over a few days, but fake tan will do, for those who burn in the first hour. Or, you can go for a daily walk around the block and get your fitness and some fresh air all at the same time – clean, fresh air can help clear your skin too (especially if you have any acne). I’ve been taking walks to my local high street instead of taking the car (it’s 10 minutes tops, I shouldn’t really be driving there). It’s nice walking with family members too, just having some quality time with them which you may not have when you’re slightly busier.
Really focus on your work
Times are tough right now for those in education, with a significant decrease in the amount of resources available to us right now (I could genuinely write a whole debate on this), but at the end of the day, we just need to get on with it. Use this time to really crack on with work and get ahead of the game: start grafting, ask teachers or colleagues in advance for any help you may need and then you’ll have more time to do things you enjoy more. Just push for success – it’ll be over before you know it.
Explore your creative side
I finally printed out all the photos I had on my phone from the past few years and started to scrapbook them, putting in cute little doodles and exploring different design options: scrapbooking memories is a great way to get creative and have something you’re proud of to look back at for your fun memories. I’ve also started drawing again on and off: it’s something I used to do in primary school a lot, and I used to love doodling on the margins of my work in secondary school, so actually picking it up and spending time on drawing for pleasure has been great: I’m tapping into my childhood passions again. My dad also found an old paint set of mine, so I’ll be sure to try out a new creative outlet.
Creativity is so important: keeping your creativity alive opens up your mind to everything really and helps you relax and create something you can be proud of and enjoy at the same time. There’s so many different forms of creativity: spend the time finding which outlet provokes the best version of you.
Go out of your comfort zone
I’m still working on this, but it’s so important to try new things. Try new ideas you’ve had in the back of your mind and don’t care what anyone has to say about it. Start that Instagram page, try baking that chocolate pudding, indulge in that new business verture, dress up in those clothes that have been begging to be worn, even if your destination is Costa del Sofa and not Costa del Sol. Try something new, and I promise you won’t be sorry (and if you are sorry, try have a laugh about what happened later).
Reflection on each day
I didn’t think I was going to include this, because I never really realised I was doing it until now. Every day, I reflect and think about how far I’ve come – the person I’m becoming. Through the good and the bad days, take a minute to sit back and think about what you’ve achieved. Think about the small gains you’ve made, and how consistent you’ve been, or even that you pushed yourself to try something new today. You’re trying, and that’s all that matters. You’re putting in the effort to become a better person, and that’s all the matters.
During this current lockdown period, we’re only currently allowed one outing per day for the purpose of exercise (in the UK anyways). I don’t know about you, but every time I look at someone’s Snapchat story, people are always outside running and showing how many millions of kilometres they’re doing a day. If you’re like me and don’t like running that much to do it every day, here are some suggestions to keep active.
Go on a walk
Going on a quick walk can be so refreshing and can clear your head if you’ve been working hard at home. If you love nature like me, it can be a great idea to get yourself to the park and enjoy your surroundings. If not, just take a quick walk around your area and get those extra steps in that you wouldn’t have got otherwise.
Home HIIT Workouts
Possibly my favourite thing to do! I wasn’t a big fan of working out till recently, so having short, intense workouts works great for me – I’m working a sweat in a small amount of time (perfect for those who are especially busy!). My favourite home workouts are by Joe Wicks aka The Body Coach (not at all a shock if you’ve watched my Instagram stories) – I found his channel towards the end of 2019 and have been loving it since! He’s regularly updating at the moment with new workouts, so it’s definitely worth a try! If they’re not for you, HIIT workouts are very easily available on Youtube, so have a scroll and see what you like.
Yoga is a great way of exercising if you’re not into fast paced movement, but still want to feel the burn. Yoga is mainly great for improving flexibility. I’ve only tried this a couple times myself to help stretch my body, but I know people that swear by this. Again, yoga is very readily available on Youtube for all levels, but my university’s Instagram page is currently recommending Yoga With Adriene, and I’ve heard great things about Madfit, so maybe give them a try! The NHS Website has a few videos on yoga too.
Very similar to yoga, except the focus is on strengthening the body. I’ve tried Pilates once on the Blogilates Youtube channel (which I definitely felt the burn with!), but it just wasn’t my favourite, but again I do know a lot of people that love pilates. Do a quick search and see what pilates workouts are available for your level, then maybe when this is all over, you can see if there’s any pilates classes near you. The NHS Website has a great video on pilates for those with back pain, along with many other fitness videos you can follow.
Many individual people and organisations are currently doing live classes via Zoom, Instagram Live etc. to follow along too. Online classes are a great way to help you keep to a routine, as they’ll always be at a certain time during the day/week. My university currently recommends OurParksUK as a great online class, as well as providing their own (check if your university or work is providing anything similar), otherwise many fitness instructors and ‘influencers’ are providing their own, such as Gabby Allen (try checking out some smaller accounts too that have PT experience and help support them!)
Workout challenges can be really fun, and most importantly, really adaptable. I get a lot of my inspiration from social media challenges, such as the 100 Burpees a Day challenge (doing 100 burpees each day – it doesn’t have to be all in one go!), or going on Pinterest and finding routines with moves with a certain amounts of reps. The thing I like about these challenges is that you can adjust them to your level but push yourself to do more than you would usually do.
And finally…dancing! Who doesn’t like dancing? Have a little boogie in your room and get your heart rate up and going! It’s a fun way to release some energy and get you in a good mood, so stick some music on and have fun!
So these are my 7 ways to keep myself active during this time. Always remember to:
- Stretch before and after! Don’t hurt yourself in the process. It also lessens the muscle ache you may have the next day.
- Keep moving even after exercise. Think of it this way: doing 20 minutes to an hour of working out is great and all, but if you just sit down and do nothing for the rest of the day, you’re not helping yourself get to your goal. Think of it as a 20:80 scale. 20 represents the exercise you do, 80 representing the rest of the day. That 80 majority can’t be sitting down doing nothing the rest of the day! Keep moving – get up from your chair, walk around a little, do some tasks in the house, do anything!
And if you’re one of those people that does love to run or wants to get more into running, I would highly recommend the Couch to 5K app: I started using it and it changed my attitude to running completely. It helped me learn more about how to pace yourself, how to keep breathing during a longer run, and kept me in the routine of running 3 times a week. Give it a try if you want to start something new.
During this time of uncertainty and self-isolation, things can get boring, lonely and even anxiety-provoking for some. Today is the third full day since the UK government put the country on lockdown, and I’ve been struggling to not be bored, if I’m completely honest, but I’m coping better than expected. It puts so much into perspective: there’s so many little things we take for granted, like popping out to town quickly, or grabbing a coffee with friends. I’ve tried to keep myself busy these past few days (follow my Instagram stories for more inspiration!), and hopefully these ideas will inspire you a bit:
- Go for a walk: probably my favourite thing right now. Make use of your one daily exercise outing and get some fresh air. I love nature, so just going to my local park makes me so happy and feel so refreshed.
- Exercise: I’m not a massive fan of exercising, but it’s slowly growing on me, especially home workouts (which is perfect right now). My favourite home workouts at the moment are on Joe Wicks’ channel (aka The Body Coach): he explains them amazingly, they’re all in real time, very much achievable, motivating and accessible for all ages! Other forms of exercise could include cleaning the house or dancing to music in your room: anything that keeps you active.
- Baking: if you can find the ingredients (never thought there’d be such a struggle to find eggs during a pandemic), try taking up baking! Yesterday, I made a banana loaf and it was so easy to make and most importantly, so tasty!
- Facetime friends/family: the best way to get through this is to stay connected! In this day and age, it’s so easy to connect online if you can’t see people. Just make sure you do! Facetime, Skype, Whatsapp message/voice call them. Anything!
- Take up a new hobby: this could be anything from yoga, to embroidery, to painting, to drawing, to gaming.
- Learn/play a musical instrument if it’s available to you: it’s not only fun, but mentally stimulating.
- Get creative: creative activities such as writing, editing videos and making mini movies, scrapbooking, colouring etc are so enjoyable and a great pastime with sometimes incredible results. Give it a go!
- Binge a TV series: look at my Netflix recommendations post for inspiration!
- Spend more time with a furry friend: if you have one at home, play with your pet or if possible, take them on a walk.
- Take more time for self-care: check out my previous post for some self-care tips.
- Make new playlists
- Rearrange and/or tidy your room/house.
- Read: a relaxing and stimulating pastime.
- Relax: for all those that are anxious throughout this time, you need to find ways to relax. Try practicing breathing exercises and mindfulness. There’s so many different apps and websites that can help with this.
I hope this has given you all inspiration to try and tackle these upcoming weeks. It is a difficult time, but try not to plan to far in advance: things are changing every day, just take each day as it comes. As I mentioned before, if you need more inspiration or just something fun to watch, check out of Instagram stories at @itsmonicaagiuliani. The NHS and Mind websites have great inspiration too. Stay indoors as much as you can and stay safe.