Beneficial Habits I’ve Picked Up During Lockdown

Beneficial Habits I’ve Picked Up 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.

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Places To Go For Your Next Getaway (England & Europe Edition)

Places To Go For Your Next Getaway (England & Europe Edition)

We can finally travel! I’ve been wanting to explore and see new places so badly since lockdown started, and have been dreaming up locations from the get go. Although not every area is safe to go to, I thought for those planning to travel sometime soon, I’d post some suggestions and inspiration for your next visit. I’ve included a few destinations for each country in which I’ve heard of, been too or just look nice from pictures I’ve seen) And for those who aren’t 100% comfortable travelling abroad right now but still want to go somewhere, I’ll add some English destinations too.

Happy searching!

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The Group Chat: I Asked 6 Women How They Want The World To Be Different Once Coronavirus Is Over

The Group Chat: I Asked 6 Women How They Want The World To Be Different Once Coronavirus Is Over

It’s undeniable that so much has happened this year, especially in the past few months. We started off the year with the Hong Kong protests, the Australian bushfires, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the continuation of civil wars such as the Yemeni Civil War and WHO’s declaration of COVID-19 being of international concern. That’s all in one month. Following that, we had the death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, the acquittal of Trump’s impeachment, a stock market crash, a 20,000 ton oil leakage into the Arctic Circle and the Black Lives Matter movement (find out how you can help here).

Coronavirus in particular has brought out lives to a complete halt. 435,000 deaths later (and counting), it seems we are slowly getting back to normal, although the virus is nowhere near completely gone. Coronavirus made us stop everything: our jobs, our social life and even everyday travel, in fear of us catching this abnormal and still partially unknown disease.

I saw this Instagram story from Tiffany Watson from a poster put up in the Fulham area, asking “when all this is over, how do you want the world to be different?”

People could write their thoughts and ideas down, and I thought, during this time of uncertainty, hope and change, it would be interesting to gain the perspectives of my fellow Group Chat members.

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A Social Media-Free Day: How Social Media Has Impacted On Our Lives

A Social Media-Free Day: How Social Media Has Impacted On Our Lives

During this lockdown, my screen time has been crazy, with it being somewhere around nine and a half hours for almost the entire time. Crazy, right?

In this day and age, it’s normal to see people always looking down at their phones: answering messages, checking notifications, scrolling through social media. It’s just part of our everyday lives now.

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Why Quarantine Is The Best Time To Work On Yourself

Why Quarantine Is The Best Time To Work On Yourself

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.

Letters to Loved Ones

Letters to Loved Ones

In this difficult time, it’s easy to missed loved ones, especially if you’re used to seeing them often. I’ve been thinking about those around me a lot more, and I can’t wait to see them again.

I had been thinking for a while to do something maybe a tad unusual but something a bit more meaningful, especially for family. I had an idea a while ago to write some handwritten letters, just checking up on them and expressing my gratitude and appreciation for them (this most probably was better for me as my family lives abroad, so I can’t see them as much). However, the coronavirus came around and I realised that we’re not seeing everyone we love and appreciate as much anymore, and I think we all need some cheering up during this strange time.

This is why I have come up with Letters to Loved Ones. Letters to Loved Ones is simply where you write a letter or message to someone you wish to reach out with a bit more and brighten up their day (I feel like this would be the best idea for grandparents). I do want to expand this idea out a bit more though: I’m making my Letters to Loved Ones to those around me who deserve a reminder of how great they are. It doesn’t matter how long or short this may be, but just something unexpected that will boost their mood a little. If you don’t want to write a letter (it’s not for everyone, it’s just the writer in me that appreciates a good old-fashioned letter), send a message to a friend and tell them how much they mean to you. It could also be someone that you don’t speak to as often that deserves a bit of unexpected love.

I’ve hand-written a couple of my own (to family etc.), but I’m going to end this blog post with little online messages of my own. Today, try and send a message to those you care about. Do a good thing today.

To those close to me, if you spot which message is for you, I wanted to say thank you, because you truly deserve the world.

To my mum’s biggest fan,

You’re not just my friend, your family at this point. Thank you for putting up with me after all these years and I couldn’t be more glad that we met. I miss our little Costa tea outings, our London trips and just having the longest chats with you (even when my mum infiltrates and we have a group conversation). I know I can always count on you, and I know you’ll always ground me when I’m not thinking straight. I trust you with the world and your friendship means so much to me. You’re so funny, genuine and a little fighter and I love that so much about you. When this is all over, we have to finally get on that night out we always spoke about, and I’ll try the famous WooWoo drink you spoke about. Hope you’re keeping well, and I’ll facetime you soon with a cuppa ready.

To my travel buddy,

In the short space of time we’ve known each other, we’ve been on so many adventures: from Greece to The Netherlands, and hopefully many more to come (maybe we’ll make that festival in Spain one year!). I’m so grateful that we met. You made my uni experience 10x better and I don’t know what I would’ve done if I hadn’t met you. I know I can trust you and come to you with advice for anything. You’re one of the people that really started to get me out my comfort zone in the best way and start to live my life more fully and explore more. I’ve had so much fun with you and I love how open we are with each other. I cherish you as a close friend so so much. You’ve got such a good heart and I can’t wait for our next car ride, blasting Stormzy and Tinie Tempah.

To the biggest tea drinker I know,

I’ve sure met a lot of people who love tea, but I’ve never met someone who can down 5+ cups of tea in a day as a normal agenda. Thank you so much for being so amazing. You make me laugh, you always make me feel comfortable and you’re one of the kindest souls I’ve ever met. I don’t think I ever told you this, but thinking back now, I remember meeting you and just wanting to be your friend. You were just so lovely and sweet. You’re one of those people that the more you get to know, the more you don’t expect and that’s so interesting. I can’t wait for our next Spoons meetup (or maybe even Wimbledon meetup, depends if you’re working at the pizza section again, then I’ll come rescue you for 10 minutes!).

To The Lowkey H***,

I had to put you two together. I mean, how can I not? We come as collective. I wanted to start off by saying that you both have been my rock for a lot of things. My go-to’s. I couldn’t be more appreciative of that. I will forever cherish how good you both have been to me, and how we’ve always had each others backs through stupid guys to stupid ‘friendships’. I miss our little adventures, and we’re due another Little Venice and Hyde Park trip again. You both always know how to start a party and have fun and I love that. I’m going to start off with B and say that you’re one of the kindest and funniest people I’ve ever met. You go out of your way to make everyone feel comfortable and include everyone. You’ve never failed to give your all when it comes to being a good friend and I truly appreciate that. You’ve always checked up on me in my toughest times and I’ll never ever forget that. C, you’re absolutely hilarious. You’re so honest and are truly loyal to the people you care about most. You’re never afraid to stick up for what you believe in and other people, and that’s so admirable. You’ve actually taught me so much (I probably ask you way too many personal questions, I’m so sorry) and I want to thank you for being an equally good friend and putting up with my shit. I love you both so much.

These are just my closest friends, but there are others that also mean a lot that I appreciate so much. I hope these maybe give you inspiration to write your own. Throughout this quarantine period, I’ll try to send as many short messages as I can expressing my gratitude. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Sending you all love and I hope you are all safe and well x

7 Ways To Exercise During Lockdown That Aren’t Running

7 Ways To Exercise During Lockdown That Aren’t Running

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

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.

Pilates

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.

Online Classes

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

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.

Dancing

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.