Tuesday 28 April 2020

Why a Little Indulgence Goes a Long Way Under Lockdown

Is anyone else getting a little bit sick of it all? Not the devastating global pandemic, or the subsequent lockdown. They’re pretty much a given. No, we’re talking about the ceaseless pressure on us from all angles to turn ourselves into omni skilled superbeings while the lockdown is in effect. Everywhere we look we see friends and celebrities alike indirectly shaming us on social media. Making us feel like we’ve somehow “failed” at lockdown if we haven’t learned to make the perfect sourdough loaf, or run a marathon, or learn esperanto. While learning new skills and getting in good shape are admirable goals under lockdown, the pressure to achieve greatness under extraordinarily bad circumstances may be too much for many to bear. 

We shouldn’t feel bad if all we can do is get through the day without breaking down in tears. Nor should we feel bad if we want to indulge ourselves in a carefully managed vice. Whether yours is a big ol’ slice of cheesecake or a few puffs of e-liquid or a glug of coffee, a little indulgence can go a long way under lockdown. Here ‘s why...

It can keep you in good spirits

When we’re stressed, depressed or irritated it has a knock on effect on the social dynamic of the whole house. Hardcore abstinence can make us a little crankier and more iritable… and this can be a match to a powder keg when the whole family is afflicted by cabin fever

It helps you to concentrate

You’re likely working from home, and grappling with the logistical and emotional complications that occur when your home is your workplace and vice versa. While there are certainly studies showing that you can be more productive when working remotely, the current climate introduces a range of variables that weren’t issues when these studies took place. It’s at least easier to concentrate when you’re not distracted by cravings or the need for comfort. 

It gives you something to look forward to 

Anticipation can be a powerful stimulator which can allow us to power through many an adverse situation. As such, we can use our vices for good rather than ill. We can use them as a treat to reward achievements in work or around the house. This helps us to feel as though we’re achieving something of value every day.

It helps you to feel normal

The world has changed enormously in a very short space of time. Many are debating whether or not we will (or should) ever return to “normal” again. This can take a toll on even the most inveterate optimist. The odd treat every now and then can help by making us feel normal and grounding us in an unprecedented time.  

It can boost your metabolism

Okay, so this doesn’t work for every indulgence. But if your diet is normally clean as a whistle, but you enjoy a big greasy pizza on a Friday night, this can actually be beneficial to your metabolism. It’s the reason why so many body builders and athletes have a cheat meal once a week. 

So, don’t shame yourself for your vices and indulgences. They can be surprisingly helpful given the current situation.

*This is a collaborative post*

Monday 20 April 2020

Mind, Body and Spirit: Why Now is a Great Time to Take Up Yoga

Are you one of the many people out there who have been saying some version of, “Oh, I’d love to try yoga. I’ll get around to taking a class eventually…”? If that sounds like you, but you never actually “got around” to taking that class, you’re certainly not alone. When it comes to our busy lives, it can be hard to carve out time to do extracurricular activities, even ones that are genuinely enjoyable and good for our overall health, like yoga. 

Photo Credit: Burst

These days, most of us are stuck at home, and if there’s any silver lining to being forced into isolation for a while, it’s that we have more time to do those things we always planned to get around to. And yoga happens to be a great option, not only because it’s good for your physical health, but because it is a proven stress reliever - training your mind and body through breathing exercises and practiced movements, teaching you to stay calm, to focus your breaths, to be present and engaged within your body, manage stress and envision wellness. For those living through stressful times, trying to manage anxieties, and stay as healthy and mentally healthy as possible, yoga is a wonderful way to achieve all of those things, while remaining at home, safe and sound. 
Yoga for beginners is easy, accessible, and best of all, fun. Why not try it out today? What do you have to lose? 
The first step for most new yoga devotees is to find a class. Now, if you’re secluded at home you may be wondering how you go about such a thing, but don’t worry! Many, many online and virtual yoga classes exist (and have done since long before people started practicing social distancing). Many of them are free or low-cost, and you can find your own local yoga studios, groups and classes to join where locals are offering up classes via zoom or other online outlets. Yoga communities thrive, both in-person and online, so you’ll find that a quick google search of “yoga” and your area will bring up all the various studios, groups and online communities of people near you who love to do yoga. Joining up with these people is a great idea! If you’re more of a loner, and don’t crave the social aspect, you can also find yoga classes through places like YouTube or even streaming apps on your television. There are also tons of yoga books and DVDs out there if that’s more your speed. 
You may even be able to still take one-on-one classes from the comfort of your home, with teachers who are able to Skype with you or teach you in a private lesson online (or in person, once social distancing is over). These classes obviously cost more, but may be worth the cost depending on your specific needs and/or goals. 
Luckily, you won’t need that much equipment or supplies to get started with yoga. You can order yoga mats through many online stores, including big-box retail stores and more, for really cheap. If you don’t have one, or don’t want to buy one, you can improvise using a folded up blanket or towel. Simple athletic gear like leggings and a fitting tank or shirt will suffice for clothing. Luckily, most folks these days already own yoga pants, even if they’ve never done yoga! Don’t forget a towel for drying off (you’ll get sweatier than you think; yoga is a real workout), a water bottle to stay hydrated, and other odds and ends to use as props if you don’t have a yoga block or brick (there are plenty of good substitutes). 
When starting yoga for the first time, be sure to start off easy and don’t push your body too hard. Basic beginner’s poses like Sun Salutation, corpse pose and child’s pose are the types of poses you should be doing at first, until your body and mind are accustomed to working in this way. Focus more on your breathing exercises, training your body and lungs to breathe properly, and acclimate your body to the calm, centered movements. As you become more accustomed to yoga as a practice, you will move farther and farther up the scale of moves and find ones that are more challenging. But as with all good things, this will take time and cannot be rushed. 
Always follow your instructor and never move ahead of their instructions. This is true whether you’re following a DVD, an online tutorial, or an in-person class. Your instructor knows the proper pace at which you should be moving and where your current abilities lay. For more concentrated areas (such as if you’re doing yoga to lose weight or if you’re interested in  yoga to relieve anxiety), you can find classes that are specifically geared to those goals - however, make sure you’re moving along with your own level of expertise. If you’re a yoga beginner, don’t take advanced classes until you are ready.
More and more people are taking up yoga every day, with the number of yoga devotees having almost doubled from 20 million to almost 40 million from the years 2012 to 2014. And in our current social climate, those numbers are going to rise exponentially higher, as people find themselves with more time to spend focusing on themselves, and with people looking to Eastern practices to learn coping skills and physical health. 
Yoga is a wonderful blend of the spiritual and the physical; a practice in manifesting health and wellness in every aspect of the body. Best of all, it’s something you can do right in your own home. Mastering yoga is possible for everyone, and the benefits you experience are well worth the effort you put into it. Learning to control your breath, and training your body to do specific calming and physical movements is so good for your entire wellbeing, mental and physical. Why not try practicing yoga today? 

*This is a collaborative post*


Banana and Chocolate Protein Pancakes

If you're looking for a way to use up any ripe Bananas then this Banana and Chocolate Protein Pancake recipe is perfect. It's a great breakfast which is ideal to have after a workout. They are super quick to prepare and easy to make.

The recipe and instructions are on the card below which you could print out or save to Pinterest (by hovering over the corner of the image and clicking the Pinterest icon).

The batter makes roughly around 6 medium-large sized pancakes making them great if you meal plan and prep. 

You can make up the Banana and Protein batter and store it in an air-tight container in the fridge. Then when you're ready to use it, cook what you need and return the rest to the container and place in the fridge. The batter will last around 4-6 days.

If you'd prefer to cook all of the batter at once then you can store any uneaten pancakes in an air-tight container in the fridge. These will last for around 5 days. When you're ready to eat them, simply pop them in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. 

If you wanted to batch cook the pancakes you can keep them in the freezer. Just allow them to cool down after cooking and then wrap them in baking paper and place them in a freezer bag. Allow them to thaw overnight when you're ready to eat them.

They are delicious on their own but you can also add toppings. I like to add Greek Yogurt and Raspberries.


Tuesday 7 April 2020

Putting A Positive Spin On Lockdown

Lockdown. It's becoming a global thing right now, what with COVID-19 creeping its way around the world. We all know that viruses don't travel - but we do. We travel, and that's what has spread this virus. So, the answer is to stop moving and let it run its course, and lockdown is the best possible solution here. In we go and in we stay until the powers that be deem otherwise.

The thing is, lockdown is - quite frankly - boring as hell. We are not adapting well to being told to stay indoors and not travel or go anywhere other than a quick walk or run per day. We're only allowed out to get the essentials, from the household groceries to the vape shop on the corner. However, with all the negativity that comes with lockdown, did you know that it's possible to put a positive spin on it? You've finished everything you had lined up on Netflix, and you've read every book in the Game of Thrones series - you're bored, and yet here you are still waiting to do something more productive. Let's take a look at things that you could do to be more positive and productive while the word has hit pause.

Red and White Signage

Get Rid Of Bad Habits
Start with you. If there is one excuse we all use when it comes to bad habits, it's that we don't have time to work on them. Well, now you're in lockdown. It's the perfect time to learn to live without a vice you've relied on. Give up cigarettes, quit the weekly wine bottles or simply stop shovelling down junk food - and you'll come out of lockdown healthier than ever!

Learn A Language
This is the time you have now to learn something new, and a language is the best thing that you could learn right now. It takes time to get to grips with the syntax and pronunciation of a new and exotic language, and you have the time to do it. A language is complicated to learn, but with the patience and the timing, you can come out of a locked-down society with a new skill under your belt!

Declutter The House
The amount of times you've put off this particular job is likely to add up. Locking down means that you'll be taking time in your home, among the mess and the clutter. You may not be able to get out to the dump, but you can certainly create a pile of things to go to the dump and sort through everything in the closets through the house. It's time!

Adopt Healthy Eating

With the absence of the gym, you need to figure out a way to work out anyway. Your home workouts can be one thing, but the best way to look after your health is to start eating healthier at home. Choose better meals and ensure that you are not snacking to excess - which is hard enough to do in lockdown! Focus on better habits for a healthier future.

This is a collaborative post*


Friday 3 April 2020

Giving your Body a Full MOT

If you do not focus on your health and fitness, you can leave your body struggling and looking a little worse for wear. Do you feel like you want a new fresh start when it comes to health and wellbeing? We have all been there, and the feeling of wanting to change and give your body a full MOT is one of the best things you can do! This article will guide you through some of the best tips to get your entire body in shape!

Natural Products are the Best for your Skin

This is a must. Many products out on the market are actually quite harsh and harmful to your skin. Some products use alcohol and other chemicals as a base ingredient, and in time these chemicals will actually dry and age your skin, so they are not the best. Products that have a natural base of ingredients are far better for your skin, and due to the rise in popularity and the demand high for natural products they no longer need to break your bank! Some of the best formulas that help hydrate and soothe your skin are in the form of body butter. They are often very affordable and can be anywhere, but they work wonders on the skin! You can get them with citrus scents and more, and they are just all-round luxury! 

Give a Little Love to your Smile

Something we sometimes forget when it comes to perfecting our looks is our smile! If your smile is something you are not very confident about, you are not alone. Do your teeth need cosmetic work? Maybe a dental crown procedure is the best route to go down. Perhaps a dental hygienist or seeing if braces are the best option? These are some good ways to keep your teeth squeaky clean and keep that smile shining! A smile exudes a lot more than meets the eye. It is a sign of confidence and a sign of happiness to smile, so making sure you are confident about it should be of top priority!

The Eyes are the Windows to the Soul, so keep them in Shape Too!

Everything on this list is important for your health, but your eyes are one of the key senses that needs looking after. Have you got glasses? Are you up to date on your eye tests? Have you got the right glasses, do you need new ones? Even if you do not have glasses, the eye can deteriorate over time, so it is best to keep up to date on eye tests to make sure you are doing what you can to keep your sight tip top. If not, you run the risks of things such as cataracts and blindness in older age. If you are already starting to develop something like Cataracts, you can be seen by a Leading Cataract Surgery Specialist who can help you, but sooner is always better than later.

Don’t forget your posture

Something often forgotten is posture. In today’s world, working at the desk, the counter, the office. All of this sitting and hunching over computers and keyboards does not do wonders for posture. After all, the skeleton and our bones are the foundations of our body, without them, we would be very sad indeed. Many people often refer to having aches and pains in the Lower Back, and many people who have this type of pain can rectify with some posture control. But sometimes, more action may be needed if it is painful, go and see a doctor to  determine exactly where the pain is coming from. So, just like diets and going outside, the posture needs love too. 

Do what you feel is best for you

After hearing all the advice above, the best and most tried solution is simply trial and error and finding what works best for yourself. What works for someone may not work the best for someone else, and visa versa. Health is extremely important, and it should always be treated with the most care, so try what is mentioned in this article, and see how it works. Never do anything that you cannot do, as if you push something that isn’t working, this could be hindering your health in the long run.

This concludes this post, how many of these tips will you take into real life after reading them? A new year and a new decade is a great reason to get behind wellbeing and health, as your body should be your top priority when it comes to checking it and keeping it healthy! You will take your car for an MOT, so will you start giving your body an MOT every now and then?

*This is a collaborative post*

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