Category Archives: Health

Here’s The Thing About Depression…

Here’s The Thing About Depression...

Here’s the thing about depression… it can strike at any time, for any amount of time, and sometimes there’s not even a legitimate reason, it just happens. In today’s post, I discuss how I have been dealing with it lately.

Lately, my life has been pretty great. I started a wonderful new job at the beginning of the year which I love; I’m getting on top of my diet and my fitness routine, I’m happy with my social life (it’s busy but not too busy) and my relationship with Scott is as strong as ever. That’s the thing that I’m struggling with… my life is lovely at the minute and I can’t really complain. I’m not stressed on the daily anymore and I’m able to switch off a lot faster than I ever was able to before. Unfortunately that depression switch can turn itself on at ANY point, and I’ll admit that I still struggle with that..

I tend to hide away from my depression because in my head, if I hide away from it, it’s not there. I find it hard to give myself some compassion that this is something that I will likely deal with for most of my life. I can’t hide from it, I can certainly control it with the correct treatment but sometimes you can’t control everything. It slips in when you least expect it and it’s difficult to understand why, especially when we live in a world that we’re always told that “someone has it worse than you” so automatically you feel bad that those feelings slip through the cracks and sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t complain. I have a roof over my head, I have a warm bed at night, I have food on the table and I have a body capable of movement; that’s what everyone desires right?

wp-1580680048986.jpg(Capturing the beautiful pink sky a few weeks ago in Belfast City Centre)

That’s the thing with depression… it comes in many forms and it’s not just feeling sad. Most of the depression I have lived with has been multi-functioning so I’m fortunate that I can get up in the morning, go to work every day and carry on with my life, but that didn’t mean I didn’t struggle. When I was unemployed, getting out of bed was sometimes the hardest thing to do that day but that particular feeling hasn’t been very strong in quite some time. Wanting to sleep more, emotional eating with the sweet treats, not being interested in activities I used to enjoy (Ie. the gym or writing blog posts are two of many), not wanting to meet up with friends and simply staying at home are what I am dealing with at the moment and these are especially tough during the weekend. I’m very lucky that I love my job so I have a distraction during the week, but once it hits home time, I have started those feelings come back again and as I mentioned, the weekends are a little harder to deal with, and I think it’s because I don’t have that “going to work” mindset.

Scott is pretty quick to notice my change in behaviour and when I beat myself up for letting it get to me, he’s also very quick to say “you have something that sometimes you can’t control, and that’s okay” and it truly is a control mindset. It’s one of the main reasons I don’t touch alcohol; I like to be in one hundred percent control of my mind and body, so having an imbalance that I can’t control all the time, that’s very tough for me. I know that having bad days or bad weeks comes with the territory and I know that if it was a friend in this situation, I would be talking so differently, but we tend to be so much tougher on ourselves, rather we would be to a friend.

wp-1580680221534.jpg(Down by Jordanstown beach during the Summer)

I still have quite a hard time coming to terms with the fact that everything can be fine yet my head tells me a different story, Scott has described it as life being great but it’s almost like my head is looking for something to go wrong, which sounds like me. I’m normally looking for the negative in things so that theory sounds correct. It’s tough when you have all these things planned out for after work or during the weekend but within a snap of your fingers, you just want to go home and sit in silence or go to bed early. Not only do I feel sorry for myself, I feel bad that I’m changing plans for Scott too. He always says not to worry about it because he is very understanding but when we don’t get to do what I had originally planned, it’s really frustrating for me.

I know this didn’t really have a start, middle or an end like most of my posts do, and while this conclusion wasn’t planned, I guess it’s ironic that this whole process hasn’t been linear either so why should me talking about it be also? Anyway, as always, thank you for taking the time to read today’s post, I really do appreciate it ❤️

Can I Still Talk About My Weightloss Issues?

Can I Still Talk About My Weightloss Issues_

In today’s world, online and offline, talking about our bodies is such a sensitive subject because we are opening up a lot more about our insecurities but trying at the same time, to show the world that while we have flaws, we’re totally okay with them. There is criticism from all sides; I feel like you’re looked down upon for wanting to lose weight and you’re also told to embrace all your body shape no matter what shape you are and in turn, we’re criticized for not taking care of ourselves. What if you knew that you weren’t happy and you knew you needed to change? That’s what I want to discuss in today’s blog post and before we get started; this is about me and my body image, and all the little issues that I have with myself. This isn’t a reflection on anyone but me. 

Disclaimer: I’ve been pretty hesitant to talk about weight loss online because I know so many people can be affected by this topic. There are so many that are affected by eating disorders and body dysmorphia and if you feel like you can’t read about weight loss, I would recommend clicking off this post. 

I haven’t felt comfortable about my body for about two years and over that time, I have gained about thirty pounds (or just over two stone) which for someone of my height, can make you look drastically different. Now, I’m all for making sure your mental and emotional health is in a good place before you start looking at the physical side but I believe it all coincides with each other. I’ll give you an example; I run slower because I haven’t been exercising as much and because of this, I have gained weight. When I start running again, because I’m not at my old weight, I start to get exhausted faster and can’t run as fast as I used to be. This means that mentally I feel terrible because I’m not as good as I used to be. See how it all goes around in a circle but it’s all connected to each other? I completely understand when we’re told that we are more than our bodies and I couldn’t agree more. We are our unique personalities, our hobbies, our work ethic, our relationships, our outlook on life and how we treat people. For me, my body is just as important as those other factors and while the BMI scale says I’m almost obese (but let’s just leave the BMI scale conversation for another day, because I don’t want to have a rant…) I know myself that my body isn’t on the healthy side and it’s ultimately my responsibility to take control of that, in a healthy and balanced way.

20180901_170106.jpg(During my Summer off work, I got out on my bike almost every day and that helped me greatly with the daily sunshine and keeping my mind off not working.)

There’s not one sole reason why I gained weight, there is a bunch of little reasons but they all add up at the end of the day. I started adding more sweet treats into my diet, my breakfasts weren’t as good as they should have been, I wasn’t taking time to meal prep for the week and I wasn’t watching what I was eating. That’s just the diet side. I wasn’t running as much, I wasn’t going to the gym as much and I was driving to work than my old commute of an hour walk everyday. That’s not even getting into the mental side of it all which had a huge toll too. My point is, there are so many reasons why we can change and why our bodies change, so I’m not expecting to change everything around all in one day. I know I’ve been known to have very unrealistic expectations but even I know that that’s pushing the boat out.

IMG-20170820-WA0004(Getting back to this is one of my main objectives and this was at one of my first official races)

I know what I need to do to lose weight and by no means it is impossible, it’s just hard taking yourself out of your comfort zone and that’s something that I have been stuck in for quite a while. I love sleeping and I often need a nap in the evening because I’m so tired; you can imagine that I would rather sleep than go to the gym, and you would be correct. I also like sweet food but if I want to take care of my body, I have to cut down on the sugar; not completely but make an effort to not eat as much as I used to. See? Those are the two biggest obstacles I have to jump over to get back on track and they aren’t difficult, it’s getting yourself in that mindset and that’s probably the most difficult part of it all. I have already started and while I’m not going to state how much weight I have lost, I have started losing weight again and I am over the moon because I’m starting to feel myself again.

Thank you so much for reading today’s post, I know it can be tough to talk about such a controversial topic like weight loss or weight in general but it’s something that’s been on my mind for a while and has taken a while to edit down. If you have any feedback for me, I’d love to hear it either down below in the comments or over on my Twitter or my Instagram

Let’s Look After And Love Our Gut!

As a blogger who has recently started talking about fitness and in the past, has spoken about a few health problems I have due to intolerances, I thought today’s post would be fit perfectly alongside those.

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Love Your Gut Week 2017 is being celebrated from Monday 4th September until Sunday 10th September and it’s raising awareness for your gut health, which according to a recent Love Your Gut Survey, 81% of us aren’t sure about the health signs that are gut could be telling us. As shocking as this figure is, it doesn’t surprise me because even I don’t know what’s going on with my tummy most of the time.

I’m no expert so I’m not going to sit here and tell you all the signs you should look out for when it comes to your gut, because the only person who should be telling you that is a qualified doctor. Love Your Gut Week comes with one of the best informative websites I’ve seen. In my job outside the blog, we get sent quite a number of press releases around awareness weeks and for research, I would use the websites mentioned in these press releases to a lot to draw up questions, so to say I’m impressed, would be an understatement. They have everything from frequently asked questions, free advice packs, how to raise awareness and even advice on how to talk to your own doctor about the issues you might be having.

LYGW

To start, here’s five of the most surprising facts that I found out about our gut health (from the Love Your Gut Week website):

1) There are more than twenty five different conditions related to the digestive system.
2) Men don’t produce smellier farts than women.
3) The gut has its own brain that contains five hundred million nerve cells.
4) Using plant based or lactose free milks can be easier to digest than lactose milks and more tolerate by sensitive guts.
5) If you need to fart, don’t hold it in!

pexels-photo-96974(Original Source Image)

My body has been talking to me for quite a few years (hear me out!); from little gurgles throughout the day, stomach cramps after certain foods, questionable bowel movements and further problems when it comes to periods. Now I’m not going to sit here and tell you about my bowel movements but it does bring me to a very important topic: being comfortable talking about the unsocial norms.

We have to admit that our bodily functions are something that isn’t talked about enough but quite frankly, should be. If something isn’t right and yes, we’re going to talk about poop because it’s a good example; if your poop doesn’t look healthy or it has a clear sign that something is wrong, there is definitely a conversation that needs to be had. Now, I’m not suggesting that you go and tell your next door neighbour or your local lollipop man, but go to someone you trust that will take you seriously and possibly offer you advice. Your body doesn’t lie, it shows you what is wrong but it won’t tell you. That’s perhaps the most frustrating problem with our bodies is that, yes they’ve given you this sign but what on earth does it mean? Not going to get help about a problem can only delay the issue and unfortunately some leave it too late. “I wish I’d went to see about it sooner” or “We caught it quickly because I went to see someone about it” You’ve probably heard quotes like these before and obviously sometimes there are cases where you can go to the doctor and they can’t diagnosis your problem for weeks, months or even years. It’s difficult one to balance especially when some people don’t feel comfortable or even trust their doctors (I may or may not be one of these people, sorry!) but we need to speak out. This is our body, we need to be happy and healthy in it, and we need to speak out when something is wrong. If you’re dismissed, go to another doctor or another professional; it’s your body and you have to live it so don’t let anyone tell you “Oh you’ll be fine, I’m sure it’s nothing”.

WIYGTY

Thank you for reading today’s post! I know it’s not your normal post that you’d see from me but I think it’s such an important issue to address so if you’d like any more information on the awareness week, please visit www.loveyourgutweek.com ❤ 
Have a lovely week! 

Why I Enjoy Yoga.

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It was my second yoga birthday last week and last year I shared my story on how I got started (which you can find here!) and advice for those who are thinking of trying yoga for the first time (and you’ll find that right here!) So this time I wanted to share the five things that I enjoy the most about yoga.

1) It’s something to look forward to every week.

Now in my New Year’s Resolution post, I said that I wanted to incorporate more yoga into my home life but for right now,  I love having something to look forward to every week. I go on Monday nights after work so even though almost everyone hates Mondays, this softens the blow a little.

2) My progress is amazing!

I’m doing poses that I couldn’t do two years ago or even a year ago. I can straighten my legs in poses that I had struggled to do with a bent knee. With practice and constant progression in class, I’ve surprised myself and to me, that’s exactly what I want get out of learning any new skill. If you’re not learning then what are you doing?

3) I am “in the moment”.

I can only ever remember two yoga sessions I had where I couldn’t stop worrying about what was going on in my life and therefore, I didn’t enjoy the class. The majority of the time however I can completely zone out of my life for an hour and take every moment as it comes. I want to do that more this year and because yoga has already incorporated this element, I think I’ll find it easier to do it in other parts of my life.

4) It improves your gym workout.

I taught myself to sit up straighter on the rowing machine because of yoga. My posture when I’m doing weights is much stronger now because of yoga. My stretches at the end of my workout are now longer and more effective because of yoga. When people say it can change their performance in the gym, they really mean it.

5) It’s the start of a bigger journey.

I don’t know if I would have dived into the world of mindfulness and meditation  if it hadn’t have been for yoga. Mindfulness was really opened up to me in therapy but it was talked about during our weekly yoga classes from time to time. Meditation is something that we take part in at the beginning and the end of the class so when I do it at home, it’s second nature to me.

What do you love about yoga? Let me know your thoughts on all things yoga, good or bad, I want to hear them!

(Featured image source: unsplash.com)
(Top Image Source: Pixabay)

#ItsTheLittleThings

If you follow me on Twitter, you will have seen me use this very hashtag. But why? 

Lately I haven’t had the strongest mental health days and I’ll be the first one to admit that sometimes it’s hard to accept that. We all struggle sometimes but I fully acknowledge that I haven’t been okay. I use Twitter as an outlet and I sometimes just believe that it’s just me that sees my tweets but in reality, I know that’s not true.

How comfortable am I using a public forum saying how I feel? I wouldn’t call it comfortable; I have people in my “real life” who see it, I have complete strangers who don’t know anything about me see it  and I have those that I became friendly with via Twitter who see it. Is that daunting? Absolutely.

Everyone deals with their own situations differently; some people hold everything in, some talk about every single emotion they have, some talk about extremely hard times while others only talk about the good times in their life. To each their own; I talk about good times but I don’t go into detail about the bad times. I feel like I’m a good balance in between all of those I listed.

So back to my original point, what is #ItsTheLittleThings? It’s a hashtag that I use when the little things in my life make me feel better. It can be anything from a great gym session to just making a cup of tea. Yes, even a cup of tea.

I’m not saying that every time I use it I’m having a terribly bad day; I simply use it for own mental health, good and bad, and when you find something that works for you, I believe you should embrace it ❤

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” – Henry David Thoreau

Why I Don’t Drink Alcohol.

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I made the decision not to drink when I was around sixteen. I had half a glass of Peach Schnapps when I was about fourteen and a sip of champagne at my formal when I was sixteen. That’s the height of my drinking, honestly. Ever since I was sixteen, I’ve always been asked why I don’t drink and I really don’t mind being asked; if people are genuinely interested, then I’m happy to answer. I don’t know many other twenty five year olds that don’t drink so I think that’s why when most people see someone not drinking when everyone else is, they can be taken aback.

I always get told “If you control how much you drink, you’ll not lose control” or the best one yet, “You don’t lose control, you know what you’re doing all the time.” Both wrong in my opinion, I believe that once alcohol enters your system, you’re not in control like you were before. Yes, of course there is science behind it all but I still wouldn’t let my boyfriend drive after one drink. Call me overly cautious and yes, he would still be under the limit, but if you’re choosing to drive, don’t drink. That’s why I offer to drive, I really don’t mind it; I actually like driving so it’s never a problem for me.

I don’t know whether this is because of the zero drinking or because of the type of person I am but I would rather come home after a long week of work, stick on the TV and have a big cup of tea rather than go out on a night out. Going out is a lot of effort, and don’t get me wrong, I go out sometimes and it’s nice but I couldn’t do it every week or every fortnight; once a month might even be pushing it. I find when I used to go out (when I was just with friends) I would hit the 11:30pm mark and I wouldn’t be able to have a decent conversation so that was always my cue that it was almost home time. Having someone repeat themselves over and over again or someone just talking absolute nonsense in your ear is something that I personally can’t listen to until the early hours of the morning in a very noisy night club (unless it’s my boyfriend and he’s just adorable when he tells me stories when he’s been drinking).

Alcohol.

Money is also a huge factor. So on an average night out, I used to spend more money on taxis getting home than my drinks. I drink water and pure orange, that’s it! Oh, and let’s be realistic here, if it was even a little sociable acceptable, I would ask for a tea but I think that might be a step too far, don’t you? I don’t drink fizzy drinks or sparkling water, it’s just water and pure orange. So normally the water is free and the dearest I’ve paid for an orange is around £3 (I only bought one that night after that price!). Alcohol is not cheap! So why not go out, still have a good time without the massive cost and buy myself something else that I might be able to get more use out of?

Now I don’t think I’m a perfect person because I don’t drink. The last thing I want to do is come across like someone who thinks “Oh look at me, I don’t drink so I’m automatically better than you” because I really have never thought like that. I’m not any better or any  worse because I choose not to drink it.

I hope this post gave you an insight into someone who doesn’t drink. I have no problem with people who drink by the way! If you drink, cool. If you don’t, cool. I have zero problem with it. What I do have a problem with is when people don’t understand and don’t actually listen. No, I don’t want “one drink”, I’ve said no, what’s so hard about that? Thankfully over the past few years, my teenage years and now in my mid twenties, I haven’t had too many of those experiences. It just seems that it seems to be such a foreign concept to some people and it’s all about understanding at the end of the day.

(Images from pexels.com)

What’s my verdict on Toothy Tabs?

If you remember when I was away on holiday, I bought a bottle of Toothy Tabs from LUSH. I had tried them before but I wasn’t a huge fan of them but I wanted to give them another go, so I did! Here’s my Testing 1,2,3 Toothy Tabs post, if you missed it before. I bought Miles of Smiles (as you can see below, from my Instagram), it’s a minty version of the tabs so I knew that it would be similar to regular toothpaste.

I was really surprised at how much I liked the toothy tabs. They’re very travel friendly because they’re just a little tiny bottle. To use them all you need to do is: take one toothy tab and crunch it between your front teeth, then simply brush your teeth like normal. It’s so easy, like brushing your teeth should be! The taste at first does take a few goes to get used to, it feels a little fizzy at first but you get used to that.

For me, it wasn’t any faster than regular toothpaste but it wasn’t slower. My mouth felt just as clean, I felt like my teeth were just as clean too, it really is just like regular toothpaste. I can’t really say if it was more whitening but I feel like once I use it more for the next few months, I might see a more noticeable difference. My bottle lasted for over a month and that was with my boyfriend using them too.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Toothy Tabs, you can click here and it’ll take you to the LUSH website. “Miles of Smiles” are £5.95, and you get 100 tabs so I feel like that’s a very reasonable price, considering it is a more natural option to brushing your teeth.

Would I buy them again?

As you can see by the above picture, I already have and I’ve already tried them out too! These are called “Limelight” and my boyfriend and I decided to be a little more adventurous this time with a lime flavour rather than a mint flavour. They’re really nice and they’re actually thicker than the mint ones too.

We’ve decided to completely change over to toothy tabs, we haven’t used regular toothpaste since we started using our first bottle of tabs, and I don’t think we’ll go back. If you want to find out more about these ones, you can click here and these ones are only £4.95.

If you’ve tried out toothy tabs or you’re interested in trying them, let me know what you think!