Saturday, 30 August 2014

Choose Happy: An Introduction

I mentioned a little while ago that I was going to start into a series called Choose Happy. If you were wondering where it was or what it was going to be about, well, here you go! This is my first post of hopefully lots and lots, and we're going to kick off with a bit of an introduction.

I suffer from clinical depression. When I was first diagnosed, I knew I didn't want to start on medication - antidepressants are wonderful things and some people genuinely need them, but I knew I could manage without and I prefer not to put unnecessary chemicals into my body. I have a therapist that I see regularly, but mainly I manage my illness with exercise, healthy eating, good sleep, wonderful friends and family, and a heap of little things I like to do to improve my life and make me feel better. 

Even if you don't suffer from depression, everyone gets sad sometimes, or has off days, or even just sometimes takes a look at their life and realises they've just been on autopilot instead of really enjoying themselves. I want to start talking about little, everyday ways to get some of your happiness back. The biggest contributor to happiness is your own mental attitude and the choices you make, so I want to talk about how to choose happy.

I want to keep it simple for my first post, so I wanted to start with something I call my 'Happy List'. I have a special notebook I use for writing this stuff, and the first few pages are dedicated to a sort of master list of things that make me feel better. They're not quite instant pick-me-ups (although I have a couple lists of those too!), they're more like bigger tasks that I like to keep in the back of my mind every day, and they help me make better choices. I add to my list all the time, but here it is at the moment - and yes, I do write them as if I'm telling another person to do things! The other person being myself. What can I say? I'm weird :P

  • Always exercise in the morning. No excuses, you'll feel more tired if you sleep in!
  • Get outdoors within half an hour of waking up as often as possible.
  • Keep your spaces neat, clean and organised.
  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Focus on vegetables as your most important food group.
  • Sleep enough and early.
  • Working feels better than procrastinating.
  • Get it out of your brain and onto paper. Keep notebooks and keep them organised.
  • Take pride in your appearance. Nice clothes, hair, makeup, nails, jewellery, shoes, bag, skincare, everything. The more you can do, the better you'll feel.
  • Focus on getting less screen time and more world time.
  • Sit at your desk, not on your bed.
  • Keep moving.
  • Light candles, burn incense, use essential oils - make your space smell good.
  • Clean something noticeable. Hoovering is a great option!
  • Dance to a song you love.
  • Look up and try out new music. Remember why it makes you happy.
  • Run if you want to run. Training plans forgive more miles easier than less. Or cross-train after your run, or before, or both. More is okay.
  • Don't be scared to say no, or not yet, or not today.
  • Take a shower at bedtime.
This is a very personal collection of things that work for me, so don't worry if you can't relate to half of them! It can be really useful to make your own 'Happy List', so if you want, I'd encourage you to try it out and see for yourself!

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Friday, 29 August 2014

Weekly Workout Recap: 18 - 24 August

Cue the excuses. I know, I know, I suck at blogging! I have a bunch of reasons I could blab on about - my last week of work, having a bunch of work projects to finish off before leaving, starting to get caught up in going back to college, plus some medical issues - but realistically I'm just not making blogging a high enough priority. Well, that stops today! I love this blog and I want it to be interesting and engaging to read, and that's not going to happen unless I make time. So this is the last time I'll promise this, cos it will stick this time - I will post more from here on out! Anyway, on to my recap...

This week was my first week on my half marathon training plan, and surprisingly, it went really well! I managed to get everything done and on the right days, despite feeling crappy for a couple of days and wondering whether I'd be able to keep to the plan (one of my runs was literally done at 11pm. I got it on the right day with a mere 20 minutes to spare).

Monday: 5km easy

Tuesday: 5km speedwork, weights

(such an awkward pose... I was trying to show you guys my shorts!)

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: 5km easy, core

 (this is my new running belt, which arrived the other day. Handy for sticking my keys or phone in - hopefully this means more on-the-run photos since I can bring my phone now!)

Friday: 20 min cross-trainer, 10 min bike, weights
Saturday: 10km long run

Sunday: rest (with a little bit of strength & core)

Here's hoping next week is as good! I've got one week left of the 10km long runs, then the distance starts increasing... scary!

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Friday, 22 August 2014

WIAW #1: My First Ever What I Ate Wednesday!

I'm doing my very first What I Ate Wednesday, courtesy of Jenn at the Peas & Crayons blog!

Okay, so a teeny bit of a fail - these are pictures of what I ate on Wednesday, but because I sort of forgot I eat until the end of the day, it never crossed my head I should probably do a day other than the actual day of WIAW to actually take pictures. But no. And the irony is I forgot to take the final picture of the day anyway, so I could have put this up after dinner, but nevermind. And of course I missed actually getting into the linkup on the blog too.

You live and learn, right?! So next week will be better. Anyway, onto the food!


 I actually have breakfast with my dad a lot on Wednesdays - it's my only rest day during the week, so I'm not working out in the morning, and he works weekdays in the city so we have breakfast. Insomnia is probably my favourite 'big chain' coffee shop - their tea is divine and they make really good food too. So I had two of these big cups of tea, along with some amazing banana bread. (Can you spot my dad's scone lurking in the back?)


 A turkey and cream cheese multigrain roll, a banana and some berries. I love fruit and often try to get a different kind to test out each week - this week I got some amazing blackberries and they were divine.

Afternoon snacks

 I'm still obsessed with the Nakd apple pie bars, they're incredible and actually inspired me to buy some cinnamon this week. No idea what I'll do with it yet but these bars have reminded me how much I love it - and how well it goes with raisins and apple, too. Might have to make some kind of fancy dessert concoction! I also had an apple on my walk home - forgot to take a picture but I'm sure you know what apples look like :P


 Some yellowfin sole - this one is in a lemon crumb and tastes awesome - and mixed veg for dinner today. These veggies are actually cooked from frozen, in my all time favourite frozen mix - carrots, broccoli and cauliflower are my three favourite vegetables so I love that they make a big mixed bag of just those three frozen, it's great. I had some strawberries and yoghurt for dessert - I was nearly out of strawberries so it's kind of hard to see them in there but they exist, promise!

Evening snack

Completely and totally forgot to photograph this but I had half a wholemeal bagel with peanut butter. Sooooo good. 
Today was a rest day for me, so I don't eat quite as much as I would on workout days, but I had a lovely day of good food that made me and my body happy. I'm trying to work on adding more vegetables to my day and not relying on bread so much - bagels will always feature in my breakfasts and bedtime snacks but I'd rather change up my lunch to include less bread, maybe with some pasta or something instead. I'm hoping once college is back it will be easier to change up my meals a bit more during the week!

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Monday, 18 August 2014

Weekly Workout Recap: 11 - 17 August & an Update!

 Before I start my recap, I want to say I'm really sorry for missing my Friday Five! I'm clearly awful at writing them. I've made some blogging decisions recently that will hopefully make up for it though, so you can take a look at the end of the recap for what I hope is exciting news!

Monday: 2km + 2km, weights

Tuesday: 5km run
Wednesday: rest

Thursday: 5km

Friday: rest
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 7km, weights
(and a lot of walking around Powerscourt! I went to a vintage car rally there with my boyfriend and his family - the cars were cool but the scenery was better!)

There's a reason for the extra rest and shorter distance this week - I wanted to be ready for this week, because today, Monday, marks the start of my half marathon training! I'm thrilled - I've been wanting to run longer distances for so long and am really excited to get that push to do it. (For anyone who missed my announcement a while back, I'm running the Clonakilty Waterfront Half Marathon on 6th December.) I can't wait to do some lovely long slow distances, and the plan I use lets me keep a couple days of speedwork in the mix too, so I'm very happy.

Now for a blog-related announcement! You guys have probably noticed that I suck at getting my Friday Five posts up on time. Whatever it is about Fridays, something always seems to go wrong and they don't go up when they should, and when they do they're often thrown together at the last minute, so they aren't as good as they could be. Along with that, I've got a couple of other things I'd like to start blogging about, so here's what's going to happen from here on out:
  • I'll be doing Friday Five but not every week, just weeks when I feel like I have something good to share.
  • I want to start doing more posts about all around health, not just fitness, so I'm going to start writing some posts called 'Choosing Happy'. I'll explain my story in the first one, but to make a long story short, it's hit me hard recently that I need to make it a priority to choose happiness in as many ways as I can every day. It's good for my mental and emotional health as well as physical! There won't be regular scheduling on these but I'm really excited to do them, so expect them maybe weekly.
  • I'm also going to join in with What I Ate Wednesday! I'd love to show you guys a full day of my eats once a week (although I hope it's not repetitive...) I'll get the posts up on Wednesdays but they might show a different day's food, just for the sake of convenience and keeping it interesting!
I'm excited for new things to come, and I hope you are too! Also sometime soon I'll hopefully be moving over to self-hosting my blog, so that's another landmark to keep an eye out for. Here's to good things!
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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Snapshots from the Week

This week is one of those insane ones where it's so packed full of great, fun things you feel almost guilty for being worn out by it. In the space of six days, I'm going to three movies with three different people, dinner and drinks with college friends, dinner and a show (Riverdance!) with my parents, breakfast with my dad, and a vintage car rally with my boyfriend and his family. Oh, and did I mention I'm also still working full-time and trying to run?!

Yep, life is a bit hectic, but that's the best way to do it! I know for sure by the end of the week I'll be ready for an evening of lying in bed watching movies, but I do love being busy and it's been great seeing so many of my friends again. Plus hopefully I can give you some good recommendations for movies and things since I'm going so often :P

Anyway. I don't really have much more I can blab on about so here are some pictures from my life recently.

Still absolutely obsessed with this series! It's amazing how quickly you fly through big books when they're this good.

Bought this on a whim the other day and IT. IS. AMAZING. I sort of want to spend all my money on just pots and pots of these. The ingredients are fairly decent too, not that much crap!

Wearing my Dun Laoghaire Bay 10k t-shirt as pyjamas.

Picked this up with my groceries the other day in Aldi... I couldn't resist! It was only €1.50 and it's just so cute!

Standing on my bed in a ridiculous attempt to show you my new running shorts.

These were SO GOOD. I actually brought them to the cinema ;)

Heading to work - see, sometimes I wear things other than workout clothes and sweat!

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Monday, 11 August 2014

Weekly Workout Recap: 4th - 10th August

 This week was gooooood workout-wise! Looking back over it I can't believe I got so much done. It's my first post-Dun Laoghaire week and I have another one before half marathon training kicks off - I always planned on using these weeks to have a bit of fun with my workouts and not stick to any rigid running schedule. Apparently that motivates me?!

Monday: Dun Laoghaire Bay 10k (recap coming soon!)

Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 5km run, weights

Thursday: 5km run
(pizza day! This is a teeny mini pizza from Aldi and I made heaps of broccoli on the side to make it a little healthier. Much better to just eat this little one than to end up craving it so bad I order a huge Dominos delivery!)

Friday: 20 min cross-trainer intervals
(This dinner was actually a microwave "steam meal" that I found that had fairly decent ingredients, nothing too weird. It was green veg, baby potatoes and basa fish in a mint dressing, and it didn't really taste minty but was surprisingly very nice!)

Saturday: 5km run, weights, core work
(first time working out in a tank top believe it or not! This one from Penneys is actually quite nice - and yep, I had to stand on my bed to get a picture in the mirror of my outfit...)

Sunday: 7km run 

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