Getting Active Again

So I am now “one of those people”I have started Couch to 5K ( a 9 week running programme) This won’t sound that remarkable to most people. A lot of people have exercise integrated into their lives, but it has taken me a long time to get back into it.

Spoiler: this post does not contain any before and after pictures, neither does it contain any inspirational quotes.

Why have I bothered?

I used to run when I was at School – always long distance. People thought I was mad for liking cross country but it was something I could do relatively well; running for my district and my county sometimes. But I didn’t keep the exercise up while I was at uni which was an error. I forgot the positive feeling of running and when I discovered my body wasn’t as healthy as I thought it was  in my early twenties I had kind of resigned myself, rather sadly, to never putting my trainers on again. I did yoga and the like but I didn’t really see myself as the regular gym going type.

I envied my friends who seemed to always be out on their bikes, or doing marathons and other amazing things, tracking their exercise and living by their fitbits but was never compelled to try and follow suit – seeing this level of activity as unattainable now my body decided it wanted to act as though I was an old lady. To this day, whenever I find my body struggling to do basic things I refer to it as being my old lady body or OLB for short.

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Healthy body, healthy mind?

In addition to my physical health, the prospect of going to the gym, running in public and the associated little/no make up look that often goes with it was also daunting for my mental health as well! I did try the gym for a while pre-instagram boom and anxiety had me in a state where I was convinced as soon as I left the gym people were laughing at me for even trying. I told myself that if I couldn’t do a ‘reasonable’ stint at the gym (what does that even mean?) It wasn’t worth going at all.

But here I am, almost on week 3 of ‘couch to 5K’. Going to the gym every other day, I have even having managed going running in public more than once. Week 1 I felt constantly shattered,  asking myself when I would feel like #thisgirlcan  and “I don’t sweat, I glow”. I wondered where the boundless energy associated with being healthy, could be located. But I have pushed through and I now think that doing something is better than doing nothing.

We live amidst an instagram frenzy with almost everyone on there and tons of lifestyle and fitness posts. I already notice a difference in gym goers. The guys are more muscly and the girls are leaner-more power to them but that is kind of intimidating as I kill myself on a treadmill.

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I get the impression that there is increasing pressure on young people to look good or to be living life in a certain way. I used to think the pressure was mainly on women but now I can see guys are expected to look a certain way as well. I can’t imagine what it must be like for someone who aspires to look like the instagram posts we see and is battling inner demons like the ones I have described above. I’m surprised at myself and am apprehensive that I will hit a wall sometime soon, but I’m no longer making excuses.

This post isn’t meant as a brag, I’m just happy my body is currently letting me get out of bed and more. I’m feeling a tad more positive and as though I now earn any time I choose to sit on the couch and do very little.

My next step is to make sure I couple this exercise with some decent, healthy food before/after the gym. Any tips on that would be gratefully received; @eemaalou 

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January’s lessons

I wanted my second post of the year to be about things I have realised or learned in the first month of the year. WHERE DID JANUARY GO?! I might look back on this later in the year to see whether I take heed or remember any of these lessons. Some of these may sound similar and you might think “Really? All of these things in a month?” but it’s true! A lot of these refer to specific situations I don’t feel like going into detail about but I hope they can help other people reflect about how fast time passes and how we should make the little lessons count…

A lot of this is going to sound SO hippy dippy…

New age philosophy major, I am not

 

People can surprise you

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that someone you thought you knew or perhaps someone you didn’t really know, then forgot about, can some how reappear and surprise you. I like to think I am a good judge of character but I love it when people prove me wrong…for the better I mean.  Give people a chance.

Love is blind

And people are stupid. I swear there is some kind of psychological theory that could explain why people are great at giving people advice about their relationships but when it comes to their own all logic goes out the window! (wow, did I sound angry there?) .. I am very guilty of having done this myself though soooo….

I may be quoting the fictional character House here but: “everybody lies”

Sometimes people lie for no good reason. Sometimes people lie to you and you feel like “OK, so you think I’m stupid?” but a lot of the time people lie to avoid admitting they are wrong or have made a mistake. I have to take this lesson and try and not take it personally sometimes.

Sometimes people would rather write things online than reach out to those closest to them but this can come in positive and negative forms

I have had to reassure students who are employed to help other students, that just because someone doesn’t want to meet in person doesn’t mean their messaging them online is any less valuable. Sometimes people are more articulate in the written form and sometimes people are shy. But it isn’t a reflection of the person who is there to help, or their ability.

On that note, give people a chance to grow. I can try and help but I must be patient

I can do my best to lend a hand or give advice but you can lead a horse to water…

 I am able to take awkward situations into my control and tackle difficult subjects with people I never thought I could do that with

As much as people can surprise me, I can also surprise myself in my ability to take on awkward conversations. I had to do this recently and took the time to step away from a situation that made me angry, breathe and then return to it. Taking the time to think was a great idea and definitely helped me deal with it better.

I can be positive after what feels like a long period of feeling negative

I was fairly worried when I encountered post Christmas blues recently. I thought “Really?! This is how I am going to start 2015?!” I knew the job search was looming and I got a couple of rejections early January but was able to shake it off and get on with things thanks to some great advice from my friends.

My body will sleep when it needs it, stressing about getting my 8 hours won’t help

On the theme of worrying and feeling bad my sleep hasn’t been great lately and I got myself worried that I wasn’t getting the 8 hours we’re meant to have. I know a lot of people who don’t and still function. Yes my body is rubbish and I suffer with fatigue but I need to resign myself to the fact my body will sleep when it needs it.

For every idiot you encounter there is another, awesome person who will come in and restore your faith in humanity

This sounds very similar to the first point “people can surprise you” but recently I had a conversation with someone who restored my faith in my ability to write. I have come close to closing this blog more than once and now thanks to her, I think I will try my best to keep it going as long as I can.

Be OK with not knowing all the answers, to questions or with regards to life plans / let things play out

Lots of people keep asking what I will do when my current role comes to an end. I have now officially put teaching (in Schools at least) as an option to one side and I am looking for my next opportunity. I feel a little flustered when I think about my next steps and when people ask “so what do you want to DO?” and I don’t know the answer I need to be OK with that. There is a common misconception that is ingrained into people’s minds from a young age that you need to know what you’re doing, truth it, no one does.

If you’ve made it to the end of this post – great! Apologies if it has read a little like a really bad self help book. But if you liked it maybe you’d like this book I have been flicking through. 

Why have I been writing these graduate profiles?

 

I have probably written about this very briefly before but the reason I have been writing my “spotlight on” series is so that students and graduates can have an insight into what is on offer after graduation. There has been a lot in the news recently about unrealistic graduate expectations in terms of roles and wage when they first come out of uni. Something that I think it due to the “miss-selling” of University to the majority of prospective British students. So far I have had amazing contributions on;

  • Working as an events exec for a HUGE charity
  • What it’s like to have a research role in a University
  • Being a Marketing exec in London
  • Being a Sabbatical Officer
  • Embarking on a Deloitte Grad Scheme

I’m hoping later to have a post about being a Graduate Recruitment Consultant. But I’m not the only one writing about this stuff, so why do I bother? Most of the time students or graduates work towards a job title. The lists in prospects and in University prospectuses are great for focusing your mind and giving you a goal to work towards. In the UK certainly we are made to make our choices on what career we want from an early age,  from the questions of “what do you want to be when you grow up” to the GCSE grade pressure to the A level grade pressure (yeah thanks for adding the A* there) we assume our choices set us on a certain path. And for people who want to be doctors or lawyers perhaps this is the truth (although I am told by Law students they don’t all want to be lawyers).   However speaking as someone who started A levels thinking she was going to be a paramedic to finishing them and taking Sociology at uni so I could become a teacher to not be able to afford the PGCE (thanks fee increases) and the government getting rid of the GTP (earn and learn pathway) but HEY I have a great job in Education and Student Experience now (everything happens for a reason?) It’s clear that the pathway to a career rarely runs smooth and you don’t have to come out of uni, have everything figured out and do a job that you’re going to be in for the rest of your life. On campuses across the UK the presence of “big 4” companies certainly puts pressure on students to think “if I don’t get on their grad scheme, I have failed” but it isn’t the case. Despite 3/4 years study you will still have a lot to learn! And this is why I have called upon my wonderful friends who have helped me build this “Spotlight on” series of blog posts. Massive thank you to Sarah, James, Terri, David and Sasha so far. If you are a graduate with a role you’d like to let people hear about then please contact me via twitter @eemaalou

Opportunity and progress

This weather makes me feel so positive so I thought I would share some positive vibes on here…

So recently I haven’t been so great at posting on here. It’s partly because I have been busy at work and also pretty bad at taking time away from my desk or to do something for myself which includes taking a proper lunch break.

I am faced with a challenge. I will be coordinating events in London. I will be travelling to Canary Wharf  twice over the next two weeks. I am excited and nervous. I find as I write this I keep typing “in London” after things lots. That’s because I haven’t traveled to London on my own before – something which might sound pathetic and make you think “aww cute” or “get a grip!” but you’ll also note from a previous post ( https://easea.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/the-only-one-standing-in-your-way-is-you/) it is something that I have not been brave enough to try. And that’s because I struggle with anxiety, something that will come as a shock to a lot of people who know me. I have thought about blogging about how anxiety impacts me at work but I’m not sure I’m that brave… I will say one thing though, yoga is fantastic for combating stress and anxiety and I really need to get back into that!

Shout out to my colleague at work who pointed me in the direction of the tubemaps app 🙂 I feel a bit better already.

Needless to say I don't ooze confidence like this guy
Needless to say I don’t ooze confidence like this guy

ANYWAY I hope that coordinating these events will be progress. And help build my confidence and generally make me feel like a more capable, professional person. A quote I found online the other day rang true with me…

Nothing ruins your twenties more than the thought that you have to have everything figured out – Unknown

I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to have all the answers and have everything in hand. It seems strange that an opportunity which I know I am perfectly capable of grasping and succeeding in could throw me off balance.

So here’s to sucking it up and going to the city. Wish me luck – details on how it all goes to follow