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.


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.


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 




Could being reflective help you be more productive?

I read an article recently about how reflection can increase productivity or make you more successful at work. Feeling a slight lull in my creativity for this blog and trying to avoid repetition, I thought I would compile some reflections I have at the end of each day. I was thinking of doing the #100happydays thing recently with photos in order to think more positively but I post enough on social media as it is. These extracts will be a mixture of personal and professional no doubt but we’ll see how we go…


Day 1

Today hasn’t been too productive, I have done a lot of reading of things… my mind has been distracted with family stuff and because it’s my birthday it sort of feels like there is a child in my head bouncing up and down saying “BIRTHDAY! BIRTHDAY! BIRTHDAY!” It has been really nice to have lots of  messages from friends wishing me well on my birthday and it has been a source of positivity throughout the day.

I wasn’t meant to be in work for the last 2 weeks in May because of surgery I was supposed to be having which they have now moved twice. Although I can’t change the fact they moved it I feel annoyed as I had moved my schedule around a lot, leaving this week relatively light on work. I am also reluctant to start tasks which I may not be able to finish…



Day 2

After sort of losing track of what I was supposed to be doing this week I managed to find some tasks to do. I think birthday had been main distraction (how very childish of me) back on it today and feeling more productive. Perhaps reflecting has worked slightly in making me more focused? Have a really monotonous task to do at the moment and finding it hard to keep focused on formatting a page. Managed to help some colleagues while my boss is away though which is good.


Day 3

It’s always interesting working with students. I have offered to help with some research which includes paper surveys. They are really short but it is really hard pinning students down at the moment as they are either doing exams or celebrating having done exams. Some of them have messaged me to cancel and have said that they are “ill” … I know what ill means.

brain ache


On a more positive note I interviewed a student today and it went well.

Day 4

FRIDAY! That’s another week over with. I was in and out of the office today speaking with students and asking them to fill in a survey – it’s not even for me! I was happy with the number of them who turned up to do it. It was really good to have some valuable conversations with students which was really helpful and motivating 🙂 I will see what I can do to put their thoughts into action for the next academic year.


Day 5

IT’S A MONDAY! Hectic! Starting the week underestimating the work load then having lots to do! Having things delegated to me, which is fine but I quote “need to be a little less helpful to people for the next couple of weeks” I just hope I manage to keep on top of everything. I’m not feeling 100% though so I am finding it challenging to keep going. Today seemed to go quite quickly, I hope the rest of the week does the same!


I noticed that these posts seemed to get shorter as I went along, probably due to an increase in time away from the desk doing other tasks and the amount of work I had on which limited my ability to create this post. I think reflecting is a useful tool, if you have the time to do it properly. I don’t know about the link between being reflective and being productive though… I think I just got busier? On reflection of my reflecting (REFLECT-CEPTION) I think I could have been organised about it and perhaps started with my goals for the day and what I would have done differently.

I wonder if anyone else has given this a try and been able to stick to it? Has it helped?