Monday, 29 December 2014

2015 Goals.

Hello there lovely people.

With the New Year upon us, it's the time we all think about our hopes and aspirations for the next 365 days and set ourselves some (sometimes unattainable) New Year's resolutions. Goal setting is an integral part of my job, and it's so important when working with clients to set goals that they are achievable and attainable, because an unattainable goal is pretty much pointless, no? So this year, I'm making sure I practice what I preach, I want to set myself achievable and attainable goals that I can maintain and realistically work towards throughout the year.
2015 goals

Saturday, 27 December 2014

2014 Round Up.

Hello there lovely people.

I hope you've all had a wonderful Christmas and have been able to spend it with your nearest and dearest. I can't believe that 2014 is nearly at a close, it feels like only a few weeks ago that it was January and we had a whole new year stretched out in front of us. 2014 has been a busy year for me to say the least, I thought I would do a little round up of what went on, in preparation for setting some new goals and aspirations for 2015.

2014 Round Up

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Last Minute Homemade Gift.

Hello there lovely people.

With Christmas just around the corner (4 more sleeps!!), I thought I would share a little last minute gift that you can whip together in just a few minutes that is pretty inexpensive too.

hot chocolate gift

Friday, 19 December 2014

Vegan & Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies!!

Hello there lovely people.

I recently made these amazing vegan, gluten free peanut butter cookies for a bring and share lunch at work. They are honestly so bloody delicious that I just have to share the recipe with you!! The recipe itself is from the 'Ms Cupcake - The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town' book, which has some amazing and delicious looking recipes in it!!

vegan peanut butter cookies

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

DIY Candles - Super Simple Homemade Gift.

Hello there lovely people.

I love the idea of homemade xmas gifts, that fact that someone has put precious time and effort into making something speaks volumes. I'd love to be able to make homemade gifts for everyone on my Christmas list this year, but unfortunately I'm not organised enough (I probably should have started in June). But one thing that I have been able to make myself is candles.

I'm a huge lover of candles and I know that some of my lovely family are too, so I thought why not try and make my own. It's relatively inexpensive, really easy and will hopefully make for a lovely little gift.
Homemade candles

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Realash - The Before.

Hello there lovely people.

Today we're talking eyelashes. I was recently contacted by Realash and offered the opportunity to try out their eyelash growth serum - naturally, as a beauty lover and mascara junkie I couldn't say no!


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Birthday Wishlist.

Hello there lovely people.

It's my birthday soon so I've been collating a cheeky little list of fitness related items that I would love to receive, which I thought I'd share with you all because, you know, sharing is caring!!

Nano 4.0 | Lifting Belt | Nike Leggings | BACON LEGGINGS! | Quest Bars | Misfit Shine

Which items are on your wishlist? I'd love for you to share them either in the comments below, on Twitter @mygenerallife or on Instagram @generallifeblog!

While you're here, why not check out my most recent Gymdate?! You can also follow My General Life on Bloglovin' and Pinterest too!!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Gymdate #6.

Hello there lovely people.

I can't believe Sunday night is upon us again, where oh where are the weeks going?! Christmas will be here before we know it. I surely can't be the only that finds all the Xmas chocolate offers torturous?! I just want to eat it all! (I won't mention the bag of Terry's Chocolate Orange pieces that I scoffed on Friday, haha!)

Things have been a little better this week compared to last week. I've had a bit of revelation this week after watching Ilya Ilyin smash an insane World Record Clean & Jerk at the World Weightlifting a human can effectively throw 242kg over their head just blows my mind. Here it is in slo-mo for your viewing pleasure!

Anyway, after watching this, a little fire in my belly was reignited. I love Olympic Weightlifting but haven't lifted properly in at least 6 months. So I went to the gym on Saturday all filled with enthusiasm and managed to hit a 52.5kg Clean & Jerk and 32.5kg Snatch. The most I've ever lifted in the C&J is 55kg, which was over a year ago when I was crossfitting, so I'm really pleased that I'm managed to only drop 2.5kg. My Snatch technique certainly needs some work, however my max full snatch previously was only about 37.5kg so not much lost there either considering I haven't done full lifts for so long. 

Diet wise things haven't been so bad, I've had a realisation that actually I like food too much, especially all the treats that are around at Christmas. So from now on I'm being flexible. No tracking, just mindful eating with some treats thrown in here and there. Where's the fun in food if you can't enjoy it!! Although I do need to be more aware of the types of food I'm eating as the old IBS has reared it's ugly head this week...the free lunch of sandwiches and spring rolls at a course I attended this week certainly didn't help that!!

What have you achieved this week? I'd love it if you'd share either in the comments below, on Twitter @mygenerallife or on Instagram @generallifeblog.

Don't forget to check out My General Life on Bloglovin' and Pinterest too!

And while you're here, why not catch up on what was in my Birchbox this month!!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Banana and Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies.

Hello there lovely people.

Recently the lovely folk at Natvia sent me some of their products to try out, and asked that I try to incorporate them into a yummy recipe. I had lots of ideas floating about of what I might like to attempt (I say attempt as I'm pretty new to 'healthier' baking so it was a bit of an experiment!) but I decided that I wanted my first forray to be some sort of banana and peanut butter brownie. 

After doing a little research into what quantities of ingredients I might use (like I said, it was an experiment!) I decided to throw caution to the wind and just have a go. And surprisingly, it worked!! I was genuinely astounded that my first attempt had turned out so delicious. Naturally, I had to do a second attempt just to make sure it wasn't a fluke...and it wasn't!!

50g Butter (melted, you could probably use coconut oil too, although I haven't tried this!)
50g Rice Flour
150g Baking Natvia
30g Cocoa
2 Bananas (mashed)
2 Eggs
Splash of Almond Milk
30g Peanut Butter

1. Mix together the melted butter, cocoa and Natvia.
2. Add the eggs, beating well between each one.
3. Add the rice flour giving them a good mix.
4. Mix in the mashed banana and a splash of almond milk just to loosen the batter slightly.
5. Pour into a lined baking tin, melt the peanut butter and swirl this on the top, mixing in slightly.
6. Cook at 180°C for about 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

This photo was taken a day after I made the cake so it had dried out slightly, I promise it's lovely and moist!

And there we have it, pretty simple really and oh so delicious!! This mix should serve about 8 people, making it approximately 150 calories a slice (or less if you can stretch it out further, or more if you're a bit greedy like me!)

I'm so pleased with how this has turned out, I was worried that it would be dry with it being gluten free, but I think that the banana adds a lovely moistness and the combo of banana, chocolate and peanut butter is just a dream. And it got the seal of approval from my man as well!

Let me know what your favourite 'healthy' bakes are, I'm hoping this will be the first of many tasty, healthier treats! Please share your recipes and baking successes/fails either in the comments below, on Twitter @mygenerallife or Instagram @generallifeblog

Don't forget, you can follow My General Life on Bloglovin' and Pinterest too!!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Gymdate #5.

Hello there lovely people. 

This week has been a giant FAIL on the gym (and diet) front. My motivation seems to have got up and done a major runner, I've just had no desire to do very much at all. Part of me feels like I should have forced myself to go, but at the same time, I know that I most likely wouldn't have enjoyed the forced sessions and I want the gym to be a positive and enjoyable experience. So I've had a little break and I've actually really enjoyed relaxing. I've have a few really busy weeks at work, resulting in some delightful mouth ulcers this week (cheers stress!) which I know is a sign that I need to slow down and chill the f out.

Diet wise things haven't been so bad, my diet has become more relaxed which means my IBS has flared up, but not as badly as I anticipated it would given what I've eaten (Harvester all you can eat breakfast anyone? Allll the Nutella and Pancakes, and the rest!) But I'm all meal prepped ready for tomorrow with happy tum foods and I'm going to go and pack my gym bag later and try and get a little work out in after work tomorrow evening. November is looking to be a pretty busy month, I have lots of training at work, lots of family birthdays and celebrations and then it'll be my birthday and Christmas in December, so I'm trying to not be too hard on myself as it's important that I have a balance.

How have you all been getting on this week? Please share your thoughts either in the comments below, on Twitter @mygenerallife or on Instagram @generallifeblog

Don't forget to check out my October Favourites post and follow My General Life on Bloglovin' and Pinterest too!! 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Favourites - October 2014.

Hello there lovely people.

I can't believe that November is here already!! So with October now a distant memory, I think it's only right that I share the items that I loved throughout the month.

9Bars: I've been on the look out for wheat free snacks recently and I stumbled across these babies whilst doing my weekly shop. So far I've tried the fruity and peanut varieties, both of which I love. They're a tasty treat for my mid morning/afternoon slump and I also enjoy them as a pre-gym snack. I think next time I'll have to pick up some of the indulge 9bars as they look delicious.

Trek Bars: Again, I picked these up for the same reasons as the 9bars. These are a great chocolate bar replacement for me and they help stave off my sweet food cravings in less naughty way. I originally tried the Cocoa Out variety, however, had to pick up the Cocoa Coconut flavour after Sarah from That Squat Bot mentioned them in last weeks #hbloggers chat. I have to say, I think I prefer the Cocoa Coconut, they're delicious!! I've also noticed today that they're on offer in Sainsburys (2 for £1.50) so I think I'll have to stock up!!

Natvia*: I was recently sent some Natvia samples to try out and I have to say these little sachets have fast become a firm favourite. I've switched to using Natvia in my cups of tea and I can really taste the difference. I find it tastes pretty much like 'real sugar' and doesn't have the artificial sweetness that my usual sweetners have.

Pixi Shea Butter Lip Balm: I received this in my October Birchbox and it has become a firm favourite. I really like the colour, it's nice and neutral, meaning it's easy to apply on the go and it has become my go-to lip product for work days. Plus it smells yummy and it really smooth and nourishing on the lips.

Co Lab Dry Shampoo: I naturally had to pick this up after all the buzz about it in the beauty world. I chose the scent New York which is so yummy and makes my hair smell amazing all day, a definite selling point for me. The dry shampoo itself works great and doesn't leave my hair looking grey and powdery. Plus it was really inexpensive, I did pick this up on offer (I think there was 1/3 off), but it was less than £2.50 and you get loads of product. I'll definitely be trying the other scents when this one runs out!

Beauty Blender: This is another Birchbox product from a couple of  months ago and I've fallen in love with it. I find I get a really smooth foundation application with great coverage, I hadn't tried a Beauty Blender before this so I've definitely been converted.

So there we have it, my picks from the last month. What were your favourite things in October? I'd love it if you'd share your faves either in the comments below, on Twitter @mygenerallife or on Instagram @generallifeblog

Don't forget, you can also follow My General Life on Bloglovin' and Pinterest too!!

*These products were kindly sent by Natvia for review purposes. All opinions are my own!

Monday, 3 November 2014

World Occupational Therapy Week.

Hello there lovely people.

This post is certainly different to my usual posts, but something that I really wanted to write about and share with you all. This week is World Occupational Therapy Week (3rd-9th November), a week where as Occupational Therapists we take the time to promote our wonderful profession.

Occupational Therapy
When I tell people that I'm an Occupational Therapist a lot of people have no idea what I do, I usually get a reply such as 'Oh, so you help people get jobs then?' because an occupation is a job, right? Well, to an OT, occupations are the meaningful and purposeful activities that people choose to do to occupy their time and provide structure to their day. That could include taking a shower, walking the dog, preparing and eating meals and going to the gym or for a run. Occupations form part of our identity as human beings.

Health it not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, but a state of complete physical, mental and social-well-being (this is the World Health Organisation definition of health). Occupational Therapists recognise that occupation can have an important influence on an individual's health and well-being. Therefore we aim to promote independence in meaningful occupation, with a view to this having a positive impact on an individuals health and well-being.

Occupational Therapy
Occupational Therapists are problem solvers, we try to think outside the box and work in a holistic manner in order to support an individual to reach their potential. We work with a variety of people, OT could benefit anyone who is experiencing barriers preventing them from engaging in activities that are important to them. Occupational Therapists support people to develop skills for living and thus enabling them to participate fully in the life they choose to live.

I appreciate that I am biased, but I cannot express how much of a wonderful profession OT is. I genuinely adore what I do. I personally work in acute mental health, however, OTs are trained to work in all healthcare sectors and also social sectors and non-traditional settings (for example, hostels, charities and community projects). I always knew that I wanted to work in mental health and I honestly felt like all my Christmas' had come at once when I was offered my dream first job (which is a mental health rotational post, where I move around different MH services). 

Although there's lots of other things I enjoy and would like to try my hand at, I really am so glad that I decided to become an Occupational Therapist. OT philosophy has become part of my own philosophy and outlook on life, I feel like it fits so well with me as a person and something about it just clicks. It's a wonderful profession, with a great philosophy that has the potential to have huge impact on peoples lives in such a positive way.
Occupational Therapy
You can find out more information on OT at the College of Occupational Therapists website. If anyone has any questions at all about Occupational Therapy just generally or in relation to a potential career choice please don't hesitate to contact me. You can either email me on, post a comment below, or catch me on Twitter @mygenerallife or Instagram @generallifeblog :] Usual health, fitness and lifestyle posts will resume later this week!!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Gymdate #4.

Hello there lovely people.

It's that time of the week again, where oh where do they go!! And now it's November which just blows my mind, I just can't believe it's November already!!

So this week I've not been as consistent as previous weeks, although I'm not too bothered about that because hey, life happens! This week I had a bit of a stressful week at work, so on Friday night I ended up reaching for my good friends Ben and Jerry. It was good!! I also went home to visit family over the weekend and ended up eating far too much, but it was nice to spend time with the people I love and eat yummy stuff! Although I'll be back on my healthy bandwagon from Monday!

Weightlifting Legs
I always manage to get chalk everywhere!
Scrambled Eggs
My current go-to late night tea, scrambled eggs with mushrooms, bacon and gluten-free toast!
Workout wise, I've been to the gym twice. Both  were pretty substantial workouts so I'm feeling good about that. Today I decided to go to a craft fair instead of hitting the gym, which I really enjoyed and it was nice to have some me time. On one of my workouts I was actually praised by a random chap in the gym. I was doing pull ups with my red resistance band and he watched me as I bashed out my set (8 reps) and afterwards said how impressive it was!! He told I'd inspired him to go hard on his next back day and that if I attack life like I did my pull ups then I could do anything!! So, as I'm sure you can imagine, this made my day entirely. Girl F**king Power!!!

Natvia Sweetner
Looking forward to doing some healthy baking thanks to the lovelies at Natvia!
So there we have it, and now it's Sunday night again and I'm getting ready run head first into next week! Food prepping and baking some wheat free and reduced sugar goodies is going down tonight!! There might be a recipe up soon if my baking attempt is successful so keep your beady eyes peeled!!

GSD Crossbreed Obi
Nothing to do with the gym, but he's just too gorgeous!
Please share your gymdates either in the comments below, on Twitter @mygenerallife or on Instagram @generallifeblog!!!

Also, don't forget that you can follow My General Life on Bloglovin' and Pinterest too!!! I'm pin wild at the moment!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

What's In My Gym Bag?...

Hello there lovely people.

As I'm sure you've guessed by the title of this blog post, I'm going to talk about what I feel are essentials that I always carry about in my gym bag. 

Whats in my gym bag

Adidas Powerlift 2.0: I LOVE my lifters!! In terms of gym kit these are the best £80 I've spent. I use them for pretty much all lifting, mainly because I'm lazy and put them on for squats and then can't be bothered switching back. But seriously, they're great. I highly recommend them if you do a lot of lifting. 

Skull Candy Headphones: I have these handy for if some sort of weird feeling comes over me and I fancy doing some cardio. I really like Skull Candy too, they're pretty decent quality and really reasonably priced, I'm pretty sure I picked these up for a bargain in TK Maxx.

Resistance Bands: I'm currently working hard on my upper body strength, so these come in really handy for doing assisted pull ups. I also us them for assisted push ups, stretching and pistol squats. I've recently transitioned from the blue to the red band (progress!!), but I'm still keeping hold of the blue band, just in case!

Whats in my gym bag

Lip Balm: I always have lip balm handy as for some reason my lips can get really dry in the gym. These Baby Lips taste amazing and are really smooth and just generally yummy.

Wrist Wraps: These are the pink things, just in case you're not familiar! These really help with grip strength in moves such as Deadlifts and Romanian Deadlifts when I'm doing higher reps. I also use them for pull ups when I'm a bit more fatigued, as it still allows me to train my back when my grip has weakened. 

Wrist Straps: These are just simple wrist supports that only really use when I'm doing overhead pushing movements such as Over Head Press, Clean and Jerk and the Snatch. I find they just give my wrist a little extra stability as the wrist can be quite a fragile joint.

Whats in my gym bag

Chalk: Again, another grip saviour. Great for keeping a grip on the bar when your hands are sweaty during all sorts of movements. Also particularly great for Olympic lifting. 

So there we are, my essentials, other items may come and go but these babies are the constants in my gym life. What are your gym bag essentials? I'd love for you to share either in the comments below, on Twitter @mygenerallife or on Instagram @generallifeblog

Don't forget you can also follow My General Life on Bloglovin' and Pinterest!! Also, why not check out my latest lifestyle post on Autumnal Home Fragrances?!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Autumnal Home Fragrance.

Hello there lovely people.

I don’t know about you, but come every Autumn I develop an obsession…with festive home fragrance. There’s nothing more cosy than relaxing on the sofa, with a blanket and some delightfully yummy candles burning

I don’t think you can go wrong with the Glade festive scents and they definitely seem to have added more variety to their range over the last couple of years. Although I’m still mourning the disappearance of Glistening Snow, my favourite festive candle ever, they do have some other yummy scents.

This one is the Roasted Chestnut and Macaroon scent and it smells sooooo good! It has a really nice sweetness mixed with a musky warm scent. It’s really delicious and I think the fragrance on these definitely spreads around the entire room when you burn them. There’s a few other lovely scents that I want to try from the Glade range, including Blackberry Frost and Winter White. You can usually pick these up on offer in various places for about £2.

Another scent that I’m absolutely in love with is the Vanilla Latte scent from Febreeze’s winter collection. I can’t even tell you how good this smells, its sweet from the vanilla with some festive spice thrown in, so good! And what’s even better is that Febreeze have teamed up with Ambi Pur so their winter collection is available for the both the ordinary plug in and the 3volution. 

I’m pretty much on a mission to have my whole house smell like this. Febreeze also have their own line of sprays and candles with their winter scents too. I highly recommend giving this a whiff next time you’re in the candle aisle because it’s so good, something I think I’ll have to stock up on for once winter is over!

How cute is the packaging too with it's little hot drinks and gingerbread men!
What are your favourite festive scents? Please share them in the comments below, on Twitter @mygenerallife or on Instgram @generallifeblog.

Don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin', it's a great way to stay up to date with all the latest My General Life posts!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Gymdate #3.

Hello there lovely people,

Welcome back for Gymdate #3. It's been another good week for me this week and I've managed to squeeze in four training sessions (woohoo!). I'm really chuffed because like I mentioned last week I've had a shoulder injury that has prevented me from doing a lot of my usual training, but (touchwood) it seems to be pretty much mended now which is wonderful! I've been able to do a reasonable amount of upper body training this week with no pain or discomfort....pull ups here I come!!

Banded Pull Up
An action shot from some of this weeks pull ups!
So now I'm planning on getting back into my previous routine where I train a bit of lower body and a bit of upper body every session. So that usually include a squat/deadlift variation (or both), another accessory lower body exercise (e.g lunges, nordic curls, leg press) and then a few upper body exercises. I really want to be able to nail the pull up and press up, two moves that I really struggle with because my upper body is just generally weak (or my body weight is just too heavy!! haha). I think I might actually do a post on how I work these movements as I guess upper body weakness is something a lot of people struggle with. Let me know if that would be something you'd be interested it!!

Leg Progress Selfie
Leg Progress Selfie
Here are some leg progress selfies, they're definitely a-growing!
Diet-wise, I've also done relatively OK this week, I'm being fairly consistent with my meals and although I find I'm eating a lot of the same things purely out of ease, I do think it's helping me continue to be consistent. I'm also noticing the difference my diet has on how I feel. I've been trying to follow a fairly low FODMAP diet in order to try to reduce my IBS symptoms which is definitely working and I can definitely tell when I eat something that I shouldn't (mainly wheat!). I've had a couple of comments this week from my partner and work collegues about looking slimmer, which is great although not really my aim. Ideally I would like to lean up ever so slightly, but my main goal is to add muscle so I do think I need to be eating a bit more. But I'm trying to teach my brain and body the correct amount of food to eat because before I was most definitely eating more than I needed!!

Beef & Rice Noodle Ramen
One of this weeks yummy lunches, beef & rice vermicelli noodle soup/ramen
Please share this weeks gymdates, what have you achieved this week? And what are your aims for next week? Please get in touch either in the comments below, on Twitter @mygenerallife or on Instagram @generallifeblog.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Don't Skip Leg Day.

Hello there lovely people.

Today we're talking leg day, why it's important and why you shouldn't skip it. Ever. (unless you're injured or have a legitimate reason). Now I'm just putting it out there, in my opinion and experience it's not the ladies who are the culprits of skipping leg day. I always have a little 'girl f**king power' moment when I see another lady at the squat rack or deadlifting. The biggest leg day skippers in my experience are MEN! Now I'm not trying to stereotype here and I know that there are plenty of men out there that don't skip leg day, but there is also many a man that does! I can guarantee you that every time I go to the gym there will be at least 15 blokes in the free weights area training either chest or biceps. I just don't get it, I really don't understand what the aversion to leg training is! Has anyone else noticed this or is it just me?

Anyway, today I want to discuss why leg training is so important and why you shouldn't skip it!! (also, apologies for the Suzanne Svanevik overload, but her squats are just too perf!)
ATG Squat
Suzanne Svanevik's squat at the
1. Think about how much work your legs, glutes, core and lower back do in a day.Training your legs is so transferable to everyday life and has such an impact on your overall flexibility, strength and mobility. Training your lower body now will hopefully mean that you're better able to cope with what life has to throw at your for years to come.

2. If you're trying to lose fat and get lean surely common sense says to utilise larger muscle groups (for example, legs) as these will burn more calories than the smaller muscle groups (for example, arms). Larger leg muscles will also burn more calories at rest than smaller muscles.

3. Think of the booty.

Think of the Booty
Think of the Booty
4. Having a stronger lower body with benefit most sports and also help reduce injury. Nearly every sport requires input from your lower body, regular training will help increase strength and power which will help you perform better. You're also less likely to get, for example, a knee injury if you're regularly completing functional lower body exercises such as squat and lunges which help promote knee stability.

5. Having a huge upper body isn't going to help you out run a lion or a zombie (it might just happen), but a stronger lower body will.

ATG Squat
Ass To Grass!!
6. Training your lower body will actually help you increase your overall strength all over your body, I'm not saying that you'll be like Brian Shaw after one leg session, but it will have a gradual impact on your overall strength.  

7. Lastly, if all the above is not enough to make you think again about leg day, maybe these will (sorry blokes, it would appear you were targeted here too!)
ATG Squat
Oh to have her ankle mobility! *sigh*
So if you're a leg day dodger, I urge you to reconsider. It really will benefit your overall health and wellbeing in the long term and although the DOMS might be horrendous it will be worth it. Why not try adding a couple of leg exercises into each gym session, this is what I try to do and find it works really well for me as I don't then totally exhaust my legs once a week. I try to do a squat and deadlift variation each time I go to the gym and I will also throw in exercises such as leg press and nordic curls too. 

I also really encourage seeking some advice from a strength and conditioning coach as they'll be able to teach you how to execute movements such as squats and deadlifts correctly, meaning they will be more effective and less likely to cause you injury (shameless plug, my lovely boyfriend is a very passionate S&C coach who loves leg day, if you're in the Warrington area he would be happy to help you!)

What is/are your favourite leg day exercise/s? I'd love for you to share so that we can all go leg day crazy together! Please share in the comments below, on Twitter @mygenerallife or on Instagram @generallifeblog! #dontskiplegday

Tuesday, 21 October 2014


Hello there lovely people.

Today I wanted to talk about relaxation. Relaxation is not something I paid particular attention to until I started having to run relaxation sessions as part of my job. Relaxation can play a really valuable role in someone's life, particularly if you feel in pain, stressed or anxious. Relaxation can allow someone to take control of how they're feeling and work towards managing and hopefully changing this. 

I think relaxation is a very personal experience and what works for one person may not work for another. Some people prefer progressive muscular relaxation, while others might prefer guided imagery. I think its about knowing about what different techniques are out there and trying them out to see what works best for you. So I thought I would give you a little whistle stop tour of  a few different relaxation techniques that you can use and what they entail.


Deep Breathing:

Deep breathing is a handy one to have up your sleeve as it is a technique that you can use at any time and in any place, for example,  you could use it if you were out and about and started to feel anxious or worried about something or if you feel your workload is becoming overwhelming and you just need to take a moment. 

Start from 10 and as you slowly inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, count down until you get to 1. It might be helpful to really focus on your breathing and the feeling of doing so, feel the rise and fall or your chest and abdomen and the sound of your breath. It may also help to think about breathing in relaxation and allowing it spread around your body and then exhaling any tension with your breath.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation:
In this technique you work your way through the different muscle groups of the body, tensing and releasing them in order to enable you to experience what a relaxed muscle feels like. People can carry tension in different areas of their bodies and not recognise it, therefore this technique can help people to distinguish the difference between a tense and relaxed muscle. I personally really enjoy this technique and find it works really well for me.

Here's a link to a Progressive Muscle Relaxation from Youtube, it can be handy to have something to direct you  through the relaxation until you become more comfortable with it

Guided Imagery:
Guided imagery uses your own imagination in order to think about a scene that you associate with a feeling of calmness and relaxation. That could be on a beach, in a meadow full of flowers or tucked up in your bed. This is obviously very individual, and when I'm running a group I like to talk about guided imagery in a more generic manner, allowing someone to choose their own relaxing scene, rather than a previously specified one. Through the guided imagery you imagine all the sights, sounds and smells of the scene. Think about the effect on all your senses, imagine what the sun, or the breeze, or a blanket feels like on your skin. Take in every detail of your special place and enjoy the feeling of being there.

Mindfulness is a method of paying attention to the present moment and being aware of your thought and feelings and what is going on around you in the moment. Try taking five minutes to get comfortable and think about how you really feel. How does your body feel sat in the chair or lying on the bed. What can you hear?What can you see? Acknowledge the thoughts that come into you head but try not to worry about them, just focus on what it feels like to be where you are right now. You don't even have to do this indoor, how about going out for a walk and being mindful of your outdoor surroundings? 

I appreciate that this is just a very brief overview of the different techniques that you could use to help you relax and this list is most definitely not exhaustive. It's so important to take time to relax, the pressures of everyday life can easily become too much so its really useful to have some tricks up your sleeve to prevent that from happening. And as with any skill, practice makes perfect, I challenge you to take 5 or 10 minutes out of your busy day to take some time for you, because you deserve it!

Please feel free to share your favourite methods of relaxing either in the comments below, on Twitter @mygenerallife or on Instagram @generallifeblog, I would love to hear what works for you!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Gymdate #2.

Hello there lovely people.

It's been another positive week on the gym front this week. I really think that getting back into blogging and having a more health and fitness focus has really helped, I'm feeling really inspired and raring to go!!

The first exciting thing is that I've been able to do a small amount of upper body training and my angry deltoid has not reared its grumpy head!! Which is great because I know that upper body is an overall area of weakness for me and I really want to put the work in to build up my strength, so being unable to train it has been a bit disheartening. However, I'm not going to rush head first back into it as I don't want to cause any more damage, so I'm taking it slowly and gradually building up the amount of upper body that I work back into my routine. So, not only am I able to work out my upper body, it also means that I'm able to start back squatting and deadlifting without discomfort!! WAHEY!! (following this discovery I pretty much annihilated my hamstrings doing Romanian's one of my faves!!)

Here's some cheeky leg press from this week, I did 100kg x 10 reps x 5 sets

I'm also really pleased with how my diet has been this week, I've been really mindful of what I'm putting in my mouth, which can be really difficult at times as I work in a department where we do a lot of cooking and baking with our clients, so there's quite regularly baked goods floating around which I usually can't resist, but this week I succeeded!

I'm definitely starting to see changes in my body, mainly my legs as they have been my main focus while my shoulder was recovering, but I definitely think my diet is starting to make a noticeable difference too. I'm excited to see how my body changes and progresses over the coming weeks!

A goal of mine now is to start working more on my flexibility. I used to be reasonably flexible when I was younger as I was a trampoliner for 10 years, so I'd really like to start seeing if I can get some of that suppleness back as  I feel so tight some days after lifting, particularly in my quad and hammies.

Cheeky flash back of my leotard wearing splits days!
What have you been up to exercise-wise this week? I'd love it if you would share your progress either in the comments below, on Twitter @mygenerallife or on Instagram @generallifeblog