Being organised doesn’t always work for the best. When I wrote this post it was feeling decidedly Autumnal but on Monday I read we have three weeks of sunshine ahead, so perhaps it’s a little bit premature to be thinking about staying healthy through Autumn and into, gulp, Winter, but, actually most of what I’m planning works, whatever the weather.
Plan a Capsule Workout Wardrobe
It’s harder to leap out of bed and head to a yoga/boxing/barre/spin class when it’s dark outside, but having cute kit to wear helps. I have a lot of workout kit but, when I decided to have a sort out a couple of weeks ago (before I learned that everything I knew about tidying was wrong) I realised that I don’t actually wear a large proportion of it. There’s stuff that’s too big or too small, clothes that aren’t fit for purpose (shorts that ride up when I run, yoga pants with side or back fastenings that dig in during floor work, cropped sweatpants that are too hot for summer but don’t work on chillier days either because my ankles get cold and so on…), plenty of bras for yoga and barre but not enough that are supportive enough for running and high impact cardio classes and tops that after years of use are, well, way past their best. After I put aside all the stuff that no longer works, or didn’t work to start with, I was left with a pile of pieces that I love, but not enough for my current workout schedule, at least not unless I put a workout wash on every night of the week. I’ve made a list of things that I need and plan to buy over the coming months – one or two go-with-everything vest tops like this one from Sweaty Betty, a pair of running shorts (these Nike ones looks roomy enough not to ride up plus they have a pocket for keys, money, Oyster card etc) and at least one very supportive bra top (I like the simple design and cut out back of this Shock Absorber one). Oh and btw, the crop top in the picture is this one from the Frame x Whistles collection.
Since I cut down on yoga classes and added cardio to my workout week, I frequently find myself waking up achy and stiff which I imagine is only going to get worse as the weather gets colder. I’m trying to get into the habit of doing a few yoga poses before bed, which definitely helps alleviate the stiffness. I’ve followed yoga teacher Rachel Brathen’s Instagram account for several years and took a class with her in Amsterdam, which was every bit as inspiring as I would have hoped – as soon as she walked into the studio it was filled with sunshine and positivity. Last month she released her book Yoga Girl in the UK and my lovely friend Lindsay gave me a copy as a gift. The book tells Rachel’s story, from messed-up teen to balanced yoga babe, and is filled with pictures of Rachel often upside down, mostly in beautiful Bonnaire, where she lives with her husband Dennis, plus there are recipes and, of course, lots of pages of yoga poses, broken down with clear, in-depth explanations and instructional images. The section on restorative poses is great calming before-bed stuff, and stretchy enough to help with those aches and stiffness.
Get Into Mindfulness
I’m as guilty as the next person of doing a million things at once – checking my phone as I eat dinner while catching up on the latest episode of GBBO and mentally planning my to do list for the next day. A friend who suffers from bouts of severe anxiety started practicing mindfulness – several months on she can’t say enough good things about it and is noticeably calmer and happier. I picked up Flow Mindfulness on a whim when I was in one of my fave book shops and the combination of features, pretty imagery and projects had me throwing down my credit card before you could say, “Er, what exactly is mindfulness again?” As the book explains mindfulness is about living in the here and now, instead of dwelling on the past (which I’m prone to) or thinking too much about the future; enjoying the little things, paying attention to what you’re doing at this very second, doing one thing at a time, not expecting quite so much from yourself and relaxing more. As life inevitably slows down during the colder months it seems like a good time to start being more mindful. I’ve read the book cover to cover and now I’m working my way through the projects starting with The Joy Of Doing One Thing At A Time notebook. While it’s hard to change habits built up over a lifetime, I’m working on it.
Drink Water & Herbal Tea
I’m back on the three (at least) coffees a day habit. I like coffee so I’m not going to give it up entirely but as we head into Autumn I’m going to try to make my first coffee a day my only coffee of the day. According to an article I read recently we don’t need to drink quite as much water as we’ve been told but I stand by the fact that when I drink a couple of large glasses of water a day my skin looks clearer, I’m less prone to breakouts and I generally feel better (maybe it’s down to the fact that if I’m drinking water I’m not drinking a cappuccino…?). I’m trying to get back into the habit of carrying my Bobble bottle when I’m out and about and having a large glass of water to hand when I’m at my desk (not too near my computer as I’m well known for my clumsiness and have destroyed more than one keyboard by, accidently, throwing liquid all over it). Even though I know it’s good for me I don’t really like the taste of green tea but with an additional taste mixed in I’m happy to swig away (Salted Caramel Green Tea anyone?!).
Get More Creative With My Cooking
Thanks to all your wonderful suggestions I’ve been expanding my office lunch repertoire, but I’m still guilty of sticking to the same old things for breakfast, dinner and weekend brunches. I was recently sent At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin and published by Jacqui Small for review and I’m feeling inspired. Amy is a vegan and vegetarian chef who has cooked for the likes of Natalie Portman and Liv Tyler. The first part of the book is all about stocking your panty and is full of information about how and why to use ingredients, advice on planning weekly menus and simple day to day recipes. I already love the Soaked Oats and Chia with Berries, the Simple Red Lentil Soup with Spinach, Lemon and Pepper and the Wholewheat Fettuccine with Kale, Caramelized Onions and Goat’s Cheese (I have to be honest here and admit that I’m yet to marinate the goat’s cheese as per the book). Part two is more recipes divided into breakfasts, soups, salad, snacks, nibbles and drinks, whole meals and desserts. I’m yet to delve into this section but I’ve bookmarked a whole bunch, the Fragrant Aubergine Curry is next on my list. The images are beautiful, the instructions are easy to follow and the results are always tasty. While some of the lists of ingredients are admittedly long (especially if you’re cooking for just one or two people) I’ve found that it’s possible to simplify some of the recipes and still end up with a tasty breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner.
How are you staying healthy right now? What switch ups are you planning to make as summer turns into autumn? What healthy buys have you made recently? Anyone got any healthy goals they’re working on? I did my first parkrun all year a couple of weekends ago and got my best time ever (25:43!). I’d like to get that under 25 minutes by the end of the year!