Month: December 2015

Best bits of 2015

If you’re new to A Life Less Physical, there’s a chance you’ve missed out on some pretty awesome moments during 2015.  You’ve also missed out on some dull ones but we’ll skip over those.

Here are the links to some of my favourite and most popular blog posts of 2015, plus the most popular articles I’ve written for other bloggers. Why not check them out with a glass of sherry and a mince pie to see off the Christmas period.

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Image via Etsy

Fibromyalgia posts included this one about my flare up, this one questioning my diagnosis and this one which focuses on the importance of balance as part of my year of mindfulness challenge.

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2015 was the year for being sensible whilst still getting out and about, and top posts include my tips for surviving music festivals, a night at the comedy store, and the continuation of my book club.

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If you can’t share the thoughts in your head with strangers on the internet, who can you share those thoughts with? My most popular thoughts on life have included the list of my favourite things, making these three easy changes for a happier life, and my ode to International Women’s Day.

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My love for food continues and my favourite experiences have been this sustainable approach to healthy living, my three course pancake meal on Shrove Tuesday, and this incredible seabass and chorizo chutney recipe.

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It’s been an amazing year of travel, and highlights have included this trip to Paris, a wonderful weekend in Amsterdam, and this romantic getaway to a hidden hut in the woods.

Finally, this year I’ve had the pleasure of writing articles and guests posts for other health and wellness websites. Favourites include this post on fibromyalgia tender points and this one on cannabis for chronic pain – both for New Life Outlook, as well as this one for February Stars on coping with the hustle and bustle of Christmas.

I hope you had a wonderful 2015 and that you enjoyed the posts on A Life Less Physical. Here’s to an even better year ahead.

Mindfulness: December

 

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Remember to breathe. It sounds so ridiculous, doesn’t it? As if I could possibly forget!

But it’s true. For those of you who truly breathe, you will know the real benefits of slowly, deeply, breathing Oxygen in to every part of your being.

In December, I flicked through Yvette Jane’s 365 Days of Mindfulness for what would be the last time. I liked many of the tips, some suggesting I go for a walk and think about the journey instead of the destination, and others suggesting I focus on slowing down at a time of year when things typically speed up. But the one that I really liked was;

“Notice as anxiety builds up you may unconsciously hold your breath. Stop and allow your breathing to become slower and deeper before you continue on your way.”

This year I went to see a hypnotherapist for the first time. It was part of some research I was doing for New Life Outlook’s YouTube channel. I found a local hypnotherapist who had experience working with fibromyalgia patients, and I (who was somewhat cynical about it to begin with) found it a really beneficial experience. You can watch my 3 minute video here.

Whilst fibromyalgia was the main focus of our sessions, my therapist also taught me tips for coping with migraine and anxiety – and at the heart of it was the ability to breathe. To slowly, deeply breathe, controlling the moment and thinking of nothing else but the controlled breath in, and the relaxing breath out.

Since learning to breathe – really breathe – I have been able to control the severity of a migraine and manage to reduce the sickness that accompanies anxiety. I haven’t yet been able to breathe the pain away but who knows, maybe I just need to practice.

I think the main reason I chose this mindfulness tip is that I want to end the year in the way I intend to go forward. I want to strip away the chaos and the nonsense, and take something from those I envy. I want things to be simple, to be clear, to be basic. And what better way to start, than be simply learning to breathe.

Monday joy

Now this is a blog post I’ve missed doing! For those of you who are new to A Life Less Physical, Mondays are when you can crawl on over to my blog and lose yourself in my Pinterest highlights from the week before. This is not a feature for those who are looking for deep thoughts or honest survival tips; it’s for those who bloody hate Mondays and could do with a dose of unreality. Sometimes they’re themed, more often they’re not. Either way, they are always pretty…

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The perfect apple pie via Doriann Blogspot

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Cosy autumnal look via Crush Cul de Sac

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The perfect bedroom mirror via Apartment Therapy

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Hello cat via Whispers of Invisible Me

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The perfect New Year’s Eve outfit via Brit

Have a good week all.

‘Tis the season

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Who would have predicted that Christmas, the season for rest and relaxation, would be the time that I got whacked in the face by the motivation to blog? I was planning to reappear in the New Year, but I imagined I would have to force myself to sit down and write a post – just like the first day back at school after the holidays.

When I think about it though, it makes perfect sense. I’m off work, I’m living in pyjamas and my brain is no longer running my to-do list on repeat. I’ve gone back to basics and my thought process is mainly: eat – sleep – eat – repeat.

I should probably give some kind of explanation for my blogging hiatus – although I should warn you, it’s not a very interesting story. There’s no drama, no panic, no news or story of which to speak. It just got a bit… much. In October we put our London flat up for sale, and put an offer on a country cottage in Oxfordshire. At the same time, R got a new job closer to home and then so did I. Whilst trying to organise two job moves, a house sale and a house purchase, I was doing some writing for New Life Outlook and trying to wind things up at work before I left. It all got so busy that blogging became a chore, something on the to-do list to roll my eyes at, and that went against my blogging rules which, quite simply, are; 1) Stop blogging when you stop enjoying it, and 2) Don’t get obsessed with your stats.

A couple of weeks ago I thought I might never blog again. One less thing to do was helping me to feel less stressed, and I suddenly became very anxious and somewhat cynical about the whole blogging thing. At what insane moment did I decide that putting my every thought and movement online was a good idea? Even Facebook was seeming intrusive so blogging just seemed like a very naive idea.

Still, Christmas day struck and whilst I lay on my sofa with my belly in the air, I felt compelled to pick up my laptop. So hello! I’m back. I’ve redesigned the blog, I’ve written a bit of plan so hopefully 2015 will be the year that I stop doubting the blogger in me and just go for it.

Hope you had a lovely Christmas and that you have a wonderful New Year. I look forward to spending 2016 with you. x

Mindfulness: November

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As you may have noticed, I’ve been taking a bit of a blogging break in the run up to Christmas. Life has been a bit busy lately and I was struggling to find time to think, never mind write about the things I was thinking.

I’m going to continue the blogging break until the new year when I hope to be back with new thoughts and new challenges, as well as my usual health-related musings. In the mean time, you’ll get two more 2015 posts from me to finish off my year of mindfulness.

The suggestions for a mindful November from Yvette Jane’s 365 Days of Mindfulness were intriguing and a couple of them really appealed to me. The one I chose to focus on is:

IF YOU ARE A PASSENGER TODAY,
APPRECIATE AND ENJOY THE EVER-CHANGING PASSING SCENERY. 

I love this tip because it’s one of the few suggestions in this book that, for me, takes no effort whatsoever. Plonk me on a train for a couple of hours and I am immediately at peace.

When I was younger I used to be a bit nervous about trains, and I still don’t get much pleasure from being shoved around a packed tube platform in rush hour. But, if we put the 8am commuter trains aside, then I find rail travel one of the most relaxing things in the world.

I first realised the effect trains had on me when I was going through a bit of a tough time a few years ago and was feeling quite stressed and upset. I was traveling a lot for work at the time and every time I got on the train I found a window seat and watched the hills roll by as I sped from one end of the country to the other. Sometimes I listened to music, other times to podcasts, sometimes I read books and other times I simply sat with my thoughts. I soon realised that those journeys were the only times I felt comfortable, relaxed, and looked after. I have never found myself restless or infuriated on a train – not like in cars and planes, which I find are all about the destination and less about the journey. I’ve cried to myself on trains more times than I can remember, but I’ve also made some of my most sensible decisions somewhere along the East Coast mainline. Whilst I wouldn’t quite class myself as a railway enthusiast, I would certainly say that trains are the link to my inner calm and, therefore, this mindfulness task was nothing but a pleasure to adhere to.

I’ll be back after Christmas with December’s mindfulness post. x