Couch to 5K App review – how it helped my mental health

I’VE COMPLETED THE COUCH TO 5K APP! Wow, I really didn’t expect to have stuck to this program and actually complete it, but yesterday, I did my final run from the app.

I’ve always fairly enjoyed running; I’ve just never been that brilliant at it (breathing is such a struggle for me). However, during lockdown 3.0 in the UK, I was really going through a bad patch and I randomly woke up one day and was like ‘I’m going to start the couch to 5K’ and since then, I’ve done 8 weeks of running and now I can run for half an hour!

It’s actually really surprising how an app like this makes an impact on your life. When I flicked through the weeks to see what I had to do and saw an 8-minute run or a 20-minute run, I’d think to myself that there is no chance I’ll be able to do it. Yet, here I am, I’ve done it! The app builds you up slowly to be able to achieve these longer runs and it surprises you just how quickly the program goes. 8 weeks flew by!

Beside the achievement of completing the program and now being able to run for 30 minutes/5K, it’s massively helped my mental health.

I’m already aware how exercise brings improvement to my mood and makes me feel better instantly. Therefore, doing a program where you can see your progress, makes you feel even better because you see evidence of the time that you’re running for. Exercise is an essential for me and my mental health. I had no doubt that doing the couch to 5K was going to help me overcome this bad patch in lockdown.

I did the runs on my lunch break at work and on the weekend. Actually leaving my house on lunch and going for a run was SO refreshing for me. I don’t normally move away from my laptop for lunch (really bad I know) so getting out in the fresh air and having a change of scene felt so good. It also made me then feel more motivated to work once I was back.

Honestly, within days of doing this program, I already felt better about myself. It calmed my mind down because I was being active and having that time to myself, listening to music, running around my town. Don’t underestimate the impact exercise can have!!!!

Another positive to doing this program is that I can see a difference in my body. I didn’t start running to lose weight or tone up or even to become fitter, I did it because I needed a distraction, I needed something to work towards and to help calm my mind. However, it’s defiantly a bonus to see my body looking healthier.

The couch to 5K app made me feel free and confident. It made me feel good about myself and that I was accomplishing something. It proved to me that I can do something if I put my mind to it. It’s made me proud that I kept going and didn’t give up. I feel so much healthier and happier because of the exercise but also achieving a goal I set for myself.

I’d really recommend this app. Running isn’t for everyone but if you want to start or get back into running or give yourself a new challenge, then have a go! Now that I’ve done the app, I will keep up running 5K and track my time to see if I can run it quicker as the weeks go on.

International Women’s Day – Period Protection

Happy International Women’s Day.

By this title, you may be thinking ‘what’s this blog post aiming at?’. It’s came to my attention lately just how many girls and women go through a time of their life, with little to no period protection. Therefore, on a day like today, International Women’s Day, I want us to come together to help an issue that us, as a woman, would have an insight into what life may be like if you couldn’t afford period protection.

I am able to afford period protection and sometimes I feel like I don’t understand how grateful I should be for that. When thinking about a life without period protection, I realised that I wouldn’t be able to go to work, I wouldn’t be able to go get food from the supermarket, I wouldn’t be able to see friends. My life would be on hold until the period was over. To think about the ease I have in life when I’m on my period because I am able to buy a pad or tampon, really opens my mind and eyes into what it would be like without it.

Like I said, on a day like today, I want to try and reach out to some of you, to help make a difference. There are people out there who can’t afford period protection and so, we can do something about that, something to help. 1 in 10 can’t afford period protection, and that is a MASSIVE issue. I know we can’t sit here and change the world because quite frankly, only the Government can do that by making period products free…but until that day happens (I pray that it does), we need to help out.

I have googled to find somewhere that we can donate to.

https://www.heygirls.co.uk is where we can donate. What I like about this website is that they have options of what you can buy. Also, their idea and meaning behind helping period poverty is a really great one. You buy, they give. So, every box you buy, they give a box to someone who needs it.

Something that is INCREDIBLE with heygirls is the reusable products. I didn’t even know that reusable products were a thing?!?!?! But, how incredible is that. They are plastic free and environmentally friendly. This is a company and idea in life that I feel so proud of. I’m proud that these things exist and people are creating these products to help period poverty. To be more environmentally friendly. To make a change to the world and help those who need it. Reusable period pads is a fantastic route to take, and I’m in a way, upset that I only just found out that these were a thing.

Along with being able to buy products for yourself and them then giving products to those in need, you can also donate money monthly or donate products. You can choose between pads and cups to donate. Therefore, if you don’t feel comfortable with buying products from the website or simply prefer the products you currently use from a supermarket, you can still HELP!! Donating something as small as £3.25 a month will truly make a difference, if you’re able to do so, then please think about how much this can help women out there.

As much as I moan about my period and as much as it sucks and I hate it, I’ve never really viewed it from the mindset of ‘thank god I have protection’. Period’s are bad enough as it is, but without protection, it must be a week from hell. I’m sure some of us have sometimes had mishaps, either we didn’t know we were due on or a random bleed. If that has happened to you before, think about how you felt when you went to the toilet and realised you’re bleeding with no protection. I most likely assume you then go grab a pad and you’re sorted again for the rest of the day. Not everyone has that. That is the reality for 1 in 10 people. Not being able to just put protection in their knickers, having to face life without it. Awful thought right?

Let’s do something about this. Let’s make a difference. Let’s help even one person out there who needs it. Please, if you have some spare cash, support the women who need the help, especially for something they physically can’t stop or control.

Happy International Women’s Day.

How to become body positive

Becoming body positive isn’t something that happens over night. It’s something that takes time and effort to find it within yourself to be positive towards your body. Everyone responds differently to their body and how it makes them feel but I wanted to touch on a few tips that have helped me in my journey of loving my body for what it is. But trust me, it wasn’t easy for me to be body positive and I still have days where I dislike how I look, but that’s okay. It’s a journey and it’s about growing from the down days and loving your body even if the day before you cried over it.

Firstly, I want to say that your body isn’t just about what it looks like. Remember the real importance of your body and how incredible it is. Your body is there to get you through every single day, it experiences everything in your life with you and its there to allow you to live. Whether you’re a size 4 or a size 20, our bodies all have the same reason and meaning behind it. It carries and creates babies, it changes every single year, it grows as you grow. So, remember that your body, everyone’s body has such a bigger meaning in life than just how it looks.

Let’s go through some tips that have helped me on my body positive journey:

Tip 1: Understanding that every body is different

I think the first thing you want to understand is that our bodies aren’t meant to be the same. I know so many people have probably told you this before or you’ve heard similar things but how boring would it be if we all looked the same? Understand that your body is the way it is because that’s how you was created. You was brought into this world to be the shape you are. That doesn’t mean I’m saying to never exercise to make your body the way you want (girl if you want that but to be bigger, then do those squats). But what more of us need to understand is that all bodies are different and that’s okay. It’s okay to have a different body from your bestie or the person you once saw in a nightclub (do we even remember what a nightclub is…this pandemic has been long…). We are different and that’s what makes this world so beautiful and interesting.

Tip 2: Don’t look in the mirror

You may be sitting there reading this thinking ‘how can I be body positive if I don’t look in the mirror???’ Hear me out. A time in my life, I was looking at my body in every mirror and reflection possible.. Did this make me feel body positive? No. In fact, it was probably the lowest I felt about my body. It was constantly on my mind to ‘check’ what my body was looking like, asif it would change within an hour. I’d go to have a bath but spend 20 minutes staring at myself, picking my body apart. It wasn’t healthy. Therefore, if you’re finding that you are always looking at your body to try and find something wrong with it then please, I know it’s easier said than done, but try and take a break from doing this. Whether you decide to remove a mirror from your room, or you get dressed in the corner of your room so you don’t see your reflection; make a change to look at yourself less. You may be surprised the impact it has on yourself and your mind by taking some time away from a mirror.

Tip 3: Don’t buy clothes just because they’re on sale

I’m very guilty of buying clothes just because it’s a bargain. I’d buy a top for £3 because it was reduced. But did I actually like this top? No, not really. I know we all love to grab a bargain when we can and sometimes these bargains pay off SO well for us, but changing your shopping attitudes can really help you become more positive about your body. Take time in deciding what you buy. Try the clothes on. If you order them, try them on twice before deciding whether to keep it. Find clothes that fit you the way you feel most confident. If it’s the case that you love an item but it’s a bit pricey, instead of spending money on other ‘basic’ clothing just for the sake of it, save up and buy that 1 item that could become such an essential in feeling positive in how you look.

Tip 4: Write down what you love about yourself

Granted, I think most of you will read this tip and think ‘there’s no way I’m writing a list complimenting myself’. I get it. A while ago I would be thinking the same. However, don’t write a list of what you love about yourself when you’re in a down mood because it will most likely only make it worse and your mind will make you believe that there isn’t anything you can write down. Maybe instead, wake up one day and before you do anything else, you note down 3 things like you love. It could be that you love how long your eyelashes are, or the size of your thighs. Writing down positives about ourself will be a huge step into your body positive journey. Feel proud about the body you have and hunny, if you have 17 things you love about yourself or even 90 things, then write them down!! Express your love for your body.

Tip 5: If you think exercise will help, then do it

Exercise is an activity that massively helps with mental health and the way you feel about yourself. This isn’t me saying you have to exercise to be body positive because you don’t have to change your body at all to do so. However, some people may find that working up a sweat and buying new gym clothes or going for a 3K run, does wonders for their confidence. When you know you’ve done something that impacts your mental health but also your physical health, it gives you that boost, those few minutes or whole week of happiness because you put in the effort to motivate yourself to sweat it out. Exercise is something that grows my confidence more than I thought it would. But again, exercise isn’t for everyone but if you are debating doing it, even if it’s once a week, try it!

Tip 6: Unfollow them

I’ll leave this as my last tip, and probably for some of you this will be the most important and affective tip. If you are following people who don’t bring you happiness on social media, then get rid. Whether you unfollow them or mute them, if you’re constantly comparing yourself or feeling down when that person uploads a selfie, then do something about it. Stop yourself from feeling down because ‘you don’t look like them’ and unfollow!!! The impact this has is insane. Trust me, if you asked anyone who has gone through their following list and unfollowed the people who don’t bring positivity to their life, they will most likely say it was one of the best things they have done to help their mindset and views on themselves. Follow people who’s posts bring you joy, who make you feel good and inspire you. Stop scrolling through a feed that makes you unhappy. You’re better than that.

I hope these tips make sense and that you find at least one of them useful. I know these tips may be quite ‘common’ but they’re still just as important as the last person who may of mentioned them. These tips are here to help you find your way through your journey of becoming body positive. When you put the time, effort and trust in yourself, you will see a difference.

If anyone else has any other tips or ways that helped you become body positive, please comment them – I would love to hear!