At the end of last year I spent a weekend at my sisters flat in Birmingham, where she took out two cameras from her University, and we went and explored parts of Birmingham I'd never been. We started off following the canal round from her accommodation, up to Digbeth to look at the street art (where we stopped of for coffee), before heading to the Library of Birmingham and more specifically their roof gardens. That was easily my favourite part of the walk, as from high up there everyone looked like little Playmobile characters, the world just didn't look real!! Here is a little selection of the photo's I snapped! I'm hopefully going to go on more little photo walks this year, so fingers crossed there will be more posts similar to this one coming soon!
I decided to have a look at what the most popular New Year's resolutions were in the UK, and make a post with a few tips and tricks to help you guys on the right track with each!
Loose weight, healthy eating and more exercise
These three resolutions combined made up 50%!! That's a crazy percentage, and all three things go hand in hand in having a healthier lifestyle.
To start off I have made this Pinterest board full of home workouts, yoga poses, as well as health and fitness tips. It might also be worth investing in a health tracker such a Fitbit (especially in the January sales with any Christmas money you might have got!), which also monitors your sleeping as well as tracking your activity and weight. I'd also advice in getting the Nike+ Training app available, with pre planned fitness routines, and a tracker for when you go running.
This time of year there are also plenty of gym membership discounts, but ALWAYS read the terms and conditions, and choose a plan where you pay monthly and can opt out any time, unless you know that you will commit to going for the whole year. I've always found it cheaper to go to local, non-chain gyms, which can be annoying if you travel around the country a lot, but perfect if you tend to spend most of your time in one area.
If gyms aren't your thing, there are plenty of home workout dvd's (my favourite is the Ministry of Sound Chillates) or there are so many amazing YouTube channels dedicated to fitness, such as Carly Rowena and Blogilates. If home workouts aren't your thing either, and regular run of the mill sports like football or netball aren't your thing either, it might be worth looking at trying a more obscure fun sport, like roller derby, laughter yoga, aerial yoga, hula dancing, horse riding, aqua aerobics, ice hockey, the list goes on!! Or you could even sign up to something like The Colour Run or Tough Mudder.
To help with having a healthier diet, I have made this board of Pinterest recipes which are all vegetarian and vegan (it has been proven that a plant based diet is better for your health, even switching to have meat free Mondays makes a big difference) where most are healthy and hearty dinners. You could even start by doing something as simple as swapping out unhealthy snacks like crisps and chocolate, with healthy snacks such as mixed nuts, fruit, nakd bars, propercorn, or smoothies. Another huge factor is portion control, you could be having really healthy dinners but not notice a change in health or weight, which probably means that you are eating too much of a good thing! A handy tip to help combat this is to use smaller plates and bowls when eating, so it tricks your brain into thinking you are eating more as your plate is more full.
A common misconception, is eating healthily costs lots of money. And yes this can be the case if you buy really fancy health foods from Wholefoods or Ocado (they are yummy though!), which is why I really love the 'Living on Less' series that Plant Based Traveller have made on YouTube, giving handy meal plans on how to eat nutritiously as vegans on a low budget.
Another huge factor of staying healthy, which usually is overlooked (I know I SUCK at this), is staying hydrated. A great way to do this is to buy a water bottle and refill it at certain times of the day. Below I have included nine bottles of varying styles and price points, but you can find some really lovely ones in TKMaxx if none of these take your fancy.
A good way to stay healthy, is to notice patterns in you're eating, and try to correct those unhealthy patterns, such as eating lots of fatty foods when hormonal or feeling stressed, or doing the opposite and not eating anything. The best way to do this is to write a food journal. This can also be helpful if you are having health issues which could be caused by certain food intake; I've done this in the past when trying to find triggers for having migraines. Personally I just wrote down in a weekly planner what I ate day to day, but there are also apps available which make this easier. If you are doing this to loose weight then an app like Kudolife may be good for you, where it calculates your calorie and intake of each food group, and gives you tailored food plans to increase or decrease your intake of certain groups. If you are doing this maybe as CBT for recovering from an eating disorder, or to prevent one from happening/worsening (which I have done myself, there is no shame in being open and honest with your doctor or a close friend if you are struggling to take care for yourself) then an app like Rise Up is great for tracking your progress, and how you are feeling each time you eat.
Drink less alcohol
A great way to start this new year's resolution is to do something like Dry January or Dryalthlon, and use raising money for a good cause as a motivator to keep you going. And once you have completed the month drink free, try to limit your intake, as you know that you can do it, and this articles list of health benefits are unreal.
If alcohol consumption is more of an addiction issue, it is important that you get specialist advice from a doctor, or contact a charity such as Alcoholics Anonymous. If you're unsure if your drinking habits are normal, the Don't Bottle It Up quiz will let you know, as well as pointing you in the direction of specialist help in your local area. The NHS website has lots of information and advice, as does the Alcohol Concern website. Drink Aware have a log in section where you can track your alcohol intake, and they will give you tailored advice and support on how to cut your intake down.
I included this video in my How To Cope With Mental Health Issues During The Holidays blog post, but for anyone who missed it and may need to watch it, this video from Lucy Moon on her Alcoholism is a very good watch.
Learn new things
There are SO many things that you guys could want to learn, so I don't really know where to start! Pinterest, Skillshare and Twitch (especially Twitch Creative), are my three go to websites for learning new skills. If you are wanting to learn skills with other people in workshops or events, then websites like Eventbrite or Meetup are great. I imagine one of the main skills people want to learn are languages, for that you can't really beat lessons with real tutors, but these days apps like Duolingo, get pretty close.
Casey Neistat really is the god at career focus, and this video below has motivated me so many times.
I wasn't really sure what this resolution meant, but I imagine it covers toxic relationships, being scared to start new relationships/ building confidence to start dating, being okay being single, making a struggling couple stronger or rekindling friendships/connections with family members. And these are such personal and vast things to give advice on. If you would like a whole post on this then please let me know!
The first thing to do with quitting smoking, is slowly limit your intake per day, and get yourself to a point where you could visit a pharmacy to discuss which stop smoking aids may be suitable for you. Boots has a great section on their website about this. The best online resource I've found for this is, Smokefree through the NHS, where they offer guidance in whichever way suits you, and everything is tailored to your needs to make it as easy as possible.
The first step to travelling more, is saving enough money to do so. The Money Saving Expert has loads of great money advice, and this is an article especially on saving money for a holiday.
It may seem obvious, but looking on websites like Wowcher, Groupon or Lastminute, save you lots of money if you're happy to go at strange times of the year and have a package holiday. Hostelworld is also amazing, please don't be put off by the word hostel, I have stayed in a few now, and each time had my own private room and bathroom and breakfast included, and I honestly couldn't recommend it more. If there are specific hotels you wish to stay, it might be worth trying to get a good deal on travel, such as getting an Interrail Pass or using a search engine like Google Flights to get the best deal.
The most obvious way to help charitably, is to volunteer, either for the charity itself, or maybe at one of their events or charity shops. If you don't have enough time to do that, maybe consider donating some of your old clothes or books or homeware to a local charity shop, or donate your hair next time you have a hair cut, or donate a couple pounds a month to a charity you want to support. Another way to be charitable, is by spreading love, sharing important links on social media, signing petitions you believe in, going to peaceful protests you strongly believe in, or just being a part of your community.
Whatever you choose to do this year, please take care of yourself and set realistic small achievable goals as well as long term goals which you can slowly work towards. Good luck, and Happy New Year!!!