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10 Easy Ways To Create Calm

This weekend Shaun and I chilled out in style. I am talking duvets, heating on, cosy clothes, snacks, books and films. It was defo much needed. Life can get really hectic at times which means anxiety and stress levels slowly rise up without us realizing. So having a complete rest day is sometimes necessary to re-balance and regain the chill in your life. Our weekend of relaxation perfectly coincided with the arrival of my new book Calm by Fearne Cotton. I tweeted on Sunday that after reading just one chapter I fell asleep, so it must be working heh.

Last November I read Fearne’s book called Happy, which I reviewed here. I fell in love with her gorgeous writing style and the way she uses words so creatively. Her book made a lot of sense and offered so many snippets of wisdom – so when I noticed she had released a follow up book, I was straight onto Amazon to order my copy.

Fearne has included her own beautiful illustrations which add a splash of colour and really bring the book to life.

‘Calm is feeling connected even when everything feels hectic’

‘Self-care isn’t overindulgent or a luxury, it’s about not being too hard on yourself’

This is a fab book which you can dip in and out of when you are in need of a moment of calm. It’s got activities and easy ideas to try. If you are looking for suggestions on self-care, how to keep your life in balance, managing uncomfortable emotions and finding your way back to ease and peace then this book is for you. Click here to order yourself a copy and feel the calmness return to your life. But first, here are my 10 Easy Ways To Create Calm.

Paint, colour, create

You don’t need to be an artist to do art. Grab a pen and some pencils and have fun sketching, doodling and experimenting with colour. It’s fun, therapeutic and gives your mind a rest from the stresses of everyday life.

Escape with a book

Books are the best way to calm the mind and escape to some place new. If you don’t have time for a novel, why not pick up a magazine which you can enjoy on your coffee break.

Create a chill playlist

I can listen to chilled Spotify playlists all day and find they are perfect for anything from relaxing in the bath to background study music. A few of my favourites which bring me instant chill are ChillStep, Feels, Tropical House, Ibiza Sunset and Focus On The Remix.

Play a sport

Shaun & I have just recently started playing badminton and it honestly is such a relaxing way to get fit. I’ve noticed that because I am so focused on the game, I stop thinking, my worries disappear and my body relaxes. Any sport where you need to concentrate is great for reducing anxiety.

Enjoy nature

Going for a walk is calming in itself, but walking in nature is the ultimate in chill. Fresh air, exercise and beautiful scenery is enough to quiet an overthinking mind. My favourite places to walk are along the seafront watching the waves or exploring a countryside trail and looking out for wildlife.

Guided relaxation

I have mentioned YouTube yoga a few times already on my blog, but Youtube is also a great place to find guided relaxations. If I am feeling particularly anxious and in need a quick relaxation fix, I’ll search for one of these, close my eyes and feel the tension melt away.

Write down your thoughts

Stress can cause so much mental chaos, it is sometimes hard to make sense of it all. I find it helps to keep a journal or diary and jot down my thoughts and feelings. This helps to put things into perspective and closing the book on your anxieties is somewhat therapeutic.

Watch your favourite comedy

Laughter is one of the best stress busters out there. If you are feeling on edge and nothing seems to be working, an episode of your favourite show can lift your spirits and distract your from your worries. What are your favourites? I always enjoy watching Alan Partridge, Peep Show and Only Fools And Horses – gotta love a bit of British comedy.

Bath with all the bubbles

Relaxing in the bath at the end of a long day is great for the body and mind. I light a few candles, select my perfect playlist and let the tension from the day melt away. It’s my favourite thing to do and no matter how I’m feeling, a soak in a hot bath will always make me feel completely refreshed and calm afterwards.

Avoid negativity

Finally, staying away from negativity and drama will do wonders for stress levels. Seek out positive people and those who build you up instead of knocking you down. The sort of people you surround yourself with has a great impact on your mood, self-esteem and overall mental health.

I hope you enjoyed my 10 easy ways to create calm, let me know your relaxation ideas in the comments. I would love to hear your thoughts.

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The A – Z of Bexa

I spotted this idea whilst I was doing a blog comment swap yesterday and thought it was a great way to get to know someone. When I started this earlier I didn’t realise that 26 is actually quite a lot of things to think up (and some of them are a bit sketchy) but hey, it was more fun than studying. Hope you enjoy reading more about me. Let’s go!

A is for… Acoustic Guitar

I’ve been teaching myself guitar for a few years now. I can play a wide variety of songs from Noel Gallagher to Oasis tunes.

B is for… Beaches

I’m lucky that I only live half hour from the seaside. I love walks along the beach – something about the sea and sand in your shoes is so therapeutic. You can read about my recent trip to Bournemouth Beach here.

C is for… Chimichanga

This is where Shaun and I went on our first foodie date. He pretended to like sweet potato fries to impress me and only confessed that he didn’t about 8 months later.

D is for… Dr. Martens

Dr. Martens are my favourite kinda footwear. These are my floral docs I’ve been pretty much living in for about two years.

E is for… Eat, Pray, Love

This film is one of my absolutely favourites. I aspire to be Liz Gilbert where she just packs up her life and goes travelling. I’d definitely consider it as long as I could get some cat passports.

F is for… Fries (Sweet Potato)

Oh yes. You have probably already guessed that I have a little obsession with sweet potato fries.

G is for… Greece

If you read my recent post on my Greece Travel Scrapbook, you’ll know I quite like Greek islands. I have visited seven so far and can’t wait to visit them all… only another 5,993 to go…

H is for… Hello Bexa

How could I not mention blogging! I started this blog in October 2017 and has fast become one of my favourite things to do. I’m excited to see where 2018 takes me and this little space of internet I call Hello Bexa.

I is for… Instagram

Well, not really Instagram at all but more so photography, but I’ve already got a P. Taking photos has always been a passion of mine – I have a hard-drive jam packed of images from well, when I first started taking photos. I’ve recently got a new camera for Christmas (thanks Dad) so trying to teach myself new skills.

J is for… Journalling

I’m a bit of a planner nerd and have a love for pretty notebooks and stationery. Click here to read more about my journalling.

K is for… Kittens

Simba and Zazu as kittens when they actually liked each other (4 years ago). How ridiculously cute is this.

L is for… Lazy Sundays

Just wanted an excuse to put this picture in really. But lazy Sunday’s reading and catching up with blogs are the best. Sunday’s also include a roast dinner with my family which is always nice. Don’t forget to check out my Sunday Blog Swap on Twitter – it’s my pinned tweet all day and you can share your latest posts and comment on others. It’s all good fun.

M is for… Massages

I just wanted to slip this one in, just in case any Spa’s or luxury hotels somehow find this post and wanted to offer me some free treatments in exchange for a review. I’m joking! Or am I? (My inbox is always open…)

N is for… NOFX, No Use For A Name (& other punk bands)

I think I’m forever a punk girl at heart. I spent my younger years with short emo hair, piercings, listening to angry music and generally being rebellious. I’m still pretty much the same, except now I’ve taken all my piercings out.

O is for… Only Fools And Horses

Ha ha, last year Shaun and I watched every single Only Fools And Horses episode ever made. It only took us about half a year, but time well spent in my opinion as Shaun can now do an excellent Boycie impression.

P is for… Postcards

Every time I go on holiday, I always make sure I pick up a few postcards for my scrapbook. I’m a bit sentimental like that. P is also for… puns! My brain is 90% song lyrics and 10% trying to think up funny puns.

Q is for… Quotes (Motivational)

I do like motivational quotes, the cheesier the better in my opinion. I have recently brought a print which says ‘Don’t Quit Your Daydream’ and think it’s brilliant.

R is for… Revival

I’ve been loving Eminem’s new album recently and think it’s deserves a mention. It’s fantastic gym motivation. I’m pretty sure I burn more calories when I listen to Eminem. If you haven’t already heard it, go listen and turn it up. My favourite tracks are Heat, River, Nowhere Fast, Tragic Endings, ahh so many great tracks.

S is for… Simba (and Shaun)

Or if Shaun is reading this, that should read Shaun (and Simba). Simba is my very helpful blogging buddy (see photographic evidence). And Shaun always leaves me lovely comments and I don’t even have to pester him (much).

T is for… Tea

I’m a self-confessed tea addict. I go through my days in a Yorkshire Tea Caffeinated Haze but it does wonders for productivity.

U is for… University

I’m currently studying full time for a MSc in Science with The Open University whilst I figure out what I want to be when I grow up.  I’ve been studying with them for years and got my Health Science degree through them too. It’s a great way to gain qualifications and pretend you are doing something important with your life. Check out my first ever post on Open Uni Study Tips. 

V is for… Visiting Different Places

I love grabbing my camera (and Shaun) and going off to visit different towns. Recent adventures have included Bath, Brighton & Bournemouth. Ha ha, it looks like I only visit places beginning with B. Where next? Bognor?

W is for… Wispa Golds

I struggled with W then I remembered my love of Wispa Golds. I mean Wispas are good but adding a layer of caramel is absolute genius.

X is for… Xercise

As you can see I also struggled with X, hah. Oh well, here is a shameless plug for 6 Ways To Stay Motivated With Your Fitness Goals. 

Y is for… Yoga

Yoga is awesome and has so many amazing benefits. I am currently doing the 30 Day Yoga With Adriene series called True which is a great way to start the year with positivity and flexible legs. Click here to read 10 Awesome Benefits of Yoga. 

Z is for… Zazu

Last but by no means least, it’s Simba’s brother from another fluffy mother. Zazu is my funny little cat who only seems to like me and is petrified of the letter box, the window cleaner, my Dr. Martens, my mum, walnuts, the vets, Shaun’s slippers, the printer, wrapping paper… I could go on. Bless him.

I hope you enjoyed reading a bit more about me. If you do your own, leave me your links, I’d love to read more about my fellow bloggers!

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10 Amazing Benefits Of Yoga

I have been doing yoga on and off for a number of years now and I still think it is one of the best forms of exercise out there. It’s got tons of amazing health benefits for both the body and the mind. This month I have been enjoying the YouTube yoga videos on the Yoga With Adriene channel rolling out my mat each day to do the True 30 Days Of Yoga series. I am definitely feeling the benefits of a regular practice after only two weeks so I thought I would share with you all the awesome things that come from taking up yoga.

Boosts Energy

Yoga is an awesome natural energy booster. Many mornings I have woken up feeling a little meh, but as soon as I’m flowing through the yoga poses I feel wide awake and alert. Yoga gets the blood circulating around the body so a fresh supply of oxygen to the brain is going to make you feel totally energized and ready for the day ahead.

Improves Flexibility

A common misconception is that you need to be super flexible to practice yoga. As Adriene will tell you in the videos, yoga is suitable for any ages and any level of fitness. The more you practice however, the more supple your muscles will become and flexibility will gradually increase over time. It’s all about progression not perfection.

Strengthens Muscles

There are so many poses in yoga which improve strength and help to tone your body. The ones which spring to mind right now are downward dog, plank pose, side plank, boat pose and chair pose. In yoga, you use your own body weight as resistance and this is great for building muscle and improving strength. It is so satisfying to return to the mat each day feeling a little stronger than the day before.

Immune System

Yoga is amazing for your lymphatic system which plays a vital role in immunity. Lymph vessels transport white blood cells around the body which attack bacteria and fight off infections. A well functioning lymphatic system means you are less likely to catch colds and viruses as your body’s defense mechanisms are working well.

Clarity & Focus

Yoga is so good for quietening the mind and letting distracting thoughts fade into the background. As you focus on the poses and breathing, patience and concentration improves – a skill which you can take with you off the mat with you into your everyday life. After yoga, I always feel calm and focused and ready to  have a productive day.

Weight Loss

Yoga is a fantastic type of exercise to consider if you are trying to lose weight as it works with both the body and the mind. The physical postures in yoga strengthen and tone which helps to transform the shape of your body. Also, if you are feeling calm, balanced and in control, you are more likely to make good healthy food choices instead of eating out of stress or bordem.

Detoxification

A yoga routine can detox both your body and your mind. Physically, yoga is great for stimulating the digestive system and cleansing the liver which removes toxins from the body. Mentally, yoga helps to dispel negative thought patterns and retrains your mind to think positively and optimistically. Yoga can give you an amazing detox better than any sort of restrictive diet.

Reduces Stress & Anxiety

Yoga reduces stress and anxiety by lowering blood pressure and regulating important hormones. An interesting study conducted in 2010 published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that those who regularly practiced yoga had increased levels of the amino acid GABA. This neurotransmitter is associated with improved mood and decreased anxiety. Gotta love a bit of science.

Improves Sleep

Among the many benefits of yoga, a restful sleep is one of them. There are tons of yoga poses and sequences which calm the mind and reduce anxiety leaving you feeling calm and relaxed. Sleep is so important as it is the time when our body removes toxins and undergoes cellular repair – so adding some yoga into your life does wonders for your health overall.

Encourages A Healthy Lifestyle

If practiced regularly, yoga can help enable you to live a healthy lifestyle. It sets the tone for a positive and productive day. It reduces stress and allows you to make good decisions, especially when it comes to eating a nutritious balanced diet. You feel fitter, stronger, happier, healthier and ready to take on whatever life throws at you. So yeah, I think yoga is pretty awesome.

Do you practice yoga? Do you do YouTube Yoga or go to a fitness class? If you are feeling inspired to give it a try, I recommend checking out Yoga With Adriene to find a video which suits you.

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6 Ways To Stay Motivated With Your Fitness Goals

On the 1st January, I wanted to make it my mission to make January colourful. What I mean by that is I wanted to do a variety of different workouts and colour the squares in my new planner. Ever since I lost 4 stone back in 2010, I have been keen to keep fitness a regular part of my life. Although sometimes, it can be difficult to find the motivation to workout, especially on dark January mornings. So here are 6 Ways To Stay Motivated With Your Fitness Goals.

Heidi Swapp Memory Planner and mini inspirational card from Treatbox

Keep A Record

I am a bit of a planner geek and love keeping records of everything and anything. I find there is nothing more satisfying than writing down your completed workout in your planner and colouring it in all pretty. Sometimes the thought of colouring a new square in is enough to get you motivated. On Sunday, it was a dark and cold morning but I knew I wanted to go swimming just so I could colour my square in blue. Silly but hey, it worked!

Make A Date

At my gym, you can book classes up to two weeks in advance – so the other day I sat down and organised my fitness schedule. I am now booked onto Body Conditioning, Legs Bums Tums & Body Balance this week. I find that if you make a date in your dairy, you are less likely to cancel and more likely to plan your life around your workouts. I don’t need to think too much about what I am doing if it’s planned in advance, I just put my trainers on and go!

Mix It Up

I know from experience that if you do the same workout over and over again, it gets boring and bordem leads to demotivation. To keep things interesting, I try to add a variety of workouts into my week. Choose a handful of activities you find enjoyable and make time for them all. I go to the gym twice a week but on those days I feel energized and keen to have a good workout as I feel refreshed and looking forward to do something a little different.

Set Yourself Challenges

At the moment I am doing a 30 Day Yoga series called True on the Yoga With Adriene YouTube Channel. I really enjoy yoga workouts at home but sometimes motivation to roll out the mat can be difficult. This month I want to get back into a regular yoga routine starting with a 30 Day Challenge. Setting yourself a goal or challenge is a great way to stay motivated. Step out of your comfort zone, make new healthy habits and surprise yourself.

Be Kind To Yourself

Although a fitness challenge is all good fun, it isn’t healthy to obsess over it and beat yourself up if things don’t go according to plan. On Friday, life got in the way and I didn’t have a chance to do Day 4 of Yoga. Instead of feeling like I failed, I thought okay never mind just carry on and do Day 4 tomorrow. One off day doesn’t have to result in a complete disaster. Just get back on track when you can and do your best.

Have Fun

The most important thing about fitness is having fun! Maybe fun isn’t the first thing you think of when you hear the word fitness, but I think it definitely can be. Shaun and I have started playing badminton at the weekends and it is such an enjoyable way to stay fit and active. Also, having a good workout playlist at the gym can make all the difference. Music is a fantastic motivator – today it didn’t feel like exercise, it felt like I was having a dance party all by myself on the stationary bike. Brilliant!

What motivates you towards your fitness goals? I’ve love to hear your ideas and suggestions. Are you keeping a colourful fitness planner? Join in with me and share your photos on social media using the tag #makejanuarycolourful

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