The Comfort Zone Challenge ft. Alys Journals

In the photo: Personalised Yoga Notebook from Papier / Random Notes of Encouragement from Bread&Jam / The Crumpet of Courage Postcard from Paperchase.

I was really excited when Alys from Alys Journals sent me an e-mail to ask if I wanted to do a collab with her. Yes please! I’ve followed Alys since forever, we share a love of travel, photography, journalling, creativity and so much more, plus we are both studying with The Open University. How cool! Her series conversations with anxiety is so relatable and I’m always in awe of her photography skills and inspired by her healthy vegan recipes. We have so much in common, it didn’t take us long to decide on a topic: stepping outside of our comfort zone.

Our challenge for the month of May was to find ways to push ourselves to try new (and scary) things and blog about our experiences. For my challenge, I wanted to improve my confidence, be brave and put myself in unfamiliar situations. As I was already a member of the gym, I decided a good place to start would be booking myself onto fitness classes I had never done before. And in the first week, I signed up to a class had never heard of called “Barre Concept”. Make sure you head over to Alys’ blog to see how she did with the comfort zone challenge too!

Lesson #1: The awkward feeling never really lasts long. 

Booking classes from the comfort of your own home is all good fun until you actually have to go to them. I admit, I was feeling apprehensive about this one, considering all I knew was that Barre Concept is a mix of ballet, Pilates and yoga. To make things even scarier, when I arrived, all the women were in a tiny room, surrounded by bright pink bouncy balls, all chatting and laughing like they had known each other for years. Yikes. I plucked up the courage to go in, found a little spot at the back, stood there awkwardly for what felt like forever (actually 2 minutes), until our teacher came in and the class started. I soon relaxed into it, and naturally I really enjoyed it. Proud comfort zone moment right there.

Lesson #2: The things we worry about don’t actually happen. 

The following week was yoga. Now, I already know a bit about yoga having practiced from the comfort of my own lounge using Yoga With Adriene on YouTube. But this is a comfort zone challenge after all, so I needed to go get out there and find my fellow local yogis. On the day, I was half-tempted to cancel the class, as it was at 12:30 and I was hungry and paranoid about my stomach rumbling in the silence of savasana (the quiet chill out pose at the end). But, I pushed my anxieties to one side, grabbed my mat and forced myself to go. Yes, the class was good, and no, my stomach didn’t unexpectedly rumble. It’s funny what we worry about.

Lesson #3: Embrace the unexpected.

This week I was expecting to try a nice jolly Zumba class, and even though dance moves aren’t my strong point I wasn’t feeling too worried about this one. That was until about five minutes before it was due to start. Outside, I casually asked one of the ladies if this was the right class, in which she replied “Zumba has been cancelled for two weeks, instead it’s a workout called Insanity” Me: “Oh okay, is it hard?” Lady: “Yes, last week people even walked out”.  I could have bottled out there and then but knowing I was doing the comfort zone challenge I felt I needed to go through the door. There were only six of us in the class and it was an high intensity workout (think: squats, push ups, planks, burpees, you name it). But, I sweated through and survived and actually felt super proud of myself afterwards.

Lesson #4: New challenges can re-energize you.

I took a week off trying new classes as my energy was low and I wasn’t feeling particularly courageous. I felt like I was in some kinda slump but couldn’t put my finger on why, so to shake things up again I booked myself onto Zumba Strong. I thought I would ease myself back in gently to the comfort zone challenge with a bit of hip shaking and Latino dance moves. Oh, how wrong was I. Zumba Strong is pretty much a bootcamp in a rock club. It’s almost identical to Insanity if not a bit harder as every move is synced to the beat of the song. It was an insanely tough high intensity workout with an awesome soundtrack. After the workout, I was buzzing and had the most productive day. My energy had returned and I felt ready to push myself again. It’s amazing how leaving your comfort zone can make you feel. 

It’s now the beginning of June and officially my Comfort Zone challenge is over. However, each experience taught me something new and I want to continue developing my confidence, so I guess the Comfort Zone challenge is never really over. I hope you enjoyed reading and make sure you head over to Alys’ blog to see how she did with the comfort zone challenge too!

Have you ever tried a comfort zone challenge? Or have tried Barre Concept, yoga, Insanity or Zumba Strong? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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