I’ve been working from home for a month now, but from Monday I will officially be on ‘furlough’ for a minimum of 3 weeks, under the UK government’s Job Retention Scheme.
It’s my 10th anniversary of working for this charity, and I had been thinking a few months ago that I could really do with a sabbatical…but these circumstances aren’t exactly what I had in mind. The reduction in pay is thankfully cancelled out by having stopped my travel season ticket payments. Shows just how expensive train travel is!
I’ve been asked by a couple of people what I’m going to do with the time. ANYONE who knows me knows that I ALWAYS have projects on the go! I won’t go crazy trying to do all of this list, but I have some of the following to keep me occupied:
- My soap biz – I want to practice the cold process some more, continue to sell off old stock online and do some social media posts, as well as getting online orders out.
- Jobs around the house – spring cleaning, replacing peeling wallpaper in our bedroom, decluttering.
- The garden – keeping it tidy and watered. I’m also trying to grow tomatoes and propagate plants from cuttings! I was given a Garden Design online short course for my birthday, which I might have a crack at.
- Tap dance – weekly rhythm tap classes continue from the first week of May, plus I’ll keep practising in my garage. Tap & Tea Thursdays on Zoom continue for at least another 3 weeks.
- Exercise – I’ve been doing 80s aerobics plus some ballet barre exercises and stretching in the garage every week day around 5pm. This must continue!
- Study – I have the final 2 modules of my HR Practice studies to complete, both of which include a filmed skills test. I’m more used to speaking to the camera since the lock-down!
- Writing – I love to write! And obviously I’ll keep writing this blog 🙂
There are also downtime things like reading books and magazines, chatting on the phone and messaging friends and family, quiz nights, jigsaws and games, catching up on TV shows and my mindfulness interior design colouring book :)) Plus we have church online at the moment.
For continuity and so I don’t feel weird when I go back to work, I plan to continue joining my team’s daily catch-ups online, but just on Monday mornings.
After having been really on it and motivated in going to the gym every Tuesday during my lunch hour, I ended up not going for 2 weeks. I am almost 3 weeks into the new rhythm tap term, so I am doing something, but I do want to keep the gym in my weekly routine for fitness, toning and important dancer’s knee maintenance. But, having given in to ‘I can’t be bothered’, it took everything I had to make myself get back to it yesterday.
At midday I went, worked out and felt great afterwards!
How to motivate yourself to hit the gym:
- Create a manageable routine – my routine is gym every Tuesday at 12pm, tap class every Thursday at 1.30pm, with a rest day in between.
- Don’t make your sessions so long that you can’t face going again – Because I’m squeezed by my lunch hour, I go for about half an hour to 40 minutes, which includes important stretch time.
- Don’t set ridiculous goals that you can’t achieve – a six-pack is overrated, unless you’re into competitive bodybuilding… One of my goals was to lose a couple of kilos – done!
- Include a variety of machines in your repertoire – I started with just a few basic machines and then I’ve been trying to add a new thing every few weeks.
- Measure your progress – this may be weight (yours or the weights you are able to lift), body measurements, or even blood pressure readings if you’re trying to reduce your BP
- Reward yourself on your achievements – a massage, a new piece of gym clothing
- Find a gym buddy and go together – this might be a friend, colleague or family member
- If you gym in the evening, go straight there from work. DO NOT go home first. You won’t leave!
- Prep an amazing post-workout meal that you can look forward to afterwards. I make all my lunches for the week – a salad that usually consists of chicken breast, rocket, olives, feta, sweetcorn, pasta with pine nuts and spinach.
- Create a bangin’ playlist that you look forward to listening to as you work out (as well as modern stuff, mine has a lot of 80s power tracks, which are high-tempo, cheesy and super-motivating – think Maniac by Michael Sembello)
I actually look forward to my shower at work afterwards because it’s like a bit of pampering during my working day with the shower kit I created:
- Tropical Shower gel
- Wash mit
- Coarse body scrub
- Foot file
- Shea Body Butter
- Tea tree foot gel with arnica
- Mini bath mat
Yes, I scrub, shower, shave and moisturise like a mini spa treatment. A shower doesn’t have to just be practical!
What motivates you to get up and go to the gym? Let me know in the comments.
Today I managed my second Tuesday at the gym! Although I have to say I didn’t feel pumped and energised like last week, despite making sure I was hydrated and had eaten a few energy-rich snacks mid-morning. I’m probably a bit low on iron at the moment and could also do with a few early nights where I sleep straight through. Oh, and a bowl of KALE.
I started on the cross trainer, but started to feel a bit weird, so I got myself off that immediately and went to the low bike for 5 low-intensity minutes to make sure I at least did something. Then I moved onto the abductor and adductor machines, then the quad and hamstring machines, and the chest press.
Finally I went to the yellow mats to do some gentle stretching of the quads, hamstrings, calves, feet and ankles etc.
As soon as I got back to work I wolfed down my lunch and felt a lot better!
- Shut up and Drive – Rihanna
- Where Love Lives – Alison Limerick
- Groove is in the Heart – Deee-Lite
- I feel for you – Chaka Khan
- Doo Wop (That Thing) – Lauryn Hill
- Unfinished Sympathy – Massive Attack
On another note, after work yesterday I went for a 45 minute full body holistic massage at a place I discovered a while ago near work. It was fabulous, but I could have done with it today instead! (Unfortunately the therapist only works there on Mondays and Saturdays). I am aiming to have a massage once a quarter to every other month if possible for body maintenance. I’m also thinking about visiting a podiatrist for a medical pedicure for important tap dancer’s foot maintenance (TDFM), so I’m doing a bit research, and obviously this all costs money!
Today I finally made myself go to the gym at lunchtime – YAY!
I’ve been wanting to do some strength work for several months now, due to my left knee being a bit achy and creaky during this past year of doing rhythm tap classes. I suspect it is to do with weak muscles around the knee, so I had given Pilates classes a go, but found the time constraints too much to fit it into a lunchtime. Oh, and the teacher was scary and always late!
Solution: buy a PAYG gym pass and do a 25 minute workout and stretch session at the university gym across the road.
I am choosing Tuesdays as gym day so that I have a rest day in between that and Thursday’s tap class. Hopefully I can turn this into a weekly habit and not give up when I don’t feel like it.
The gym was nice and quiet today, so no waiting for free machines – bonus! I started with a 10 minute aerobic warm-up on the cross trainer using a varied terrain, followed by a selection of weight machines, including the leg-press. I finished up with a ten minute seated and standing stretch session on the mat.
I am also massaging both knees every evening with my homemade sports massage oil, which contains peppermint, cypress and lemongrass essential oils.
Let’s see if I notice any difference this Thursday…
*My inspiration is a lady in her 80s (you wouldn’t believe it though!) who comes into my office once a week to help with some admin and she gyms and swims 5 times a week!*
This rainy afternoon I finally got out into my garage/dance studio and did a bit of tap! ☔ I played music from my phone through the Bluetooth speaker and had a go at some drills, including flaps and lots of shuffles, especially on the left hand side which seems to miss the floor a LOT when I use my tap board. I dunno, it’s a bit slippery and I guess being confined to a square compared to using a whole studio makes it difficult. Still, it was good!
Next I did some ankle strengthening using a balance board. It’s really hard to keep it even and centred, which makes it ideal for working those ankles!
Next I did some 5kg weights, lifting them above my head, out front, behind, to the sides, and then some squats. I followed this up with crunches – it has been a while!
I finished up my sweatfest with some stretching. Maybe I’m motivated because I’ve now got 2 weeks off work 🙂
My (eclectic) Playlist:
- My Same – Adele
- California Soul – Marlena Shaw
- Get Off – Foxy
- Hanky Panky – Madonna
- Cornflake Girl – Tori Amos
- Candy Shop – Andrew Bird
- These Days – Take That
- Changing – Sigma feat. Paloma Faith
- Forget – Lianne La Havas
- When My Baby – Bing Crosby
During my week off work I finally got to set up my home dance studio/gym in the garage! Now I have somewhere to practise tap dance 😀👍👍
It is a great space because the people who owned the house before had installed electricity for lights and heating, plus a proper door from the garden and a window, which brings natural light. There is also plenty of light from the transparent roof.
The studio is comprised of the following:
- Interlocking foam floor tiles (wood effect)
- 3 over-the-door mirrors (around £14 each from The Range)
- Cube unit for storing dumbbells etc
- Foldaway ballet barre
- Tap board
- Motivational posters
I had attached some red ‘Dance’ lettering to the wall above the mirrors, but it fell down and broke overnight, so I need to find a way fix it and try to attach it more securely.
The next task is to get rid of the rest of the furniture sitting at the other end of the garage!
I’m so pleased with it because I was getting kind of frustrated with having nowhere to practise other than in the corridors and toilets at work. Yay!
Has anyone done anything similar?
Hope you have a great Christmas whatever you’re doing! We will be hosting my mum for a mini Christmas on Christmas Eve, going to the in-laws for a few days and seeing my family on other days. Not sure if I will be doing a Parkrun this Christmas Day, but I am aiming to get my fitness back (or restarted 😵) during the holidays with some walking and workout dvds, of which I have MANY.