Recent Posts

Confession: Why I quit blogging

Confession: Why I quit blogging

You may have noticed I’ve been AWOL. In fact this is the first blog I’ve posted on Hannah Gets Hench for a really long time. Have you missed me? In this post I’m going to explain why. And more importantly, why I’ve returned. (Don’t worry […]

4 delicious protein smoothies to keep you hydrated this summer

4 delicious protein smoothies to keep you hydrated this summer

Staying hydrated can be a challenge at the best of times, let alone in summer. It’s no secret that drinking water is the key to staying hydrated, but sometimes it’s difficult to keep it interesting. I’ve teamed up with Peak Body to put together four […]

Italy travel blog: Rome, Florence and Pisa

Italy travel blog: Rome, Florence and Pisa

Italy has been on my ‘must-see’ destination list for such a long time; after all it’s the home of pizza, pasta and gelato! Earlier this month I finally got to visit and it completely surpassed my expectations.

italy travel blog

I went with Ellie, would you believe it’s our 3rd trip together in less than a year, for a long weekend. We left early on Thursday morning and spent 4 days there; with 2 days in Rome, one day in Florence and our last day In Pisa before an early flight home on Monday morning.

It was difficult to see everything we wanted to in such a short space of time, especially as one of my favourite parts of travelling is wandering around and not sticking to a schedule, but I feel like we packed in a lot.

10 things you must do in Italy

italy travel blog

Drink with the bohemians in Trastevere

Trastevere is a quirky neighbourhood a short walk away from the busy tourist spots in Rome. It’s a favourite with locals and tourists alike because of its unique coffee shops, bars and restaurants. We were there on Thursday and Friday night and people of all ages gathered in the Piazza di San Calisto (a pretty square with a fountain) to dance and watch live music. This reminded me of watching the people dancing and singing by the Seine River when I visited Paris (post here.)

italy travel blog

Join in with Appertiv

What’s better than enjoying a cocktail while you watch the sun set on piazza navona? Free snacks! Italian bars and restaurants serve you free snacks when you buy a drink between 16.30pm and 7pm (times sometimes vary so be sure to check) and includes a variety of bread, meats, cheeses and olives. Appertiv quickly became our favourite pre-dinner ritual.

italy travel blog

View Florence’s magical skyline

If you climb up a LOT of steps towards the Piazzale Michelangelo you will be rewarded with a stunning view of Florence’s skyline and the river Arno. It’s well worth the walk, we also visited a beautiful church and walked through a very old cemetery.

We went in the day, but I can imagine the view would be even more magical at night.

Italy travel blog

Italy travel blog

Discover hidden streets

Italy is a photographer’s dream, everywhere looks so interesting and beautiful! Wandering down streets and finding places away from the beaten track is something every tourist should do.

Rome’s streets are very narrow and cobbled with ivy cascading from the top and religious pictures featured in the walls. While Florence is much wider and more Venetian in their architecture, featuring big window shutters and washing hanging down. On the other hand, Pisa is more colourful, open and less cobbled.

Italy travel blog

Italy travel blog

Try a negroni

There is one drink you MUST try when you are in Italy, if you dare! A Negroni is a traditional Italian cocktail consisting of one-part gin, one-part vermouth rosso and one-part Campari, garnished with orange peel. Let me tell you, it is not like an Aperol Spritz!

See the sights up close and personal

You can’t visit Italy without seeing some famous landmarks! If you’re in Rome you should definitely visit the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain; we also saw the Spanish Steps, the Vatican and the Pantheon (although I was refused entry because of my white vest top…)

Italy travel blog

Italy travel blog

Italy travel blog

Laugh at tower tourists

Speaking of famous sights, if you visit Pisa you must see the Leaning Tower. Pisa is actually really tiny and although it has lots of gorgeous marble architecture, there isn’t a great deal to do apart from visit the tower and admire the beautiful buildings close by.

Italy travel blog

We had a great time watching all the other tourists try and get the perfect leaning tower picture. I found it quite difficult to get a good shot so just opted for a normal one instead. Could you do better?

Spot 10 sausage dogs

I was surprised and delighted at how many dachshunds I saw during my trip to Italy. Although they are popular in England, I have never seen as many in such a short space of time! There were also lots of poodles, chihuahuas and spaniels (I have no pictures of the puppers!)

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. I would absolutely love to return to Italy, especially Rome, and would highly recommend it to anyone.

 

The Northern Blog Awards 2017

The Northern Blog Awards 2017

It seems like the NBAs was only last weekend, but I’ve realised it was a few weekends ago now and I still haven’t written about it! Hosted by We Blog North, the artist formerly known as We Blog MCR, it was a night of glitz, […]

Autumn Makeup Masterclass with Space NK

Autumn Makeup Masterclass with Space NK

Autumn is my favourite season, hands down. The temperature drops and allows you to bring out the knitwear, you can chain drink brews without turning into a sweat monster, and best of all, the Halloween stuff comes out! In addition to the above, I’m a […]

My journey into Intuitive Eating

My journey into Intuitive Eating

Autumn pancakes on plate
Photo by Joseph Gonzalez via Unsplash

When I first heard about Intuitive Eating I was a little sceptical, doesn’t it just mean eating whatever you want all the time? Why does this need to be a ‘movement’? Surely there are some health implications for this?

After some serious sarcastic eye rolls and a lot of research later, I discovered Intuitive Eating was much more than that.

Intuitive Eating helps us to develop a happy and healthy relationship with food and teaches us to listen to what our body wants. It stops us from starving and restricting ourselves and helps us to quit binging and overeating for good.

Most importantly, Intuitive Eating sticks its middle finger up to diet culture and refuses to accept it as the norm; instead it encourages you make peace with food and find complete and utter pleasure in eating once again. Sounds great, right?

You can see why I was seduced by Intuitive Eating, but there’s more to it than just cracking open a pack of biscuits and chomping away. In fact, Intuitive Eating has its own set of core principles.

Here are a few of my favourites (because if I went into them all this blog would turn into a book):

Reject the diet mentality

Don’t you think it’s shocking how diet culture has become such a normal part of our society?

Just pick up any beauty magazine and count how many times it mentions weight loss or body transformations. Listen in on people’s conversations and hear how many people are scorning themselves for not ‘being good’ and restricting themselves.

The first step to Intuitive Eating is to reject diet culture by staying away from media that tells you that you need to lose weight to be worthwhile. Avoid diet chat, people that constantly talk about losing weight. I know this may be difficult, so instead of avoiding people you could try not engaging in the conversation when they bring it up.  

Make peace with food

Food is food; it’s not good and it’s not bad. It’s simply fuel that helps you survive.

Although some food is more beneficial to our bodies than others, think blueberries and walnuts, other foods are just enjoyable to eat, mac n cheese and doughnuts here’s looking at you, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for doing so. By following Intuitive Eating, you are giving yourself unconditional permission to eat and not restrict yourself. After all, restriction leads to bingeing and that fosters guilt. Aim to eat foods that make you feel good and offer yourself kind nutritional advice that helps instead of critiques your food choices.

Deal with your Feelings without using food

I’m an emotional eater, always have been. Whenever something happens in my life I turn to food. Whether its sadness, boredom, stress, anxiety, loneliness– I will find a food for that. But eating for an emotional hunger will only make us feel worse in the long run. Once you’ve finished eating, the source of the emotion will still be there, plus the the discomfort of overeating. Find ways to overcome your issues without using food.

Respect your body

Respect your body and embrace the person that you are. As I discussed in this post, it’s important to celebrate our differences and embrace different body shapes. It’s hard to completely reject diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical about your body.

Exercise

You can be body positive and love exercise!

Focus on how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie burning effect of exercise. If your only motivation is to lose weight and you consistently put yourself through gruelling sessions, your enjoyment of exercise will quickly be exhausted and you’ll end up hating it.

As you can see, Intuitive Eating is a really positive way to think about food and I am trying to embrace it as much as I can. Since learning about body positivity, I have altered the way I think about eating and the effect diet culture has on my mental health. Although undoing a lifetime of diet culture won’t come easily, I am proud to say that I am making progress and being less critical of myself and my body.

Hope you enjoyed this post. If you want to learn more about Intuitive Eating I found this site helpful when learning about the core principles of Initiative Eating (it includes all 10).

Tampopo Manchester review

Tampopo Manchester review

If you’re from Manchester you may have heard of Tampopo, a group of restaurants that celebrates Pan-Asian cuisine and the flavours of South East Asia. Interestingly, Tampopo is also the name of a 1985 ‘ramen western’ film about the joys of Japanese food, but for […]

Amino acids, BCAAs & supplement review

Amino acids, BCAAs & supplement review

Think that only bodybuilders need to take amino acids? Think again! Amino acid supplements are a simple way to benefit from amino acids which are usually found in food and drink.   Let’s get scientific (puts science goggle on…) There are currently 500 amino acids […]

Is Boomtown fair festival worth the hype?

Is Boomtown fair festival worth the hype?

I’ve heard many things about Boomtown festival, some good some bad, but mainly that it was unlike any other festival. Last week I put this to the test and experienced the madness that was Boomtown Chapter 9: Behind the Mask

Boomtown chapter 9 Sector 6 stage

Boomtown chapter 9 windmill stage

Boomtown chapter 9 lions den stage

Located in Winchester, which is basically at the bottom of the country, Boomtown is one of the most diverse festivals on the scene. It features a variety of musical genres, with everything from indie, country, folk, drum & bass, house and many more. The festival prides itself on creating an immersive experience, using very well structured set designs and actors to make attendees feel like they’ve entered a dream like town in a different world.

I’ll admit that I was a little apprehensive before I went to Boomtown. I didn’t know many people that had been previously and the ones I knew were going seemed a bit…wild? I’d heard stories that on the last night everyone descended to the forest banging on pots and pans until 7am refusing to accept the festival was over. I was worried it would be a weekend of ‘free spirits’ reviving the flower power movement one illegal substance at a time. I also had no idea what to wear (‘do people even wear clothes at boomtown?!’) and racked up a large online order filled with backless sequin crop tops, velvet play-suits and patterned flares.

I guess I’m writing this blog to put anyone who is worried about going to Boomtown next year at ease, because it was easily one of the best festivals I’ve been to. It’s huge and crazy at times, but the atmosphere is incredible and there is something for everyone. So much effort was put into creating an entire town to party in, complete with districts, sub-towns and hidden venues.

There is nothing scary about it, and even though 60% of the people there did have dreadlocks, most punters are your average ravers. There’s a good mix of young and old people and you even spot a few families around due to the special Kidz’ Town section. Of course, there were still chavs there, but they flock to any place with music and the possibility of getting off your face for four days.

Tips & tricks for Boomtown Festival 

boomtown 3 collage

Be prepared for a big queue – Some people had to queue for 7+ hours to get in to the festival, so be prepared for long waits. We were also stuck in at least an hour’s worth of traffic once we got closer to the time.

Explore everything on the first day – Boomtown is massive, we spent most of our time in the same areas but looking back on it I wish I’d explored more. We found an amazing place on the last day which was a bit of a walk from the main old town section.

HOOCH – They sell Hooch at all the bars! Even better, they sell Hula Hooch! In case you didn’t know, hooch is a retro alcoholic lemonade style drink and it is delightful.

Make the most of it from the moment you wake up – Once again, I spent quite a lot of time hanging around the campsite drinking and getting ready, when I should have gotten ready as quick as possible and explored the festival. You can take alcohol from the campsite with you, so there’s no excuse to stay in one place.

Take a few outfits but don’t go crazy – Although there were loads of people who were dressed up, most people didn’t make as much effort with their outfits as I’d imagined. Honestly, everyone is having such a good time no one really cares what you look like. It’s definitely a low maintenance/no judgement festival. I ended up wearing the same top most of the time because I really liked it!

Take ear plugs – The music goes on all night, even when the main stages are finished there’s always something going on and rowdy people making noise. If you want to sleep, then pack some ear plugs.

Try the food – Boomtown has loads of quality food vendors in each of the sections, I tried a Tibetan place which was amazing and a peking duck wrap place that was so good we kept going back to for more! However, it’s not cheap so make sure you bring enough money for food for 4 days (about £10 per meal).

Bring sun cream – Apparently, beautiful weather is a Boomtown tradition so make sure you bring your sun cream. It was boiling every day and lots of the people we were with got sunburnt/sunstroke so don’t risk it!

Festival season is over, which makes me so sad because I enjoy going to them so much (here’s some of the reasons why I do!) Hope you enjoyed this post, I will try and write some more event style posts for the future.

Have you even been to Boomtown? What’s your favourite festival?

Give Blood & Save A Life

Give Blood & Save A Life

Photo by Denise Chan on Unsplash Donating blood might not be on the top of your to-do-list, it might even be on your most feared list, but it’s a selfless act that could actually save someone’s life! How often can you say you’ve saved a […]

IF YOU CAN’T LOVE YOURSELF, HOW’N HELL YOU GONNA LOVE SOMEONE ELSE?

IF YOU CAN’T LOVE YOURSELF, HOW’N HELL YOU GONNA LOVE SOMEONE ELSE?

Variety is the spice of life; the world would be so dull if everything was the same. Differences are beautiful and make us unique, so why don’t we celebrate our differences when it comes to our appearance? Photo credit: Alexander Ward  I’m a firm believer […]

6 Reasons I Love Festivals

6 Reasons I Love Festivals

Girl at festival with glitter

I love festivals. I went to my first one, Leeds Fest, back in 07 when I was 15 and decided that this was the life for me. I worked hard all year to save up enough money to go every summer. Since then, my festival obsession has graduated and taken me across the world, as well as staying local. Going abroad for a festival is amazing, but nothing beats the good old muddy English festival experience.

I get it, festivals aren’t for everyone. Some people can’t understand why anyone would choose to spend a weekend sleeping on the ground, sharing portaloos with strangers, and covering themselves in glitter as a weird shower alternative.

I would be lying if I said some of those things didn’t bother me. Of course, when you’re squatting over a portaloo at 5am praying you don’t lose your balance and dive into five days of stranger’s excrement, there is some part of you that questions why you couldn’t just have a normal hobby like baking. But these gross experiences are long forgotten once you’re home and the hangover has passed.

For me, festivals are among the highlights of my year and I love every single moment of them. Here are some of the reasons I will continue going to festivals every year.

Amazing culture all in one place

Festivals are like an all you can eat buffet of culture. I love the type of festivals where you can experience loads of different music genres at once: walk into one tent and its drum & bass, turn to the next and there’s indie, then take a stroll and find yourself in the middle of a heavy metal death pit, and so on. Many of the festivals I’ve been to also have comedy tents and even art areas. I went to Sonar Festival in Barcelona and they had a whole exhibition you could explore which was filled with simultaneously weird and incredible projects.

Making friends with everyone

This is probably my favourite part of going to festivals, making loads of weird and wonderful new friends. This is mainly down to who you’re camped next to, but you also just end up talking to people when you’re out and about. Most people are super friendly and open, because they are just trying to have a good time like you are too. The friendliest festival I have been to was Lost Village or Hills Have Vibes, it was like a little community.

Unleashing your true style

Looking ridiculous is encouraged at festivals, so embrace your weird side and get creative. I love wearing bright colours, fake animal ears, crazy patterns and using bold makeup and glitter to decorate my face and body.  However, hold your horses (or unicorns) – recently I’ve learnt that glitter is very harmful to the environment because it is essentially tiny bits of plastic that can’t be recycled. So, if you do use glitter, please try and use the eco-friendly stuff. They sell it at Lush and you can find more online, I will be doing so in the future.

girl at festival with unicorn head

The food

Obviously, it depends what type of festival you go to, but usually festivals have amazing food vendors that offer street food, cultural delights and lots of carbs and cheese (is there a more winning combo?) I love trying out new independent food vendors at festivals and tracking them down once I’m home.

Embracing your gross side

Ok, this is a bit of a weird one and some people will not agree with me at all, but I quite enjoy embracing my grossness while I’m at a festival. I’m not one of those people that pays extra to have a shower or use boutique camping facilities, I’m a baby wipe girl through and through and I’m lucky if I take my makeup off at night while I’m at a festival. I enjoy the freedom of not worrying about what I look like all day, where my only reflection is in the tiny mirror in the toilets or the cracked hand mirror I brought. I also love a good gross discussion with friends, these usually involve drinking wine from a bag and realising that we are just as gross as each other.

Escaping

On a completely different note, I love the freedom that you feel at festivals. You are so out of the comfort zone of everyday life that you seem to let go and stop worrying about things. This is massively helped by not being on your phone all day, and being surrounded with positive people that you love.

Hope you enjoyed this post and that I have encouraged you to get into the festival spirit! If you’re going to a festival and are looking for tips to stay healthy, I wrote a post about it last year.

A weekend in Paris: Day two & three

A weekend in Paris: Day two & three

As I’m sitting here typing away on this rainy day, it seems like visiting Paris last month was a distant dream.  Or at least the last blog I wrote about it was…. I mentioned in my last blog that we got a two-day ticket for […]

Gym workout for when you don’t have much time

Gym workout for when you don’t have much time

As I haven’t done a fitness post in a while, I thought I’d share my gym tips for when you don’t have loads of time to spend in the gym. Adulting is tough. Most of us have to work full time, balance busy social lives […]

A Weekend in Paris: Day One

A Weekend in Paris: Day One

Paris Seine river at sunset

Paris is one of those cities I’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t got around to – despite it being a stone’s throw away from the UK. Last week I finally got to see what all the fuss was about, as myself and my best girl Ellie, spent 3 days in the amazing city.

We caught a mid-morning flight from Manchester airport and arrived in Paris at midday (Paris time). I knew Paris was close, but I didn’t realise the flight was only one hour – it’s quicker for me to fly to Paris than to travel back home to Harrogate!

Even though we were on the 10 am flight, there was a couple next to us who had drank a whole bottle of champagne, and several beers, who were telling people they were going to the Eifel tower tomorrow night– definite proposal on the cards, the smug bastards.

street in Paris

river seine paris

After landing we hopped on the train from the airport and headed into the city. The trains and metros are really easy to navigate and it didn’t take us long to get our bearings. Although admittedly, Ellie took the lead and told me where to go and which trains to get on, but if I hadn’t have chosen such an organised travelling buddy I’m sure I would have been fine. We purchased a 10-day ticket for the metro (which actually came as 10 tiny tickets) as it was the best option for multiple trips and cost us 14.50 euros.

Eiffel tower

Eiffel Tower

What’s the first thing you think of when you imagine Paris? The Eiffel Tower! We decided to visit the famous landmark on our first day (after stopping to eat some French bread and meat of course!) All I can say is that the tower is SO much bigger than I expected! When you get up close to it you can’t believe how much space it takes up and it can be seen from almost anywhere in Paris. It looks amazing in the day and even better when it’s lit up at night.

eleanor graceful hannah gets hench paris

Paris was a scorching 30 degrees the entire trip, and as the hot metro station is no place to be in a heatwave, we decided to catch a ride on one of the river boats. The ‘Batobus’ is a boat shuttle service that travels on the river Seine to different tourist attractions including Notre dame, The Louvre, Champs Elysee and more. The boat was 19 euros for two days of unlimited travel which is very reasonable considering how far it goes. It was so lovely being on a boat on the Seine and watching all the beautiful French architecture going by.

Notre Dame

We jumped on at the Eiffel Tower and floated down the river to Notre Dame, which is breath-taking medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris. The cathedral lies within a square, which due to the weather was buzzing with tourists, performers and Parisians, which was great to watch. However, the queue to get inside Notre Dame went on forever so we chose to admire the view from outside instead of queuing.

paris river seine

notre dame paris

Next stop on the Batobus was Jardin des Plantes, which is a huge botanical garden by the river. It was around 7pm by this time and there were loads of people sat along the riverside dangling their legs over the side and enjoying a few beers.

There were also groups of people dancing to different styles of music, with young and old folk joining in. Of course, we wanted to get involved too, so we bought some beers and perched nearby overlooking the river. Top tip, the men selling cheap beers by the river are selling them for 1 euro for a reason, because they are watered down beers! We learnt this the hard way, but still had a lovely time.

Eiffel tower

We returned to the Batobus and watched the sun go down as we sailed along the river Seine with the Eiffel Tower lighting up the background. It was a magical way to end our first day in Paris.

Part two will be up soon, so keep checking back 🙂

5 reasons I’m adding more cardio into my workouts

5 reasons I’m adding more cardio into my workouts

Forget City or United, cardio or weights truly divides people. I will be the first to admit that I turned my back on cardio for a while in favour of weight training, but recently I’m incorporating more cardio into my workouts and I want to […]

Is online counselling right for you?

Is online counselling right for you?

Counselling works wonders for the soul, but there are several factors, such as price, availability and waiting lists, which put people off seeing a face-to-face counsellor. This had led to a surge in online counselling services which connect people to counsellors through voice, video or […]

My tricks to get a natural looking fake tan

My tricks to get a natural looking fake tan

I feel like it’s been very serious on the blog recently, so today I wanted to talk about something light hearted – fake tan! You might be thinking, ‘Hannah fake tan is not related to fitness! What are you on about?!’ but have you ever seen a bodybuilding competition? Touché!

Fake tanning isn’t for everyone I know. My bed sheets are permanently orange and there are brown lots of innocent splodges on my towels. I love the pale and interesting look on other people, it’s just not for me. I absolutely love having a tan because it boosts my confidence and makes me feel like a new woman. However, I hate the idea of using sunbeds so I always opt for a bottle to get my glow.

I swear by St Moriz, it’s cheap and it does the job better than any of the other ones I’ve tried. St Tropez is amazing, but it’s just too pricey for me. I find the St Moriz lotion easier to work with, but the mousse still gives good results. (Ps I haven’t been paid to write this, I just love the product!) There are a few rules to get your tan to look nice and last longer. In the past I haven’t done the prep and I’ve ended up with a patchy tan that looks like tiger bread and only lasts a couple of days. Since following the steps I will tell you about below I have managed to get a really natural looking tan that hasn’t gone patchy at all.

ross from friends fake tan
Sorry Ross, but you didn’t follow my instructions.

Exfoliation: The first step is exfoliation. It’s pretty obvious, but you need to have a smooth canvas to get a rich colour. I recommend using an exfoliating dry body brush before you jump in the shower or body scrub while you’re in the shower to remove dead skin. Make sure you do this for at least a week before you want to apply your tan to get the best results. Then gently exfoliate a couple of days after your tan is on and continue to do so to keep it from going patchy.

Time: I generally apply my tan at night time, before I go to bed. In theory, the longer you leave it to develop the deeper the colour will be but sometimes I just don’t have time to do it. If you can leave it on for a full evening and sleep on it then by all means do. There is also an express version that develops in a couple of hours. To help it dry quicker I always use a hair dryer to go over it and make sure it’s all sunk in before I get into bed.

Moisturise: This is probably the most important prep tip. I don’t know why it makes such a difference but if your skin is moisturised properly your tan will apply more easily, stay on for longer and look 100% better. Like the exfoliation, I suggest moistening the area you want to tan every day for at least a week. Follow this by moisturising the area the day after you put your tan on and do this every time you have a shower to lock the moisture in.

Shaving, tight clothes and sweating: Sounds like weird tips right? Wrong! All these things will rub your tan off so its important to bear them in mind. Shaving your legs will take most of the tan off, but shaving before you tan isn’t great either because the tan will go into the follicles and you’ll look dotty. Personally, I just apply more layers of tan on my legs but even that doesn’t help it stay on completely. Wearing tight jeans all day will also take off your tan, even if it’s developed and washed off so opt for loose fitting clothing or tights as it isn’t as tight around your legs. Finally, sweat makes St Moriz tan rub off. The most annoying thing is if you go to the gym and it rubs off around your sports bra so you get weird outlines that won’t go away no matter how much you exfoliate.

Wash your mit: If you don’t wear a mit, then go and get one! It saves your hands from going orange and streaky. You can use gloves but I find these to give a streaky look. Anyway, the mit absorbs quite a lot of product when applying and usually I would just leave it and let it dry but I’ve started washing the mit in lukewarm water straight after applying. This helps the mit to stay in good condition which will help you achieve a smoother fake tan on next application.

Oh wow, I have genuinely written 800 words about fake tan….I will stop now, but if you have any tips you’d like to share with me that I’ve missed then feel free to leave them in the comments or give me a shout on twitter.

Oh and if you haven’t already, please vote for me as Fitness Blogger of the Year in the Blogosphere awards! x

Blogosphere Blog Awards 2017: Fitness Blogger of the year

Blogosphere Blog Awards 2017: Fitness Blogger of the year

Good news everyone! I have been shortlisted in the Blogosphere Blog Awards 2017 and nominated in the Fitness Blogger of the Year category! The Blogosphere Blog Awards has 10 categories which cover a range of blog niche’s such as lifestyle, fashion, beauty and book bloggers […]

7 body positive reasons to love fitness

7 body positive reasons to love fitness

So after a lengthy twitter feud debate, it appears that some people don’t understand how you can be body positive, inclusive and accepting, AND be a fitness blogger. Contrary to popular belief, being body positive and being passionate about fitness are not mutually exclusive. You can love […]

How to support someone who has anxiety

How to support someone who has anxiety

TW: anxiety, panic attacks.

As it’s mental health awareness month, I wanted to write about a topic that I am very familiar with; my old buddy anxiety.

I’ve suffered from generalised anxiety disorder for most of my teenage and adult life. I take medication to deal with it daily, which generally keeps it at bay, but sometimes it does flare up and cause my to feel very anxious which can even lead to a having a panic attack. Panic attacks are different for everyone but I believe they are universally dreaded by every anxiety suffer, even as I’m writing this I’m worried I am going to trigger one from just thinking about it so I will stop!

Anyway, I digress. The point of this post is not about me, but about being supportive towards others who have anxiety. Many of my friends also have anxiety and there are often times when I need to help them out (just as I’d hope they would do the same for me when I feel anxious) I understand that it can be overwhelming and difficult to discuss anxiety if you don’t suffer from it yourself but the worst thing you can do is to ignore them and pretend it isn’t happening. Anxiety is extremely isolating and scary and you need all the support and help you can get from the people that mean the most to you.

Here are my tips for supporting someone with anxiety, from personal experience and from things my friends have recommended.

Keep communication short and sweet

When I’m anxious I really struggle to reply to things, texts and emails can build up and I’ll feel very overwhelmed. Don’t even get me started on missed calls and voicemails! At the same time, I feel incredibly lonely when I’m at this stage of anxiety, so I need to keep communicating but not allowing it to overwhelm me.

Receiving a short text from a friend saying something simple like “I’m thinking about you” or “You’re going to be ok. Get in touch when you want to” is enough to make me feel loved but not enough to make me fret about replying. I will reply once I get back to myself and my friends know that. Alternatively, if your friend would be more relaxed receiving a phone call then sometimes hearing a loved one’s voice can massively ground you. Find out what works for them.

Don’t search for reasons why

Anxiety doesn’t discriminate, it can affect anyone at any time and there is often no logical reason for feeling that way. If someone feels anxious then you should talk to them about how they feel but don’t ask why they feel like that (unless they want to talk about it). The main thing is not to judge, pressure them to open up, or make them feel guilty for feeling that way.

Learn about anxiety

There is still SO much stigma around talking about mental health conditions, but the more we learn and talk about them, the more helpful we will all be for those who do suffer. When I first told my sister about my anxiety she didn’t really understand it, but she took the time to learn about it and I think that helped her understand what I felt a little bit better. Do as much research as you can about anxiety and read about people’s personal experiences with it. Even though they won’t be the same as your friend’s experiences, it will give you a glimpse of what they might be going through.

Offer to spend time with them 

Groups of people intimidate me, even if its friends I’ve known for years I can still feel anxious about being in a group with them. If your friend is hesitant about social situations like this, offer to meet them before you meet the group and go with them to take some pressure off. If they really don’t want to do anything involving a group, arrange to spend time with them alone so they don’t feel left out.

Don’t pressure people to feel better

While it’s really positive to try and help people take their mind off things, you shouldn’t expect them to instantly feel better. Anxiety can effect people constantly, or only at certain times, it’s totally dependent on the person. Likewise, don’t say things like “Don’t be silly, you shouldn’t be anxious!” or “It will pass soon just forget about it!” because it makes the person feel like their feelings aren’t valid.

Stop mixing up nerves with anxiety

Feeling nervous about things is natural. Situations like going on a date, starting a new job or doing a presentation will generally make most people feel nervous, but this is different from having anxiety. Saying ‘that gives me anxiety’ when you really mean that it makes you feel nervous is so frustrating to someone when their life is controlled by anxiety. Most people don’t mean to offend when they say stuff like this but it’s always something to bear in mind.

Quick list of things friends can do to reduce anxiety

  • Sending/receiving cute letters or cards
  • Providing sweets/chocolates or any delicious food
  • Going on a long walk and talking (sometimes reduced eye contact is good)
  • Having a film night – especially old films you love and find comforting
  • Playing with animals/visiting animals
  • Doing something active together like a run or a swim
  • Doing a project like colouring in, painting, tidying or making something

Hopefully this post helped, as I said this is from my personal experiences with anxiety and things that have helped my friends so they might not be for everyone. Have you got any things that help yourself or a friend when they feel anxious?

What being body positive means to me

What being body positive means to me

The body positive movement aims to end the negative relationship we have with our appearance and accept ourselves for who we are naturally. It is inclusive of everyone, no matter how you look you deserve to be loved and to love yourself. Body positivity isn’t […]

Guess who loves running again?

Guess who loves running again?

My passion for running has ignited once again. It must be a combination of the lighter evenings, the slightly warmer temperatures and my resentment of crowded gyms, as people pile in to try and obtain a ‘summer body’ (FYI, your body is always ready for […]

It’s ok to feel overwhelmed

It’s ok to feel overwhelmed

As I get older, I’m adding more responsibilities to my ever-growing to-do list and sometimes this can make me feel very anxious and overwhelmed. Let me give you a little peek into my mindset:

Simple tasks suddenly start to pile up and I become very aware of how much I need to do. This awareness turns to full blown anxiety and my defence mechanism kicks in. Instead of calmly completing my tasks in order of priority, I ignore all of them. I completely stop doing anything (apart from scrolling on my phone which has apparently become part of my subconscious) This is fine for a day, maybe even two, but after that I have well and truly fallen behind and made life very difficult for myself.

Because of this I have piles of work to finish on the same day, my flat is a mess and I have no clean clothes or dishes. I haven’t been to the one place that will de-stress me (the gym). I don’t have time to see my friends; but I also haven’t cancelled on them because I didn’t want to let them down, so they will be annoyed when I do cancel because now its last minute. My bills are overdue and I owe friends money because I can’t bear the thought of logging into online banking and seeing my balance. I have no food in the house because I never do a proper shop, so I just buy biscuits instead and feel ill. My blog hasn’t been updated for a week, and anyway all the content I do produce I dislike because it’s never good enough. I need to go to bed earlier because I constantly feel exhausted but I have too much to do at night.

What else?

As you can see, it’s pretty easy to become overwhelmed. None of the things I worry about are ever that difficult to do and I know a lot of them will sound silly, its not like I have a child to care for or anything. But even the smallest things become huge in an anxious mind. When I’m feeling like this I can’t have my phone near me because the idea of people texting me and then having more texts to reply to fills me with so much anxiety it makes me feel sick and I prefer to just pretend it’s not happening, same with checking emails.

I’m not really sure what the point of this post is to be honest, I don’t have any solutions for overcoming anxiety and feeling less overwhelmed. I just wanted to write something about the subject because it’s having a big effect on my life at the moment. It’s quite ironic that it’s happening because I’ve been really happy lately but I guess that’s anxiety/depression in a nutshell – it doesn’t care who you are or what’s happening it just pops up whenever it chooses to!

I just wanted to say that it’s ok if you feel like this, because it will pass eventually. Make sure you talk to people that you love and trust about how you are feeling and get some help if you can.

Hannah x

One trainer fits all: Nike Zoom Air Structure 2.0 Review

One trainer fits all: Nike Zoom Air Structure 2.0 Review

I’m what I like to call a ‘pick n mix’ exerciser; some days I go running and others I’m firmly planted in the weights area. Did you know that the type of trainers you wear affects your performance in the gym? Different trainers are designed […]

Are these the best protein bars ever?

Are these the best protein bars ever?

Big news: I tried some new protein bars and actually enjoyed them… Sometimes I think I must be a bad fitness blogger because I hate the taste of protein and I almost never drink protein shakes. The thought of drinking a protein shake with water […]

Reaching new heights with Rock Over Climbing

Reaching new heights with Rock Over Climbing

Rock over climbing Hannah Gets Hench

A few weeks ago, I was invited to try out indoor rock climbing at the Rock Over Climbing Centre in Manchester. I was really excited to try rock climbing because it’s an amazing strength and cardio workout that utilises so many different muscle groups and focuses on balance and co-ordination, aka the fundamentals of fitness.

(more…)