Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Insanity | Week 1



Named accordingly because one would have to be insane to endorse the idea. A special kind of workout that takes you through a 40-60min daily sweat feast and simultaneously makes every muscle in your body burn every time you so much as fidget. Each day you embark on a new challenge, whether it be pure cardio, abs, balance or a more sacred day of ‘recovery.’

Sean T is encouraging, and not in the way that makes you want to punch him in the face. He talks you through each exercise, gives you plenty of chances to grab more water and even looks like he’s finding it hard himself – which is always encouraging when you’re taking a break on the couch and labelling yourself a failure. 

The first few days appeared to be the hardest, but after a while, you got used to the motions of counting down the minutes and seeing it through to the end. That was until day 7 however, when the 40minute session became a 60minute session and suddenly you begin to question your own capabilities. Those extra twenty minutes make it feel like life itself is never going to end. Your legs are burning, your abs are on fire and you’re struggling to do any more press-ups because your sweaty hands are sliding up and down on the wooden floor. 

The days differ, but they all have circuits of exercise, with water breaks to separate them. Some weeks you focus on core exercises to build up your strength (one session was very similar to Pilates). While other weeks you’re doing suicides, burpees and jumping squats. 

It’s gruelling and each morning I wake up more in pain than the last. Every muscle in my body aches, but I must be insane because each day I keep going back. It started off as fun, but now it’s a determination to see it through to the end. I expect a six-pack to be attached to my abdomen by the time this term ends; otherwise I will be ringing Sean T to complain! 

Let’s hope week two doesn’t kill me.

Here's my week 1 survival shot
 

Friday, January 16, 2015

My experience with therapy | Part I


I fell into the armchair, which was surprisingly more comfortable than it looked. My hands were shaky, my palms were sweaty and my cheeks blushed a light tone of red. I stared at the woman opposite me, smiling and clearly waiting for me to speak. After a few moments of awkward smiles back and forth, the first words exchanged came from her lips, ‘So, what can I help you with?’ That was indeed a very interesting question, and despite the fact that I had a very specific answer in mind, it took me a while to coerce my mouth to move.

It all started with a conversation, where I told a friend that my squeamishness had taken to new depths and it was beginning to affect my being able to attend class. My mother had suggested previously that maybe I should attempt hypnotherapy, which I pushed aside as being not only outrageously overpriced but also doubtful that it would have any effect on me. It wasn’t until my friend informed me that the university offered the service for free that I began to seriously consider it as an option. 

I went looking for the student counselling service, a section of campus that I had never experienced before, hiding away in a secret corridor that would be invisible if you weren’t looking for it. Walking into the office seemed daunting, and the lady behind the reception desk smiled at me calmly, before stating that to partake in hypnotherapy, I had to attend a counselling session first. 

Counselling comes with various connotations attached to it. Firstly, that you must be depressed, suffering from anxiety, or have some other serious ailment to attend. These thoughts were further confirmed by the questionnaire I had to sign before my session. Have you ever suffered from depression? Have you ever tried to harm yourself or others around you? Do you ever have suicidal thoughts? I could not have felt more out of place and worried that I was about to vastly waste somebody’s time that could have been better spent with those more in need. When I saw advertisements about drop in sessions for those having a tough time with exam stress, I began to panic less. It suddenly seemed as if maybe everyone was welcome. Who knew, people could just drop in for a chat. 

For the following week my mind began to wander over what might happen at my session. I thought about conversations that may arise, how I would explain what goes through my mind before I panic and pass out at the sight of anything remotely gruesome; from blood and guts to tiny insignificant splinters. I thought about what my counsellor would look like, and how at ease I would feel throughout. I kept replaying the scenes from Good Will Hunting, the old office filled with books, the opening up of two people who are trying to figure out what to do with their lives. A little tip, when trying to prepare yourself for any event in your life, don’t turn to Hollywood movies for advice. 

So there I was, in my ridiculously comfortable armchair, feeling ridiculously uncomfortable. When I finally plucked up the courage to speak, I tried but to no avail to describe my predicament. I lost my voice, muddled my words, and began to get increasingly warmer the more I spoke. What followed was a series of questions that had very little to do with my initial problem. She got me talking about family, friends, university, and life. My answers were simple and brief, which were always responded to with an awkward silence as she waited for me to expand. Maybe I didn’t receive the memo attached to a counselling session, but I couldn’t help but feel violated, like a stranger was prying into the personal aspects of my life and I wanted to remind her that it was none of her business. Then I remembered where I was, this so-called safe space, where questions such as these were common nature. 

The second half of the session was filled with more questions, this time from myself. I asked about therapy, hypnotherapy, how it works, how she was trained, basically anything that got her talking instead of me. After what seemed like a full day sat in her office, I left, having been approved for hypnotherapy, but assuredly un-assured that it would be of any use to me. 

Therapy is a proven method for helping people overcome obstacles in their life, so why did it feel unsucessful? Then I remembered the start of Good Will Hunting, the awkwardness, the long silent sessions that carried on for weeks before the two characters began making progress. I guess I rushed myself to the end of the movie, and forgot about the beginning. 

On the whole, I personally find it much easier to solve my dilemmas with a phone call to my mother than a trip to the therapist’s office, but I am aware that for many this is not an option. I am however, refusing to give up at the first hurdle and will live out the movie until the end. Let's hope hypnotherapy is a little less awkward and a little more triumphant.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Something new



I have a bee in my bonnet, itchy feet, or maybe just wanderlust that has transpired into a craving for all things new and exciting. Either way I have an overwhelming desire to try as many new things as I can every day. Whether this comes in the form of food and drink, activities, or new cities to explore, it is an impulse that needs to be satisfied.

Whilst in Copenhagen celebrating my 21st birthday, I sampled local beer, ate German sausage, drank in coffee houses that weren’t Starbucks and had honey and almond in my hot chocolate (which I will avoid at all costs in the future). Regardless of the success of these ventures, each one left me feeling more cultured and knowledgeable about the city of Copenhagen. So why stop there? 

Routine is restricting, like keeping your camera on automatic, it holds you back. When I go to an Indian restaurant I order a Peshwari Naan, when I visit La Perla I ask for a Strawberry Daiquiri and when I go to the Natural History Museum I run towards the blue room and stare at the whale for half an hour. Finding what you love and sticking with it seems natural, but it stops you finding something that could be even better. 

So now I am on the lookout for new and preferably exciting things, in as many aspects of my life as I can. This new venture of mine will probably just end in copious amounts of dinner dates, lots of horrendous cocktails and injuries caused from various new sports and activities. Regardless, I am a woman on a mission. If you want something you’ve never had, then you’ve got to do something you’ve never done and I am curious enough about the world to want everything, or at least to experience as many things as possible.


Thursday, January 01, 2015

Goals for 2015


I have never been very good at New Year’s Resolutions. Each year on January 1st I tell myself that I’m going to cut down on ice cream and earn myself rock hard abs. Each year on December 31st, I admit failure before returning to high ambitions for the next year less than twenty-four hours later.

This year however, I am steering clear of resolutions and instead am setting myself realistic and achievable goals. Four goals in fact, because who doesn’t like a nice even number? I have chosen things that I am passionate about, for if you want something bad enough then you are more motivated to achieve it. 

I decided that the best way to push myself to achieve my goals was to write them down somewhere where I would never lose sight of them; this is inevitably my chosen location. 

I thus present my personal goals… 2015 bring it on!


1. Learn something new (I’m thinking Piano, Portuguese or Mixed Martial Arts)

2. Embark on a healthier lifestyle

3. Graduate with a 2.1 or higher

4. See more of the world than I have done the previous year




Happy New Year