It often amazes me just how much the industry has grown since I started. This blog isn’t the first attempt at having one, but it’s the one that I’ve had the longest (nearly 6 years!). I started blogging when Myspace was the biggest social media, and blogs were more like online diaries than personal journalism. I’m staring middle age in the face. Anyway, the industry has grown so much that many of us bloggers run as a full time business (I don’t, I run this alongside Laurel and Yew, but still run it a bit more business-like than when I started because I only have so many hours in the day and energy to go through them).
Still, as a business owner, being sedentary is a big issue in my life. I have talked about how I deal with it before, but still none of what I’ve done so far has changed one fundamental aspect of it: I sit at a desk all day. Bar the times I aimlessly walk around the kitchen to think, or I make coffees (and now smoothies, more on this later) or cook lunch and dinner, and the times I’m exercising or campaigning, most of my time is sitting somewhere…desk, train, pub, armchair, bed. So I was intrigued by the invitation that Viking extended me to join a group of fellow bloggers to see Fellowes‘ range of Sit-Stand Workstations. I review them from a technical point of view here.
The event was focused around the predictable topic of wellbeing, but they gathered together a wide range of bloggers and not just health and fitness or food bloggers. It was great to meet new people and catch up in real life with people I’ve known online, but it was an amazing event not just because of the meetup. It gave us an opportunity to reassess our lives at the start of a new season (I think the position of the Jewish New Year is much better. Just sayin’). After some time to mingle, drink coffees and have a snack courtesy of Graze we were split into three groups which would rotate the different sessions. I was in the luckiest group, which started with a smoothies and juicing workshop, then moved on to try the workstations and learn about office exercise with Exercise in the City, to then close the day with a massage.
Smoothie Workshop with Mr Flavour
I felt a little intimidated by the first workshop, as I’m famous for remembering smoothies exist around the 2nd day of Party Conference after having a breakdown in front of the mirror at the state of my skin after a diet of canapés and wine. Everyone else was a regular of smoothies and juices. We tried some of their recipes (they blogged about it here) and they talked us through the basics of natural juices and smoothies, from what colour a really fresh juice should look like to what consistency different fruits have and how to make a smoothie with body if we are so inclined, rather than something almost liquid. It was all new for me, and I think I overdid it with the samples (but otherwise they’d go to waste so there’s that…). Thanks to the goodie back containing a shaker that works with my hand blender (I like to make soups…), and a book I’ll be reviewing in the next post (in the meantime, I’m tweeting some teasers about it), I have now started to do the same, mostly in a desperate attempt to delay the inevitable party conference skin, but also out of a faint hope I might get some energy increase to face the local election campaign.
Exercise Workshop with Exercise in The City
If your idea of the City is pretty much Wolf of Wall Street with British Accents, think again. While the part where most Londoners are chained at their desks most of their waking hours is true, and there are long stressful commutes and for many the expectation that lunch break is 5 minutes and then back to work while eating as you can use one hand for each and you should be able to multitask. With so many difficulties making sticking to a gym routine impossible for most people who aren’t gym enthusiasts, including those of us who work from home because getting out in the cold just to go to the gym sucks, the idea behind bringing the gym to you is brilliant. Julia taught us a few simple but effective exercises that can be done without any equipment, and also without any need to change what you’re wearing because they are not heavy sweating exercises. I work from home, so that doesn’t matter too much to me, but when I’ll have an office then it’s great to know I can still stretch a little without too much damage, although I didn’t try doing that in a tight pencil skirt dress…watch this space. The routine itself was simple and focused on holding the core (it changed the way I approach sitting at my desk, I tend to slouch…), with squats and rotating your arms and twists and the kind of exercises that use your weight to build muscle, and a lot of stretches (she is, after all, a Pilates instructor).
Massage with Kelly and her team of masseuses
Thanks to my asthma I did not get a full massage as the chair makes me feel like I’m going to suffocate, and unlike fellow blogger Lauren from SaharaSplash who, as you can see from the picture, is expecting, I was not offered a neck massage from a different chair, so I had a hand massage. It’s all good, since I use my arms a lot and it’s a part of the body that doesn’t get much attention usually. It was very relaxing, and I had a good chat with the masseuse, who was very interested in our lives as bloggers. I always think of massages as something very expensive that only rich people and bloggers with a huge DA manage to get, but she suggested that I try Groupon offers as many good places use them as a way to advertise themselves and offer a spectacular service for a fraction of the price. I’m going to try that.
Many people start a business with this idea in mind of creating the perfect lifestyle for themselves, because some woman with a perfect white smile and perfectly coiffed hair told them so in a series of adverts popping up on Facebook. The hard truth is that running a business is hard work, at the beginning you make peanuts compared to the hours you put in, and it’s an exciting but stressful time that requires a lot of self-care that you don’t have the time for. Smoothies are a quick way to get the nutrients you need (it takes 5 minutes to prepare, and then you can drink it all while working), Julia’s routine was 10 minutes if done all in one go but some of the exercises like holding your glutes can be done while the blender goes (it’s all about multi-tasking). Massages too can be done with little effort, as I have just given me a hand massage with a dollop of Palmer’s Shea Formula Raw Shea Hand Cream which, unlike other creams I’ve had in the past, requires a bit of effort to absorb, all while proofreading this article. We can do it.
All photos in the article are by Elouisa Georgiou.