Over the past few weeks I’ve made some big changes to my life. There were four main things I needed to focus on: learning how to cook, getting regular exercise back into my routine, finding ways to switch off from technology, and trying to get a decent amount of sleep every night. I attended classes, interviewed experts, and did my best to implement their tips, but the most revealing part of the experience was being forced to take a long, hard look at myself to discover why I needed help in all these areas. It’s been a challenging, enlightening and fun ride, so click through for my recap.
As you may have gathered from our editors’ previous POPSUGAR Diaries, we start the day early in the office, at 7 a.m. While the other girls get to bed around 9:30-10, you’d still find me awake, and pretty alert, around 11:30 p.m. As a result, I get around six hours of sleep a night, which means I hit ‘snooze’ about 10 times when the alarm goes off, I drag myself out of bed, and if someone asks me, “How are you?” I usually say, “Tired.” Does anyone want to be that girl? I don’t think so. There are so many reports about the negative effects of sleep deprivation, and since I’ve experienced a few of them, it’s time to shake up the routine and get more Z’s.
Working online means I’m connected to the Internet for a minimum of nine hours a day — that’s relatively normal if you have a desk-bound job. Add to that my Instagram addiction (especially on public transport), all the TV I have to watch for work, and general laptop time at home, and it seems like the only time I’m not using some form of technology is when I’m sleeping. In the past I’ve made efforts to reduce the amount of screen time I spend with my iPhone, but it’s just so . . . accessible. So what’s a realistic way to ‘switch off’? For the next step in improving my life, I spoke to Louise Remond, a psychologist at the Health Psychology Unit at the University of Technology, Sydney, for some tips.
After admitting that I’m a hopeless cook, the next area in my life that needs a makeover is fitness and exercise. In short, I don’t do much — unless you count walking my dog sporadically and choosing to walk from the office into the city instead of taking the bus. All through high school I played basketball and loved it, but exercise and sport dropped off the radar in my uni years and never came back when I started working. I’ve been lucky that my metabolism has been good to me so far, but it’s not going to be like this forever. Time to get moving!
Considering how much I love watching cooking shows, particularly of the reality series variety, it’s embarrassing to admit that I run away from cooking. I’ve grown up with amazing cooks (my mum and aunts) and love eating, but still manage to find excuses to not cook: I’m too tired after a 7 a.m. office start, unpredictable work events mean I’m often grabbing meals on the go . . . the list goes on. But this needs to change. I’m 23 and can’t rely on my parents’ food for the rest of my life. And there’s the simple fact that cooking is not hard — kids can do it! It’s an attitude thing. In the past few weeks I’ve faced my trepidations with a cooking class, tips from 2012 MasterChef second runner-up Audra Morrice, and a couple of easy, delicious and nutritious recipes. Click through to see how I went.