Morning pages.

Morning Pages. A keystone habit that is now part of my daily routine for over 10 months. Every morning I write down my thoughts, worries, to do lists, goals, exciting ideas, monthly/weekly/daily intentions and/or self-realizations. I basically put everything that is swirling around my mind on paper. I find this to be very liberating.

It is so important to create habits that build us up, bring us stillness and put us in a good headspace. Journaling does that for me. It is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle and forget what really matters. Living in such a fast paced world makes it easy to lose track of what we want to achieve. And this is where journaling can play a paramount role. If we are consistent with it, it can lead to the important mindset shift from a reactive to a proactive lifestyle. It can help us understand what is the way forward, pull us back to the present moment and give us focus and a sense of groundedness.

Some additional and more detailed reasons why journaling has become such a life-changing habit for me are:

  • It helps me to release any pent-up emotions
  • It helps me process what is happening in my life and get my mind clear.
  • It unlocks my creativity. Oftentimes when I am in the process of writing, solutions to problems and interesting ideas unexpectedly come up.
  • It helps me name my fears, which is the first required step to overcome them
  • It is a way of cultivating self-compassion and gratitude, increasing self-awareness and of finding within

My morning pages have naturally become part of my morning routine and they are not something that require me to wake up earlier than I would normally would. I usually do my journaling whilst having breakfast and I find that doing it in the morning sets the tone for a positive day. However, I sometimes also like to write before going to bed. There are days where I get home and I feel this urge to write about something that might have happened and that left me feeling excited or overwhelmed. Though dumping always turns out to be a helpful thing and, from my personal experience, I can safely affirm that any time devoted to journaling, whether that is 10 minutes, 1 hour or more – is never time wasted.

 

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That being said, if journaling is not part I challenge you to give it a go. If you are already into journaling, I would love to hear how it is has been helping you.

Additionally, I would also be very curious to know if, just like me, you also put time aside each day to engage in an activity that calms your mind? What are some other positive habits that you have incorporated into your day-to-day life and that have comparable benefits to journaling? You can let me know in the comment section below! 🙂

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

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My month of January in review

Well. January just flew by like a fastball. It is crazy how the first month of the new year is already done. Time seems to be speeding up as I grow older and older… Or is it just me? Anyway, as February is already here, I thought I would share with you some of my last month’s highlights. I always like to take time to reflect on the previous month as it improves my self-awareness and provides perspective.

Personal highlight of the month:

After being in a long-distance relationship for nearly 5 years, my boyfriend has left his home country – England – and moved in with me. It was about time! Now we will be both living and working in The Netherlands. We are both so darn happy and grateful for this huge change in our lives and relationship. This really goes to show that great things take time. ♥

Most exciting purchase:

Flights to London. My sister is having her graduation ceremony in May and I finally got to buy the plane tickets so I can be there to congratulate her in person. She finished her PhD from Imperial London College and I could not be more proud of her. Seriously.

Favourite ethical purchase:

Freezer bags made of silicone grade food, another small step towards using less plastic in my day-to-day life. I am so pleased with this purchase! Because the material is odourless and non-toxic (free of bpa, latex, lead and phthalates), it is a more sustainable and safer plastic alternative both for the planet and our health. Other characteristics of these bags that I am very pleased about are their self-sealing convenience, transparency of the material (i.e. you can easily see what is stored in them), light weight (i.e. easy to transport). They also don’t take much space at all, which is great given the fact that my freezer is not very big. Plus, as they are sturdy and resistant to extreme temperatures, you can just reuse them with no issues whatsoever. For those wondering, I got these silicone freezer bags from Amazon and totally recommend.

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Favourite book:

The Undutchables: An Observation of the Netherlands, Its Culture and Its Inhabitants by Colin White and Laurie Boucke. As an expat living in The Netherlands, I find this book to be unbelievably humorous and entertaining! I think that it is the kind of book that someone who is interested in learning more about the Dutch culture would find very interesting and insightful to read. It captures many of the funny quirks of the Dutchies at the same that presents them in a very funny and authentic way.

 

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Favourite song:

Mumford and sons – Guiding Light.

I know, I know. It is not exactly a new tune but it is so lovely and pleasing to the ear.

Favourite movie:

“Johny English strikes again”. Any comedy movie with Rowan Atkinson is a must-watch for me! I watched it right on the first day of the year and it made me start 2019 on a “positive” note if you know what I mean. My boyfriend and I had a really great laugh. Is it not laughter the best medicine and therapy one can have?

Favourite homemade dinner:

BBQ pulled jackfruit tacos. Yes, oh yes.

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Jackfruit is one of my favourite meat replacements and I had been wanting to make this recipe for a loooong looong time. I am so glad and happy with how tasty it turned out. The boyfriend, who is a meat-eater, said that they were freakin’ delicious and he actually also said that both the texture and flavour resemble chicken meat! What a win in the kitchen! 🙂

Favourite memory:

One of my good friends from my home country came visit me with her boyfriend. She came exactly when we had the first real snowfall of the year and she got so thrilled haha! ..and oh well, in all honesty, so did I. I feel like it does not matter how long I live in The Netherlands for, I still get excited every single time I see snow. It is just oh so pretty and magic and peaceful.  Anyhoo, focus focus. As I was saying, my friend came visit and I made a reservation in one of my fave restaurants in town. We delighted ourselves in some lovely vegan Vietnamese food, shared some funny stories and laughed a lot! Both our partners came along and it was lovely to see how they just clicked and got on well with each other. It was a really great night and we got to build some new beautiful memories together to add to our 20 years of friendship.

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The first real snowfall of this Winter.

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All in all, a great start to the year 2019! 🙂

How did January treat you? What were some of your January highlights? Please let me know in the comment section below! 🙂

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

 

 

Dear 2018, thank you so very much. Dear 2019, welcome.

Hi everyone,
Hope you all had a great start to the new year. Let me start this blog post with a quote that, from my standpoint, carries deep meaning:
“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we will ever do.” – Brené Brown

 

2018 was a year of countless ups and downs, many blessings in disguise, a myriad of lessons learned and, above all, tremendous growth. 2018 has taught me that all feelings are safe and that it is okay to be vulnerable. 2018 has forced me to realise that my mental blocks are what keeps me to welcome true healing. 2018 has showed me how I can benefit from being more intentional and mindful with my time; in other words, it has showed me how important it is to be present, really present. It has also showed me that I should be celebrating my small wins because they result from challenging myself, which is what ultimately keeps me going.  Even though I am still learning to take each day as it comes, I know that I am in such a better place today than I was one year ago. I am still in the process of coming to terms with myself but I am proud of my progress and of how far I have come. So, my dear 2018, I am now ready to let you go, to leave you behind and move forward onto new experiences and challenges. And as I move forward, my sweet 2018, I am leaving with you the fears and uncertaintes that have become so deeply rooted in myself that they almost fooled me to believe that they were actually somewhat me. Anyway, that does not matter anymore because I acknowledge that it is not true. I surely do not need those fears or uncertainties, which are nothing more than self-limiting beliefs, to feel secure or more like myself.  While it is true that there is still plenty of inner work to be done, it is also undeniably true that I am on the road to healing and there is no going back.

In 2018 I have started this beautiful (though not easy) journey of self-rediscovery, of re-connecting within and of finding peace within myself again. In 2018 I have fallen in love with nourishing and nurturing my body. Subsequently, I have been increasingly feeling a deep sense of connection with it and I am so happy about it. For now, my biggest intention for 2019 is to learn how to let things fall into place, to let each day unfold and to let life flow naturally. I want to learn to wait without anxiety and trust in the process of life.Thus, dear 2018, I appreciate you for all that you were and for having shown me what truly matters in life but… I am now letting you go.

Dear 2019, I welcome you with arms wide open and a grateful heart. I am ready to embrace all the unexpected changes and the newness that you will bring into my life.

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

My Weekend Gratitude List – July 18

Friday (27th July)

I am grateful – oh so grateful – for the last weekend in Dusseldorf and for finally having opportunity to spend time with my best friend. I am  grateful for our reunion after 10 months and for realising that, no matter how much time goes by, there are things in life that never change. I am grateful for finally getting to see her first new apartment, for our homemade 3-course dinner out in the balcony on Friday evening and for how much thought and love my bestie put into it. I am grateful for the wine drinking under a gorgeous lunar eclipse and starry sky and for deep conversation about life and the Universe. I am grateful for all the dancing, shameless selfies and moments of pure bliss we shared together.

Saturday (28th July)

I am grateful for our slow Saturday morning. What a scrumptious brunch we had at home, followed by some self-care time that involved hair skin cleansing and moisturization and facial masks. I am grateful for feeling so worriless and at ease around her. I am grateful for the lovely cafe we went to, for the super friendly and ….for the person who invented frothy dairy-free cappuccinos! I am grateful for the time we spent planning our next trip together and for seeing that she is just as excited for it as I am. I am grateful for the time spent exploring Dusseldorf, for the great food we had for dinner at a Japanese restaurant and for the beauty that the city is by night.

Sunday (29th July)

I am grateful to hear that my bestie really enjoyed my visit and to realise that we do have an everlasting bond. I am grateful for our hugged goodbye that got us a little teary-eyed. I am also grateful for having had the opportunity of meeting this other close friend of mine, who has been sick for the last 5 days but is now feeling better. I am grateful for the catch up we had over a delicious vegan brunch that involved matcha pancakes with berries and açai bowls. I am grateful for our Sunday walk by the Rhine river and for the moments of laughter we shared. I am grateful for the perfectly sunny day with a nice breeze and for having had a smooth coach journey back home.

All in all, I am grateful for having people in my life who show me how wonderful it feels to live in the present moment and intentionally. I am grateful for having people in my life who make me forget that life might be a uphill task at times. I am grateful for having people in my life who believe in me, uplift me and see in me the person I want to see too. I am grateful for having amazing friends who make me cherish and treasure life. And, lastly, I am grateful for going to sleep with a smile in my lips and a heart filled with joy. ♥

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Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

Sunset gazing

I have spent the last week in the UK and it felt so good to be back there.

It was a beautiful and bright Sunday on the Kent seaside and, for that reason, my boyfriend and I decided to drive to the beach to watch the sun setting over the vast blue ocean.

It is no secret that Nature is fuel for the soul and I love the power that sunset gazing has over me. It always manages to bring me into the present moment and feel grateful for being alive. There is something so special about the way how the sun seems to melt and drip into the water; something so inexplicably unique about how it gently kisses the ocean good night (…) and it was as if life had stopped whilst we watched the live show in the sky. It was just me, my partner and the glorious spectacle of dancing colours we had in front of us – the true epitome of fleeting beauty. Nothing else seemed to exist or matter.

Isn’t it wonderful how Mother Nature is capable of truly enriching our lives if only we let it? If we force ourselves to stop and shift our focus to appreciating the surrounding natural beauty? 

 

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Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

My weekend gratitude list

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” –William Arthur

I am grateful for the last weekend in Amsterdam and for the great time spent with two friends that I had not seen in ages. I am grateful for our amazing catch up filled with stories sharing, lots of jokes and laughter. I am grateful for the gorgeous sunset over the IJ river that with a jazz band playing in the background. I am grateful for having had the opportunity of making my friends’ birthday somewhat more special just by being present. I am grateful for the hugs and for the new memories I have built.

I am grateful for our home cooking and for how delicious the dinner turned out; for eating with pleasure rather than worries. I am grateful for our Saturday night in. For ending the evening all cozied up on the coach eating chocolates and watching Gilmore Girls.

I am grateful for waking up to a new and sunny day and biking our way to downtown; for the sushi we have indulged in; for laughing and simply enjoying life.

I am grateful for the Sunday sun-drenched stroll along the canals in Amsterdam and for the photos taken to remind me that great friends are to keep. I am grateful for soaking up the sun whilst being wrapped up in a soft blanket drinking a warm fresh mint tea. Literally a “hug in a cup”. I am grateful for saying goodbye to my friends with a huge smile on my face due to the lovely time we had together. I am grateful for the smooth train journey back home. For being alive and for feeling loved, safe and blessed.

I am grateful for seeing myself healing and for being so at piece with myself. For being in awe with this beautiful world we live in and for feeling so inspired by it.

Lastly, I am grateful for you, you, who are taking time – the most precious thing you have – to read my words. Thank you.IMG_2799Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

A snowy Sunday morning

It is a quite Sunday morning in December and it is snowing outside. What an absolute bless is to wake up and see all the rooftops and naked trees covered in white.

There is nothing better than staying at home, where it is warm and cozy, and light some scented candles. A good breakfast in bed with the company of a great book and a good song playing in the background that makes us forget all the struggles we might be going through. This is what Sundays should be made for; to relax and unwind; to find some inner peace and pure gratitude within ourselves.

Things might get rocky and we may find ourselves stuck in a dark place but (…) Life has its own way of showing us that magic exists in every little moment. Life has its own way of showing us the things and people who we are grateful for. Life has its own way of changing its direction just to make us realise how lucky we are. When life asks us to stop, we should listen to it and look around to admire all the beauty that surrounds us.♥

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Wish you all a lovely Sunday x

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful