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.
Sometimes it is hard to completely switch my mind off of work mode the minute I leave the office. Oftentimes it feels like I need an entire day just to unwind from a hectic week at work. That is why I make sure that every now and then I have a slow weekend that I can I use to fully recharge for the week to come. My first weekend of December was just like that. I had two and half days all for myself and trust me, they did wonders to my mind, body and sould. Hence why I am here today to share it with you.
I headed to the gym for an evening workout when I left the office and decided to combine my fitness session with the start of what I expect to be a compulsively readable and exciting thriller book.
After the gym, I headed right away to the Nederlands Dans Theather to attend/watch a dance performance from “Significant Moments”. A friend of mine was kind enough to offer me the ticket and I am so grateful for it. I was in complete awe with the group’s absolutely amazing performance from the beginning till the end. The human body really is capable of so much beauty and is just art in itself. I loved it all, from the dynamic, amazingly coordination and energetic pieces infused with humour to the show of lights, sounds and rhythm. A gorgeous concoction of ballet, hip hop, modern dance and acting. This is what I call “starting the weekend right”.
As I was biking my way home, I found myself in this cycling road and had to take a picture. The bare trees were looking so Christmassy and pretty with the fairy lights! It made me realise how I feel overall “lighter” and joyful when I allow myself to stop, look around and find beauty in the small things of life.
Morning Breakfast before heading to my cardio/strength training class at the gym: vegan and gluten free mini pancakes paired with coconut yoghurt and fresh blueberries. When I think I might fancy some pancakes for breakfast, I usually prepare them the night before so that all I need to do next morning is to pop them in the oven and eat! Quick, simple and without the need of rushing. I know, I know…they might not look like the prettiest pancakes but they were still tasty and crispy regardless! Plus, ugly pancakes are just as delish as perfectly golden and round ones!
Despite the gym class being quite physically intense (as per usual), it was still great fun! It is amazing how the instructor makes every class so entertaining with his cheerful mood and energy. There are moments when it does not even feel like you are working out. You just go with the flow, have a great time and end the class with a big smile (and ok a sweaty and red face too).
After my gym class, I caught a train to a nearby city, where I had never been before, and went for some much needed Christmas shopping. The city is called Amersfoort and is just 15 minutes away from where I live.
It was a short train journey but I still managed to do some reading and eat my homemade wrap for lunch. This is usually the meal I go for whenever I know I am gonna need a lunch on the go. It is simply a carrot wrap filled with mushroom-based mince meat from Quorn, green onions, spinach and cilantro. It was very yummy and it totally hit the spot!
One of my goals for this year was to explore not only more of Europe but also more of the country where I live. Thus, I was glad to cross another Dutch city off my bucket list just before the end of the year! Despite having been caught up in the rain and getting soaking wet (which is not that unusual anyways lol), it was a well-spent afternoon roaming and wandering around the unknown streets of Amersfoort.
I also got to explore a new cafe, something I absolutely love to do whenever I have the chance. The cafe is called “Barista cafe Amersfoort” and is it not so quaint and cozy> The staff could not have been friendlier and the atmosphere radiating Christmas vibes was so lovely and inviting.
I ordered myself a decaf cappuccino with unsweetened almond milk and a slice of dairy and gluten free toasted banana bread with cranberries, almond flakes and hazelnuts. The cappuccino was perfectly served and the banana bread just scrumptious. They both provided me that extra shot of motivation and, as a result, I was able to have a productive afternoon working on new content for the blog. I don’t know about you guys but I have always loved working in coffeeshops. I find that they enhance both my creativity and concentration levels.
Because I was enjoying my time at the cafe so much, I also decided to ordered a fresh ginger tea with lemon (one of my favourites).
When I left the cafe and made my way back to the train station, I managed to capture the last bit of autumn.
As it was super cold outside, when I got home I went straight to the shower and then put on some fuzzy socks and my comfy pjs. After feeling all nice and cozy, I made myself a nourishing dinner: chickpeas pasta, green beans, mushrooms, baked mustard tofu, watercress leaves and fresh cilantro. Just what my body was craving. I ate it whilst catching up on the last episode of “This is Us”. Any other fans of this show out there?
After a restful night of sleep, I woke up on Sunday morning and headed to the yoga studio, which is just a short walk from my house. I love doing a Power Yoga class first thing in the morning because it not only gives me mental clarity but also because it allows me to start my day in a positive light. Sunday is the only day of the week where I skip breakfast, my favourite meal of the day. It is advisable to practice yoga in the morning on an empty stomach. Having food in the digestive system can disrupt the overall yoga practice as it interferes with the rhythm of the body. Doing yoga poses take energy away from the digestive system and, if we have food is in our digestive tract, its capacity to digest becomes limited.
After my yoga practice, which once again did wonders to my mind, body and soul, I was craving some real homemade comfort food. So, as for my post yoga refuel, I had this bowl of couscous paired with a mushroom and cauliflower stew. I topped it all off with fresh cilantro, some squeezed lemon, cracked pepper and toasted pine nuts. It was so tasty and it just goes to show that plant-based eating does not have to be dull or boring at all.
One of the things I love the most about being at home during the weekend is to have the time to really tune in with my body, listen to the foods it craves and feed it accordingly. Plus, nothing beats nourishing our bodies with a homemade and hearty meal made with love and care, am I right or am I right? ♥
December is here, which means that Christmas is officially less than a month away and therefore it is most definitely not too soon to pop on a Christmas film and begin to feel festive! Yay. Plus, it was super cold and wet outside… and what’s better than staying in and watching movies when the rain is beating down?
I watched the movie “The Man who invented Christmas”, which tells the story of how Charles Dickens created “A Christmas Carol”. It is a lovely story and I recommend anyone who sees this season as special and somewhat magic to watch it.
Also, when the weather is not working in my favour, I love a good book to snuggle up with. So after watching the movie, I have finished reading the book “The Universe has your back” whilst sipping a cup of hot camomile tea. I absolutely loved it and it was just the perfect way to end the rainy Sunday.
This relaxing weekend left me refreshed and ready for the new month and for everything that it holds. How amazing is it that each month offers us the chance to start fresh, with a new mindset, focus and intentions? This slow start to December reminded me of how important it is to give myself a little grace, turn off my ” go go” mentality, put aside my to-do list and just unwind. After all, with our busy lives and only some precious little time away from the grind, we need to make every moment of our free time count. The best way to do it is by making time for the things and people that make our soul happy and our life more fulfilled.
I have come to realise that time is way too short and life is way too big to be anything but happy. ♥ One of the intentions that I have set for the year of 2018 was to simply do more of what makes my soul shine. Thus, as I turned 25 years old in September, I decided to reward myself with a Barista Workshop. For those of you who don’t know, I am a coffee lover whos comes from Portugal, where coffee culture is huge. We love to linger at the table after eating, drink a cup of coffee (usually an espresso) and chat for hours. I personally love to catch up with a good friend over coffee. Nothing beats a “let’s go for a coffee” invitation! 🙂
Coffee holds a very special meaning to me and, in my opinion, it brings people together. When I was little, my granny (also a coffee lover) used to serve me coffee in this cute little cup every day after we having lunch together. I remember how happy I felt when drinking it. Granny used to take a sip, gently close her eyes and say smilling “it is so good, is it not my dear?”. My parents were not that happy about me drinking coffee at such a young age like 5 years old… but they allowed it anyway because they knew that it was our little thing. Plus, the caffeine/water ratio was probably 85/15%. I loved its taste regardless and that is why coffee has a very special place in my heart to this day.
I did my Barista workshop at Koffie Academie, in Amsterdam, in the beginning of December. The workshop had the duration of 3h-3:30 hours and I could not be more satisfied with how it went.
So what are the most relevant insights I have learned in this workshop?
Real coffee is never be bitter
There are about 100 flavours of coffee, depending on its country of origin. The flavours are grouped into 9 overarching categories (i.e. sweet, floral, fruity, nutty/cocoa, spices, sour/fermented, green/vegetative, roasted, other). You can click here for an interactive coffee taster’s flavour wheel
I now know what are the most important features of an espresso machine
I have learnt how to properly evaluate the acidity, body and strength of coffee
I have learnt how to differentiate Asian from African coffee. While coffee from Asia (i.e. Indian malabar) is spicy and heavy, African coffee is lighter, thiner and hence more watery. Coffee from South America is something in between the two
I have learnt how to use a coffee grinder and a commercial espresso machine (trust me, it is really really exciting!) as well as how to pour the perfect heart cappuccino.
This is what the workshop entailed and the foundation skills I have learnt:
Harvesting, extraction, processing method and variety of coffee beans
Coffee roasting (i.e.how a coffee roaster works in order to bring out the best flavours from within a coffee bean)
Tasting and Cupping
Espresso shots and milk steaming
Latte art. I have made my very first heart shaped cappuccino (see below) using oat milk and I am SO stoked about it!!
Equipment operation and maintenance
This fun hands-on workshop made me fall more in love with the coffee industry as a whole. I feel inspired and certainly more determined to open my own coffee place one day. It really took my understanding of coffee to the next level and it was like I was tasting coffee for the very first time.
Here are some of photos of the workshop in case you are interested 🙂
Are you also a coffee lover like me? Have you ever done a Barista workshop? Let me know in the comment section below! 🙂
I think that our beautiful world could only benefit if we were all a little bit more mindful about the things we buy and consume; especially those we use on a daily basis like our toothbrush. I have bought my very first bamboo toothbrush around one year ago, at Vegenement, which is a Vegan Festival that took place where I live ( Utrecht, The Netherlands). Since this same festival took place again this year, just about three weeks ago, and I went there… you can guess what happened. I bought myself another bamboo toothbrush! 🙂 I am very pleased for having swapped my regular plastic toothbrush for a sustainable bamboo one. Hence why I am here today: to share my reasons for this happy swap and perhaps to motivate those of you who don’t have a bamboo toothbrush, to buy one and give it a go.
So, what do I like the most about using a bamboo toothbrush?
Contrary to plastic, bamboo is naturally antimicrobial, an attribute that offers a long-lasting protection against harmful bacteria. This way, I do not need to worry about potential nasty bacteria growing in my toothbrush
By choosing to use a sustainably-grown bamboo toothbrush, I am lowering my impact on the planet and ensuring that it will not be yet another toothbrush lingering in a landfill ..or, even worse, in our oceans and beaches. If it ends up there, it might end up by being consumed by marine life, which subsequently causes them harm. Also, a bamboo toothbrush does not contribute to air pollution as it so happens when the ones made of hard plastic are burnt (they release a toxic and greenhouse gases)
Bamboo is a material that is totally biodegradable (and can even be composted) and sustainable. It is actually the fastest growing plant on earth (i.e self-regenerated, rapid growth rate, super adaptable and resilient). Also, due to its naturally-occurring antimicrobial agents, its cultivation does not require the use of fertilisers or artificial pesticides, making it toxin-free.
I love to support any businesses and brands that are aligned with my personal values and interests (sustainability being one of them). It makes me truly happy to come across with entrepreneurs and business owners who are trying to make this world a better place.
Despite not doubting that most manufacturers of bamboo toothbrushes are a passionate bunch striving for greater sustainability, I think that is important to choose well. I must say that I could not be happier and more satisfied for having bought this last bamboo toothbrush. It is from the Swedish brand The Humble Co. and after some research and digging, I was amazed to find that this is not only a brand that cares about environmental responsibility but also about social responsibility. Thus, if you are looking to buy a bamboo toothbrush that is from a sustainable, transparent and trustworthy brand, I’d totally recommend Humble and Co. Here are all the reasons why:
It is 100% recyclable! .. but how so?
– The handle it is made of sustainably-grown bamboo which is 100% biodegradable as I have mentioned above
– The bristles are made of nylon-6, which is a long-lasting hygienic synthetic material with a low carbon footprint and that degrades over time
– The box in which the toothbrush comes is made from recycled materials and its wrapper is compostable and made from plants (seriously, how awesome is this?)
It is organic, vegan and cruelty free, which means that you can rest assured that the bristles are not made of pig hair
It is BPA free due to its bristles being made of Nylon-6, a material that is naturally free from this toxin
You can choose between soft and medium bristles, which are actually the only two “hardness” types recommended by dentists
I really like its design and the toothbrushes are available in 6 different colours
I really value what this company stands for. It is an environmentally conscious brand that not only is aware of the plastic problem and of oral health care not being uniformly accessible across the nation but that also works to tackle these issues.
Every purchase goes towards funding professional and healthcare projects that benefit children in need. With its profits, Humble Co. donates either physical products (e.g. oral care products) or monetary resources to those that need them the most. This just confirm the company’s genuine intention to make a positive impact. It makes me feel good to know that by buying a bamboo toothbrush from Humble Co., I am supporting a business that is actually making a change in the environment and in the lives of many children
The toothbrush is developed by dentists who have put significant time into testing and refining proccedures to meet our needs. Knowing that my eco-friendly toothbrush was designed and produced under the guidance and supervision of professional assures me that it is adequate for my oral health care needs.
It has an affordable price (3,95€)
Switching to a bamboo toothbrush might seem like a seemingly important thing but I, firmly, believe that it is by taking these seemingly irrelevant “SMALL steps” that we can make a “BIG difference”.
Do you also own a bamboo toothbrush? If not, has this post somewhat convinced you to buy one? 🙂
Brief disclaimer: I am not being paid to promote this product nor was I offered it for free. I am just sharing a product that I have purchased because it has the potential to help us save the planet and because I love it.
I think that it goes without saying that when we “truly love Nature, we find beauty everywhere“. Just under two weeks ago, I went for a a family roadtrip around Switzerland and it was oh-so-lovely to get reunited with my parents and sis in a country where there’s so much natural beauty. Exploring new territories always gets me pretty stoked but, as the outdoorsy person that I am, I love to wandering off the beaten track. Being completely out in the Nature is just Paradise to me and let me tell you that the landscape of the Swiss Alps is as jaw-dropping as I had imagined. ♥
Since we rented a car, we got to visit aseveral places in Switzerland and it was great to see so much of the country in just 5 days! We went to Lausanne, Interlaken, Broc, Zurich and Geneva. Sadly, we did not get to see much of Lausanne because we just stayed a night there. We did get to properly explore Zürichand Geneva, two cosmopolitan cities by the water that result in a beautiful combination of urban life with nature. Even though there is a lot going for both cities (Arts, Sciences and Design-wise), it would have been a shame to travel to Switzerland only to visit them. The highlight of our trip was definitely wander around the splendid countryside. The beautiful image of cows grazing on the mountain prairies with the Alps as a backdrop is still stuck in my mind! Also, all the hiking lovers out there, please take note of this: Switzerland is like paradise on Earth! There are plenty of hiking trails that have stunning scenery all along the way and that will make you feel glad to be alive.
I thought I would share with you the things I loved the most about Switzerland (hoping I can convince those who haven’t had the chance of visiting it, to do it)!
Inhaling the fresh pure air from the Swiss Alps
Being surrounded by plenty of greenery untouched by man
Breathtaking landscapes over Swiss mountains
The beyond beautiful crystal clear lakes that are just awe-evoking
The spectacular scenic roads
Cows roaming freely in the beautiful alpine landscape
The pituresque wooden chalets
The delicious high-quality Swiss chocolate that is so worth indulging in
Hiking trails that take you through breathtaking views
Because Switzerland is world famous for its chocolate, in our third day there we decided to visit the Cailler Chocolate factory. I’d totally recommend it to anyone who loves chocolate and wants to learn more about it. The tour is very interactive and lasts for about 1 – 1.5 hours. It takes you on a very interesting, insightful and literally delicious journey through the history of Cailler, which for those of you who do not know, is the Switzerland’s oldest chocolate brand. You get to learn everything about the different stages of chocolate production; from cocoa plantation to the finished and packed product! There is a free chocolate degustation at the end of the tour, where you have the chance to try all the chocolates produced by Cailler. It is any chocolate lovers’ dream, am I right or am I right?! The tour is so insightful that makes you see and appreciate chocolate in a whole new way. It made me feel like I was trying chocolate for the very first time. The tour guided us to use all our senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste ) so we could get the real chocolate experience! It showed us how tasting chocolotate really is an experience; it is all about looking at it and trying to make up how it tastes , inhaling and pondering the aromas we can sense, sensing its texture, tasting its rich flavour and enjoying its aftertaste.
Here are are some more of the photos taken during my trip that I found worth-sharing with you guys:
Have you had the chance of visiting any of these places? If so, how did you like it? Would you recommend visiting any other city in Switzerland? 🙂
Sundays are my favourite, especially when I get to wake up in a beautiful city that is not my own, like it happened last weekend. My boyfriend and I flew out to France on Wednesday, the 12th September, in order to celebrate my 25th birthday in Paris, which turned out to be an amazing and very memorable one. 💛
The five days spent in Paris were so healing for my monkey mind. These holidays were a welcomed break in my usual work, fitness routine and overall day-to-day life as well as a break in my mental chatter and in the not-so-positive spin of thoughts and emotions that I sometimes experience. Plus, my boyfriend and I spent a lovely time together exploring the beautiful city of Paris.
On my last morning in Paris, I decided to walk to a small and beautiful Parisian cafe and devote some time to journaling. I feel very lucky to have a boyfriend who is so supportive and caring. He always gives me the time and space I need and whenever I feel an urge to spend a couple of hours alone writing down my thoughts or doing something else, he immediately backs me up. I guess that this what love is: to be with someone who builds you up, rather that who drags you down 💛
I have been journaling almost every day for the past one and a half months and I am planning to continue to do it so. Getting into the habit of journaling was from far one of the best things I have done for my mental health. There is so much rattling around my brain all the time and getting my thoughts out of my head and down on paper has been keeping me more grounded and helping me to tune into my feelings and emotions.
Are you also into journaling? Would love to know in the comments! 🙂
Due to having a father who is an artist, art has always played a huge role in my life. Dad has always motivated me to continuously develop my creative self and see the world as an amazing art masterpiece. Also, due to his influence, going to art museums and galleries has been a rather normal thing to do in my free time ever since I was a little child.
As someone who loves to behold art in all forms, I feel incredibly lucky (and grateful) to live just a short 30-mins train journey away from, what are in my opinion, some of the best museums we have in Europe. To mark the beginning of September – hands down my favourite month of the year – I decided to take the train to Amsterdam and have some quality time at the Stedelijk museum. After all, we must spend our time doing what we love (as often as we can) because life is way too short to be wasted doing things that do not make us happy.
My Saturday actually started in abusier way than usual. A friend of mine slept at my house from Friday to Saturday and I had to wake up quite early to help her getting ready for a wedding. When she left my house, I went to my usual cardio/strength training class at the gym and afterwards I just made my way to Amsterdam. Stedelijk, the largest museum of modern and contemporary art and design in The Netherlands, has been on my list of must-see museums in the country for quite some time. So happy for making time to finally visit it!
I find it so important to make room in our lives for art because it gives us meaning. It helps us to understand the world around us and, if we let it, art has the power to enable us to have a life that is richer in purpose, joy and creativity. I love the fact that certain works of art can show us exactly what we are scared of expressing and admitting. Plus, there is something so special about stepping inside an art gallery and loosing myself in unknown shapes, colours, textures and stories. ♥
Visiting an art museum that was knew to me really made my Saturday afternoon. I thought I’d share with you the photos of some of the favourite things I saw at Stedelijk museum:
… and, finally, I got to see the original painting from Mondriaan, one of the pioneers of abstract art.
I also learnt that the studios in The Netherlands and France where Mondriaan lived reflected the way he painted and expressed himself ins his paintings (i.e. geometrism and grids of black, white and primary colours). I guess that this shows that the environment we create around us really is a reflection of our state of mind.
Last but definitely not least, here is something that I read about how art – as we know it today – emerged in the Netherlands and that is so worth-sharing:
“Concept became more important than form; everything could, and art could be everywhere”.How beautiful. ♥
I hope this post served as a reminder of how important it is to do things that inspire us and make our soul happy. Have a lovely Sunday and great start to the week x
As someone who has increasingly become more environmentally conscious over the past 2 years, I have been on a mission to incorporate certain habits into my lifestyle that have a low or no negative impact on the environment. If you were to ask me about a simple step that we could all take towards living a lower impact lifestyle, the first one that would immediately cross my mind is to stop using plastic straws. I personally think that these are a great example of plastic items with a global major environmental impact and that, honestly, anyone can easily give up. With this in mind, I have gathered in this blog post 5 reasons why you should say no plastic straws.
For something that has an incredibly short lifespan (i.e. an average of 20 minutes to be precise), plastic straws have a shockingly big impact on the environment and last for a lifetime. They do not biodegrade and they can’t be actually recycled. Due to their small size and light weight, plastic straws end up by falling through the cracks of the conveyer belt of the recycling facilities. Thus, I find it such a waste to use a plastic item for a few minutes that takes hundreds of years to fully decompose.
Plastic straws are made of a by-product of petroleum (i.e. polypropylene), whose processes of extraction and refining require a large amount of energy and natural resources.
Plastic straws are one of the most insidious polluters. Since plastic is a material that does not decompose, straws made of it break down into tiny pieces polluting our oceans and littering our beaches and cities.
Plastic straws also wind up harming marine wildlife. They can be life-threatening to animals, such as seabirds, fish, sea turtles (currently in extinction), because may entangle them or being accidentally ingested
The use of plastic straws is absolutely unnecessary and therefore, I find it so shocking that an average of 5 million plastic straws are used every single day in the United States alone. I just can’t wrap my head around this when there are several sustainable alternatives (e.g. glass, metal, bamboo and recycled paper straws) that do the same, if not even a better, job.
If you are still using plastic straws please know that you can start making a difference on the environment and beautiful Planet today. All you need to do is is to ditch them and swap to a greener straw alternative. As Ghandi once wisely said: You must be the change you wish to see in the world. So be it.
I think we all agree with the saying that it is insane “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results“. Nevertheless, I would risk saying that most – if not all- of us have done this at some point in our lives. I know that I have done it in the past and, as a matter of fact, I was doing it not so long ago. It takes courage to admit this to ourselves and it takes a lot of will power to break the cycle and put an end to this self-sabotaging behaviour.
I came to realise that the reason why I was me having a self-defeating state of mind.
I have always seen myself as a positive and self-motivated girl, who tries to see the good in every bad situation. However, I must say that maintaining an overall positive mental outlook is something that I have been struggling to do over the past few months.
I want to believe that the root cause of the health issues I am currently going through is my thinking and I mainly originated by my thoughts and been hard to do
The health issues that I am currently facing made me realise what I mentioned earlier in this post: I have been repeatedly doing the same thing and then find myself wondering why am I not getting different results. If I want meaningful changes to happen in my life, then I need to make a daily conscious mental effort to remain positive, and in addition, take actions that support my intentions and goals every single day. Of course that I will encounter challenges and difficulties in doing so but, I now now recognise that my reality is entirely up to me. Because my mind is the mighty force driving my life, I have consciously decided to reframe the self-defeating state of mind that I have been having lately and believe that:
What I am currently going through is a lesson in disguise
What I see as a problem is really nothing more than an opportunity to grow and do things differently
There is no such thing as a mistake or failure, there is only a chance to learn and to start doing things differently
We have freedom to steer our lives in the direction we want and power to choose our thoughts and who we want to be. We have this freedom and choice every single day. How great is that?
It was just over two weeks ago when things got quite tough and, subsequently, I found myself craving a reset button that I could press to escape. All I was wishing for was to get away for a few days and then come back with a fresh and brand new perspective. An entire week of holidays scheduled in Portugal could not have come at a better time. I was in need of ditching my work and fitness routine for some time and was looking forward to going back “home”. Nevertheless, after a couple of days in Portugal, I ended up by feeling quite out place. It seemed to me that “home” no longer felt like “home”? ..or I guess that I could no longer see “home” like a place but more like a feeling instead. A feeling that comes and goes and that is out of reach when life seems to be going downhill. A feeling that is unreachable when I am in the midst of – what it seems to be – an endless storm and internal battle. Seeing the positive in every situation and looking on the bright side of life can be a real challenge sometimes. I guess that I saw these holidays abroad as an opportunity to temporarily escape my reality, which is a silly thought…We can’t run away from the things we do not want to face. We need to embrace the uncomfortable and challenge our fears in order to free ourselves. We need to firmly believe that we are going to overcome whatever we are currently going through. Life gets better and this too shall pass. It is just a matter of time and attitude until we are able to get back on our feet. And, in the meantime, we are just a work in process and that is OKAY. So, with this in mind and in order to feel like myself again and get out of the rabbit hole I found myself in, I tried to practice self care every day during my holidays. Incorporating simple habits that allow myself to connect within and with the world around me helped me to find some joy and gratitude in the midst of all the chaos.
It is no novelty that by practicing self-care on a regular basis, we can ensure that we are at our optimum – emotionally, mentally and physically. Thus, I’d like to share with you the things I have done during my week of holidays. I hope that this can give you some ideas about how to give yourself the care you need when life gets tough.
Walks on the beach
Beach strolls are always restorative. They make me feel calmer, more at peace and aware of all the beauty and wonder that surrounds me.
Sea Kayaking with my family
I have done kayaking before but never in the sea. It was an overall great experience shared with my parents and sister (despite my dad’s motion sickness haha). Spending about 3 hours at sea allowed me to really dive into Nature’s true beauty (no pun intended), soak up some vitamin D and connect to the Earth’s magical, powerful and soothing energy.
Going to the spa
I decided to take 1h30-2hours aside to go to the spa and it made me feel so good. Because relaxation and stress management are key to living a happy life in a healthy body, mind and soul, I decided to take 1h30 – 2 hours to go to the spa .. and let me tell you how great it made me feel! My serotonin level, the “feel good” hormone, was boosted and I felt very relaxed.
I did a Spa-hydrotherapy circuit that consisted of Sauna, Turkish bath, neck waterfalls, cascade, jet showers, bubbles, cold water, Jacuzzi, bucket of cold water, pebble walk and a relaxation bed. This was all followed by a nice cup of tea to end the day in perfection.
Reading a good book is an escape for me. – it soothes me
Reading soothes me. I personally love to read inspiring books that flood my mind with uplifting ideas, positive thoughts and promising prospects about my future. I absolutely love to loose myself in books that contribute to my personal growth and development and that motivate me take positive actions to accomplish my goals in life.
Yoga and meditation
These two practices help bring awareness to the present moment at the same time that increase stress resilience and well-being. They also restore mental clarity and improve focus, which is needed to get though difficult times.
We all know how conducive self-care is to better coping with life and improve overall well-being but … how often do we really take time to ourselves? How often do we give our bodies (and mind) time to recoup and unwind? Let’s all prioritize small habits that allow us to rejoice in hope when life gets hard ♥ Wish you all a great week ahead.