Do not rush through life.

Do – not – rush – through life. Make sure you know when to hit “pause” so that you can enjoy your time here to its fullest. Take it slowly.

Trust me, I know that it is not easy to slow down when you feel like you’re lagging behind work and you have a never-ending to-do list BUT remember:

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” —Mohandas K. Gandhi

On the surface of things, there might be the chaos but if you just stop and observe.. you will also be able to see the stillness in the objects all around you.

I know that we may thrive when we have tight deadlines or when we push ourselves to get somewhere. I also know how good it can feel to do things quick and when we power through something difficult. I know the sense of achievement and accomplishment we get when we finally finish something “big” at work/school, despite all the stress, sleepless and fatigue.

We try so hard to keep up with our work, fitness routine and social life. We try so hard to be the good employee, the good friend, the good daughter, the good wife/girlfriend.

We want to be on top of our game all the time. Every single day. We want to do more; BE more.

.. but this non-stop “go go mentality” takes a toll in both our mental and physical health.  We become detached from ourselves and the outter world. We become disconnected from our own emotions and needs and life just passes by (…). For all these reasons and more, today I just want to leave here a reminder. A reminder for you, for me and for everyone else who does too much and still feels it is not enough.

Take life in bite size chunks. Do not spread yourself too thin. Take life one day at a time and just as it comes. And, as difficult as this may be, we will find it expands the time that we often lack. 

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Much love,

Blissfully Grateful

“I am entirely up to me.”

I am entirely up to me.

 

Six simps words that carry a strong message.

I am indeed entirely up to me. I do not want to watch life passing me by. Just over a half year ago, I have made this very important conscious decision of committing to myself (and to my life for that matter). Every morning I choose to stay committed, regardless of how easy or hard it comes to me. I am in such a better place than I was 7 months ago and I feel both very proud and thankful. I have been focused on doing everything I do with greater intention: working, eating, moving my body, meeting and connecting with people, traveling, reading and writing/blogging. I have also been paying closer attention to my surroundings and to the things I do so I can better grasp whether they build me up or drag me down. Numbing out to deliberately avoid dealing with my emotions and feelings is no longer an option for me. Rather than just mindlessly living, I want to be present because life is happening “here and now”.

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

A great start to September.♥ 

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 a busier 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:

 

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… and, finally, I got to see the original painting from Mondriaan, one of the pioneers of abstract art.

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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:

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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

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

 

 

A tough Monday.

Today was just one of the those days. I did not have a great night of sleep nor a great day in general to be honest. I went to bed late last night because I needed to finish a few things for work and then struggled to fall asleep. Even though I still managed to be productive at work, I just kept on dwelling on negative thoughts throughout the day. Nothing specifically bad happen today but I just did not felt scattered and with my mind drawn in several directions at once… and because, we feel what we think, it was pretty much impossible to feel good today, no matter how hard I tried.

I still went to my usual strength training group class at the gym and instead of having felt a boost to my energy and mood levels, I, honestly, just left it feeling more tired and upset. I guess that even the so-called feelgood chemicals usually released by working out have decided to stand me up today. Sick of feeling this way, I decided to just ease things up. On my way home, I bought myself a gorgeous bunch of colourful flowers. What I love about blooms is the fact that, regardless of how positive or negative I may be feeling, they always seem to force me to pay attention to the beauty and splendor of the world around me. Once at home, I grabbed my pen and journal and devoted some time to writing.  I felt like I  decluttered my mind and freed up some mental space that was very much needed. It seems the effects that journaling has on a restless mind and overall thought process never cease to amaze me. I then had my dinner whilst watching a movie and just called it a night.

..and you know what? Giving myself some grace (instead of just keep pushing myself too hard), proved to be exactly what I needed to bounce back. ♥

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Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

A well spent day off from work.

The past Thursday, 10th of May, was Ascension Day in Holland and this national holiday could not have come at a more perfect time, right after the financial quarter end at work and right before my boyfriend came to stay for just over a week.

Generally speaking, I am very happy how my day off went. All the little things that I end up by doing turned out to be exactly what I needed to recharge and feel at my best again! It was not a “to-do-all-the-things-that-I-need-to-do-but-can’t-do-whilst-I-am-at-work” kind of day but a day that allowed me to reset my perspective and left me better off.

First off, I had a very restful night and slept for 8 hours, something so often underestimated these days. As I went to bed early-ish, I did not need to sleep in to get a good and long night of sleep and, as a result, I woke up feeling very refreshed and ready to seize the day!

I got up and drank a full glass of plain celery juice first thing in the morning. I then put on my workout clothes and got all ready to leave the house. For breakfast I had a bowl of quinoa porridge topped with cinnamon and a tiny bit of white tahini. I ate it all whilst catching up on some youtube videos. Once I finished eating breakfast, I headed out to the gym for a strength training and cardio classes, one of my favourite group workout sessions. Plus, I just love when I have the chance to work out in the morning. It gives me that extra energy boost to efficiently tackle my day.

On my way home I stopped by the supermarket to get some groceries and ended up by buying this gorgeous bunch of colourful tulips. I just could not resist it! I love how they brighten up my indoor space and make my house feel like “home”, especially in this beautiful season of blossoming love. ♥

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After a revitalising shower and some house chores such as doing laundry, I was quite hungry and made myself some oven baked sweet potato chips with smashed avocado and a large squeeze of lemon juice. The perfect combo! Plus, these chips don’t require any type of oil to get crispy or tasty…trust me, they are simply delicious and so easy to wolf down! haha I have also eaten a bowl of a homemade mushroom and veggies stew! It is so important to get all the essential nutrients in and feed our bodies right! 🙂  

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Because skincare is also self-care, I decided to take some time after lunch to devote my full attention to properly take care of my skin. I don’t think I need to endorse the amazing benefits of having a self care routine as I am sure you are pretty aware of them. On my face, I used a foaming cleanser, a hydrating mask with organic argan oil and to finish off, a natural toner mist spray. On my body, I simply used a hydrating lotion. All the products I used are vegan, cruelty free and with natural ingredients and I love how they leave my skin soft, gloomy and soothed. As you can see, I like to keep my skincare routine quick and simple as I am of the opinion that less really is more. When it comes to cosmetics, I prefer to go for quality over quantity.

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Even though the weather was quite gloomy outside, I decided to go to one of my favourite cafes in town, which is like 5 mins from my house, and do some writing for the blog. By doing this I am using my time productively whilst doing something that I really enjoy doing. I ordered my usual cup cappuccino with organic oat milk. It never disappoints!

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When I got home, I decided to do some cleaning around the house and organise one of my kitchen pantry drawers. Bringing order to this drawer was something that I needed to do for a while and I knew that I would feel better after getting it done. It always gives me a sense of accomplishment to do something that has a tangible result and cleaning up my external environment feels like cleaning up my own psyche. As it is often said, “tidy home, tidy mind”!

Afterwards, I prepared some celery juice for my next 2-3 mornings. After reading the benefits for gut health that plain celery juice has in an empty stomach, I decided to give it a try and see how I feel. I have been doing this for just over a week now. I can’t lie that digging the straight up celery juice requires an acquired taste but if my gut benefits from it, then it is definitely worthy!

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For dinner, I made a hearty and creamy soup only with veggies and healing spices such as ginger and turmeric. I will have to post this recipe at some point because it is definitely one of my go-to soups whenever I feel like eating some homemade comfort food.

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I watched an episode of Greys Anatomy whilst having dinner. It is one of my favourite series of all time!

After a quick catch up with my boyfriend, mum and one of my besties, I decided to disconnect from technology and do some bedtime reading. Churning through some pages before I go to sleep is something that I have been trying to turn into a winding-down daily ritual. I feel like it clears my mind from my day-to-day worries and unwanted thoughts and prepare my body for sleep. Besides that, ditching technology just before bed is a healthy habit that I want to bring into my life since it is known to trick our brains to think that they need to stay awake and alert.

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The things that I have done may seem quite mundane for many but what I wanted to show with this blog post is that we should not feel forced to do something super special – like “going on new adventures” – just because it is a public holiday where we don’t have to go to work. We can equally enjoy it by doing seemingly “trivial” things that we actually like doing. In short, focusing our energy and time on some but key activities might end up by having a significant impact on our mood and energy level the next days; it might end up by being exactly what we needed to be at the top of our game.

I feel like we are likely to do better in all parts of our lives if we take the time for ourselves and do whatever we feel like doing, big things or small. ♥ At the end of the day, the way how we choose to spend our days is, of course, the way how we spend our lives. 

Please let me know in the comments if you share these same thoughts or not. Also, what are some of the things that you like to do when you have a day off work? 🙂

By the way, I am currently reading the book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. Has any of you read it already? Would love to know!

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

Slowing down.

Sorry guys. I know it is been a while but sometimes life just happens. I have been trying my hardest to balance my professional life with my personal and social life, which has been quite challenging. Trying to balance them out has forced me to disconnect myself to a certain extent from this online social platforms. Sometimes this is what we need: disconnecting from social media in order to fully connect with life.

The past 2/3 weeks have been crazy hectic. My full-time job, usual fitness routine and some other tasks kept me very busy during the week days and then some social and travel plans kept me occupied and active during the weekends.

I had days when I felt pretty overwhelmed due to being overloaded with work and some inner thoughts but I also had other days when I felt overwhelmed with pure happiness and love instead. Love from my partner who is always so thoughtful and supportive. Love from my family who is always so caring and helpful. Love from my friends who encourage positive change and help me cope with bad times. I could not be happier with my social life at the moment since I have had the chance of being reunited with my parents, boyfriend and some of my best friends in three different countries and in a space of like 10 weeks. Although the past months have been very fulfilling, they have been also quite intense.

I think that I ended up by temporarily forget that cramming my life full of endless to-do’s and plans can be also a health hazard. There were several weeks where I got home feeling absolutely shattered and worn out every single day. There were some rough nights of sleep that – perhaps due to anxiety and stress – did not allow me to wake up feeling refreshed and well-rested. On top of it, because I had plans for every weekend, I did not really find the time to completely unplug from the day-to-day. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that I do not enjoy having plans in the weekends. I really do, especially when they imply lots of travelling, exploring new places and meeting up with people (which was the case during the past few months). my busy weekends have resulted in many new, happy and special memories that I wouldn’t change for the world. Nevertheless, I can’t deny that not having a weekend to myself for 12 weeks in a row left me mentally drained. I value alone time a lot and I need to have weekends “off” from time to time due to the breakneck pace of work all week long.

As I get to the weekend feeling often stressed out, reactive and scattered, sometimes all I want is to have some solo time to relax my mind, unwind my thoughts and recharge. Reading, writing, planning the week ahead, doing yoga and/or meditation are all things that allow me to empty my head and clear my thoughts. When I am able to do this during the weekend, I feel refreshed and can hit Monday ready to go. On other hand, when I have too many busy weeks and weekends in a row, things end up by getting purely overwhelming for me and, as a result, I find myself struggling to re-gain my control over and balance in life.

In order to have a balanced life, I need to have a handle on certain internal and external factors that I find very important. Put simple, internal factors are my mind; heart and health and external factors are my work; relationships with my boyfriend/family/friends and involvement in social events/fun activities. Even though both types of factors are interconnected, I feel like when I am too focused on the external factors, I tend to lose focus from the internal ones and vice-versa. This is exactly what I have been experiencing lately.

I had one of my best friends coming from Germany just to visit this weekend and we had such a lovely time together but now that she is left, this is actually the first Sunday afternoon that I have all by myself. I am devoting myself to  writing, reading and yoga, which is exactly what I needed to feel grounded and clear-headed. Now that I have taken some time to just slow down, reassess my life and re-prioritize, I feel like I have found myself again.

Although the upcoming two weeks and six weekends are not going to be as free and probably run as smoothly as I would like, I think it is time to slow down and take back control. When the pace of my life gets too fast and things get too chaotic again, I just need to force myself to stop, breathe and refocus. I need to make time for the things that bring me inner peace, calm and groundedness. After all, as Ghandi once said “There is more to life than increasing its speed”. ♥

Can you relate to this in some way? How do you find your balance in life? Would lovely to hear about it in the comments! x

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful