A week of self care.

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.

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  • 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.

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

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Himalayan salt lamp and its benefits

Heya,

I finally bought myself a Himalayan salt lamp and I am pretty stoked about it as I have wanted to have one for ages. I got super curious since the very first time I heard about them.

I read a lot about the health properties of Himalayan salt lamps and their connection to ions before buying mine and I though I would share with you my findings.

First of all, it is important to understand what are ions and how they affect us.

Ions consist of molecules (i.e. groups of atoms) that have either gained or lost an electrical charge. When atoms/molecules have more positive electrons than negative, they carry a positive charge, being denominated as “positive ions”. Similarly, when they have more negative electrons than positive, they carry a negative charge and are therefore “negative ions”.

Ions are present in the air we inhale daily. Whilst negative ions can be mostly found outdoors (as Nature is their main source), positive ions can be found indoors. This is because Nature is the main source of negative ions and the electronics we possess at our house and work are the source generating positive ions.

Scientists claim that positive ions lower its delivery and sap our body of energy, which may lead to headaches, drousiness, infections, depressing mood, anxiety and breathing difficulties. On a more felicitous note, negatively charged ions are known to affect us positively because they facilitate the absorption of oxygen. They have the power of elevating our mood by increasing our levels of serotonin and of stabilising our blood pressure; boosting our immunity; increasing our body’s alkalinity;strengthening our bones and even of speeding up physical recovery. Sounds pretty amazing, does not it? This is because when negatively charged ions reach our bloodstream, they generate biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin. This subsequently improves our mood and energy levels and balances our mental health, alleviating feelings of depression, lethargy and stress.

The fact that negative ions are created in the Nature might explain why we can feel so renewed, energised and refreshed yet calm when we go on a hike in the mountains or just spend some time waterfalls or at the beach.

Now that I have shortly explained what ions are and how they can affect us, it is time to introduce the benefits of Himalayan salt lamps and show their link to negative ions.

I have gathered in the list below the benefits that are, from my standpoint, the most important:

Cleanse and purify the air. Salt lamps have the amazing power of hygroscopy, which basically consists of the process of attracting and absorbing water molecules that are present in the air into the salt crystal. Because the salt lamp warms up due to the heat generated by the light bulb inside, the water evaporates back into the surrounding environment and the particles of dust, pollen and other bad contaminants remain trapped and “stuck” to the salt.

Reduce allergies and breathing problems. Due to their cleansing property (already mentioned above), it has been commonly reported that Himalayan salt lamps reduce allergies and improve breathing problems like Asthma. The results are said to be felt within just 1-2 weeks.

Neutralise electromagnetic radiation. We are constantly exposed to electromagnetic radiation (EM) flowing from the electronics we have at both our house and workplace. These electronics produce positive ions which affect negatively our mental and physical health. Constant or long-term exposure to EM is widely known to have harmful effects to human health. Increased stress levels, chronic fatigue, insomnia and immune dysfunction are just some of its potential dangers to us. As Himalayan salt lamps emit negative ions, they assume a crucial role in neutralising this radiation.

Promote a better sleep. We all know how important it is to get good quality of sleep in order for us to feel and perform at our best. Sleep quality is worsened by the exposure to a high concentration of positive ions, which, as mentioned earlier,  reduce both the oxygen and blood delivery to the brain. If you are like me and like to sleep in complete darkness, you can simply leave the salt lamp on during the daytime and turn it off before going to sleep.

Improve our energy, mood and concentration levels. Negative ions enhance serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter known as a “mood stabiliser” and that directly influences dopamine (i.e. the so-called “happiness hormone”). Since this neurotransmitter is responsible for how much contentment, satisfaction, relaxation and peace we feel, having balanced serotonin levels is pivotal for our well-being. Thus, as salt lamps generate negative ions, they boost our serotonin levels, leading to increased energy and mental concentration and to improved mood.

Beautiful piece of decor that creates a peaceful atmosphere and space . From a decor point of view, Himalayan salt lamps are also a wonderful acquisition to our homes. I personally love the warm glow that my Himalayan salt lamp irradiates. Its amber/pink-ish colour is just so soothing and calming and helps me to have a more mindful space around me. It is such a pleasurable moment for me to sit comfortably on my bed after a long day and read a great book in the gentle and relaxing glow of a salt lamp.

Environmentally-Friendly source of light. This nice ambient light is also eco-friendly and low footprint. My research showed me that there are still many salt rocks reserves around the world and it is estimated they will still last for another 350 years if the extraction continues with the same pace it currently has. Plus, the light bulb inside the lamp consumes a really small amount of energy.

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Himalayan salt lamps exist in various sizes, shapes and colours and ech one of them is  naturally unique. The bigger/heavier the lamp, the greatest are its benefits.

I am very happy for having added this beautiful element to my little world and I can’t wait to enjoy all its amazing benefits. As I strongly believe that Himalayan salt lamps lead to a better overall sense of health and wellbeingI totally recommend you guys to get at least one for your house or workplace.

Let me know in the comment section below if you found this post useful or if you own a Himalayan salt lamp and are therefore already familiar with its benefits! 🙂

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

New month: time to set new intentions.

2017 was a year of many achievements, growth and learning. I am very happy with how everything turned out. Nevertheless, it was also a year of some mental struggles. My life went through tremendous changes and I found myself stressing and obsessing over things that do not really matter. This is because at the end of the day they do not define or reflect who I am as a person. To be more specific, I realised that I was placing way too much focus and attention on the foods that I was eating and on how much physical exercise I was doing, which just drained me out mentally and physically.  This is still a currently struggle but I now taking actions towards changing my approach and mindset. It is a work in process but I will get there.

That being said, I want this year to be the year where I regain my body, mind and soul balance. I want to reconnect with myself and achieve greater mental balance. I want to experience things for the first time. I want to travel more and explore new and beautiful places that I did not even know that existed. I want to be more compassionate, kind and love towards myself and others. All in all, I want to start appreciating life more by doing things that I truly enjoy and that are aligned with my authentic self. I want mindfulness to be present in all aspects of my life.

February is almost here and I want to take the opportunity of a new month approaching to set new intentions. They are as follows:

  • Read more. I have three books that I want to finish and I will “make” the time to do so.
  • Journaling more regularly. This is something that helps me hugely and that I genuinely love to do.
  • Re-start my daily practice of gratitude. My boyfriend got me a lovely gratitude journal last year and I can firmly say that writing a gratitude list regularly (almost every single day) helps me to re-focus and feel grounded whenever times get tough. Practicing gratitude is something so simple, yet so mighty and beneficial.
  • Travel more within the Netherlands and outside. I have two exciting trips planned and I am so looking forward to exploring more of this beautiful world of ours.
  • Make yoga and meditation a habit. I have a brand new yoga mat and I am really determined to incorporate yoga in my lifestyle again as I know that I will only benefit from it. I practiced yoga for almost two years and I used to love how it made me feel. Both yoga and meditation give us piece of mind, awareness for transformation and inner strength, which are all things hugely needed in our life.
  • Go to more museums. I have always loved to go to museums but I haven’t visit any for some while now. I considered going to museums as a beautiful way of getting lost in a different dimension/reality as well as an opportunity for building meaningful and personal connections, absorbing local culture and getting inspired. Plus, we can learn so much in just under an hour by simply visiting a museum.
  • Let go of what I can’t control. This is perhaps the most abstract and hardest intention of my list but, surely, the one that can make the most positive impact in my life. As this is not a straightforward intention but it is one that, from my standpoint, has heightened importance, I might write a future post just to delve into it.

I think we are so used to having such a fast-paced lifestyle that we end up by focusing on getting through the days instead of on making them “worth” and fulfilling. We rush into our days headfirst without having a specific idea of what we hope to achieve and of what we want to get done. Our days are so filled with mundane distractions that I feel like if we don’t set intentions, we often end up by acting mindlessly and our life just flounders.

What do you guys thing about this? Do you also set new intentions from time to time? Let me know in the comments 🙂

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful