Monday reminder.

As we jump into a new week (and soon into a new month), I would like to leave you here what I wish I was told last night when I was struggling to fall asleep.

You are a whole being. You are not someone who is broken or who needs to be fixed. You are not someone who is not good enough or unworthy. You are whole.

Where you are right now is exactly where you are supposed to be. Even if you everything . Trust the timing of your life and, most importantly, trust yourself.

Put your thinking mind at rest. (Over)thinking just creates problems that would not even exist in first place if only we were present. (Over)thinking just perpetuates resentment, guilt and pain. So, my dear one, take a deep breathe and know you are safe. Know that you are already whole. Know that you are everything you need to be.

 

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

Today’s self-reminder.

It is Friday evening and as we are heading into the weekend, this is a great time to share a short self-reflection post.

A great podcast episode that I was listening earlier today made me have this aha moment. It made me realise that whenever I am not able to fix something in my life, I can get really fixated and obsessed with trying to solve it. I can get so forceful that I end up by losing sleep over it, which in turn makes me feel hopeless and frustrated. Subsequently, I am not able to think it through because my mind is unsettled. I guess that I easily forget that forcing my way through things often repeals the very outcome I want to achieve.  

I consider myself as a doer, a go-getter but I acknowledge that does not always work in my favour. When I do something that does not come natural to me (i.e. it is forced), I usually experience some anxiety, stress and overall emotional turmoil. However, when my actions are in natural response to the flow of what is happening around me, I feel calm, still and at ease. I am in alignment with the flow of life, with the flow of the Universe and I feel grateful.

That being said, today’s self-reminder is that it is in the letting go that I can achieve serenity. It is in the letting go that I can heal from inside out. 

Wish you all a lovely and relaxed weekend.

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

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

 

2018 Travel Bucket List

Because traveling is a way to get out of the rut and expand our views about the world, I decided that one of my top goals for 2018 would be to “travel more”. Traveling can be such an enriching experience to one’s self as it teaches us to stare down our fears, step out of our comfort zone and build confidence, at the same time that offers us a chance of reconnecting and truly “finding” our true self.

Even though I have lived in three different European countries so far, I have only been to 9 out of the 44 countries of Europe. I have still so much to see and explore! Thus, this year I aim not only to explore more of the countries that I have already been but also travel to countries in which I have never been before. Plus, I need to make good use of the fact of being living in such a central country in Europe: Holland.

England, Portugal, Spain, France and Germany are all countries where I have been several times before. Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that there is always something new to see every time you go back to a country (despite visiting new cities or not). Every trip is a new adventure and experience and we would be missing out on life if we chose not to travel.

So, here is my travel bucket list for 2018:

MARCH

England

  • Birchington
  • Ramsgate
  • Ashford
  • London

APRIL

Spain

  • Madrid

JUNE

Portugal

  • Albufeira
  • Lisbon
  • Leiria

Germany

  • Recklinghausen

JULY

England

  • York
  • Harome
  • Terrington
  • Whitby
  • Birchington
  • Margate

Germany

  • Dusseldorf

SEPTEMBER

France

  • Paris

Switzerland

  • Lausanne
  • Geneve
  • Interlaken
  • Zurich

NOVEMBER

Hungary

  • Budapest

DECEMBER

Portugal

  • Leiria
  • Lisbon

I am super excited and very much looking forward to new travel adventures. As Peter McWilliams, once said: “Nothing adventured, noting attained.” ♥

 

Is traveling more part of your 2018 bucket list? What are some of the countries you look forward to visit? Have you been in a trip recently? Please tell me in the comment section below! 🙂

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

Reframing my mindset.

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?

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

 

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

 

Wednesday, 14th February: the Happiest day.

I had the happiest day in a long time just about two-three weeks ago. I can’t even put into words how blessed and grateful I felt on Wednesday, the 14th February. These feelings were not really connected with the fact that it was Valentine’s Day because I can happily say that my partner shows his love and support all year round.

When I went back home for Christmas last year I took some blood tests (as I regularly do when I go back home) and some of the results came back worrying. My family doctor said that the underlying causes could possibly be overexercise, stress and my diet (nutritional/vitamin deficiency). I got so concerned and I have never felt so much fear for my health or my life for that matter…All I wished was these causes to be true because that meant that my health as well as my overall wellbeing were therefore on my hands.

My doctor advised me to change a few things in my lifestyle, especially when it came to my diet and physical exercise, and told me that I should repeat the blood tests within roughly one month. So during 5-6 weeks, I tried to focus all my energy in getting better. Instead of thinking about how I was feeling, I tried to shift my attention and thoughts to how I ultimately wanted to feel. I knew what I had to do but let me tell you guys: Abstracting myself from the toxic and negative thoughts whilst remaining with a positive attitude proved to be much easier said than done. Some great things have happened since December but there was always these constant feelings of anxiety and fear playing on the back of my head. There were days when it was so daunting to have it all together at work and in front of other people. Anyway, I knew that I needed to be mentally strong and take action if I wanted to restore my physical balance and health. After all, our bodies and minds are like significant others.

I started by giving my body total rest from the gym for basically two weeks and used that time to enjoy the company of my caring boyfriend and friends; I went out to try some new restaurants in town and just indulged in great food without being constantly worried about what I ate or my working out routine. I have also incorporated yoga/meditation back into my lifestyle and made sure that I had enough sleep. I started taking some essential vitamins and minerals such as copper, zinc, vitamin A & B12 and, mostly important, I started not only to eat a greater quantity of food but also a more diverse diet. As a result, I saw myself starting to let go of the negative stigma that I have previously developed towards certain foods.

Due to having digestive issues (caused by my IBS), I tend to follow mostly a low FOD-mad diet which, in the long-term, turned out to be quite restrictive and made me develop fear and anxiety towards certain groups of food. As someone who loves to work out, who has a very active and stress-inducing lifestyle and who has gut issues, I should make sure that I do not overdo myself. However, I guess that I fell into a routine that even though fitted my lifestyle, was not adequate or good to my health. I ended up by overexercising and undereating during many months in a row(without being 100% conscious of it). All in all, I ended up by neglecting myself and my medical results showed exactly that: I did not give my cells the nutrition they needed to function properly.

 

Nevertheless, I now know how crucial it is to change my perception of food and of physical exercise. I now recognise that everything that is not done in moderation for a long period of time has its repercussions.

Fortunately, when I repeated the blood tests in the beginning of February, the results came back normal. I can’t even describe the happiness and relief that I felt. The waiting for the results was absolutely excruciating. It was like I was carrying the weight of the entire Planet on my shoulders.. but when I left the doctor’s office I heaved a huge sigh of relief. It was like I had gained my life back, you know?

If there is something that this experience taught me is that we can’t keep doing the same thing over and over gain and expect different results.This experience acted as a catalyst for changing my course of action and taking ownership of my health, which is something that I cannot take for granted. I am determined to listen to what my body needs; whether that means giving it more attention, respect, rest or food/nutrients.  I am determined to listen to its needs so it can thrive and fully heal. Even though my health recovery is still a work in process, I am now in a better place where I am finally feeling myself healing. I am finally letting go of thoughts that do not serve me. I am finally freeing myself from what holds me back and there is NO better feeling than that one. I just need to make my health my number one priority going forward and I am aware that, knowing myself as I do, this will not always be an easy task. I get worked up easily and end up by putting too much focus on my work, physical exercise and on the million things that I want to get done. However, overdoing myself and destroying my health for that is just not worth. This “go go mentality” is no longer serving me. I need to be more mindful, slow down when my body asks to and let go of what I can’t simply control.

The other day I read this one quote that resonated so much with me and with this situation that I have just experienced. It was: You grow through what you go through. This is so trueSometimes we need to undergo unfortunate events to see life through other lens. Toxic situations help us to put things in perspective and instigate much needed changes in our lives. We all want to leave a joyful and meaningful life but oftentimes we forget that our daily actions, which may be seemingly irrelevant, trivial and unimportant, are what is going to take us there.

That being said, I just want to add another thing as a final note:  We must remember to be gentle with ourselves. At all times. In a world that sells dissatisfaction, we must choose to honour and respect our body. It is so silly how it is so much easier to bash it than to embrace and accept it. Our bodies deserve nothing more than awe, good care and admiration. So, let’s all appreciate them and make this one life that we have count, shall we? ♥

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful