Spring *mis*adventures

And we’re off to a clumsy start!

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I’ve been away from the blog for far too long but the hilarious and quite painful reason behind this unexpected turn of events is very simple…

Lovely readers, I fell off my bike! 

The last time I happened to fall off a bike was a lifetime ago and I had no memory of the pain it brings, until I was promptly reminded. And let me tell ya: it.does.not.feel.good. In the end, I ended up seriously injuring myself and couldn’t move much for a few days. Taking showers turned out to be traumatic experiences for over a week and treating the wounds was not fun. Thankfully though nothing’s broken and now everything’s good! I’m bouncing back into my old routine and funnily enough I can’t even remember the pain anymore.

In the words of the wise Gabriel Garcia Marquez: “He was still too young to know that the heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and that thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past.” 

Too deep? I’m getting there guys, bear with me please..

How to be a morning person

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I’ve always been a night owl and a serial snoozer, but this year I’m determined to be insanely productive and get things done. And although that sounds like a noble goal, in reality I have to make some serious and painful lifestyle changes…

Well, for starters, the only way for me to get more hours in the day is to become an early riser. Thus I’m in the process of tricking myself into becoming a morning person (yikes!). I believe the best way to go about it is to make a plan and start small. Therefore I’ve been setting small goals and doing my best not to overthink. The issue is, I’m an indecisive overthinker so if I give myself even the slightest chance to analyze some decisions I’ll literally get nothing done and get completely overwhelmed by the amount of work it would potentially require to get said thing done. It’s honestly a sick vicious circle, so in order to cure that, I’ve living by the mantra: don’t think, just do. Don’t think, just do. Just do it! 

So I take it step by step- slow and easy. I open my eyes when my alarm clock goes off, try not to hit snooze. The next step is important because it’s so easy to just stay in bed for a few more minutes, but that would be very counterproductive since the whole point of this is to get more hours in the day. So I force myself to get up and immediately lift the shades on the window. I need light. 

Although I’m still trying to understand how meditation works, I take five minutes to sit still and not nap. Some days I seem to get it right, some days I seem to utterly fail, but what’s interesting no matter what, is how five minutes go by so fast! – it’s like five seconds. And I always feel a sense of accomplishment after a quick session. After that I do a ten minute stretching routine. It feels so good and relaxing! And my body desperately needs it. Then I either do yoga or a home workout. Exercising in the morning really helps me feel more energized and productive.

Okay, we’re almost done here. I then take a shower, make myself a high protein breakfast and a huge cup of coffee –always the best part – and finally I’m ready to seize the day. Journaling and tracking my progress somehow keeps me more motivated, and I’ve been really enjoying doing that too.

Of course some days I just mess up the whole routine and end up being more frustrated than productive, but during those days I try to remind myself that it’s not about getting it right every single day. Some days we’re better off just dealing with a messy schedule and being spontaneous. I always wake up with the best intentions, but sometimes nothing is more productive or healthier than breaking the rules and just be in the moment.

 

Journaling

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I’ve always been bad at journaling. Every year I’d attempt to keep a diary only to leave it unfinished after a few entries. But that all changed recently…

This year I’ve decided to bring mindfulness into my everyday life, and I’ve learned that keeping a journal is a powerful and simple way to help you work through issues and improve your mental health.

Journaling doesn’t have to be an excruciating retelling of your day – it’s more like a place for exploration. It’s amazing how it helps you prioritize, organize and clarify your thoughts and goals. Reflective writing allows you a brief pause to focus on your problems and put them in perspective. It’s absolutely worked for me: I feel motivated and less anxious. I feel more optimistic and an overall sense of happiness. I know it sounds like journaling is a wonderful miracle but I believe that one of the reasons why it’s so effective is because it gives you the opportunity to organize your thoughts, ideas, goals and life vision. After putting it all into words it becomes a little less daunting and you feel a little bit more in control. You can record the progress you’ve made toward your goals and plan for your next steps. Writing helps sort this all out.

And all you have to do is sit down and write.

Doodle, sketch, list your short-term and long-term goals, list your passion projects, reflect on your accomplishments, write down what you’re curious about. Get all your ideas out on paper.

When you wake up, focus on writing down three goals for the day. Make them easily achievable but meaningful. At the end of the each day you can look back at what you accomplished and learned.

And before you go to bed, write down three things you’re grateful for. The idea is to appreciate something about every day, the small things we usually take for granted. Doing that really changes your life orientation from scarcity to abundance.

Journaling everyday will help you stay connected to your inner self and your purpose in life. Trust me, it will help you live a more mindful existence and affect the way you take better actions and make better decisions. It’s like being the star of your own life.

The sun’s out!

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The last few months have been gray, cold and hostile to outdoor activities. But now nature is coming alive after the long period of hibernation and flowers of all kinds and colors can be seen blossoming everywhere we go. It’s such a beautiful and flawless trick of nature: the trees going from leafless to a bright green color. Watching and feeling this change around me makes me think of how the world is full of possibilities and that nothing ever stays the same. Hard times, just like the good times, come and go. There’s always opportunity for growth and new beginnings.

I borrowed my roommate’s bike and went for a long ride across town that made my legs sore and got my heart pounding with the rush of freedom. I’m alive. I can do anything. I can be anything.

Here’s a celebration of spring and the changes it brings.

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What movies do you watch over and over again?

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So…my sister and I have watched One Fine Day probably more times than I can count. For some reason it was just irresistible to us: a rainy New York day, Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney, adorable kids, hot fudge sundae at Serendipity and to top it off: a great soundtrack. It used to be a perfect cure for boredom whenever we found ourselves stuck indoors because of bad weather.

These days I save You’ve got Mail for those gloomy, rainy days and it really transports me to a magical New York City afternoon; wandering around Central Park, in a world full of infinite possibilities.

So yes, I’m a sucker for 90’s rom coms set in NYC. Sometimes they’re exactly what I’m in the mood for!

Successful Women

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I saw this on Instagram and I just had to share the message! Navigating life in the modern world requires a lot of self discipline. It’s hard to remain true to yourself and your goals when there’s so much external noise telling you who you should be. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others. And then there’s the challenge of dealing with internal pressure and overcoming that critical inner voice that can sabotage and undermine us.

That’s all incredibly amplified on social media. The instant gratification, the illusion of perfection, the unattainable goals. That’s so damaging to our self love. So remember to take time to look into yourself and focus on your own goals. Turn off your phone every once in a while and set yourself free from all that unnecessary pressure. Don’t let that be the foundation of your happiness. You’re too busy becoming who you are.

Artwork by Florence Given

Travel Bucket List: an unlikely destination

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Looking at the picture above one could guess it’s from somewhere in Europe; in fact this stunning district, a conservative part of northwestern Pakistan is popular known as the Switzerland of the East. The birthplace of Malala Yousafzai, Pakistan’s Swat Valley, is absolutely breathtaking. A place known for its gorgeous sunsets and the calming sound of river rapids but that has also experienced a lot of misery over the past years.

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