Permission to relax

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Last Friday, on my day off, I gave myself a wonderful gift.  It didn’t cost any money and I didn’t even need to leave the house. It was a grey rainy day outside and I knew I had an intensive weekend ahead, so I spent a large part of the day just lying on the sofa, reading.

I let myself be swept into the characters’ lives and was completely absorbed in another world for hours, while totally ignoring my real-life to-do list and not feeling like I needed to stop reading to do something more important.  It was wonderful and it recharged my batteries much more than ticking off items on my to-do list ever would. I plan to do this again soon. Here’s to giving ourselves permission to relax and recharge in whatever way works for us, regardless of what still needs to be done!

Healing walks in the Amsterdamse Bos

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #99

The Indian summer we are enjoying in Amsterdam at the moment is amazing.  I’ve been taking long healing walks through the Amsterdamse Bos, just listening to the breeze rustling through the leaves of the majestic trees which are turning all shades of orange and yellow, quietly observing the ducks, moorhens, herons and other birds go about their business undisturbed on the water, journalling as the sun warms my skin.  I am so grateful to have what feels like an unexpected extra shot of summer to charge up on fresh air and invigorating sunshine.

What we do when the sun comes out

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It seems that Winter finally got the message and handed over to Spring. Tiny little green leaves are making their appearance all around and we enjoyed some lovely warm weather in the last days.  Perfect for a weekend without fixed plans, allowing for a long improvised wander along the canals with my sister as we admired the city whilst chatting (and searching for ice-cream:)  It felt great not having my shoulders bunched up close to my ears permanently tensed against the cold, as we sat on a bench soaking up much-needed vitamin D and reading our books undisturbed while the sun slowly made its way across the sky.

On my way to Brighton

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #68

Long weekends are the best! Heading off to Brighton with my dear friend Eva, a few days to breathe in the sea breeze and take the time to get to know the city. I last went during my student days when I lived in London (over 15 years ago… what??!!!) so I’m really looking forward to (re)discovering it.  So far our plans include perhaps going for a hike if the weather isn’t too cold, but we’ll settle for spending our days in bookstores, museums or cafés with tea and scones if we really must;)

Recharging my batteries

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #60

I am so glad to have taken this week off work. January does not seem like the ideal time as it is cold and the days are short, but actually for me this feels like a deeply needed re-set before the year starts in full again. Free time is so precious and it is a real pleasure to have time to switch off completely. I feel like I’m filling the well little by little and my batteries are recharging.

It’s funny how a few days feel much longer being away from our daily routine. These days have been a perfect blend of relaxing, creating new memories and laughing with friends and family,  enjoying going to the theater and being inspired by art, exploring local places by foot in the sunshine and going further afield to discover a medieval village above the clouds…

Tiny steps

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #56

In the midst of these very busy and stressful weeks at work, I am trying my best to take better care of myself.

Having inspiring chats with a dear friend over lunch about creativity and self-care, in a quieter space away from the busy cantine (and sometimes even making time for a walk to get some fresh air after). Sending that email containing my truth, things that needed to be said to stick up for myself.  Spending my afternoon off getting my hair cut, then reading a book for several hours undisturbed while it snows a little outside…

For now it’s really tiny steps. Every one of them feels like a victory and I’m counting on a snow-ball effect:)

Quiet evenings in

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #55

With the cold weather upon us, I feel so glad when I have quiet evenings at home where I don’t need to brave the icy wind on my bike to go someplace.  Having time to potter around the flat, write some thoughts in my journal or read a good book curled up under a cosy blanket, with a cup of ginger-orange yogi tea by my side, is simply wonderful.

I’m grateful that hibernation season is here, and I plan to make a conscious effort not to make too many plans to go out, so I can protect these sacred evenings of calm as a gift to myself:)