Not listening to the ‘shoulds’

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February in Amsterdam has been sunny but relentlessly cold.  Typically on the weekend I have a lot of ‘shoulds’ popping up, like ‘I should go out for a long walk to get fresh air’ and ‘I should make the most of the sun to take some photos’…  Most of the time that works for me and being outdoors makes me feel great. However in these days the winter now feels like it is dragging on. Despite the days getting longer, the cold feels excruciating and my fingers ache in the freezing air as I try to snap pictures.  So I decided to give myself a break and make it a weekend for lying on the couch with the sun pouring through the window, reading an easy thriller uninterrupted for several hours, and for enjoying fun conversations over a lengthy delicious brunch in a warm cafe. It was perfect!

How-to for a day of extreme self-care

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  1. Make sure to have no plans whatsoever. Nothing on the agenda. No-one to meet with.
  2. Go for a walk after breakfast. Soak up the rays of winter sun, stock up on precious vitamine D. Breathe in the fresh air. Enjoy exploring the familiar paths of your neighbourhood.
  3. Look for some nice plants to photograph. Feel your fingers get cold as you take pictures without gloves on.
  4. Pass by the little free library down the road. Pick up a book or two that catch your fancy.
  5. When it starts raining, rush home.  Enjoy the excuse to stay indoors. Use the quiet time to journal and process your thoughts. Listen to the voice of your intuition.
  6. Spend the rest of the afternoon reading peacefully on the sofa while sipping fresh ginger tea.
  7. Have a delicious dinner of left-overs.
  8. Read some more.
  9. Go to sleep early.
  10. Repeat:)

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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:)

Learning about resilience

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #54

This week via work I got to participate in a lovely full-day workshop about resilience outside the office (think cosy yoga studio with mats, blankets and cushions…:)  I am very grateful for the opportunity to step away from the daily grind to think about resilience and getting some tips on how to recognise stress and cultivate resilience in our fast-paced and ever-changing world.

The workshop was very interactive and it was wonderful to get to know my colleagues better and particularly interesting to see that we share many similar struggles, regardless of our backgrounds.

Setting boundaries is a big challenge for me so I’ve decided to focus on improving how I identify my boundaries and how I communicate them.  I see these steps as the key to being kind to myself and I’m curious to see where this awareness will lead me.