Posts in Wellbeing

Getting Into The Hygge Spirit

Friends,

you probably might not want to hear yet another person talk about the whole Hygge thing.

In case you don’t know what Hygge is, where have you been? The very short answer is: It’s the Danish concept and obsession with getting cozy (if you’d like to know more, read this article here). It can take on many different facets and mean different things to everyone but I thought it might be nice to share some of the things that have been getting me in the Hygge spirit, now that days have been getting colder and darker.

#1 Roasting chestnuts

The sweet an comforting scent of roasted chestnuts must just get a super high score on the Hygge scale, don’t you think? I’ve never roasted chestnuts at home and thought why not try it this autumn. It is much easier than I thought, so why not try it this weekend? See the recipe I used here.

#2 Glazing Walnuts

Can you sense a theme here? I discovered the easiest ever recipe for glazed walnuts a few days ago and OMG this might have been one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. Try it!

Bonus: It fills the house with a great autumny smell and makes for a great treat or snack. You’ll only need walnuts and maple syrup and a bit of salt. Just preheat a dry skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the walnuts, maple syrup and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until syrup is caramelized and nuts are toasted, about 3 minutes. Let cool. ENJOY!

#3 Hot Beverages

Hand me over a hot apple cider, a tasty coffee or a fragrant cup of Earl Grey and I’ll be happy instantly. Do you know the feeling of coming home after a few hours spent outside in the cold and just wanting to get cozy on your sofa with said hot drink? Best feeling, once you hold that warm cup in your hand. What are your favorite hot drinks?

tea

Bonus if you drink your favorite drink out of a beautiful mug. Yes.

#4 Candles

Probably one of the most hygge things ever are candles. They will just instantly make you feel homey and good. My favorite candles are the ones by Neom Organics, do you know them? Do you have any other favorite candles you could recommend?

#5 Meeting Friends in Cafés

Spending time with friends and celebrating “Togetherness” as they would call it in the Hygge Manifesto is also very high up on my list of fall essentials. There’s just nothing better than grabbing a good friend, going to one of your favorite cafés and indulging in that walnut coffee cake you’ve been eyeing up on for a couple of minutes, while talking with your friend. Best!

#6 Raiding The Library

Living a couple minutes away from the largest public library of the US is definitely veeeeery tempting. To all my local friends: Go and get yourself a library card (see more info here). It’s just the best thing to get comfy on the couch with either some roasted chestnuts or maple glazed walnuts, a hot beverage, my candles and a good book (currently reading Maya Angelou’s ‘Why The Caged Bird Sings’). Maximum level of Hygge achieved I think.

Let me know what your ideas and tips are for getting cozy in autumn?

5 Things That Make Me Happy Right Now

Friends,

I haven’t done a Favorites post in what feels like years. Still, I thought I’d share 5 random things that I loved over the last few weeks. Let’s get started, shall we?

#1 Icarus and Jinx

Both the Icarus documentary as well as the Jinx miniseries definitely are NOT the type of thing to make you happy per se but they are so well made that you’ll want to keep watching. The last Jinx episode is just like…..OMG ahhhh…crazy. Thumbs up for those two.

#2 Planning our Californian Honeymoon

People, the level of excitement I’m feeling for this three week long trip, it’s HIGH. VERY HIGH UP THERE. Who else LOVES planning trips (equally as good as going on the actual trip itself, right?, all of my organizing fanatic friends are on my side). Researching restaurants and bakeries, nice hiking routes, cool treehouse hotels just makes me sooo happy. Also, if any of you have tips you want to share about San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, the West Coast in general or Los Angeles, hit me up!

#3 Homebody Heaven

Maybe it’s knowing that I’ll practically be out on the road all of September and moving house soon that really makes me want to stay at home as often as I can. I’ve been loving giving myself pampering sessions, catching up on reading and watching Netflix (see #1). Ahhh I love that cozy, relaxed staying at home feeling. Do you, too?

#4 My Fitness Routine

Does it sound pretentious to call it my ‘fitness routine’? Still, with my agenda in hand, cozied up in bed on a Sunday evening, I’ll look at the week ahead and will plan when I want to workout. That way I’ll make sure to stick to a plan and not miss it. Also, I’ve done the Harvard Stairs again this weekend and was able to finish them at my Personal Best. 

#5 My Skincare Routine

If you’ve read my post about my current skincare staples (see post here) you’ll know that I’ve been loving The Ordinary and Weleda lately. They still prove to be very good and I enjoy my skincare routine a lot right now. Especially when using the Ordinary products I feel like a proper scientist.

What is making you happy right know? Let me know in the comments below!

Tips for Getting Into Running

Hello dear friend,

I’m going to be honest.  When I first started running, I hated it. Like I really didn’t enjoy it at all. Obviously Philipp would also not really choose beginner friendly routes, always going uphill (UPHILL PEOPLE, what is wrong with that man), which kind of not motivated me.

A few years in, I have changed my opinion on running and have to say that I really enjoy running now. It really is a liberating and elevating feeling just leaving the house and start running. Wherever you want go. As far as you want to. As simple as that. And the truth is, the more you do it, the better you’ll get (as annoying that sounds especially at the beginning of your runner’s journey). Believe me. Other than that I’ve compiled some tips if you’d like to get into running. Also, it’s the fall soon so perfect time to get those running shoes on and start running.

#1 Choose a route

As trivial as this sounds it makes a huge difference, especially in the beginning. I feel like knowing where your end destination is makes a huge difference on your mental state of mind (aka your motivation). The better you get at running, however, the more you’ll want to switch up your running routes in order to not get bored or have your body get too used to one route over and over again.

#2 Stick to a Plan

I would go for a run here and there in the beginning, really not having a routine or consistent rhythm.

You don’t want to do that, ok. I repeat. You don’t want to do that. 

It will make you have to start over and over again and your body will not get into a routine. Even though you can find a number of elaborate training plans online, keep it simple. Here is the basic formula for a great training plan.

  • Train three days a week
  • Run or run/walk 20 to 30 minutes, two days a week
  • Take a longer run or run/walk (40 minutes to an hour) on the weekend
  • Rest or cross-train on your off days
  • Run at a conversational pace
  • Consider taking regular walk-breaks

#3 Make Running Fun

In order to stick to your new routine of running regularly you’ll have to just make it fun. If you hate it, well, I don’t think it’s going to work you know? Make it fun by going with a friend once a week, by discovering a new part of town or a new cute forest route, take your favorite music with you, go in the early morning to feel energized and fresh for a new day.

#4 Pick a Race

Ok, so you’ve managed to have a plan and enjoy running so far. The absolute best way to keep yourself running in my opinion is to find a race, sign up for it, pay for it and put it on your calendar. A fixed race date will help you stay focused, and keep you on a regular running schedule. Also, it’s really fun (see #3). You might not think that in the beginning but after having finished that 5K, 10K or more (you beast you) you’ll just feel amazing.

#5 Invest in great running gear

Obviously you really only need running shoes to get running. You can run in your pajamas if you like, if that works for you, go ahead. Still, I feel like investing in good workout clothes not only makes you feel good while running you’ll also enjoy running more. Does that make sense? Now that I’ve seen Adriene in her adidas gear, I need those tight pants in my life. ASAP.

New Healthy Habits I’m Loving

Friends,

we are all about that healthy balanced lifestyle these days, aren’t we? I have to say that I’ve never enjoyed eating healthly and moving as much as I do now. It makes me feel good and more energized. So today’s post is going to be all about those small new things I’ve been implementing in my daily routine. Let me know what habits you are following that make you feel all good and healthy. Have a great day!

Boosting my Breakfast (BMB)

I found that having a nutritious breakfast really sets me up for the day feeling all energized. I love to add certain so called superfoods (Philipp always laughs at me when I say that, he obviously doesn’t believe in the power of superfoods, tsss) such as chia seeds, goji berries (all types of berries in general as they’re loaded with antioxidants) or nuts, seeds and cinnamon (also has anti-inflammatory properties) to my yoghurt or kefir. They’re all packed with valuable nutrients and will leave you feeling real goooood.

Drink Lemon Water

It’s such a cliché but drinking lots of water is JUST THE WAY TO GO PEEPS. And seriously I have been dehydrated most of my life looking back now (not in a life threatening way of course but still). It’s highly likely that you too don’t drink enough water. So. Long story short: Start your day right – create a routine and stick to it. I start my day with a glass of water and add some lemon. Not only does this add a much-needed burst of vitamin C into my day – perfect for boosting your immunity – it also helps to flush the digestive system and rehydrate the body. It’s alkalising once inside our body, which is great for balancing pH levels, and it’s also super refreshing.

lemon water

Adding Vitamins or Protein Powder to My Daily Routine

I’ve only recently been getting into vitamins and supplements more (because as far as I understand if you’re eating a balanced diet you don’t really need any supplements). Still, sometimes it’s hard to get enough from food alone. I’ve been adding protein powder to my yoghurt nut and berries concotions or have one or two vitamins I take. What do you think about the whole supplement craze?

Investing in Workout Gear That I actually Like to Wear

Does it sound weird putting that in a list about healthy habits? Well, I’m not saying you should regulary buy new workout gear (the contrary actually). What I’m saying is that treating yourself to some good quality workout gear will make you want to workout more (because you look good, makes sense, right?).

That’s logical, #amiright?

Minimizing Waste

It’s incredible how much foods ends up in the landfill just because people throw it away, we waste so much produce that it’s upsetting. We try and plan ahead every week how much of what types of produce, breads etc. we will actually need. There are weeks where we know we’ll be out a lot or not at home, so no need to buy as much as usually. So please try and consider buying what you need for the week ahead. Seems so logical but still is often forgotten. Also, try and buy at Farmer’s Markets (post about my favourite Farmer’s Market coming at you tomorrow, keep your eyes peeled) as you will usually need less packaging

When you take the time to cook, don’t just cook for one meal; cook for the future. Pesto, tomato sauces, curries and soups are great things to make in large batches and freeze in small portions. With pesto, a top tip is to freeze small blocks in ice cube trays so you always have the perfect amount to add quickly into meals.

Poetry Books I’m Loving

Friends,

I never used to be into poetry but I’ve been getting into it more and more lately. Time to share some of my favorites, you might like them, too.

#1 Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

I KNOW. I KNOW. You’re like, ‘Sandra really? This is old news’. And I know, you’re right. Rupi Kaur’s first book, Milk and Honey, already sold 1.4 million copies (what! amazing!). It’s been an immense success and to be honest I waited a long time before giving it a read. I was just thinking how there was that huge hype around that 24 year old girl that became famous thanks to Instagram. But. I have to says: The hype was/is absolutely justified (in my opinion). If you’re into contemporary poetry that you can actually understand and you do enjoy beautiful and delicate illustrations, this is the book for you. One of my favorite poems:

“for you to see beauty here
does not mean there is beauty in me
it means there is beauty rooted so deep within you
you can’t help but
see it everywhere”

#2 Ariel by Sylvia Plath

#4 Howl by Allen Ginsberg

#5 Averno by Louise Glück

3 Easy And Healthy Summer Recipes

Friends,

I don’t know about you but if temperatures are rising like they have around here for the last couple of days I am always looking for fresh and easy to put together food options.

I happy to share some of my favorite suuuuuuuper easy (like REALLY) recipes with you today. We’ve got an allrounder berry chia seed jam or vegan nutella, a fresh salad and a refreshing smoothie for you. Let me know if you’ve tried on of the recipes!

Lots of love and sunshine!

#1 Easiest berry chia seed jam EVER

Pick Up Limes makes a return on the blog today with this super easy and healthy recipe for a berry chia seed jam (see the post about my favorite YouTube channels here) because she just has so many great ideas. It’ll literally only take you 5 minutes to prep. Here’s how to do it:

  • 1 cup frozen raspberries (or other frozen berry)
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries (or other frozen berry)
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds 
  • 1 Tbsp apple juice (or sub orange juice)

Directions

Microwave berries for about 3 minutes. After this, smash the berries with a fork until more juices seep out, but some chunks remain. 

Add the chia seeds and juice, and stir to combine. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes for the chia seeds to gel, stirring once halfway. Store in an airtight container and enjoy with toast, on oatmeal, in breakfast parfaits, and more! 

Photos: Pick Up Limes

If you’re more into chocolate than into berries, check out the video below for another super easy recipe for a vegan nutella spread. This is definitely one to be tried next.

You can enjoy this jam on toast or oatmeal to naturally sweeten, or in your yogurt or granola bowl for breakfast. It’s loaded with antioxidants, fiber, minerals, vitamins and omega-3 fats from the chia seeds.

#2 Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Poppyseed

This delicious recipe for a Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad is done in 15 minutes and easy to make as well, full of great fresh flavors, and tossed with a simple poppyseed dressing. The combination of fruit, avocado and spinach really works out super nicely!

Photo: Gimme some oven

#3 Detox Green Smoothie

I really am missing my blender. I don’t currently own one but used to do one every other day as a pick me up snack in the afternoon or as a breakfast drink. You drink this. You’ll feel healthy instantly. And it also fills you up nicely, give it a try. You’ll find the recipe by Madeleine Shaw here.

Photo: Madeleine Shaw

My Current Skincare Staples

Hello friends,

how are you doing today, how is your skin doing?

I’d like to share my current skincare favorites today with you as I’ve been getting so much more into all skincare related things lately and I think you might like some of it, too. Or if you’re looking for some inspiration and information, here you go.

The Ordinary

Yes. I knoooow. I am veeeeeeeeeeery late to jump on the whole The Ordinary bandwagon. The brand has launched end of last year and has been a huge success all over the world ever since.

Overall I think it’s a really exciting brand (cruelty-free, fragrance-free) and a great way for people to embrace a proper skincare routine without spending hundreds of dollars as it is really affordable.

The idea of the brand is to strip things back to basic. The formulations are pure and the packaging says it as it is without any fluffy marketing blabla. The descriptions of the products are very sciency and ingredients based so you sort of need to know quite a bit about skincare. You can do it. I’d encourage you to check their site out and see what could be interesting for your skin and its needs. My favorite picks so far are Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (for lots of hydration), the Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution, The Salicylic Acid 2% Solution (for or should I say against blemishes), The Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% has really helped clearing up my skin in such a short amount of time, pretty amazing. Lastly, I’ve been also loving The Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%. Let me know what The Ordinary products you’ve liked the most yourself?

Natural Beauty Faves

Is it weird to love The Ordinary stuff but also be equally obsessed with organic and natural beauty? No, I don’t think so. As long as both use high quality ingredients, sourced in a sustainable way I am all for it. I love browsing through Whole Foods Beauty sections as I know how thoroughly every product gets screened before it ends up in the store. A brand that I’ve always been loving for a long time because they use great ingredients and don’t add any questionable or nasty things has been Weleda. My current day and night cream are theirs and they are just great (check them out here). I’ve also been enjoying their Sea Buckthorn shower gel as it really has a vitalizing effect on you and sets you up for the day.

A brand that I’ve gotten to know and LOVE thanks to Whole Foods Beauty was Evanhealy. It’s a Californian brand founded by a super interesting woman called Evan Healy. In 1999 she co-founded the evanhealy brand of skin and body care products featuring simple plant-based, certified organic ingredients. She sources plant material directly from small, regional or family-owned farms in various parts of the world.

I love their Wild Carrot Nourishing Eye Balm and use it religiously everyday. It’s really a game changer, leaves the area under your eyes refreshed and nourished but not in a heavy way.

Much love,

Sandra

Wanderlust 108 Boston: The Report

Friends!

How was your weekend? Mine was pretty pretty AH-MA-ZING. Why you ask? Because I kind of met someone really special. I met Adriene. Adriene from Yoga with Adriene. YES,  I know. It was just such a beautiful day. But. Everything in order.

Wanderlust 108 – What it is

Wanderlust 108 is full day celebration in support of the mindful movement, featuring a triathlon consisting of a 5K run, an outdoor yoga flow class, and a guided meditation. Following the triathlon, you can take one scheduled activity, such as acroyoga, walking meditation etc. There are also local vendors offering organic food and crafts, and charitable organizations making an impact in your local community.

Photo: Scarlet Roots

The experience

My buddy Sophie and I started off the 5K along the Charles River feeling strong and motivated, which led me to finish at my PB of around 25 minutes. Thanks for the great vibes, Soph!

We then had a quick wonder around the market, tried some foods, chilled and had a coffee before going to the yoga class that I was looking forward so much to (see further explanation down below as to why I was excited for it). While the morning had been a bit cloudy and fresh the morning and afternoon turned out to be sunny and warm.

Adriene and me (insert heart eyed emoji here)

Awww, where to begin. So first off, if you’ve been around from the veeery early beginnings on you might remember my American Bucket list (if that doesn’t ring a bell, check it out here). I stated in said list that I would love to get a photo with Adriene and if you scroll down you see exactly that. A photo of Adriene and myself. Still can’t believe it. She is genuinely just the nicest person and I want to be her friend.

She did such a good job, she was funny, kind, intelligent and generous. Just an awesome yoga teacher and an even more amazing person in real life.

I was really sweating after all day spent in the sun, running and doing yoga so I think I first apologized to her for being sweaty (cool move, Sandra…NOT). Some ‘how to…not small talk’ insight for you right there.

Do NOT talk about how sweaty you are.

Still, the amazingly kind and warm-hearted person she is, she asked me about my name, how my day was going so far. I must have said something (everything is a bit of a blur to be honest because I was so E-X-C-I-T-E-D). Anyways, that’s boring for you. What I’m trying to get across though, always believe in achieving your goals or dreams, someday they will become a reality. Would I have thought 6 months ago that Adriene would hug my sweaty self? Nope. See?

Wanderlust coming to Europe?

Fellow European readers, I’ve got good news for you. There will be Wanderlust events coming to Switzerland and Europe as well, check all the details out here and be sure to let me know how it went! You’ll enjoy it I’m sure. Let’s go!

Namaste beautiful people!

#ChallengeMeJune Week 3: Paying a Compliment to Someone Every Day

Hello everyone,

how has this summer been treating you so far (besides being boiling hot)?

Welcome to this third report of my #ChallengeMeJune series. This time I tried to pay a compliment to someone (to people I knew or to people I didn’t know) at least once a day for one week. I have to say that Americans are pretty great at giving compliments. They will stop you on the streets to compliment you on your shoes, your scarf or your hair (they will, trust me, happened to me before). I usually give people compliments anyway but thought it was fun to be more reflective about it for a week.

Read on more about why paying compliments to someone is a great thing and why you should give it a try (in case you’re not a professional compliment giver already, in that case you’re dismissed and don’t have to read this).

Why should I pay compliments to someone you ask?

#1 It takes the focus off of you

That might sound complicated at first but hear me out. If you’re having a bad day, paying a genuine compliment to someone can make their day a little nicer, and you will feel better than before as well.

#2 It makes the person you pay a compliment perform better!

Study researchers in Tokyo trained 48 adults to perform a task that required them to tap items on a keyboard in a specific pattern. Then the adults were split into three groups. One group received personalized, individual compliments from one of the administrators of the study. Another group was forced to watch as other people received compliments. The third group was simply meant to evaluate how they did, as participants, on the test. When the participants returned to the testing facility the next day, all of the participants were asked to perform the finger test once again. The group that received personalized compliments performed better on the test that day than either of the other groups. Researchers believe that the compliments made them perform better.

The researchers were able to find scientific proof that a person performs better when they receive a social reward after completing an exercise. There seems to be scientific validity behind the message ‘praise to encourage improvement’. Complimenting someone could become an easy and effective strategy to use in the classroom and during rehabilitation (see source here).

#3 Compliments build trust

Each one of us walking this planet has the desire to be acknowledged. When someone else notices even the slightest thing about another person, it can shout to that person, “Hey!  Someone noticed me!!” Your daily compliments to “the shy one” at work whose name no one knows can help her break out of her shyness and, who knows? turn her into the best friend you’ve ever had. We all need someone in our lives we can trust, and the more we build up others the more we’re also building up ourselves.

#4 What goes around comes around

When you give a compliment, you’re more than likely going to get one in return. As simple as that! But obviously don’t go around paying compliments expecting that people must return it.

Who I payed compliments to during this week

Day 1: To a 2 week old baby of friends I’ve visited. I just said how perfect he was and how cute his hands and fingernails were. To what the new mother replied they were quite dangerous as they grew so fast and the little one would scratch himself. Still, they were cute. 

Day 2: To an old man (he was with his lovely wife, don’t you worry) at the line before checking in at the airport. We did small talk about where we were flying to. They turned out to fly to Athens to visit family. I then said that I loved Athens and the food. He seemed so happy about it and kept on telling me about all the foods he was looking forward to eat. 

Day 3: Told Philipp that he is a great human being (just in general)

Day 4: Told my grandmother that she looked really well and fresh.

Day 5: Told my pregnant friend how relaxed she seemed.

Day 6: Told a friend how good she looked.

Day 7: Told a friend how lovely her shorts were.

I obviously didn’t limit myself to only one compliment per day, the sky is the limit if you will. I was just a bit rubbish at remembering them (should have written them down but…no). Anyway, there is no such thing as too many compliments, as long as they are genuine of course. So give it a try! You will feel better and the person receiving them, WIN-WIN! 

Try it! Be nice to someone right now and see what happens.

#ChallengeMeJune Week 2: Meditating Every Day

Hello friends,

another week of June has gone by, another little completed challenge in the books. After waking up at 6 am during the first week of June (see post here) I tried to meditate every day during the second week of the month.

To begin with I always thought meditating was a bit weird (for lack of a more elegant description) as I didn’t really understand how it worked. After reading up on the topic a little I am still by NO MEANS a specialist or anything but I start to see why people like to do it. Bottom line is, it has a ton of good effects (feeling happy and focused, decreasing your blood pressure or getting to know your mind to name a few. I am aware that the last one seems strange but WOW you’ll learn so much about how your mind and brain work). If you’re into finding out more for doing it yourself, keep reading this introductory ‘How to meditate for beginners’.

How to get started

What to bring: I’d recommend you meditate at home first, as you still need to get used to it. Obviously you can do it anywhere you can sit down on a chair or on the floor, with your hands rested on your knees, but I liked to do it at home, wearing cozy clothes.

When to do it: I tried to always sit down around the same time every day, which was in the morning after waking up, obviously what fits your schedule best, will be the best option. However, I’d recommend to keep it consistent so you really have the feeling of having formed a new habit.

What to do: Well here’s where things get interesting, I tried to compile different methods of meditation in own week, you’ll find the plan below in case you want to replicate it. If you’re totally into day 1’s program, perfect, let’s keep that up. I like to vary the exercises from day to day but that is obviously optional. So let’s get stared forreal now.

Day 1 – Breathing

Let’s start with something easy, shall we? I’m not gonna lie, it was weird when I did it for the first time….BUT it will get better, trust me.

What to do: To get used to the experience of being in the present moment, begin by sitting for five minutes, close your eyes. Take deep breaths, rather than short, shallow breaths from your chest. Continue until you feel calm. Let your thoughts come and go, without trying to hold on to them or follow after them.

What I thought afterwards: Wow, that was quick, I could have keep going on for longer. So for the next day I told myself to put the timer to 8min (adventurous, right?).

Day 2 – Mantra Meditation

What to do: Choose a calming word or phrase. Repeat it over and over to yourself silently to prevent distracting thoughts from entering.

What I thought afterwards: 8min went super fast like on the day before, it’s crazy how time flies once you close your eyes.

Day 3 – Mindful Meditation

­ What to do: Take a break and make yourself acutely aware of your surroundings. Take deep breaths and feel your lungs swell. Allow yourself to think about your feelings, but do so without  judgment.

What I thought afterwards: Loved that one too, it hit me how much more you listen to your surrounding’s noises if you’re eyes are closed.

Day 4 – Safe Space Visualization

What to do: Think of a place that makes you feel safe. It can either be a place you’ve visited before, a place you’ve seen but never been to, or a place that exists only in your imagination.

Close your eyes, and start taking deeper and deeper breaths. Picture yourself in that safe space, look around you, and visualize your surroundings. How the sky looks like, how the air smells or what you feel. Build every detail in your mind. Walk around your safe space until you have explored as much of it as you want to. Continue walking until you find your perfect place—the place that makes you feel most at peace. Visualize yourself sitting here, in this place, and begin to breathe. When you’re ready to leave your safe space, slowly open your eyes and come back into the room. Hold onto those feelings of peace and safety, and know that you can revisit them whenever you need to.

What I thought afterwards: I found that one to be rather hard as it requests you to think a lot about a certain space. I guess I’ll have to do it more often in order to get better at it.

Day 5 – Concentrate On a Simple Visual Object

What to do: In a similar way to using a mantra, you can use a simple visual object to fill your mind and allow you to reach a level of deeper consciousness. This is a form of open-eye meditation, which many people find easier when they have something to focus their gaze on.

  • The visual object can be anything you wish (candles, flowers, pictures etc.)
  • Place the object at eye level, look at it and nothing else, until your peripheral vision starts to dim and the object consumes your vision.

What I thought afterwards: I found it hard in the first place to find something to look at that wouldn’t distract me too much. In the end I chose to go for a plant, which worked out fine. Still I prefer the closed-eye version to this open-eye one.

Day 6 – Do a Body Scan

What to do: Doing a body scan involves focusing on each individual body part in turn and consciously relaxing it. It is a simple meditation technique which allows you to relax the mind as you relax the body.

  • Close your eyes and pick a starting point on your body, usually the toes. Concentrate on whatever sensations you can feel in your toes, and make a conscious effort to relax any muscles. Once the toes are fully relaxed, move on to your feet and repeat the relaxation process. Continue along your body, moving upwards to the top of your head. Take as long as you want.
  • Once you have completed the relaxation of each individual body part, focus on your body as a whole and enjoy the sensation of calmness and looseness you have achieved. Focus on your breathing for several minutes before coming out of your meditation practice.

What I thought afterwards: Good one! Especially when you’re lying down on the floor.

Day 7 – Breathing

I went back to the first exercise of the week, which was the breathing one, which I really enjoyed. I just did it for 15 mins this time and it was great.

Do let me know if you give it a try yourself, have a great week everyone! 

#ChallengeMeJune Week 1: Getting Up Early Every Day

Hi everyone,

how are you doing? It’s getting summery over here, I’m loving it. Hope you’ve had the opportunity to catch some sun where you live!

So, it’s Monday. I know, I know. When brainstorming for new blog posts a couple of weeks ago I thought I’d like to challenge myself in June with a special challenge every week (#ChallengeMeJune if you will, genius hashtag I know). Anyways, the first week’s challenge was to set my alarm to 6 o’clock every day (for some that might be not early at all or totally normal already, in which case I salute you. Others will look at me like, whaaat?).  Some context here: I never used to be an early riser, really I wasn’t. I would stay up rather late, watch series, read, scroll through the internets. In the morning I’d have a hard time waking up and would keep hitting that snooze button many (many) times.

But you know what? Getting up early was amazing.

Yes. And I’d even go as far as saying that it changed my life. I’m getting a bit dramatic here, it’s true though.

Why should I do that, you ask? (or in other words, “you crazy, I ain’t gonna give up my precious sleep time“). I’m going to try and give you some good arguments here, ok?

Let’s be honest here for a minute. You can’t convince yourself to wake up early just because. If you’d like to try that challenge,  ask yourself, “What would I get if I wake up early?” Whatever you answer, make sure you really want it because that’s what will be your motivation to ACTUALLY get up in the morning. A few answers why you’d like to consider getting up early.

You’ll Get More Time (D’oh)

I read somewhere that if you were to get up just one hour earlier each morning, you’d gain 15 days in a year. How crazy is it to think about it like that. So you better want to use this time than sleep, right?

Get Active, Quiet or Creative (Whichever You Prefer) 

I found that the morning is a great time to exercise. You’re body is well rested and it will set you up for the day with energy and motivation. Overall I felt more productive getting up early this week, it made me feel calmer and happier. If you’re not into sports in the early morning hours but rather into meditation, do it! I’m going to give it a try this week. Also, if you have some tips in that department, do let me know. Others like to use this time to read the newspapers in silence, to be creative, paint or write.

You’ll feel One Step Ahead

Having that one to two extra hours in the morning will undoubtedly make you feel calm, prepared for the day and chill, when everyone else around you is rushing around. When you wake up early, you’ll have more time for planning and getting organized. Getting to the office early means no distractions and getting things done (and then hopefully leaving early in the evening).

I’d really like you to try getting up early, I think you will like it. NO, SERIOUSLY. Don’t laugh at me.

Go to bed an hour earlier so that you won’t be too tired the next morning. It may take a couple of days to adjust your body and mind to it but once you’re in it you’ll most likely not want to go back. Obviously a lie in every once in a while is GREAT (not gonna lie) but overall it’s a great new habit. Start tomorrow and let me know how it went!

Happy week!