Self-care checklist

IMG_6555

A simple checklist to remind me of the basics today, and every day:

  • Breathe.
  • Take a few minutes to check in with yourself.
  • Loosen your jaw. Puff up your cheeks like a blowfish.
  • Listen to your body (Are you thirsty? Do you need to pee? Do you need to stretch? Do those things now)
  • Remember everyone struggles with the same questions and fears. You are not alone.
  • Take your eyes away from the screen, look out the window for a few minutes (really LOOK out the window. What do you see?)
  • Be gentle to yourself (What would you say to your little sister if she were in this situation? Say it to yourself.).
  • Put things into perspective (Will this be of any importance whatsoever in a month or a year’s time?).
  • Be ok with not feeling ok. Emotions come and go like waves.
  • Go for a breather or a quick walk outside.
  • Remember: you are enough.
  • Breathe.

What do you have on your list?

Advertisements

Fiery clouds

IMG_6703_ns

JOYFUL GRATITUDE #95

I love how no matter what is going on in our lives the planet just keeps on doing its thing, the sun rises and sets, the seasons change, nature blooms and withers…

On Wednesday I witnessed this gorgeous sunset from my window-sill. Fiery clouds showing their majestic beauty, seeming to say undeniably that ‘everything’s gonna be ok’.

Conversation around a sponge mushroom

IMG_6643

Recently on my trip in the Veluwe, I was walking in the forest, enjoying having time to observe the details of the mosses, plants and funghi of all sorts. A man of about 65 or so overtook me on the path and said hello in the polite way people do in the forest, I greeted him back before going on with taking a close-up picture of whatever moss I was busy with.

A while later, as I made my way up a small hill, surrounded by ferns, I saw the same man come back along the path towards me with a smile on his face making a gesture of success. He told me he was glad to have found me as he had spotted a big mushroom that I could photograph. I was a bit wary, but I followed him, and sure enough he pointed to a strange mushroom on the side of the path that looked like coral.  I asked what type it was and he told me it was a ‘sponszwam’ (a sponge mushroom) and explained they can grow much bigger than this one.

While I took some pictures we had a little chat, each question unravelling something new. He reminisced about his childhood spent in Australia, in a small miner’s town in the 60s. He told me about taking his elderly mother back to Australia years later to visit their town and friends.  He spoke about his family and about the grief at losing family members and we talked about the healing power of nature and how he loves the Veluwe and drives all the way from Amsterdam just to be able to hike there. He showed me pictures of other mushrooms on his phone and explained that because he had Parkinsons he had trouble taking photos and needed to consciously breathe and try to steady his hands.  After chatting for a while, he simply said goodbye and went off on his way.

I was left standing in the quiet forest, next to the sponge mushroom, feeling positively surprised and grateful that this stranger had come specially to get me to show me this peculiar mushroom and that it had led to him sharing parts of his story with me.  I was struck by the similarities with my own childhood in Australia and the incredible nature there, and the conversation reminded how fortunate I am to be in good health and to keep turning to nature for healing.

Quiet time

IMG_6544

JOYFUL GRATITUDE #94

Sometimes it’s necessary to break away from daily routine and take a step back to rest, reflect and let the busy-ness subside. I am deeply grateful to have that time and be able to escape for a few days and connect again with myself in the beautiful nature of the Veluwe.

Nature in the workspace

IMG-20180828-WA0001

Paolo gave me these photos of his beautiful plant that is thriving with plenty of space in its new environment at his office in Noord. Thank you for the lovely pictures:)

IMG-20180828-WA0002

Trying to see the sunny side

20180830_140741

JOYFUL GRATITUDE #93

I must have walked past this house in my neighbourhood dozens of times and had never noticed the sign until yesterday.  In the midst of a week of exhaustion and self-doubt, I am grateful for this very straight-forward reminder to see the sunny side of things.

Quiet moments at the beach

IMG_6407

A few more pictures from that morning when we went to see the sunrise at the beach.  I want to remind myself of the luxury feeling of having the empty beach stretched out before us as we walked along with no destination, nowhere we needed to be at a specific time, just the freedom to stop and watch the waves crashing over and over again, or to examine the amazing patterns on huge jellyfish or the multitude of tiny stones and shells washed up on the shore.  I want to bring more and more of this peace into my daily life, without having to go far to find it.

IMG_6446

 

Free Fridays are for inspiration

IMG_5643

JOYFUL GRATITUDE #92

Today I was blown away by the Studio Drift exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum.  I am so grateful for the calm moments spent being mesmerised by blooming flowers whilst lying on the museum floor with my friend and discovering the gorgeous installations together.

I could feel my brain tingling with excitement at all the connections and stories, the movement and shadows, the unexpectedness resulting from this combination of design, technology, data and inspiration from nature.  I also loved that there was a full room showing what goes on behind the scenes to bring these artworks to life: prototypes, materials, sources of inspiration and preliminary sketches.  A lovely reminder that the incredible finished artworks are the fruit of a lot of experimentation and mistakes.

A gift to myself

IMG_5552

This magazine cover with the phrase ‘The rise of eco-feminism’ called out to me while I was browsing in a bookstore on our recent trip to London. After briefly leafing through it’s pages, I treated myself to a copy that I read with great pleasure from cover to cover on the train back to Amsterdam.

The content feels very refreshing and easy-going, like a non-judgemental friend who tells you dreamy stories and knows unexpected fun facts about far flung places.  Visually it is a gorgeous mix of photography and illustrations that support the articles, as well as inspiring quotes.  I enjoyed that part of the content is submitted by readers with varied voices and styles, and that there is no advertising to distract you.  I’m excited that I decided to subscribe for a year in order to support the magazine and have the joy of receiving it in the mailbox every 3 months:)

Meditating in the morning

IMG_6431

JOYFUL GRATITUDE #91

At the beginning of this year, I followed a mindfulness course for eight weeks and thanks to the accountability of my fellow class mates I managed to make time to meditate daily for a few months. I tried my best to keep up these good habits afterwards, but little by little the habit slipped and I was not as regular in my practice.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve reminded myself of the benefits regular meditation had and I’ve been consciously making more of an effort to take those ten or fifteen minutes in the morning to calm my mind and come back to myself.  I’m grateful that I can dedicate time to my self-care before heading off into the busy world, so I can be more present to what is going on in and around me.