7 Mindful Practices to Keep it Cool This Holiday Season

The holiday season can be a crazy period for many of us. Juggling with our full calendars between online work meetings, remote family dinners, and online Christmas parties, our stress levels can go up while we end this crazy year and get swept up into the new year. What if I tell you there’s another way? There’s many ways, actually, to cope with our stress, to bring ourselves back into this space of kindness and compassion, to handle a full calendar with more clarity and calm, and to overall handle this holiday season with a cool head. Here are 7 mindful practices to help you as we navigate through the last two weeks of 2020.

1. Set an intention

The holiday season has different meanings to all of us. Setting an intention for the next two weeks can help you remember what is important and what you wish to focus on. It can be from : “I protect my peace” to “I allow myself to enjoy this season and take time to slow down”. Write your intention down & start your day with it. Your daily intention can look different than your “holiday intention”, so don’t worry about being too strict on it. The purpose of the intention is to tap into how you wish to feel during the day/ weeks by setting the tone. Whenever you face challenges or you get swept away by the craziness of life, remind yourself of your intention and take a moment to slow down.

Visualising your intention and how your day will go is a very powerful tool. Used by many athletes to predict how they will perform in contests, visualisation meditation or exercises have been proven to positively influence the desired outcome. When you set an intention, take a minute to visualise it coming true. How does that make you feel? What feelings arise? What do you notice? Act as if it already came true.

2. Breathing & meditation practices

Stay calm & relaxed by practising breathing exercises or by meditating. The 4-7-8 exercise helps calm down your nervous system which results in a calmer mind and body. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 7 counts, and breathe out for 8 counts. Another breathing exercise to add to your toolkit id the box breathing method, or 4-4-4-4 method. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4, breathe out for 4, hold for 4, and repeat as many times as necessary. Proven to boost your focus, performance and lower stress levels, this is a great exercise to do between tasks.

A mindfulness or relaxation meditation keeps the stress levels to a minimum. There are plenty of apps or free online guided meditations. My personal favourite is Insight Timer – where I’m also listed as a teacher and post English and Dutch meditations. If you’re new to meditation, this can be the perfect time to start with it. Maybe you have more free time – great! Maybe you have less free time – even better, because that means you need a slow-down moment more than ever.

3. Spread kindness

This season can be extra challenging or difficult for you and others. Acting from a place of kindness and compassion not only towards others but towards yourself, helps lighten the load. Notice when your mind tends to drift off to negative thoughts, do this powerful thoughts exercise to shift your mindset, and take back control by coming back to yourself. Knowing the difference between your thoughts and your Self is the key here. Your thoughts are not facts, nor are your feelings – read more about that here. Remember, you have the choice and chance to shift to kindness.

4. Self-care rituals

Set time aside to unplug and reset. Self-care means giving yourself what you need, what makes you feel good, and going it guilt-free. This can look like a spa pampering evening, but it can also look like doing absolutely nothing. It can look like binge-watching Netflix while indulging in your favourite snack, or it can look like doing a HIIT workout and filling your body with endorphins. Whatever you need this season, give it to yourself. Show yourself you matter and prioritise yourself + your needs, whatever they might look like.

Listen to my free Soothing Self-Love meditation on Insight Timer or Soundcloud here.

5. Create fixed routines

Having healthy habits can do wonders for your mental and physical  wellbeing. Hold on to these certainties during these uncertain times. Wherever you are, stay disciplined and set time aside for the habits that build up your best self. These can be habits you’ve already built up, or maybe you feel it’s time to try out something new.

When we are in a different or new environment, it can be easier to create habits, because your brain still has not made any associations within this environment. However, when you’re visiting an old, familiar place such as your parents house, you will notice you’ll be drawn back into old habits or behaviours. It’s especially in this scenario we need the disciple we’ve built up to continue our habits and make our wellbeing a priority. Set up a reward system to give yourself credit for keeping up with it!

6. Give yourself grace

This season, show grace to yourself. No one is perfect. A failed recipe, an angry email from your boss, not being able to hug your family members – accept what is, and greet it with grace. Let go of what is outside of your control, and remind yourself you’re doing the best you can. Forgive yourself for mistakes made, and see the lesson you have learned from this mistake, so you’ll never make it again.

Grace allows you to take a step back and have faith that you are improving yourself and the way you interact with the world. Being reminded that everything will turn out okay and remaining hopeful even when things don’t work out as planned, is a muscle we can all train during these times.

7. Live in the present moment

This post would’t have mindfulness in the title without mentioning the present moment. After having dealt with fear, separation and uncertainty throughout this year, allow yourself to bring in kindness and compassion to your feelings and emotions. The first step is to notice what is going on in your mind and body – when you have negative thoughts or you feel a headache rising, notice it and instead of fighting it, accept it. Gently bring your attention to it, and instead of living in your fantasy about the future or a grievance over the past, bring your attention back to this very moment, today, here and now.

We cannot control the future, we cannot go back and change the past, but we can do our best to make this moment as magical as possible. I have written an e-book about mindful living, grab your copy totally for free here!

8. Tap Into Gratitude

When you feel gratitude, you cannot feel another negative emotion at the same time. We often don’t realise what we’re blessed with in our lives. Our brain tends to search for what is missing, what could be better, and what needs to be changed. When we are in a state of gratitude. we rewiere our brain – it’s called neuroplasticity – to recognise the good in situations and by giving thanks for what we have, we also uplift our mood.

Listen to my free gratitude meditation on Insight Timer or Soundcloud here.

The holidays can be both a magical and challenging time, and that’s okay. Part of being human is having different types of emotions, moods, good and bad days. What’s important is to know how to deal with them and love yourself through it all. I genuinely hope these tips help you. If you’d like to learn more about mindfulness, follow my Instagram for inspiring and educational content about mindful and purposeful living, sign up for my weekly newsletter here or listen to my podcast and meditations here. Happy Holidays!

The Power of Gratitude

Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, we can all use a little bit more gratitude this year. Just because things didn’t go according to plan and we were faced with many challenges, tuning into thankfulness can strengthen us and remind us of what we do have in our lives right now.

So how do we tune into this state of gratitude?

Here are some ways on how to tap into gratitude and how to make it a habit in your life.

Gratitude list 

A gratitude list is a simple thing to write, yet it has the power to put us in such a good mood. Start with writing 3 or 5 things you can be grateful for while you’re reading the newspaper or you’re having your morning coffee or evening tea. You’ll notice that not only will you be more appreciative of the small things and the big things, you’ll also think about more and more things to put on that list. As it gets longer, your mornings and evenings get better. 

Gratitude meditation 

Ive done a little experiment this year: from January 1st, I have done a gratitude meditation every evening. 

Why evening? Because going to sleep with a feeling of gratitude allows you  to wake up happy and fulfilled. 

Here’s my thought on this experiment: although it was though – the more I felt down or sad, the furthest away I felt from doing a gratitude meditation. But right on those moments, the downs, is when we need something to uplift us. So, even if it was challenging, I did my meditation every evening and it always made me feel amazing. What changed from the version of me before the meditation vs after the meditation? Nothing but my mindset and perspective. I didn’t receive any news, nothing actually changed in my day or my life, but solely by putting myself in a gratitude mindset made me feel so calm, light and happy. 

So a gratitude meditation is a beautiful way to express your thankfulness, and I’ve created this daily gratitude meditation on Insight Timer. Try it out, for free, and notice how you feel before & afterwards.

Shifting your perspective

Instead of saying, I am sorry I am late, say: thank you for waiting. Shifting your words and thoughts when you catch them being passive, or negative, is your biggest challenge and teacher. When we notice our thoughts heading into a negative spiral, we can stop for a moment, smile at them, knowing they are not real, and instead bring in the positive side of it. It can be anything – from a random thought popping up or a certain situation that has happened and that you perceive to be negative.

Shifting your perspective can be very powerful. Here’s a small exercise I’d like you to try out: write down all the experiences in your life you first thought were absolutely catastrophic, but then turned out to have a positive influence on your life. For me, this was my biggest break-up, after being together for 4 years I got dumped. I was absolutely crushed. Heartbroken. I was a mess. But this breakup allowed me to grow, and go my own way, and when I look back now, I see I completely transformed in a good way. It brought me closer to myself.

This is just an example of how we can find unexpected blessings in what e first though to be curses. For this, we need to let go of the expectation and stop holding onto a certain outcome. 

We often take lots of things for granted, but when we stop for a moment and realise how much of a blessing it really is, we rewire our brains to see the positive side of things, and consequently, that means more happiness and less complaining. 

Scientific research has shown us that when we feel gratitude, we cannot experience negative feelings at the same time. Its gratitude, and gratitude only, that courses through our bodies. How amazing is that?

Another benefit of giving thanks might seem a bit more woo-woo to some, but nonetheless very powerful: we are energetic beings. Yes, we are. We are made out of millions of cells. When we put these cells under a microscope, we don’t see something vast, we see energy. So, if you zoom out of the picture, we are made out of energy!

What we think of, and what we feel, we attract more of in our lives. Tapping into gratitude puts you into a state of receiving: you evoke the feeling of how it is to already have something in your life. This feeling of abundance, of joy and happiness, will then allow you to attract more of that in your life. 

Giving thanks can uplift us and rewire our brains to see the positive in even challenging situations. Start with small habits such as writing a gratitude list, or trying out a gratitude meditation, to tune into this beautiful state of mind.

4 Mindful Practices to Recharge + Avoid Burnout

With winter around the corner + a new lockdown for some countries, many of us are not only facing those winter blues, but now there’s also a thing as lockdown blues. Days become shorter and nights become longer. Being separated from our loved ones and having limited time to spend outdoors takes its toll on our overall wellbeing.

To keep it short: there are many reasons for why this time can be challenging for you. On top of that, your work life probably keeps going on, and maybe you’ve got even more work on your hands. 

Here are 4 mindfulness practises that can come in handy during a season of low energy and feeling like the fire, that candle within you, is almost burn out. Let’s keep it lightened up!

1. Practising awareness 

Becoming aware of you doing something is step one. And it’s a big step. We live on auto-pilot most of the time – recent studies tell us mor ethan hal of the things we do happens without us realizing it. Mindfulness is all about shifting that auto-pilot mode and taking the wheel in our own hands. Become aware of what you do. Next time you brush your teeth, watch Netflix or start scrolling on Instagram, try to become aware of it.

Maybe you recognize this: you end up scrolling endelssly on social media without even realizing it, afterwards wishing you hadn’t spend that much time on it.  That is what happens when we stay on auto-pilot mode and are not really present. 

When we shift our attention to this moment, we become aware of what we are doing. The auto-pilot mode gets disrupted, and we can take control again. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying you should never again scroll on social media or watch Netflix for hours. Mindfulness simply asks us to bring our attention to what we are doing, without any judgment, instead bringing in kindess + curiosity. When you are bingewatching Netflix or scrolling through social media, notice how that feels like for you and what effect it has on you, try to be curious.

2. Recharging check-ins

When our phone is low on battery, we plug it in. When our computer is having issues, we restart it.

You deserve a recharge or a restart as much as your devices. 

Mindfulness is all about focusing our attention on the present moment. To notice our breath, how our bodies feel and the environment arround us.

And it all beings with your attention. Redirect your attention to your breath. How are you breathing right now? When we are focused, we tend to hold our breath. This causes our brains to receive less oxygen – and our brains desperately need oxygen to function properly. 

 If you’re a person who tends to push through work and hop on that treadmill everyday, regardless of how full your battery is, one thing you can start with is setting an alarm to take a break from a project every 2 hours. Go for a walk, do a meditation, take a nap, drink some water, eat a snack, do some stretches,…. taking a small moment for yourself will allow you to return to your day with a fresh mind and body.

3. Holding onto Purpose

Something I have heard clients struggle with the last few weeks, is a lack of motivation + purpose. What gets you up in the morning? What is your reason to own the day and shine brightly?

Setting an intention on a daily basis can help you navigate through the day. Whenever you feel lost, you can remind yourself of the intention you set for the day and take action. This intention can change on the daily, depending on the foucs of the day.

When you focus on this one intention, this purpose, you can see the impact and importance of the actions that you take.

Let’s say you have a big presentation coming up today, and you just woke up, and to be honest you already feel a bit anxious + stressed about it. Setting an intention to remain present + grounded and do your best can help you tackle the day. When you feel stressed, use your intention to come back to and say to yourself: I am present, grounded and I am doing my best. This will put you in the right mindspace but also lead you to take action on the next best thing you can do. 

Remember to stay kind to yourself – as I’ve said, mindfulnesss focuses on non-judgment, curiosity and kindness. 

4. Purposeful Breathing 

You’ll notice that when you take 3 deep breahts (maybe now would be a good time, go on) instantly relaxes you and releases some pressure of your kettle. 

Our breath gives us life. It gives us energy. The fact that you are reading this right now and breahting without even knowing it, is a miracle. 

What’s even better is that we can play with our breath and allow it to influence our state of being.

When you are tired, try to do an energising breathing exercise: the 6-2 method. Breathe in for 6 seconds, fully exhale for 2 seconds. Repeat until you feel energised + recharged again.

When you are feeling foggy in your mind, and in need of concentration and focus, try the box breathing method, used by many athletes to improve performance and attention. Breathe in for 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4, hold for 4. Repeat until you feed more focused + relaxed.

When you are feeling energised and you want to relax and slow down, try the 4-7-8- method: breathe in for 4, hold for 7 and exhale for 8. The long exhales send signals to your brain to relax your nervous system and slow down. 

Burnout, as one of my favourite mentors Jay Shetty says, is continuously running, instead of walking. It’s like you’re living life on a threadmill, without stopping, and pushing through (mostly) work.  I hope these mindfulness practices and tips help you to check in more often with yourself and be mindful of the things you do, so you can stop running, and start walking at your own pace, in peace and with purpose.

⁠ ⁠If you want to start living a more mindful life, grab your free copy of my e-book, a guide to Mindful Living!⁠ Why for free? Because I deserve everyone deserves peace. And this year has been challenging enough. It’s a little gift to you, from me.

Another resource on Black Friday promotion right now is my 10-day mindfulness & self-growth course Flow. You’ll learn all about meditation, mindfulness, overcoming limiting beliefs, shifting your mindset, practising gratitude, developing healthy habits and so much more! Claim your 50% off before the price goes up again. ⏰⁠

How to Adapt & Navigate Through A New Season

2020 has been a lot, right? Maybe this week has been a lot, or even this day, as you’re reading this.

There’s nothing we can change about what happens around us, but there we can take care of our own wellbeing by showing up for ourselves and others the best way possible.

Here are a few ways on how you can navigate through (another) lockdown and the beginning of a new season. Because as the seasons change, so do our natural rhythms.

1. Check In With Yourself

We tend to rush through our days, constantly pushing through and waiting for that moment – Friday night, the weekend, finishing up work,… while taking a moment to calm down and check in with yourself can be all you need at that time.

Before your next meeting, presentation or whenever you have a minute, take a seat, take 3 deep breaths and relax the tensed parts in your body. If you have some more time, turn it into a mini-meditation, where you gently watch your breath as it comes and goes, and allow your thoughts to come and go as well, like clouds.

You will notice that taking this small moment to check in with your body, notice how it general feels and how you feel emotionally, can do wonders. Bringing in mindfulness into our daily lives allows us to stop living on auto-pilot and start living with intention and awareness.

Another way to check in with yourself is to journal. Take 5 minutes for a free flow – write down whatever comes up in your mind, and gently release it from your mind onto paper. If you’re not the writer, try to come up with a gratitude list and write down only 5 or 10 things you can be grateful for. Gratitude helps shift your focus from what is missing to what you have in your life and be thankful for.

2. Listen To Your Body

Coming back to the pushing through we normally do, I would like to remind you that rest is productive as well. Breaks are needed. Rest is needed.

We have entered a new season -fall/winter. During this season, it’s time to retreat within, to reflect, to rest and to listen to your mind & body. It’s the time of the year to nestle and spend time at home, to go inward. Animals hibernate, as we need to take more rest and sleep more, too. It’s how our natural rhythms work.

So next time you feel tired, drained or burnt out, take a moment to listen to your body. Don’t feel guilty for resting or taking a nap. It’s not selfish, on the contrary: if you don’t feel well, how can you be there for others?

Starting out with the basics – fuelling your body with the right nutrients, drinking enough of water and getting enough sleep (7-9 hours), can do wonders for your general health & wellbeing, thus influences how you feel, too.

I’ve never been the type to work out or even move daily, but since this year (and lockdown), I’ve realised that movement is medicine. In the morning, gentle stretches or morning yoga help me tune in with myself and wake up my body. In the evening, I love to relax my muscles and gentle prepare my body for a good night rest with some restorative yoga. Everyone’s body is different, so take a moment to notice what your body needs, and pick a movement you enjoy doing – it can be as simple as waking. Setting an intention – to relax, energise or restore – helps in having a successful session.

Breathwork can work miracles. A session of energising breathing exercises (breathing in for 6, breathing out for 2), kicks in better than a morning expresso. On the other hand, whenever you feel all over the place and in need of focus, the box breathing, often used by athletes to heighten concentration and performance, works its magic: breathe in for 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4, and old for 4. Repeat as many times as necessary. And lastly, to help you relax and calm down: the 4-7-8 breathing exercise. Breathe in for 4, hold for 7 and breathe out for 8.

3. reach out to close & loved ones

More than ever, social contact is important. We need to remind ourselves that social distance doesn’t mean emotional distance.

If you’re separated from most of your friends and family and you live abroad like I do, try to schedule video calls with the family, digital dates with your BFF and regularly check in with each others simply by sending a quick text.

If you can still see your close & loved ones, enjoy the quality time you can have with them as much as you can. It’s important to cultivate meaningful relationships, and maintaining them is equally as important, if not more important. Try out fun things to do on a date, head out for your favourite food or go on a Christmas shopping spree. I personally love to spoil people with gifts, and even if I am not sure I will be able to spend Christmas with them this year, I definitely plan on sending them the gifts in case I cannot be there. Intention is what counts, and that feeling is what people remember too.

If you can still go outside, definitely do that, too. Even a small adventure, staycation or venture out in nature can do wonders for your wellbeing, whether you’re alone or can have some company.

4. rituals & routines

One thing I have learned through the year, is: when all is uncertain, create your own certainty. Hold on to that certainty and let it grow you.

Creating nourishing routines & rituals helps you stay grounded. When you wake up, what is the first thing you do? Let’s say it’s grabbing your phone and checking in with the online world. Is that a routine that makes you feel good, or not?

I’m not the one who is telling you whether a routine, habit or ritual Is good for you or not. I am the person who gently reminds you to be mindful of what you do, speak, eat, and consume. They all have an influence on your mind and body. Starting your morning the right way launches a beautiful day. Ending your day the right way allows you to relax and rest, no matter what happened during the day.

Some mindful moments I picked up after a year of working from home and navigating through challenging times, are:

  • Drinking a glass of water
  • Morning stretches or yoga to wake up my body
  • Write a gratitude list/free flow journalling
  • Meditate
  • Get ready
  • Read
  • Check phone

Whenever I wake up not so great, I know that after stretching or after meditating, I feel so much better. Routines are there to help us create certainty in our lives, no matter what uncertainties are taking place beyond our control.

When I finish my day, I make sure to do some restorative, relaxing yoga, watch my favourite show or something that uplifts me, schedule in some self-care time (a face mask, mani/pedi), have a warm drink and journal about the day and do anything else that relaxes me at that time. Before I drift off, I love to put on a sleeping meditation or some natural sounds, like ocean waves.

I’ve noticed these habits shift my mood and my wellbeing so much, no matter what happens throughout the day, so I highly recommend you to think about what routine or habit serves you or you would like to start trying out. It’s those small moments that help you prepare for what’s next, whether that is a fresh day, a big presentation or a night of rest.

I genuinely hope these tips will help you navigate through a new season and perhaps a new lockdown too, whenever you are in the world. We can get through this. You can get through this. Remember to take care of yourself and fill your own cup, before you start pouring your empty while giving to others.

How to Shift Your Mindset & Take Control

Our thoughts have more influence on us than we think they do. They decide our next actions, our perspective, our feelings & emotions on a subconscious level. Good news is: we can become aware of our thoughts, spot thoughts that do not serve us, and replace them with new and healthy ones. We have the power to take matter into our own hands.

Often, when we feel overwhelmed, it’s because our thoughts are letting us down. We all have a sage and a child in our mind, whispering their advice to us at any time during the day. The sage, the wise voice, often nudges us in the right direction and tells us what is the best thing to do in the long run. For example: leave early to be on time for your meeting. The child, however, wants to play, relax and take things easy. The child will tell you it’s okay to scroll on Instagram for the next 5 minutes, which ends up being 15 minutes, which makes you run late. Recognize these voices?

Luckily, as I said, there is our awareness behind it all. In mindfulness, we focus on this awareness as it being our true selves. When we spot a thought, the awareness that is spotting it, is you. You can decide whether this thought is true or not. When we hear the whisper of the sage or the child, we hear it – the awareness behind it – so again, we have a choice on what to do.

In this blogpost, I’ll guide you on how to change your mindset: become aware of your thoughts, investigate them and then replace them accordingly with new and healthy ones.

1. Become aware of your negative thoughts

The first step is to catch yourself thinking negatively and noticing that repetitive thought circling around in your head again. Simple spot the thought, and say to yourself: here is this thought, and it is passing through my mind. See it as something separate from you, which it is. The moment you notice that thought, you give it less power. You don’t identify with it anymore, because there is the you who notices the thought, and there is the thought. So, this thought is not you. This is the first step, and it’s a very powerful one.

This requires practice and mindfulness, so if you are here right now, then you’re already very far.

2. Challenge these thoughts. Are they true? Or false?

Next up is looking at this thought from your point of view and thinking whether this thought is true. Is this thought a fact, or is it speculation? “I will probably fail at the exam tomorrow because I am not good enough” is not a fact, it is not true, it is only a speculation, a fear in this case that your mind comes up with. Recognise if a thought is true or made up by your mind.

3. Discover if the thought wants to teach you or harm you

This is an important part. After recognising we are not the thought, and recognising the thought is not true, we have the choice: let it go or investigate it and replace it. In this scenario, we will investigate it. Does this thought protect me from something, teaches me something, or is it simply destructive?

“I will probably fail at the exam tomorrow because I am not good enough” can look like a harmful thought at first sight, but maybe you can take action from this thought. Are you well prepared? Have you studied for this exam? Do you still have work to do, is there room for improvement? Try to look for the lesson in the thought. Not all thoughts are useful or here to teach us, but it helps in letting go and prevents the thought from repeating itself again.

Thoughts that keep repeating themselves are unprocessed and will keep circling around in your mind until you have processed them, which means sit with them and learn the lesson. It’s the same with real life lessons: you will end up attracting the same situation over and over again until you have learned the lesson and deal with it.

4. Replace them with healthy ones

The last part is super important and will really shift your mindset. When you spot the thought, recognise it is not you, recognise it is true or not, you have the choice to change the way you talk to yourself. Instead of thinking: “I will probably fail because I am not good enough”, think: I am doing the best I can. I will make myself proud.

From this mindset, you will take further action in the desired direction you want to go. How can I make myself proud? What actions can I take? How can I make sure I ace this exam?

When you come from that new mindset, of thinking: I am good enough. I make myself proud. I will pass this exam, you will automatically start taking action followed and inspired by these thoughts.

And that is how, ultimately, your thoughts shape your reality. By changing the way you talk to yourself, you change your perspective, which changes the actions you take, and actions turn into habits, etc etc.

Thoughts are a powerful thing. Whenever you catch yourself having thoughts that do not serve you, become aware of it, question it and then replace it. It will do wonders. It rewires your brain to see the good in a situation.

This is one aspect of shifting your mindset and remaining positive and hopeful during challenging times, or any situation, really.

Also, I have a big surprise for you!

I have just launched my newest e-book, A Guide to Mindful Living, covering the answers on the questions a lot of us are struggling with right now:

  • How can I stress less, and relax more?
  • How can I remain hopeful and positive during challenging times?
  • How can I turn off the noise from the outside world and tune in with myself more?
  • How can I sleep better?
  • And many more!

Written in Q & A form, this e-book guides you on a mindful journey, inspiring you how to take care of yourself and others on a mindful way. Practical exercises, tips and routines, personal experiences and struggles with anxiety, the most popular techniques to calm down your mind and body are some of the examples you can find in my newest e-book, a Guide to Mindful Living.

How to Find Peace in the Chaos

There’s a lot going on in the world right now – and you’re not the only one who feels overwhelmed by it all.

Often, this un-ease we experience is because we are stressed, anxious or worried. When we are anxious, our mind & body are in survival mode. We have left the present moment, and we are preparing to either fight or flight. ⁠ ⁠ Our brains are wired to spot danger – whether that’s a hungry tiger standing in front of you, an email from an angry boss, or a pandemic that impacts your entire life.

So, how can we deal with modern-day stress & anxiety? ⁠ ⁠Come back to the present moment. Let your brain now you are safe right here, right now. ⁠ ⁠

1️⃣ Relax your body. Unclench your jaw. Often, we put our tension on a part of our body – that’s why we get headaches or stomachaches when we are anxious or stressed. Breathe into that place.⁠ ⁠

2️⃣ What are my thoughts telling me? Remember you are not your thoughts. Watch them float by like clouds and smile at them, knowing you are the awareness behind them.⁠ ⁠

3️⃣ Redirect your attention to your breath. How am I breathing right now? Am I hyperventilating, am I breathing shallow or fast? Am I holding my breath? Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique to calm down.⁠ ⁠

4️⃣ Focus your awareness to what you can feel, see, hear and taste. Name these things in your head.⁠ ⁠

5️⃣ Now that you have calmed down, you can dig deeper onto why you are feeling anxious. Often, it’s because we are thinking about what could, should or would happen – things that are outside of our control. So, write down 5 facts you can think of right now to ground yourself.⁠

These steps are small, but extremely powerful into calming down your body & mind, and guiding your attention back into this moment. When we are in survival mode, our bodies release this hormone you’ve probably heard out – adrenaline – to help us fight or flight. This hormone shuts down all of the major systems we need to function properly – our digestive system, growth hormones, the part of our brain that copes with logical thinking, planning and emotional regulation, and all the other things we don’t need when faced with danger.

However, the problem in modern-day society, is that small challenges trigger the same response in our bodies, and even our own thoughts can influence us so much that our bodies believe we are in actual danger.

Therefore, the importance of mindfulness cannot be underestimated. It has changed my life, and the lives of so many others.

Hope this helps. Know that I am here to guide you on your journey from mind full to mindful. Grab your spot in my online 10-day course on mindfulness and self-growth.

How to Travel Mindfully & Purposefully

We’ve all had to endure a life without travel for WAY too long. Some of us are still even in quarantine. If you are, feel free to keep reading to prepare yourself for your next trip when the coast is clear. If the coast is already clear, and you’re thinking about traveling, then these tips are for you. You can even apply some of these tips on your next stroll through the neighbourhood – making a mindful walk.

Making the most out of your next trip is entirely in your hands. Mindful traveling, practising gratitude, establishing a clear intention & purpose are some of the practices and tools you can use to fully engage in your next trip and make it the best one so far.

I’ve had some requests about writing more about mindfulness, but also about travel. So I thought: why not intertwine these two? After all, that’s what Ana Seas The Day is all about: transformative travel, being mindful & purposeful in your inner and outer journeys.

Set a clear intention

Before you pack your bags and head out to your newest destination, full of excitement and motivation, make sure to set your intention. It will help you become more clear about what you want to achieve during your trip, and how you want your trip to go. There are plenty of things we cannot control when we travel, but there are numerous things we can control, such as our mindset, how we react, our problem-solving skills, keeping our calm, enjoying the little things,…

Setting your intention looks like this:

During this trip, I promise to myself I will… enjoy the little things / go with the flow and let go of what I can’t control / focus on treating myself / …

When we set an intention, we mentally prepare ourselves to a certain outcome, behaviour or mindset, which we can carry with us and will help us come back to the centre, to the core, whenever we are faced with challenges or difficulties. It’s like having an anchor to come back to. You can also write it down as a mantra.

Define your deeper purpose of travel

We all have a deeper reason to travel. For some, that might be relaxing, escaping from your daily life, seeking adventure or seeking your soul. We can change our reasons, according to what we are going through in our lives right now. We might seek different things from our trips a year ago than we do now.

Take a moment and write down an answer to these following questions to figure out why you travel. This will not only help you in getting to know yourself, but it will also help you in planning your trip & getting the most out of it. When we know what we want, and why we want it, we can align our activities, destination & travel company (solo?) with it.

Dig deep and reveal your deeper purpose of travel:

  • What have I missed most about travel?
  • How has travel changed me, or touched me in any way?
  • What are some of the things that I seek for in my trip? Guidance, clarity, relaxation, adventure, myself?
  • Besides from money, time or any other factor, how would my ideal voyage look like right now?
  • Why would this be the ideal trip – what would be the main reason for its success?
  • Write down how you want your trip to go in detail

You can turn this exercise into a visualisation exercise. With the last journalling prompt, close your eyes and imagine yourself being there. What do you feel? What do you see? Smell? Hear? Taste? How does your environment look like? How do you feel, deep inside you?

Visualisation teaches your brain to recognise what resources it will need to help you succeed in reaching your goals. Or, in this case, fulfilled your deeper purpose of your trip.

Practise mindfulness

Mindful travel is the next big thing- here’s why:

  • it allows you to fully tap into the moment, into the here & now, to stop living on auto-pilot and start living with full awareness
  • it allows you to regulate your emotions by training your mind to step out the reacting-without-thinking-mode, into a mindful way of witnessing what’s going on, through taking a step back & reacting from a higher place
  • it allows you to become an observer of your reality, rather than a server, meaning: stop living in the victim mode by stop labelling and judging all of our feelings and emotions, and instead allowing them to be fully there and witnessing them with a mindful mind (without any judgement and with lots of compassion)

Now, who couldn’t use these qualities in their overall life, never mind trips? Release distractions and be fully aware in the moment, with all your senses, so that you fully seas the day. It is, of course, a practice, and you cannot be 100% aware all the time. We are human and that is only normal. Thoughts float in, feelings ask for our attention, and the world around does so too.

So, how can we incorporate mindfulness in our lives? I wrote a blog post just about that: a beginner’s guide to mindfulness. You’ll notice, after a while of practising mindfulness or mindfulness meditation, that when you live less on auto-pilot, you start to approach situations, feelings, thoughts, conversations – your while life – with a state of compassion, acceptance, and non-judgment. And we can all use a bit more love and compassion in this world, don’t you think?

Practise gratitude

Shifting from love & compassion and non-judgment, we move on to gratitude. Gratitude is a crucial part of living a happy, fulfilled life, and making your trip even greater.

Whenever you feel like something didn’t add up to your expectations, and you feel this feeling arising – notice it, but don’t become it. Try to shift your perspective and see what you do have right now, what is working out for you, and what lesson you can learn from this feeling.

Imagine this: your flight is delayed, and you already booked transportation to your hotel, which now you will be missing. You feel frustration coming up. You lost some money, and time. You just want to get out of the airport and be at your destination. Take a deep breath.

Traveling is about the journey, too. Try to remind yourself how lucky you are right now: you are safe, healthy, traveling, in an airport, waiting for a machine to FLY you to a new destination. Your heart is beating. Maybe you are with a loved one. Try to come up with things you can be grateful for, that day, or what this situation is teaching you. In this case: you did well preparing everything, but try to think before you react. Contact the company with whom you booked with. Tell them about the delay. Maybe they can wait for you, or cancel it or postpone it for free. If not, that’s okay. Draw the lesson that you cannot plan or control everything (and that a flexible cancellation is always key). 😉

Building up resilience and gratitude will shift your mental state in huge ways -you will preserve your energy, instead of giving it all to a situation that doesn’t deserve it.

Think about it – how often is your day ruined by just a small thing that did not happen in your favour?” I woke up and hit my toe. I am having such a bad day. Our plane is delayed. What an awful day. I am having such a bad day today. I just fell!” We tend to stay in that spiral of negativity, when sometimes small came to interrupt our day.

The key is to not get caught up in this, but instead approach it with mindfulness (observe it, take breath, and send love and compassion to yourself), and to guard your state of gratitude. Learn the lesson, feel the pain of hitting your toe, laugh it off, and continue your day. Don’t take it all so seriously. You have the power to control how you react, thus how your life will continue from that moment on.

Travel slow

You wake up on your first morning of vacation. Instead of grabbing your phone and getting lost in the digital world, take a moment to breathe. Breathe in the air of your new destination, the room, maybe you can even smell outside – food, flowers, fruit, the ocean smell,… How do the sheets feel? What do you see when you wake up? What do you hear? Maybe you hear the local merchant shouting, selling his fruit. Maybe you hear scooters or cars driving around (and honking a lot, if you’re in Italy 😉 )

Take a moment when you are strolling to notice how the ground feels, how the sun burns on your skin, how the wind gently strokes upon your cheeks.

Notice the people around you, the detailed design of the buildings or attractions.

Taste your food and drinks with full awareness. Savour it. Enjoy it. Live it.

Traveling slowly is more than just not hurrying or rushing through your day – it is taking the moment to really be where you are. To use all your senses to ground yourself in the moment, to enjoy and savour your experience.

I genuinely hope these tips will help you in turning your next trip into an amazing one. You deserve it. And remember: with every step you take externally, you shift & move forward within yourself internally, too. That’s what travel is about. Open your mind, travel mindfully, and savour every experience. Setbacks, failures & disappointments are there to teach us. Whether the lesson is to be more mindful, present or to get a flexible cancellation next time ;), learn the lesson and move on. And always, always travel with a deep purpose.

As your travel coach, I am here to guide, support & empower you on your inner & outer journeys. Schedule your free coaching interview with me now to start living a purposeful & intentional life.

A Beginner’s Guide to Mindfulness: Living Mindfully

What is mindfulness exactly? How is it different from mindfulness meditation? Why is it good for you? And how to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life and travels? What is my relation and experience with mindfulness? Read the answers on these questions and more, in this beginner’s guide to mindfulness.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the act of being present in the here and now. It is the art of accepting whatever is and comes your way, and being less reactive. Mindfulness allows you to tune in with this moment and fully experience it, with all your senses.

Although there are various mindfulness meditation practices, mindfulness itself is merely the act of being present in the here and now. If you notice your thoughts wandering off while you rather want to be present, and you bring yourself back, then that’s an act of mindfulness: shifting your focus & attention to this moment.

Whereas mindfulness can be done at any time or moment or activity, it is useful to do a mindfulness course and practise these various exercises and meditations to learn techniques on how to bring your awareness back into the present moment.

In my upcoming 10-day course about self-growth, you will learn the basics of mindfulness meditation, along with other meditation practices that will improve your ability to focus, be present, happier, healthier, and get closer to that beautiful version inside yourself, your best self. Find more information about what the course contains right here.

What are the benefits of mindfulness?

Mindfulness helps relieve stress, improve your focus, regulate your emotions, improve your mental & physical health, improve your sleep, decrease levels of stress and anxiety, calm feelings of pain or dis-ease, and much more.

For those of you who don’t know my story yet: mindfulness has drastically improved and transformed my life. I got dragged into a mindfulness class while I was on pills, prescribed to “kill the pain, “stop my anxiety” and “calm my mind down”. However, a lot of awful side effects and pills later, I realised there is no pill to cure your mind. In fact, there is nothing to cure. Only to accept. And with mindfulness, you learn exactly that: to accept whatever you feel, experience, smell, hear, taste, see. And witness it without judgement, but with curiosity and openness.

The benefits that I have experienced are endless, but to sum it up: it cured my anxiety, healed my physical diseases, and improved my overall quality of life. By that, I mean I went from being anxious, unfulfilled, always overthinking, living in my head (and mostly in the future), to: being present, in the here and now, knowing how to deal with anxiety when it arrives (barely anymore), being more happy, less stressed, less worried, and more accepting of whatever comes my way. It helped me grow in ways I cannot even comprehend and it has changed my life completely.

How can you bring it into your daily life?

You can bring mindfulness into your daily life by practising mindfulness meditation. There are various courses and programs online and on meditation apps.

1. Set your intention: become aware of why you want to practice it

What has driven you to become more present in life? Is it a problem you are struggling with, a challenge you are facing? Or is it merely curiosity or a desire to become more calm and less reactive? There are many, many benefits of mindfulness, scientifically proven to improve your mental and physical health. Before you start looking on the outside, to those benefits, begin to look on the inside, to what you really need right now.

2. Start small. Mindfulness is to be found right now.

Do not worry or think too much about living mindfully, because then you are doing the exact opposite. If you want to start living more mindful and aware and present, begin right here and right now. This is the only moment we have and right now is the only time we can take action.

In my upcoming course, I take you on a journey through the basics of meditation and mindfulness into a process of self-growth which even reaches eliminating limiting beliefs, anxiety, improving your mindset, practising self-love and much more. And the basics of all that is to be present. To tune in with yourself and your body. To really notice what you feel.

Breath work is an essential part of being conscious and aware. To be with our breath, is to really feel alive. So, here are some exercises to try out to focus on being present:

  • Hand Practice: place your left hand in front of you. Take your right finger and run it over your left hand’s fingers. While going up, breathe in. While going down, breath out. Follow the rhythm of your normal breath and don’t try to force it or change it in any way.
  • Breath Awareness: Sit still and notice your breathing, for as long as you want
  • Breath Counting: Sit still and start counting your breaths from 1-5. If you lose counts, start over
  • Body Scan: Lay down and scan your body from head to toe. Welcome every sensation that might arrive and when your attention drifts or you fall asleep and come back, just continue the practice.

In the 10-day self-growth course, we will explore these meditations together. Besides the video material and workbook, you will have guided meditations at your disposal, made & recorded by me. Subscribe here.

When I started out mindfulness, I got dragged to the case by my dad. I was suffering from anxiety, he wasn’t suffering from anything but curiosity and a willingness to explore something new. “Mindfulness really is something we can all use, no matter if you have a problem or not. It’s not a quick fix to a problem, because you won’t see the results until after weeks, maybe even months. It’s a way of life that we can all incorporate to enjoy life to the fullest and seize every moment.” Those were the words of my father when I asked him about why he participated in this course, for the second time even.

After this journey of practising it for almost 5 years, from when I was 17, I have discovered that mindful living is more than just a mediation practice or a “something new” to try out once in a while. It is a lifestyle, it is enjoying and tasting life and just putting your focus and attention to the here and now, instead of drifting off in your thoughts or scrolling endlessly on your phone. Distractions come to us in many ways these days, and it can be hard to keep our focus. Be gentle and kind towards yourself and give yourself the time to adapt to a mindful life. It will improve your overall health, quality and appreciation of life.

If you’ve made it until the end of this blogpost, it means you are ready to take the next step in mindful living. My newest course about self-growth & transformation, with mindfulness and meditation as leading forces, is out now. Claim your 50% discount now.

Why Quarantine Made Us Better Travellers

During the past months, we went through a lot. However, it is important to not let these moments just pass by, but instead stand still & reflect on what happened & what we can learn from it. Also on the “travel level”, we have grown stronger and independent, gaining more skills as travellers. That’s right: by going absolutely nowhere, we still prepared ourselves for better travel experiences in the future. Read here about why quarantine made us better travellers.

Accept what you cannot change
Instead, change your reaction to it⁠

This was the biggest pil to swallow: change. Our entire lives changed. Isolation took away our sense of normality and nothing was the same. Whether that’s travel, seeing your friends and family, or even your job and day-to-day life: everything got cancelled.

However, we can learn how to accept what we cannot change by making the best out of it. Take a deep breath and think about how you can make this new situation work for you is all we did these last months. And that, my friend, is a valuable lesson while traveling.

As with travel, things don’t always go as we want them to go, but by recognising and acknowledging change, we can practice our resilience towards it – and ultimately, go with the flow & adapt to the new situation. When something goes wrong on our vacation, we try to fix it and come up with a solution. Treat your life the same way: with positivity & optimism.

Take a moment to look back on what changed in your life and how you can turn it around for the better. Maybe you discovered that you like working out from home & trying out different exercises. Maybe you discovered you need more of a personal trainer to guide you: on whatever level you faced changes, this is progress, too. Learn from it. Get to you know yourself more!

Appreciate what you have
No matter how small or big⁠

As things got taken away from us – our social life, our work life, traveling, and everything that contributed to your normal day-to-day life, what we were left with was not much. It was just us, inside our homes. But this was a blessing, and we realised that as well. However, moments or boredom arrived and we got to settle in again, enjoy the little moments, and finally take some rest.

“You don’t miss something until it’s gone.”

This lesson taught us how to appreciate what we have in life – our health, our family, a home, access to everything we need rapidly, and the freedom that we have and is slowly given back to us.

As with travel, we open up our minds in new ways. We see the world differently, and that is exactly what is happening right now. We gain a new perspective on the things we do have and we become more grateful for them.

We care more about the collective

One of the things we valued more and appreciated more is our health, safety & wellbeing. Whether that’s from us personally, a friend or family member. Knowing that you close & loved ones are safe is a beautiful feeling. On the other hand, we also cared more for our fellow human beings. Whether that is a stranger that was kind to you, or the general wellbeing of your country.

This is a principle that makes travel so beautiful: connecting with one another, caring about each other and being friendly & kind to the people that you meet. With all the current riots and protests going on, one message of hope was seeing this picture of hero Patrick Hutchinson rescuing a protestor, protesting for the complete opposite thing he was, from the crowd and possibly being trampled by the crowd.

There is still humanity, love and kindness in this world. Through travel, we broaden our horizons and trough standing up for each other, we show each other peace and kindness. On your next trip or neighbourhood stroll, take time to connect with someone – a cashier, a neighbour, or just a smile to a person passing by. Be kind towards one another. You never know what they are going through.

Re-purpose travel 

Boy, have we missed travel. That feeling of excitement when booking a vacation, that getting up early to catch your flight, that moment of arriving in another country and feeling it all – the new smell, the sun burning on your skin, checking in at your ho(s)tel, meeting new people, speaking a foreign language, strolling around in a small, cute village… The small and big things.

Because we miss it so much, we start to think about the deeper meaning of travel. Why do you miss travel? What makes you want to leave your home so desperately?

After finding this deeper meaning, you can re-purpose your future travels. By setting an intention for your trip, you get everything out of it. By travelling purposefully, you can transform through it. Reach personal goals. Grow from it. And that’s where I can help you in, as a travel coach.

Re-discover your country 

Another cool thing we have learned is domestic travel – it’s not completely new, but the travel restrictions have encouraged us to travel within our own country. I see many people leaving on road trips, discovering several parts of their domestic country – new places or known places. As we value more of what we have, this includes where we live – and if we realise that our why for travel is to relax and get away from our daily life, then we can do it in all safety in our own country.

There are many benefits of domestic travel, and I’ve listed them all here for you. Go check them out and start your new trip in your country! You’ll be surprised to what it has to offer you. Sometimes, the things we need are right in front of us.

SEAS the day & this moment 😉
Be present⁠

This is a BIG one. As we were isolated, bored, and missing out on travels, spending time with our friends and family, we only had the present moment. We learned how to fill it with useful things. We found new hobbies, started spending more time with our existing hobbies, and learned how to be here and now. We learned how to spend our time wisely and also how to seize this moment & this day.

We learned how to be here and now. Without any distractions or plans. As we tuned into the moment, we were really here. And during traveling, that’s finding the magic in the moment: being truly present.

Practising mindfulness is not only scientifically proven to be hugely beneficial for your mental & physical health, it contributes to our quality of life as well. Mindful travel is a huge trend as well, as people really want to tune into the moment, and take it all in. I will be soon writing a blogpost about mindful travel, what it means and how it can improve your travel experience, stay tuned!

Also: my course about self-growth is coming up. If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, practising gratitude, journalling & much more, put your name on the waiting list here & claim your 50% discount!

I hope these lessons have given you a fresh perspective on what we have learned, and what you can take with you. Remember these are unusual times, and if you feel like you need some encouragement or hold-on in the uncertainty, take a deep breath and think about what you DO have. Remind yourself to stay present & grateful. And then start planning your little domestic getaway 😉

If you ever need some guidance, confidence: as your travel coach, I am here to guide you along your inner & outer journeys in the world!

Whether you have questions about solo travel, budgeting, or you feel like you want to reach personal goals through travel: it’s all possible during our private coaching. Schedule your free intake interview with me now & start transforming through travel.

With this coaching, adapted to your own needs & personal goals, you’ll learn how to life with purpose and travel with intention. Schedule it here.

8 Benefits of Domestic Travel

It’s no secret COVID-19 took over the world and paused international tourism for an indefinite amount of period. Until we can safely travel again, domestic travel seems to be the best & most beneficial option at this point. With several destinations handing out travel rewards, some countries promote travel within their borders to encourage citizens to explore more of their home country.

Domestic travel may not sound as spectacular as international travel, but there are still many benefits, in small & big ways, eventually contributing to the health of our planet and diminishing the spread of the virus. It is the perfect chance to explore more of your country, get into solo traveling and 7 other benefits of domestic travel, listed below.

Reason #1: You Help Stop the Spread of COVID-19

By traveling within our borders, we take our responsibility of stopping the spread of the covid-19 virus. By staying within our borders and taking the necessary health & precaution measurement, we can assure ourselves & other citizens of the health & wellbeing of the country.

I am currently residing in Portugal (as an expat), and this beautiful country has declared the “Clean & Safe” stamp of approval, giving by the Turismo de Portugal. As such, the official statement declares this serves to “distinguish tourist activities which are compliant with hygiene and cleaning requirements for the prevention and control of COVID-19 and other possible infections.” Knowing this, I am happy to travel around in Portugal and explore even more of this country in all safety. Thank you, Portugal!

Reason #2: You Support Your Local Tourism

Another way of looking out for the world’s health and safety is when it comes to the economy and tourism of your country. Some countries heavily depend on their tourism incomes, and with the pandemic many have seen a huge decrease in income streams. By traveling in your own country and giving back to your economy, you help you country recover from the damage COVID-19 has caused.

All types of touristic companies have suffered from a setback, and this is your chance to give back and give your money to companies that support your local region or country, and show your support and love for the country you live in.

Also, as mentioned, there are some countries who are giving out rewards to those who travel domestically. Read more about this in my previous blog post about travel rewards.

Reason #3: You Keep Your Travel Spirit Alive

Let’s not forget about this amazing benefit: YOU get to travel again! Yes, you, travel lover, are finally free again to explore. To leave on a road trip, hop on a domestical flight, stay in an enchanting B&B, meet new people, and have meaningful experiences.

In the end, that’s what travel is all about. It starts within yourself, and it’s all about your mindset & perspective. You could make this period amazing and go on beautiful trips and discover more of the country you live in. Or, you could be pissed you can’t go to Bali and stay inside until October. Which one is it going to be?

Also – this time, there might not be new languages or new food to be discovered – depending on which country you live in -, but I am sure every country has its own delicacies in certain regions and there might be some dialect, so that counts too, right? 😉

Reason #4: It’s Your Chance to Start Traveling Solo

On the other hand – also considering this is more a solo travel blog & business – this could also be your perfect chance of starting your solo trip! There are SO many benefits of traveling solo, I cannot even get started. Check out these blogs if you want more information. It has changed my life, and let me to become a solo traveler coach, and I know it can change your life too in many ways.

As there are several ways to slowly get into solo travel, domestic travel is a perfect and safe way to get started. You already know your country, the language(s), and your way around & means of transportation (mostly). Home is not far away – you are disconnected, but still connected on some level with your home base.

Besides that, it’s an interesting way to get out of your comfort zone in your home country & be free spirited in a region you have never been before. I encourage you to not start going on solo adventures in places you are way too familiar with, as this can block you from going outside your comfort zone.

If you want to become more confident with solo travel, go someplace new! A lot of experiments have shown that people are more successful in changing their habits & getting out of their comfort zone when they are in someplace new, not known or familiar. That also explains why you feel so free on holiday: nobody knows you, you are on new grounds.

Reason #5: You Become More Appreciative & Grateful

The pandemic has taught us many things: be more considerate of your health, the environment, the planet & other people. Appreciate what you have. Have patience. Live with yourself (or others). Value your freedom, health & wellbeing. So, this next reason, we really have to thank to the pandemic. See it as a blessing in disguise, the rainbow after the rain, the light at the end of the tunnel.

The pandemic has cause a huge shift in the world. Somehow, we all became more loving and kind, and look out for each other. People want to speak their truth. Crises around the world get the necessary attention, if it’s not from the media, then from the citizens of the world. Not only do we value our health and wellbeing, we value our freedom and our rights, our place and existence in this world.

Phew, back to my point now! Because we couldn’t travel, we were longing for it so much more – you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Now that it’s slowly returning and we have the chance to get out there again, we are so much more grateful & appreciative. We realise the value & worth of our freedom and being able to travel around without having any significant worries.

As you travel in your homeland, you start to look for places that are worth visiting. Along your journey of planning this trip, you might discover very interesting places and companies. You’ll realise that your country is beautiful, that tourists visit it for a reason, and that is has a rich culture & history. Yep, I am shamelessly saying this about all countries out there, because it is the truth: they all have a story, a history, their own unique style & sights to be discovered.

Reason #6: The Place Is All Yours

No. Tourists.

Can you imagine, if you live in some of the worlds’ most popular touristic attractions, that there are NO tourists?

Depending on whether your country opened its borders yet and the destination you choose to travel to, I think we can all agree that touristic hubs are less populated than normal. This is great news for locals and citizens, as you are the main visitors now! That means no more waiting in line, no more overcrowded places and no more mass tourism.

Maybe you’re extra lucky and you’ll find lower prices, as the demand is lower. Maybe the prices are the same. Anywho, this is an amazing way to connect more to your country and the local touristic companies. Go on fun activities and don’t worry about it being overcrowded or waiting in line too much. Embrace the calmness and serenity, until the tourists are back again.

Reason #7: Manage Your Budget Differently

Let’s not forget this important reason of why you should go out there and travel within your borders: the green stuff! As you can skip the expensive flights, you can either choose to travel on a budget or spend your vacay money on other things. Overall, I would say you can save a lot of money traveling domestically instead of internationally.

However, if saving money it not a goal of yours and you wish to treat yourself to a nice vacation, you can choose to upgrade your accommodation style and opt for a 5* hotel instead of the normal 3* or 4* hotels. Maybe you can upgrade your vacation with renting that awesome car you always wished you could drive in, or a treat in a spa centre: there are so many ways to spend your money on a way that is comes back to you in so much value. By choosing to spend your money on travel, you already made a huge step into that direction. Now, it’s up to you to choose what type of travel you wish to go on and what you want to get out it this.

Also, reconsider your travel insurance now that you’re in your own country. Probably you can save a lot of money on that as well. Check if your country has any subsidiaries, incentives, vouchers or others types of rewards for domestic travellers, as those might come in handy!

Don’t forget: in many cases, properties are still obliged to ask you for the touristic tax. Even though you’re technically not a tourist but you’re just roaming around in your own land, you still have to contribute to the tourism & the economy by paying this small tax.

Reason #8: Bring New Travel Buddies!

We all have that friend or family member who is afraid of flying, or traveling long-distance. Well, good news for them, because while traveling domestically, you don’t necessarily need to take the airplane! You can easily travel by car, bus or train – or whatever transportation options are in your country: ride a camel in the desert, ride a donkey in a Greek village, take a ferry to a nearby island – everything is possible!

I hope this inspired you to get out there, support your local tourism, the environment and you own wellbeing and start traveling again. Remember that as your travel coach, I am here to guide you along your inner & outer journeys in the world! Whether you have questions about solo travel, budgeting, or you feel like you want to reach personal goals through travel: it’s all possible during our private coaching. Schedule your free intake interview with me now & start transforming through travel. With this coaching, adapted to your own needs & personal goals, you’ll learn how to life with purpose and travel with intention.

Thank you for reading. I am curious about your next trip! will you travel domestically? let me know in the comments.

Get Rewarded to Travel: 8 Destinations that Give Travel Rewards

Now that travel is slowly returning, there are many things you should consider before hopping on the next airplane. Traveling during or after a pandemic is something new and we should all put our health, safety and wellbeing first. Until your country’s borders are finally opened again and you receive green light to go, a bit of travel dreaming and planning never hurt nobody!

To help you prepare for your next trip, I’ve listed the destinations that reward you in many different ways if you travel there (or travel domestically in such said country).

Bulgaria

Experiência Erasmus em Varna, Bulgária, por Monika!! | Experiência ...

Bulgaria decided to help lower your travel budget and make lots of touristic hubs free of charge.

Also beaches & its utilities will be free of charge, meaning: you can go to a beach, get your sun bed, umbrella, or table completely for free.

Doing so, they hope to attract more tourists, even if hit quite severely by the economical crisis during this pandemic.

Cancun

O retorno tímido e cauteloso do turismo em Cancun - 10/06/2020 ...

Cancun’s Hotel Association launched the Come to Cancun 2 x 1 campaign, offering for every two nights booked, two nights completely for free.

As Cancun hopes to invite more international tourists back again to their piece of paradise, it has started to welcome tourists in the beginning of June.

With a slow start, they are hoping to revive the local tourism with this seducing campaign.

Cyprus

Plea from Cyprus to help grandmother in Dorset during lockdown ...

This travel reward is one you wouldn’t be hoping to get a hold on, and here’s why: Cyprus covers all your holiday costs – wait for it – when you test positive for covid-19.

The Mediterranean island will cover “lodging, food, drink and medication for novel coronavirus patients and their families”, as Officials have communicated.

So unless you’re contaminated with the virus, you’ll get your trip paid back. Otherwise, everything is at your own costs.

Japan

FunFair Tech localises blockchain platform for Japan - CasinoBeats

Surely you’ve heard about the discounts and vouchers Japan will give to its tourists, as this news was widely popular and people were already planning their trip to Japan because of it.

However, the Japanese Tourism Agency clarified this only applies to domestic travel. So if you’re reading this and you’re living in Japan, it’s your lucky day! Receive up to $184 a day in the form of subsidies and vouchers.

Las Vegas

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We should thank one man and one man only for this reward: the owner of the Golden Gate & D Las Vegas. He gives you the opportunity to win one of the 1000 flights to Vegas from more than 20 cities in the U.S.

So again, this type of travel is domestically, but hey, why complain? It’s safer, you support your country and you can discover the country you live in!

Sicily

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Say hello to a beautiful and low-cost trip! If you’ve been dreaming of going to Italy, this might be your chance, because Sicily is giving away a lot of discounts.


Thanks to a fund of no less than €50 million, Sicily offers one out of every three hotel nights for free. On top of that, it promises to pay for almost half of your costs by introducing flight discounts, hotel discounts, and other promotional vouchers and cards for tourists to use – this time, international tourists are also welcome.

Switzerland

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Switzerland also hops on the domestically travel train, as they promise a voucher of $200 for every citizen to give them a little push and go out to explore their beautiful home country.

Again, this initiative is also part of a coronavirus tourism recovery program, this time worth $1,17 billion! Seems like domestic travel is the real trend of 2020, and maybe even 2021.

United Kingdom

Reino Unido obrigado a mudar radicalmente plano de combate ao Covid-19

Lastly, the UK is the last passenger to get on the domestic travel train, as it also created an initiative to get more citizens into traveling safely, at low costs and within their borders, allowing them to discover their home country so much better.

Although it hasn’t been made very clear yet what the initiative will be exactly, as know so far it will be through the form of incentives and subsidies.

This post may be regularly updated with new information, as news is always changing and updating. Stay tuned if you want to be updated, and feel free to sign up for my newsletter to get the news as first!

Are you thinking about traveling again? If yes, where to? I would love to hear your opinion and travel dreams!

Sources: https://www.delicious.com.au/travel/travel-news/article/countries-pay-tourists-visit-after-coronavirus-pandemic-sicily-mexico-cyprus-las-vegas-japan/7qccl7nu / https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/coronavirus-tourism-government-subsidies-sicily-japan/ https://www.thesun.co.uk/travel/11710508/free-holiday-coronavirus-pay-italy-mexico/

20 Apps to Boost Your Self-Growth

You ask, you shall receive! I often share handy apps on my Instagram account – apps that help me grow, that inspire me & are deeply rooted in my daily life. After a while, you guys really wanted me to share these apps once and for all – so here it is, my list of holy apps that helped me in my journey of self-growth, spirituality & health.

I linked the names of the apps to the Apple Store for your convenience! This is not sponsored in any way, just a fan!

Personal growth
Shine

Having Shine is like having your own personal mental health coach at one touch. You get a daily Shine, or a check-in, featuring a new subject every weekday and an attached guided meditation + extra tools, such as: journalling, being grateful, checking in on your mood, etc.

Besides that, there is also the Shine community, where you are surrounded with like-minded people and can discuss the daily topic.

You unlock many more features with a Premium subscription, and they often have great limited deals on their paid, yearly subscriptions.

Happiness Planner

The Happiness Planner has become a part of my daily ritual. I love planning, and this app makes it easy and beautiful, plus you can sync it with the desktop version totally for free. Again, if you’d like to unlock extra features, be sure to upgrade.

Sanity & Self

Sanity & Self is your base for self-care and exclusive help and chats with experts. It offers mediations, podcasts, interesting reads and always someone who can help you & you can count on. However, the free content is very limited, so you’d be better off upgrading to the paid version.

Mindventure

Mindventure takes you on a journey through your own inner world. Plan and keep track of your habits, your day, your goals, on a unique way, on your own “road” towards becoming your best self. Like the word venture says, it’s a journey, an adventure through your life. The concept is very unique, fun and out-of-the box! Again, totally for free.

Mindvalley

Mindvalley is my favourite personal growth resource. I learned so much with their free masterclasses and interesting videos. Their app offers quests, which are about all kinds of subjects that have to do with personal growth and taught by many experts in the field.

Again, choose your fields of interest in which you want to learn more or improve and voila! Mindvalley often offers huge discounts on yearly packages of unlimited content, so keep an eye on those if you can’t get enough of it.

This is also a perfect part of your morning routine if you follow the move-reflect-grow method during your first hour of the day. Their quests are 20 min long. Perfect timing!

Remente

Remente was actually my very first self-care app I ever downloaded. Honestly? It was like coaching. It had a huge impact in my life and it got me started on the first steps of my self-growth journey. Fill in your wheel of life and update it regularly, check in with yourself daily and learn from lots of recourses and tools for you to work on yourself. The fun thing is they have resources themselves which are integrated within your profile. For example: if you start a 7-day course on becoming more fit, you will see the course on your to-do list every day for the next 7 days (unless you change it).

I immediately tried out their premium subscription to unlock the content, and as it was only around €30 for a whole year, I found that to be a great investment.

Meditation
Insight Timer

Insight Timer is the biggest meditation library. There are more people on this meditation app than all the others (Calm, Mindbliss,…) combined. That is for a good reason: there is so much content, so many experts, so many themes, and guided meditations. I also love their Sleep tool and their Timer. It’s for free, and you can upgrade to receive offline meditations, unlock courses, and use their advanced player which allows you to repeat or fast forward a track.

Breethe

Just the fact that this app has a soothing background music while opened, puts it high on my list! Besides that, this app let you choose your main goals you want to reach through mediation and then gives you the right content to reach them.

Oak

Oak is a great app to try out breathing exercises. Their free application offers themed meditations and breathing exercises to focus, calm or become awake. I often use their “Awake” breathing exercise during the day instead of a coffee. And I promise you, it works! You also earn fun badges the more sessions you do, which is a nice motivation.

Balance

Balance is the perfect app if you’re looking for personalised meditations. This app adapts to your level, preferences, and experience and utilises its algorithm to improve your meditation skills. I fell in love with it the first time I used it, and I also got hooked on their personalised 10-days programs, which motivates you to finish it and then hop on to a higher level. Again, this is totally for free – they had a free year of premium subscription during Covid-19.

Simple Habit

Simple Habit is a perfect meditation app if you’re in need of quick meditations at nay point during the day.

It has a super easy tool called “on the go’ which allows you to quickly tap on a theme you’d like to tackle right now – After Work, SOS, Taking A Break,…and you can adapt the time from 5-20 minutes.

It has helped me a lot during commuting, a break at work or just a quick break in between handling tasks.

Spirituality
Pattern

Pattern gives you insights based on your horoscope. The fun thing about it is: you get daily “patterns” – that are accurately true – and you can connect with Facebook to see the pattern between you and your friends. You learn about things you have in common, how your relationship looks like, and more fun & interesting facts and tips.

Moonly

Moonly is a beautiful app for all the spiritual goddesses out there. It offers your personal spiritual guidance, affirmations, runes, daily horoscope and more.

It comes in very handy as it gives you access to all your daily spiritual practices, all in one app!

It starts out free, but to unlock more features you have to upgrade to a paid subscription.

MOON

Moon is a very simple, aesthetic and accurate app about the moon cycle & phase. It’s great to count down the days until a full moon and it offers a great view of the moon & the stars.

Soulvana

Soulvana by Mindvalley is the resource to broaden your spiritual horizons, learn more about several themes & surround yourself by like-minded people, your soul tribe.

Health
Flo

This one is for the ladies. Flo tracks, predicts & supports your monthly cycle in a way that no app can – with courses, a community, secret chats & even a medical chat when you log certain symptoms. it is totally free, but there is a way to be included in the Premium subscription.

AYD – Ashtanga Yoga Days

This app is for the yogis out there! More specifically, Ashtanga Yogis! This app allows you to log your yoga sessions and its so detailed you can even log which pose precisely you did and how your balance, flexibility and effort was. You’re immediately part of a community and you see who had practiced today as well.

Zero

This is for the fasting people! Zero is a informative tracker that helps you to keep track of your fasting and provides important facts and information.

Books
Blinkist

Blinkist is the perfect tool if you’re short on time and big on book cravings! You can choose to either read or listen to your favourite book. I find it helpful to read informative books. Although I like to los myself in a book, sometimes it’s nice to immediately get the lesson out of it. Again, there is a paid version which allows you to unlock more content.

Charity
ShareTheMeal

ShareTheMeal is a great initiative that allows you to support all sorts of projects of the United Nations World Food Programme.

You can choose between which project you want to support or you can start a subscription and choose freely any amount.

The beautiful thing about this app is that you see how many families you have fed with your contributions and how many meals you have provided.

You can follow the whole process through the app – how these persons receive your contributions, what they bought with it and how they bought it.

I hope these apps will help you in growing and learning new things everyday. Remember that it’s important to take care of yourself. It doesn’t always mean eat snacks or get a manicure: sometimes you need to dig deeper and have a nice chat with someone. Especially during these challenging times, it is normal to want some support and guidance along the way.

These apps are not just apps on a phone: there are experts behind creating the content in a way that serves your wellbeing and that of others.

Furthermore, as your favourite life coach & travel coach, I am always there for you. Learn more about my coaching here. You can schedule a free intake interview with me here.