6 Mindful Ways to Take Care of Yourself

No matter which season we are in, not only our bodies need some nourishment – our souls & minds need it too. Especially now, a year into this pandemic, we all deserve a serious pat on the back for making it so far. However, often life gets in the way – we all have our daily work & tasks to complete. Often, this constant running towards do-ing, and not giving our bodies our minds the change to be, leaves us tired, drained, burn out. Luckily, there’s ways to avoid this. Here are 6 mindful ways to take care during winter season.

1. Slow Down – Practice Mindfulness Meditations

Mindfulness invites us to slow down and live in this present moment. It allows us to snap out of the auto-pilot mode and tune in with our reality by simply observing it and becoming aware of it.
This way, we can actually live in this moment, and not only enjoy it so much more, but also tune in more with our bodies & minds as we do so.
If you’re on auto-pilot mode all the time, rushing through your day, and not being aware of how you actually feel, the time flies by. The days, weeks and months fly by. And before you know it, you’ve actually spent so much time living on auto-pilot mode – doing things without thinking, without being aware that you are doing them.
You can practice mindfulness on many different ways. There are mindfulness meditations, breathing exercises, and actually you can turn any activity into a mindful activity. Lately, I love indulging myself into mindful cooking. Normally, as I don’t like cooking that much, I tend to rush it and get it over with quickly. I’ve noticed that taking my time and cooking slowly & mindfully, makes the whole process a lot more enjoyable.
If you’d like to learn more about mindfulness, download my free e-book, A Guide to Mindful Living, here, with lots of tips and written in a clear Q&A- format to answer the most asked questions & the best ways to practice it, beginner-proof, but also effective if you’re more advanced.
Check out my free mindfulness meditations in English & Dutch on Insight Timer here.

2. Mindful Eating & Moving

Let’s continue with the basics: during winter, or any season really, it’s important to get enough vitamins, minerals, fresh air & sunlight. Eat enough veggies & fruit, and maybe get creative on finding new ways to include them in your meals.
I’m normally not a huge fan of soups, but it has become my favourite meal in winter. You cannot rush eating soup, which is a great way to eat mindfully & slowly.
Smoothies on the other hand ensure I get my daily dose of fruits. Any hot beverages or meals are perfect to be enjoyed mindfully. The benefits of this? Less binge-eating, weight control, more enjoyment, better digestion and reduce of stress.
Moving your body will also help you in fighting winter blues or lockdown laziness – even if it’s a 10-minute stretch sessions, your body will thank you!
Next time you go on a walk, try to pay attention to everything you can feel & see around you. Mindful walking reduces stress, improves your mood, boosts your energy, and helps you connect more with your body.
Listen here to my podcast on mindful eating and how to improve your relationship with food, your body image & be more kind and compassionate towards yourself.

3. Relax & Recharge Guilt-Free

As I mentioned earlier, this season is a season of introspection, of rest. When we look at nature – which is ultimately, our greatest teacher – we see that animals hold their winter hibernation, lakes freeze, trees lose their leaves and everything stops for a while and slows down.
There’s no denying that us humans are a part, a product of nature too. And as such, it’s important to honour mother nature and allows ourselves to follow its example.
Allow yourself to rest and relax. Let go of the need to do things, constantly. It’s okay to do absolutely nothing. Rest is also productive.

As SCL Health says: “When you turn off all distractions, it allows space for your subconscious to expand, ultimately boosting your creativity. When distracted, our mind jumps to the most obvious answers when trying to solve problems. But once you take the time to exhaust those options, you end up thinking of breakthrough, inventive answers that can lead to some life-changing ideas.”

SCL Health
So who knows, maybe that hour or day of putting all tasks aside will benefit you more than you think.
What helps me a lot is making a priority list – a list of things that need to get done first. This helps prevent burn out as you focus on only what’s important instead of being overwhelmed by a huge list of tasks.
Letting yourself rest and recharge is the ultimate gift you can give yourself. After all, nothing ever good comes from pushing through and not listening to our bodies.

4. Connect with your close ones

Whether you’re in lockdown as I am, or you’re as free as a bird: having enough contact with the people closest to you is important for your emotional health, with directly links to your overall health.
Whether it’s a simple text, a video call, or having digital dates (or real life dates if you’re one of the lucky!) cherish these times with your loved ones. Enjoy it.
Also here is mindfulness a beautiful way to improve your relationships and actually enjoy them even more by tapping into the present moment.

5. Dive Into Gratitude

If you’re feeling the winter blues, try this: write a friend or family member a letter or just a text, saying how much you appreciate having them in your life. Show gratitude for them. Research has shown that practising gratitude improves your levels of happiness and even boosts your health.
For me, saying my daily thanks has become a habit – one I love the most. We tend to look at what goes wrong or what we don’t have. Gratitude shows us the other side, a side I think we should all visit more often.
Express your thankfulness with me on this meditation on Insight Timer!

6. Rely on Rituals

If there’s anything I’ve learned the past years about habits, it’s that the right ones bring out the best benefits for you mental, emotional & physical health.
Setting a clear morning & evening ritual helps your body adjust to your daily rhythm and the upcoming day or night.
Instead of diving into your day as soon as you wake up, try taking some time for yourself to get into your day. Starting the day slowly without all the distractions is how you preserve more energy.
Here are some tips for a mindful morning:
On the other hand, closing down your nights calms down your mind & body, making the transition from always being on and awake, to allowing rest & relaxation lead the way.
Sleep experts say limiting your exposure to blue light (or any screen really) benefits your sleep, as well as keeping your bedroom dark & quiet. A mindfulness meditation to relax, a cup of calming tea, and a book to read until you drift off are some of my essentials this winter.
I genuinely hope these tips have helped you in taking care of yourself during winter (or any season, really). It’s so important to check in with ourselves. Your mental health is as important as your physical health. And yes, it comes before work. If you notice yourself tired, stressed or drained, stop. Come back to this moment. Take some deep breaths or whatever helps you in getting back into your day. Maybe it’s a power nap or a midday shower. Stay safe!
Download my free e-book on Mindful Living here. 🤍✨

f you want to relax and retreat together with beautiful women on a mindfulness retreat, to find more calm, connection and clarity, join us on my Mindfulness Retreat this summer in Portugal!

Find more information here and check out the Instagram page here.

Bring a girl friend and get both 10% off (only valid for a limited time + spots are running out for august!) 👉🏼

4 Mindful Steps to Self-Love

In all my years practising meditation and self-love, I’ve discovered 4 essential steps to self-love.
Research on self-compassion and self-love show it is associated with less stress, less anxiety, more optimism, better recovery from stress, and it paves the way to a positive mindset, which helps you overcome obstacles or challenges more.
Instead of making it hard on yourself by judging yourself or thinking negatively, you switch to a positive state of mind. Just think about how much we can accomplish, by being kind towards ourselves instead of hard.

1. Set an intention

In order to focus our internal compass on our true North, we have to set an intention first: to see the good in ourselves, so we can see it in others too. To send love and appreciation and compassion in ourselves, so we ourselves become more happier, loved and healthy.
The power of an intention is strong, because it seeks into your daily life. Self-love is a practice, so whenever you notice yourself thinking negatively abut yourself, whether that’s a negative body imagine, judging or comparing yourself – simply return to the intention you set, to love yourself. It allows us to celebrate our wins, and, in hard times, be gentle with ourselves. It’s treating ourselves as we would treat a friend who needs our help.

2. Write yourself a love letter

A practice I’ve discovered last year by listening to a talk from Elizabeth Gilbert on Insight Timer, has changed the way I handle this pandemic, lockdown, loneliness and so much more. In this talk, she discusses how we can face fear with compassion, and how writing a love letter to herself has helped her throughout decades of healing.
Of course, you are free to write whatever you want to, but here’s a guideline: dear x, I love you, and I know you can get through this. You got through everything so far, and I know you are strong and capable. I believe in you. I love xxx about you. I love how you are so xxx. etc. When you begin writing, you’ll notice a sense of relief, comfort, and love coming over you.
In this letter, you’ll basically write a letter to yourself, expressing your appreciation for everything you do, and expressing love and compassion towards yourself.

3. Say it out loud

Another practice that requires minimum time and gives you maximum levels of love, is practice saying it out loud to yourself. Stand in front of a mirror, set a timer for 1 minute, look yourself in your eyes and repeat the affirmation: I love you. I love you. I love you. Notice what feelings or emotions might arise, and continue to say it the whole minute. Challenge yourself to do this for a week, or a month, or anytime you feel like you need an extra dose of love.

3. Self-love & loving-kindness meditations

Let’s shift to meditation practices that are perfect to soothe yourself with some self-love. What I love about these meditations, is that they not only calm your mind and body, lower your blood pressure, calm your heart rate, improve your mood, so overall improve your emotional and physical health, they also fill you up, and recharge you, on levels you never even thought to visit.
Whether you are religious or spiritual or not, meditation is a beautiful practice that can be done by anyone really. Plus, it costs nothing to close your eyes, watch your breath and repeat affirmations, or visualise a scenario, or repeat a mantra, or simply keep focusing on your breath – but the benefits and consequences of it are priceless.
A loving-kindness meditation go like this: take a comfortable seat or lay down. Start by taking some deep, purposeful breaths, Next, start watching your breath. Whenever your attention wanders off, gently smile and bring it back to your breath. Next, picture yourself as a child. Re-visit that memory and gently repeat to yourself: may I be happy. May I be healthy, May I be peaceful. May I be safe. You can also picture people you love, or even the entire world. and repeat these affirmations, in order to send love to everyone out there.
If you’d like to know how a self-love meditation goes, I invite you to meditate with me on Insight Timer, on my Soothing Self-Love Meditation, In this meditation, we’ll fill ourselves up with the high feelings of love and spread it out into our world.

‘Tis the Season of Love: 3 Mindful Self-Compassion Practices

‘Tis the season of love. Friday’s full moon in Leo left us longing for (self)love and Valentine’s Day is approaching. The perfect time to take a look at how we can show ourselves some love.
So why do we need self-compassion? What can this do for you?
Self-compassion allows us to build up our emotional resilience through bringing in compassion, kindness and non-judgment to our feelings and emotions. It’s a way of soothing ourselves, and giving ourselves the comfort and sympathy we need when we are suffering, for whatever reason that might be: an angry email from a boss, the loss of a loved one, feelings of sadness or loneliness,…
Here are the 3 components of self-compassion.These practices are from MBSR – Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. If you’d like to learn more about mindfulness, grab your free copy of my e-book, a guide to mindful living, or check out this beginners’ guide to mindfulness.

1. Self-kindness (vs self-judgment)

The first step of practising self-compassion is self-kindness: being warm and loving to ourselves, not matter what difficulty we are facing. You want to comfort yourself and help yourself to do whatever you can to make yourself feel better in that moment.
How do you talk to yourself, and about yourself? How do you see yourself? Do you constantly judge yourself for mistakes or being imperfect, or are you kind to yourself?
We often don’t realise this, but we tend to be way harder on ourselves than a loved one. We tend to judge ourselves, and see everything that is *wrong*, in our eyes.
So instead of beating yourself up and judging yourself, and becoming more stressed, sad and frustrated about it – try to bring in sympathy and compassion for yourself. After all, life is full of imperfections, failures and suffering – instead of making it worse, try making it lighter by accepting what is happening right now and being kind to yourself, however you feel and in whatever state you are in.

2. Mindfulness (vs over-identification)

In order to give yourself compassion, you first have to notice it, and that’s where mindfulness comes in.
Mindfulness is about observing your thoughts, feelings and emotions as they are, without judging them and identifying with them.
But mindfulness is also about sitting with your feelings and emotions and being with them.
Step away from that inner self-critic and observe your thoughts, feelings and emotions just as they are.
Instead of rushing through and looking for a solution, we acknowledge the situation first and check in with yourselves. What is happening? What do we really need right now?

3. Common Humanity (vs isolation)

Coming back to the suffering – in the moment, we often think: why does this happen to me? Why am I the one feeling like this right no? What have I done wrong to deserve any of this? Why is my boss not being more kind to me?
When things go wrong, we feel really cut off from others. While in fact, this is what makes us human. In fact, being human means being imperfect. Life goes wrong sometimes.
This is part of being human. You are not the only one who has these feelings, and you will never be the only one. Recognising that everyone has bad days, we can shift back to a state of compassion and knowing you are human and this is all part of the ride.
Connecting with other people is a very important aspect of our human experience – knowing you are not alone,
Maybe you’re currently in lockdown, in that case – I feel you and I am here for you. Check out my other blogposts on navigating trough a(nother) lockdown.
Check out these graphs and follow me on Instagram for more mindful living and purposeful travel content!

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.

#Stayhome & Treat Yourself to Self-Care

Take care of YOU

Give yourself what you need and don’t feel guilty: in fact, be proud of it. By giving yourself what you need, you let yourself enjoy things. You take off the stress and pressure. And in ever-changing and challenging times, isn’t that what we all need?

Put one some fun music, buy some pencils or paint and a notebook and start to draw or colour or paint, begin writing a travel journal to really get into those beautiful memories you created. Stay in touch with your friends and family by sending a frequent text or video chatting with them. Organise guys/girls nights virtually and have fun on a responsible way.

Take care of your MIND

As I’ve explained before, meditations are a great way to take a break and calm down. Not only does it reduce stress levels, it also improves focus. By tuning into a guided meditation, you can focus on several subjects.

A gratitude meditation a day keeps the doctor away.

One of the best ways to instantly change your mood and switch your focus from being negative to being positive, is a gratitude meditation. The beauty of it? You remind yourself of all the things you have in your life. You remind yourself of why you love all these persons. How happy you are with your pet. You remind yourself of how good you actually have it. How #blessed you are. And we all need to be reminded of that from time to time, don’t we?

You can also use mediation to put yourself in a better mood and visualise your dream trip, for example. You can find more information about that right here.

Take care of your BODY

As much as it’s important to stay sane in your head, we must not forget the body. As comfy that sofa is, it’s goot to come out of it once in a while and get that body moving.

Whether it’s some workout session that you came up with or you’re a fan of guided lessons: the Internet is an inexhaustible source of training videos tips and guides. If you’re not into fitness, try doing some yoga or Pilates, or just some simple stretches. Your body will thank you later.

Otherwise, you can always go the old-school way and go for a run, hike or a walk around the neighbourhood- if you’re still allowed to do that. It’s always refreshing and who knows, you might run into some neighbours (from a safe distance, of course).

Not only is it important to keep that body moving, the fuel it gets is also very important. Number one is hydration: keep a bottle of water close to you and stay hydrated. But how do you stay away from those snacks? Try replacing them by healthier snacks. Plan your groceries, make a list (or, during these days, order them) and don’t buy the unhealthy snacks at all. Fear not: you can still get your daily dose of chocolate, but from pure chocolate (75% or more). Snacks snacks during movies? Sure, why not: try making healthy snacks (carrots with hummus will do!) or vegetable chips (yes, you know I’m talking about that bag of sweet potato chips. Go get it.). There are plenty of hacks to turn your favourite snack into a healthier version.

Another important factor is skin-and haircare. Treat yourself to some facial masks, hair masks or organise a spa-at-home-day. Give yourself a nice pedicure, manicure, or make some masks yourself – it’s easier than it looks like. There are plenty of stuff in your pantry and fridge you can use to make you skin and hair glow: Greek yoghurt does wonders for your skin ( and honey as well!), whereas avocado does great as a hair mask, and so on.

Take care of your SPACE

One of the key elements to feel good in quarantine is to feel good in your little (or big) space. It’s time for some re-decoration: buy some nice plants, candles, maybe some art. It will brighten up your space in no-time. As I’ve mentioned in my post about growing during your self-quarantine time, it’s time to release your inner Maria Kondo and start de-cluttering your closet spaces. Or enhance your mood instantly by installing a diffuser or a scented candle and putting on some relaxing background music.

Get those green thumbs out! If you have some space left in your garden or balcony, start planting some new fruits, vegetables, flowers or any kind of plants, as it’s the perfect timing to do so. And seeing your little babies grow and grow will be the most fulfilling and rewarding thing.

If you’re working from home nowadays, remember to set some boundaries for yourself. Change out of your pyjamas into comfy homewear, take time for breaks by walking away from a project every two hours. It’s important to check-in with yourself throughout the day and take it easy. Remember it’s no use to be productive when you’re super tired; then, the “productive thing” to do for you would be to re-energise. Read more about reframing productivity here.

I hope these tips will enhance your daily quarantine-life as it did for me and many others. Remember

How to Grow Through Your Quarantine

Here we all are. Separated from each other, but somehow united in a special way: in quarantine. All under lockdown. A pandemic has taken 2020 under its control and, as Beyoncé said: world stop. The only travel I am doing recently is from my fridge to my bed. It makes you realise how fragile this world is and how fragile we are: even when we think we can have control over everything, we never really can. Nature is a great force that kindly said to us all: stop traveling. Stop rushing. Stop running. Stop producing. Stop polluting. Stop for a while and take some time. Take time to appreciate me. Take time for yourself, your close and loved ones, your health and most of all, time for others. But, until Beyoncé’s pause is disrupted by the legendary words carry on, we are safely trapped in our homes with an endless amount of time in our hands.

So let’s dive in and see how we can use this giant pool of time to grow. To be calm, creative and caring. So that when this is all over, you can look back and be proud for giving yourself what you needed.

Whether it’s giving yourself that Netflix bingewatching session, trying a yoga session or trying new healthy cooking recipes: try to figure out what you really need in this time and don’t be afraid to give it to yourself.

Find your inner balance

The first thing you can to do is to listen to your body. What does your body tell you? Are you tired? Are you having pain or stress that gives you a headache, for example? It’s quite difficult to just analyse your body without stopping for a moment. To do that, give your body a time-out. I recommend trying a bodyscan meditation. By doing this, you can tune into your body and come to a relaxation. Just by being aware of your whole body and the process of a bodyscan, you are able to unwind and let go for a while.

Now that you’ve relaxed your body and released all tension, let’s focus on the mind. It’s much more difficult to make decisions, especially important ones, when you’re not thinking clear. Another thing you can do is a meditation practice on clearing your mind and practice being present in this moment.

Meditation has proven to reduce stress and anxiety, increase your focus, improve your creativity and ability to make decisions, and much more. And since we want to figure out ways on how to use this amount of time to our best, it can surely help us in doing that.

Reframe what productivity means to you

Now that you’re more focused, let’s get to work. Let’s start filling in your days with productive things that you love to do. Productive is the key word here.

Let’s reframe “productive”: it doesn’t mean being busy. It doesn’t mean getting as much things done as possible. It doesn’t mean any of those things. Your goal is to be productive in a way that you give yourself everything you need at that moment and you use things for your greater good. Whether it’s am afternoon of reading a book, taking a hot bath, bingewatching your favourite show, cleaning or de-cluttering your home, or working on a creative project: you can define what productivity means to you. That’s the goal of being productive: so that you, by the end of the day, can say: I’ve done exactly what I needed to do today and I feel good.

With that reframe of “productivity”, let’s see what you can learn during this quarantine time. Write down the following sentences on a piece of paper and try to complete them:

After this quarantine, I am able to …

After this quarantine, I have mastered the skill of …

After this quarantine, I know more about …

After this quarantine, I have gotten familiar with …

This can be anything. It can be learning a new language, reading more about mythology (yup, right here!), becoming familiar with yoga or meditation, etc. Don’t overthink it, just fill in the first thing that pops up in your head.

Write down a plan to make it happen

Now that you have written down your goals, how big or small they might be, you need steps to get there. As we don’t know how long the current situation might last, and with some who are working and other who are free, let’s say the time limit is one you can setup. Is it indefinite? A month? Two weeks? This is completely up to you, but make it realistic. Don’t put yourself up with learning a new language in a week.

Then, write down l the reason why you want to do this. Write a “because” after each goal. I want to learn Spanish because I want to be able to speak with my international friends.

By writing your “because” behind every goal, you remind yourself of the reason why you want to achieve this. It boosts your motivation.

Next up is creating a step-by-step plan, for example: your goal is: becoming familiar with meditation. Let’s say at the end, becoming familiar with is something you would define as doing a meditation of 10 min everyday. Let’s build up to that. Some steps would be: download a mediation app, read a book about it, try out your first meditation, put daily reminders, do first daily meditation of 1 min. Next day, 2 min., third day, 3 min., etc. Create small steps along the way that will help you get there.

Re-ignite your inner fire of wanderlust

This wouldn’t be a travel blog if this wasn’t an important message to you all: keep that travel spirit alive! Keep dreaming. Keep planning. Keep looking forward to discovering more of this beautiful planet, diverse cultures and magnificent people making it all come true. Don’t lose your passion of discovery. In fact, use this time to be well prepared for future travels. Save money. Make travel bucket lists. Go through old souvenirs. Find these and many more tips in my previous blog post on how to keep your travel spirit alive at home.

What is also a great thing to do is to dig up old photo albums, whether it be on-or offline, and relive those beautiful moments captured.

Make a list of movies and series you want to watch

Let’s not deny it: we are all facing a lot of screen time the following period. Netflix, Disney, whatever it is that you’re glued to these days, enjoy it. I’m not here to tell you it’s “unproductive”, it does’t serve you, or anything. In fact, I urge you to make a list of movies or documentaries you really want to watch (again) so you can look forward to doing so. You will remind yourself of how fun these movies were, how they made you laugh or cry, and it will give you some inspo for the next time you’re scrolling endlessly through Netflix.

Make a list of books you would love to read (but never had the time for)

Let’s feed our brains. Besides movies and documentaries, another way to absorb information or stories are books. I have to admit I’ve been weak: late in the evening, my ever-lasting interest in mythology suddenly sparked and I felt the urge to order a mythology book because I wanted to know everything about it and (apparently, 6 years of studying Latin still wasn’t enough), I ordered myself a 400-paged mythology book. So go on, treat yourself and fill up that Kindle or bookshelf with your favourite genres or writers. Note: don’t give into the temptation of late night book cravings like I did.

To all my travel lovers, and especially the females ones who travel solo (shout out to my ladies!), there’s an exciting new book coming out by Dame Traveler, which you probably know by now from her amazing travel photography Instagram account. She’s releasing a book filled with gorgeous travel inspo from #Dametravelers all around the world.

To all my spiritual beings: Jay Shetty, a former monk and motivational speaker, is releasing his book as well upcoming month. It’s about how to think like a monk. And for anyone who already knows him, you all know it’s going to be probably one of the best books to ever exist.

De-clutter and clean your home environment

It’s time to release your inner Maria Kondo and give your space a little make-over. Nothing big, in contrary: less is more. Throw out anything that you no longer need or you have a bad vibe with: sweater from an ex-boyfriend, clothes you never wear, beauty stuff you never use anymore. Be honest with yourself and get rid of anything that you no longer need. You will feel so much better afterwards and your closets will too! And of course, keep things tidy and clean. It will give you a nice feeling of begin in your room or apartment or wherever you may be living. You can even do some decoration if you have some stuff you wanted to put up in your room. You can support local business and buy online: plants, home decoration, bedroom amenities etc. By supporting them, you’re doing something in return for your community and sustaining your local economy.

Plan your next grocery shopping based on healthy food

As much as fun bingewatching, meditating or writing is: don’t forget to take care of your body. Especially during a pandemic, it’s important to get your vitamins and food that your body will thank you for. What works best is to make a grocery list – a lot of lists going on here, sorry about that – and hit your local supermarket. Get your fruits, get your veggies. If you’re not sure about the whole healthy lifestyle thing, look up some yummy recipes you would like to try out and start with that. I’m not saying you have to go full Nigella Lawson in one week, but try to make small steps to nurture your body with healthy foods & drinks.

If you don’t trust yourself in the kitchen, you can also order healthy dishes from local restaurants that offer delivery or take-out.

Remember: if possible, support your local stores and pay them a visit when you’re in need of essential products. It’s your way of giving back to your community and supporting them.

Wherever you might be, whatever you might be going through: I am there for you. We are all here for you. By giving yourself what you need, whether that’s learning something new, eating healthy or having a day of total Netflix-stalking: give it to yourself. You owe it to yourself. These are difficult times. It’s hard enough nobody can travel now, so let’s be gentle with ourselves. Continue dreaming about your trips and never leave that sense of wanderlust inside you unguarded. Dream big, salty soul!