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!