Why I’m not making resolutions.

Happy New Year!

New year, new you? Catchy as this phrase is I’m not buying into it. As much as I want to support everybody’s enthusiasm about starting a new year I’m too realistic for that. Some might say pessimistic but I would beg to differ. I’m not saying it’s impossible to change your life with the start of a new year. In the end, though, this time is no different from the beginning of any other new month or even just week. No lies here: with everybody [in the blog world, not real life in my case], every magazine and website talking about I’ve been thinking about goals lately, too. So yes, I might have some. Changes of the kind I should have been making in previous months already. However, I’m fully aware that the point that also has many people fail their goals is true for me, too: Resolutions aren’t solutions. They don’t solve the inherent ‘problems’* that have held us from making changes before. Those ‘problems’ being that we are who we are. With our habits, personality traits and all the other bits and pieces that make us us. If we want to create lasting change the motivation has to arise intrinsically not bound to a certain date.  Why not throw a big party at the beginning of April? August? I hope you caught my drift here.

*I want to stress that I’m saying ‘problems’ because they’re not actually bad. We simply are who and how we are and that’s okay.

Okay, after that heavy introduction let’s take a look at the past week of life as inspired by Meg.

Week in review

 

Here’s some of what happened in the final week of 2016 for me. I …

Worked three days, taking Friday off to get a few things done before New Year’s Eve and to spend a little more time with my mum, sister and P.

Published two posts: a week in review and my – at least for a while – final weekly good good links. Stressing the weekly because – oh the irony – since making the decisions to stop doing these posts great articles have found me rather than me actively searching them. So I do think the links will be back eventually/later this month.

Read the latest Harry Potter book. It’s a quick read – a day or two – and I definitely recommend it. I admittedly wasn’t expecting it to be this good.

Whipped up a new batch of peanut butter. It never gets old. And – killing two birds with one stone – used the peanut butter remainders in the Vitamix to …

Prepare my healthy No-Bake Millionaire’s Shortbread Bars for New Year’s Eve with friends. From what I could tell they went down well. I say from what I could tell because we were in the midst of a game of “Who am I?” when I put them on the table. Not to brag but I was [one of?] the first to guess their character – just out of luck, though, pure luck here and it still took me a good while.

Healthy Millionaire's Shortbread Bars - only eight ingredients, vegan and gluten-free.

Changed the sheets on my bed – thinking of Cora here. The heavenly scent of fresh- and cleanliness when I slipped under the blankets at night was well worth the struggle of wrangling with the fitted sheet.

Took a nap on Friday evening. For some reason I was beyond tired all of a sudden and decided to give in. Granted, I should have let myself go to bed as early as 8.30 but my mind wouldn’t have it.

Started a little early Spring cleaning. I don’t want to think about the whole work ahead yet – going through all the rooms and closets – but starting out was a good decision.

Took my dad’s car – that we share – to the car dealer to get the replacement second key fitted. Holy heck expensive. We’re talking close to 200 €/~210 $ here … Needless to say I decided to keep that shiny new key to myself ;).

Went on a long walk in the winter sun with my mum, sister and P. I will miss these now that my sister and the little one have left again. Good company lets you forget about the cold outside.

Orchidee_flower_orchid

Read every afternoon after work and at least a little every morning, too. This has truly been such a wonderful addition to my days in the past year that I’m definitely going to keep.

Finally cleaned my electric water kettle. It had been a while and I’m honestly not quite sure why I don’t clean it more often. On the note of electric kettles: is it true these aren’t common in the US/Canada?

In full disclosure I wasn’t going to write this post. I’m a little anxious to share the next few lines because opening up is scary but I feel I should to explain things a little. The past months haven’t been easy for me [mentally] but even I was surprised by my mood dipping harshly after my sister and P. had left. It’s not something I want to talk about in detail – a mix of heavy post holiday blues and an overall internal mess I have to work through. This isn’t to say my life was awful – there are always silver linings – and my mood definitely doesn’t dip like this on the regular. As if she had known my mum knocked on my door in the late afternoon asking if I was up for a walk and this honestly saved me. I’m not exaggerating here. Yes, I might be in my twenties but the fact that mum’s the best just doesn’t change. We have our rough times, too, but today I was eternally grateful for her being part of my life. While I might not feel 100 % amazing now I was able to see the light again.

If you read the whole post: thank you. Really.  I’d send you a cookie but I’m afraid it wouldn’t keep too well over the distance. Once again, though: I’m not asking for sympathies here. My intent is simply to be honest about what’s going on and also excuse for my lack of blogging and commenting activity.

Now that you listened to me rambling on for ages tell me about your past week! What happened? How did you spend New Year’s Eve? Did you make any resolutions or monthly goals [I’m thinking  about picking these up again]?

 

Happiness-inducing today:  The walk with my mum.

Stay in touch!

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Tell me three [or more] achievements from your past week!

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It’s always tomorrow somewhere.

Oh, hey, it’s Thursday again. Lucky you [or me, really] I’ve been hit by a random thought to share after spending some time in the dreaded blogging funk bubble. It’s not a happy place to be but  so far there’s always been an escape at some point so let’s get thinking out loud with Amanda.

Thinking-Out-Loud
Raise your hand if you’re a fellow tomorrow sayer. And please tell me I’m not the only one. I can’t be.
Isn’t tomorrow an awfully amazing word? It’s a promise to take things into action yet not. Allowing for that last minute change of mind or simply postponing it to another tomorrow.

Traveling somewhere that requires me to leave my comfort zone? Tomorrow. Definitely checking train tickets tomorrow.
Finally sorting through the growing piles of unworn clothes that you can’t seem to let go off? Oh, tomorrow for sure. The weather’s just too nice outside today.

Trying that yoga class in town being the completely unflexible person I am [and risk making a fool of myself]? Tomorrow sounds like a great time …

Tackling another goal on my [recovery] list. Today’s really not the day because [insert whichever reason] but I’m sure I’ll feel ready tomorrow.

 
And yes, tomorrows have happened. Sometimes more semi-tomorrows in terms of checking items off my lists. Tomorrow have proven to be good times trying new food and discovering that my fears were arbitrary to begin with.

Vapiano

Tomorrows have been times to travel and see new places [or old ones again] …

Yet even if we enjoy ourselves at that time it’s easy [for me at least] to see those memories fade faster than anything once we settle back into a safe routine.

Berlin

No matter how long my to-do list for a given day is: tomorrow’s will be even longer and I won’t even need to tell you why …
I am and have always been a worrier. Maybe it’s ingrained in us humans [only some were better at loosening up in evolution]. It sure made sense when you needed to be aware of hungry beasts lurking outside your cave.Cautiousness pays off when you’re a little red-capped girl crossing a dark forest to visit your grandma [wolves and all that, remember?]. Even in today’s world it’s smart to wear a security helmet when heading out onto the road. Staying inside and avoiding the dangers of traffic or the woords altogether isn’t, though. Yes, there can be dangers. Yes, there’s the possibilty of risking some looks in that gym class. But there might also be fun and adventures waiting to be discovered by us. Who knows? Certainly not those staying within their comfort zone.

Walking through the forest
But being the word and grammar nerd that I am and complaining about time differences [they really annoy me to no avail when it comes to communicating with friends overseas] it hit me: it’s always tomorrow somewhere. When I’m about to go to sleep millions of Australians are welcoming my tomorrow already. So where’s the point in delaying?

I’m not writing this post because I developed the magical ability to turn my mindset around with a simple snap of my fingers. But I do believe it’s possible. Every day is a new chance. And today might just be the tomorrow to make things happen. Right?
Just like today is the day to hit publish on this post. Sure, I might let it sit another day and find an insanely unique and different way to write a sentence here and there. But chances also are I’ll never post it then.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Discovering that while I might not have a green thumb [at all] getting your hands covered in dirt and planting kabocha seeds [fingers crossed!!] is quite relaxing and distracting.

 

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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No questions today but any random thoughts that come to your mind.

How Perfectionism Hinders Our Happiness

TGIF! Thank goodness it’s … almost Friday and thanks to Amanda for making Thursdays that great time to think out loud and let our thoughts run free. If I’m being honest with you …

Thinking-Out-Loud

…  I had a completey different post planned for today. It’s been sitting in my drafts folder for a while and I’ve been excited to share it and hear your opinion. One of those posts that just flow when you sit down to write them out. Or actually they start unfolding in your head way before you even get to write them out. Yes, that kind. It has happed before. Yet I’m sitting here now letting you know I won’t publish it. Why? Because perfectionism took over again.

 

The same is what has happened whenever I find an employment add for [what sounded to be like] the perfect job for me. I got beyond excited because oh.em.geee it couldn’t get any better. Essentially every family member/friend/you-name-it knew how it was the one and only job I’d ever wanted before the possible future employer got the slightest notice.

Or the mail to that super inspiring person I want to tell how much I appreciate finding their blog and want to ask for some advice. Once more: semi-typed out right already. Even if just in my head.

Do you notice what all of these have in common? I’m excited. I want the outcome [post, application letter, mail] to be perfect. Only: more often than not what happens then is … nothing. I get too anxious to hit publish. In the worst cases I spend so much time revising every last sentence in an application I miss the deadline [okay, this has really only happened once or twice but I’m definitely a close-to-deadline candidate].

Perfectionism doesn’t make us happy.

Perfectionism keeps us from living life freely.

Perfectionism – at worst – makes us less productive and keeps us from reaching our goals and dreams.

In short: Perfection isn’t a surefire recipe for success.

 

There’s nothing inherently wrong with the desire to ensure quality content and deliver great work. It only become a problem when it keeps you from actively living, being spontaneous and reaching for your dreams.

How bad would it actually be to publish a post that isn’t 100 % flawless? Will one or two sentences that I feel don’t sound convincing enough keep potential future employers from inviting me for a job interview? And won’t a fellow blogger appreciate any kind of positive feedback even if there are a few grammatical errors? Chances are the world won’t stop spinning and our dreams won’t fall apart if not everything we do is entirely perfect. But if we keep editing our posts forever, not sending out those applications or don’t chat up the cute guy because we’re not sure what would be the ‘best’ way to start a conversation – we end up unhappy.

 

Blogging has actually helped me let loose of perfection on a small scale. Once I do hit publish I close the tab and don’t look at my post again for a while. Yes, I know that’s somewhat strange but it’s the only way that works 😉 . An additional goal of mine for 2015 is to easen up on my need to be perfect further. It hasn’t gotten me anywhere – and it certainly didn’t make me happy.

Now to perfect put the finishing touches on that post I mentioned at the beginning … Next week?! For now, I’ll see it as progress to not edit the heck out of this very post but publish it right away. I live on the wild side, I know …

 

Happiness-inducing today: A mail from my dad.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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Tell me about you and perfectionism! Has it ever kept you from actually acting?

Bloggers: Are you the type-a-post and publish kind of person or editing multiple times?

… and anything else you want to add on the topic.

Embrace the Discomfort

Happy New Year!

Living in Germany I had an early start [nine to ten hours ahead, I think?] to most of you so it feels almost late to say it just now after sending a dozen greetings into the world last night already.

By now, Christmas was probably the time of the year that had me face the biggest struggles but also helped me grow. Christmas – the season of change?  It definitely seems like that for me looking back not only at the one that just passed but previous years, too. While I don’t make my recovery a focal part of my blog I want to share those experiences that I hope some of you will be able to relate to and might find helpful on your own journey. Because I know that’s what I appreciate in other bloggers sharing their stories, too. Thanks to Amanda [who has been a great inspiration for me, too] for offering a motto to go on about my thoughts and reflections of the past holidays and what I learned from them.

Thinking-Out-Loud

Both in terms of exercise and food Christmas has been forcing me to work against the discomfort in past years. But ever since I started blogging and at that also committed to recovery more seriously – key word accountability! – I’ve seen progress.

I’m not going to beat around the bush here: Christmas wasn’t easy for me. Partly because of some personal issues and partly because of – you guessed it – food. In the safety of my own apartment it’s easy to avoid trigger foods and stick with my regular [and yes, on stressed days “safe”] meals. Elsewhere? Temptation all around. Starting with the immense boxes of grandma’s Christmas cookies, her Rotkohl, my mum’s stash of treats I wouldn’t buy myself, … Here’s the deal: I could have tried to resist, eaten piles of apples only, deprived myself. Been there, done that. It’s easy to say where this behaviour has gotten me during the past: nowhere. Stuck in place. Not facing my fears.

Christmas_cookies

What many of the treats around had in common and hence a reason why I was perfectly okay saying no to them is they all contained eggs. As you might kn0w these are not part of my diet. Select dairy products [no gelatin, no animal rennet] yes, eggs: no. No exceptions here. Until now.

They say ‘When in Rome’ – for me it was: ‘When at home‘. For the three days of Christmas celebrations I gave myself a free pass of eating all the treats and sugar I wanted. Did I feel I afterwards? Oh yes. Stomach aches ensued – that’s what’s to be expected when reintroducing a food we haven’t eaten in years – but they were worth it. What was best, though, is the amount of guilt I felt: hardly any. At least not while eating.  Later on I had a small bout of nausea and blaming myself for not resisting temptation.  However, this wasn’t my … voice. What I feel to be one of the main points in recovery is telling apart the healthy and disordered voice.  Blame for giving yourself permission to fully enjoy the holidays or even life in general? Without a doubt disordered. Like me, I’m convinced you’re SO fed up adhering to these thoughts.  And the only way to break the spell is embracing discomfort.

Do I see myself adding eggs back into my diet after going [rough guess] three+ years without them? Absolutely not. The idea anything with a visible egg yolk still grosses me out [sorry to any friends of #yolkporn], egg white oats don’t appeal to me and I don’t actually miss eggs. But it was the deprivation of some of my favourite treats that was so hard to endure. Any diet we follow should not make us feel constantly deprived and unsatisfied. And satisfied I was after eating my grandma’s cookies, seeing her face light up when I did and enjoying seconds of the calorie- and sugar-laden delight that is cinnamon parfait was invaluable. Christmas should not be about the food but about the ease of mind while eating. That’s what pushing myself past the guilt of straying from my diet did. I felt guilt-less, happy, simply like everybody else scooping more of the ice cream into their bowls and enjoying the sugar rush.

Cinnamon parfait_ice cream

Not the prettiest picture at all but it was THE best dessert I’ve eaten in a long time.

I went over my ‘calorie budget’. I ate more sugar in a single day than I usually do in a week. I indulged in egg-containing treats.  Does this make me an awful person?  Some people might think so. However, I disagree. Reminding myself common advice doesn’t apply to anybody in this situation as well as – blogs are a blessing –  knowing this is normal in recovery I found ease of mind.  This is not me waiting for a pat on the back. I’m not the first breaking free from rules my ED had set for me. I want to encourage anybody to rethink if the choices they are making are genuinely in the interest of feeling good. Or a means of restriction.

What I want to stress is that I don’t in anyway think veganism was a disorder.  It’s not. Like any diet veganism can be as healthy or unhealthy as the individual follower choses. My issues with food go deeper. Neither did choosing veganism start my ED  nor was giving up on it the miraculous cure. I still eat a largely vegan diet and can see myself go fully vegan in the future.  But I want it to be for the right reasons. Namely ethics [that’s why I’m lacto-vegetarian] and taste.  Veganism has introduced me to many new foods, inspired my creativity in the kitchen and connected me with a great community of like-minded people. And really, this isn’t about the diet we choose. Just like eating disorders aren’t actually about the food but identifying the underlying reasons and working on those.

Wow, this got a lot longer than planned so I’ll finish it here. Way to start 2015 on a wordy note.

Happiness-inducing today: Excitement for what’s to come in the new year. This could be one filled with changes and I’m learning to embrace the unknown.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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Don’t hold back. [Thinking out loud]

Happy first of May!

Just a warning ahead: today’s post isn’t the usual cheery array of random thoughts I usually go with on Thursdays. Instead, I’m taking up Amanda‘s invitation of Thinking out loud to [finally] let go of what’s been on my mind lately.

Thinking-Out-Loud

How are you? Can you recall how often you’ve been asked this everyday question this month so far? This week? Or even just today? How many times you smiled and said ‘fine, thanks’? And: how many of those times you were being honest? Unless you’re in the enviable and – let’s face it – unlikely situation of living the perfect life 24/7 you will probably have glossed over the truth at least a little. Or a lot. Because no, we’re not always feeling fine. Life can be a tough game to play at times throwing you curveballs when you least expect it. Yet we still don’t feel comfortable baring out true emotions towards others. Admitting we’re having a bad day, a rough week or even a general funk we can’t seem to climb out of. Maybe it’s because we’re having stress at work. A serious fight with a friend or loved one that we can’t get off our mind. Changes ahead that scare you. Whatever it is:

 

“But people ask just out of habit – they don’t really want to know how I am.” <- Wrong. No, not everybody wants to or is prepared to listen and give advice to you. Rambling on about personal problems to your boss or the cashier at the supermarket probably isn’t the smartest choice. However, there are people in everybody’s life who genuinely care and will listen – if you ask and open up. Blends were my saving grace these past days once more.

For me, it’s been a rather long-term turbulence I have yet to sort out completely. However because I was worried that others would judge if I opened up towards them or think of my problems as inane I kept silent. Or tried to switch topics when it came to talking about my current situation. And sure: that strategy of avoidance works for a certain time. But as the problems and the anxiety persist it becomes hard to keep up a cheerful mood. Don’t feel like you had to – others aren’t expecting you to be the strong person all day every day. There are many reasons why – taking a clue from Amanda’s motto for today’s link-up – saying it out loud* is a wise choice:

1. It helps sorting out your thoughts: Sometimes we’re stuck because there are a million and one thoughts flying around in our head and we loose ourselves in them. The mere act of telling somebody else forces us to bring them in an order and can help us see the facts more clearly.

2. Getting a new perspective: Allow others to assess your situation from their standpoint. They might be able to see points you overlooked or – if you had an argument with somebody – understand the others’ perspective and lay it out to you in a different way. It’s never a bad idea to get a variety of outlooks on your situation to find some clarity and structure.

3. Knowing you’re not alone: Whatever is keeping you from being your happiest self might have – in one or the other way – happened to others, too. Simply hearing that somebody can relate and (!) knowing they were able to work their way out again can be a huge relief.

4. Give and take: Maybe somebody else needs somebody to talk to right now, too. And if you open up towards them offer to listen to their problems, too. Actually, I’ve often found myself able to get to the ground of my own struggles better when trying to help others with their worries.

5. Distraction: Even if there’s really no way others can take the urden of your struggles off your shoulders a chat about whichever random topics is a great way to get your mind off of them for a while. Never underestimate the powers of some beauty or recipe talk in times of change and worry :).

 * sorry to all Twilight fans but I’m not going to post that picture you’d expect here. Go and ask google. (:

I’m not posting this to ramble about how hard I have it or for sympathy. My intention in sharing these thoughts to encourage you to reach out. Because I know for a fact I’m not alone in holding back and thinking I had to work things out on my own. Tell others how you’re actually doing. Don’t bottle up your feelings because you want to seem like a strong and happy person on the outside. It only works for so long and then your feelings will overwhelm you. Call a friend. Mail somebody. Write a blog post about your feelings. Find your outlet and let others know you need some help. I’m here to listen, too.

 Happiness inducing today: Sleeping in thanks to a national holiday.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

No questions today – just your thoughts on the issue. And: How are you [really] doing today?

It’s okay [to cry]

Note that yes, I realize it’s the second post in a row having a heavier topic but with a positive outlook. If it’s not for you I promise I’ll be back with more light-hearted posts during the remainder of the week.

Another one of those posts that I’ve mulled over sharing or not. Ironically, in this case, because the reason I pondered not doing it was shame while the topic is promoting to not feel ashamed. Or no, I actually don’t feel ashamed for addressing it but just wasn’t sure how to go about it.  Crying. It’s probably not as taboo as some other topics but I feel we still shy away from talking about it. Because isn’t crying a sign of weakness? Of an inability to control our feelings?

 

But there I was, crying at my mum’s shoulder the day before my birthday [and apparently that’s normal …]. Not Maybe you’re thinking: so what? Why even mention it? What made this special for me was that I hardly ever cry. Even if you spent a longer period of time with me chances are you would never see me tear up at. Somewhere in between childhood and teenage years I worked towards suppressing tears in public – and after a while even when I was alone. I didn’t want to be the shy, easily hurt girl anymore but have a thicker skin that [on the outside] protected me from any mean comments and the likes. Yet – the outside can be deceiving. We can pretend not to be touched by hurtful comments on what we look like, the way we act and are – but that doesn’t mean we’re actually oblivious to any and all criticism let alone invulnerable.

Source

Whatever you might think I’m convinced it’s important we let go, let it all out at times. Bottling up our feelings because we’re trying to maintain the image of a strong person will only backfire in the end. Though looking at it more closely crying does in fact not only not make you a weak but actually a strong, smart person. Reaching out for help – or simply a shoulder to cry on – isn’t easy but it shows we’re taking care of ourselves and our emotional health. Those who know me more closely will hear or have heard it at one point or another: I believe that the only true, real friendships are those where we completely bare ourselves. Where we open up about feelings and … In fact, I don’t judge people for talking about their struggles, asking me for a hug, to lend an ear or shoulder to cry on: I respect them even more and feel honoured they are opening up towards me. Because I know I won’t share all of my feelings with everybody but those whom I deeply trust only.

Writing this post and simultaneously – guilty of multitasking –  catching up on my blog reader a little I saw this amazing post by Chelsea. Vulnerability is human and by showing that we’re not flawless we become even more relatable and lovable to others. That still doesn’t mean I’ll be an open book when it comes to my feelings and share them with everybody just like that.  But none of us has to be superwoman [or -man] and hold back the tears. If everything gets too much to bear it’s healthy to cry. It helps us to move on and live life happily again.

Happiness inducing today: Sleeping in.

No questions today – just whichever thoughts you have on the topic.