I am so glad we can meet again this month. It is such a wonderful way to have a sneak peak in everyones life and meet new people. And I am really grateful Lecy is hosting month after month.
If we had coffee… I’d tell you about my endeavor to blog daily in November. It’s been something I have been doing for a couple of years now – thanks San. It’s always a bit of a stretchy but it gets my creative juices flowing. How often do you blog on a regular basis and did you ever blog daily? And then right with my next breath I would have to admit defeat already on Day 9. Unfortunately I have gotten myself a tennis elbow and now I need to reduce my computer and phone scrolling time to max. 2 hours a day. With work picking up, Christmas presents to be found and all I am scrambling. So the NaBloPo had to fall to the wayside. Unfortunately.
If we had coffee… I’d wanted to know if you remember November 9, 1989. Here in Germany we celebrated the 30 year anniversary of the fall of the wall. Lot’s of people are coming forward to talk about their experience and how that day had been branded in their minds. I have told my story five years ago when the 25 anniversary was celebrated. To this day my body gets a bit queasy and shaky. I am so grateful for everyone back then risking life and livelyhood to demand change.
If we had coffee… I’d tell you that my sister and I will again volunteer for Christmas in a shoebox. We’ll be packing boxes to be sent to children in need and who would otherwise not be able to get a present for the holidays. I look forward and can see this becoming a tradition. I wrote about last years experience. Also I will pack one or two boxes myself. Not quite sure but I need to get it done soon. Do you do any volunteer work? Is it a regular thing?
If we had coffee… I’d wonder if you had any good books to recommend that are Christmas themed. I want to make the most of the holidays. Last year I read my favorite “Christmas Carol” by Dickens but I am sure there are similar ones that I don’t know about. My dad used to read us Christmas stories on Christmas Eve after all presents were unpacked and we were in a food coma. I kinda miss that and picked up the habit to find my own stories and read one Christmas themed one every year.
So much for now. My arm hurts quite bit now and I need to rest with an icepack. Let’s meet up next months and I will be more talkative then – hopefully.
Ever since I read Clare’s post about her Creative Manifesto I knew I had to make my very own version of it. Today I finally do. Probably because I am already stuck on what to write and I can use all the creative mojo. The creative manifesto is something to help spark creative motivation on slow days and remind me on how to get back into the creative flow, stir motivation and preferably get going.
My pick-me-up list for slow days includes:
take a photowalk
go outside and take a walk in the park
participate in a challenge
read a book
scroll through Pinterest a bit
drink Earl Grey with a dash of milk
eat warm chocolate pudding
leave through a magazine
look at art or photography
stroll the hardware store
tidy up the craft lab
doodle a little
dance around a little
have an inspiring conversation
If ever I feel like I am stuck I tend to do one of those things. It’s not always that easy. Because to be honest I often feel very unmotivated to even get my butt off the couch but I know the list above is helping getting out if the slowness.
It’s also helpful to remind myself of the following things:
you don’t need validation
you are enough
enjoy the process
If you are in love with podcasts and they also give your lazy, unmotivated self a kick in the butt you might enjoy those episodes to spark some creativity:
You can read about saving the planet and living sustainable everywhere and anywhere. And quite frankly I am a bit annoyed by it. It often looks like propaganda. Many companies try to instrumentalize it for their purpose. But still it is something we all should be aware of and not discard so easily.
I always thought we (as in Mr. ♡ and I) are not doing much to keep the planet healthy. However I recently realized I/we do quite a bit without giving ourselves credit for it as it has become habits by now. Following I’ll share a list with you of things we already do and maybe it serves as an inspiration to you as well:
Recycling trash is ingrained so it’s really a no brainer for us. I even walk the extra step to put the paper wrapper from my tea bag in the trash can at the desk. I was quite annoyed when I realised our cleaning lady dumped everything I carefully separated in its separated bins in one when taking out trash. Seriously, why?! It’s such an easy way.
Invest in good appliances
Mr. ♡ and I have always invest a bit more money into our appliances. We’ve often heard that we only wanted themost fancy version of the newest oven or dishwasher, that it needed to look cool. And while we are not prone to those things and they do play a big part in the decision process one of the key elements is always the efficiency. Does it run on the lowest energy and meets the state-of-the-art specs? Does it have latest technology built in and is not outed right away. Because those appliances stay with you a while and in 5-10 years they are energy suckers for sure… Also they often live longer and don’t need repairs.
Switch to LED lights
This is something Mr. ♡ has been investing lots of time to in the last years. And it paid off. For the first time we have gotten money back in our electricity bill because we saved up. Of course those LED lamps are an investment at first but in the long run it will hopefully save money. And time because I can’t remember when I had to switch a light bulb the last time. Also I hate having lights on when I leave a room. Switching of lights and not having “castle lighting” on as I like to call it saves up too.
Use totes & bags for shopping
This is another no brainer but I’ll write it down anyways. No more plastic bags. For the last 3,5 years we have been using fabric totes and shopping bags. I usually cary a bag in my purse so every time I buy something I have something to put it in. We always have a shopping bag in the car. Storing totes in places you might need them is an easy way to reduce using plastic ones. Also I have stopped using those small flimsy plastic bags at the fruit & vegetable stand. I just dump it in my bag as is because why do we need to separate by bags?! Doesn’t really make any sense it’s just a habit. Also I just read that Tansania banned the import, export and selling of plastic backs all together as of June 1. So much for third world countries…
Batteries don’t belong to regular garbage. Most stores offer a little bin where you can drop them off. I have a zip-bag where I collect them and then sooner or later I remember and drop them off. However we try to use rechargeable ones as much as possible. Unfortunately coin cells don’t come as rechargeable and we need those for the kitchen scale and all smoke detectors.
Also I always re-use printed papers that have one blank side. I write my to-do lists on there. Or just last weekend I printed a sewing pattern on there. And still I produce more scrap paper than I can use in a lifetime.
Strawberries in December, pumpkins in April, asperagus in August… While all those things are yummy all year round for sure I am not buying them. They are only staples when in season.
Take trains instead of flights
When traveling for my freelance work I prefer traveling by train rather then plane (right now it’s only within Germany.) This might has to do with being more productive on a train to be quite honest. However it is not always the fastest way. And by taking this route it is defiantly the greener choice. When being out and about in the city I most likely use my bike or if further away public transport. And even on foot I get places.
Of course there is always more to be done. In the course of the last weeks I have observed our behavior and have identified areas I would like to improve:
We do have a lot of laundry and I’d really like to reduce the loads but this will not happen. So I need to find other ways. The packaging the detergent produces really does annoy me. Not to mention the water consumption or dryer. Here I am on the lookout for improvement.
I want to find a little reusable bag for my pastries. I’ll by them weekly for the weekend and every time they come in paper/plastic bags. When I was a child we always went to the bakers with a burlap tote. I think I need to sew one. Also I want to check out one of those stores where goods are displayed in unpackaged units and you come in with your own containers. It’s a bit of effort. A friend of mine started to leave all her packaging in the stores so they realize how much they produce and start thinking about it. This might be a good way to force change. She also told me that she never buys rubber bands but keeps them from asparagus and flowers. How smart.
I need to look into digitalizing even more. Like how does it work to sign a paper on my computer and not print and scan. Stuff like that. I know my devices are capable. I am not – yet. I have made the effort to call my insurance company to stop sending me analog bills. Unfortunately they are not capable. Thats for sheets of paper I am forced to receive and store.
I want to look more into using environmentally friendly products that are free of micro plastic and mean chemicals. I have started to look more closely in what I buy for cosmetics, cleaning products and such. However I am not throwing out all current products but start by slowing easing out of it. If you have any recommendations let me know. Specially for detergent as I am allergic to most smells.
On Instagram I read this interesting quote that said something like even if you do only one thing to save the planet it’s better than not doing anything at all. We are not perfect. We can not ignore what’s going on. And we defiantly can not do it all. So I decided to the things that come easy to this household and someone else probably does the things I struggle with. It’s a start. Now if would share your tips or want to write a post like this please do and leave a link in the comments so we can build a huge list and inspire each other. Wouldn’t that be great?
Every once in a while I am sitting by the fire wondering about life. About the what ifs… How would life look if I’d had a different friend in high school, what may my path be, had I taken this other job offer. What if I bought the thing I wanted but don’t miss at all today… Let’s those thoughts simmer for a while… I realized I don’t have many regrets. Sure I could have spared myself some heartache but would I really be better off? I don’t think so. It would just be different with other heartaches.
I always wanted my own library room.
While I love books and read a lot I have reduced the books I own immensely. I still do. I decided about seven years ago that I will only own fiction books I’ve red more than once or that I will definitely read again. Then there are those book that have a inspirational character – like DIY books, craft books, photo and art books. Those stay in the collection and I actually bought some on purpose. I feel like if I own those I will look at them multiple times. For me that is worth investing money. Fiction is somewhat for entertainment. Once I read them I am happy and can move on. That is why I read most of them on kindle and don’t need to own them.
I always wanted to study at university
Well this didn’t really work out for me. After high school I wasn’t accepted for the majors I wanted to study (North American Studies and History) and I accepted an apprenticeship in advertising figuring I could do that while waiting to get into university. Once I finished my apprenticeship I didn’t feel like going back to study. I had matured so much in the past years it didn’t feel right and also I wanted to earn my first money. And I wasn’t convinced my choices were that smart. Today I am glad I decided to take the route of night classes. This way I had it all – degree, earning money, being with like minded people. However I can see myself as one of the senior guest visitors in future years.
I always wanted to own a tortoise
My first contact with a tortoise was in the 80s. I was pre-school and I was visiting some people my parents knew. They had one and all I could do was watch it. I even got to feed her lettuce and have her fall asleep on my belly. I was smitten. My mom actually wanted to give me one but sales were banned in 1989/90 as they were on the endangered species list. I got a guinea pig instead – I was not that thrilled at first. My love didn’t day. I started collecting figurines as a teen. I can spot them I the craziest places – the market square in Acco or the wanter ways of Spreewald. When visiting the hardware store I go to the pet area and spend a couple many minutes in front of the terrarium. But I decided to not get one. I could not give her a home sufficient for the species. They need to hibernate during winter and I don’t want to put her in the fridge. Also they need space to roam – not possible in a city apartment. But I will forever love seeing them wherever I can. Just this weekend my sister send me picture from the zoo.
I always wanted curly hair
For a very long time I was rather unhappy with my fine blond boring hair. I wanted curls. So I tried the papilottes and curlers, the braided hair over night version and the curling iron. I even had a perm at one time. For some reason though my hair just doesn’t want to be curled. The perm didn’t stay in for more than 30 minutes. I was a model in a hairdressers exam and we had some trouble there. After the exam everyone asked me what part of the exam I was modeling for and no one could believe I just had a perm done. After that, I decided to just give it up. Some things are just not meant to be.
Are there things you always wanted, even saved money for or fought to get? And then suddenly they lost their spark? I’d be curious to know.
In September I have shared my migraine story and the latest research I came across and found rather interesting. I also mentioned I’ll do a separate post on what kind of tips and tricks I discovered while battling yet another attack. Or which ones didn’t do anything for me at all. Well let’s see what I have learnt so far.
When you suffer from migraines you most likely know all the common things about battling an attack. Some may help but some may not. While you never really manage to avoid it, it may help with some of the symptoms. Here are a few tricks and tips I figured out to get through an attack. Maybe they will be helpful for you too:
Become a detective
First of you should definitely start tracking your migraines or headaches. Either have a cute notebook or use an app but take the time to write it down. You’ll see patterns and you see re-occuring situations. Once you have a bit of data you will get a chance to understand your individual migraine and how to handle it. If you look for tools check out part I in this series.
Secondly you might read up on some studies. For me that was helpful in realizing and accepting this is a real disease. It’s not something I made up I my had because I didn’t want to be bothered by people. It’s nothing to be ashamed off when having a migraine and not functioning.
As I have mentioned in the previous post the brain is overheating with too many stimuli. So easiest to do to have the brain recover – give it a break. This could be by staying in a dark room or wearing sunglasses (even in the office – yes I have done that!)
Also helpful is to reduce noise. Wear earplugs or put on headphone with music that is soothing to you. By drowning out background noise your brain only has to focus on one sound. This is something I often do as it is a huge trigger for me.
The perfect way to shut down your brain is sleep off the attack. This one is actually working well. However I could only start doing this once I was self employed. Being an employee I often had to be in the office at certain times so it was not possible. However if you get the chance to get in on your own time, taking two more hours to kill the attack when its starting will have a huge impact . Most of all though don’t feel guilty – it’s very counter productive and yes I am speaking from experience.
This one is a big part for me. Not only did I analyze more triggers in food that I care for (sugar, wine, etc….) I also realized that I am craving certain foods and dishes when being within an attack. Here is a list of all time favorite migraine foods:
Dark bread with butter and salt
Spaghetti aglio olio
Spaghetti with tuna and capers
Fried potatoes or French fries
Mainly vegetarian dishes
As you can see high on calories and minerals. I’ve read somewhere (unfortunately don’t know where) that your body holds too much acid when a migraine attack takes place. To reduce the acid the body needs salt to level back to normal acid-base-balance. For me this seems true with all the foods I am craving. Also the nerv cells can only use carbs as energy supply. I found this helpful list (in German) for recommended and not recommended food for migraineurs.
Lately I have heard that magnesium supplements can help reducing migraines as 20% if patients have a deficit.. I have not done that but am intrigued. I will discuss this with my neurologist and hear her thoughts. Do you have any experience with that?
Some people are not able to move during an attack. And believe me I know those days. On other occasion however I felt it comforting to do a bit of yoga to get rid or at least minimize the pain. Also helping is taking a walk – preferably in nature with as quiet as possible. The fresh air also helps. If that’s not possible at least open a window or sit on the porch or balcony.
Professional opinion is that you should learn the art of progressive muscle relaxation. I am not patient enough to do this (starting with arms, and legs and toes…) and trying doing it was counter productive to me. I was getting aggressive by the slowness of the progress. But give it a try. However I use parts of the method to mindfully relaxing my neck muscles when I have an attack. I can even hear the muscles crackle when relaxing. Does anyone else has that experience?
Another strong recommendation by professionals is to start doing some sort of endurance exercise to prevent and minimize attacks. Again, I am not big into that. Or maybe my pain is not strong enough yet… This is definitely a part I am struggling with. But I have a lifetime to work on it I guess.
Yes you need medication. In the early years I always thought I can just bear this attack without pills. I didn’t want to take to many so I rationed myself. This is so wrong! Seriously if you are on triptans it is better to take them as early as possible when a migraine is sending it’s signals. If you are not sure check out this app the have a questionnaire integrated to help you. However if you are using ibuprofen or aspirin it’s another story. For example with ibuprofen you shouldn’t take more than 10 pills a months and never more than 3 days in a row. My experience now even tells me what kind of medication would be best for this attack. Sometimes I use the triptans and other ibuprofen. My doctor even told me I could mix the too if one doesn’t work as they are working differently. (Please check with your doctor if you do that because every medication is different and what works for me can not be adapted!)
It’s all in your head – quite literally. Once you accept you’ll live with a migraine it becomes easier. No more guilt of missed get-togethers, low work performance and unhealthy food choices. You can not control a migraine and if you work against it it will control you. It really is true. When I pity myself and believe the entire universe in conspiring against me the migraine dances in my head. If I decide to not give it a second thought and try to get on with my life it isn’t that bad.
I hope you could find some helpful nuggets here. I would love to hear what you are doing to live with your migraines. Please share in the comment so we all have a good list of tips and tricks.