My lovely buddies,

I really need to get this off my chest: Ever since I was thirteen years old I remember I was struggling with weight gain and a wrong body image. Food and books have pretty much always been my way of escaping reality for a couple of hours. My weight was slowly but surely growing and when I reached my MAX I JUST FELT HORRIBLE. When I first started running, I was living with my parents in the middle of a secluded family-friendly area in the suburbs of Lucerne. Looking out my front window, I could see trees changing their colours as the seasons were changing. It was a beautiful place to live and grow up. We were living right next to one of those red Olympic-style running tracks. So everyday after Highschool I went for a run and I lost a bunch of weight in a short amount of time. But after a while I gave up running, when the days got shorter and the daylight disappeared earlier in the day. And I ended up putting back all the weight I lost earlier.

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1. Spend some quality time in nature

Then I went to University and started dating my boyfriend (who now is my husband) and he invited me to go to the gym with him. I have never been to the gym before, until I met him. So instead of going to the red running tracks right by our house, I went to the gym after I was finished with my classes at University. It felt amazing to move my body, eat healthy and lead a more active lifestyle, but it wasn’t until my husband and I moved in together that I discovered running in a new way. Right behind our doorstep was a beautiful forest with wonderful trails to run on and I completely fell in love with running on a rocky track through the woods that reconnected me completely with myself and nature. The best time for me to run was in the early morning, right before sunrise, when the air was crisp and nature slowly waking up. Running through the woods is always different and full of surprises. Magical encounters with deer, running by beautiful flowers or watching amazing sunrises while finishing the morning run made each and every run unique and special.

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2. Feel grounded throughout the day

In our day to day life, we spend so much time denying our needs, our ideas and ourselves as a person to please others or make them feel good. Which is totally fine, from time to time. But at the same time it is important to find ways to recharge your body and soul. It feels so liberating to just be yourself. No expectations from others. Just YOU and NATURE. Nothing can destroy that feeling of inner peace and joy, no matter what. By breathing the fresh air, feeling the ground beneath your feet and moving your whole body, you are experiencing yourself as a wholesome being. Whenever I start my day with a run through the woods I feel grounded and calm throughout the day – WHAT AN AMAZING FEELING!

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3. Meditate while Running, Run while Meditating? Ether way.. it’s amazing!

I can’t think of anything more difficult, than sitting still, when I’m feeling anxious. So meditating while being anxious is pretty much an impossible thing for me. Do you know, what I mean? I’ve found that I need to get out and move my body to get rid of that extra nervosity that is trapped inside my fingertips and toes. At first I was running with some yummy beats in my ears, but lately I’ve found it more relaxing to listen to some guided meditations, mantra chants or even nothing at all. When I’m not listening to any music while running, I get to follow the rhythm of my own breath. Breathing in, thinking of one aspect that is empowering, breathing out, of another that is relaxing and freeing. A wonderful example from the Christian Tradition is the “Brother Klaus Prayer”.

My Lord and my God,
take from me everything
that distances me from you.

My Lord and my God,
give me everything
that brings me closer to you

There are so many beautiful mantras in Hindu and Buddhist Tradition you can choose from or translate for yourself or even speak in the original language. I invite you to find your own very special mantra, that is speaking to you and your needs.

The simplest example, just to show you what I mean:

While breathing out, think: “I’m freeing myself of bad vibes” and while breathing in, think: “I’m letting in good vibes only.

I’m sorry for the lack of fancy English expressions and the cringeworthy grammar mistakes I’m making throughout this blog but I’m constantly learning and practicing. I hope you could still find something that is useful for your own running routine.

I’m sending you a big fluffy hug! Thank you for your amazing support!

Ina

 

 

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I am strong with loads of love in my heart.

I’m creative.

The universe wants me to be my one true self.

My soul is full of positive energy.

I have a strong and beautiful aura.

Everything I desire will manifest in my life.

Something magical is about to happen in my life.

I believe in myself and my ability to reach happiness.

I choose to be healthy and happy.

Everyday I wake up with a grateful heart and a calm mind.

I love myself deeply.

I attract abundance, love and peace in my life.

I am free.

It is safe for me to trust in the universe.

I am loved.

 

 

Hi there beautiful soul

I’m so glad, you stumbled upon my blog, since we both are looking for news ways to reduce our consumption to save Mama Earth. It is crazy when you think about it, that every year around Christmas we tend to produce enormous amounts of waste. When I receive a present from family or friends, it rarely brings me joy.  Seriously it doesn’t make any sense. Am I the only one, who feels that way? Am I crazy? Maybe.

After watching the movie “Minimalism. A documentary about the important things” one year ago, I decided that I wanted to change my way of life completely and start developing new and healthy habits. But it wasn’t that easy. Inspired by what we saw, my husband and I started cleaning everything out, we didn’t need anymore. The first couple of days were so overwhelming. Our basement seemed like it was Mary Poppins’ handbag. Loads and loads of old clothes, clutter and memorabilia we didn’t need anymore and kept for the sole purpose of keeping it. After a couple of cleanouts we realized that we didn’t need to live in a huge space and sized down from a 4.5 room apartment to a 2 room apartment. We sold a bunch of things, gave everything away to charity shops or threw it away, if it was broken or just trash. While transitioning from a very consumption oriented to a more minimalist lifestyle, we realized what really did matter in our lives, where our passions were and how we wanted to change as a person. We still are not where we want to be, but realizing that the process was the way and not the destination, helped a lot to stay on track.

Now since Christmas is around the corner, I thought it might be helpful to some of you lovely souls out there, to share how I’m prepping  for a sustainable Christmastime. Giving and receiving presents was always a huge thing in my family. Last year we decided as a family not to give each other presents anymore and rather make a donation towards a charity. But there are of course other ways.

1. Adventure

Why don’t you give your loved ones some of your time and share an experience with them. There are numerous things you can do together. Go on a roadtrip together, visit a new city for a day, have an epic movie night, cook a lovely dinner together, have a picknick in the snow, etc. Nowadays someone’s time has so much more value than those  bits and bobs we receive as Christmas presents. Here are some more ideas:

  • visit a museum
  • go on a hike
  • go to a restaurant (they always wanted to go to, but never had the time or funds to do so)
  • go ice skating
  • explore the nature for wild herbs and cook a meal out of it in the wood
  • a night in nature watching the stars
  • have brunch on a boat
  • go geocaching together
  • have an icecream/pizza/taco/waffle- (or any other) party

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2. Create something beautiful

I challenge you to take a walk through the forest and collect what catches your eyes. Take it home and create a beautiful candle centerpiece for someone you love. There are so many ideas on Pinterest, if you have absolutely no idea, what you could do. Here’s a board I created if you need a couple of inspirational pictures. When Christmas is over and the candle is burnt, they can compost the pinecones, and whatever else you used from Mama Earth to create your present.

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3. Try alternatives to old traditions

My family was always big on giving presents, but there was a turning point where we all realized, we had run out of ideas, what we could buy for each other. If your family still wants to give something, make a rule how much you can spend on a gift. There are other ways, we all know to limit your expenses, like Secret Santa or the White Elephant. While these games can be fun and surprising, you will always be left with random things, you have no use for. I find it so much more fun to receive something to munch on, like homemade cookies, jam, vanilla sugar, a bottle of chili oil etc. Once again, Pinterest is you best friend, if you have no clue, what you could possible prepare to give away at home.

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These are just a couple of ideas to help you stay on track, during Christmas, but there are so many more out there if you search the Internet. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, Chanukka or Kwanzaa with whomever you are celebrating. I’m sending you loads of love all the way from the mountains of Switzerland.

 

 

 

less shopping, more experience

less consuming, more creating

less rushing, taking more time

less artificial, more natural decor (leaves, pine cones, etc.)

less christmas lights, more soy/ beeswax candles

less obligations, more intuitive actions

less junk, more real food

less media, more solitude

less busy-, more soulwork

 

 

 

Dear friend, you have lost a loved one. It hurts. There are no words to make it right or hurt less. On 28th of November at 5pm I had to let go of my best friend, my soulmate our sweet little Nana. She was such a special soul and had so much love and joy to give. She was only 2.5 years old, when she had her first seizure. Over the course of a year her epilepsy got worse, month my month, week by week, day by day. At the beginning of January everything seemed okay. The vets took a MRI and told us there was no tumor and nothing wrong with her digestive system. So they diagnosed her with a inherited form of epilepsy. After three months she hat four seizures in one day. We tried all sorts of medication to make them stop, but nothing really worked. For a couple of weeks everything seemed, fine, she was her old self, running around, playing fetch and seemed pretty relaxed. Until the next cluster came around. Usually she could rest in between the clusters ( a couple of seizures during a short amount of time). But last weekend everything took a terrible turn: she had ten long seizures. At that point we were seing the naturopath and going to acupuncture with her every two weeks. But at that point we had to come to terms, that none of her treatments were really helping her anymore. On Sunday, after the ninth seizure we took her to the animal hospital. They gave her a large dosis of “Keppra” just to make sure the cluster stopped, she got some rest. Her state was heartwrenching. Her sight was limited and she was crying a lot, which is very unusual for our brave little girl. It broke our hearts to see her suffer like that. That’s when my husband and I felt that it was time. We spend the last two days with her, visited the mountains and layed with her on the fresh snow. Then we bought her some delicious, very unhealthy treats. Two hours before our scheduled appointment at the vet, all three of us took a last nap together at home. My starchild was farting the whole time. (Oh, how I miss those farts.) From time to time she looked up, right into my eyes, just to make sure, we were still there with her. Then it was time to leave. We took her blanky with us, her stuffed snake toy and drove off. At the vet’s office we layed her on her blanky. She seemed very calm and relaxed as if she just knew, that soon everything will be over. When she took her final breath, a chunk of my heart went with her. I was crying my eyes out, because my baby was gone, my sweet little starchild. I think, that nothing will ever be able to fill that hole.  I miss her so much, I can’t even express it in words, but I’m sure, you know what it feels like. Loosing someone is a process that needs time and patience with ourselves. Unfortunately we live in a society where it is not common to talk about death on a daily basis (unless you work for church, a hospital, or a crematorium). I find it very difficult to talk to people about everything that happened and how I feel about it, since people like to give unwanted advice all the time. Someone told me, I shouldn’t worry so much. Everything happens for a reason. Another person gave me the advice to get another dog, as soon as possible, to forget about what happend. Sometimes people don’t realize how hurtful they can be. They try to say something, to break the silence. I’d rather have someone by my side who knows how to say nothing and just BE with me in that moment of pain. I believe there is not only one way to cope with loss and here is why we need to find our very own. Coping with the loss of a loved one is extremely personal. How did it happen? Was it sudden or slowly approaching?  No matter what kind of loss we are left with, we will be left to deal with our own grief. It is important to know, that every feeling you are experiencing is normal. Please don’t beat yourself up if you can’t cry or suddenly start laughing. Everyone expresses pain in a different and very personal way. Disappointment, hopelessness and grief: all the emotions we feel as human beings are normal and part of our lives. For me it was and still is very comforting to remember what her paws smelled like. I’ll never forget those shaggy paws that smelled like buttered popcorn.

 

 

 

Travelling and living with less can be an amazing experience. Having a backpack with only the essential things, is so liberating. There is nothing more soothing than putting down your backpack, after a long day of wandering around and feeling the weight on your shoulders of all your belongings. Last February, my husband and I travelled to India with only two little backpacks on our shoulders. It was our Honeymoon. With very little money and loads of love in our hearts, we took a plane to Mumbai and from there travelled mostly by train. We filmed the experience, that changed so much for us as a couple. I had time to contemplate. What do I want to focus on in my life? What are the dreams of my partner and I? Instead of lying hours and hours in the sun next to each other in a pre-booked honeymoon package in a huge hotel complex, we really took the time for ourselves. We faced our fears and feelings and talked about them. And by the end of our trip we sat down in a little Tibetian café and wrote a letter to each other about our inner feelings, dreams and visions. Here is a memory of our journey in form of a video. Would you like us to talk about that? Please let me know and I’ll film a video with my husband about our experiences as a young married couple..

I believe that everyone has moments, where they feel unhappy and restless with their life. You probably do, too, if you stumbled upon this article. In these moments it get’s very hard to get even simple things, like running errands or going to work, done. I mean, where’s the point, if you’re feeling like crap about your life, right? Nonetheless, I promise you, this feeling of restlessness and lack of spirit is only temporary and you are in full control of your life.

A big reason, why we feel this way, is because media, advertisements and every slogan on television are telling us “that we NEED to reach happiness in our lives”. To me, this concept of happiness is just not anywhere near reality. That is also one of the reasons why this project is called “Symptoms of Happiness”and not anything like “pursuit” or “search” of such.

I believe in the feeling I get, when I hug someone.

I believe in the smell of grass on a warm summer’s day.

I believe in the taste of frozen banana-chocolate-peanutbutter icecream.

But I don’t believe that there ‘s only one way to reach happiness.

To me it is the current moment, the “NOW” where there is no tomorrow or yesterday.

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1. I’m in the moment of NOW.

But how can we get there to experience more of these “NOW”-moments in our lives? I often catch myself thinking a lot about my future and past. What have I accomplished in my life? What do I still dream about in my future. It is important to think about these things from time to time. But it is not helpful to constantly let your mind wander around. What I tend to do, to let go of a thought is to write it down. Think about your goals in life. What is important to you? Take a piece of paper and a pen or start a journal and write down, everything that pops up in your mind. Don’t even think twice about it and if you make a mistake, just carry on. Write down your 1 year goals, your 5 year goals and your lifetime goals. Carry them around everywhere you go and reevaluate them month after month! And when you feel low, express yourself by writing or drawing it down as well. By writing our fears down, we are more capable of letting them go.

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2. My body feels satisfied and calm.

What is the right way to nourish your body and soul? Since there are many ways to treat your body and soul right, I would like to encourage you in only one thing: Try to practice intuitive eating and thinking. Your body is capable of so much more than just, processing different sorts of food and it knows exactly what it needs to thrive. Start paying attention to how you feel after a meal. Are you satiated, does your tummy feel tight, could you eat some more? Think about the food you are about to eat. What is it going to do in your body and what benefits does it have for your health? How does it make you feel like? If you feel guilty about a certain food, you can’t really enjoy it. Intuitive eating is not a diet, it is a way to mindfulness and it will certainly make you feel at ease in your body, if you allow yourself to make mistakes along the way. Every little mistake is going to teach you, what feels good for you and what doesn’t.

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3.I own only what sparks joy and has a purpose in my life.

As I mentioned above, we live in a very intense world. Everyday we experience so much noise and our senses get attacked constantly. This is one reason why we get distracted and loose focus from what matters most. So simplifying your way of life, your home and habits is something to consider if you suddenly feel overwhelmed by your possessions. Some people enjoy having lots of memories, pictures and memorabilia sitting around their home. But for myself and many other people, being able to live, sleep and work in a clean and tiny space can be so much more rewarding. This will give you the much needed freedom and will make it easier for you to live without things piling up around your home.

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4. I practice healthy rituals and routines.

Have a look around you and realize that you are alive. If you practice meditation, that’s great. If you’re not into that, you can try the 5,4,3,2,1-method. It’s very simple. Relax and focus on 5 objects around you. These could be anything: books, a laptop, a cup of tea. Now  close your eyes and try to listen to 4 different sounds. This might be your own breathing, the heater, a car driving by. Now focus on 3 thing you can feel with your own body. This could be your socks, your arm leaning on a chair or a warm summer’s breeze. Now, try and focus on 2 things you can smell. This could be anything: your perfume, the warm cup of coffee in your hands. And finally: what can you taste? If your eating something, try to chew slowly and focus on every little bit of the food you are enjoying. If your mouth is empty, try and describe the taste you have right now.

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5. I value gratitude.

Being grateful is not a fancy state of mind your are gifted with. Like any other skill, being able to feel gratitude requires daily practice and you can learn to feel grateful it, too. Keep a gratitude journal or start a gratitude-project on Instagram or any different blogging platform. For some people it’s easier to write things down, but you can also practice gratitude by saying each and every day, what you are thankful for. For example, when brushing your teeth in the morning, or just after waking up. I set a reminder on my phone, which pops up every morning with the question: “What are you thankful for today?”. Over time, you will find that you have a journal full of reasons to be grateful for what you have in life. If you are ever feeling in a low place and need a reminder take a look in your journal to remind yourself of what is special and great in your life.

I hope you found this article helpful and if you have any questions, please feel free to write me a private message or comment down below.

I’m sending you lots of love and a big bear hug!

 

 

 

 

 

I guess you found this article because you feel pretty shitty about yourself and that master’s thesis you have to write. Well helloooooo there, I totally feel you, bro or sis! Last year around this time of the year, I was pretty much a hopeless mess. I knew I had to finish my master’s thesis and three different papers for three different classes I attended. It felt like a huge burden on my shoulders and I was pretty overwhelmed by it. I knew that I had to get everything done by summer and only five months left to do so.

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1. Dont panic

First things first. You need to stop, what you are doing right now. Stop biting your nails. Stop whipping your foot up and down. If you’re reading this in bed, because you can’t sleep, let me tell you: There is nothing about this situation, you can’t control. What you need to do is: Try calming yourself, by breathing three times deeply and pretending, you have everything under control, even if you feel, you don’t. Believe me, that’s the first step to your graduation. Think about all the things you have to get done and write them down. Get out of bed, grab a piece of paper and get all your hopes and worries on paper.

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2. Buy yourself a beautiful notebook

The key to reach any dream in life, is to write it down. After reading “The secret” by Rhonda Byrne, I knew I had to change my perspective in life. I was and still am sometimes a very pessimistic person, I worry a lot and don’t believe in myself often. So one day, I went into a book store and bought a beautiful little notebook. It wasn’t a cheap find either, but I loved the design and reminder it gave me: “Your wellbeing is worth it.” , so I bought it. On the same day I sat down and opened the first page, wrote and drew everything down that I felt at that moment: all my dreams and sorrows. And boy, I felt amazing! This little booklet is still with me and I carry it everywhere I go. I know it sounds cheesy but seriously think, that I wouldn’t be a Master in Theology and Ethics now, if I hadn’t had this book to help me through that time. Call me crazy, but there is something about writing it down, that makes things real to me.

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3. Set your own goals

How much time do you have left to write your thesis? Not much? Don’t worry, there is still enough time if you plan properly. Write your schedule down that, shows you exactly the timeframes you have dedicated to writing and stick to them. If you plan like a pro, you’ll accomplish everything you have in mind for the next couple of weeks and months to come. Nothing should interfere with your work schedule. Set your own goals, for example: “I will write 1 site every day.” or: “I will read 3-4 essays every week.” A thing that was very helpful to me, was to even go further and write a “to do” list of what I wanted to get done the next morning.

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4. Claim your very own workspace

Writing a master’s thesis is a long process and it takes a lot of energy from you. Try to wear comfy clothes and keep your feet warm. Ask yourself: “What do i need to be the most productive?” and create a workspace just for this period of time. If you don’t live alone, try to find a place, where you can work for more that just a day and leave everything as it is on the table, to continue the writing next day. You’ll waste more time if you have to gather everything that you need, every time you sit down to start writing. That doesn’t mean, that you have to leave everything a mess. Take some time at the end of a writing session to clean everything up, sort your books and put your dirty coffee mugs away.

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5. Go for a run!

If you don’t feel inspired, skip a couple of writing hours and go for a short or long run. If you know you won’t be able to write anything and surfing on “Pinterest” is not helpful for the progress of your master’s thesis either. So the best way to get your head clean is to work out, go outside, breathe some fresh air or talk to a friend on the phone or at a coffee shop. If you have been writing for a long period of time, try rewarding yourself to a nice meal or buy yourself something little for every milestone you reached successfully. Doing something completely different from writing will help you keep your head clean and fresh for the next steps.

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6. Ask for help

You my be wondering why I put a picture of my dog above this point. Well, look at those eyes.. they totally look like they understand your troubles and worries, don’t they? And you friends and family will, too. I learned, that it is crucial to share the process with others. Tell them about your thesis and explain why you won’t be available at all times for the next five months. There are so many people in your life who care about you and would love to support you, during this time. Ask them for help. Tell them what would help you and try to be as specific about it as possible,

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7. Celebrate!

Oh my goodness, you did it! Look at you, you are now a “MASTER OF DESASTER” and it feels amazing, right? I totally remember the warm fuzzy feeling when I was holding three (still warm) copies of my thesis in my hands. It felt P-R-E-T-T-Y good! But at the end, a master’s thesis is just a piece of paper that doesn’t define your abilities and qualities. You are able to accomplish so much more in life and I believe in you. Now go and have your graduation party and rock on, badass!

I’m sending you a big bear hug!

Ina