Finding a lifestyle balance.

My beautiful talented classmate, always an inspiration with her hard-working ethic and bad-ass body. She lives her message.

Lou's Lean Lifestyle

As a lot of you may know, my life during term-time at uni is pretty busy! With lectures, labs, studying, assignments, cooking, laundry, rowing, training, socialising and relaxing, it can often feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day!

Student life can often be very overwhelming and stressful, but it is also some of the best years of your life, so here are some of my tips on how best to manage your time and find that healthy balance in your life!

IMG_23651. Write Lists

Being organised is key for helping you maintain a balance in your life so one of my top tips is to write lists!  Whether it’s by hand, on little sticky notes or simply on your phone, this will help you so much and remind you what needs to be done.  I am such a fan of a list, I make them for everything: my uni…

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Create Your Life

 

Sometimes there are times in life when you can’t help noticing how your life doesn’t seem to be going to plan, or it doesn’t look like everyone else’s and sometimes you feel like you just want to change yourself. And for someone like me who needs a plan and thinks I know myself pretty well, realising a ‘fault’… or many… can make me want to go in to fix-it mode.

But, just because you acknowledge an area you could grow in, doesn’t mean you have to go about changing it right away. You don’t have to do anything actually. Embrace this moment of not being perfect and having it all together. We all want to have a beautiful life, but we need to learn to see the beauty in the mess, and the beauty in the journey.

We aren’t supposed to look like everyone else. We don’t all have to succumb to society’s expectations that we should get married young, get a dog and have 2.5 kids, or whatever the average is these days. If that’s what you want, then go for it. But you don’t have to have that. You can dream and desire for what is uniquely yours.

Learn to be okay with being different.

What would you actually want from life if you weren’t being influenced by your Facebook newsfeed or the impeccably high standards on Pinterest? Of course it’s good to be inspired. But desire to create your own beautiful life, not a copy of anyone else’s. Be original. Be the inspiration.

You have permission to go out in to the world and get involved with the unpredictable.

You’ll be okay. There’ll always be purpose, no matter what choices you make, no matter if it goes wrong or you fail or you fall out with your friends. You’ll get through, you’ll grow, you’ll become stronger, better, braver, fierce. You’ll never be truly on your own. I fully believe, life always works out. So risks should be taken, say yes to new opportunities- even if you’re bad at it to start with! Just find a way to live in such a way that you become someone you like.

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Sweet Nothing

Il Dolce Far Niente

Sometimes life takes a shift and what you previously identified with is no longer there. Perhaps a job, or a role. What you’ve come to know as ‘you’ isn’t there and it can be frightening and depressing. In this world, we know people by what they do, and if you no longer have something you primarily ‘do’, it can feel like you’re not worth knowing.

But these times can be a time to rest and rediscover what you love and discover anew what you want to be. Make it a season of living from a place of peace and rest and a quiet spirit. Your life has calmed down and you’ve been removed from the busyness, and you can just…. be.

You can take off the labels, remove your titles, take off every performance, act, job and role and discover who you are when you’re not doing anything.

Find the stillness when you’ve stopped juggling all the ‘hats’. Discover who you are when you’re not trying anymore.

Get away from orders and the things you feel you should be doing and could be doing and ought to be doing. Release who you are when you’re not doing what anyone else wants you to do or thinks you should do.

It can feel like a void, until you discover the colours within. When the dust settles, a new song rises from within. When you stop being a puppet being pulled in to an act, directed by fear and insecurity, you discover your true dance. You discover the creative expression that is within you, and it has the freedom to come out, away from watchful eyes.

Have you been diminished by no longer doing whatever it was? Has the person you are been made less? Who are you beneath all the other stuff?

… Il dolce far niente is an italian phrase meaning “it’s sweet doing nothing”…

Now we just have to wish for friends with boats, or a hammock, or a field…

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or maybe a comfy bed a coffee and a book will do!relax1

Listen Silent

Listening on the Next Level

Listen quietly. Absorb all sources of information and use insight. Take it all in. See every expression and gesture. Read the person, but let them speak, over letting your mind analyse. The more we watch and see and hear, the more we understand. We have got to come with a blank canvas; not preconceived notions or with walls up. We have got to stay open: when we disagree, when it offends us, when it feels like it goes against the very core of who we are. We have got to be committed to staying. We have got to be committed to keeping our heart turned towards them…

Never look away, never be so ashamed that you avert your eyes or are so offended that you turn your back. Be there for the long haul.

Don’t ever stop them being themselves. Be their greatest champion. Cheer them on when they make mistakes and learn from them; when they discover who they are; when they express their unique self. Be proud. Be the kind of person others can be themselves around. And you be the person you are when no one is watching or judging. No more masks, hiddenness, or evasion. No more dodging the question. No more ‘re-modelling’ to be the most acceptable form of yourself to the person you’re talking to.

Listen Silent

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8 Ways to De-Stress.

Hello again! I’ve been off the blog scene for a little while, but I’m back and hoping to stick around.

This past year was a hectic whirlwind, working full time and self teaching an A level, combined with lots of personal changes. Then to top it off, I just went travelling in New Zealand! It was an exhilarating escape from the 9 to 5 packed with adventure and meeting new people.

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This year I’ve made the goal to achieve more balance between work and rest and applying myself to different activities.
I’d directly suffered the effects of stress of last year and I do NOT want a repeat.
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Here are 8 tips I’ve picked up to take care of yourself when going though a stressful time:
  1. Assess the cause of your stress and Be Positive
    • Be self-aware of what you’re feeling and thinking. Acknowledge why you’re stressed.
    • And adjust your attitude towards it. Exchanging every negative thought to a positive one will make you feel more powerful towards addressing the problem and feeling more in control of it, instead of overwhelmed.
    • Learn to accept you can’t control everything and learn to just let it go.
  2. Have Me-Time
    • Whatever recharges you: a bath, a run, writing, a cup of tea, peace and quiet, reading, coffee with a friend, making and eating something tasty, get creative, whatever!
  3. Connect to others:
    • Open up to a compassionate friend. Off-load what’s dwelling on your mind and you will feel better for it. Once it’s out of your mouth and heard, it’s like your emotions feel validated and they settle down again and your head can step down a notch from emotional over drive.
    • Make new friends! New people will bring new outlooks in to your life.
  4. Take a holiday?
    • Get out of the city and in to nature. The fresh air, the brighter skies, even being by water all help to reset body rhythm and may help you feel calm and invigorated.
  5. Deep breathe
    • I had the best night’s sleep after doing the breathing technique from this mini yoga video before bed. And also, buy a memory foam pillow.
  6. Learn something new
    • Make time for hobbies and find new ones.
    • Sign up for something random. I’m going to a life drawing class later this month!
    • Youtube has tons of resources for a variety of topics*. It’s so good to stimulate your brain by focussing on something.
  7. Work Out
    • Research shows how exercise relieves stress and releases the happy hormones like dopamine and serotonin. Channel excess emotional energy in to boxing or lifting weights or run to clear your mind. It can give you focus and the physical act of making your body stronger will reflect in your mental state as you build perseverance and resilience.
  8. Help Others
    • I’ve started volunteering at my city’s food bank, preparing food parcels for people in need. It’s undeniably helpful to get out of your own head, and your own drama and personal life and help somebody else in need. It can put your own problems in to perspective. And if you can’t commit to something like that, try little acts of kindness or favours for colleagues and friends.

NB: for more serious mental health concerns, please get professional medical help. It’s their job to help you get well again.

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Brownies: Spelt, Coconut Oil, Agave, Applesauce

I’m experimenting with Brownie recipes. Some people like them cakey, some people like them gooey, some people like them fudgy with that classic crackled top.

Here’s Brownie Recipe 1:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup melted coconut oil, plus more for pan
1 1/4 cups spelt flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup applesauce

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 165 degrees C.
  2. Line one 9- by 3-inch cake pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with oil; set aside.
  3. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Add the oil, agave nectar and applesauce directly into the dry ingredients. Stir until the batter is smooth.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes on the centre rack until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Servings: 8 
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Difficulty: Easy

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Courtesy of Deen Bros.

I calculated the nutritional info as follows, per serving:

330 Kcal; 18g fat; 37g carbohydrates, of which sugars, 16g; 7g protein

(values are approximate)

 

Verdict

In 3 words: Cakey, stodgy, nutty.

Just Keep Going

When You’re Having A Bad Day

This is a beautiful video for how to cope, how to get through, how to overcome, how to reach the end of a bad moment, and make it to the next moment.
We all have bad days. We are human, and we can stand together in this, and pull each other through, and importantly, believe for ourselves that we will get through.