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Happiness

Happiness Long distance relationship Travel Wedding

Moving across the world for love

August 9, 2017

Imagine that you wake up one morning and you know that by the end of that day, nothing will ever really be the same again. That was me on Saturday morning, the 5th of August. I woke up in my giant bed in Brussels, in my cozy bedroom, for the last time ever. With a heart full of excitement and a bit of flight anxiety, I got up and got ready to move myself and all of my stuff to Wisconsin, USA to be with my fiancé. If you follow me on twitter, or if you follow this blog, you’ll know that my fiancé Dylan and I have been together for more than four years. The majority of our relationship has been long-distance, so finally being able to close that gap forever was huge for us. It was an exciting morning, to say the least.

I hopped on my first flight, and to my surprise, I was bumped up into a first class seat. My stomach was in knots as I was imagining what the flight from Brussels to Iceland would be like. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid of the plane falling out of the sky – I just feel VERY uncomfortable during turbulence. There was a man sat next to me, and we happened to be wearing the same shoes (Converse, heck yeah!), so we started to chat. Our conversation ended up lasting for the whole three hours of the flight which I am so grateful for because he kept me very calm. The landing was a bit bumpy, but I made it out without any tears. Rip a lesson out of my book, always ask for help when you’re scared – you might end up making a new friend!

Iceland was pretty cool, but I was too freaked out from the shakey landing to take any photos. There were volcanoes and steam coming out of the ground, and I was humming some Sigur Rós while I made my way to my next gate. Knowing that only 6 more hours of flying stood between me and Dylan was enough to keep me calm. The next flight wasn’t as eventful but we did fly over Greenland which was INCREDIBLE. Never in my life have I witnessed anything as cool as the view from my airplane window, just look at these completely unedited iPhone photos!

Upon landing in the USA, I got through immigration very quickly. I waited until Dylan and his mom parked their car and came to grab me and my bags from my gate. Something that neither Dylan or I expected, is that seeing each other doesn’t feel like we haven’t been together in months. It just feel calm, right, and comfortable. We hugged, and kissed, and I tried my best to stay awake as much as I could after being up for 24 hours. Dylan’s mom treated us to a quick dinner on the road (thank you!!!), and then we proceeded to drive for hours until we finally made it to our new little home in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

 

 

Dylan and I, seeing each other at the airport.

The past few days here have been really lovely. We stocked our pantry, made our home as cozy as we could in a day or two, and got some much-needed family time at Dylan’s sister’s house for dinner! I’m just getting settled into the new place, but once everything simmers down, I’ll be back to posting regularly on here. For now, I’m getting ready for my 24th birthday on Sunday, my best friend and family visiting next week, AND OUR WEDDING NEXT WEEKEND ON THE 19th.

No big deal, huh? 😉

Stay tuned for that, and a little apartment tour coming soon!

xox,
Srna

 

 

Happiness Travel

If We Were Having Coffee..

July 27, 2017

Before I jump into this post, I want to thank Rachel from No Space For Milk for tagging me in her’s. After you’re done having a cup of coffee with me, go and have a one-sided chat with her, on her blog!

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If we were having coffee…

I would take you to OR Coffee, my favorite coffee shop in Brussels. We’d have a giggle about the chalkboard sign out front that always has a witty comment doodled on it, and made our way in. As soon as we walk in, we’d go straight to the counter and have a quick look through the menu – even though I often go for the same thing. I’ll ask the awesome girls behind the counter how they’re doing, before blurting out “One soy cappuccino please”. You may go ahead and place your order, and I’ll be happy to pay for the both of us. It’s an honor to hang out with you!

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If we were having coffee..

We would sit down at one of the four-person tables on the back wall. I’d swing my backpack on one of the empty chairs and sit down right across from you. I imagine you’d comment something about the cafe and its appearance. My favorite thing about OR Coffee is that it’s cozy, calming, and never too loud (even when it’s crammed).

If we were having coffee..

I would ask you what you like doing in your free time. You would probably tell me what your day job is but I’d push past that and pick your passions apart. Don’t be scared, I would do it in the best way possible. Passionate people inspire my creativity, which gets me excited about life, and thus makes me a pretty chatty and fun person to talk to. If you happen to be a little shy, don’t worry – there’s never any awkward silence with me. I can talk your ear off, if I must, but I’d love it way more if you had things to discuss!

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If we were having coffee..

We would talk about books. What’s the best book you’ve ever read? Are books not your thing? You can tell me your favorite song. I would tell you what songs and artists make my arms tingle and my heart beat faster. I’m also a sucker for incredible lyrics, and I could tell you a few of my favorites off the top of my head. But I won’t scare you, I’d really just want to feel out what you’re interested in.

If we were having coffee..

..and there was a person with a dog nearby, I would get up and ask if I could pet the dog. You may join me, or you can wait for me to return. I’ll be a minute.

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If we were having coffee…

I would tell you about every place I’ve lived or traveled to. If there are any places you’re keen to hear more about, I’ll happily go on about the incredible memories I’ve gathered from there. I can recommend bookshops, cafes, bars, and hidden little sights – just ask. I would ask you where you’ve traveled before, and if there are any places you’d want to visit next. If you’d ask me the same question, I would tell you all about my dream to road trip through the USA. Sound like a fun one, no?

 

Until next time,
Srna

Happiness mental health Mindfulness Psychology

Is Instagram making us unhappy?

July 12, 2017

 

When scrolling through Instagram on any given day, you will easily come across beautiful photos of friends or strangers, depicting themselves as if they are living their best lives. It has been widely discussed and debated online whether or not these views are realistic. Perhaps the most notable argument was that of Essena O’Neill, when she claimed that Instagram doesn’t depict real life. Today I would like to look at the so-called “Instagram Culture” through the eyes of Carl Rogers, a psychologist that lived long before Instagram was a speckle of anybody’s imagination.

Carl’s theory is pretty cool and easy to grasp. He believed that people have an “ideal self”, the kind of person that they wish to be, as well as a “real self”, the person that they are the very moment.  His theory belongs to the field of humanism, which states that as people, we are inherently self-aware, and can shape our personality by constantly striving to reach our fullest potential. Thus, the more similar our ideal and our real self are, the happier and more fulfilled we become. Perhaps the best part of his theory, is that as humans we are born with free-will, and have the mind-capacity to constantly strive to be better. The broader your imagination, the more likely you’ll be to reach the good life.

So, if we were to apply Carl Rogers’ theory to today’s Instagram Culture, wouldn’t imagining ourselves in the best light possible be a positive trait? Shouldn’t it help us become better, happier, and more fulfilled people? And of course, if this is the case, why are people such as Essena O’Neill so unhappy with Instagram’s ability to distort reality?

I believe that Instagram can be an amazing tool for the mind, if used correctly. If you imagine your ideal self, and then feel motivated to push yourself to live your life in such a manner, this will allow you to get closer to happiness. Many people launch successful businesses, portray aesthetically pleasing lifestyles, and create opportunities for themselves through the photographs they post on Instagram. Using Instagram as a visual tool for self-fulfilment is something that I firmly believe in, as it has helped me become more self-confident. On the other hand, if your ideal self doesn’t match up with whatever image you are trying to portray on Instagram, which I believe is the case of Essena O’Neill, you will end up drained and unhappy.

What do you think about Carl Rogers’ theory of self? Do you think that Instagram is good or detrimental to our self-actualizing process?

I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Until next time,
Srna

 

Creative writing Happiness mental health Mindfulness

Meet my Higher Self (and maybe your Higher Self too!)

June 27, 2017

Sit down and visualize your ideal self. Not your prettiest or fittest self, but your true state of being. The image of you with the highest vibration, that is the most spiritually aligned and vibrant. That is your Higher Self.

I wrote these answers almost two years ago and just found them in an old journal. It baffles me to tell you, but I am so much closer to my Higher Self than ever before. Let me share my answers with you!

What is she like?

  • She is confident, helpful, nourishing, motherly even
  • She wake up early and manages her time in a productive manner
  • She loves, cares, and looks after not only her family, but the community around her
  • She is able to find peace in quiet, rather than finding anxiety and fear in it
  • She thrives off of helping other people reach a state of happiness, joy, or comfort
  • She loves creating warm moments and happy memories

Where does she live?

  • She lives in a house, in a warm, family-driven community
  • She’s about a 20-30 minute drive from a medium-sized city, in a small town on the outskirts of it
  • She lives in the USA

What does she practice?

  • She practices a healthy, mindful lifestyle
  • She takes time in the morning to get in touch with her senses
  • She has a healthy romantic relationship
  • She’s an artist

What does she sound like? What does she feel like?

  • She has a warm, welcoming voice
  • She’s great at hosting friends and strangers alike
  • She’s quiet when she needs to be
  • She’s lighthearted and can take a joke
  • She’s also thick-skinned and can cope with life
  • She feels calm
  • She feels feels like her career pushes her to think critically
  • She feels like the work she does is important, and if it truly impacts even one person, it’s all worth it
  • She feels grief and empathy
  • She doesn’t feel a sense of insecurity
  • She never allows jealousy to get the best of her

How does she think? What is important to her?

  • She thinks about injustice
  • She ponders about the human experience
  • It’s important to her to feel safe and joyous
  • She believes in talking through issues
  • Expression through creativity is important to her

Wha does she do when she’s upset?

  • She talks
  • She writes
  • She cries
  • She is rational

What kinds of people does she surround herself with?

  • People that haven’t given up on their dreams
  • People that are kind and caring
  • People that inspire her to be strong
  • People who believe in her and what she’s capable of
  • People that are willing to work hard
  • People that she can enjoy coffee with
  • People that appreciate the concept of a community

What does she believe in?

  • She believe in love
  • She believes in cheesy traditions, presents, dinners, twinkley lights
  • She believes in the healing power of music
  • She believes in innovation
  • She believes and art and creativity
  • She believes in grief and sadness
  • She believes that life should be enjoyed
  • She believes in feeling passionate about all aspects of life
  • She believes in helping
  • She believes that people can change
  • She believes in herself

 

If you’re a little bit lost, I urge you to fully immerse yourself in this writing prompt and then put it away in your journal. Reflect back from time to time, and see what you would like to change or alter in your life, in order to become as close to your Higher Self as possible.

All my best,

Srna

Happiness Mindfulness

Where have I been?

June 6, 2017

Sweet friends, it has been a while and I cannot even describe how excited I am to be back. I mean, I could try. I feel like I confetti cannon that’s about to burst and cover you with colorful pieces of excitement. THAT’S HOW EXCITED I AM TO BE BACK.

It has been a rough couple of months. In March I  traveled from Belgium to Macedonia where I spent about two (difficult) months. I felt suffocated, uninspired, and my eczema was severely acting up. I also started gaining, gaining, and gaining weight. I felt miserable and I couldn’t wait to get back to Brussels. Now that I’m back and things are finally falling back into place, I’m starting to finally feel like myself again. As some of you know, my fiancé Dylan and I began our US visa process in January, and while we’re almost at the interview phase, we have a few more documents to gather before I can call and schedule my appointment. Earlier in March, before my trip to Macedonia, Dylan came to visit me in Brussels which was absolutely incredible. We hadn’t seen each other in a year and a half, and having him here was blissful.

While I’m still as body positive as ever, this past month has been very transitionary for me when it comes to food. I went from strict ketosis (low carb high fat) , to basically eating a plant-based diet (high carb low fat). Ketosis did wonders for my weight loss, but my body is rebelling through eczema, so I decided to listen to it. I’ve lately felt like I need a break from both meat and dairy, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m eating a lot of fruit, a lot of veggies, and tons of grains, rice, potatoes, and legumes. Even though I’ve gained, I’m not chasing weight loss at the moment. I’m chasing a settling feeling that’ll allow my body to truly exhale and stop fighting itself. I’m not claiming to be Vegan, but for the time being, I am definitely following a plant-based diet.

 

My creativity is finally back and stronger than ever. These past few weeks I have been drawing, paining, journaling, as well as playing my ukulele. The world feels more colorful, and these feelings inspired me to color my hair pastel pink. I love how it turned out, it’s just a shame that it’s a wash-out dye that’ll be gone in a week.

That’s my update for now. I’m sitting here as patiently as I can and enjoying gorgeous Brussels, before it’s time for me to pack my bags and move to Wisconsin to be a blushing (and ecstatic) bride!

xo

Srna

Happiness mental health Uncategorized

Solo coffee dates: reasons why you SHOULD

February 1, 2017

go out for coffeealone

Do you have a habit of going out for coffee, tea, or even a meal by yourself? Ever since moving to a brand new city, this has become one of my favorite things to do. By nature, I’m outgoing – by character, I’m an introvert. Coffee shops provide the perfect space for me to be around people, all while spending time with myself, by myself.

If you’ve ever felt awkward sitting by yourself, I’m here to share some reasons why you shouldn’t feel awkward and why taking yourself out on coffee dates is a healthy, amazing habit.

1. You can get a lot of work done.

Coffee shops are amazing for getting work done. Bring your laptop along, or if that’s not your thing, bring a notebook along. Need to read a book or an article? Those are welcome too!

2. Your self-confidence grows.

Who’s that cool person hanging out alone, looking cool as heck? It’s you!! I’m not sure about you, but when I used to be anxious about going to coffee shops alone, I never looked at a person sitting alone and thought they were a loner. I thought they were super cool. To be quite honest with you, I feel cool as a cucumber when I hang out by myself.

3. You get to meet strangers.

This one is quite counter-intuitive because you’re going to be sitting there alone, but it’s totally a thing. Ever since I started taking myself out on coffee dates, people have been striking up conversations with me left and right. You’re way less intimidating when you’re sitting by your lonesome, and that could lead to meeting some amazing humans.

4. Thinking time.

A change of surroundings is the perfect excuse to figure out whatever thoughts are jumbled up in your head. I’ve written the best material at coffee shops, and I’ve solved some of my trickiest life issues while brainstorming over a yummy cappuccino.

5. Charge your batteries.

Whether you’re an introvert, or an extrovert – coffee shops are the ideal place to charge your batteries. It’s the perfect place to be alone and surrounded by people at the same time. Upon leaving  find myself energized and ready to take on whatever task is ahead of me.

Tell me, is this something you ever do? If not, are you considering going out for a solo coffee date?

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Till next time,
Srna

 

Happiness Mindfulness

#FeelGoodFebruary – a FREE happiness workshop

January 17, 2017

happinessworkshop

Hello Friends!

The big day is here – I am so excited to announce #FeelGoodFebruary or #FGF for short. #FGF is a completely free, month-long happiness workshop that will begin on February 1st. Join me on this journey of self-love, care, and kindness, and together we can bring happiness and positivity back into all of our lives.

 

 

Also, I highly encourage you to follow my facebook page. I will be posting there daily throughout February, and it will serve as a safe space for discussion, growth, friendship, and kindness.

 

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I’m looking forward to an amazing month of positivity!

Srna

Happiness mental health Mindfulness yoga

The Ultimate Guide to Bedtime Yoga

December 12, 2016


**This is a guest post written by Lindsey Dirats. Not only is she an amazing Yoga teacher, but she’s also my soul sister!

 

To spite being a teacher of yoga and mindfulness, I still find it so hard to slow down sometimes. My natural rhythm of operating is approximately a thousand miles a minute. Sometimes, I forget to take my foot off the gas at bedtime and falling asleep can be a struggle. Sound like you? Fear not! This posture sequence is a sweet and gentle way to wind down before bed, or any time you might want to take it down a notch. There are several torso-to-thigh postures (like in Child’s Pose), which relax your parasympathetic nervous system. This is relaxing because it decreases your body’s fight-or-flight response.

I recommend that you start this practice with the 6 rotations of the spine to begin to connect breath and body. I made a little video for you walking through those movements! I apologize that it cut off at the end and that it’s completely unedited (current unavoidable tech situation…oh well) but it still covers what we need to get started for practice tonight. 

 

Standing Back Arch – Urdhva Hastasana

  • Begin with your feet placed hip-width apart, feet parallel, toes facing forward, and arms down by your sides.
  • Take a deep breath in, and as you do, gently lift your arms up overhead, clasp your hands, and extend your index (pointer) fingers towards the sky.
  • As you exhale, reach backwards with your hands and lift your gaze up towards the ceiling – bringing a slight arch to your back.
  • Sustain for a few deep breaths
  • On an exhale, draw yourself upright again and let your hands float down by your sides.

 

Half Moon Pose – Ardha Chandrasana

  • Begin with your feet placed hip-width apart, feet parallel, toes facing forward, and arms down by your sides.
  • Take a deep breath in, and as you do, gently lift your arms up overhead, clasp your hands, and extend your index (pointer) fingers towards the sky. Relax your shoulders away from your ears.
  • Exhale, send your hips out the right and lean your hands over to the left.
  • Hips and shoulders stay parallel and facing forwards, and avoid collapsing over to the side
  • Sustain for a few breaths
  • Inhale, sweep your hands back up overhead, and exhale over to the other side – hips shifting to the left and hands leaning over to the right
  • Sustain for a few breaths
  • Inhale, sweep your hands back up overhead, and exhale to let them float back down by your sides

 

Forward fold – Uttanasana

  • Exhale, let your whole torso droop slowly forward, drawing your chest towards your legs
  • Bring as much of bend to your knees as you need to (it may be a deep bend, and that’s perfect!) to get your belly to rest on your thighs
  • Let the crown of your head fall towards the floor, head is loose on a relaxed neck
  • Let yourself hang like rag doll for a few breaths
  • To rise, make sure knees are bent, and slowly roll up, one vertebra at a time

 

Standing Wide-Angle Forward Fold – Prasarita Padottanasana

  • Take a wide stance, toes facing forward, feet about a leg’s length apart from each other, knees unlocked
  • Exhale, lean forward with a flat back – option to bring hands down onto your bed
  • Either sustain here for a few breaths, or let your torso drop down between your legs, crown of the head points down towards the floor, hands can either reach down to the floor, out towards feet – whatever is most comfortable!
  • Let yourself hang for a few breaths
  • To rise, bring a bend to the knees and slowly roll up, one vertebra at a time

 

Time to get in (onto) bed!
Seated Forward Fold – Paschimottanasana

  • Sit on your bed with your legs extended, toes flexed towards you, knees slightly bent
  • Inhale to sit up nice and tall
  • Exhale to reach down towards your feet and bring your belly down onto your thighs
  • It doesn’t matter if your legs are almost fully extended, or if they’re very much bent! Find what feels good in your body.

 

Head-to-knee Forward Fold – Janu Sirsasana

  • FIRST OF ALL let’s call this head towards knee, shall we?
  • Begin in the same way you started seated forward fold, but with the sole of one foot on the inside of the opposite thigh
  • Inhale your upper body upright, exhale, gentle bend to the knee, and belly down onto thigh
  • Repeat on the other side

 

Bound Angle – Baddha Konasana

  • Draw the soles of your feet together and hold on to either your ankles or the outside of your feet
  • Exhale to draw your chest forward and gently use your elbows to press on the insides of your knees, inviting your hips to open
  • Take a few deep, easy breaths
  • On an inhale, slowly draw yourself upright

 

Cross-legged Forward Bend – Adho Mukha Sukhasana

  • Cross your legs
  • Inhale to draw your upper body tall
  • Exhale to gently let your belly collapse down towards your legs and slide your hands away from you
  • Take a few deep breaths, and then inhale yourself upright again

 

Child’s pose – Balasana

  • From your cross legged position, roll up over your ankles onto hands and knees
  • Exhale to send your hips back, coming to sit on your heels
  • Arms extend out in front of you, belly drops onto thighs, and forehead comes to rest on the bed
  • Feel free to breathe gently in this posture for as long as feels right. It’s such a good calming position!
  • When you’re ready to come out of it, come back up to hands and knees

 

Wind-relieving Pose – Pavanamuktasan

  • From hands and knees, flop on over onto your back
  • Draw your knees in towards your chest and give yourself a hug around your shins, option to f
    ind a gentle rock from side to side
  • Alternately extend one leg and then the other, drawing knee
    towards chin and breathe deeply

 

 

Reclining spinal twist – Supta Matsyendrasana

  • Draw your knees back into your chest, and let them drop over to the right. Gaze out over your left shoulder for a few breaths
  • Inhale to lift your knees back through center and then exhale as you let them fall over to the other side

 

Corpse pose – Savasana

  • The pose we’ve all been waiting for! You might want to get under your covers for this one.
  • Option to place a pillow under your knees, and I like to put a lavender-scented eye bag on my face as well.
  • You can leave your arms down by your sides or rest them on your belly. Let your feet flop open.
  • Slowly, allow yourself to release all tension from your body. Let muscle melt from bone. You have nowhere to go, nothing to do. There is no need for effort in this moment. Enjoy the benefits of your gentle practice and let yourself drift slowly into sleep!

 

 

**If you want to see more from Lindsey follow her on instagram (it’s @lindseydirats) as well as her amazing Facebook page!

 

Take good care of yourself,

Srna

Happiness

25 Positive Affirmations To Start Your Day With

December 10, 2016

You may think to yourself, what are positive affirmations? So, we might as well start there. Affirmations are simply things that we say or think to ourselves.

25 Positive Affirmations

It’s super simple. A lot of us tend to be really negative towards ourselves. We start our mornings off by dreading the weather, our chores, or anything else going on in our lives. Because of this, we literally set ourselves up to have upsetting, unproductive days.

Self-care starts from within, and positive affirmations are an amazing way to begin your day. They lead to higher confidence, elevated levels of happiness, and way more productivity. I’ve put together a list of my favorite positive affirmations that you can read out loud in the mornings, or quietly think about while you’re waking up and having that first cup of coffee. I promise you, you’ll feel the effects of these affirmations immediately!

  1. I am healthy and happy.
  2. I radiate love and happiness.
  3. I am surrounded by love and care.
  4. Everything is getting better every day.
  5. I have everything that I need in my life.
  6. I am brilliantly smart, and I will achieve big things.
  7. I am a great friend.
  8. I have a home where I feel safe.
  9. My body is healthy, and it allows me to experience life.
  10. By allowing myself to be happy, I will inspire others to be happy.
  11. My heart is overflowing with joy.
  12. I am comfortable.
  13. I always see the good in others, and attract only positive people.
  14. I take care of both my body and my soul.
  15. I nourish my body with good food.
  16. I am confident in my uniqueness.
  17. Helping people is my second-nature.
  18. I breathe in energy, and breathe out stress.
  19. I conciously let go of worry.
  20. I am going to have a terrific day.

I hope that these affirmations will help you have the amazing day, and even amazing life that I know you deserve.

Stay happy and healthy!
Srna

 

 

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