Be kind to yourself: it really does make life a little easier

Despite the world being pretty much on fire, I have to say the first couple of days of 2021 have been pretty okay for me personally.

For the first time in months I finally feel calm. As if for the first time in weeks I can finally just breath. It’s as if everything is finally in place and I can finally think clearly again. These past couple of days I for the first time in a good while felt like I had the headspace to focus on the things I want to do again.

Does that mean I got up at 6 a.m. every day this week? That I was able to work on my dissertation from Monday to Friday? Nope. I still have chronic fatigue syndrome so there are going to be days that are just not going to go the way I want them to. I had a couple of pretty rough nights, which caused me to wake-up so tired that I decided to set my alarm for another hour.

And you know what? That is absolutely okay. If I am too tired to work on my PhD today or if I cannot get myself do do the dishes, then I will give it another try tomorrow. I have stopped getting upset with myself for not being able to do all the things I had planned on a particular day… And my gosh does that feel good!

As some of my avid readers know I absolutely love decorative planning. This is a type of planning style where you liven-up your planner with cute and pretty stickers. Every weekend I would sit down with my planner, decorate it and plan out the entire week. For everyday I would decide what I was going to do. Needless to say, if you have an illness as unpredicatable as chronic fatigue syndrome that does not work. So what happend was that I found myself getting frustrated every time, because I could not finish all the things that I had planned to do. Instead of my planner helping me be more productive and me enjoy working on it, I felt like it was a reminder of my failure to do simple things like dishes and was some kind of testemony to my inadequacy…. Yeah… If that isn’t one heck of an unhealhty mindset, than I don’t kow what is. So, I decided to quit planning for a while. I tried to get bak into it multiple times, but I could simply not find a way for it to work.

Until now. Every weekend I now sit down to decorate the week before, as I used to, but I do not plan anything yet, unless it is an actual meeting with someone. Instead I have incorporated planning into my morning routine. That way I can check in with myself on the day to see how I am feeling and to gauge how much I will be able to do. At the same time, I have learned to have peace with it if I have one of those days where I have less energy than I thought I had. So if I have written down that I will be doing the dishes that day, but am too tired, I simply put it off to the next day and regard th eplanner entry as a reminder for tomorrow. No giving myself crap, no feeling bad about it. It is what it is.

And you know what? It actually works! Yesterday, after a really crappy night I just couldn’t get up at 6 a.m…. So I got up at 7 instead. In the morning I had resigned myself to do nothing on my PhD that day, but planned that I would at least do dishes. Well, after working half a day I was quite unexpectedly able to focus on my PhD for 2 hours. However, the trade of was that I wasn’t able to do any dishes because of that. So I left that chore for today… and ended up cleaning the stove as well whilst I was at it. Just because I could. Flexibility for the win!

One of the reasons why I decided to share this in this blogpost with you all today is because I hope it helps some of you to perhaps be a little kinder to yourself as well. It is so easy to get upset with ourselves because of our limitations, physically or otherwise. Yet where does that get us? It only makes us feel frustrated, unhappy and may cause us to give up something that we love doing because of that. There’s enough negativity in the world already right now, don’t become another source of it for yourself.

No matter what you are struggling with, you are doing the best you can and that is enough. As someone on instagram wrote yesterday “being in our bodies is hard”. And so is being in our minds at times. But that is okay. It is alright to struggle or to feel pain. It is not your fault and it does not make you any less worthy. You are you and you are enough. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, especially not you yourself.

chibird — A small corgi pup to remind us that we are in...
Copyright: Chiibird


I’ve got this! I think…

Quite a few weeks have gone by since my last post… Time sure flies! About 1 week after publishing my “Eureka, I have so much energy post”, my energy levels crashed. Why? Because I was so rejoiced at all the extra energy I suddenly had that I just kinda of went overboard… a little… or well maybe a lot. ^__^” It of course also did not help that I had nightmares every night for about 1,5 weeks. I occasionally have such periods in which I am literally plagued by nightmares, and I have no idea why. The themes of the nightmare have nothing in common and I have not really had much to stress about lately… But whatever was casing them they have taken their leave and my energy levels are getting back to normal.

I have, however, definitely learned one lesson: even if I feel energetic I should still be on my guard.

Of course that does not mean that I have been sitting back and relaxing… or am going to do that for the upcoming weeks. ^__^” Quite frankly, this month is just completely insane.

On May 5th a really good friend came over from England for the weekend. His brother and his brother’s boyfriend, who currently live in America, also tagged along and we just had a really good time. We showed them around town, had dinner at our favorite Japanese restaurant, made them try all sorts of Dutch snacks, did a boat tour of the environment and I even cooked for them.

Although the friends’ brother had been to Amsterdam quite a number of times, he had never visited the more rural cities in Holland. He and his partner liked our little town so much that they will most likely be moving here :D. So that will definitely be a lot of fun.

Last Monday I went on a short holiday to a vacation park here in The Netherlands for four nights. The park located within a foresty area so it was very relaxing, though I wasn’t able to make any epic nature photographs. I did, however, make a rather beautiful one of the fantasy garden we visited. Although the garden was very small, you could pretty much walk everywhere. I did not expect it at first, but you can actually walk into the tower that you see in the picture below.


De Fantasie Tuin (or Fantasy Garden in English)

I wasn’t able to fully kick back and relax during my holiday as I really did have to work on my research as well. Why you may ask? Didn’t I just write it was a holiday? Who works on a holiday?! Well keep reading and you will find the answer shortly.

So I returned yesterday and have about four days to catch my breath, since my fiancé’s aunt is coming on Tuesday and will be staying with us for approximately 1,5 weeks. She lives with my fiancé’s mother and her boyfriend, because she is mentally handicapped and cannot live on her own. However, they are going on a holiday, so we arranged for her to stay with us for the duration of the trip. We don’t have a very big home, but it’s a warm one and she’s more than welcome here :).

Apart from all this, I also have two major deadlines coming up. A couple of months ago I replied to a call for contributions for a book on Sympathy and Morality which is to be published with Routledge (one of the major academic publishers). I received an e-mail about 1,5 weeks ago that the project had been approved! …. And that I have until May 31st to complete a 7000 word chapter! One month to write an entire chapter…. Cause who needs sleep right?

Apart from that, I will also be going to a conference in Galway on June 8th for which I still need to write my paper. So… this is pretty much me right now:


I love how everyone around me is convinced that I am totally going to nail this though. I told my parents and the lovely friend from England and they all reacted with:  “oh, that’s alright. You’ve got this”. So… I think I am going to make that my manta for the month. And just to make sure I don’t forget I might actually write it on little sticky notes and stick those on surfaces around the house.

So my goal for the upcoming month are:

  1. To manage my energy levels more carefully;
  2. To stay in control of my workload: thank the lord that I have taken up decorative planning!… Did I mention I have a new one? Just look at the pretty planner! ❤


  1. To manage my stress levels and to not have a complete break-down somewhere along the line (ain’t got time for that!);
  2. … and to not die at the end of it all? That seems like a pretty good one

I hope you will forgive me the lack of blog posts, but as you have been able to read, I really have not had a lot of time to myself ^__^”. I will try to update you guys again when I can.

On rings, planners and things

Well hello there! I am pretty sure a lot of you are wondering where I have been, cause it has been quite a while since I have posted a blog.

In my last 2 blogs which you can read here and here, I wrote that I had been pretty stressed out lately. So in order to calm down a bit, I decided to not force myself to write a blog on a weekly basis on top of all the other things I had to deal with. T I have calmed down significantly though and thankfully haven’t had another of those melt-downs, so I am hoping to be able to get back to blogging on a regular basis.

To be honest, you have not missed a whole lot though the past couple of weeks. I have just been really busy with school and work, which did not leave a lot of time for other things.

I did, however, have a rather big scare two weeks ago when I thought I had lost my engagement ring… Whilst sitting on the couch one Saturday evening I suddenly noticed that my ring was missing. It had literally slipped off my finger. Yes, there you have it: there is one massive downside to loosing weight: you also loose the weight in your fingers, so your rings will get (a little) lose. Continue reading

2017: goals and expectations

As promised, I will be entirely dedicating this blog post to my goals and resolutions for 2017. Just to keep everything nice and tidy, I have decided to divide this post up like the one in which I reflected on 2016.


Well my first goal for this year is to loose the weight I gained during Christmas and New Years. I really decided to just let myself go, and deal with the aftermath once the holidays were over. And as today is January first I have immediately started to watch what I am eating even though my fiancé has really been tempting me with lots of yummy, not so healthy food haha.

Once I have accomplished this, I intend to maintain this weight for the rest of the year. Now, I know from previous attempts that this is going to be a bit of a challenge, but I have never been this determined to keep off weight before. So yes, I really, actually think that I have got this! 😀

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Exercise Continue reading

2016: what a ride

As promised, I too will dedicate a post to looking back on 2016. It really has been quite a year. I will be dividing this post into different sections, just to bring a bit of structure into this post. I will not be writing about my goals for 2017 in this post, as I plan to dedicate a separate blog post to this.

This is going to be quite a lenghty post as a lot has happened this year, so I suggest you get yourself a cup of tea, coffee or whatever other drink that helps you to relax, and sit yourself down in a comfortable chair ;).


41102ce427d4f9c2345a2480e3e5f36eIn May this year I decided that it was high time that I jumped back on the weight-loss bandwagon. I had stopped watching what I was eating in December 2015 and had as a result gained about 3,5-4 of the kilo’s of what I had managed to loose in 2015. In 2015 I had started with a weight of 80 kilo’s (176 lbs) and had managed to bring it down to around 71 kg (156.5 lbs), thus loosing about 9 kilo’s (+/= 20 lbs). When I began my weight-loss journey again in 2016, I weighed about 74,4 kilo’s (164 lbs).

As those who have been following this blog for a while will know, I managed to loose the weight I had gained and more. Even though I did want to get to 68 kilo’s (+/- 150 lbs) I never actually thought this was a realistic goal… But I am proud to say that even during the crazy Christmas season I have managed to remain below that weight. For the past two months I have been hovering around the 67 kilo’s (+/- 148 lbs), which I am extremely satisfied with. I would like to get down to 66, but honestly as long as I stay around 67 I am quite happy.

As I have lost over 7 kilo’s (15,5 lbs), this also meant I went down 2 whole clothing sizes. By now I have donated, given away, sold or thrown away all of my old clothes as they were too big. And have begun to built an entirely new wardrobe. So there really is no turning back!

Project Confidence

project confidence

In June I started what I decided to call Project confidence. I was and still am quite an insecure person and realized that just loosing weight was not going to help me to gain confidence. Though it has definitely helped a lot!

One of my goals with this project was to gain back my “forever smile”. And I have definitely been smiling more. I am still working on worrying less about what people think of me, or rather, what I think people think of me, but I did not really expect to change that aspect of myself in just a few months. So yes, very much work in progress.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor tap danceI did get to a point, however, where I felt comfortable to try something I had been wanting to do for years. In September I joined a dance school that I had never been to and began taking tap dancing classes. Now this was probably one of the best decisions that I have made all year. I immediately noticed at the end of the first lesson that I felt a bit more like my old self again. Until I was about 15 years old I used to go to musical class where we would have dancing lessons every week, and I absolutely loved it. I had the exact same feeling after tap dancing. For one hour I was able to forget my problems with fatigue and was just able to focus on dancing. Now mind you, I am not particularly good at tap dancing, but I really enjoy it a lot! I always look forward to it and it is a great way to exercise!

Over the past months I really notice that I have began to smile more and to feel a lot better in my own skin. And as I have said before: weight-loss does help with this. Thanks to the amount of weight I have lost, I now own a coat that I feel absolutely fantastic in! If ever there was a coat that gave confidence, this is definitely it. Several people have told me that this really is a Mar coat… and I could not agree with them more. I am almost inclined to buy a second one, I case this one wears out haha.


As my trusty readers will know I have been struggling with fatigue issues for a couple of years now. This year, I was finally admitted to the hospital so that they could run some tests. It turns out that I have chronic fatigue syndrome, for which I am currently being treated by a sleep psychologist. Since I have been going to this psychologist, I have noticed a definite improvement in my energy levels.

I am currently adhering to a strict sleep schedule, have stopped working on my dissertation for at least one day a week (which is usually on Saturdays) and have been focusing less on how tired I feel. As a result, I have been able to survive a completely crazy December that was absolutely crammed to the brim with deadlines. I would not have been able to do this half a year ago, so I am really grateful. I do, however, notice that perhaps I asked a bit too mAfbeeldingsresultaat voor sleepy animeuch of myself and that I do have to take a step back now. So yes, I do need to find a better balance… And remember that I am not wonder woman. However, sometimes life just gets crazy and all you can do is to go with the flow. Here’s to hoping I won’t have a repetition of December any time soon though!


Afbeeldingsresultaat voor anime peace sign

This year has been absolutely amazing when it comes to work. I was able to obtain my Prince 2 Project Management foundation and practitioner certificates, got promoted to a Senior position, was able to manage a number of IT related projects with success  AND got a permanent contract! I mean just wow… After a year with this many highs, next year is going to be such a let down haha!

PhD and research

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor anime researchMy research as certainly kept me busy this year. In July I was asked to contribute three articles to a Companion to Victorian literature and have just sent them to the editor. I have also written a book review which is to be published in the Wilkie Collins Journal. Next to this I have been working steadily on my doctoral thesis, which is due to be finished September 2017… The thought of which gives me a near panic attack as there is so much left to do! But I will write more on this in my next blog on my goals for September 2017. So stay tuned.

And you my dear? How was your 2016? Regardless of what it was like, I wish you a marvelous, healthy and lovely 2017.

Sinterklaas, planning and the land of deadlines

Apologies for the lack of posts, but I have ventured into the land of deadlines where there apparently is very little time for blog posts haha. As I mentioned in a couple of my previous posts I have quite a load on my plate and am typing this blog whilst taking a break from editing a dissertation chapter…. which I kind of need to finish tonight.

Editing is not going exceedingly well as I am still struggling with a very stubborn throat infection. Although I am doing better than 2 days ago, when I had to call in sick at work, my concentration is still not all that I would like it to be. But it will have do to.


Yep, that’s me

I probably contracted the bug doing something I absolutely love. Every year at the end of November I help out at the Sinterklaas party at work. Continue reading

Project confidence #2: planning a better me (planner haul blog)

project confidenceI have decided I am going to make my project confidence into a series of blogposts in the hope that they will be useful to some of my readers who are also struggling with self-esteem issues. Or that they will simply be fun to read. I’ll settle for that as well ;). Please note that I have inserted some headers in the post so everyone can quickly see if a section is to their interest or not.

More confidence equals scatterbrain?!

It is a little strange, but ever since I posted the initial post about project confidence and decided I was going to accept myself, I have really noticed a change in me. I am sure this also has something to do with the exercises in the book that I am using to regain my confidence entitled Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-acceptance by Rosie Molinary (I will be writing a review on this once I have used it for a month).

It’s like some of the weight I didn’t even know I was actually carrying around has fallen off of me (lol now I losing weight both figuratively and literally). I seem to be a lot more at peace with myself and even to have a little bit more energy (and I will do ANYTHING for just a teeny bit more energy). I appear to be reverting slowly to the bubbly person that I used to be (yeay me!). This has resulted in my brain literally overflowing with ideas and things I want to do…  Next to the massive mountain of things I am already doing. In other words, I am slowly, but surely also turning into a scatterbrain.

So I decided, it was time to get organized!

Continue reading