2021 here I come

I have a confession to make. I have always been the kind of person who thought New Years Eve was horribly overrated. Although as a child I liked the idea of staying up, eating nice things and watching fireworks, as I grew older New Years Eve just lost it’s sparkle. It felt like just another day, on which I usually had to work, with too much food (too close after Christmas) and on which I had to force myself to stay awake until 12 o’clock, because it’s expected and you can’t sleep with all the fireworks going off anyway.

This year though… boy am I in the mood for New Years! The moment that clock strikes 12 I am actually going to be there, partying with the rest of the world. Why? Not because I think that a global pandemic will be resolved overnight and everything will be better. We are still going to be in lockdown until January 19th at least and until the majority of us have been vaccinated this virus is clearly not going anywhere.

So no, it’s not because of that. It’s mostly because I am looking forward to what the new year brings… and that is stability. As my trusty readers will know, I have had one heck of a year with a lot of stress and because of that CFS flare-ups. I cannot wait for a year that is emotionally and financially stable. In which I can find balance and build up an actual routine.

I don’t think I expected myself to write this a couple of years ago. To be frank, I am quite a contradictory person. I am the kind of person who gets bored and restless when I get into a rut, but who is also not super adventurous. I enjoy a good challenge, but enjoy staying inside my comfort zone as well. As such, for me to be happy and thrive I have discovered I need to have balance between those sides of me. If love doing research and pushing myself at work, but if I am doing so I need to have a stable home and financial environment. If these are lacking, it results in a feeling akin to loosing my center of gravity and desperately trying to keep myself from falling.

So what is my plan for the coming year? I plan to work hard, but also balance that out by spending time with family and friends (responsibly whilst social distancing of course). Work hard, “play” hard… or well, as hard as my CFS allows me to do either haha. I want to get back into eating healthy and actually going outside for a walk. And most of all I want to finish that freaking PhD.

I Swear By My Pretty Floral Bonnet I Will End You GIF by efitz11 | Gfycat

To help me start 2021 the best way I can, I have actually asked to get Monday the 4th off. That day I will spend taking stock of my PhD and plan the work that I have left to do. At least this year I won’t have to try to fit it around another Masters course, as well as a full-time job. It’s just the full-time job that is left… Piece of cake right? *Cough* Right… I will just keep telling myself that until I believe it lol.

From the 5th onward my plan is to get up at 6 a.m. every weekday, so I can take my time waking up, hopefully do some exercise (be it 10 minutes of yoga or a short walk depending on what my body and the weather allows) and do 1 hour of writing a day before work starts. On the weekends I will sleep until 7 a.m. so as to get myself a little extra rest without messing up my sleep rhythm. My Saturdays will remain the day on which I do absolutely nothing that is work or PhD related. On Sunday though I will dedicate at least the first half of the day to my PhD. So if I want to meet-up with friends I first have to do a bit of writing, before I get to play.

At the same time I will try to get back into the habit of eating healthy again. The past couple of months I have just eaten whatever I fancied whilst attempting to retain my sanity, but that seriously needs to stop. I have already told my Herbalife coach that I will be joining the 90 day challenge… so wish me luck. Honestly, I am craving vegetables so badly after Christmas that I don’t see that as being too much of an issue haha.

Needless to say I have no intention of beating myself up if I have to amend the above mentioned routine sometimes. Honestly, I am not perfect (much as I dislike it, being the perfectionist I am) nor am I Superwoman (according to my former colleagues at the Bodleain I am more of a Captain Marvel lol), so I will just take it as it goes and try to make the best of it.

So yeah, 2021… stability, structure and routine. Here I come! Higher. further. faster ūüėČ

2018, what a year!

Change

I cannot believe it is almost Christmas. Honestly, time seems to have absolutely flown by this year. And what a year it has been.

2018 was the year that I moved to the UK, got a new job at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, started a new post-graduate study in Digital Curation for said job and travelled outside of Europe for the first time to go to Walt Disney World.

Unfortunately, because everything that has been going on, it has also been the year of a distinct lack of blog posts. After moving to the UK I had intended to post a lot of updates to keep everyone updated about everything that has been going on. However, I soon had to admit to myself once more that I am not super woman. ^__^” Apparently working 4,5 days a week and doing a study a long side that is pretty tiring and does not leave a lot of time for things like blog posts… Who knew, right? Thankfully, I now have 1,5 weeks off until January 2nd, as the library closes over Christmas (… I don’t think I have a had a proper Christmas break since high school o.o).

But that does not mean that I will be lounging around binge watching Netflix the entire time though. Why, you ask? Well… because I have a massive deadline coming up! By the end of February I have to submit the full draft of my PhD thesis. Now at this stage I am only fine tuning my conclusion and editing my introduction… Nevertheless, it is still pretty daunting, with everything else that is going on. Oh, did I mention I have to hand in a 3000 word report for a course I am doing for my postgraduate degree at the same time? So yes the first two months of the new year are going to be heaps of “fun”.

On the other hand, I am glad to have a final deadline for the PhD in sight. I have been really focussed on getting my bearings here in England and have been neglecting working on it. So, I suppose this is a good kick in the bum to get back on track and finally finish the thing!

So to help me make that deadline I will have to do some proper planning. And for this reason I am going to get myself back into decorative planning (which basically is planning with pretty stickers). I was pretty into this last year, but had to stop myself as I noticed planning was becoming a chore and because I was mentally beating myself up over not checking off everything on my to do list for that day, simply because I was too tired. Which is never a good thing. Afterwards, it was pretty hard to get back into planning cause I had lost my mojo. Also, if your day consists of commuting to work whilst doing homework, working and watching some Netflix in the evening… well there is not much planning needed for that. But now that I have to fit my PhD into this somehow, this requires a lot more planning.

So I suppose those are my goals for 2019: finish the darned PhD and get back into planning. Oh, and maybe lose the 2 kilo’s I gained whilst eating all the things at Disney XD.

Do you have any goals set for 2019? Feel free to share in the comments!

 

Update on running and fatigue: it’s a rocky road

My regular readers will know that I have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. This morning I realised that I tend to write the majority of my blogposts during my days where I feel “ok” energy wise, because I do not really want people to catch my at my “low” points. I always try to mask it, so that the people around me (apart from those really close to me) don’t see me at my worst. But for the sake of honestly and openness, I am making an exception today. I am going to give you a peak into my struggle with chronic fatigue.

The past two weeks have been pretty rocky. I have had days where my enertiredgy levels have been “ok”, but for the most they have been pretty low. I have been having nightmares or really restless dreams, causing me to wake up even more tired in the morning.

Now, when I write “tired” I actually mean “exhausted”. Continue reading

Galway trip report

I know it has been forever, but I finally got round to writing a Galway trip report.

Before leaving I had promised myself I would make lots of pictures. Especially selfies together with my fiancé, as we do not have a lot of pictures together. I guess we are both avid picture avoiders haha.

But I have to confess that I do not have any pictures to show you guys. We had typical Irish weather: rain, rain and more rain. Honestly, it just made the entire city look rather dreary so I decided not to take pictures. It just wasn’t doing the place justice. Someone did take a picture of me though whilst I was presenting my paper, so stay tuned for that. Continue reading

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.

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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 fianc√©’s aunt is coming on Tuesday and will be staying with us for approximately 1,5 weeks. She lives with my fianc√©’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:

sheldon-hyperventilating-big-bang-theory

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! ‚̧

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  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.

The jury has reached a verdict! First 2 weeks with Herbalife

Tomorrow I will have been using the Herbalife shakes for about 2 weeks and I am honestly wondering… where the hell was this stuff two years ago?Afbeeldingsresultaat voor lots of energy! I wasn’t expecting to notice any massive changes any time soon, but I actually have.

For one, it has been easier to get out of bed. I have not pressed the snooze button on my alarm once these past two weeks! I sometimes even wake up before the alarm goes off. And, ok it’s not like I jump out of bed, but I do not feel like I have to drag myself out of it, feet first, either.

The past two weeks have been pretty busy and I have been tired because of this, I have not had a total energy crash where all I can do is lay on the couch and feel tired. Last Sunday I even did a Just Dance session… I cannot remember the last Sunday I did some extra exercise, just because I felt like it. Ok… it probably was a combination of “I felt like it” and “I probably should after what I ate yesterday” ^__^”. So yes, I have definitely noticed a massive improvement in my energy levels. Continue reading

Shake it!

Today is the fourth day of the Herbalife trail week, so it is high time I give you guys a bit of an update. I had started to write this post on day three, but was so busy that day that I did not get round to finishing and posting it. Needless to say, a post will follow on a later date about what I was so busy with (yes, that is a teaser :P).

I had my first shake on Sunday and I have to admit it took some getting used to. As I opened the package I decided to sniff it to see what it smelled like and was greeted by a very, very intense, sweet, vanilla smell. I added 250 ml of semi-skimmed milk, shook the contents in my brand new shaker cup and tasted. Yep, it tasted about as sweet and vanilla-y as it smelled…. Quite frankly, my first thought was: “If I am sticking with this, I sure as hell am switching to chocolate flavour!” It certainly wasn’t horrible, but not really my thing.

I congratulated myself on having made the decision to try this out on Sunday morning at around 10, rather than on Monday at 6.30. I don’t think the sweet drink would have gone down quite so well at 6.30. Continue reading

The not so chubby girl in the mirror

chubby girl mirrorEven though I know I have lost a lot of weight, which the scale still confirms every week, I often enough do not see myself as a regular (or healthy) sized girl. When I look into the mirror I often still see the overweight, chubby girl that I have been for most of my life. Even when others tell me how much weight I have lost, I am occasionally quite blind to it.

Last week I went shopping with my lovely friend Bianca and tried on a dress which had a pencil skirt. Whilst I was unsure whether or not I should take the dress, because I was worrying if it did not make my hips look huge, if it was flattering and did not make me look bigger than I was she blurted out: Gosh Mar! You are so skinny!

And this actually came as a total surprise to me, since at that very moment I was still seeing the chubby girl in the mirror. You know, the type that shouldn’t wear pencil skirts, because they are unflattering?

I ended up buying the dress, because I decided that I liked it and that I actually did look good in it. Once the weather actually allows for me to wear it (which I hope is really soon) I will try to see if I can make a picture of it to share with you guys. (Go project confidence!).

Continue reading

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

Project confidence: Perhaps being you is good enough

I am typing this post whilst siting on my warm, comfy couch,wrapped in a blanket whilst one of my cats is vying for my attention. Outside white flakes of frozen water have been falling down the sky for a good two hours by now. So the world is white and sparkly.

Although we usually go grocery shopping on Saturday’s that is obviously not going to happen today. We have to walk at least 15 minutes to get to the stores (yes *gasp* we do not own a car) and it’s just too risky. I really do not want to fall haha.

So rather than spending my time working on my grocery list or prepping for the grocery haul, I actually have the time to sit down and write a blog post.

I just wanted to apologize for the not so positive post last week, but I only thought it fair to share my downs as well as my ups with you. A lot of my readers as well as friends have told me in the past that they could not imagine how I balance all aspects of my life and look perfect whilst doing it. They told me they wished could do all of that like I did… So, I just thought it would be fair to show them that I actually often struggle to keep all my juggling balls in the air. I suppose this also shows that everyone has their own struggles: even though they may appear perfect to you, they usually are far from it. So I am going to share some advice that I have been trying to implement myself as well: Continue reading