7 Easy Ways to Feel Better After a Bad Day

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Healthy Living / Little Moments

Knowing how to pick myself up after a bad day was important when I was living abroad and away from my family and close friends and working in a job I didn’t like.  slowly but surely figured out some ways to make me instantly happy again.  Quick fixes to forget about the day, feel happy and stay positive. I still use these techniques (although I have a better support circle and I’m generally happy with my life here). Here they are:

  1. Exercise.  Going to the gym always makes me feel happier (from the endorphins!), stronger and healthier.
  2. Cook.  I like to make myself a simple meal with lots of nourishing veggies.  My fave pick-me-up dish is a quick stir fry with rice or noodles topped with an egg and chilli flakes.
  3. Drink.  Tea of course! Making and drinking a herbal or plain black tea helps me to relax instantly.
  4. Read.  A great page turner or a magazine with uplifting pictures and articles always makes me forget my own troubles.
  5. Watch.  A funny movie, TV show or youtube video which makes me laugh out loud and get caught up in someone else’s drama.
  6. Sleep.  Because everything will always be better in the morningAnd if all that fails…
    1. Call.  My mum and dad or boyfriend or close friends. Because they always know what to say to make me feel better.

Little Moments that Make me Happy

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Little Moments

It’s the simple things that make me happy…

  1. Infinite cups of Dilmah tea. Currently, Darjeeling and Ceylon Supreme are my favourite teas. I’m convinced that my obsession with tea stems from Sri Lankan heritage.  It has to be in my genes or something! If I don’t have a cup of tea first thing in the morning, don’t expect a happy version of me!
  2. Naps on the weekend. A long workweek plus blogging and exercise makes me super tired.  So I love hopping into bed for a little snooze on a Sunday afternoon. It makes all the difference for the following week.
  3. Hot showers. During our trip around rural Cuba, we stayed at one B&B where the shower pressure was minimal and the water temperature was lukewarm.   The water also stopped running after 11pm.  I have never appreciated a hot shower with full water pressure more in my life.
  4. I actually feel fresh, calm and happy after I eat fruit.  My fave fruits are papaya, apples, bananas, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and melon.  What are your’s?
  5. It must be a girl thing because every girl I know loves stationery but every guy I know couldn’t care less about the notebook or pen he uses.  I especially love my new compendium and post-it notes from Kikki-K.

What my Perfect Day Would Look Like

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Healthy Living / Little Moments

I sometimes think about all the different ways I could be spending my day whilst I am stuck at the office on a very busy day feeling tired and stressed.  On one of those days, I actually wrote down what my perfect day would look like.  Have you ever done that? Try it! I’m going to put this into practice the next time I take a day off during the middle of the work week.  (Because let’s face it, you can’t chill out and leave all your chores on a weekend!).

7.30am – wake up.  This is a sleep in for me! Drink a tall glass of water with a slice of lemon (because, why not?).

7.40am – Pray, meditate, read.

8.10am – Drink a big cup of tea and devour an almond croissant whilst reading a book.

10.00am – Drive to the gym and workout or join an exercise class of some sort.

12pm – feast on a light lunch like a salad, wrap, or sushi.

1pm – read and write.  All. Afternoon.

6pm – start preparing dinner for the boyfriend and I.  I would go for one of my favourites like pasta with meatballs or a homemade pizza.

8pm – eat dinner

9pm – watch ‘Gilmore Girls’ reruns.  Start winding down for bed and drink a cup of Pukka night time tea.

10pm – lights out, sleep!

 

What would your perfect day be like?!

Enjoy the Journey

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Little Moments / Mindfulness

A lot of us just want to get there and be settled already.  I know I did and I still have some days where I become impatient and I just want to be ‘there’ already.  To have that job or boyfriend or marriage or car or apartment or whatever it is your heart desires at the time.

 

But I have learned that the real fun is in the journey to get there.  The struggles, disappointments, funny moments and triumphs that make the story.  That’s what you will tell people about in the future.  The story of how you got to where you wanted to go.  That’s the fun part.  Have you ever read a book or watched a movie where the character just gets what they want immediately? Or the movie starts with the character having everything they ever dreamed of? Where does it go after that? No, we want to know how they got to where they are.  That’s the relatable part.  That’s the interesting part.

 

So next time you catch yourself thinking about how you wish you just got that job or boyfriend or car that you really wanted, just remember to enjoy the journey of getting there.

 

And besides, once you have gotten it, a new journey will begin to the next place you want to go.  So learn to enjoy the journey – it will help you to enjoy life.  That’s what I have learned for myself so far and it works!

24 Simple Things to be Happier

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Little Moments

Every so often I love to assess what I am doing and how I could be better at doing this crazy thing we call ‘life’.

  1. Wake up earlier (6.25am for me).
  2. Sleep earlier too (10pm!).
  3. Eat healthily – fresh whole foods as close to its natural state as possible.
  4. Meditate – start with 5 minutes a day and work your way up to more.
  5. Exercise – start by walking, then work up to jogging, running and more.
  6. Don’t talk about people behind their back.
  7. Don’t gossip about other people – good or bad.
  8. Do something kind every day.
  9. Call your parents.
  10. Tell your partner you appreciate them.
  11. Send a message to an old friend.
  12. Give donations to a worthy cause.
  13. Write a letter to someone.
  14. Read a book.
  15. Learn a new skill – join a cooking or dance class.
  16. Make a new friend.
  17. Laugh at a joke.  Find a funny youtube video or read a book that makes you LOL.
  18. Make someone else LOL.
  19. Listen to someone deeply – don’t get distracted by your phone or whatever else.  Listen.
  20. Be thoughtful with your words.
  21. Be generous with your time.
  22. Smile often – people will smile back, even if they don’t want to.
  23. Be happy when others achieve something – even if you wanted that promotion, the boyfriend, the engagement ring or baby just as much as your friend did – be happy for them when they get their moment.
  24. Be interested in what people say.

5 little moments this week

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Little Moments

1 Getting my nails painted a light pink. Love typing with freshly painted nails! 
2 A short week because we had Monday off for a public holiday. I don’t feel as tired as I usually do on a Friday. Plus I was visiting my parents on the long weekend so I woke up to this amazing Sri Lankan brunch cooked by my mum before flying back to Sydney. So delicious! 

3 Dinner with my boyfriend’s family at a lovely and cosy local Italian restaurant near our home. I had bruschetta to start and scampi with handmade linguine in a light tomato sauce. 👌🏾

4 Lunchtime strolls around the Botanic Gardens with a friend. I love lunchtime walks but they are even better with a friend.

5 A nourishing lunch when I had a headache and stayed home. Fry garlic and red onion in olive oil until it becomes soft and translucent; add lentils, spinach leaves and a can of tuna in chilli oil; add half a cup of brown rice and enjoy! 

5 Books that Made me Feel Warm and Happy

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Books

These are books I read and loved a little while ago.  Nothing makes me happier than a good book and a beverage or platter of food.  So I have paired each lovely and heart warming book with a delicious beverage or meal to devour while reading.  It’s not good for your mindfulness practice to read and eat/drink at the same time – but it’s good for your soul and happiness.

1. ‘The Help’ by Kathryn Stockett

Although it’s long, the story is engaging, very well written and warm. It’s set in in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1950s and written in the voice of 3 different characters; 2 African-American maids working for white women and one white girl with a big heart and thirst for change. It will make you laugh, cry and most of all, be grateful for all that we have today. It has a happy ending too.
Best read with a glass of iced tea and a plate of fried chicken.

2. ‘Almost French’ by Sarah Turnbull

This is a memoir of a girl from our pretty Sydney who moved all the way to beautiful Paris for love. It’s not a fairy-tale, even though it sounds like one! Sarah writes honestly about her struggles to fit into French society, as well as how hard it can be to move abroad. The novel is personable and entertaining with great stories and interesting characters.
Best read with a glass of wine and some crackers with Brie cheese.

3. ‘The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic’ (or sometimes known as ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’) by Sophie Kinsella

This chick-list novel was published over 10 years ago and turned into a movie. I just read it for the third time and it was still unbelievably ‘LOL’-funny. I had to cover my mouth to supress my giggles at the bus stop. If you haven’t read it and/or watched the movie – read it now. If you read it a couple of years ago, read it again – you won’t be disappointed. My only warning is not to read in public (unless your ok with people seeing you laugh yourself silly).
Best read with a cup of hot chocolate.

4. ‘The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency’ by Alexander McCall Smith

This is the first novel in the series of the same name (and also a HBO TV series). It’s about the only (and consequentially, ‘No. 1’) lady detective in Gabrone, the capital of Botswana. It’s even more precious to me now that I have been to this beautiful country! This novel begins with the story of how protagonist and lady detective Precious Ramotswe started her agency. It is then broken down into the various cases that she deals with. The cases and characters are interesting and funny, all set against the beautiful backdrop of Africa. It’s beautifully written and very easy to read after a long day at work.
Best read with a cup of bush tea (if you can find it!).

5. ‘Are you a Jackie or a Marilyn?’ by Pamela Keogh

I think I’m a bit of both! This is a super fun read – almost a fun self-help book with lessons on how to live and dress like both Jackie and Marilyn. A very warm read that will leave you surprised with which iconic lady you are most like!
Best read with a cup of tea (if you think you’re a Jackie) or a cup of tea with gin (Marilyn).

Happy reading!

 

On my Relationship with Food

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Healthy Living

When I was really little I didn’t eat a lot.  My mum says I only ate when I was hungry and had small portion sizes because that’s all that would fit in my little stomach.  I also ate what I was given – most of the time.  Somewhere along the way, that changed and I began to eat more.  I gained a little weight, started eating and exercising and lost it all, and gained weight a few years later after I moved overseas, lost it again and gained it when I moved back, lost it and then gained it again recently and lost it over the last few months.  I suppose our weight fluctuates depending on what is going on in our lives at the time.

 

But I realised that I needed to change my relationship with food and get back to my simple thought process when I was little.  To eat when I am hungry and only to fill my stomach.  Apparently your stomach is the size of your two fists, so imagine trying to fit a big plate of food into something that small!

 

On my relationship with food – well I had to change the way I look at eating.  I always celebrated and commiserated with food.  I celebrated a promotion or the end of a big project with some yummy takeaway pizza or Thai food.  But if I didn’t get the job I really wanted or had a bad day I would commiserate with grilled cheese sandwiches or French fries.  Also, if I had a big exercise session where I burned lots of calories, I would fill my stomach with bad food rather than good food.  I burned it all off but it still didn’t feel good to eat a heavy meal.

 

Recently, I have learned to look at food as just that – food.  Something to put into my mouth and fill my stomach.  Something to nourish my body.  Something to help me to heal my body or grow or whatever it needs to do.  And when you start looking at food like that, everything changes.  Sure, you might treat yourself here and there but I find that I opt for fries and grilled cheese a lot less than I used to.  I celebrate or commiserate with fresh ingredients cooked in a wholesome way.  I bake myself sweet potato fries sprinkled with paprika and sea salt rather than buying deep fried chips from the local takeaway.  I make homemade pizzas on wholewheat pita pockets with salt reduced passata sauce and lots of veggies instead of buying greasy, cheesy takeaway pizza.  If we do order Thai or Chinese takeaway, we order the healthier dishes like stir fries with brown rice.

 

I have also reduced my portion sizes which forces me to savour each mouthful on my plate.  I drink a whole glass of water afterwards and only take a second helping if I’m really hungry (usually on days where I have worked out a lot more than usual).

 

I feel a lot better after changing my relationship with food.  I feel healthier and lighter.  It’s great and I hope I continue!

 

 

Life Lately #3

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Little Moments

Do: It’s a long weekend so I am writing this on Monday from my parents’ house in Brisbane.  I arrived on Friday night feeling exhausted and sore from a tough Pilates class the day before.  On Saturday we popped out to buy my boyfriend’s present and spent the rest of the day at home, reading, chatting, laughing and resting.  On Sunday, we rested some more, popped out to get some takeaway lunch from the bustling multicultural area of Inala in Brisbane and then read some more. I also got a ton of writing done but in my little notebook instead of on my laptop.  We also walked around the beautiful lake near my parents’ home (pictured above) on both Saturday and Sunday. It was pleasant on Saturday but drizzly on Sunday which wasn’t as nice – but it was still exercise!

Eat: I ate too much meat over the last few weeks so I wanted to cut it out altogether and see how I felt.  Because I also try to eat dairy free, I therefore ate almost like a vegan! I ate eggs and a bit of cheese though, so I definitely wasn’t a strict vegan! My mum made delicious Sri Lankan vegetable curries with brown rice. I made vegetable gozleme (a Turkish flat bread stuffed with veg and cheese) on Saturday night and it was rather delicious, if I say so myself.  On Sunday we splurged with vegetarian takeout which was delicious but very carb heavy.  I’m not sure how I’ll do this vegetarian thing but I have to watch the carb intake! Last night, my mum prepared really yummy Sri Lankan egg and plain hoppers (almost like a crepe with a fluffy middle) from scratch which we mopped up with curries and sambol.  This morning we will have Sri Lankan milk rice for brunch before I head off back to Sydney at lunchtime.  I love visiting my parents – the food here is so good!!! I always end up eating too much but I don’t mind!

Drink: Lemon water every morning – tasty and supposed to be healthy! My mum’s sugary creamy milk tea using milk powder and sugar – so delicious and definitely not healthy.  But it’s only once in a while!

Watch: I didn’t watch much.  Except I stumbled upon this funny spoof of Gordon Ramsay and James Cordon doing a Junior ‘Junior’ Master Chef.  My mum found this cute video of a toddler eating Prince Harry’s popcorn!

Read: I read a lot of different books and blogs this weekend – it was so blissful! I kept ploughing through ‘Congo Dawn’ by Katherine Scholes on the plane.  I kept trying to race through ‘The Art of Living’ by Thich Nhat Hahn but ended up ordering it from Book Depsitory because I will have to return it to the library next week.  I also read some pages of ‘The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha’ which is a collection of suttas – a beautiful read when you’re feeling calm.  I love reading the suttas but never have the mental energy to do so during the week.  These are beautiful texts that have been painstakingly translated by Bhikku Bodhi at Wisdom Publications in Boston and therefore – I believe – should be read properly and thoroughly rather than skimming through quickly.

I hope you had a lovely weekend wherever you are!