And just like that..

I am back in love with statistics and everything involved. ❤︎ I have spent the past days re-reading all of my notes, going over various forum posts and re-listening to recorded tutorials to figure out where I had gone wrong in my calculations. It was stressful even horrifying at times and there were moments when I thought to myself ‘this is it, I will never learn to understand this…I am done. D.O.N.E!‘. Luckily I am very stubborn and have a rather good gut feeling about things so I kept on going, and yesterday I finally found the solution to all my statistical problems. And just like that, a lot of things simply seemed to click into place and I could see the bigger picture of what I was trying to do. The much needed ‘light bulb moment’ had finally arrived! So, I am currently writing up my experiment and results, which is going swimmingly now. Worst part is over, because explaining what I did, how I did it and why I did it is the easy part in my book. Anyway, my plan is to be done my Friday evening, so I then can take on the next two assignment that are due on the 6th and 7th. Studying is hard work, and the closer you get to finishing the harder it gets. I am rather amazed by the steep learning curve this year and increased demands, phew!

Carrying the beauty of a moment with me, within.

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For the first time in months, I had to get up at 6 am due to a doctors appointment. Honestly folks, I had forgotten about the utter beauty of ‘early’ mornings, the gorgeous colours completely floored me. I must admit that I lost myself completely in this beautiful view, completely at ease blocking out the familiar sounds of a small town waking up. Only taking in the marvellous wonders of our world, the sun, the sky, the river and the ice crystals covering the water. Some days, days like this – feelings like this are even more imperative considering the worrisome future our precious world may be facing. We are most definitely headed towards a new political era and it does scare me a bit. So whenever I get a chance, I take it all in – the way I see it in this very moment, in all its beauty. I breathe it all in and carry it with me, within.

Running and the benefits of being outdoors.

Sunday, and its all blue skies outside couldn’t be nicer weather to be honest. Of course still winter and cold (-10 this morning) but I cannot wait till I will be out running in a couple of hours. Till then I am trying my best to finish a psychology assignment involving SPSS and Anova. I really enjoyed SPSS to begin with, but now it is getting a bit more complicated and I must admit that I am a tad confused. Hopefully it will be crystal clear after this assignment. I often find that I tend to learn and develop the most during assignment weeks. I suppose it is because my brains had enough time process all the information and once sat down and re-reading everything fall into place. Anyway, for the time being I’m a bit stuck and waiting for my much needed ‘light bulb moment’ to appear, those of you that are students will know exactly what I mean!

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Anyway, in a couple of hours I will gear up warm and head off out in the sunshine for 40 minutes of rejuvenating running therapy. Since my last post I have only had to run at the gym once, and to be perfectly honest I hope that I wont have to go back and do it again! As I have stated before, I love the gym for strength training – just not for running. I need the fresh air, greenery and the immense sensation of complete freedom when I gaze across the Swabian alps. My psychology studies have recently been going over the concept of restorative environments – a place or situation where I as an individual am able to recover baseline levels of functional resources and capabilities that may have been lessened by stress or under-stimulation. Simply said; one way for me to restore those levels is to spend time outdoors in nature, and it is my reason for always running outdoors if it is possible.

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Psychological research suggest that some places indeed are better for ones well-being such as natural environments and natural aesthetics. Evidence for this have been provided by many including Roger Ulrich (1983) who investigated how hospital patients recovery was affected by whether or not they had a window which looked out on  a natural view. Results indicated that this was the case, showing faster recovery and increased ability to deal with pain when exposed to natural environments. Greenery matters folks, and nature truly matters to us as human beings. Our bodies does not only need to move to remain healthy our mind and body also reacts to our environment its shapes, colours, textures and sounds. If we constantly are surrounded by ‘non natural’ cold environments our bodies react accordingly and stress levels may increase.

To ease stress levels for people living in a city, public parks were constructed as a source of relaxation from the busy city life and an opportunity to reconnect with natural settings. To me, this is where ‘ecopsychology’ really gets my juices flowing, I am so fascinated by how our brain reacts to nature and how healing it can be to spend some time outdoors. This is yet another reason to why many medical doctors and psychiatrists ordinate rest and outdoors activities instead and/or in combination with anti depressants. Nature heals, nature is natural and of great importance for our mental health. All of this knowledge and understanding does serve as a great motivation to spend more time outdoors, to hike, run and enjoy the beautiful world we live in. Do you feel the same or do you prefer and find comfort in truly urban environments, and if so – why do you think that is the case?

Keen to learn more about restorative environments?

Roger Ulrich – Green is good for you  ←
Ulrich, R. S. (1983) ‘Aesthetic and affective response to natural environment‘, in Altman, I. and Wohlwill, J. F. (eds) Behaviour and the Natural Environment, New York, Plenum Publishing, pp. 85-126. You can buy the book here!
Mind.org.uk – A new green agenda for mental health  ←

Wednesday and a favourite breakfast!

This morning was somewhat magical, woke up fully rested and I love how the sunlight bounce against the white snow making it even brighter! Since I am a light fanatic, that is one of the best attributes of winter in my opinion. Anyway, started my morning with a favourite breakfast containing a lovely avocado (big health booster as we all know by now!) and lime, 80 g salmon (additional healthy fat!) and two eggs (protein source galore!) – an energy boosting breakfast for sure! And I will be needing it as I am heading off to the gym in a few minutes for an arms and back session. Looking forward to that immensely, in particular since the rest of the day will be spent sat in front of the computer writing up yet another essay. Student life at it’s best!

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When I have time during this week I am going to tell you about my latest obsession, or well, it is more of a motivational product which I have fallen head over heels in love with! Definitely not first on the ball, but better late than never eh! Wishing you all a lovely Wednesday, and I challenge you all to get some exercise done today. It doesn’t matter if its a walk or a heavy gym session – just do something that makes your pulse increase a tad and makes you feel truly alive.

The current situation.

I have braced myself several times these past weeks and headed out for a run despite roads being covered by snow and ice. Today though, I called it quits when it comes to outdoor running for a while. Not because it is impossible, mainly because I really don’t want to injure myself somehow. So, until the roads are free from snow again I will have to do my runs indoors, on the treadmill at the gym. I cannot lie, and truly it is a bit of a downer to have to go back to running indoors. However, I hope that I will get back into it quite quick and maybe even start to even like it a bit again. Not too sure about that last part though, but one can hope eh? I don’t know about you guys, but once the outdoors running sort of got into your system for real, it is rather difficult to shake that need and desire to just get out there and get to breathe in fresh air and be surrounded by fantastic nature and wildlife. Treadmills just can’t compare no matter how nice the gym may be. Anyway, I will venture indoors unless the weather changes soon and it will be okay.

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I have had yet another break from 365evermore, mainly because my studies have taken a steep curve upwards in the amount of work required and time spent on weekly assignments. I treated myself to a few days off anything and everything related to psychology and studying over Christmas and New Year but other than that I have been studying nonstop. It is pretty intense to say the least! Additionally, I realise that I left my blog on somewhat of a cliffhanger when it comes to my personal health and I am sorry about that. I did get my lab results back in November and everything was fine, which is fantastic of course – if it wasn’t for the fact that I still suffer from the same problems i.e weight gain (despite training and eating healthy) and occasional horrendous headaches. All signs of Hashimotos still keeping a tight grip of my body, unfortunately. I am going back to my doctor again at the end of January to see where my levels are at and go from there. Fingers crossed that an increased dosage will do the trick!

Other than that my plan is to try to update here a bit more again because I really miss writing about my life, training, food and being a bit creative with photography and such. We will see how it goes, I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and let’s get goooo 2017!

Sighing just a little bit, smiling just a little bit.

Weeks, months pass by in a flash, or so it seems anyway. I have had yet another break from writing here, not because I do not train or cook or maintain whatever needs to be maintained outside of here. My reason for not being here, is mainly due to the battle I am currently fighting with my own body, my own hormones and Hashimoto’s. And I do not like to complain, I do not like to whine about my situation because I know that many, many, many have it so much worse. That way too many beautiful souls are busy fighting battles far, far worse than the one that is occupying my life. And despite my current struggles, I am lucky, I truly am. Because I have normal energy levels, I can train, stay up late (ish, I have never been an evening/night person) concentrate and do amazingly well at my studies and simply enjoy life to the fullest. And I am tremendously grateful for that, I truly am. Yet, I cannot wish for anything else but finding out exactly what it is that is wrong in my body. What it is that is causing me problems and then treat it, if treatable. The peace of mind to know, in times like this, I believe it to be the most important key to peace of mind. To find out and become aware. To attain needed information and be able to process it all. These are the current thoughts running through my mind, when my new doctor interprets recent test results, wrinkles his forehead and gently says ‘you are an odd case indeed’. And I cannot do anything but smile, because in truth, I have never done anything by half measures. It has always been about all or nothing, so I see no reason to why my potential Hashimoto’s related problem would be anything but extraordinary. Its just the way my life seem to be, and that is okay. I just need to know.

So I have spent the past month seeing my doctor and the nurses on numerous occasions, my arms have been battered and blue from all the different blood tests. Several potential problems have been knocked off the list, some which disappeared with a huge sigh or relive and some I am awaiting results for next week. And within those tests some of the worst nightmares reside, some conditions that many peoples worst nightmares are made of. So we will see, what next week will bring forth. Ever the optimist I still hope that it will be something good, that even if bad appears among the news, that something good will come out of it. That somehow, in that potential curtain of darkness a ray of light will shine through. And till then, I will keep on running, hitting those paths with a mix of gentle fury and delight. I will keep on lifting in the gym, growing stronger, pushed by my newly hired personal trainer and I will continue to enjoy the silence of November and the darkness in- and of the forest. Tall and green, breathing calmness all over my entire being and through everything that I am.

The fear of running during dark autumn evenings.

Currently preparing for my evening run, warming up cold and tired ligaments, tendons and body. Not to mention my mind, it is rather mushy after a whole day in front of the computer stuffing my head with numerous theories and methods. The upcoming examination next year is haunting me day and night despite the fact that it is a long way off yet. However, I find that there is no better thing to clear my mind, shake off any lingering anxiety or stress, than heading off out for a run. It is my mind palace, my favourite place to be, body and mind. To once again become one with my own breathing, fully reconnecting with my body and everything that I am. To thrive in the feeling of ‘nothing else matters here and now’, unstoppable and empowered by the strength in my legs, the stubbornness in my forever going forward feet and uttermost love for draining myself of energy to regain, energy. To fill up my emptied out levels of complete peace of mind. That is what running means to me, that is why I love it so much. The other benefits? Well, they are the icing on the cake. That is all.

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One thing that I do not like about running during autumn and winter times is the darkness. And yes I know, it is easy to mend by heading off out during daytime but its not always an option no matter if you are your own boss (student!) or not. I used to be very confident when it came to these things, not only because I was pretty good at martial arts and an excellent – fast and strong – runner, but also because I believed the world to be kind. However, I did learn the hard way that the world is not always kind, and it does not take much for you to end up in a very bad situation that will impact your life for a long time.

Ten years ago I was physically attacked and abused, scars that will never fully heal but that I today carry with a much lighter heart and mind than I did a couple of years ago. It did however take a long time to get back to where I am today, training became something extremely negative to me. Running was a complete no for years and I lost my ability to trust people, strangers in particular. The idea to head off out on a run on my own in the darkness is still a rather daunting task. It is a concern that I carry with me when I enter a seemingly empty and remote forest and areas that I do not always know. Will I be alone? And perhaps more important, will I be left alone? Most of the time I follow the rule to only run in areas that I know very well, I suppose it is a way to control any potential outcome. I know all the shortcuts and I know every single path in the forest where I run. But yet, that knowledge may not be enough if I would encounter the wrong kind of person or persons. And it is a tragedy that I and many with me, in particular women, have to worry about things like this. That my body is not my own to own.

Statistics of violent attacks and abuse suggest that it is often made by people that we already know and trust. Perhaps it is the ”nice” runner you always wave to on your way out or someone living along the route where you live who spend his/her evening keeping tack of your routine, learning everything. I certainly do not want to scare anyone off by writing this post, my goals are instead to voice a loud but gentle, be careful out there. Be mindful of your surroundings and if possible team up with a running partner if you run in very remote places! During autumn and winter evenings my fiancé always cycle with me as he (naturally) does not want me to feel uneasy about practising a sport that I love. It helps, but I wish that our world was kind that every encounter could be brilliant or at least neutral. So dear readers, my fellow runners, be careful, be mindful and look after each other!

Back to nordic walking.

Started this morning with some nordic walking in the nearby areas, it is a really nice way to wake up mind and body before breakfast. Ideally I would have loved to go for a proper hike in the national park but since it is gym day today it had to be a shorter walk instead. Went out for a run yesterday which was a lot more enjoyable than the former one so I am feeling great about my training at the moment. Though I had a bit of a break, I am slowly and finally able to ease my way back into a more active life again. Thumbs up for that!

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Warm oatmeal porridge and gorgeous American blueberries after the walk and now I have the fuel for a few hours of studying before heading off the gym. Really enjoying these two psychology modules at the moment, investigating the ‘theory of mind’ and animal minds. Incredibly to develop a better understanding of the similarities as well as differences between humans and non human animals minds. So far it has actually made me even more steady in my belief of staying away from eating meat even though that is not at all the aim of the course. However, wider knowledge  of animals emotional lives and ability to interpret their surroundings does make me even more humble towards all the beautiful creatures that we share our world with.

Saturday evening, study books and running plans!

Spending my Saturday evening in front of the computer, creating various mind maps with the fantastic ‘Simple mind‘ app. If you are a student and do not use it already, go and download it pronto! You will not be disappointed, it is that good! This study year is rather packed with information and I spend most of my days studying either theory or numbers (currently learning SPSS). I really don’t mind spending most part of my weekend studying, I love my subject and when you love what you do everything seem rather easy and enjoyable. Though I don’t mind studying, I also believe that it is important to have breaks and live life a little. Yesterday evening was one of those times when I took the evening off to go out for some yummy sushi with my fiancé and a couple of his colleagues. Celebrating that they had published some work in a research journal a while back. We all had a fabulous time eating plenty of food, drinking a bit of sake while chatting and laughing the evening away. Enjoying life, simple as that!

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Anyway, tomorrow I will have yet another date with my books and computer. However I do have a run planned so it is going to be interesting to see how my body will react to that since the last run was a bit of a drag. I do think it was due to the ‘pre virus outbreak’ drowsiness in my body though, since I did come down with a cold and a sore throat two days after the run. I don’t know if that was the true reason for my low energy at that time, I do however know that I am so very psyched to go out for a run tomorrow! Garmin is charged, my running clothes are folded and ready, shoes are cleaned and my spirit is high! I hope you all are enjoying your Saturday evening whatever you may be up to!

Breakfast for cold mornings, and training routine is back on!

Shortly after my previous post I caught a cold virus which after a week turned into a horrendous cough. Today is actually one of the first days when I feel back to normal again and I am so very happy about that. I really don’t do being ill, as I am not a very good patient due to my lack of patience. This cold and affiliated side effects came as a big surprise since it must have been well over two years since I caught a cold virus. It has been so long that I somehow also had managed to forget how utterly boring it is to be in ‘house arrest’ and too weak to do just about anything. But I’m not going to bore you with all the details of my past two weeks, because it is all over now and today I have (of course!) been to the gym for an ‘ease back into it’ session. It was lovely! However the gym was a lot easier on the body than the cardio session, but it’s okay as I am not fully back yet. Soon enough I will be able to push it a bit again, cannot wait to hit the roads…or wait, what am I saying? It is 💫trail running💫 time now – woo – no more pollen, perfect autumn air and a forest that is a lot less crowded by people than during the summers.

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I do love outdoors running above all else, but honestly guys, this year (at least here in Germany) the weather truly decided to skip out on autumn and instead jump straight into winter temperatures, brr! It is bloody cold outdoors, so very cold that I have decided that it is time to head off to the shops tomorrow and invest in yet another pair of warm running pants. Along with cold mornings my ‘winter breakfast’ has also re-entered my life, warm oatmeal porridge and whichever fruit or berries I may have in the kitchen at the time.

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Today I decided to use up some American blueberries that were in desperate need of being eaten so it was a perfect match this morning. When it comes to fruit and berries I don’t tend to keep exact measurements as I believe that the immense health benefits outnumbers the potential extra calories. I suppose if you are on a low sugar diet (including fructose) it may be a different story, but I need a little something in my oatmeal to spice it up a bit.

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I have to be honest here and tell you that I actually do not love oatmeal porridge like many people do. As a matter of fact I tolerate it and at times I am even able to enjoy it a bit. This may seem a tad strange, why eat something that I don’t love? Well, because I still know that it is healthy for my body and because I know that I have a tendency to eat the same thing every morning far too often. Contrary to what I sometimes try to convince myself; my body does not only appreciate variation it actually depends on it. I wish that I could love oatmeal porridge because it is such an easy and quick breakfast, with numerous health benefits. But its something about the texture of the porridge that sometimes makes me less keen, however it is the ultimate student breakfast as it is rather cheap and you don’t need much to feel perfectly sated. Additionally, in these cold October mornings this breakfast is warm and lovely and I can almost feel how very gentle it is while traveling through my body.

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I usually add about three table spoons of cold milk as well, I know that it is not recommended to consume any milk products in the morning if you suffer from Hashimotos. Keeping my milk intake at minimum is therefore important to me personally, but I simply cannot eat oatmeal porridge without milk. I guess it is because it is how I have always ate it since I was a child and my father used to serve it during winter mornings. Perhaps that is yet another reason to why I so stubbornly continue to eat this breakfast, because it is affiliated with a person that is no longer here and as such it is almost like a tribute to him in itself. Who knows, what I do know is that oatmeal is perfect for those days when I need something a bit ‘heavier’ that will keep my body busy and happy for a bit longer. A bowl of oatmeal in the morning can easily keep me going past lunch time if I need to.

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Anyway, oatmeal porridge may not be my everyday breakfast routine but every now and then it is nice to be able to cook something that is warm, quick and easy. The fact that you can add fruit and berries is a bonus as well, my favourite is actually grated fresh apples and then cinnamon sprinkled on top. Yum! Pretty much like eating an apple pie, or well more or less anyway.