My goodness me!

Currently revising for my last examination for this entire study year and let me tell you, it has been such a beast of a year! 🙅🏻 However, I have learnt so much despite being absolutely swamped with work, additional reading and preparing for examinations. Studying psychology is most definitely serious business and the amount of knowledge which we have to accumulate is broad and at times decidedly complicated. It does make me feel very proud of myself though, for making it thus far and I am still hopelessly in love with this field. I simply cannot see myself doing anything else in the future than this. I did however have to put 365evermore on hold for most part of the year. I simply did not have time for updating here as well as staying on top of training, socialising and studying. But here we are – 11 essays later, two statistics tests, one poster and in two weeks the final examination of this study year. I am a tad hesitant about the examination but for some odd reason feel quite calm as well perhaps because I totally feel like I have learnt so much and rest rather comfortably in that feeling. So, bring on the 7th of June!

Shortly after the examination I will be flying back home to Sweden to spend some time with mum and completely collapse for a week or two. Truly looking forward to enjoying the sun, walking on the beach (take in the lovely ocean..mmm!) and enjoy fantastic food and the company of a most loved one. It is certainly much needed, much longed for! I will return mid June with a few changes to 365evermore and a bit of a reboot, stay tuned!

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  ←

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!

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!

So, this happened!

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As you may have noticed, I have not been too active on 365evermore in a while and this is the reason! I have simply needed some time to process all this amazing that has happened and rightly so I would say. Though this proposal was no surprise, as I actually really dislike surprises – the feeling when the ring arrived was a lot more overwhelming than I could imagine. I am a very rational person in general, I love science and believe that an engagement and marriage is something that should be discussed, decided upon together as it is a huge commitment both emotionally and financially. The emotional part I had no worries about as we have been a couple for over a decade and as such are pretty darn sure that we want to spend the rest of our lives together. Though I do like some benefits of marriage, I wholeheartedly dislike other parts. My main problem with this institution (i.e. marriage) is the part where the government and society all of sudden will start to have a significant part in our lives.  Sorry guys, I warned you I am not much of a romantic and extremely rational when it comes to decisions like this. If you have read Elizabeth Gilberts book ‘Committed‘ you may understand what I am talking about, if not, go read it as it is a fabulous book but also very thought provoking when it comes to the ‘socio-cultural’ and political concept of marriage. Another point and a valid one, is that neither of us are actually religious and as such have absolutely no ‘natural’ relationship to marriage as a religious institution manifesting the union of husband and wife.

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However, evident of the proof above, we did eventually come to the conclusion that we did want to get engaged and eventually married despite not agreeing with everything that marriage represents. But during this time I also realised that I don’t have to agree with it all, I don’t have to view it as a ‘religious tradition’ or rites de passage. We are free to define it however we like. And to us, not too different to many others I would imagine, it is simply a beautiful way to celebrate and further manifest our love to each other- and to society as a whole. And I must say, wearing the ring is absolutely fabulous, because even though very little has changed, I still feel somehow different. I can only imagine how I will feel when the second ring is in place!

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Let me just say a little about the ring as well, because we were quite particular when it came to material, gem and goldsmith. We both are huge nature- and wildlife lovers who enjoy many outdoorsy activities such as swimming, climbing, snowboarding, skiing, hiking, mountain-biking, trail-running and so on. Currently we are very fortunate and live in an area of Germany where there is a huge national park with plenty of trails, beautiful nature and fantastic wildlife in general. It is simply gorgeous and something we treasure immensely. To me, this love and appreciation goes hand in hand with taking an environmental responsibility. Buying an engagement ring was no exception to that rule. It was vital to us that our ring and gem left the smallest environmental dent as possible. This firstly meant that we wanted the ring itself to be made out of recycled gold. This is an environmental issue that sometimes is forgotten in the ‘engagement and wedding industry’, the disgraceful disaster that the gold mining industry is causing the environment. Secondly, we wanted to avoid using diamonds, because as most people are aware of today, there is many ugly problems related to the diamond industry and as such it was never really an option for us. It is important to realise that it can never be fully guaranteed that a diamond is conflict free (including those that are labeled as such) unless the gemstone is produced in a laboratory. Though I personally steer far away from diamonds I do actually love ‘shiny’ things (very much like Gollum and crows I suppose) and really wanted a beautiful gemstone in my ring. So when my partner introduced me to moissanite, a lab-grown gemstone which was first discovered over 100 years ago on a meteor that struck earth, I fell head over heels in love with both the gemstone and its marvellous history. To us there is no other gemstone that could be more perfect, or more romantic. So there it is, our story. An end to the former and a new beginning to all beautiful things to come!

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For anyone that would like to get in contact with a fabulous, kind and much talented goldsmith, then please head over to Kristin Coffin’s webpage. You will not regret it!

Monday, and I love it.

I love Mondays, and the feeling of a whole blank new week ahead of me that I can shape however I please. Of course this is the privilege of someone who currently does not work, and yet have some time off until the ‘real’ student year begins. Monday equals a sweaty gym session for me which I love, I must say that I find great satisfaction in lifting and noticing the change in my muscle strength and body composition in general. I firmly believe in strengthening the body not only because it helps me during running but more importantly because it will keep my body healthier (and stronger) as I grow older. It is definitely my main drive behind training, to do my part when it comes to providing the right tools for my body to build a healthy frame.

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A couple of years ago I discovered a lump in my breast and went through half a year of stressful doctors visits, numerous examinations until it was resolved and declared a-ok. Going through a health scare like that definitely made me reconsider some of my previous dispositions towards various things in life. It made it easier to remain focused on where I want to go in life and what I would like to achieve in relation to a healthy lifestyle. At this point, I genuinely thank my body everyday, not because I think that my ‘body’ understands what I am saying, but because my mind does. And if I learnt anything from being ill myself, and sitting by my father as he was terminally ill, what we think – the thoughts that we cultivate – can make a world of difference. Positivity is key, and that does not mean to always and only be positive (or be a constant ‘yes sayer’) sometimes saying no is the most positive thing you can do for yourself. Positivity to me means that I remain true to myself, humble towards everyone else and grateful for the opportunities, struggles and wins that I encounter in my life. It is as simple as that, and it is Monday and I happen to love it.

Finally back again!

Unfortunately I too caught the virus and its taken forever to get back to normal, but my hands and feet are now back to form and I couldn’t be happier. However, I must say that the medical information on the Internet relating to this virus (‘Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease’) are severely understating the impact it has on your body. As an adult you are ‘supposed to’ experience a bit of a sore throat and perhaps a few ulcers in your mouth. Either my boyfriend and I must have been extremely unlucky or the information is incorrect to say the least. I spent two days in bed with around 40 degrees fever, followed by 8 days of blisters all over my hands (couldn’t fold my fingers whatsoever) and under my feet so I couldn’t walk except on my toes which was still extremely painful as well. I needed help with basically everything from showering as I couldn’t hold the shower head, couldn’t even turn the water off and on because my fingers were too painful and lacked ‘normal’ strength. To say the least this virus completely threw me off, never thought I wouldn’t be able to open water bottles, cook or even stand for longer than 2 minutes without losing balance and be in extreme pain. Not pleasant whatsoever.

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However, I am finally back to normal and went out for my first run this morning at 7 am and it was fantastic! Never thought I would have so much oomph in my legs after having almost two weeks break from most training. But it went overwhelmingly well and I could not be more pleased! Being able to be physically active again was much needed as I really don’t like sitting around doing nothing. Almost two weeks spent in bed or on the sofa in front of the tv does not do me any favours. As a matter of fact I tend to get quite down when I don’t get to move my body or do some kind of exercise so it has been a real  nightmare. But its all over now, the sun is shining and I have a date with my hairdresser/beautician (cut and massage yay!) in a few hours. As such I have a lovely day ahead of me, and I hope the sun is  also shining wherever you are!