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!

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  ←

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!

mw1mw2mw3mw4

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!

Closing in on December.

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Okay, so my birthday bash did not turn out the way I was hoping – the weather let us down tremendously (it was pouring down all day) so after a couple of hours trying to wait it out we actually decided to stay home. A bit disappointing as I had planned to indulge in some serious shopping and treat myself, but at the same time, not the end of the world. Nonetheless, we had a lovely time together at home and I was gifted some fabulous birthday presents from my boyfriend, so spoilt! ♡ However, the day after my birthday I got the worst headache ever (yes, I know what you are thinking post birthday drinks celebrations, but I do not really drink much if ever so it was completely unrelated) which I think is related to my thyroid problems (hormonal changes) since I have not hit correct levels with my medication as of yet. Quite annoying and very painful, but hey there are worse things and I am grateful that I normally “only” suffer from these kind of headaches for two days and then I am back to normal again.

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Todays student snack, some lovely kaki (diospyros kaki) and raspberries, perfect little source of energy boost during my studying. Additionally, some days ago I received the mark for my last essay and I was quite shocked to see 97% (first) naturally this will be celebrated a little bit extra when there is time. Because at the moment I am crazily busy, preparing for my in laws to come visit next week, keeping up the gym routine, buying christmas gifts (expats life always mean posting all gifts in early December to stand a chance to arrive on time) and ordering new things for the flat. Busy bee, but I suppose that most people are at this time of the year! Are you all longing for Christmas? Or do you not care much for traditions? I love it all, the decorations, the gift buying, the writing on the cards and wandering through a snowy town when it is dressed up in its very best Christmas outfit. Absolutely lovely!