5 Important Life Lessons I’ve Learned In 2017

Now that it’s December, I’m more in self-reflection mode than ever. This happens every year, but especially this year I’m in overdrive. That’s because 2017 was such a defining year for me, much more defining that 2016 or even 2015. A long-term relationship ended early this year (on good terms! Thank you for still sending my pictures of your cat, Nick) and something new and beautiful has started. I also decided to go back to school at the age of 21 for another degree, and I’m now knee deep into homework and exams.  In short: I’ve learned a lot this year, some of which I want to share with you today.

People cater to strength

I’ve learned that you must be your own source of strength while you navigate through the world. I mean that in all ways possible. Be physically strong enough so you know how to defend yourself, but also be someone who doesn’t let other people’s opinions define them.

Be strong enough to choose your battles and know when an argument is pointless. Be strong enough to step away from something if you need to – if you know that something isn’t good for you. You’ll notice that if you’re strong, people will also respond to you in a positive light and that they will respect your strength.

Short-term hustle and long-term patience are each others best friend

A while back I read a reddit comment that talked about the concept of ‘zero days’.

”There are no more zero days. What’s a zero day? A zero day is when you don’t do a single fucking thing towards whatever dream or goal or want or whatever that you got going on. No more zeros. I’m not saying you gotta bust an essay out everyday, that’s not the point. The point I’m trying to make is that you have to make yourself, promise yourself, that the new SYSTEM you live in is a NON-ZERO system. Didn’t do anything all fucking day and it’s 11:58 PM? Write one sentence. One pushup. Read one page of that chapter. One. Because one is non zero. When you’re in the super vortex of being bummed your pattern of behaviour is keeping the vortex going, that’s what you’re used to. Turning into productivity ultimate master of the universe doesn’t happen from the vortex. It happens from a massive string of CONSISTENT NON ZEROS.”

This is what I do. I try to become better every day, even if it’s just 0,1%. But at the same time, I’ve become content with the idea that I don’t need x amount of money or x amount of (page)views to be happy and successful. Instead, I focus on enjoying the process and working towards my goals on a consistent basis. I focus on being thankful for the things I’ve learned and I try to become better for my future self. Also: I’ve learned that there are no shortcuts to get what you want. You need to put in the work. Read More »

real self care

The Other Side of Self-Care: Because It’s Not All About Yoga Classes and Glittery Bath Bombs

As a social work student, self-care is one of those terms that’s just overused. If you don’t practice self-care, you’ll get a burnout is something that is often said by my professors. And that is absolutely true. But we often talk about self-care in the sense of (instant) gratification. We talk about that things that bring us pleasure, like eating a dessert or soaking in a bubble bath. Treat yo’self style. 

And while this is absolutely a form of self-care, I feel like there is often an entire side of self-care forgotten. A side that isn’t as photogenic and won’t look cool on your Instagram.

I realized this myself when I went through a rough patch a while back. Feeling bad every day is exhausting, and it makes you want to indulge in these pleasurable activities like it’s a lifeline – and sometimes it is. And while these activities have their place in self-care, it didn’t help me to feel better in the long run. Instead, some of it made me feel even worse.

Self-care is often an ugly thing. It’s making a spreadsheet of all your bills and/or debt, enforcing a morning routine even though you don’t feel like it, going for a run in the pouring rain, cutting out a toxic friend, cooking yourself healthy meals when you feel like eating fries and above all: being honest with yourself. 

Pleasurable activities have their place in self-care, but only after you practice making the conscious choice to tell yourself the truth, and to work on building a life that you are comfortable in – a life you don’t need to escape from. It’s being okay with not being everything all at once. Accepting your flaws as they are and knowing that your past mistakes don’t define you.

Because if you only spend time on the pleasurable activities, you’ll get the instant gratification, but not the long-term benefits. And in my opinion, those long-term benefits are what self-care is really all about.

why donate blood

5 Reasons Why You Should Really Consider Donating Blood

I have wanted to donate blood since forever, and a little while ago I finally decided to just go ahead and do it. I had my blood tested, and when everything turned out fine I went ahead and donated for the first time. I was happy to see that there were plenty of other people at my local blood bank donating as well, but blood and plasma donors are still necessary, which is exactly why i’m writing this post.

Now please, if you can’t – or really don’t want to – donate blood, you shouldn’t feel obligated to do so. But I realize that ‘wanting to donate blood’ is something on lots of people’s (bucket) lists, but it’s also one of those things that you kinda keep in the bang of their minds, like it’s never the right time or whatever.  That’s what it was like for me anyway, until I decided to finally go ahead and do it. Here are some (unexpected) benefits to donating blood!

You help save lives

Obviously the number one reason to donate blood is that your blood helps save lives. In the United States, every two seconds a patient needs blood. Blood goes bad too, so we always need more of it. Many hospitals unfortunately don’t have enough blood to satisfy every patient, but your donation can help achieve that goal!

I often notice that people think about blood donations after hearing about a high-profile catastrophe that has left many people injured, like shootings or natural disasters. But there are less dramatic, but equally pressing, requirements for blood donations every day: leukemia sufferers can need six to eight infusions of platelets every day for a month, and blood is often required for women suffering catastrophic miscarriages or difficult childbirth. People getting an organ transplant and premature newborn babies also need blood.

You get a mini check-up

Before getting your blood drawn, you get a little mini check-up from the nurse. During the check-up, you get a chance to find out what your body temperature, pulse, hemoglobin and cholesterol levels are. I’m kind of a stats nerd anyways, but little check-ups like that never hurts! Read More »

The Old Taylor Swift is Dead: a Track by Track Review of ‘reputation’

First things first: I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan. Ever since I heard her song Teardrops on my Guitar somewhere on Myspace in 2006, I was sold. Her dreamy and personal lyrics about heartbreak and young love were relatable for me at that time. But as Taylor grew up, so did I. Her debut album  Taylor Swift (2006) and Fearless (2008) will always have a special place in my heart, but I don’t relate to the lyrics in the same was as I did back then.

If you listen to Speak now (2010) and Red (2012) you can hear Taylor Swift grow up through her music. 1989 (2014) – her first official pop album –  felt like the conclusion of that. In a way, I grew up with Taylor Swift. As I matured, so did she. Of course, her well-curated public image refrained her from singing about certain subjects explicitly, and I think with reputation (2017) she’s finally letting that go. It’s like that with this album she’s saying ‘‘well, everyone already knows what kind of a sneaky snake I can be, better embrace it.”

So without further ado, here is my track my track review (and favorite lyrics of each song!) of reputation.

…Ready for it?

This song actually came out a few weeks before the album as one of the promo tracks. It was one that I immediately liked. I think the heavy bass that the song starts out with are a really good introduction of what the album is going to be like. It also introduces a metaphor you will hear throughout the rest of the album. It’s very Crime & Punishment. Favorite lyrics: he can be my jailor / burton to this Taylor. 

End Game (ft. Ed Sheeran & Future)

When I saw this was on the track list before the album came out I got excited and scared at the same time. This track was either gonna be good or an absolute mess. It ended up being pretty damn good. I could do without Future’s part, mostly because I feel he’s super toned down in this song, but I really enjoy Taylor and Ed’s parts. When (and if) this is released as a single, I think it’ll be really successful just through momentum alone.  Favourite lyrics: I hit you like bang / we tried to forget it / but we just couldn’t / And I bury hatchets / but I keep maps of where I put ’em / reputation precedes me / they told you I’m crazy / I swear I don’t love the drama / it loves me. Read More »

How To Become A Straight-A Student: 5 Habits Every Student Should Have

Since I’m back in college and I got two A’s for my assignments in the first semester (sorry for the humblebrag, but at least you know the tips below work, am I right?) I’ve been thinking about studying effectively a lot.

What separates truly successful students from those who aren’t as successful? You might say ‘intelligence’ right away. While that’s true in some cases, work ethic almost always beats out intelligence. You don’t have to be born a genius to get good grades – I certainly wasn’t. Below you’ll find five habits I’ve consistently worked on in the first semester, and that have played a big part in getting only A’s so far.

Go to the lectures and pay attention

Even if you think you don’t have to. Or because you think you already know all of the material. A lot of professors will give you clues as to what they feel is point of emphasis. Take notes in class. It’s tedious, but you’ll thank yourself later when the test comes up. I like to write my notes down on paper, because it forces me to focus on the lecture more. My laptop is just a distraction for me.

Before getting to class, do the recommended preparation. If you have any mandatory reading assignments, do them before your class. This allows you to understand the class better, because the information isn’t new. I also like to reread my notes from the last class to freshen my mind on the topic a bit. This allows me to connect the dots between different subjects more easily. And when you understand something, it’s much easier to remember. Read More »


The Post In Which I Talk About Being Your Own Friend

When I was a stubborn thirteen year old, my psychologist at the time said something to me that stuck with me forever. ”Would you treat your friends the same way you treat yourself?” Of course not, was my immediate reaction. They were my friends after all. And at the same time I realized something important that day: I was treating myself like shit.

Looking back, I know exactly why. Because I thought I was shit. That I wasn’t worth anything. That I didn’t belong. There was something wrong with me. I was broken, didn’t have talents, was unable to make my parents proud. Or at least I felt like that. If you read this blog regularly, you know that I’ve come a long way since then. And I can finally say that now, I am my own best friend.

The road to better self-esteem was anything but easy. And like anything worthwhile in life, it was hard work. But my life became much easier and much more enjoyable when I became my own friend. Read More »

help my friend is depressed

My Friend Is Depressed: An Incomplete Guide To Helping Your Suffering Friend

First of all, kudos for you if you opened this post because you’re worried about your friend. It’s really hard to see someone you care about sink into a mental illness, not knowing what you should do or say.

One out of every ten adults in the US suffers from depression.  Not to mention that this number would probably be much higher if there wasn’t any stigma attached to this disorder, or going to therapy at all. At worst, depression can lead to suicide – the second leading cause of death in 15-29 year olds. As someone who has suffered and has seen people suffer from this mental illness, I wanted to share some thoughts on the subject.

Understanding What Depression is (And Isn’t..)

I think the first step is to understand what your friend is going through. From another person’s perspective, depression can look like regular sadness. Your friend might not get out much, they’ll say they are sick, don’t feel well but that it will pass. Regular sadness will pass with time, but depression doesn’t work the same way.

“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.” ― Laurell K. HamiltonMistral’s Kiss

Depression is much more extreme than regular sadness. It lasts longer. It’s more intense. Depression is not sadness. It feels like a dark hole, like all the air has been squeezed out of your lungs, and at worst, it will make you feel completely numb. It’s important to know that – just like many illnesses – the symptoms aren’t the same for everyone, which is one of the reasons I called this guide incomplete. Some people suffering from depression have trouble concentrating, while others are irritable or just feel empty. Read More »