- The Sun
For the past month and a half, I have traded the beautiful (albeit scorching) Australian sun for a European winter in Spain. Basically, the weather differences side by side have looked something like this:
The sun has finally returned to Logroño and it is BEAUTIFUL.
2. The Outdoors
Logroño provides many incredible opportunities to be outside and to explore the natural and cultural charm of Western Europe. I am so lucky to have the time and energy to explore this beautiful city both on foot and on bike.
Since arriving in Logroño, I have started 5 dance classes, including Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Flamenco and Ballet. Dance, particularly tap, has over the past years been an important part of my life. A way to not only express myself but also to communicate, explore and treat my body with the respect it needs. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to dance while overseas.
4. Friends and Family
While many of the people I love are living on the opposite side of the planet to me, I am so lucky to be able to love and to be loved by all of the beautiful people in my life. While there are frustrations while attempting to communicate over technologies such as Skype, I am lucky to be able to hear and be heard by the people I love. Although I may live far away, these people are always in my heart.
5. Trying new things
Patatas bravas, playing the glockenspiel, Flamenco dance, bike riding, oreo chocolate… These are just a few things I have tried for the first time since arriving in Spain and I’m sure there are many many more to come. Obviously, the most significant new thing I have tried is struggling to communicate in Spanish for the majority of the day (as English in Logroño is fairly limited). While this can be exhausting and difficult, I am very glad to have the opportunity to try my fair share of new things and to attempt to sharpen my language skills.
For the past few months I have been studying DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) in a weekly group. One of the skills I have learned is known as “opposite to emotion action” or in simple terms, act in a way opposite to what you feel with the hope of feeling better for it. This technique can be used in situations from binge or disordered eating to isolation urges, from self-harm to anger. It is very hard to practise but very worthwhile if it is possible in the moment. Here are 5 opposite things you can do instead of harming yourself (be it physically, emotionally or unleashing anger).
- Have a long bath with all the trimmings. This is a really easy way to pamper yourself- light some candles, turn off the lights, put on some music and focus on relaxing and getting back in touch with your body. If you don’t have a bath, of course a shower could work just as well.
- Put on your favourite perfume or hand cream. Scent is a powerful sense and can not only bring up many past experiences but also many past emotions. Try to invoke some positivity with some of the scents you love the most. Another way to do this could be to light a candle.
- Go for a walk or a run. It doesn’t matter where you go, just as long as you leave the house and are out among nature. Fresh air and exercise can really help when trying to urge surf or refresh your mind.
- Arrange to see a friend or family member. The people that matter in our life remind us what we are fighting for. Love can sometimes be all it takes to keep us going.
- Treat yourself to a pampering. Be it a massage, getting your nails or hair done, getting a tan or getting your make-up done, pick something that makes you feel beautiful, empowered or at least a little bit good about your body. Look after yourself because you deserve it.
If anyone else has any ideas please comment so that we can cover all bases and have this list out there for anyone that needs it.
1. The sunshine
I love the rain but there is nothing quite like the gentle warmth of the sun coming to greet you on your journey.
2. My voice
I was once told by someone that I don’t have a voice, which hurt me more than I should have let it. We all have our own voices and stories to tell- each and every one as important as the next. I hope to travel the world and help people who are oppressed discover voices of their own. I have only just realised that to expect others to value their voice I have to, to some extent, value my own.
By this I do not mean simply biological families. We all have our own special families in different communities and in the people we love the most, whether they are related to us or not.
I have become a bit of a self-labelled tea addict and I am not afraid to say it. Nothing is nicer than warming yourself up inside out on a cold winters day… Or summer… Or autumn… Or spring…
For all the flaws of this world it is possible to find beauty in each and every day. Often nature is the easiest way to do this.
Best friend hugs, marathon Skypes, random visits, those moments where we can just be silent with each other. Friendship is a love unlike any other and my true friends mean the world to me.
Music is an expression of human interaction, human suffering and above all the human soul. Without music I wouldn’t know how to be. It helps us to feel, connect and to understand.
Although they don’t always seem to be enough, I am grateful that I am able to express myself in a variety of languages.
4. Lindt Dark Chocolate
On a lighter note, who can’t help but appreciate the small things in life like a favourite food, taste or smell. It is nice to be able to enjoy these small luxuries in life.
I am thankful that I am able to love and to be loved. During the dark times and the hard times, when love may seem scarce, it always seems to shine through just when we need reminding that we are not alone