My 5 tips to find inspiration and start writing

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I am this kind of person. I need to feel inspired in order to be able to create something good. This is especially valid when writing for the blog. However, even before my decision to start this blog, what I wanted to build the most trough this blog was consistency. I really want to do this for a long time, but only for as long as I feel joy.

The truth is that I mostly write when I am inspired to write. But in order to be consistent, I know I have to find a solution to keep myself inspired more often. Fortunately, I have discovered that this is possible in my case. Yes, I can find inspiration from simple things and I can make myself stay in front of the screen and write passionately even if I didn’t woke up feeling inspired. Inspiration doesn’t fall from the sky. You have to continually search for it. At least, this is how it is in my case. Thus, you could call it progress. Every time I search for inspiration, I learn something new.

I believe that the things that inspire us the most are the things we like and the things we naturally have an interest in. For example, I love music and I find comfort in music. Thus, listening to music is often a powerful weapon that helps me find my inspiration. Once you know what you really like, you will have found the perfect way to keep yourself inspired and grow. It doesn’t have to be something big. You might find inspiration in the simplest things, but that is the beauty of it.

I always try to stay organized when I try to build a new habit, in this case, the habit of writing regularly. But it could be anything, even meditating daily or exercising regularly. You need to build a plan, a routine. When it comes to writing, I follow a few steps that help me be consistent. If you like lists, here you have it, a list of 5 important steps that work for me when it comes to writing and staying inspired.

1. Keep a list with ideas. I have to admit that I don’t have the time to write every time when inspiration hits. Fortunately, I keep my phone with me most of the time. Thus, when inspiration hits, I always write down that idea in a list on my phone. The advantage of keeping such a list is that if you keep doing it every time a new idea pops up in your head, you will have in no time a bunch of ideas that will be your plan B for when you have absolutely zero inspiration. At the moment, I have 17 new ideas in my list, so I won’t have to worry for a long period if I don’t feel inspired.

2. Declutter your working space. In my case, every single object on my desk is another thing to worry about. Thus, before starting to work, I like to clean my desk in order to feel I am creating a new atmosphere for me to concentrate in. However, there are people out there who feel totally relaxed when they work in complete mess. If this helps instead, just let your messy desk be your cozy nest and start doing what you have to do.

3. Listen to your favorite music. As mentioned above, music is what helps me in most of the difficult periods. Sometimes, I could concentrate on writing even while listening to music with lyrics. Other times, I only write with ASMR or instrumental music in the background. As I was writing this article, I could concentrate perfectly while listening to my favorite Korean songs with beautiful lyrics. I felt I was writing at my favorite café where I could also choose what music to listen to.

4. Watch a YouTube video you like. I love watching YouTube videos, and, as I wrote in my previous post, I use YouTube as a source of learning and inspiration. Whenever I have a bad mood, or when I feel like rewatching the videos I like or watching new ones from my favorite youtubers, I go to YouTube. This winter I regained my good mood with videos filmed during spring or summer for example. I missed so much the green grass and trees that I started feeling better even after watching videos on YouTube. Even if I don’t necessarily have a bad mood, if I feel I want to recharge my inspiration storage, I go to YouTube and take energy and inspiration from beautiful people around the world. People can become other’s people strength and inspiration.

5. Just start writing. You don’t know what a beautiful and creative article you might write until you start writing the first word, the first line, the first paragraph. I only had the idea for this article and a few words written on a piece of paper when I started writing. I didn’t really know what shape I should give to this article but after the first line and with the help of these steps, my article came to have this form and structure, and I feel quite satisfied with the result. Starting writing means you’re already closer to the end.

This is it for today. I really hope this article can be your source of inspiration for the next time you might feel uninspired. Also, if you have built your own writing routine, please feel free to share it with me in the comments. I am always willing to learn from others.

Stay inspired and I will see you around.

Korean YouTube vloggers who inspire(d) me

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It has been quite a long time since I started to use YouTube as one of the main sources for study and self-improvement. I can easily find quality content and I choose what I want to see further. I have used YouTube as a secondary study source even for exams (I got a 10 in my Philosophy exam thanks to the videos I watched to understand difficult philosophical principles that I didn’t understand well in class). Last year I started to search for Korean channels that could help me improve my Korean, and this is how I actually found out about minimalism. I could easily find very nice channels made by Korean housewives or single women, who shared their advice and experience on minimalism. The videos helped me learn a lot of things related to how to live a better life, and at the same time my Korean improved because I chose to watch original content which is very enjoyable, and it relates to the subjects I am interested in.

Since the beginning of 2020 I have kept on watching this kind of content, and lately I have also discovered Korean videos about gardening which I have a great interest in. At the same time, I have learnt Korean vocabulary related to gardening, housekeeping and so on. I am extremely grateful for the content created by these great people, and this is why I have decided to dedicate today’s post to the people who inspired me to become better in many areas. These are my personal perspectives and the scope of this post is only to express gratitude and to recommend nice content related to simple life and minimalism to people who are interested in these subjects.

꽃피는 산골 (read as Kkot pineun sangol, meaning The mountain valley where flowers bloom) is a channel about flowers, gardening, sustainable life and people living in harmony with nature). I have found this channel quite recently but I came to love it, not only because I learned a lot of things about gardening and cooking, but also because I feel so much at peace whenever I watch its content. The videos show the life of a Korean couple who live in a remote mountain area, working together in the garden and enjoying the fruits of nature and of their hard work. This is a channel about life that can be easily enjoyed when you slow down, when you understand the meaning of life and when you work with nature, not against it.

오느른onulun (meaning today but written phonetically in Korean) is a channel run by a Korean TV producer who bought a house in the countryside, and who learns to enjoy a simple and slow life while renovating her newly bought house. This is a channel I have only discovered this year but I came to love its content so much. I love how this 32 years old woman is brave enough to buy a house on her own and how she shows her experiences with living in the countryside, how she learns from scratch skills like gardening, how she shows her clumsiness as a natural human characteristic and how she gets to know the people in that region while asking for help, while trying to learn how to live simply and beautifully. A truly inspiring and healing journey.

냥숲nyangsoop (which could be translated as Cat forest) is one of my favorite channels. It shows the daily life of a Korean woman who lives in the countryside with her cat. I like how she makes everything look so simple and enjoyable. She cooks a lot, and I find myself inspired when it comes to cooking every time I watch her videos. I also like the way she made her small house extremely practical and cozy. Our house can become that Little Forest where we feel the most comfortable, a place that we can call home sweet home.

해그린달 haegreendal. This is one of the first Korean channels I started watching, and I fell in love with the content and with the storytelling of the videos. The videos are made by a Korean housewife and mom, and she often shows her daily life as a mom, recipes she enjoys cooking and so on. What I like the most about her videos is the way she arranges her videos, the way she films, how she tells the story of the video. I found myself interested in video editing thanks to her beautifully arranged content. I hope I can watch her work for a long time.

슛뚜sueddu. I really like this channel because the videos are neatly edited (I learned a lot from this YouTuber as well in this area), and the content is simple and very enjoyable. I also learned a lot about minimalism from these videos, and I love to see the evolution of this channel’s owner as a freelancer. Also I find inspiration and motivation whenever I watch the videos on this channel, so this one is a keeper.

Kimi Life and 키미 Kimi are two channels created by the same person, but they have similar content. The videos are mostly about cultivating vegetables and cooking with what we produce by ourselves. I learned a lot about Korean cooking from these vlogs, thus is always a pleasure to watch and learn. I love the opening of the videos on this channel, and I find the editing quite professional. The videos usually start with the view of the mountain village filmed with a drone. Absolutely beautiful and healing.

보통엄마jin (read as Bottong eomma Jin, meaning Ordinary mom, Jin) is a channel run by a mother of two boys and a woman who is very active and tries to live her life while being a mom and a wife. I find her videos very inspiring. I love how she makes efforts to be a good mom while taking care of herself. I remember watching her video where she decided to exercise in order to become healthier and she inspired me to do the same. I was ashamed that I made less efforts, even if I had not a husband or kids who could have made things a little more difficult. Inspired by her I also started to exercise, and I lost 6 kg that year. I also learned a lot about cleaning in a sustainable way and I gave up along the way on many chemical and beauty products that are harmful for us and for the environment.

Who would have thought that one day I would find my biggest passion, Korean, and that that passion would bring the best in me? One journey leads to another. Every decision that we make leads us to live our life in a way or another. Every decision leads to another. Every little thing that we do connects to something that we will do in the future. In my case, through my passion for Korean I got to know about minimalism and to be inspired to practice it, and later on, through minimalism I got to practice journaling, and through journaling I got to practice meditation. These small dots connected and created a better me who is interested in personal growth and who will learn something new everyday.

Today I am grateful I got to write this post. I hope you find your inspiration like I found mine.

Stay inspired, and I’ll see you around.

Little forest – a journey to self

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This is the first time I write a movie review on the blog or better said my personal view and feelings about this wonderful movie called Little forest. After watching the movie, I found myself wanting to make the feeling of happiness to last longer. Thus I decided to write about what I felt and to share with you the reasons why you should give this movie a chance.

I cannot say I have a particular style when it comes to movies. I like well played roles, actors who can transmit feelings and stories that can inspire me. Little forest is this kind of movie. Maybe I am biased. It is true that I mostly watch Korean productions. However, I think you would like Little forest even if you are not into Korean cinematography.

Little forest (리틀 포레스트 in Korean) is a South Korean movie released in 2018 and directed by Yim Soonrye. Actually there is also a Japanese version of the movie which is in fact the original one and it was released in 2014. I plan to see the Japanese version as well and I hope it is as good as the Korean version.

The movie tells the story of a young woman who leaves Seoul and returns to her hometown, situated in the countryside. At first she says she only came down to her village for a few days and when asked by her friend why she came back, she says that she came because she was hungry. This line was so moving and I felt it so well because like the protagonist I myself moved back to my hometown in the countryside in order to find myself and to find what I really want to do with my life. While this line is a metaphor for one who doesn’t feel satisfied with his/her life, the young woman also missed the simple life she had in her hometown, the simplicity and the tranquility that one can find in a place such as a village or a small town.

Her house brings her back in the past when she lived with her mother who used to cook delicious meals. Her mother left when she was a student in order to find her own little forest, a metaphor for self-discovery and finding ones true self and happiness within oneself. Only later, after many years, the girl who became a woman would understand her mother’s thoughts and feelings.

Days pass one after another, but the young woman doesn’t go back to Seoul. She came down in winter, then spring comes again and she learns to produce her own food. She spends time with her childhood friends while cooking good food, working in the fields and enjoying the gifts of nature. Then summer and autumn come. The young woman lives the entire process of healing and learns the true way of becoming fulfilled and happy. Then winter comes again and she goes back to Seoul only to return in the spring for good.

I found myself smiling the whole time while watching this movie. I felt its warmth, the completeness that comes from small things, the happiness that comes with simplicity and tranquility. I enjoyed the beautiful sceneries and I remembered why I love the color green so much. Living in the countryside feels like you can slow down time. There’s nothing more beautiful than living closer to the nature and enjoying what it has to offer to us. Also, trying your best to preserve it is as beautiful and as meaningful as enjoying it.

Little forest is a movie about finding one’s little forest, one’s true self and what happiness really means to each and everyone. It is about small acts of kindness, friendship, simple but delicious food and slowing down. It shows the beauty of every single season and the importance of each. A truly wonderful and healing movie.

I am curious if any of you watched this movie and if you did please share with me in the comments your thoughts on it.

Until next time,
Maria

The importance of one free day per week

This is an era where we mostly talk about productivity, getting the best results and working hard. And we love reading and talking about these subjects. Because this is what everyone else does. We have to become productive, we have to be promoted, we have to work the hell out of us to be observed, to be appreciated. Well, this is how things work. And don’t get me wrong. There’s no problem with working hard, with trying to be as productive as possible, with getting the best results out of your work. This is in fact the way we can measure progress. It’s all fine. However, working the hell out of you while forgetting how to take care of yourself… are you sure about that? Well, I’m not.

I am the type of person who doesn’t like to do something because she has to. Thus I actually get quite unproductive when I do something because I HAVE to. That could be because when I have to do something, I have to force myself to find external motivation to make it work. When I do something because I want it, because I like it, the motivation is internal and it doesn’t feel like work. So yeah, you could say I don’t like work :)) and boy, I get stuck at work so often.

I often feel like we work almost all our life and we have less time to enjoy it. Work is what we sometimes talk about after work when we meet with friends over drinks to forget about work actually. How ironic, right? Work is what we do almost all our life. I myself learned so hard until now just to get a good job. While I am proud I did it, it didn’t make me as happy as I thought I would be. What makes me happy is actually the time I disconnect and forget about work. It’s not that I hate my job or working in particular, I just love more the time I can do the things that I like. Well, I guess this is valid for almost everybody.

In my case, as it wasn’t already enough to deal with a full-time job during the week, I worked also part-time, if I can call it like that, as a tutor during the weekend. I also had a small part-time for 2 years during the week as a teacher, which I think exhausted me. Being a teacher is great and I also found friends while teaching. I did it because I loved it and I wanted to have more experience, but I neglected myself in the process because I didn’t really have the time for it. I guess I overworked myself. The result was a me tired all the time, always busy and stressed. The worst thing was that I was getting tired by the things I enjoyed. This is something I try to be careful of. Therefore I decided to stop getting involved in so many projects and start making time to take care of myself. This is how I thought of establishing the one free day a week.

You might think that one free day per week is not much, but trust me, it works wonders. I usually take that day on Sunday. Sunday is my day and I do whatever I want with that time. I like to do activities for my mental and physical health like meditation, journaling or walking. I also like to relax while listening to music or watching my favorite Korean series. I put a lot of effort in preparing breakfast and coffee for me an my family as my effort to give a good vibe to others and to myself. But what I love the most is the care I give to my skin and to my mind. Sunday is the day I become the VVIP in my life. I am extremely lucky to have a talented sister who does my hair, who gives the best relaxing massage, who does my manicure and my pedicure. On Sundays I become prettier and calmer. This free day is the treat I give to myself after a hard week, and it also helps me start my week with less stress and less worries.

It’s important to work and to improve ourselves, but I think it’s even more important to know when to stop so we can take care of ourselves. Being an active part of this rat race is not something we can be proud of. However, getting to learn how to escape from the rat race is way cooler and you can show off with your skills of nurturing yourself.

What about you? Do you have a day only for yourself? Or maybe you have other methods to relax that you can share with me? I’m curious to learn other ways of slowing down and taking care of ourselves. Let’s talk in the comments.

As always stay healthy and positive and I’ll see you around.

Coping with bad weather/bad moods

The weather was so messed up in the last 3 weeks. It rained like crazy, day and night, for about 3 weeks until the soil couldn’t absorb the water anymore and even if the rain stopped in the last 3 days, there is still a lot of water in our yard.

Ironically enough, before the “rainy season” started, I watched the anime Weathering with you. This anime shows us a Japan where it rains everyday and is threatened to be englobed by water. When I was watching this anime I was thinking how difficult it would be to live in a world where it rains daily and the sun can’t be seen anymore. Thanks God my imagination doesn’t transform into reality.

However soon it was the time rain play its role. After only one week I was tired of it but I still took it as it was. Unlike the girl from Weathering with you, I couldn’t pray and stop the rain. So I just waited, the only thing we humans can do. Then it rained more and more. Some nights I would wake up hearing the rain and would feel disappointed that it wouldn’t stop. I hoped that when I woke up in the morning, the rain would stop. But it didn’t. It rained and rained for a few more days. I was tired and depressed. I love rain, but that wasn’t rain. It was something else. I have no name for it. Unfortunately, in this region we have many periods like this. Thus, whenever it rains for a long time I get a little depressed. However, I can’t stay depressed all day just because it rains. Thus I started to think about what I could do to improve my moods when I am down, no matter the reason. This is what I do:

Analyze the cause of my mood. Whenever I see that I am down, I try to think of the cause that’s influencing my mood. If I know the cause, I can find the proper solution. Let’s say it’s weather the reason I feel down. What I do is try to make inside the most comfortable environment for me to get better. Cleaning, changing the bedsheets, using perfume for my room, lights and listening to asmr of a day I miss are some of the things that help me cope with a bad mood.

Accept my mood. Hey, it’s not like life is only made of good days. Sometimes we also have a bad day, or more. So what? It’s not like life is made only of bad days either. Bad days are there so you can enjoy your good days. Bad days can teach us valuable lessons. All we have to do is to accept them as part of our life.

Meditation and journaling. These two are the most important practices for self-development and healing that I like using these days. While journaling is not something that I do daily, meditation became part of my daily life. Trough meditation I can easily calm my mind full of thoughts, because I mostly concentrate on breathing.

Listening to music. Music has healing effects for me. Whenever I listen to music it’s like I am opening a door to another world. It’s healing and relaxing.

Planning. Yes, the best time to plan is when you have not much to do. During those rainy or cold days I planned the most: how my vegetable garden should look like, what vegetable seeds I should buy, how I should design my relaxation space in the garden outside and I even found the time to learn more about gardening, a hobby I enjoy very much.

Relax. Finding the time to relax is not something I am very good at. However, I am always trying to get better at taking breaks, better at slowing down, better at taking care of myself. What better time to do this than when you feel shitty. Only by applying a face mask or wearing some perfume you can change your mood by a lot. We need to feel pretty outside as well in order to feel pretty and healthy inside. Use your time wisely.


I admit, it’s not easy to get to feel better when you have a bad day. One day might start as a bad day, but finish as a good one. In the end, it is our efforts that make a difference. We can accept that we have a bad day and that tomorrow could be a better one, or we can try to make a bad day ends well. That’s a possibility too. You don’t have to do it well from your first try. You shouldn’t force yourself, instead you should constantly try to get better at healing yourself and loving your bad moods as well. That’s how you can enjoy life with everything it has.


Thanks for being with me today as well.
Stay positive and healthy and I’ll see you around.

Why you should keep a journal in another language

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As fun and healing journaling can been, you can use the benefits of journaling in more ways than you would have thought. While keeping a journal is totally a person’s decision, you might be tempted to try this method as a way of practicing a language you want to learn.

My sister told me the other days that I used to keep journals since childhood. I think I started to keep a journal when I was 14. I started to write the things I couldn’t discuss with other people, to write my worries and the things I was proud of. I kept that journal for a few months until I got into high-school. Then a new period began and I started writing a new journal. Why? Because it was mostly about my days in high-school and about the guy I had a crush on. And because I wrote only cheesy stuff the way teenagers do, I wrote it in English because I was afraid my younger sisters would find it. You know, when you have younger sisters or brothers, your things are not really yours :))

No matter how cheesy that journal was, it was my first journal written in another language and I was proud that I could do that. I had a precedent. My next journal, the one I started writing during my university years, was written in Korean because I really wanted to learn the language and I did everything I could to become better at it. I have realized that journaling in another language is a very powerful method when learning a new language.

Now I have 2 journals, one in English, a regular one, and one in Korean, a general one. I can’t give up on any of them because they are that helpful in many ways. In English I write not only for practice but also because I am more advanced than in Korean and I also feel more comfortable than I do in my mother tongue. I used to read my old journals from time to time in order to check how much I improved, how I felt then, how I dealt with different people or situations in the past. But keeping journals in different languages made me realize that my language skills were improving too. Sometimes, when I feel discouraged that I am not doing a lot better with Korean, I pick my old Korean journal and start reading. I can easily see how much I have improved and it gives me hope and a positive feeling.

No matter how I look at it, journaling gives me joy and a sense of achievement. And it’s also fun.

I want to hear from you. Have you ever used journaling in another language as a tool to practice and improve that language? Share with me your stories and thoughts on this.

As always stay safe and positive and I’ll see you around.

Closing another chapter – 2020, a year of first times

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Again the end of the year has come. The last day of the year always makes me go back and think about what I’ve done good and about what I can do better next year. The end of the year is not the end. Today one year ends, tomorrow another year begins. There’s hope and many things I want to do next year. However, before talking about new plans, I want to fill today’s page with words about the current year, a year that was full of first times.

Last night, while preparing to go to sleep, I had this sudden thought that this year I tried many things for the first time. Some were successes, others were failures. No matter how I look at these experiences, I really learned a lot about me and other people as well.

It was my first time deciding that I had to stop waiting to lose weight later. I used to say this all the time: tomorrow, from Monday, next week and so on. It was my first time deciding to go on a lose-weight-journey right now. That decision is still rewarding.

It was my first time trying to change my lifestyle. Minimalism and journaling had extremely beneficial effects on me and I also changed my eating habits. I stopped eating meat and I started doing research about what a balanced and healthy diet means, but I wanted to make changes while enjoying food because I am really happy when I eat good food. Thus instead of I can’t do it, I can’t give up on it I started to say more Let’s try or I want to change that. There are no magical words, only a strong motivation behind achieving one’s goals.

I had a lot of first times while cooking. I tried recipes like Korean cucumber kimchi, Korean seaweed soup, Korean rice cake, Japanese fluffy pancakes, Japanese omurice, humus and so on. I became culturally richer every time I tried something new. I also improved my cooking skills and made people happy with my food.

I read for the first time a book entirely in Korean and I became more confident that I can do more and better. What followed next? I started watching Korean series without English subtitles and somehow I became comfortable doing it. I did well (patting my head).

I made homemade soap for the first time and I had a great time both while preparing and using them. I got closer to the person I want to become and I feel I became more responsible for my actions toward nature.

I started learning Japanese. A new world was waiting to be discovered. I opened a new door to another beautiful culture. My goal was to get to read Japanese and it was possible to read a few children stories after learning Hiragana, one of the three writing systems in Japanese. There is a long road ahead of me but I feel ready to go with the flow and to have fun while learning.

Starting a blog was also a first time, a very beautiful and rewarding one. Through my blog I was able to learn more about myself, to discover new things I want to do next, to meet beautiful people, to learn from them or to just share stories with them. For this I am always grateful and happy to have started this journey.

It was a great year, full of unexpected situations and decisions that I had to make. It was a challenging year and I have to admit I am curious about what comes next.

This is the last story of 2020. Thank you all for being here with me, for reading my articles and for sharing your stories with me. I will be here next year too, waiting for you to come by. I hope you stay healthy and have a year full of first times. Happy New Year!

Hard work is more important than talent

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There is no stronger ally than hard work and continuous practice when you want to achieve your goals. I believe that hard work never betrays us and great achievements are always the result of hard work. Albert Einstein said that Genius is 1% talent and 99% percent hard work, Thomas Edison said that Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration and Liviu Rebreanu, a Romanian writer puts it this way: One quarter of talent and three quarters of hard work will barely make a masterpiece. They have proved they were right.

I already wrote about my passion about Korean language and Korean dramas. Actually, I was inspired to write this article while watching a Korean drama, Prison playbook. The series tells the story of a successful baseball player who was sentenced to 1 year in prison after he killed the guy who tried to rape his sister. The main character had already had a surgery after a car accident in his youth and he had received chemotherapy for stomach cancer. However he successfully passed all these trials and he practiced a lot and became an even better baseball player. While he is in prison he is stabbed in his shoulder by a cell inmate and he finds out that he won’t be able to play baseball. However, he practices a lot in prison and trains everyday and he discovers that he can use his other hand to throw the balls. He is the portrayal of a passionate man who works hard and fights for his dream. He never gives up, he tries to find another way even when it seems impossible.

Thus while watching the series with eyes wide open, I started to analyze my Korean learning journey. I remembered the beginning, I saw myself again in the study room trying to read the words without using romanization, I saw myself writing words on hundreds of pages, reading texts again and again in order to read faster and faster. I remembered how I cried every time I failed, every time I was disappointed in my results, every time I succeeded. I used to think that my efforts were not enough, that I was not good enough after all these years. I only thought about me who was still unprepared, me who was still far from being confident in this language, me who was still disappointed that I am not getting better. I forgot about me who studied even after work when I was already tired. I forgot about me who studied alone and tried to become better. I forgot about me who didn’t give up even if it was already so difficult. No wonder I could not see the results. When you don’t appreciate the efforts you made for your dream, you won’t be able to see the progress, no matter how small it might be.

The bigger one’s passion is, the bigger the efforts are. The more we sacrifice, the bigger the disappointment is when the results are not what we expected. Shouldn’t we pat our own shoulder more for not giving up, for continuing to work hard even when results are not what we expected? Shouldn’t we appreciate ourselves for being better than we were yesterday even if the step we took forward is hardly visible? Shouldn’t we be more grateful to us who worked so hard for what we love? It takes as much courage to give up as it takes to go on. It is always our choice to do one or the other.

As for me, I may not be the best learner, but I never wanted to be that. All I ever wanted was to never give up on learning Korean, on learning new languages, a hobby of mine, as you already know. I am doing that and that alone is great. I am still learning and studying hard. I have a passion that motivates me to work even more. Every step I take, every new word I learn, every page I fill with my thoughts in poor Korean is still an effort I make toward my goal. Who cares is not perfect? If it was perfect than I would stop learning and that would be more painful than advancing slowly.

It is hard to see that your progress is not matching the efforts you put into something you really like doing. But the satisfaction you feel when you see you finally got it cannot be described into words. I remember how proud I was when I realized I understand more Korean than I thought while watching dramas without English subtitles or even without Korean subtitles at all. I was so proud that I started crying like a baby. I was that happy and satisfied. When something is making you that happy, you know you must never give up on that thing. Continue doing it no matter how slowly you advance. One day you will be surprised by how much your efforts have flourished.

So keep learning, keep doing what makes you happy no matter what others say, no matter how hard it gets. You will get there someday.
Until then, stay positive and healthy and I’ll see you around.

My evolution in 2020 – an overview

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2020 remains for me the most challenging yet the most fruitful year. I believe that all the difficulties that came into my life challenged me to change in order to grow. I had to react, if not I would have been in extreme depression right now.

Today’s post is not only an overview on my progress for this year, but also a post to express my gratitude for the good things that happened to me and for the goals I have achieved. It is the first time I write more elaborately about my achievements and this is partly due to my journaling journey I started almost a year ago.

This time of the year I usually think about my goals for the next year, but this year it came to me that thinking about what we already achieved can help us check our development map and motivate us to continue the great work. Also it shows us where we are now so we can pick goals that would helps us continue our work and grow even more.

So without further ado, I will list the achievements that give me so much satisfaction and motivate me to keep making efforts:

I finished writing my dissertation. I postponed writing my dissertation because I felt extremely overwhelmed with a full-time job, a part-time job and school. I really felt I needed a break or at least postpone writing my dissertation for one year. I am glad and proud I finished writing it.

I started keeping an everyday journal. This is something I am very proud of. Journaling helped me in so many various ways and I think it is a habit that doesn’t feel like routine. I do it because I like it, I write whenever I feel like it. Journaling is like a friend you drink with, it never betrays you.

I started doing yoga and cardio exercises to lose weight. I lost 6 kg. I am very proud of me making efforts to lose weight. I really loved the process of me becoming healthier and more responsible for my life.

I started my blogging journey. Writing is really healing for me and I wanted to write a blog since I was younger. I wanted to have a cooking blog, but it turned out writing about lifestyle. I am still thinking of starting a cooking blog, but now I have other projects I want to focus on. It will happen one day if I still want it to happen.

I started my minimalism journey. I really consider this one a real achievement. Getting to know more about the minimalist lifestyle also changed me and challenged me to make changes where I felt I had to change. Since I started learning more about minimalism, I feel like I became more responsible toward the environment and toward myself. I started consuming less and more responsibly and thus I could save money more easily. I started keeping a track of my finances and say stop when I felt I spent too much. I gave up on eating meat. I don’t know if it’s because of minimalism, but it came so naturally after I got into minimalism. There were also a lot of other circumstances that made me choose this way of leaving. I am not a vegetarian yet because I still eat fish but I am quite happy with my choice of not eating meat. However I never pushed myself doing something I don’t like so if I ever feel like eating meat again I will do it. Right now I am quite satisfied with my lifestyle, but there is always a place for improvement and this is what I am looking for. Continuous improvement and a happier me.

Now that I see everything on paper, I realize that this year was quite a good year. If I don’t think about the challenge that we all had to face since February, 2020 could be my year. I did more than I wished that night when I saw the fireworks. The fireworks were like flowers on the sky and so my wishes bloomed in my heart. And now I know that I am capable of doing everything I want if I put my mind and my soul into it. I am waiting for another great year.

I hope you had a great year too. Feel free to tell me about it in the comments if you feel like it.
With infinite gratitude for reading my words I hope you stay healthy and positive and as always, I’ll see you around.

The little things that matter

Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

Because we live in very difficult times, not losing our motivation and taking care of our mental health have become daily challenges. More than ever before, we are forced to make even bigger efforts in order to stay on track and keep doing what we usually do.

I myself have many days when I feel down and lose my motivation. However, it helps a lot to think that better days are yet to come. We must convince ourselves that everything will get better if we don’t naturally believe so. I like to apply the yin and yang principle especially when I find myself in difficult moments. The bad times are only here to teach us something and to announce that better days are yet to come. There is no absolute good or bad here. In my case, this mentality helped me especially in the moments I wanted to give up. Maybe those good days I was expecting didn’t come when I wanted, but I like to believe they came when I needed. Just because I think this way, it felt easier many times.

Building a stronger and a more positive mentality is the key point when dealing with stressful situations, but it takes time and patience to get there. You can call it a personal training. You train yourself to become stronger and more prepared for when the problems hit you. You learn from others how to train yourself or you learn by yourself, from your own ups and downs. Either way is fine as long as it works for you.

It is strange that most of the times, when we are cornered and we feel everything is lost, we dont see any way of how we could handle a certain difficult situation, it is exactly the time we become the strongest, we focus with all our strength and we find the best solution. It is the preservation instinct within us and the efforts we made until that point in our life that gets the best out of us.

Talking about efforts, I am not saying that we should move the mountains every day. Most of the times, the little things we do every day matter more than moving a mountain once in a while. The power of habit is stronger than you think. Depending on what you want to achieve and on your personality, you can do small things at a time and step by step you will get there.

In my case, staying positive and motivated are extremely important and therefore extremely difficult. These two aspects are not only important for my mental health, but also for my personal development journey. Thus I put a lot of effort into making habits that I can keep and that can help me become more resilient and more focused on what really matters. These are the activities that I enjoy the most and the ones that help me deal with those bad days I was telling you about at the beginning. And they are helpful because I enjoy them. Make sure to find the ones that you enjoy the most too.

Not reading the corona news. Unless I need to be informed about some of the latest regulations, I don’t read the news about the virus anymore. I used to read the corona news very diligently. The result? Of course I couldn’t find the cure, instead I had to deal with anxiety and insomnia. Until I said stop and started focusing more on what I can do rather than stressing over things that I can’t control.

Journaling. This is definitely one activity that I enjoy and that helped me greatly with anxiety and stress. Journaling worked like counselling for me and I always encourage the people I know to try this method in order to organize their thoughts and to relieve stress. I also like to re-read my old journals because this way I can see how much I improved and what else I can improve when analyzing objectively. Also, journaling helps me detach from my problems. I don’t forget about problems, but at least I put them on paper so they won’t make a bigger fuss in my head. When you put your problems on paper, you will have a better view on them like you would if you could see yourself from outside.

Reading books out loud. I love reading books out loud, especially when I am alone because I can get as silly as I want and I can focus better. This activity is quiet healing for me because when I read out loud I put to sleep the noisy thoughts inside my head. It also helps with improving your pronunciation if you are practicing a new language.

Listening to music and singing out loud. Listening to music is extremely healing in my case because I have a special place for music in my heart. Music has been my strongest ally when I was studying and even when I wrote my dissertation. Singing is even stronger because it relieves stress like no other activity. No wonder Koreans love going to karaoke when they want to relieve stress. I couldn’t relate more.

Watching movies and Korean dramas. I am a big fan of Korean movies and dramas and I must say they are like headache pills when I don’t exaggerate :)) I feel refreshed and motivated even after watching 10 or 15 minutes of an episode. This method works without fail even after 10 years.

Clean the house. It might sound strange, but I find cleaning quiet healing. When I clean I feel like I also clean my mind from stressful thoughts. Also, cleaning is that physical activity that can actually stop me from overthinking. At the end, I win. I am refreshed and I live in a cleaner space.

Burning incense sticks. This method is very helpful when I have a bad mood. Nice smells are especially helpful for a better concentration, for relieving stress or when you simply want to change the atmosphere in your house. It is not only relaxing, but your house will also smell amazing.

Yoga. I started doing yoga almost at the same time I started journaling. I felt the need to move a bit while staying all day inside, but I didn’t like to move too much because I am quiet lazy when it comes to sports. Thus yoga was the solution to my problem and it was the best one. Yoga is extremely helpful for people who spend a lot of time standing in front of their monitors and it can also be fun when trying to find new poses.

Write to-do lists. I use this method daily in order to keep myself on track. It also helps me to stay motivated because I can visualize my goals and my results. I also like to set two bigger goals per month in order to better focus on every small step that will lead me to achieve those goals.

Write small motivational messages. I started using this method 2 or 3 months ago and I can say it is quiet efficient. I usually put a note with my motivation for a certain situation or period in time on my monitor so I can see it often.

These are the activities I enjoy doing in order to stay positive, motivated and productive throughout difficult times or when I get too lazy. These activities work like some sort of routine that helps me stay on track, but the good part is that I am also enjoying them. I feel extremely grateful that I have so many things that I like and that I find helpful. They are simple things and you might practice almost all of them in your daily life but maybe you don’t know yet how helpful they can be. Think about it. Think about all the things you like and might also help you stay positive and get over the difficult times in your life. Think about them and maybe even share them with me in the comments.

As always, stay healthy and positive and I’ll see you around.