And suddenly, December comes to an end. We’ve all been so busy chasing through December, going gift hunting, baking christmas cookies, hunting Glühwein from one Christmas market to the next. I loved this December more than others. It was the first Christmas time in our new place. Our first December with our very own Chritmas tree. It was magical. And it was filled with love. Love by my family, love by my friends, and love by all of you.
Every year, a few days before Christmas, I get nostalgic. When I look into the lights on the Christmas tree, I feel so deeply thankful. For the past year. For health of my loved onces and for my own health. Last year I started writing a gratitude journal, where I noted down all the things I was grateful for. This year, I want to share with you some of the things that I learned this year, some things I’ve changed and some things I have kept up and will try to keep up next year. If you have something that you want to share, too, then just leave me a comment or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bye bye, hormones.
For the longest time, I was anxious to talk about this, but now I feel brave enough to openly talk about birth control and artificial hormones. In December 2016 I went off birth control for good. This decision was based on various reasons. First of all, I have a suspicion that my struggle with high blood pressure had something to do with birth control. I was on the Nuvaring for years, and then had to switch to the hormonal patch because I was not allowed to have either the pill or the Nuvaring anymore after my diagnosis. So I hoped that my blood pressure would decrease after getting off the pill, but sadly that was not the case. I still suffer from hypertenstion, which makes me extremely sad and angry from time to time.
Another reason why I went off birth control was the idea of taking artificial hormones in general. I had been on the pill for 10 years when I got off last year, and I have to idea what it has done to by body during that long time-period. What I was interested in the most was how my body and mental state would be affected by this change. And the changes were drastic. My skin got really bad, I went back to high school skin with breakouts, redness and itchiness. I am still struggling with acne and breakouts, but using natural skincare has really helped me cope with the effects of hormonal changes.
I lost a ton of weight. When I got on the pill in 2006, I gained weight like nobody’s business. Since then, I had been struggling with gaining belly weight very easily. Getting off the pill brought me back my body as it used to be. Gone are the consent snacking cravings, gone are the year long struggles to balance a healthy weight. Gone is the need to excersice like a maniac. Other than struggling with unclear skin, getting off the pill has been the best decision I made for 2017, because it has brought me back my pre-birth control body and confidence.
Say no. And live with the consequences.
One of my resolutions for last year was to learn to say no. No to what made me feel uncomfortable. No to social gatherings that I did not enjoy. No to things I did not enjoy. I am not a person who likes to drink, party or dance through the night. These things are way below on my “enjoy” list. What am I talking about. They are not exactly on the list. But I have some friends who love these kinds of things, and sometimes I need to tag along. But I have reduced these occasions to only a handful. Instead, I have had friends over for dinner more, which is quality time that I really value. My friends know that I am not the party friend, but the one they turn to to talk. For 2018, I seek to continue reducing the comittments that give me no joy and focus more on the things I love doing. Are you in?
“Bravery is learning to say no and living with the consequences”.
Going out of my comfort zone
Another resolution was to move out of my comfort zone more often. And I don’t mean doing things I don’t enjoy. For me this means doing things that scare me and that challenge me. 2017 I stepped out of my feel good zone. Heck, I’m talking miles and miles out of there. Like WAY out there. I held two three-hour nutrition workshops with high school students, I gave two meditation classes with senior high school students, I flew across the ocean to attend a wedding by myself, I went on an Ayurveda retreat by myself. I even held a speech about my life as a food blogger at my university a few weeks ago. And it was so empowering to do all of those things, even though they scared and challenged me. What remains was a feeling of accomplishment and pride, and I cannot encourage each of you more, to go our of your comfort zone more often in 2018. It’s a great and meaningful resolution. Have you moved out of your comfort zone this year?
My first Heavenlynn Healthy event
Last Sunday, I welcomed some lovely people at Minimarkt Hamburg and we spent a wonderful afternoon eating healthy christmas cookies and cakes, drinking warm apple juice and chatting about life. I was so nervous the days previous to the event, but it turned out that my fears were completely unsubstantiated. It was a pleasure meeting some of you in person, hearing your stories and getting to know your personal health journeys. I felt so uplifted the days after the event and I just want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for coming and supporting my blog. You are amazing, and I will do everything I can to help you become the best you can with my recipes in 2018.
Natural beauty and glow foods
2017 was the year that I really got into natural skincare. I had been using shampoo and body lotion by cheaper drug store natural skincare brands such as Santé and Alverde before, but this year I got into the REAL natural skincare topic. A big part of this transformation was a conversation I had with my boyfriend. He made such a good point in that conversation and told me: how can we put something on our skin that we wouldn’t eat? Our skin is our biggest organ and it’s just as important to think about what we put on our skin as it is what we put into our body.
So in April I posted on Instagram stories that I wanted to learn more about natural skincare products and somehow Lisa Scharff reached out to me, and that was basically the beginning of my natural skincare and glow food journey. Lisa and I have become really good friends, and I am excited for 2018 as we have planned such exciting cooperations together.
Another person who has really helped me on my journey is Sarah from the awesome online shop Amazingy. Just like Lisa, Sarah knows so much about natural skincare, she’s such an expert and kindly sent me products to try. I also contacted Sarah because of my struggles with breakouts and acne, and she recommended amazing products that I believe have helped me cope with the condition. I cannot wait what awesome things Sarah, Amazingy and I will be planning for 2018.
Natural cleaning products
Once you get into healthy eating, natural skincare and glow food, it won’t take long until you realize that it’s just as important what you use for cleaning your house, dishes and clothes. We already used some natural cleaning products, but not extensively, and I did not pay too much attention about it. Now I have exchanged most of our conventional products with natural ones from Ecover, Sonett or Sodasan. They are pricier, but definitely worth the extra penny. Would you like to hear more on natural cleaning products next year?
This Saturday I will turn my phone off for a couple of days until Christmas is over. Or at least, I will try. Digital detox has become such an “it”-thing this year, but I still think it’s so important to go offline every now and then. There are even hotels where you can do a supervised digital detox these days. I actually don’t have a problem not looking at my phone constantly, but working as a blogger means being in front of my laptop or cell phone most of the time. But this Christmas, I will try to switch off for a couple of days, because let’s be honest. Nothing major is going to happen between now and New Years Eve am I right? Embrace FOMO and embrace JOMO (joy of missing out). Are you in?
Oh that’s simpel. Lots of delicious goodness. I am working on something big that’s coming next year, so that’s why it’s been a little quiet here on the recipe side lately. But I have lots of exciting recipes planned for January. If you follow me on Instagram, then you might have seen that Jannis and I have been obsessed with one thing: pink kimchi! So kimchi will be the first recipe in 2018, along with some notes on gut health and helpful gut bacteria.
I wish you all a merry Christmas, and I cannot wait to meet you all back here in 2018.
Stay healthy, stay positive and stay curious.
I’ll see you next year!