Whatever you celebrate at this time of the year, I hope you had a few days filled with loved ones, laughter and lots of great food 🥰. Welcome to the last blog entry of the year. I wanted to share with you what I learned in 2019. How crazy that this year is coming to an end. I can also not believe that it is the end of a decade 😱. In 2010 I had just finished my Master’s degree and was moving countries in order to start a new job. Life has changed so much since then. 2019 has been a great teacher and learning experience. Towards the end of a year and on my birthday, I love looking back in order to know how far I have come in growing as a person and I wanted to share this one with you.
If you feel your health is challenged – don’t stop looking for answers.
Without going into too much detail – 2019 was not a great year for me from a health perspective. At the beginning of the year, I noticed a definitive shift in both my mood and weight. I went to see my doctor. She told me that my bloodwork was fine and that there was nothing wrong with me. Yet, after a few months, I struggled to walk around the block. My legs would get super heavy and I could not go for more than half a mile. I was exhausted and the minute I did not have to work I was lying on the sofa almost comatose with sleep.
In my heart and mind, I knew something was wrong with me and that this was not normal. I reached out to my friends and asked for help. Through their life experiences, they helped me find the right practitioner who got me back on my feet. I think the biggest lesson I learned this year is to not stop looking for answers if you know deep down something is not right. Do not be afraid to ask for help and openly accept it when it comes. And never stop looking for answers to your questions.
Find something that ignites your passion and challenges you in new ways.
This one, for sure, has been the blog for me. I wanted to do start this project for years and simply never had the guts. I succumbed to feelings of fear and failure and continued dreaming rather than doing. When I finally decided to go for it, it felt beyond real and exciting. I learned everything from scratch – setting up a blog, hosting, newsletters, food photography – you name it. It has shown me that with passion (and Youtube – what a great resource!) almost anything is possible. Life & Lemons has definitely pushed me in new ways and made me grow beyond measure. I am not going to lie – there were times where the deadline was a tight rope, but your feedback, comments, and love for the recipes have made it worthwhile. Thank you 💚.
The year I gave up coffee.
As part of my Culinary Nutrition Expert Program*, I had to research a health topic that was close to my heart. I chose Anxiety. It is something that I have struggled with for almost all of my life. It is also a topic I want to explore more deeply on the blog in the new year. I knew coffee was partially triggering my anxiety and had already reduced it to a few times a week. But one Saturday, I was sitting at the hairdressers – having a blissful morning and two (small) coffees. I went to get some groceries afterward and had a horrible anxiety attack that lasted for most of the day. I decided then and there that coffee was not something that was serving me any longer. Managing my anxiety has become so much easier since.
My phone now sleeps in the kitchen.
In the summer, I listened to a great podcast called “The Today is the Today” hosted by Meghan Telpner and Josh Gitalis. In their very first episode they talk about their house “rules” that they apply for their happy home. One of these was to leave the phone out of the bedroom. I already thought that I was being quite good on that front (my phone was always on airplane mode whilst sleeping) but gave myself a seven-day window to try it anyways.
I cannot tell you what a difference it has made to both my morning and nighttime routine. Winding down and falling asleep is easier and I have read a lot more books (surprise 😉), rather than scrolling through Instagram. I now have an old-fashioned, inexpensive sunrise alarm clock* that wakes me up in the morning and I probably do not look at my phone for the first 30 – 45 minutes of the day without even thinking about it.
Trust the process.
This is a concept I have only started recently embracing but I can feel that it will very much carry me into 2020 and beyond. I am trying to be less focussed on the (or any) outcome and more on the journey. I always believed that everything happens for a reason and looking back on this year, certainly, this has been the case. It may not always look like things are working in my favor, but as long as I can find joy and embrace what life has to offer me at this moment – I am confident I am on the right path.
And those are my learning for this year 🤗. What have you learned that has seen you grow and makes you happy, joyful, proud, or – potentially – sad? Let me know in the comments below and over on Instagram under @life_and_lemons_foodblog and with the #lifeandlemonsfoodblog. I hope you are having a great few rest days this year and I will speak to you in 2020 – where we are kicking things off with some awesome new recipes 🥰🥳.