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Easing back into business

The day you turned on your autoreply, turned off your phone notifications and popped open a bottle of wine, seems like a distant memory. Vacation has come and gone, and with tons of new memories we are ready to embrace work again.

But the leap from lazy days in the sun to busy work schedules can sometimes be a challenge. We therefore share a few simple tips on how to make the transition back to business – and reality – a little easier.

Get up early
Slow mornings are the best part of vacation, and having to jump out of bed and run off to the office can feel brutal. Therefore, set your alarm early and enjoy a big cup of coffee and your breakfast in peace and quiet. Allow body and mind to wake up and get ready for the first day back.

Don’t overschedule
Try to avoid scheduling tons of meetings and setting deadlines the first day back. It will probably leave you feeling overwhelmed and behind schedule. Keep your first day as open as possible, giving you the chance to ease into it.

Clean your desk
Clean desk equals a clean mind. Take some time when you get in to get organized and make your desk a cozy corner for creativity to spark. A tip is also to get important documents labeled for follow-up and action, and toss out reports that are no longer relevant.

Take breaks during the day
Even though your email might be on the verge of explosion, your to-do list might be miles long, take the time to move your body every now and then, talk to colleagues and get some fresh air. Key to an efficient workday.

Instead of feeling blue about being back to work, try to focus on what you like about your work. And think of the vacation you had as an energy-charger, fueling you with creativity and gratitude.

Happy Monday and welcome back!

By: Henriette Danielsen / Photo cred: Eirin Kristiansen

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Time to care for yourself?

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed trying to do everything for everyone? Pleasing everyone but yourself? You might just have what is called the disease to please.

Disease to please has been around for a very long time and girls are especially prone to it. The symptoms include: taking upon yourself to do everything, trying to help everyone, worrying about what others think of you, stressing about not being able to deliver, neglecting yourself and your desires. The list goes on, and most of us have probably experienced this before, losing sight of our own self while trying to please everyone else.

While it is great to be able to help people and take care of them when needed, disease to please is different. Pleasing others makes us feel good, but it’s often driven only by that reason – feeling good about ourselves. And we are suckers for that feeling as our brains are wired that way. But, when pleasing others and prioritizing them makes us neglect ourselves, even the good feeling wears off.

What I’ve had to learn is that prioritising me doesn’t make me selfish.

Having boundaries and saying no doesn’t make me a bad person. If I don’t take care of me, how will I ever be able to care for others? Have can I be the best version of me if I’m always tired from pleasing everyone else? The answer is – I can’t.

If you want to be truly present and to be there for the people you love and the things that really matter to you in life then you must let go of the idea of pleasing everyone. Once you do, you will have much more time to focus on what matters and to find happiness and validation from within and not from the others.

By: Ivona Josipovic / Photo cred: Unsplash

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NEW TRIP: A different kind of holiday

When Michael Bodsgård was diagnosed with cancer back in 2001, while at the same time suffering from an eye condition, giving him only 20-30 percent vision, he started to see life in a different way. He decided that none of this should stop him from doing what he loved and together with his wife Ulrica, they founded their dream company; the travel agency NEW TRIP.
By: Henriette Danielsen / Photo: Private

NEW TRIP is a travel agency that bring small groups of people to different locations in Europe. Their business idea is simple: Combining exercise, traveling and enjoying the good of life.
– Sunbeds and umbrella drinks in all honor, but the latest trend goes in the opposite direction. Now it’s an active holiday that applies. What we offer is the chance to combine a holiday with exercise and different activities. We focus on a small group of 10-50 people in order to maintain as high quality and good group dynamics, Michael Bodsgård explains.

After having suffered from both cancer and an eye disease, Michael decided he didn’t want that to stop him from living his dreams. He wanted to do something he could be proud of, and in April 2014 they did their first official training trip to Turkey.
– Our focus on these trips is wellness, from the inside and out. The amount of training you choose to participate in is totally up to you. This is for everyone who enjoys traveling, meeting new people and take care of themselves at the same time, he says.

Today Michael is a trained health developer, licensed masseur and a certified massage therapist since 2003. Having a huge passion for health and exercise in general, he likes to inspire and help others perform.

Never give up on a dream because of the time it takes to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.

What makes NEW TRIP unique?
– The group feeling we build up on our trips and the way we can adapt to the group we have with us. Fantastic leaders and instructors with great experience who know how to get the best out of the travellers in many ways and make them feel great.

NEW TRIP´s main focus has always been the travellers.

And since day one the focus has been on their customers.
-We still have the same priority and the same thinking since the first trip. We keep on doing what we do, and try to do it a little better for each time.  Feedback from our customers is highly appreciate, since they are in focus. What makes us happy to see is that we have many customers returning and joining new trips with us, Michael says.

And while Michael and Ulrica care for their passion, they also work full time. And for Michael, juggling his passion next to a full-time job has become somewhat of a lifestyle.
– It’s not just a job or a company.  It’s a lifestyle. You must make priorities and stick to them. It is a challenge, but if you are prepared to work hard, not always getting paid and believe in yourself, your dreams do come true. Never give up on a dream because of the time it takes to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway, he says.

Name: Michael Bodsgård
Age: 42
Lives: Växjö, Sweden
Best New Trip memory: The first time I really realised that people were traveling with us to do what I had only dreamt of doing.

Feel up to joining NEW TRIP on their next trip to Crete? Read all about it and secure your spot here. 

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Meet Felicia Denbu Wilhelmsson: a true happiness junkie

Strong colors, a bright smile and tons of laughter are all things you associate with Felicia Denbu Wilhelmsson, better known as Feliciashappyplace on Instagram. A true happiness junkie, inspiring others to live a life filled with joy. We got the chance to sit down with her for a little Q&A about happiness, positive energy and choosing joy in life! 
By: Henriette Danielsen / Photos: Private

What makes you happy?
Oh, there are so many things that make me happy! A sweaty workout, meeting new inspiring people and exploring the world by travelling are only some of them. Good food always puts a smile on my face, but maybe most of all I get happy when I get to spend time with the people I love.

What inspires you?
I could easily do a list of all the things that inspire me, but what they all have in common is that they are all about people who dare. People who dare to speak their mind, people who dare to fill their days with whatever it is they feel is best for them and don’t care about what other people might think of them. People who dare to go their own way, run their own business and stand on their own two feet, regardless of how scary it might be. People who dare to pack up their stuff and move across the world, to a different life. People who dare to love again even after having their heart shattered into a million pieces. People who dare to live, uninhibitedly.

I believe that we create our own happiness!

What is your best tip to a happier everyday life?
Your own attitude, for sure! I’m convinced that in order to live a happy and positive life you have to fill your mind with positive thoughts. And yes, I know it might sound really lame at first, but it’s really true. I believe that we create our own happiness, that we are all responsible for being as happy as we possibly could. So, think positively and try to enjoy the little things, because in the end I’m pretty sure that they are what will matter the most.

What is it you want to communicate through your Instagram account?
I want to be a happy splash of color and energy in people’s feed. With my Instagram account I am sharing pictures and stories from my everyday life, hoping I will affect people in a positive way. I want to inspire people to live a healthy, active and happy life and I do my best to motivate them to love themselves too.

Most of all I guess that I just want to spread as much happiness and love as possible.

If you’re feeling blue, how do you give yourself a happiness boost?
Well first of all I would try to figure out if it’s because of something temporary or if it is a constant thing? If it’s temporary I would probably hang out with some friends or give them a call, that always boosts my mood. If it’s more of a constant negative feeling I would try to really understand why I’m feeling blue.

But I think it’s important to remember that it’s totally fine to have bad day every now and then, we all have them so don’t push yourself too far. Sometimes I feel like I really need to cry for example, and then when I get home I put on a sad song or movie that makes me cry and then I actually feel better afterwards.

Do you work on being happier? If so, how?
Yes, absolutely! I actually think that’s one of the keys to a happier life. You really need to practice positive thinking, because it doesn’t come naturally at first. For me, it’s a lot about gratitude and practicing to feel gratitude. It’s so easy to take things for granted, but I can really feel the difference in how much happier I am since I actively started to be grateful for things in my life. It’s about doing things that make you feel happier and more grateful. But it’s also about reflection and being honest with yourself about if you have something in your life that’s draining all your energy, because in that case you need to cut it off or replace it ASAP.

Full name: Felicia Denbu Wilhelmsson
Age: 29
Lives: Nacka, Stockholm
Three favorite things that brings out your smile: 1. sunshine 2. pancakes 3. All those silly memes and videos on Facebook. They’re really silly, but they’re all over my Facebook feed and I literally can’t stop laughing

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Indulge in a little home spa

At times, it’s no secret that our lives get hectic and stressful. There are days, weeks, and even months where life comes at us hard and simply juggling the day-to-day tasks can leave us feeling overwhelmed and caught in a cycle that disconnects our body and mind. This makes it very tempting to drop everything and run off for a day of pampering at our favorite spa for some much needed self-care.

Unfortunately, sneaking off to the spa isn’t a feasible option for many of us. But, all is not lost. Thankfully, with some mindful choices and creative thinking we can bring the spa to us. This is great news, because studies show that setting aside time for self-care improves our overall health, quality of sleep, boosts our immune systems, and even reduces our levels of stress. Nurturing our minds and bodies is a good thing!

Give yourself permission to indulge in some much needed soul therapy and wash away stress with the following 10 home spa hacks:

Get fizzy
Using common household ingredients like epsom salts, cornstarch, baking soda, and a little citric acid you can make your own fizzing bath bombs. For added goodness, add some of your favorite scents or essential oils.

Soak in the tub
One of the easiest ways to bring the spa home is by indulging with a hot and steamy bath. Gather the following items to make this time special and more relaxing: fragrant flower petals, epsom salts, essential oils, white candles, a relaxing playlist, your favorite bottle of wine, and throw in a bouquet or two of your favorite calming flowers. Shut the door and soak away all your stress, anxiety, and worries of the day.

While treating yourself to a home spa day, make sure to practice mini meditations by keeping it simple and sweet (KISS). Focus on your breathing while noticing all of your senses, such as: the warm water running over your fingers, sunlight on your skin, or the soothing soap scent.

Egg it up
Beat egg whites to develop a foamy skin treatment that is perfect for keeping oily skin under control and it can also be used as a skin toner on all parts of the body. Whip yolks with a dash of olive oil or mayo and a smidge of water to concoct a natural deep conditioning hair treatment.

Give yourself a pedi or mani
It’s important that we don’t forget your hands and feet during your home spa day. Soothe your hands or feet by soaking them for five minutes in a tub of warm water, followed by a slathering of your favorite lotion, and finish with an application of clear nail polish. Within less than 10 minutes you will have great looking hands and feet.

Turn up the heat
It’s the small luxuries that put the “aaaaa” in spa. At home, place your lotion in a large container filled with hot water and throw a towel in the dryer so they will be warmed and soothing. This is an easy way to add a little luxury to your spa day.

Wear a mask
Facials are wonderful, but many of the masks we love are loaded with chemicals and cost a pretty penny. Instead of relying on a store bought option, head to the kitchen and create your own mask using oatmeal, honey, avocado, or yogurt.

Remember your peepers
Soothe tired eyes with slices of cucumber, soaked green tea bags, or even thin slices of potatoes, Simply put them on your closed eyelids for a few minutes to take advantage of the naturally occurring antioxidants to reduce inflammation, puffiness, and constrict blood vessels.

Roll it out
Use tennis balls to roll out knots and tension in your back and shoulders. Put the balls underneath your back while using a pillow to prop your head up and then, roll back and forth to relieve sore muscles.

Schedule “me-time”
Self-care is vital to our well-being so make it a priority by writing it on your calendar and choosing times with limited distractions so you can solely focus on yourself. To make this a reality, wake up early, utilize a child’s nap time, or put the kids to bed early every now and then. Do what you need to do to get some alone time to care for yourself.

What home spa hacks can you recommend?

By: Freelance writer Ashley Smith 

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Creative ways to save water at home

If you’re considering a green lifestyle, one of the best ways to live consciously is to preserve Earth’s natural resources, especially water. Today, the average person uses between 80-100 gallons of water per day. This means that a typical household of four could use as much as 400 gallons of water daily.

For savvy homeowners who are searching for creative ways to cut costs while also preserving one of Earth’s most valuable resources, here are a few creative ways to help you save water at home today.

Make upgrades around the home
If your budget permits think about making upgrades throughout the home. While some upgrades can be costly, such as replacing all older model washing machines, dishwashers or refrigerators with Energy Star appliances, other upgrades can be quite simple. Energy Star appliances are certified to cut your energy bills substantially by reducing your overall water consumption. Another simple fix to consider is installing inexpensive low flow shower heads in your bathrooms. Low flow shower heads work by moderating the amount of water that is released from your faucet, helping you use less water, amounting to big savings on your water bill.

Turn off the water off while you brush your teeth. This can help you save as much as 250 gallons of water per year!

Bathroom water conservation
You can also get creative with the ways in which you consume water in the bathroom. For instance, try challenging yourself to take shorter showers. You can even use a timer to ensure that you do not go over the time that you have allotted for yourself. Another simple trick is to turn off the water while you are lathering in the shower. This will help you save gallons upon gallons of water that would have otherwise gone straight down the drain. Similarly, turn off the water off while you brush your teeth. This can help you save as much as 250 gallons of water per year! Get the entire family involved in these endeavors to maximize water conservation at home.

Address leaks immediately
When it comes to saving water at home, start with the basics. This involves making sure your home is not sending precious water (or your hard-earned money) down the drain due to unaddressed repairs. Over time and due to normal wear and tear, a home can become susceptible to various leaks from toilets, sinks and even outdoor faucets. One way to determine if you may have a leak is to monitor your water bill. If you see any sudden spikes in the amount you are paying per month, you should inspect your home. Next, pinpoint where the leak is coming from and address it immediately. This will not only reduce your water bill but it will prevent your water from being wasted further.

Conserving water in the yard
Many homeowners rely on water outdoors to wash their cars, water their lawns or to tend to their gardens. When it comes to washing your car, instead of running a hose for extended amounts of time use a bucket or two of water instead. The average garden hose prays about 10 gallons of water per minute. The same holds true for watering your garden. Opt for a watering can instead of running the hose to help you save on water in the yard.

Repurpose used water
Another creative trick to reduce water consumption at home is to repurpose your used water. That’s right, find new ways to use water that you would have otherwise let go down the drain. For instance, when showering, leave a bucket in the shower to catch falling water. This can then be used to water a backyard garden. The same idea is true when washing your hands or when boiling food and then draining it. This water can be give a second life and used to nurture your growing garden instead.

Conserving water at home means that you can proactively improve the environment one gallon at a time. When it comes to water conservation at home, try any of these simple tips to prevent water waste, to lower your energy bill and to help save the planet for future generations to come.

By: Freelance writer Ashley Smith 

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A holistic connection between mind and body

Do you have that friend who seemingly has it all: a brilliant career, a wonderful family and a fit body? What most people don’t realize is, she too struggles with her own demons.

As much as we’d all love for a healthy life to be a sum of healthy habits, such as eating well, exercising, and sleeping, we are much more complex beings than that. We are a sum of our thoughts, perceptions, and feelings, just as much as our daily choices and actions.

So, it’s no wonder that low self-esteem has the power to affect your immune system, as research has shown that for example people who struggle with self-blame at work experience drops in their immunity more frequently than those who are confident. This is merely one part of an intricate equation of life, and we are only scratching the surface of how our emotional wellbeing affects our mind, as well as how our physical vitality impacts our mental state.

Be happy to live longer
Let’s consider this “chicken or the egg” conundrum: do you believe that you need to be healthy in order to be happy, or the other way around? Apparently, thinking positive thoughts has been linked to increased life longevity, even for patients with heart disease.

However, if you need to start somewhere, start with the things you can control with ease. Think about what makes you happy and do it more often! It can be exercise, which is known to boost your happy hormones, but it can also be something like enjoying a funny book. Just stick to what makes you smile, laugh out loud, and detox from daily stress!

Balanced nutrition for all-around resilience
We’re often told that the quality of our meals shapes our physical resilience, but what about our mental fortitude? This is where the famous expression “trusting your gut feeling” gains a whole new level of meaning, because studies have shown that a healthy gut flora is a key ingredient in our emotional stability and mental health.

The right foods give us the right amount of energy, they balance our hormones, and protect our bodies from harmful microbes. Sources of essential macro and micronutrients are crucial for gut balance, so ingredients such as anti-inflammatory Manuka Oil, antioxidant-packed Matcha tea, and the protein-rich Spirulina should reign supreme on your menu.

It takes time to master the art of listening to our body and recognizing our needs.

Mindfulness for prevention
More people join the mindfulness movement every day, and due to this simple practice’s incredible potential to soothe the mind and heal the body, it has become one of the pillars of health. It may start as a meditation practice and breathing exercises, but mindfulness reflects a permanent mindset anchored in the present moment, embracing its beauty, and letting go of all the things we cannot change.

When you incorporate mindful meditation into your life, science has shown that it helps alleviate the impact of stress by controlling our inflammatory responses. There are even studies that aim to explore how mindfulness can help us regulate our emotional responses and how this may help reduce the risk of brain degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or help those who already suffer from it.

The art of listening 
The entire story of how our physical, cognitive, and emotional behaviour is intertwined is based upon the premise that we have the ability to recognize our own needs. However, our internal signals often get crossed, so what sounds to us like hunger may in fact be boredom, so we end up stress-eating.

It takes time to master the art of listening to our body and recognizing our needs. Some of the best actions in life may not feel as pleasant from the get-go, such as starting an exercise regime, or a challenging job, but it is precisely these choices that will end up shaping our existence both inside and out. The beauty of it all? Most of what happens in your body and your mind is in your hands. Perhaps it’s time to embrace the responsibility and start listening to our internal voice!

By: Sophia Smith. Sophia is beauty and style blogger, an eco-lifestyle lover and a food enthusiast. She is very passionate about natural skincare, minimalist wardrobe, yoga and mindful living.  You can find out more about her writing by following her on: Facebook  Twitter  Google +

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Simple ways to practice gratitude   

Gratitude is such a powerful emotion which can give a more optimistic view towards life. Yet so few of us practice it on a daily basis. Things tend to get a tad too complicated, and we want to change that, creating a positive attitude towards the practice of gratitude .

Practicing gratitude is often dismissed, because it involves too much commitment. Like writing a journal every day, that´s not for everyone. Nevertheless, there are simpler ways to make gratitude a part of everyday life. But let us first consider why we should practice more gratitude:

  • It can help us lessen our longings for more all the time. Creating more awareness to what you have, not what you want.
  • It strengthens relationships, reduces stress and makes us in general more appreciative.
  • It sets things in perspective and helps us see the goodness in what we usually take for granted.

So, how do we practice gratitude? Let´s start simple, because why make small, positive things so damn complicated, right?

  • Tell someone you love them.
  • Nurture your friendships. Maybe time to book in a friend-date or tell a friend that you appreciate him or her.
  • Smile more often. The power of a smile is truly underrated!
  • Be kind, always. Include an act of kindness in your daily routines.
  • See the growth opportunity in your mistakes.
  • Be thankful when you learn something new.

Small, but effective steps. Notice your life from a point of gratitude and you will quickly see how it will affect you in a positive way.

By: Henriette Danielsen

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The road to success

Success; something many of us dream about and work very hard for. But achieving it is a totally different story and often involves a long and bumpy road.

It is in fact a topic that has been equally discussed by experts, older and younger, men and women. Some argue that only talent and hard work lead to success, some that the factor of happiness is crucial, some that the story of every successful person is unique and different.

In this article, I will share some factors I think can ease your way to success. Nevertheless, don’t forget to enjoy whatever you do, because the greatest success in my opinion is to be happy.

Now let´s take a closer look:

Having a clear and defined goal
We should know how, why and in what way we will achieve our goal. We all have many different desires, but often our goals aren’t clearly defined and therefore we don’t know how to achieve these desires. Without a defined goal, we don’t know in which direction to go and our vision becomes unclear. The success criterion is always the achievement of the goal we set.

Positive motivation
With a clear defined goal, motivation grows, which drives us and makes us work towards achieving our goal. Unfortunately, we are often ambivalent when it comes to the goals we have chosen. We want something and at the same time we are afraid of it, and this will affect our reduction of positive motivation. What more affects the reduction of positive motivation is the fair of failure. Fair of failure occurs when we identify ourselves with the goal and create a pressure that is expressed through fear. Positive motivation is growing with the reduction of fear of failure so stick to positivity!

Many say that persistence this is the key factor to success. Persistence implies that we don’t give up when we are confronted by obstacles, but instead we are making extra efforts to overcome them. When we really want something, we are persistent and we work long and hard, until we succeed. Being persistent doesn’t mean the same as being stubborn though. Stubbornness is resistance in a negative direction, opposed to persistence.

To avoid being stubborn and persistent in something that doesn’t bring us profit, we need to be flexible. For success in life we need to constantly grow and develop, adapt to new circumstances and changes. This is necessary because the whole world around us constantly changes and if we are not ready to follow it, we will not succeed in the long run.

That means willingness to take risks. Success always involve risk. So, the bigger the goal is, the greater the risk will be. The willingness to risk implies that we can rationally assess the risk even when we feel fear and uncertainty. Courage doesn’t imply the absence of fear, but precisely the opposite, it means you are ready to make rational decisions and take action when it is the riskiest. Here also flexibility comes to expression. It is sometimes wise to think carefully and give yourself enough time for important decisions and sometimes it needs to be an impulsive reaction. Risk strategies should be customized in line with the given situation.

These are just some of the factors that can ease our way to success. If this interests you I recommend you to listen to some of these amazing TED Talks to learn more about what success is and the road to getting there.

 By: Sonja Josipovic / Photo cred:

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Let´s get moving

We have all heard it a hundred times before; physical activity equals better health. In fact, there is no way around it if you want to improve your overall well-being and quality of life. Time to put that to a test!

It is said that to reduced risk of health problems and maintain an overall good health, a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate to high intensity physical activity is required each day. In fact, the list of benefits is endless, and you would think that knowing this would make most of us jump out of the couch. But the sad truth is that only 1 out of 3 meets WHOs (World Health Organization) minimum recommendations and many of today’s major public health problems are related to our lifestyle and lack of movement. Time to change that, don’t you think?

All you need to do is make a conscious decision to get moving.

I for one want to be healthy, happy and be filled with endless energy, so I decided it was time to put it to a test. So, I am adding at least 30 minutes of physical activity into my daily routine for the next two months and will see what happens. And I of course want you with me on my journey.

But before we start, let’s first look into what moderate and high intensity physical activity means:

  • Moderate intensity corresponds to activities that result in faster breathing than usual, such as power walking.
  • High intensity is equivalent to activities that result in much faster breathing than usual, such as running.
  • In addition, WHO advises doing strength-training exercise twice a week, working all the major muscle groups. Strength exercises should be adapted to the individual with regard to type of exercises, number of sets, number of repetitions and frequency of training.

So, let´s do this! And remember, there is not need to run to the gym! A walk in fresh air, a swim, playing with your children, a dance off in the living room; everything counts as movement. Keep it simply my friends, no need to complicate things. You just need to find what gets you moving!

Join the journey by entering the Facebook group “Let´s get moving“, where we can inspire each other to a more active life. I have also teamed up with some amazing brands so during the next two months I will be sharing discount codes and have some fun giveaways (motivation is key, right)! So stay tuned.

Exercise is if one of the most important things you can do for yourself they keep saying, so let’s get moving. Goodbye couch, hello new and energized us!

By: Henriette Danielsen