travel

Noël en Belgique et aux Les Pays-Bays 🇧🇪 🇳🇱

I have been to Belgium twice and I would recommend travelling there if you have never been before. One of my best friends is currently doing a Masters in Digital Media and Society at KU Leuven. She did her Erasmus in Belgium in third year of her B.Sc Commerce at Leuven. The first time I went to visit her in Belgium was in summer 2018. I stayed for three nights and we had a busy weekend with lots of walking and things to see and do. I was also in Belgium last Christmas and I would highly recommend seeing Brussels at Christmas time.

Brussels attractions include Grand Place, the Atomium and Manneken Pis. Belgian beer, frites and chocolat are a must! 🍺🍟🍫One of the days, we went to both Bruges and Ghent. (+20,000 steps walked😪). I personally prefer Bruges to Brussels city as it is prettier and more picturesque. In Ghent, we did a river cruise and did some sightseeing. Belgium has lovely architecture and has lots of nice cafés and restaurants. A lot of people speak English there and the people there are very good-looking, I must say.

Last Christmas, Niamh and I went to visit Alanna in Belgium. It was a wholesome weekend filled with yummy food and Christmas spirit. The Christmas markets at Brussels and Leuven were amazing. Everywhere was covered in colourful lights and the smell of sugar and Gluwhein whafted through the air. We went on a big ferris wheel and ice-skating and did some shopping. One of the days we got the train to Maastricht in the Netherlands. A return ticket was only 18 euros and it was definitely worth it! There were more Christmas markets in Maastricht, shopping and food🥨 Winter time is a great time of year to visit Belgium and the Netherlands. My flight to Belgium was after my last Christmas exam for my Masters so it was very exciting. The winter lights in Brussels are amazing at Christmas time. One evening we went to Leuven, where there were choral singers and a candle-lit ceremony. It was truly magical🥰💫

Gluhwein
Churros

Leuven the Christmas vibes
mes chéries


Jo

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Working and studying from home💻

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It has been a few weeks now since quarantine began. This week, restrictions are starting to ease. However, many people continue to work and study at home for the time being.

There are many challenges associated with working and studying at home and it may have taken a while to adjust to this new way of living. Establishing a daily routine will help you to work more efficiently.

Make sure your workspace is clear, clutter-free and organised. Ideally, you should be studying or work at a desk or table rather than sitting on the couch or lying on your bed. Try to maintain a good posture. If you have children, working while they are at home at the same time is not ideal. Allocate a designated workspace that is quiet and ideally away from where family members are.

If you have a work meeting or videocall, make sure you are appropriately dressed and there is a tidy, bright background. Try leaving your smartphone in another room while you work to prevent it from distracting you. Limit your social media and phone time until a certain time of the day when you are finished working. Get some fresh air every now and then and schedule in daily walks. Take regular study breaks and have a short walk around every hour or so. This will allow oxygen to flow to your brain and blood to flow to your feet. Stay hydrated throughout the day and drink plenty of water.

Take the weekends off, or at least one day during the week. Working seven days a week during the lockdown is unattainable and unhealthy. See my other blog post Minding your mental health during the Coronavirus pandemic 💆

Spend time with your family members each day. While living and working under the same roof as your family members 24/7, there will sure to be some conflict now and then. Watch a movie or play board games every so often. Just because you can’t go very far doesn’t mean you cant spend quality time together.

Many people are getting used to working and studying at home and many big companies reckon this might the future. Comment what your thoughts are 💭


Jo

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Minding your mental health during the Coronavirus pandemic 💆

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The Coronavirus is a phenomenon that has been affecting the world for a couple of months now. The lockdown period started in Ireland in February, 2020.  People have been confined to their homes for weeks. Schools, colleges and businesses have had to close and large gatherings have had to be cancelled. Many people have had to work from home, with only ‘essential’ workers allowed to leave the house to go to work. Social distancing measures were enforced, and hand sanitisers were sold out in no time.
The global pandemic has had an affect on everyone in many ways and will continue to have an affect on people and businesses for many months. In this blog, I discuss how people’s mental health is being affected and what they can do to take care of themselves.

Instead of the daily commute, people must work at home- this could mean sitting at the kitchen table or sitting at the same desk in their rooms for weeks. Of course, this will cause feelings of boredom, isolation and from time to time. Not seeing colleagues on a daily basis will surely have an affect on people’s overall happiness and wellbeing. There may be children in the house or a large family. Distractions and noise will not equate to very productive work over a long time.

The closure of shops, cinemas, pubs, cafés, restaurants will mean people are not mixing with each other or doing things they enjoy. On the plus side, people are saving money by not going to these places on a regular basis. However, many businesses have had to shut down and many people have lost jobs. It is a very uncertain time for many. Nobody knows how long the pandemic will last, although restrictions are easing in Ireland since the beginning of May so things are looking up.

I have made a list below of some things you can do for your mental wellbeing:

  • Start a new hobby (musical instrument,drawing, painting, photography, jigsaws, knitting, jewellery making, improve makeup skills, youtube channel, tiktok videos, blog, journaling)
  • Help out with chores (hoovering the house/car, dusting, washing up, painting,farming)
  • Clean your room
  • Get in touch with family members (grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, people abroad) and friends. Post them a card to let them know you are thinking of them.
  • Practice yoga or meditation (there are lots of great youtube videos out there)
  • Avoid watching the news too much or reading too many articles
  • Take a break from social media and deactivate your account if you have to
  • Listen to music
  • Browse online clothes stores
  • Plan your next holiday(s)

💆

There are many health services available that provide confidential counselling and I have provided a list below. It is important to note that these organisations are under tremendous pressure during the COVID-19 crisis.

Overall I believe Ireland is doing a great job with handling the coronavirus pandemic. We are lucky to have great people leading the country and it makes me proud to be Irish. Hopefully in the not too distant future things will be back to normal again.

🦠

Comment your thoughts on this topic below💭


Jo

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