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SUMMER UPDATE: What I've been up to lately + how to listen to your body

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SUMMER UPDATE: What I've been up to lately + how to listen to your body

Dear reader, thanks for circling back to my blog even after this mini break that I’ve taken. The reason for the little pause is very simple: I’ve needed time to recharge, reset and relax. I definitely still believe in the practice of commitment and consistency with blogging, but what’s even more important than that (or more valuable than SEO optimising), is to truly learn to wind down when you need to. And I feel like this is something many of us can relate to. People (we) need to stop glorifying being busy and make room for, well, nothingness. Can’t we just please start a new trend where doing nothing is the coolest thing on planet earth 😅!? No but, jokes aside I feel that especially as a yoga teacher and someone who teaches people to unwind and tune in with themselves, I also need to practice it, not just preach it. And that’s exactly what I am doing right now, sitting in my summer cabin overlooking the Baltic Sea and simply taking it super chill without any schedule nor plans. Thanks to taking this time for myself I’ve now finally felt inspired and energized again to start writing and I started to reflect over how much I’ve actually needed this, to just be still without the hustle and bustle of the city life.

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time here at our summer cabin, which is just an hour outside of Helsinki. We are in the midst of remodelling a small cute summer cabin (the sauna house) and making it into a space for me and my boyfriend. It’s been a bigger project than we first anticipated but I won’t go too much into detail right now as I am dedicating a full blog post to it very soon (with before and after pics, so stay tuned!!). In addition to spending time here, I’ve also been to a friends summer cabin celebrating midsummer and then enjoyed a fun and wild weekend in Hankoo (the most southern city in Finland) with an amazing group of friends. I’ve also taught a few yoga classes, gone to an amusement park (Linnanmäki), but other than that it’s been down time and laying low. And lemme tell ya, it’s been very needed. I feel like I am still digesting my new life of living back in Finland and trying to rejuvenate from the heavy winter and the busyness of it all (my day job as an event planner can be pretty hectic). Luckily, I am planning to escape this winter for at least parts of it.

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So how do we make sure to stay energized, healthy and balanced without burning out or over exhausting ourselves? What it all comes down to is learning to listen to your body and knowing when to slow down. I wanted to share some practical tips I’ve found to be useful as I’ve learned that my body is often way smarter than my head let alone my silly ego. The thing with your body versus your mind is that the body is continuously giving you cues and subtle messages on what is good for you and what isn’t, the problem is just that we a) ignore them or b) don’t see these messages in the first place. The mind loves to come up with excuses, distractions and falsities. Listening to your body or yourself is applicable to not just your health, but any other area of your life as well. If you just learn to tune into your intuition and gut feeling more than staying in your head, you’ll start noticing how things unfold in a very different way.

But what if you don’t know how to listen or you don’t know what actually works for your body, then a phrase like “listen to your body” can feel like nagging or plain useless. The truth is we are all different. Not only through our unique lives, patterns, relationships, circumstances, jobs, living situations, rhythms, eating & sleeping habits, we also differ in what our idea of health is. So where does one start? I made a few key notes that I feel that can be helpful on this journey towards becoming more self aware.

  1. Every day make sure to have a quiet moment just for yourself where you ask yourself these three questions: What am I feeling, physically? What am I feeling, emotionally? What am I thinking? Pay attention to what comes up. Just like with any new skill, this will be a process and some days you’ll get answers right away when at times you’ll think about your neighbours dead cat. Lol.

  2. Journal first thing in the morning for 30 days straight. Commit to this practice and write two pages each morning before anything else. You’ll be astonished at how much will come up.

  3. If you feel like you need to learn to listen to your body more think about the why’s. Why do you want to listen to your body. What is it, that is not working for you? Do you perhaps already have some physical symptoms such as tiredness, headaches, bloating, insomnia, lack of energy, a disoriented body image, relationship issues, lack of drive or direction. Or anything else that does not sit right with you. Think about your goals. What are you hoping to achieve? Is there a specific goal you want to reach, such as a more balanced relationship with food or better stress-reduction habits? Why is this important to you? Any goal is most successful when grounded in purpose.

  4. Meditation, yoga or any other practice, exercise or hobby that helps you connect with yourself.

  5. SLOW DOWN. Your health is your greatest wealth and priority. If you don’t know where to start or everything else sounds like gibberish, this one is pretty simply. Just clear your calendar, baby steps.

Towards a healthier, happier mind body connection y’all.

Happy trails and summer smiles!

Con amor,

Evita

PS. I will be posting more often from now on now that I am feeling energized again, pinky swear!

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Boundaries & the art of saying no

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Boundaries & the art of saying no

Boundaries & the art of saying no

(Aka The Murican word that we also need to learn to incorporate into our lives here in the North)

Beautiful clothing by Finnish company Vimma and photography by Jonna Monola

Today I felt the need to write about boundaries. How do we inforce healthy boundaries in our relationships (personal, work and romantic) and communicate them to other people wisely. It’s a thought-provoking topic and something I’ve at times personally struggled with. I am still learning to draw the line in certain areas of my life and unfortunately more too often than I’d like to admit, I have a tendency of being just a little too floppy which will result in me feeling drained.

Firstly, if you’re unfamiliar with the word ”boundary” or wording ”having boundaries”, what this refers to are your personal limits and guidelines (your rules so to speak) that you establish to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards you. It also refers to how you will respond when someone passes those limits. Think about them as your invisible fences you have around certain matters. These boundaries can involve how you want to be treated in a romantic relationship, how you wish to be treated at work or just with other people period. Your boundaries are not static and they are also constantly being shaped and created and tend to shift over time.

News flash: people cross our boundaries constantly.  What it basically means is that we are imperfect people living in an imperfect world with other imperfect fellow humans. Our boundaries will get crossed as at some point someone will do, say or ask for something that does not feel right to you. Despite the mundane nature of having boundaries, I had never heard of the expression before moving to Mexico and befriending a bunch of Americans/Canadians. It’s simply not a word that is used enough in our Scandinavian culture. Thus, I feel like it needs to be addressed more, hence today’s lil blog post. Because at the end of the day what it comes down to is having the balls/ovaries of saying no when we don’t feel like it. Why one might ask, well the truth is, people are sick and tired, and way too many people in our society burn out due to their boundaries being crossed over and over again. But this is not just in the world of biz, maybe you’ll notice it in your personal life or perhaps even in your romantic life. Just a tiny example is if when you feel obligated to for instance attend an event you don’t want to go to but you go anyways. What this comes down to is your lack of boundaries/ your lack of communicating them. As you start to see, your boundaries are part of your everyday life in many areas as they determine what works for you and what doesn’t.

Some argue that having healthy and clear boundaries has a dirrect correlation with your self-esteem. I agree to a certain extent, but I think it’s more complicated than that. It also has to do with self awareness, your communication skills and the idea of being a ”yes (wo)man” or plain simple, just being too darn nice. In the corporate world there might be a myriad of reasons why someone is allowing the workload to keep piling up. Perhaps the person is afraid of losing their job, perhaps they are hoping for a promotion etc. The thing is, it’s not just black and white.

So how do we create healthy, reasonable boundaries? Good question. I am no master as I honestly like I mentioned, still battle with this myself, but, I have gathered a few tricks and tips under my belt. Below shared:

1. Gain clarity and learn to check in with yourself. Watch your emotions, feelings, energy level, mood, thoughts. If you’re feeling exhausted or drained, the odds are something is sucking the life out of you. If you notice yourself feeling resentment towards someone or something, most likely you need to change something. Recap of step one: become aware.

2. When you’ve pin pointed a situation where you’re unhappy or feel like someone is taking advantage of you or doing anything else that triggers you, mark it mentally. Figure out what, exactly, you're comfortable with and what you aren't. Step two is about learning about and setting your limits.

3. Make self care your priority. I’ve said this before, but the most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one you have with yourself. Put yourself first. For realz. Step three is taking your power back and wanting to change things.

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4. Communication (surpise surprise!). Once you get clear on what matters most to you, then you can take the bigger step of communicating this to others. As hard as it is, you’ll have to verbalize where you stand and perhaps even break it down for others to understand where you’re coming from. Be direct. Like we’ve seen on Pinterest and the gram, growth (and sometimes change!) happen outside of the comfort zone. Step four in a nutshell: take action.

5. Baby steps. Just like with learning any new skill, it takes practice and courage. Start small and be assertive when communicating what you’re okay with and what not. Step five is a reminder of how you can be strict, yet soft at the same time.

6. Reach out. Sometimes we need a lil push/kick or enouragement from our peers, friends or fam. Talk to them about your feels and perhaps you’ll gain some new insight or another perspective around your issue. At the end of the day, we are all different and how we perceive the world is our reality. By changing perspective, your whole situation might change. Step six is a reminder that you’re not alone, ask for help.

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What’s important to understand is that everyone has their own set of boundaries and we are all responsible for holding them and also sensing and respecting other people’s boundaries. As I am typing this I am also realizing how nuanced this topic is and how it actually affets all areas of our lives constantly. We have boundaries in all areas of life: emotional, career, relationship, physical, sexual and the list goes on. Like with all things in life, it takes some time for your patterns of boundaries to develop, and it may take some time to relearn and practice something differently, consistency is key. 

Now, I’d love to hear from you. How do you communicate your boundaries without upsetting someone? Do you struggle with this issue? Do you find it easier to have clear boundaries in some areas of your life, but in others not so much?




With love and healthy boundaries,

Eva

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Get to know the girl behind the screen // 15 random facts you (probably) didn't know about me

Get to know the girl behind the screen // 15 random facts you (probably) didn't know about me

15 facts you (probably) didn’t know about me

and didn’t care about in the first place…

Or maybe you do or did. Either way, I recently saw a post on my insta feed of my good friend and talented photographer, Jessica, where she posted a list of funny things about herself as an introduction. This inspired me to do the same, so without further ado, I decided to give it a whirl.

Proof of me juggling, well kind of. Pic: Jess Leigh

Proof of me juggling, well kind of. Pic: Jess Leigh

  1. I’m Finnish Swedish

    I am from Helsinki, Finland and a part of the 6 % minority of Swedish speaking Finns – I speak Swedish with my dad, Finnish with my mom. In addition to these two native tongues, as I lived in Sayulita, Mexico for nearly 7 years; I learned Spanish, I also understand French semi-fluently and well, English is a given. Another randomness for good measure: I lived in Bali, Indonesia, during my studies and during that time I could understand Bahasa Indonesia pretty decently (today, not so much, I only remember Terimakasahi).

  2. In addition to yoga… I also like the gym, cute surfable waves, swimming, short runs (not marathons), long walks on the beach and berry picking (does that count as a sport?).

  3. My favorite TV shows include…

    Game of Thrones (duh) and The Office. Actually, if you’re in a dark place in your life or need any anti depressant, try watching a couple seasons of The Office and I can assure you, you’ll be in a better place.

  4. I am highly sensitive and perceptive and have razor sharp intuition. I usually get a pretty good feel on wether people and situations can be trusted. That being said, there’s definitely also been some misjudgment and I’ve been burnt a handful of times.

  5. I know how to juggle.

    Only with three balls tho. Still pretty cool if I may say so myself.

  6. I love to paint and draw!

    I usually paint naked women and eyes. Why? Go figure.

  7. I have a Master’s degree in Science (Economics)

    Yup, I graduated from the Swedish School of Economics (Hanken) in Helsinki and I studied Marketing as my major, my minor was Spanish and Business Mgmt & Organization. I wrote my thesis about wellness tourism (no surprise there).

  8. I’m currently working on or working with…

    Event production (day job), various collaboration projects including the podcast I co-host, a yoga retreat in Mexico, corporate yoga classes, revamping our summer cabin by the sea and a secret super cool project that will be launched later this year (stay tuned, will ya).

  9. I’m not allergic to anything (as far as I know)….

    And my plan is to keep it this way. I’ve never been tested tho (well I don’t remember at least).

  10. A lion once wanted to eat me as a snack.

    True story. We were in Zimbabwe on a safari, luckily my mom’s friend pulled my down a cliff and there was a feeble fence in between.

  11. I’ve been stung by a scorpion

    And it hurt like a mother*** Seriously, worst pain I’ve ever felt. Imagine neuro toxin running through your body in waves and not being able to breath simultaneously. Ouch.

  12. I am a cat and a dog person and my cat got eaten by a python.

    And yes, you can be both a cat and a dog person. And yes, my cat got eaten by a python in Mexico. I know. It’s pretty dark.

  13. My favorite color is…

    purple, lavender, lilac, magneta, violet, plum. You get it.

  14. My favorite flower is…

    THE SUNFLOWER. GIMME. I love the Spanish name “Girasol” the one who turns towards the sun.

  15. I love warm water.

    The ocean or a hot tub, I’m there.

Warm water, yes please. Pic: Jenn Farmer

Warm water, yes please. Pic: Jenn Farmer



K, that’s all for now.



Love,

Evita

My first poem online

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My first poem online

Making peace with the past - a poem by me (my very first online poem).

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There is so much, yet somehow nothing to say.

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It all took me where I am today.

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The tears. The loss. The pain. 

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I know, it was never in vain.

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Forever within me it will stay.

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And in all honesty I don’t even want it to go away.

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Because even if I broke,

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and wanted to choke.

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I somehow found my way home.

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To my safe little dome.

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The space that is within me.

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I learned to to see.

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The power that I hold.

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It made me bold.

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Now I am strong,

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and I know I’ve also done things wrong.

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This is not to blame.

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This is not to shame.

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And it sure the hell is not a game.

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I needed you, the past.

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You helped me cast,

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The path that I am on now.

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So let me just say wow and

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Thank you.

Picture by  Vuokko Salo  in Sayulita, Mexico

Picture by Vuokko Salo in Sayulita, Mexico

Find this post on Instagram

Con amor,

Evita

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10 things I’ve (re)learned after having relocated to Helsinki

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10 things I’ve (re)learned after having relocated to Helsinki

10 things I’ve (re)learned after having relocated to Helsinki, Finland

Some of you might already know that I spent a big chunk of my twenties residing in a beautiful vibrant little beach town called Sayulita. Sayulita is located in the state of Nayarit on the Pacific coast of Mexico, just an hour North of Puerto Vallarta. Sayulita is a very magical town and holds a strong energetic pull. I can talk about Sayulita for days, so I’m just going to leave it at that for now and make a completely different blog post about Sayulita and its magic later on. So when I say that Sayulita is a small town, I mean REALLY, really small. If you go visit and ask a random person in town (given that it’s a local, not a tourist), “hey do you know Eva from Finland”, the odds are quite high that the person does know me or know of me. This will perhaps give you a better idea of what I am referring to when I say small.

Living on the other side of the world in a completely different culture, mindset and country with a different language, different customs and traditions truly left its mark on me and it definitely shaped me as a person a lot. In all honesty I am somewhat Mexecuted (all my Sayulita friends will understand this expression) for the rest of my life. What that means is I am kind of “fucked” as my heart is torn between two different places. Life tends to have a plan and I am simply following it as it is, so you will never know where it will take you, you’ll just have to flow with it.

So flowing with life is what I did. It’s funny now thinking back of a time when I swore I’d never return to Finland, well, I guess they’re right when they say never say never. It’s been an interesting journey to come back to this lifestyle and there’s definitely been some adjustment issues and challenges trying to mold back into this kind of living. I mean for starters, it’s cold as FUCK or at least right now. Well, luckily there are good things too. So I made a fun little list of some of the things that I’ve noticed after having returned back to Finland. Some of them I obviously knew before too, but I guess I am wearing a new pair of goggles after having lived in Mexico.

The funny thing is though, that Helsinki, Finland and Sayulita, Mexico are the complete opposites, in every.single.way. Lemme give you a few examples for starters: Finland: cold Mexico: hot, Finland: organized, Mexico: not organized, Finland: don’t salute your neighbors, Mexico: tell the coconut man about your dental issues. And the list goes on and on. So this blog post is a collection of these little observations and differences for you to enjoy. Please keep in mind that these are my personal remarks and I hope you take them with a grain of salt. My intention is not to offend anyone that represents either part of the two cultures and I truly love both cultures, countries and customs a lot. So here ya go:

1. People expect you to always be on time, they get upset if you’re 5 min late

Okay, seriously Mirkku, take a chill pill, scroll thru the gram, 5 minutes is only 5 minutes. If we were in Mex, I wouldn’t have even left my house yet. Sure sure sure, some of you might argue that it’s selfish and rude to make someone wait and I get it… but 5 minutes, seriously!? Anyways, I’ve noticed as a custom you’re supposed to let the person know that you’re meeting that you’re 5 minutes late. This will make it more tolerable and acceptable. Anyways, some of you Sayulitans might smile.

2. People mean what they say

So you know when you bump in to a person on the streets of Sayulita that you somehow (weird huh) haven’t seen in a while and you say to each other “we should catch up and hang out sometime, maybe grab a coffee”. When you say this in Finland they will literally pull out their calendar and set a date. It’s kinda nice to know that you can trust what someone is saying they actually mean and people don’t just say things to because it sounds nice.

3. There is no small talk

I love small talk. I love chit chatting about random things, talking to strangers and I truly enjoy it. It’s a nice way to acknowledge the other person and exchange some words or thoughts. Not just that, it will make time pass way faster if you’re in a bus, elevator or anywhere were you might be waiting for something. But unfortunately Finns don’t do it, they keep to themselves and think that you’re crazy person if you talk to them. I am trying my best tho and will keep chatting, even if they think I am crazy and have no friends (sometimes that’s the assumption). Luckily, however, there has been some positive change lately as Helsinki is becoming more international and the traveling Finns might not be completely turned off if you start talking to them.

4. November equals death, it’s simply the worst month. Run. Escape. Avoid it at all costs

As much as some people in Sayulita might hate the rainy season of July through Sept, lemme tell ya you haven’t experienced November in Finland. I made the novice mistake of coming here in November (dumb dumb) and holy fuck, what the actual fuck was that. Not only was it cold, but the worst thing was the lack of light. Because there is none. NONE. Let me repeat that and let it sink in. No daylight. Well, maybe like a couple hours each day, but nearly no day light. It’s the complete opposite in June though, the sun won’t set and the sun is shining 24/7. The thing for me is that the amount of light has a direct correlation with my mood and energy level. I felt as if someone had just pulled the plug on me. So my advise is, if you live in Finland and want to feel like a human being, escape November. There’s not really any other way. I already made my escape plan and next November you’ll find me in Sayulita sipping margs, doing yoga and soaking in the sun. Come with if you also need to escape this crazy month that people somehow survive. Srsly how do they do it?

5. The tap water is pretty amazing

The drinking water in Finland is the cleanest water on planet earth. I shit you not. It’s cleaner than the bottled water you buy in grocery stores anywhere and we even use it to flush down the poo poo and pee pee. Yes, that same drinkable, beautiful, delicious water goes down the toilet. This is one of the cool things about living in an organized place, little perks like drinkable, clean water. In Sayulita there are days when there just simply isn’t ANY water in the entire town, for days. When you live in a place like Sayulita, you learn to truly appreciate the things Finns take for granted. So wow on the tap water in Finland.

In Finland always loving Mexico. Photo taken at  Flow Festival  last summer.

In Finland always loving Mexico. Photo taken at Flow Festival last summer.

6. The trash bins are super small 

This might be a weird observation, but why the heck are Finnish trash bins so tiny!? I mean, you have to constantly be emptying them. In Mexico and the US they have BIG trash bins that can take a lot of trash. Anyways, minor detail but still something I’ve noticed.

7. People are afraid of germs

I don’t know if this is just me, but I’ve noticed that when people in Finland drop something on the floor (in their homes) or even on the table, they decide that it’s not edible anymore. Maybe I’ve acquired a stomach of steel living in Mex, but why wouldn’t I eat something that just fell on the table for a second? Another weird thing is how people obsess over the best before dates, I mean, they’re recommendations. It’s just something printed on the product because of legislation, but it doesn’t automatically mean that the item has spoiled at that specific date. Smell it, taste it and you’ll figure it out. I don’t know, this might be a personality thing and has nothing to do with culture.

8. There are systems and apps for everything

Finnish people are Very (with a capital V) efficient. There are apps for everything and systems for everything. Every process is simple and quick and user friendly. Mobile Pay this, order your bus card with that, order food with Wolt and book your yoga class with that. I mean holy smokes.

9. Everything is so clean, there’s no dust

So fresh and so clean clean. Ha! Well, yes, in Sayulita you see people constantly sweeping the streets and watering the streets for dust control. Nope not in Finland, there are machines for this too.

10. You don’t get cat called

Even if Sayulita is a melting pot for many different cultures and has a lot of expats (or immigrants, however you wanna look at it), as a blonde woman you’ll most like encounter some sort of sexual harassment, cat calling or machismo nearly on a daily basis. Not in Finland though. Even if it’s not completely equal and there’s still a lot of work to be done, such as equal pay and the employment of women in a fertile age, I’d say it’s still a pretty decent situation to be a woman living in Finland. You very seldom have to worry for your safety or get annoyed by someone whistling at you when walking down the street to go buy an ice cream (funny weird lil fact: Finns eat the most icecream in the world).

So those are just some of the things I’ve noticed. If you have some observations yourself feel free to drop a line in the comment section below.

Con amor,

Evita




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