Greenhouses are some of my favorite places to be because of how lush they are and how I’m able to be fully immersed in foliage. Visiting one with Rachel was the highlight of my week for sure. I’ve spent this week trying to get outdoors more and explore cute places to eat and visit with friends outside of our little bubble by the university. In this, I made a promise to myself that I would work on my mental health by becoming more comfortable with my own company and taking myself out to eat alone, and learning to go outside of my comfort zone. This set the tone for the week and it turned out to be quite a productive seven days.
At the beginning of the week, I went on the metro on my own to find a popular cafe I was wanting to try because of the atmosphere and ended up getting too anxious to go inside because there were so many people. I almost went home, but I pushed myself to find another area to study and ended up at a cute bagel and coffee place. I had one of the loveliest bagels in the world and took notes for a presentation coming up in my ‘Nature versus Nurture’ course. I studied there for a few hours and went home proud that I was able to overcome that fear and get plenty of work done. While being abroad, I’ve noticed that I have practiced greater amounts of self-compassion and understanding which has helped me set boundaries and understand where my limits are in terms of workload. I appreciate that here in Amsterdam, education is largely self-led and leaves room for students to take charge of their educations. I found that this method has provided me with the space to dedicate more time to myself and pace my schoolwork as well.
As an extension of practicing self-care, I met up with Rachel, Emilee, and Kailee to have dinner together at a restaurant called, ‘Bonnie’ and it was wonderful. Having other girls with me on this trip has helped me become accustomed to the Netherlands like nothing else. Having them by my side while we all learn little bits of Dutch and make plans together has made me feel such a great sense of fulfillment and eased my mental health struggles significantly. With Halloween coming up, we plan on doing a group costume and having a pasta night together so I’m looking forward to that so much!