What I learned from the Coronavirus Pandemic

What I learned from the Coronavirus Pandemic

If you are a frequent reader of my blog or follower on my social media channels you might have noticed that in the last few weeks, I’ve been quite absent. I didn’t write a blogpost in months, and was definitely spending less time on social media. The ugly truth is: The Coronavirus Pandemic has hit me hard on a personal and professional level. Very slowly I am getting my head and heart back and returning to a “new normal”.

How the Coronavirus Pandemic has affected me

First, I think we are all affected by this pandemic in different ways. Lots of us are struggling really hard right now, either mentally or financially. I am affected as well, and I want to give you an update on what happened in my life.

Private life had some ups…

As a family we were extremely lucky: My fiancé is usually commuting between Salzburg and London. When the lockdown in Austria happened on March 16th, he was back home with us. All the flights back were cancelled, so he is still working from home. And the baby and I are extremely benefitting because we are at least for a while done with this long-distance family thing.

We were also able to get my Dad back home from a holiday before the airports were closed. So, while we were really lucky to be together, we were also self-isolating in the same household with my parents for nearly two months now. Which is really hard, even though we generally get along quite well. Also, we didn’t have any support from our regular babysitter and housekeeper, so my Mom had a lot of extra work taking on both roles.

…while professional life had some major downs…

From a professional side life was also hard the last months. For the first weeks of the lockdown it was unclear if and how our family business was allowed to be open. We were trying to apply for governmental support schemes, either through short time work or emergency funding, and were facing extreme bureaucracy and technical hurdles. Nearly two months later we still have not seen one euro of that support money, and are somehow trying to keep everything running. The fear that our family business, which is over 100 years old, would not survive is always on my mind. Additionally, we were facing personal conflicts with our employees. Which is not a big surprise, as everyone was on the edge of going crazy.

These struggles, especially financially and personally, made a hard toll on my mental health. I was fighting hard, but didn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. I was working long hours and also on weekends, and I didn’t have enough time to take care of myself. Going for a run or a walk outside in the glorious spring weather was a luxury I could barely afford, even though it was legally allowed.  Wen I was in the office, I felt bad because I wsa not spending time with my son. When I spent time with my son, I was feeling bad because I still had so much work to do. There were not only few occasions where I had fights with my family members, where I cried for hours and wanted to quit everything.

But now I am slowly getting back to what fells like myself. There now is a light at the end of the tunnel, with restrictions being lifted, and governmental support slowly on its way. And slowly I am realizing that not everything is bad and that I am actually really lucky. And I want to share with you what I learned in overcoming that crisis.

There is an opportunity in every crisis

This is something that my fiancé has told me several times, and it took me a while to actually believe it. While he might refer to the stock market, where you can definitely make money and find bargains also when the markets go down, it is also true for everyday life. Every crisis will end at one point. And when it ends, it is time for a fresh start.

You lost your job due to the Coronavirus Pandemic? Maybe you didn’t like it that much at all and this is now a perfect opportunity to find a new one. You realize that you don’t like the partner you’ve been self-isolating with? Maybe it is now time to live your own life. Your travel plans got cancelled? What about saving money and discovering the beauty of your neighbourhood? You can’t go to the restaurant? Maybe now is the time to cook. You can’t go shopping? Maybe now is the time to learn how to sew and knit. You can’t go to the cinema? What about learning a new language or reading a good book? You can’t meet your friends? Maybe now is the time to actually call them and have long meaningful conversations.

There is an opportunity in every crisis, even the Coronavirus Pandemic is. Now is the time to find it an seize it.

Spend time with your loved ones

The longer the Coronavirus Pandemic continues, the more people I know that have lost someone to COVID-19. Especially my friends in the UK have suffered a lot. And all of them told me that it is really heart-breaking if you can’t say good-bye to someone you love because they are stuck in intensive care and not allowed to have visitors. And all of them told me that they regretted not spending more time with that special person before they died.

So, spend more time with your loved one. As long as your country is still in lockdown, call them frequently. Once you are allowed, visit them and give them a big hug. Life is short, so appreciate your time together, especially in these tough times. I was really lucky and happy that all my family members were healthy and close to me. And I appreciate this hard, but special time that I have with them.

I don’t need that much to be happy

Guess what I didn’t miss during the Coronavirus Pandemic? Going shopping. Yes of course we had to buy groceries, but besides that I was not in the mood. And I realized that I didn’t need a lot of the stuff I owned. I went through my closed and put a lot of things up for sale. Most of it some very nice clothes and accessories that I didn’t wear in years. If you want to have a look, check them out here.

The only things I needed were for the baby, and I tried to get them through different ways. I was ordering toys from my friend that owns a toy shop. By doing this I was supporting a local business that was also affected from the lockdown. One other friend also sent me her used baby clothes, that she didn’t need any more.

Yes, I miss eating out, but I discovered that baking brownies was making me equally happy. So, will this change my consumption habits on the long run? Probably yes. Less money spent, more happiness.

Take care of your mental health

I have always considered myself as mentally healthy and strong. Why should I not be? I run Ultra Marathons and 24 hour Obstacle Course Races, and have given birth to a baby boy.

But the Coronavirus Pandemic definitely showed me my limits. The long working hours, the constant struggles in our business, the lack of sleep, and especially the lack of self-care were taking a hard toll on my mental health. There was one weekend where I had a massive break down. And I realized that I can’t continue like this. I needed to take care of myself.

I am now trying to make certain things a priority, even though I am not perfect at it: working out, sleeping more, not working weekends, baking brownies, finding more personal space, and now writing blog posts again. Self-care is not a buzz word for being lazy, it is really about taking care of yourself and recharging your batteries.

And I highly recommend to everyone making this a priority: If you need time for yourself, take it. If you need space, step away. If you need to recharge your batteries, do it.

 

So I can conclude with a quote that feels very appropriate right now:

Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.

How have you been affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic? Leave me a comment below!

Stretch marks: 3 tips how to prevent them

Stretch marks: 3 tips how to prevent them

When I became pregnant I was of course full of emotions, most of them positive. However I also had some questions and fears. One of those was how my body would deal with the pregnancy, if I would gain lots of weight and if I would get stretch marks. I had gotten a lot of stretch marks when I gained weight during puberty. And the scars still cover my legs and booty.

After lots of research on stretch marks and several months of pregnancy later I am still free of stretch marks. And I’ve decided to share all the knowledge I gained with my readers.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links to help cover the costs for hosting this website.

You can’t change your genetics

Stretch marks happen when your skin has to expand beyond it’s natural flexibility. Most of the time this happens during growth or weight gain. Both men and women can get stretch marks, although women are more likely to get them.

Women’s connective tissue in their skin is just on average weaker, causing the skin to be less stretchy and flexible. Therefore they are more likely to have cellulite or stretch marks.

The bad news first: how likely it is for you to get stretch marks is determined by your genetics. And you can’t change your genetics per se. So if you have had stretch marks in the past, you are more likely to get them again. However this is not the end of the story.

… But you can work with your body

The good news is that there are several things that you can do that help you prevent stretch marks or lessen the appearance of them. Most of these tips and tricks are easy to implement and inxpensive. However they require some sort of discipline and consistency.

1) Gain weight gradually

If you had a healthy bodyweight before you should gain a total of around 10kg to 15 kg during pregnancy. Although weight gain during pregnancy is healthy and normal, it is not an excuse to just eat whatever you want. Besides the fact that gaining too much weight during pregnancy is unhealthy and not recommended, gaining weight too fast and too much can cause stretch marks.

So one of the best tips to prevent stretch marks is to gain weight gradually and stay within the recommended ranges.

You can find a calculator here .

How can you efficiently control your weight?

Important side note: Gaining too much weight too fast could also be a sign of excessive water retention. This can be a symptom of preeclampsia, which is a dangerous pregnancy condition. Monitoring your weight can also help you see the signs of this condition early.

2) Massage your belly regularly

There are a lot of creams, oils and lotions out there that promise you to prevent stretch marks. And while no study has proven yet that the miracle potion for stretch marks exists, there are some benefits to it. Regular massages help to make your skin mor flexible and your connective tissue more elastic.

In addition the oils and creams can help to make the scars lighter and less visible. Although they will not disappear completely.

Here are my favorite oils for a regular belly massage:

Bi-Oil is the absolute classic remedy for scars and probably the most popular one. It comes in various sizes and I especially love the 60ml travel size.

The all natural stretch mark oil from Weleda is my other favorite. It is great if you want a natural, petrol and chemical free oil. It is however a bit pricey. Weleda also has a special oil for the perineum that I will start using in my third trimester of pregnancy.

Retin-oil from skin-care start-up Deciem contains retinol, which helps especially when the stretch marks are already there. However it is not a good oil to use during pregnancy, but more for after giving birth.

The main reason is the key ingredient Retinol. Retinol is a form of Vitamin A. Overdosing on Vitamin A can cause birth defects of the fetus. Although the dosage of Retinol in the oil is fairly low, and first studies have indicated that topical application of retinol is safe during pregnancy, there is still not enough scientific evidence to recommend it during pregnancy.

I would therefore stay on the safe side, and use this great product after you gave birth to your little one.

3) Wear a special support band to prevent stretch marks

I am currently testing and wearing the belly support band from Secret Saviours. It has small rubber spots on the inside. These spots help to “grab” the belly and support its weight and therefore also the lower back. The claimed result: 82% of women who have used this kit have not developped stretch marks. So far I am among these 82% and I will continue to report on this.

The kit comes with a day gel, a night cream and a waist band. There are several sizes of belly bands and colors available so it always fits your belly perfectly.

Do you have any tips on how to prevent stretch marks? Leave me a comment below!

My favorite supplements for runners

My favorite supplements for runners

While getting your training in is very important for runners, getting your nutrition on track is too. A healthy and balanced diet should be the cornerstone for your nutrition. However, there are certain supplements that are worth taking. Not because you then can neglect your diet, but to get even better results. I’ve been taking these 5 supplements for a long time now nearly every day, and I really find them worth the money. For most of them, there are different alternatives in different price ranges.

Trying to conceive? 5 things you should do before you get pregnant.

Trying to conceive? 5 things you should do before you get pregnant.

Do you want to conceive and get pregnant soon? Here are 5 things that you should do before getting pregnant, either because they help your fertility or because you can’t do them once you are pregnant.

All of these tips come from my own personal experience. Either because I did them completely right, or completely wrong. Please note that this advice is purely personal, as a lot of my friends have asked me for it recently. I am not a doctor or midwife, so please also consult them if you want to conceive or are trying to get pregnant.

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Benefits and risks of exercise during pregnancy

Benefits and risks of exercise during pregnancy

When I found out I was pregnant with my first child I was currently in the process of running 12 Marathons for charity. I still had 2 Marathons to run, and I was scared that it would be a high risk if I continued to run. But I educated myself about exercising during pregnancy and and all the benefits and risks attached. In the end I ran two more Marathons in my first trimester, as I felt confident that it would not harm the baby.

I have collected all the knowledge about exercising during pregnancy that I gained through my research here and want to share it with you. Please bear in mind that I am not a doctor, midwife or personal trainer. Any pregnancy is different, so please conduct your health professional beforehand.

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Overcoming failure – I missed my Berlin Marathon goal, now what?

Overcoming failure – I missed my Berlin Marathon goal, now what?

In fitness and sports we like to talk about goals and personal bests. But something we do not like to talk about is failure. Somehow the error culture in our modern social media influenced world is non existing. We rather present failure free and perfect lives on Instagram. But this is not the real world. Everyone fails sooner or later. It is absolutely human and we have to talk honestly about it. So I’ll make the first step: I failed and missed my Berlin Marathon goal of running a sub 4 hour time. And I am not very happy about it. And I know many other runners that also missed their goals at the Berlin Marathon 2018, and are also gutted about it. So why am I writing this blogpost? Maybe to give us all, including me a different perspective on how we can overcome our failures.

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