A Spell for Feeling Well

A Spell for Feeling Well

On those days when you don’t feel like getting out of bed…

What if you could cast a spell and feel better?

Of course, even wizards don’t have such a spell. Feeling better is not a simple fix. It’s a challenge for magic and non-magic people alike. 

I’ve had many a difficult day, sometimes due to depression, and many more times not. Here’s the thing:

Most likely you already know what makes you feel better, but when you’re feeling down it’s hard to remember. 

That’s why it’s important to take the time to map it out a self care plan, and keep adjusting as you notice what helps. And this is exactly what I’ve done.

A guide to Self Care, inspired by Harry Potter

I’ve created A Spell for Feeling Well, a step-by-step list to follow, so that all you have to do when you need it is cast the incantation to reveal your personal map to wellness.

You many have read about my ‘at the very least’ and ‘in case of emergency’ lists – A Spell for Feeling well combines these practices and puts them in a logical order, so all you have to follow the footsteps it lays out for you. 

In this book, I’ve compiled the most common causes of feeling down, and the most common ways to combat them – all told through Wizarding examples of course. 

You can print it out and fold it up, like the actual Marauder’s Map, or you can copy-paste into a note on your muggle phone.

What’s inside this free, 9-page ebook:

  • What the Dursleys can teach us about wellness
  • An original way to summon your Patronus
  • Why you should channel your inner House Elf when you’re feeling down
  • A recipe for your personal pepper-up potion
  • How to make the Room of Requirement appear

When to use this:

  • When you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or groggy
  • When you’re not feeling like yourself
  • When you just want to lie in bed all day

When not to use this:

This Spell is about maintaining your foundation. It’s not for thriving for greatness. It is the first step, the bare minimum. But when you are feeling well, you can reach beyond this. Lumos Your Life, my signature programme on lighting up your daily rituals and crafting your magical mission, will be available soon.

Are you ready to feel well? Request your complimentary copy of A Spell for Feeling Well.

How to Keep in Touch with Long-Distance Friends

How to Keep in Touch with Long-Distance Friends

One of the woes of being an international heroine is that my closest companions are scattered across the globe. 

Alas! Instead of bemoan the difficulties of being so cosmopolitan, I take long-distance friendships as a creative challenge. 

Especially as an introvert, favouring intimate connections in short bursts, a global girl gang is the way to go.

How to Keep in Touch with Long-Distance Friends

Make a friendship map.

At the back of my Passion Planner, I have a page headlined friends friends friends [inspired by Luna Lovegood’s bedroom wall]. I keep an orderly list, arranged by city and country, so that when I happen to be in town I can run down the list to get in touch. Much simpler than scrolling through my mental rolodex. 

Celebrate friendship.

Taylor Swift keeps black and white portraits of her besties in her hallway. I started a portable collection of black and white portraits in a folder on my iPod called Hallway. 

Recently I upgraded the project to a private Instagram account, posting my beloved portraits on friends’ birthdays, and when I’m thinking of them. 

I wanted a place to celebrate my friends privately, without unwanted exposure to the blogosphere. Maybe this is a Gryffindor thing. look how awesome my friends are!!!

Related: How your friends can help you based on their Hogwarts houses

Keep in touch the old fashioned way.

When Steve and I were living distantly, my favourite tradition was writing him a letter every Sunday. Communication through letters is uniquely intimate, something more deliberate than in-person conversation, and more thoughtful than email or text. 

I love writing friends letters, often on a weekend, usually on holiday, when I have time to spread out. 

I always seal the envelope with stickers or washi tape, and I usually enclose little trinkets, like a free postcard from the coffeeshop in which I scribed the note, or a torn page from a magazine. Can’t include such delights in an email!

Play a Game.

Another thing Steve and I did when we were apart was play Words with Friends. The sentiment was in the right place, but he complained that I took too long thinking of words. Sooo I’m taking suggestions for more suitable games.

Lately I’ve been enjoying Dots & Co, which is single-player, but you can see your friends’ progress and send each other free energy. Get in touch if you’re playing too!

Ping an out-of-the-blue thinking-of-you.

Sometimes it feels weird to reconnect with someone I haven’t spoken to in years without a full catch up: How are you? Where are you? What have you been up to? But such pleasantries are not always necessary, in truth. 

I often send a quick ‘thinking of you’ message when something I come across reminds me of them. On my end I know it’s delightful to receive an out-of-the-blue “I’m at MUJI. Thought of you.” 

These exchanges usually happen over Facebook Messenger (because my phone doesn’t do emojis), where I enjoy pairing each contact with the perfect colour and emoji [did you know you can do this? Tap your friend’s name at the top of your screen on mobile!], and I enjoy exchanging Stickers. All about the stickers, digital and physical.

How to Keep in Touch with Long-Distance Friends

Related: 21 Things to do on a Pomodoro Break [yes this is one of them!]

Schedule a digital Lunch Date.

I started using Calendly to schedule business appointments, but I have a separate calendar just for ‘lunch dates’ with faraway friends on Skype, whether they’re also having lunch, or an east coast breakfast. 

Even a half hour catch up is wonderful – I actually prefer it to a few hours every few months – and much more manageable and fun than going back and forth about time zones.

Visit them in person!

The great thing about having friends around the world is that I have a marvellous excuse to visit my favourite people in new places. My preferred travel activity is to collect glimpses of my friends’ daily lives around the world. 

Encourage friends to visit you as well – not just ‘come any time’, but suggest a specific itinerary and time of year.

Or, meet in the middle. Kat and I forgo birthday presents in exchange for the promise to meet up whenever Taylor Swift is on tour.

Related: How to Get the Best Travel Advice for YOU

When will I see you again?

Whether a friend lives down the street or on the other side of the planet, I like to close each gathering by gauging when we’ll next see each other. Asking the question reaffirms the intention to keep in touch, and could lead to unexpected crossings of paths!

How do you keep in touch with faraway friends?

P.S. I founded the Heroine Training traveling tea party tour to meet even more friends around the world. Put in a vote for your hometown, and receive a personal invitation when I’m nearby [when I say personal I mean personal!].

Barcelona, Spain / Fit for a Heroine

Barcelona, Spain / Fit for a Heroine

A HEROINE’S TRAVEL GUIDE TO BARCELONA, SPAIN / BY KAYLA KURIN

Barcelona looks like a city straight out of fairy tale.

You’ll discover many secrets wandering through the streets of this Mediterranean city full of artists, architects, and rebels turned authors who tell its story.

Whether you’re transported to another world walking through Gaudi’s’ architecture or witnessing the surrealist paintings of Dali and Picasso, there’s a little bit of magic wherever you go in Barcelona.

Before you go:

If you’re like me and enjoy reading novels about places you’re traveling to, these reads will give you a glimpse into the city and the heroines of Catalonia:

  • Solitud by Victor Catala (ie. Caterina Albert) was published under a male pen name to avoid controversy. And thus enters our first heroine!
  • The shadow of the wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron is a novel set in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War.
  • The angst-ridden executive by Manuel Vazquez Montalban is a fun who-dun-it detective story set in the streets of Barcelona!

Barcelona, Spain / Fit for a Heroine

Start the day with a hearty breakfast as we’ve got a lot of adventure ahead of us!

Like a local grab a pastry and cafe con leche from your local cafe, or if you’re craving something more substantial, find your way to El Petit Princep in El Borne to indulge in a breakfast fit for a little prince (or princess).

Get to know Gaudi.

To kick off our adventures, jump on a bus to Park Guell. If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you’re wandering through your own fairy tale, this is the place.

Gaudi’s stunning and unique architecture gives the place a magical feeling. You can spend an hour or two wandering around this park and taking in views of the city below.

To continue our Gaudi fix, walk or grab a bus to the Sagrada Familia.

You’ll notice the construction amidst the turrets, but don’t feel discouraged, this is part of the attraction! The church has been under construction for over 100 years with no end in (near) site!

The interior is said to resemble a (forbidden) forest, and the outside boasts work from 4 different architects. It’s easy to imagine this giant gothic church as a setting in many a heroine’s tale.

Barcelona, Spain / Fit for a Heroine

Make a literary break for your cafe con leche.

Stretch your legs by wandering further downhill (all downhill roads lead to the water) until you find yourself at the Pudding Bar. If you’re short on reading material, pop into Laie across the road with a selection of books in different languages.

Then head into the Pudding Bar for a funky Alice in Wonderland themed coffee and reading break. Be inspired to break out the journal and enjoy the surroundings.

Explore the gothic quarter.

Continue down Carrer de Pau Claris into the gothic quarter. Get lost wandering around the narrow streets and enjoy the architecture. Keep an eye out for the Barcelona Cathedral, home to one of the city’s first heroines and Patron Saints, Eulalia.

Eulalia is one of the first Christian martyr’s from the Roman period. At just 13 years old she received such punishments as being rolled around the city in a barrel full of knives for refusing to give up Christianity. She is now the co-Patron saint of Barcelona.

The Rubio bridge next to the Cathedral and settled amongst gargoyles is a beautiful site.

Barcelona, Spain / Fit for a Heroine

Lunch at Barcelona’s most famous tapas bar in La Boqueria market.

When you’re ready for lunch, cross Las Ramblas to get to La Boqueria, the most famous food market in Barcelona. Enjoy seeing the variety of Catalonian foods, and then find a seat at Bar Pinotoxo for traditional tapas, fresh seafood, and a lunchtime glass of Cava.

If you have the time, wander around hip Raval, or simply follow Ramblas down to the water until you see the giant Columbus statue.

The crafty geographer may notice that Columbus is actually pointing east, the opposite direction of the Americas to which he sailed. Several theories try to explain this, but my favourite is that he’s pointing towards his hometown in Genoa, Italy.

Barcelona, Spain / Fit for a Heroine

Learn about the history of Catalonia.

Follow the main road next to the water, passing the yachts, and then swing left into the Museum of Catalonian History.

The museum houses 2 floors of exhibits, with stunning visual displays starting from ancient times and leading to the 20th century. It’s fascinating to see the different empires Catalonia passed under, and understand the unique history of the Catalonian people.

The museum also hosts a rooftop patio with great views of Barceloneta and the Mediterranean!

Barcelona, Spain / Fit for a Heroine

Sunsets, seafood, and sipping on cocktails.

Meander your way among the streets of Barceloneta, and watch the sunset on the beach.

When you’re done enjoying the sand and the waves, make your way to La Bona Sort in Borne for some traditional tapas for dinner. Ask to be seated in the garden (jardin) to feel like you’re sitting in your own secret garden. The grilled calamari and pulpo de Galicia are two of my favourite dishes!

While you may be ready to head home after a long day of sightseeing, the city is just awakening.

If you’re ready for a night fit for a heroine, head to Eldiset or Sub Rosa in Borne for some cocktails in an interesting atmosphere, or if you’re up for it, jump in a cab to Old Fashioned in trendy Gracia to be transported back to the 1920’s while sipping on one of their professionally made cocktails.

If you have more than a day in Barcelona, spend a morning in Babelia cafe, designed specially for the bibliophile. And remember that the best thing one can do in Barcelona is get lost…

Enjoy your journey!

Barcelona, Spain / Fit for a HeroineKayla is a chronic traveler, writer, and flying (yoga) instructor for Lumos Your Life! Currently bunkered up in Europe, but originally from Canada, she’s visited, lived, and worked in over 40 countries. Read more about her adventures working & traveling on her websiteTwitter, and Instagram.

Xandra Recommends > try adding Kayla’s 15-minute Yoga for Sleep routine to your evening ritual.

Is your hometown the perfect fit for a heroine? I’m always looking for fabulous locals to contribute to this Fit for a Heroine travel guide series. If you’re interested in writing for Heroine Training, read the guidelines and get in touch.