by Aidan Encarnacao

What does your morning ritual consist of?

On a day that I’m not working, and just have uni or no school at all, I’ll usually wake up, have a shower then I’ll make a smoothie. Sometimes I make a variation of avocado toast or I’ll just have a croissant for brunch while listening to some NERD or Sade.

What are some tools you use to manage negative thoughts?

To manage negative thoughts that I might have, I usually put on my favorite playlist and go for a walk in my neighborhood. I’ve found this to be the best way to distract from current issues. I also listen to sleep meditation podcasts! I highly recommend this technique to anyone that has trouble sleeping or even just to turn off your brain during the day. Sometimes you just need a little break. 

What's your favourite book?

My favorite book is probably Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. I discovered Murakami’s books a couple years ago and fell in love with his style of writing. It’s similar to a painting by Dalí, when you take into consideration, the surrealistic settings and story lines. Murakami describes the tiniest movements with such great attention to detail that you can’t help but be enveloped by the world that he is creating. I also really enjoyed reading Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People. It made me cry!

Do you drink coffee? If so, how do you like it? If not, do you have any favourite teas?

Yes!! I love coffee. I don’t drink it every day, but I do have a great coffee machine at my place so I try to make sure I use it. I either make a cappuccino or something like an espresso macchiato, with oat milk. 


Have you ever struggled with an addiction or dependency of some kind within your life? If so, how did you overcome it?

Generally, I don’t really have addictive tendencies. I really enjoy smoking weed, but don’t have a problem if I have to go without it for a couple weeks. The same goes for alcohol actually. I’ll have a glass of wine with my friends or parents on occasion, but other than that, I don’t really drink anymore. I feel a lot better living like this, to be honest. I don’t even remember the last hangover I had. 


What are some things you do from time to time that refuels your body and mind?

To refuel my body and mind I would have usually traveled to a different city for a weekend. Now it’s a lot more difficult for me to feel truly refreshed since we have less freedom to move around Europe. It’s strange, but traveling is really what keeps me sane. However, sometimes I will get a massage or a facial. I’ve found that self-care really helps me when I feel down or tired. Of course, I can’t forget about the walks I go on and the meditation I do as well. 


What's the biggest thing you need to work on about yourself?

The biggest thing I need to work on within myself is really speaking my mind and standing up for my own views and decisions. I feel like I’ve always been so proud of being “flexible” and “easygoing”, that I often don’t consider what I really think or feel about a certain situation. 


What's the most significant positive change you've made for yourself within the past 12 months?

The most significant change I have made for myself is probably, first of all, going to university, but also, finding out that what I am studying currently is not what I want to pursue. I have now applied and been accepted to a university in Paris for graphic design. I feel like I really just had to have this experience and make the decision for myself. 


What advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?

I’d tell my 16 year old self to be more patient and have less expectations. That’s one of the most important things I’ve learned in the past 4 years and the advice I’ve given to my little sister. Everything will happen when and how it’s meant to happen.


What's the most memorable quote, or piece of advice that has always stuck with you?

 A quote that will always stick with me is something I said when I was around 5 or 6. I remember saying (in German) “wenn du etwas wirklich willst, dann musst du daran glauben”. Translated into English it means something along the lines of “if you really want something, you have to believe in it”. My parents got this quote printed on a drawing board, which is why I have an almost photographic image of it etched into my mind.