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A fit and healthy lifestyle is easier than you can imagine

Today on Expatstimes, we are pleased to share an interview with Miriam Kuster from MIMI coaching. She is a personal trainer and does life and health coaching with a special approach that fits perfect with each of her clients. In this interview, she gives tips on how to get in shape and help you build a healthier lifestyle.

Who is the woman behind Mimi Coaching?

There are so many words I could use to describe myself. Fitness Coach, Criminologist, Diplomat Kid, Intelligence Analyst, Entrepreneur, etc. However, in the end, I am just a human being who has lived quite a colorful life and loves to help people. The best way I know how to do that is through talking/listening to people and educating them about fitness and nutrition.

Has it always been your goal to be a fitness coach?

When I was a child I wanted to work for the German Federal Police, but only because I knew I would have to pass physical tests in order to get in. I liked the fact that I would have to be fit and highly adaptable. Later on, I lived in Australia and studied Criminology, but at the same time also worked as a Personal Trainer. Then life had another plan for me, and I gravitated more towards the corporate world. After working at ABN AMRO for two years I realised my true passion was fitness, so I decided to make a return.

What has inspired you to become a life coach and fitness instructor?

I just see such big value in living a fit and healthy life. This lifestyle teaches you about commitment, dedication, motivation, self-respect, self-love, and so much more. It also helps you stay focused and true to yourself out of the gym. I also very much like that I was able to learn so much through my many struggles and can now pass on my lessons.

We all have our purpose on this planet I believe that making people feel better through fitness and just listening to them is mine.

What is your routine to stay in shape? Can you give us some nutritional tips?

There are many routines people can follow to meet their fitness goals. Every program should be a little different and based on the individual. In my case, I like to be at the gym 5 times a week, although I have to say that this is not necessary to get or stay in shape. Over these 5 days, I split up my muscle groups. This means on Monday I train legs, Tuesday back, Wednesday I rest, Thursday shoulders, Friday legs, and Saturday arms and abs. Nutrition wise I ensure that I eat a good amount of carbohydrates, proteins, and good fats at the right time of the day.

In your opinion, is it difficult to balance professional, personal and health life?

I used to think that this wasn’t all that difficult. Back then I had never been part of the corporate world. However, after I started working at ABN AMRO I finally began to understand what many of my clients were talking about. Now I have a much better understanding of time-related struggles. This is why I believe in the “work smart, not hard” approach. My workouts are designed to be as efficient as possible with as little time as possible required. I also love to see when my clients actually involve their families and loved ones on this journey.

What is your advice for people who want to start their healthy lifestyle journey?

I would advise people to think in baby steps. Many people shy away from beginning this journey, simply because of all the work they think they have to put in. I like to approach this slowly, make one change at the time. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, eating brown rice instead of white, drinking one beer instead of three are good examples. This method is much easier to apply, and will likely lead to maintainable healthy lifestyle changes. All you have to do is start, and I will be there with you along the way!

Do you want to get in shape? Or change to a healthier lifestyle? Then Mimi has a message for you!


All details were correct at time of going to press. No responsibility can be held for any omissions or errors contained herein. The companies featured on this blog are unpaid. Our full disclaimer can be found here.

Valerie Nayer: psychologists explained

This week we are focusing on mental health and its insurance coverage in The Netherlands. We recently sat down with Valerie Nayer, a psychologist and Belgian expat who has lived in The Hague for more than 10 years. You can make an appointment to visit Valerie at her clinic, which was founded in 2015 and located in Rijswijk.

As a psychologist, please give us your opinion on the health system in The Netherlands

The Dutch healthcare system is often viewed as ambivalent by an expat. In contrast to many other European members, the Dutch health system is based on private insurance rather than on a national system. This public insurance system is based on a risk equalization through a risk equalization pool. To keep it simple: all citizens are required to acquire an insurance from private providers. The government is responsible for the accessibility and equality of the health care system but is not in control of its management. The system encourages competition but is regulated by the risk equalization pool to avoid private insurers from “selecting healthy patients”.
Personally, the commercial aspect of the Dutch health care system remains difficult for me to appreciate. Apart from that, it is effective.

 Is it difficult to be a psychologist in The Netherlands?

Yes and no. The title of a psychologist is not statutorily protected in The Netherlands. It means anybody can use it. However, a psychologist with a Master of Science in Psychology may register with a few organizations which defend the client and the profession against fraud. Amongst others, the BIG-register (Professions in the Healthcare of the Individual) and the NIP (Dutch Institute for Psychologists).
If you have the required diplomas and work accordingly to the Code of Ethics, it is not difficult to work as a psychologist in The Netherlands.

What methods do you use, and what are the reasons a patient might visit you?

I obtained my master in clinical psychology at the ULB (Free University of Brussels) in 2006 and I have been working mostly with adults, according to the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy theory. I am specialized in the treatment of anxious and depressive disorders, burnout, paraphilia and clinical sexology. Sometimes I also use art therapy which allows a creative and non-verbal expression of the patient’s issues. It’s a very interesting approach but unfortunately rather unknown to the public.

Could you describe Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in more detail?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a present-oriented psychotherapy directed on solving current problems and teaching clients skills to modify dysfunctional thinking and behavior. CBT is based on the cognitive model: our thoughts, feelings, and actions are interconnected. By changing unhelpful cognitions (thoughts) and/or actions (behavior), CBT aims to improve patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind people’s difficulties. CBT has been shown to be an effective way of treating various mental health conditions such as depression and anxious disorders, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, panic disorders and much more.

What are the most common calls for help you receive from your patients?

I often receive requests concerning anxious and depressive disorders and also about sexual issues. What I love most about my job is that each person is unique and carries their own story. So, even though two individuals may come for the same problem, the therapeutic work will be different. It is a very diversified and satisfying job in which you constantly must ask yourself what is best for your patient and maintain a good therapeutic alliance to encourage changes and help them face their reality.

All details were correct at time of going to press. No responsibility can be held for any omissions or errors contained herein. The companies featured on this blog are unpaid.

Our full disclaimer can be found here.

The au pair program in The Netherlands

Having decided to become an Au Pair during 2014, I was placed with a family in The Netherlands. It wasn’t an easy decision since I knew that I would be terribly homesick and would miss my family and friends enormously. The benefits outweighed the negatives and I was soon relishing living in a new country, learning a new language and experiencing other cultures and languages too, since The Netherlands is so diverse. We all have different goals when we become an Au Pair, but there must be a common thread behind your decision, that is that you MUST like spending most of your time with children. You will be tested every day that you are with them and you must have patience and empathy when being an Au Pair too.
There are so many things that one could cover about this intense experience, but I have decided to provide a practical checklist for those that are thinking of becoming an Au Pair. Since I’m Brazilian my process was obviously different for those from the EU. You can find the terms and conditions of becoming an Au Pair in The Netherlands here https://ind.nl/en/other/eu-eea)

Where to start

You are able to apply to work as an Au Pair if you are between 18 and 30 years old (30 is the age limit). Sign up with a reputable Au Pair agency, they will be able to help you find your host family and arrange your visa and other necessary documentation. It is very important that you discuss EVERYTHING with your future host family and the agency, this includes your exact working hours, days off, what you are expected to do each day etc. You don’t want any surprises when you start work!

How does the programme work?

The family must provide accommodation and meals, in addition to paying a pocket money of 300 to 340 euros per month (it is not considered salary). These rules are specific to the Netherlands. Several countries offer the Au Pair program and each one has its own rules.

Working hours and free time

In the Netherlands, the weekly working schedule of an au pair must not exceed a total of 30 hours. You must never work more than 8 hours a day or more than 5 days a week. You only perform light domestic work for the host family. You are entitled to a minimum of two days off a per week; however, these days do not have to be consecutive. You are entitled to a minimum of 2 weeks paid annual leave every 12 months. You and your host family must agree when you will take your leave in advance.

Language course/cultural exchange

As an Au pair, you are permitted to attend a language course. Your host family will help you find the most suitable course and must pay 320 euros per year for your course. Since the Au Pair programme is designed to support cultural exchange, your host family will help you experience Dutch culture through various cultural activities.

Health Insurance

Medical insurance is mandatory in The Netherlands. You must be covered throughout the duration of your time in The Netherlands. This required health insurance is called basisverzekering. Dutch health insurance is accessible to all residents and provides general medical care including hospital care, medication, etc. Your host family must pay all of your insurance fees.

Life in The Netherlands

Once you’ve arrived and settled into your new home. There are a few more details that need to be dealt with. You need to open a bank account, register with the town hall etc. Your host family should advise and help you with all of these matters. You then need to get used to your new routine, the weather in The Netherlands is probably wetter and colder to what you are used to, so make sure you have the right clothing. The easiest way to move around town, picking up the children from school, going to the supermarket etc. is by bike, your host family will most probably provide you with one, or help you find a second hand one. Following a Dutch language course will help you adapt to your life in The Netherlands, and will help you communicate with the children better.

Do you have any questions about being an Au Pair in The Netherlands? Leave a message here… and we will answer you as soon as we can.
For more information on becoming or working as an Au Pair, visit this page https://ind.nl/en/other/Pages/Au-pair.aspx

All details were correct at time of going to press. No responsibility can be held for any omissions or errors contained herein. The companies featured on this blog are unpaid.

Our full disclaimer can be found here.

Speed Mentoring -The start of inspiring events

The first ever Speed Mentoring event took place on April 13th in The Hague. Expatstimes organised the event which focused on mentorship and guidance. The participating audience were young professionals, entrepreneurs, and expatriates.

Opening speeches were held by Expatstimes’ Prashant Shukla and Johann Stan. Our guest mentors were able to introduce themselves and touch upon their professional and personal experiences. Rachel Smets, Ajay Sharma, Mohamed Ittidar and Maurice Zondag were all gracious enough to accept our call to help and offered their time and expertise when it came to mentoring the participants and leading the open floor Q&A sessions. 

 

Topics such as quick presentation dynamics, as well as professional issues and goals were all discussed.
With a relaxed and friendly atmosphere the mentoring, and thereafter, the networking part of the event were widely appreciated and acknowledged by all who attended. Refreshments and light snacks rounded off an enjoyable evening!

It delights us to say the event was an overwhelming success. We are in the throes of planning our next speed mentoring event due to the first one being so outrageously popular! Watch this space and We hope to see you in our next events.

All details were correct at time of going to press. No responsibility can be held for any omissions or errors contained herein. The companies featured on this blog are unpaid.

Our full disclaimer can be found here.

An attorney based in The Hague with a clear mission – Elena Deliran

Can my employment contract silently get prolonged? What are my rights as an employee? What are the legal consequences of marriage in the Netherlands? Am I protected as an expat by Dutch law? 

These are questions which Elena is frequently confronted with. Elena is a partner at Hofzicht Advocaten in The Hague. Elena has an international background and assists clients in Dutch, English, Persian and Spanish.

Elena will write expert blogs in which she lays the focus on legal issues expatriates encounters frequently in the Netherlands. We asked her a few questions, read more below.

What is your advice for internationals in The Netherlands?

“I think some basic knowledge of the Dutch Legal system is essential. In my practice, I often encounter clients who have no idea of the legal protection they enjoy. Dutch Law provides much protection to those who are considered to be the most vulnerable contracting party such as employees, tenants, and consumers.”

Elena also includes – “For instance, when working in the Netherlands, you should know the basic employee rights such as the protection from dismissal; what your rights and duties are during illness or pregnancy; that your right to holiday pay and holiday allowance derives from the Minimum Wage and Minimum Holiday Allowance Act and is not dependent on a clause in your employment contract.”

We receive frequent questions about prolonging of employment contracts. Is it possible to silently prolong an employment contract?

“Yes, that is possible even if no new contract is signed. It is important to realize that Dutch Law does not require written employment contracts. Basically, for the conclusion of an employment contract only an offer and its acceptance are required. Written contracts can help proving what was agreed. In the end, the circumstances of the case are decisive. The basic requirements of an employment agreement are that (1) one undertakes to (2) work for another (3) in exchange for remuneration.

There is a distinction between a fixed-term and a permanent employment contract. Employees with a permanent employment contract enjoy dismissal protection while a fixed-term contract expires by operation of law at the agreed end date. It is not uncommon that parties draft a fixed-term employment contract, and after the end date the employee is still being expected to work and gets paid. If this happens, the first contract is deemed to be prolonged under the same conditions, for a maximum of a year.

A fixed-term contract, however, cannot be renewed endlessly. The law provides coercive limitations to that: the so-called “chain ruling” or “Ketenregeling” in Dutch.

In 2015, Dutch employment law was drastically changed. As far as it concerns the chain ruling, one should assess first whether the new law is applicable. Employment relations which started prior to 1 July 2015 between the same parties may be renewed three times for a maximum of 3 years, and a maximum of 3 months may lie between the consecutive contracts before the contract automatically is converted to a permanent one.

Employment contracts starting after 1 July 2015, fall within the working sphere of the new law and the fixed-term contract may be renewed 3 times within a maximum period of two years, with a maximum of 6 months in between for it to be converted to a permanent contract.

Please note that this rule might not apply to all employment contracts, as there is the possibility to deviate from it by collective agreement for some sectors and for agency workers.”

More about Elena Deliran

Elena is specialized in family law and employment law and she often deals with international cases. Elena grew up in many different countries and is fluent in Dutch, English, Persian and Spanish. Her intercultural background and language skills, together with her experience with international legal matters enable her to assist international clients and cases effectively. In her practice, Elena deals with various aspects of family law such as divorce proceedings, spouse and child alimony, custody and visitation rights and child protection matters. Elena also assists clients with employment issues such as suspension and employment termination proceedings, change of employment conditions, evaluation of employees and sickness.

You can contact Elena at deliran@hofzichtadvocaten.nl


All details were correct at time of going to press. No responsibility can be held for any omissions or errors contained herein. The companies featured in this blog are unpaid.

Our full disclaimer can be found here.

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