Self Care Practices To Incorporate Into Your Everyday Life

Hey, loves! As I mentioned in Friday’s post, I’ve really had one of those weeks. I’ve felt a bit crap, and as a result I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways I try to carve out a little self care time each day, and focus on the things that keep me feeling good even on those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. Name that movie. As I mentioned in a recent post I’ve made August an unofficial self-care month for me, and I’d love for you to join in too! Let’s get used to taking a little extra time for ourselves, no matter how busy we are. Today I’m sharing with you the things I try to do most days (or at least several times per week) to practice self care.

Practice yoga (or at least stretch)
It’s not realistic to assume we all have a spare hour or even half an hour each day to prioritise yoga, or whichever exercise you prefer. However, ten minutes is something we should all able to achieve – whether it means turning the TV off ten minutes before bed or getting up ten minutes earlier – it feels so good to stretch out your body. My favourite morning stretch routine for when I don’t have much time is this practice from Yoga With Adrienne, it always makes me feel refreshed and ready to start the day.

Eat food that’s good for you
When you’re eating healthy food your body feels refreshed, and so does your mind. Matt and I eat healthy veggie filled dinners most nights, and we try to eat healthy when possible. We definitely don’t restrict ourselves; if we want to eat something we’ll definitely enjoy it, it’s just about creating a balance. Getting our five a day is so important, and although there’s way less emphasis on it in the media now, I think we could all use a reminder!

Enjoy at least ten minutes of peace and quiet each day
Having a little time alone just to be is good for the soul. I’m an introvert, and until Matt and I got together two years ago, I’d have opted to spend time alone than with others any day of the week. Now, of course I’d rather spend every possible second with Matt, but it’s still important to appreciate time alone too. Whether it’s relaxing in a hot bath during the evening or whilst I’m doing my makeup before work, I just enjoy being with only my thoughts for a little while.

Keep the space around you clean, tidy and clutter-free
I am the kind of person that needs the space around me to be clean and tidy anyway, but it truly makes you feel so much more calm and relaxed when everything is in order and put away in it’s place. I like to de-clutter Matt and I’s space pretty often, and it’s freeing to not hold on to rubbish you don’t need! Our bedroom is always smelling fresh and looking tidy, and coming home each night to our own little sanctuary is so calming and refreshing. I’m also the same with my car, I can’t bare it being dirty or cluttered inside, I just very rarely clean the outside.

Treat yourself to regular pamper sessions
Whether it’s getting your gels refreshed or visiting your favourite salon for a fresh colour and cut, set aside time (and money) to enjoy it. I love days where I’m getting my hair or nails done SO much, it just makes me feel happier. Of course you don’t have to go to salons to treat yourself, because at-home spa and pamper evenings can be just as wonderful. Indulge in a bubble bath and throw a face mask on, and never let yourself feel guilty for doing so. It’s important to unwind and relax, and it’s very true that when you look good, you feel good on the inside too. Matt and I love a pamper night!

Make gratitude lists
Feeling grateful is one thing, but writing down what you’re grateful for changes your perspective on everything. It’s so easy to get bogged down with mundane life stuff, but just acknowledging the good things in your life can make you see everything so differently. I’ve wrote three posts this year, logging things I’m grateful for each day – you can catch up here, here and here – and I couldn’t recommend that enough. Whether you’re a blogger looking for a content idea or you just want to list what you’re grateful for privately, it’s amazing to see your blessings right in front of you. I keep a list in the Notes app in my phone, and man does it help me to keep positive.

Live in the moment
I admit that I am SO bad for not enjoying the day/hour/second right there and then, because I’m thinking about what’s coming up. Whether I’m stressing about something happening or I’m super excited for something fun, I find I’m always counting down to the Next Thing. I’m actively trying to enjoy where I’m at in the moment, and it’s making life so much more fun! …but it’s okay to have things to look forward to. Matt and I always have a trip planned, whether it’s a holiday or a weekend getaway, because we love travelling SO much and that’s where we want to put our energy. We just love getting away and exploring somewhere new! Similarly, date nights keep us sane and get us through long work weeks, and we always plan those in advance. Get plans in your diary to catch up with your friends too, they may need it more than you do!

Be active, and enjoy nature while you’re at it
Matt and I are SO LUCKY to live where we do; there’s beautiful beaches, rolling countryside and our favourite city, Newcastle upon Tyne, all just twenty minutes drive from us. We are always trying to get outside more and enjoy whatever is around us, and we’re also very lucky that we experience all four seasons here too! Well, Summer is questionable LOL.

Unwind in a way that makes you happy
Getting cosy under a fluffy blanket with our favourite candles flickering, snuggling up with Matt to watch Netflix is without a doubt my favourite pastime. We do this in some aspect every evening, even if it’s only to watch one quick episode of our favourite show (Brooklyn 99 is life, you guys!) and it feels so good to relax at home. Being curled up with Matt makes me so happy, and it’s something I look forward to from the minute we get out of bed each morning! I also love to blog, binge watch reality shows (The *original* Hills and KUTWK are always my go-to shows), online shop/browse, cook, catch up on my YouTube subscriptions, read books, take bubble baths… whatever it is for you; do more of it.

Don’t beat yourself up
The best self care tip of all is to not be too hard on yourself, because everyone is doing the best they can. You don’t need to compare yourself to others, or what you think you should have/want in life. Being happy within yourself is so important, and nurturing your close relationships is super important too. Matt and I are very good at giving each other pep talks and cheering each other up if we ever have a bad day, and that support network is so vital!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful, and maybe feel inspired to take a little more time for yourself. How do you take time for self care each day? What’s one thing that always makes you feel good? Except for cuddling with Matt, one other thing specifically comes to mind for me. Blogging. It always makes me feel good and is there for me like a safety net; I love to write SO MUCH, and I had no idea how much joy blogging would bring to my life! Matt encouraged me to start and has (literally) held my hand every step of the way so far; I’m so grateful for him and that he pushed me to do it; it’s a dream come true to run my own blog. Thank you so much to everyone who takes time to read, comment, like, share etc – it means the world to me, and I really feel so lucky to have such a great bunch of people around me.

-G x

How Can We Live More Sustainably?

*This post features a gifted item, which I was not paid or asked to feature*

Hey, loves!

Sustainability. It’s a word that is everywhere at the moment – on social media, in magazines, on TV and even on the sides of busses. A little ironic, but whatever. It makes me happy that everyone is becoming interested in the topic, but it can be a little overwhelming having so much information thrown at you. It’s almost become a buzzword; people are either very concerned, or know they should be, but what does it actually mean to be sustainable? The definition from http://www.dictionary.com reads “sustainability is defined as the quality of not being harmful to the environment, depleting natural resources and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance”. Erm, yeah. Basically, stop treating our planet like it’s a cat with nine lives; we need to be pro-active at reducing waste, emissions and protecting all living species, and that’s just the basics.

I seen a quote online that said ‘There is no Plan(et) B’ and it really struck a chord with me; we’re literally destroying our planet and a lot of the damage is preventable. The reality is, we need to do a lot more than we currently do, and that can start with just the most simple things. We can’t take on the stress of our broken planet on our own, but in today’s post I’m sharing with you small changes you can easily make, to live a more sustainable life. These small changes actually can create huge impact, and within no time at all you’re helping not just the planet, but the people and animals who live on it. In my opinion, I think we should all begin with little changes in our day-to-day lives, and encourage others to do the same. Collectively, we can make a difference and work on building up to make even bigger changes. It’s genuinely amazing how all of us doing one little thing can make such a huge difference!

Also, I’d just like to re-inforce that my blog is a safe space. A no judgment zone. This post is not at all to cause offence or shock people, it’s literally a way to raise awareness, and to encourage people to see the bigger picture when it comes to the ways in which we can all make a difference.

Purchase makeup and skincare from cruelty free beauty brands. This was one of my resolutions for 2019, and I’m pleased to say that I’ve stuck to it 100%. There are so many of your favourite brands already ticking the necessary boxes, it’s really not as difficult as you think. Look for organic ingredients, the leaping bunny logo, PETA certified stamp and items that state they’re anti-animal testing! There is a slight grey area here, in my opinion, as lots of brands are cruelty free in the sense that they do not test on animals themselves (so they’re ‘good’ in the UK market), however they allow testing to be carried out in countries that require it by law. A general rule of thumb is if a specific brand sells in China they knowingly allow animal testing – as all beauty products sold in China require animal testing by law. Lots of companies are working with authorities to try to phase this out, but I’m not sure on the practical or ethical implications of this. I’d love to know any thoughts you have on this in the comments.

Buy from zero waste shops. Anybody else constantly frustrated with how much plastic is in the normal supermarkets? Thankfully, a brand new innovative way to shop is upon us! Your proximity to one will vary on wherever you live, as I know in London they’re seemingly popping up everywhere. We have one in Tynemouth that just opened last month, and it’s such a breath of fresh air to the area. Matt and I are hoping to visit very soon, and I’m so excited! The whole concept is that you take your own bags, pots, jars or containers to fill with whatever dry goods you need. You only pay for the amount you’re buying, there’s no waste from these items (hence the zero waste label) and you’re also supporting local businesses.

Save water. Shower together. Sorry, I had to. But seriously, cut down on your shower times, take less baths and never leave the water running whilst washing your face or brushing your teeth. Matt and I are bath obsessed (literally, we spend so much time in the bath and so much money at Lush, HAHA) but we’ve definitely cut down on our water usage in recent months.

Invest in re-usable bags. Since the UK implemented a charge for using plastic bags, our consumption has gone down 86%*, yet I can’t believe how many people I see still using plastic bags in supermarkets on a daily basis. Buying fabric, re-usable bags (that you can forever get replaced if broken, as they’re bags for life!) is such an important thing we should all be participating in. My re-usable bags live in the boot of my car, meaning I always have one to hand and I’m never caught out. Trying to get my boyfriend to do the same is a work in progress – I’m forever buying more when we go shopping! I also have a small canvas tote bag in my boot for when I go clothes or toiletries shopping and I’d definitely recommend this. Also, when buying individual fruit or vegetables in the supermarket I never pick up the plastic bags – they’re so unnecessary! You can buy produce bags (these ones look pretty good) but in my opinion they aren’t a necessity.
*Information from gov.uk

Stop buying fast fashion pieces. I’ve already talked about this in so much detail in this post, so I’m not going to bore you too much here. Buying less clothes, of better materials from sustainable, ethical brands is the way forward in my opinion, and I’m so happy to see so many people changing their thought process. I will be sharing with you some of the fashion items on my Spring/Summer wishlist in the next few weeks, featuring lots of sustainable brands! Again, I highly recommend the Good On You app for all the basic information you need on your favourite brands, and background on their part in becoming more sustainable. Also, I mentioned this briefly in my post all about fast fashion, if it’s something you’re interested in I highly recommend joining the Slow Fashion Exchange Facebook group, run by the wonderful Venetia Falconer.

Take re-usable water bottles and coffee cups out with you. This takes a little forward planning, but if you already have a container to fill, you’re certainly not going to go for the plastic option. General water bottles and coffee cups are not recyclable, and all head straight to landfill. Often, they find their way to our waterways and into the ocean, causing mass-scale pollution. As pretty as a Starbucks cup may look on your Instagram feed, you’re so much better off investing in a re-usable cup you can take anywhere with you. Also, most coffee shops offer discount when using your own cup as an incentive to stop people buying one-use options. I love the KeepCup and Stojo options personally, but there are SO many out there and prices start from just a few pounds!

Invest in re-usable straws. When bars and restaurants around the UK began to filter out plastic straws in early Summer last year, I was not a happy bunny. However, after finding out that one plastic straw takes FIVE HUNDRED YEARS to decompose I was so shocked, and totally understood the move to stop selling straws. As an avid straw user, it makes me feel a little bit sick to think how many plastic straws I’ve sent to landfill. A lot. I’m really not a fan of the paper straw alternatives as they literally turn to mush mid-drink not using a straw doesn’t work for me because my teeth are super sensitive to cold. Last year I purchased metal re-usable straws from Amazon that come in so handy, and I use them at home and work. Recently I was very kindly sent these pasta straws by the amazing guys over at Stroodles… straws made from pasta?! What?! I was so intrigued by the concept; they’re perfect for taking on the go as they’re single use, yet completely bio-degradable and compostable. I love that 25p per straw is also donated to local charities! Matt and I love to use these for homemade smoothies especially as they’re the perfect size.

*Use code GF10 for 10% off your first purchase at Stroodles*

Save electricity by turning off items you’re no longer using. Anyone else guilty of leaving lamps on when you pop out of the room? Or even the house? Yep, I was too! If you’re not using an appliance, switch it off at the wall, and only switch it back on when you’re going to use it. This is an easy one and something we should all be doing out of habit by now.

Sell and donate items that no longer benefit you. If we’re ever going to encourage others to purchase second hand, there has to be a continuous supply of goods to purchase. It’s important to pass on items that no longer have a purpose to us, a) to reduce the likelihood of becoming a hoarder and b) to encourage the cycle of donation/second hand shopping. Charity shops, eBay, car boot sales, Depop, Vestaire Collective etc are all great places to sell your unwanted items, and as the old saying goes, ‘one man’s tat is another man’s treasure’! Also, this is a great way to add extra pennies to your pocket.

Make use of technology. It’s one of those tasks you’ve probably been meaning to do for a long time, but change your mailing preferences once and it’s done forever. To reduce the amount of paper sent your way, opt out of any post unless it’s something you absolutely need (I can’t think of any instance of this, to be honest!), and instead direct everything to your email, or turn on notifications via the app.

Eat less red meat. Eating less red meat can be good for your body in lots of different ways, which you can read about here. Matt and I are big fans of #MeatlessMondays, and over the past few months I’ve generally eaten less meat each week. I feel better when I eat more vegetables, and I’m enjoying experimenting with different vegetarian and vegan foods. Matt and I love cooking, so changing up our diet has been fun and we’re finding out what works for us and what doesn’t.

Save up your plastic closures to recycle. Lush UK have an amazing recycling program where you can take in your plastic bottle tops, caps or lids, which they recycle and create more of their black pots. The pots are also recyclable; every time you return five pots you get a fresh face mask for free! (They’re the best face masks too, and made from all natural ingredients – I talk about my favourites in this post).

Grow your own herbs, instead of buying pre-packaged ones in store. I can’t wait for Matt and I to buy our future home for approximately 10,000 reasons, but this is one of the top ones! (He’s not as excited HAHA). Growing your own herbs ensures you know exactly where they’ve came from, you have much less wastage and they’re always to hand. They also would look so cute in adorable plant pots along your kitchen windowsill. This point could be applied to vegetables and fruit also if you have space to do so!

Recycle, recycle, recycle. Separate your household waste, recycle clothing that cannot be donated at clothing banks and recycle used beauty product packaging separately. L’Occitane are running a program with TerraCycle, ensuring those hard-to-recycle products are disposed of properly. They accept items from any brand, and there’s locations all over the UK – this is a fantastic initiative and I hope more brands develop a similar system. There is an incredible contact lens recycling program, also with TerraCycle, for any of us daily lens wearers. Of course a better alternative is to wear monthly lenses but they just don’t work for me, which annoys me so much. I also seen a recent campaign to recycle old mascara wands (washed in warm soapy water) to animal sanctuaries, so many across the UK are appealing for more, so be sure to get in touch with local sanctuaries to see if you can send yours their way.

Carpool when necessary, and drive less. The reality is it’s not feasible for many people to walk to work (it’s certainly not for me!) but little things like carpooling with your friends can make a huge difference. During the week, Matt and I always use both of our cars as we work in different directions, however during the evenings and on a weekend if he’s off work we only use one as we’re together anyway. Walking more, or taking up cycling is a great option if you live in a close proximity to work.

Buy zero waste beauty products where possible. It’s a little harder than it may seem, but it’s definitely do-able in time, and remember, every little thing helps. Lush have an amazing selection of zero waste products, their shampoo bars are incredible, in design and effectiveness. Buying re-usable ‘cotton pad’ alternatives is something that’s been on my mind for a while, I’m just unsure on how well they will work as I’ve seen very little people recommend them. Do you have any thoughts on this or have you tried them?

Thank you so much for reading! Did you find any of these tips helpful? I’d love to know any extra things you do to live more sustainably? Remember, the little things make a huge difference!

-G x